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Old 05-03-2009, 08:30 PM   #1
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Little Girl Refurb 1972

Finally, after a long trip to get her home to Minnesota from Mobile, AL, and then finding a place in our yard to park her for a few years, and then building a shelter of sorts to help protect her and us from the rain and sun, we have started the long road of doing a complete refurbishment of our Little Girl. We’ve done a fairly extensive audit of what needs to be done plus all the stuff we want to do, and have a plan. Of course, like all plans, it’s subject to change. Overall, we are going to start by gutting her on the inside. We’ve been working on that the last couple of weekends and a few evenings here and there. So far, we have taking out everything from the front wall to the bedroom area. The pictures below show our progress. We still need to clear out all the loose stuff in the front, but at least it’s all loose and removable! We’ve found a couple of mice nests, and several paper wasp nests. All old and currently unused thank goodness! Even this little bit of progress is very gratifying.

Once we have her gutted, and I receive the many weather-stripping parts I’ve ordered, we’ll start making her weather tight on her upper shell before proceeding with more fun projects (like removing what’s left of the belly pan and the floor). She's our retirement project - in that we hope to have her completely refurbished in time for retirement. No big rush, we have at least 8 to 10 years…

Our plan is to make her into a rear bedroom, side bathroom floor plan. We'll be adding a grey water tank, as well as most likely moving the black water and fresh water tanks. The galley will basically remain in the same place, as will the refrigerator. Outside, we want to keep her as vintage as possible, but giving in to a few more modern safety items. For example, she needs all new tail lights and several new running lights, so all will be replaced with LED versions.


Chris & Kay
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:07 PM   #2
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I see that the glove is still there... too funny
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:18 PM   #3
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Keep up the good work - looks like you are on the way to a fine Airstream.
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 72BamaStream View Post
I see that the glove is still there... too funny
Yes, we haven't gotten around to removing the glove yet. It keeps us from snagging on the lines!
Do you want it back?
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:17 AM   #5
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Little Girl Inside Demo Complete

Making progress – the demolition is all done after two or three weekends and several evenings of work. Still need to clear out the front of the Little Girl, but everything is detached and loose. We’re going to save all of the aluminum extrusions that held the paneling/walls in place. Not sure if I’ll use them yet or not, but if nothing else they’ll be a great template for the curved upper part of the walls.

Found floor rot in the bathroom – not unexpected, but a bit more than we thought. No biggie to us as we’re going to remove the entire floor and replace it anyway. Also found where a PO had made several plumbing repairs – clamped on clear vinyl tube where the copper water lines must have sprung a leak at some point. These were done long ago, in a galaxy far, far away… Also one vent pipe repair under the bathroom sink.

Anyway, now that we have an empty trailer, we started playing with floor layouts for the rear bedroom and side bath. Looks like we’ll end up with more room in the bedroom than we originally thought, which will be a plus!

With the side bath, we’re trying to decide if we should go with a shower or a step tub, since either one will be next to the front part of the wheel well on the curb side. We noticed that a 2009 AS with a side bath has a shower that must be next to the wheel well, as it looks like there is a void between the shower and the side wall. Does anyone have any idea what that space is used for? We were thinking a linen closet would be a good use of that space, but we’re also looking for ideas. The step tub would give us more room in the shower though…

Now, it’s on to working on the exterior, and making her weather tight. I have several hundred rivets to replace, where previous repairs were done using regular steel pop rivets. Two of the vista windows leak – the rear one on the curb side leaks badly. Both are also held in pace with those regular steel pop rivets, although the major source of the leaking is around the glass where the gasket material has failed. Vulkem will solve that. Other immediate outside projects include replacing the door latch (which is currently a regular house door knob) with the vintage one we bought. Pricey, but worth it for us to get the original look back. Unfortunately, we may end up with a patch around the vintage door latch, because there’s a patch there now and the patch is bigger than the latch itself. But, since I may need to repair the door at some point because is seems to be warped (doesn’t seal tight at the bottom of the opening), we may end up completely re-skinning the door anyway. First things first though…

Current plan:

1. Get her weather tight above the floor line.
2. Remove the belly skin.
3. Remove the floor.
4. Inspect the frame, sand blast if needed, repair as needed and paint.
5. Figure out tanks and plumbing layout.
6. Replace the floor.
7. Make new plan to see what to do next…

Chris & Kay
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:29 AM   #6
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Wow!

