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Old 12-23-2014, 04:16 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1975 27' Overlander
Anacortes , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 5
1975 27' Overlander Project

My neighbor has a '75 Overlander that he bought new and has been sitting for the last 15 years in his back yard. Other than the accumulation of dirt, green algae etc, the outside is dent free, windows are all intact, screens look good. It has rear and front and curbside shades with the metal wrap around protector shields. The front one I unrolled and it looks new. LP tanks are old and need either replacing or new valves installed if that is an option. Picked it up for $1000. I will need to replace the tires I am sure. No interior indication of leaks.

What paint is the best to repaint the interior ceiling and walls if needed?

What cleaning product would be the best choice to go over all the cabinets and other wood items?

I am considering pulling the carpet and replacing with cork. I have redone my wife's weaving studio floor in that. It is light weight and easy to clean.

Once I get the propane replaced and a new battery I will start turning things on and see what works and what doesn't I already can see that the fire/gas tube on the Bowen water heater is a pile of rust.

Just sold my boat, 25' C-Dory Cruiser, and now will be into a land yacht. So will be living on this site for a while.

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Old 12-23-2014, 05:34 PM   #2
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Estancia , New Mexico
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Posts: 7,331
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Check out Zolotone or Multispec. It's expensive and you need spray equipment to apply but it would look great in a 70s. The biggest problem is the interior surfaces are vinyl covered, but they can be painted.

Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
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Old 12-24-2014, 08:15 AM   #3
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 5,263
Images: 1
Good Morning Baskeweaver, welcome to the Airstream community and these Air Forums. It sounds like you found a lovely old Airstream and now have a great project to keep you busy for a long time. I think the Overlander is the perfect size for comfortable traveling. Even to day folks find the 25 footers rather ideal. I think they are the highest volume size that Airstream makes.

You likely already know all Airstreams leak rain water at some point. The exterior skins last forever, but the wood subfloor not so much. You will want to assess your new Overlander from bottom to top. Just carefully examine everything from the tires to the air conditioner, from the A frame coupler to the rear body attachment point. Make a list of all your trailer's needs, and then set the priority for your first projects. There is no sense in a new floor covering if the subfloor is rotted, there is no sense in new tires if the frame is weakened from rust. You know what I mean.

Working on these vintage Airstreams is great fun. These Air Forums have been so helpful to me with my 66 Trade Wind. Folks here seem to know all the strengths and weaknesses of particular years and models. And you can get great ideas for your renovation.

You gotta post some photos of your Overlander "as found", both inside and out. I wonder if it is the top of the line "International" option?

I've had my 66 Trade Wind for 15 months now. It is one size smaller than yours. Mine is the older body style where yours is the newer one. Mine is a base model with the twin bed, front gaucho layout. I didn't have to worry about testing the appliances as it didn't have them anymore! Here is a photo of the trailer just after I pulled it home.

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Old 12-24-2014, 05:39 PM   #4
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1973 27' Overlander
Portsmouth , Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 776
Welcome aboard. Please do post some pix, that way we can all get a better idea of what you have and can tailor our advice.

Before you go hog wild making it pretty, I would go through it really well and make sure there isnt any hidden rot in the floor or rusting of the frame. Some of that can be easily done by pulling up all the carpeting. Some of it you have to drop the belly pan and visually inspect the frame.

The axles will need to be replaced, especially after sitting for 15 years in one spot. Tires are probably beyond dry rot. If your area doesn't have deep freezes, the copper water lines may be in good shape, though most folks when they renovate replace them with pex.

The tanks can be fitted with new valves and re-certified. If they are aluminum you will definitely want to do this as they would be expensive to replace with same size new tanks.

A C-dory eh? I've wanted one of those for a long time. A neighbor up the creek from me has one. If you're familiar with boats then you know you have to get into places that aren't normally accessed to check for rot. Same with these trailers. If you check my blog <points down> you can see what I've gone through with the same model trailer two years older than yours. Good luck and keep us all going with plenty of pictures.