So that's what she looks like "naked" huh? Wow you guys have done a ton of work! Well done...

Update here when you can! I look forward to watching your progress!
Shar
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:47 PM   #7
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Front overhead cabinet gone

We're making progress again. What we've been working on for the most part are the windows. Taking each one out, cleaning it, polishing the metal parts, replacing parts as needed, putting new gasket on, and then re-installing and adjusting them so the open and close easily and seal completely when closed. About 2 hours per window. So far, we have the 3 on the curb side done.

But rain and cooler weather brought us back inside for a bit. After hitting my head on the underside of the front overhead cabinet for more times than I care to admit, I decided it was time for it to go. I completely lost count of the number of rivets I had to drill out to remove it! I was going to count them, but gave up after 50 something... Anyway, the overhead piece is out. But not in one piece...

I was surprised to see that there are not any ribs supporting the curved end caps! No wonder they can dent so easily! But taking out the overhead really opened the front end of the trailer up! Now I can work on the front window without hitting my head every 5 to 10 minutes. Replacing it should prove interesting, but that's another day and another upcoming story.

Chris & Kay
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Old 06-14-2009, 09:24 PM   #8
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New Door Latch

Took a break from doing windows on Saturday and installed the new door latch on Little Girl. The regular house door knob, while functional, certainly wasn't in keeping with the looks of the her. Plus, I was worried that the knob would eventualy cause a good sized dent in her side. So replacing the latch was a project who's time had come...

A PO had replaced the airstream latch long ago, and had made a plate to cover the original hole. They also had moved the strike plate up about an inch or so in the door jamb by cutting the opening in the jamb quite a bit larger.

After removing the old door knob and the patch, I discovered a bit of a surprise - paper wasp nests! Fortunately, these are quite old, so no danger of getting stung!

The new latch fit the old hole perfectly. The screws on the inside of the door fit through the old screw holes, so actually installing the new latch was a breeze. I filled in the rivet holes that held the patch on with olymipic rivets, using vulkum to ensure they are sealed.

The interior of the door needs some cosmetic work, but we'll deal with that once we get to the cosmetic part of the interior design down the road. Waaaay down the road I'm thinking....

Moving the strike plate back to the oroginal position required a bit more work. I fashioned a new backup plate out of the old door patch, and used it to mount the strike plate. Seems to have worked out quite well. I'll be able to reinforce it once we have the inner skin off (I hope!) so it will withstand the rigors of traveling...

Once I got the door latch taken care of, we spent the rest of the weekend on the windows. Now, all of the opening windows have new gaskets, and they are cleaned, polished, parts replaced as needed, lubed, and all work quite well, and most importantly, seal tightly shut for the first time in many years!

Chris & Kay
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:00 AM   #9
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I think you have the bug bad. Little Girl may be road ready sooner than later. That's ok you need to practice lots before you retire!
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Old 06-16-2009, 02:24 PM   #10
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Progress

Nice work on the door latch. It looks so much better. Looks like you've had good sunny weather to work in. We got our new floor down finally, and will start on the bath tambour you sent us this week.Thanks again,

Your friends in Calif.

Steve & Mary
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:39 PM   #11
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Two things:

Dannie, Having the bug bad is just ducky with us!

Mary, do you have a thread showing all of us your work? Love to see pictures of what you're doing.

Chris
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:59 PM   #12
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Chris,

No I have not yet had a chance to post to a dedicated thread. I want to start a blog with all the progress. I will send you a link when I do. We are just trying to get things done in order to go on our summer trip next month.

Mary
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Old 06-20-2009, 05:09 PM   #13
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She's Titled!!!!

Received the MN title for Little Girl today! Woo Hoo!!!!!

Only had to send the DMV extra information once, and that was some photos of her. Needless to say, we're excited!

Chris & Kay
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:24 PM   #14
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GT going thru the redo

I`m going thru about the same thing on my GT,iy`s just been so hot here can`t do much without sweating to death.Picture of the beginning.Dave
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