Ongoing adventures at:
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Old 12-25-2014, 07:41 AM   #5
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1975 27' Overlander
Anacortes , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 5
Thanks for the Welcome

Thanks for the thoughts on my "new" acquisition. Although I have not yet brought the AS across the street where I can start working on it. The present owner still has to move out a dozen boxes of things from inside before I can take possession. I do think I remember seeing an "International" medallion or small plaque on it somewhere. We have re- inflated the tires to 50 psi and the owner and I pulled it out about 8 feet from under the canopy of trees as a prelude to moving it over to my house. I did clean off about 6 inches of accumulation of fir needles, leaves, etc from the roof.

I understand the tires, but why would the axles need replacing and how can I tell? If when I pull the carpet I find no evidence of water damage where else do I look to check the subfloor. I am really hoping the sub floor will be okay. I would think the to replace the subfloor, everything would have to be removed. cabinets, partitions, appliances, etc. That sounds like a REAL undertaking, not to mention getting all that back in place after.
I will take a bunch of pictures. Before, during, and after. After sounds like it might be a ways down the calendar.
In my C-dory, I did a lot of extensive upgrades over an 8 year period. I like doing that kind of thing.
I took part in the C-Brats website for many years which is similar to this site. The link to my photo album is The C-Brats :: C-Brat Albums. Anna Leigh was the name of my boat.
Looking below this post I see an "Add Video" and a window with Browse next to it, but no "Add Picture" I do find an "Add Image " icon at the top .

Happy Holidays to all. My wife has informed me that I am getting my Christmas present in the form of a work project.
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Old 12-25-2014, 08:49 AM   #6
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,174
Images: 40
I have a 1975 Sovereign that became a long term project...

Take an ice pick, poke and prod around the floor at the wall under the front windows and on either side of the door.

Step on the rear bumper and look for movement between the shell and the bumper.

The interior vinyl can be scrubbed down with a cleaning solution then coat with Future vinyl floor stuff and it will look almost like new.

As far as axles; they are torsion and the rubber rods inside harden and set, especially if the trailer has set for any length of time. Also from what I gather there were some issues with the rubber compound from the 1970's.

For what you paid you are going to be fine, even with the necessary repairs and upgrades.

Loved the smaller CD sailboats... never could afford one, had a Wayfarer instead.

__________________ many little time...
Why are we in this basket...and where are we going
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Old 12-25-2014, 08:52 AM   #7
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
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Greetings Bazketweaverˇ
Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Overlander ownership!

The critical areas to check are the perimeters -- particularly below windows and near openings in the skin. You will want to inspect through cabinet openings - through access hatches undes beds/sofas -- and through exterior. Hatches. Probing with an awl will reveal any soft spots and help to direct any leak detection needed.

Good luck with your Overlanderˇ

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 12-25-2014, 02:05 PM   #8
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1972 29' Ambassador
Boynton Beach , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 497
There is a new roll-on Zolatone product called Flex. Just used it on my Ambassador, worked great! Search the Forums for some recent posts about it. I used a lot of citrus cleaner from Home Depot to get the grease off before coating.

My floor was fine, except for under the (former) bathroom, which was very spongy. I was able to replace the bad sections by levering the shell up a bit at a time, and sliding the new piece in.

To post pics, you go in the "Manage Attachments" part, in Additional Options, that brings up a new window. It's pretty straightforward after that.

I would say that your first priority should be to get it camp-worthy, and go try it out! I've been taking lots of trips in mine as the re-building process continues on. You can always set up a camp stove, ice chest and sleeping pad... makes the trailer a glorified tent. These are great occasions to plan and dream of what your trailer will be, and how you will use it.

Though be careful to have the refreshments well stocked, as these "design meetings" can go through supplies at an alarming rate!
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Old 12-25-2014, 02:06 PM   #9
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1978 31' Sovereign
Hot Springs , Arkansas
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 594
Congratulations and welcome to the forum! My AS story is identical to yours. My trailer was is good to very good shape but had been smoked in. I REPEATEDLY used a citrus based cleaner and lots of rinse water and got it to the original zolatone. You may get lucky and not need to repaint. There was a post just a few days ago about a roll on Ztone that looks good. Good idea with the flooring, go light weight. I was going to use a premium laminate until I calculated the weight. It all adds up fast. As for everything else, its just like eating an elephant. One bite at a time.
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Old 12-25-2014, 03:06 PM   #10
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1975 27' Overlander
LaVale , Maryland
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 57
Congratulations on your find, we bought our 75 Overlander in June and my better half sent a looong time cleaning the inside while I replaced the axles and got the lights etc working prior to bringing Shiny Beast home. You should plan on the axle assemblies right off the bat as Waahonc pointed out sitting in one place for 15 yrs did the 40 yr old axles no good and would shake the AS to death. Once they and the lights are ready and the inside is reasonably clean( mouse excreta stinks when cleaning , be warned.) take it out a few times before stating the restoration to help you decide what you goals will be. We found the bathroom floor rotted where the copper had split so the bathroom came out and now I'm installing Pex so we can start using it again this spring.
Welcome and enjoy the journey.
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Old 12-25-2014, 03:41 PM   #11
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1966 17' Caravel
Newport , North Carolina
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Congrats on your find! Welcome and we are looking forward to seeing your pictures!
Gotta get busy! Have a great day! Now where did I put those revits?
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Old 12-25-2014, 05:23 PM   #12
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Hi basketweaver, I really want to see some photos of your neighborhood find!

To post a picture, you need to be in the "post reply" or "go advanced" screen. Then look for the "paper clip" in the upper tool bar. When you click on the paper clip, a "manage attachments" pop up window appears. It has four buttons to "browse" to select a picture file from your computer. Do so, and navigate your file structure to get the photo of your Overlander. Select it, and then select "open".

Now you need to select "upload" and go have a diet coke. Depending on your internet connection, the upload could take several minutes. Your file name will appear toward the bottom of the pop up window when Air Forums is done with the upload. Air Forums will take a 3 meg file and downsize it to about 300k automatically. Nice.

Now you "close this window" and you are ready to "submit reply". You can upload about 4 pictures at a time.

Hope this helps.

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Old 12-25-2014, 11:06 PM   #13
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1971 25' Tradewind
Menlo Park , California
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Welcome to the forum!

Regarding the "why" of axle replacement: the axles have a rubber component that sets and stiffens over the decades. If they are not replaced, the lack of cushioning makes for a very stiff ride that will rattle the innards of your trailer and may even lead to popped rivets.

Congratulations on your new acquisition! You've gotten great advice so far. I just wanted to chime in and say Howdy since 1) We've done a lot of work on our '71 Tradewind, some of which you may fine relevant. Link to our blog is in my signature line. 2) We pass through Anacortes on the way to Lopez Island every summer. We usually spend 3-6 weeks there. 3) The "Basketweaver" name intrigues me since I'm a loom weaver and handspinner and have done a bit of basket weaving in my time.

I'll be following your progress with interest. If you run into any questions, ask away and you will get answers.
Our travel and renovation blog:
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Old 12-26-2014, 08:02 AM   #14
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1975 27' Overlander
Anacortes , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 5
Thank you for all the input. No money has actually passed hands yet on this. The owner is not in any hurry, but has committed it to me if I want it. There is another neighbor that also wants to move it to his property and just put it on jacks for a bunkhouse. I have to say I am getting a little apprehensive about the axel problem. We live on a small island and the ordering/delivering, and mostly the replacement are worrisome.

The basketweaver comes from our times every year for the past 20 years in Maui. I learned how to weave baskets from coconut palm fronds many years ago and still enjoy creating them twice a year on our trips over there. My wife is a "regular" weaver and has a studio next to the house with about 5 looms.

BTW what are the Rivets all about? Rivet Master etc.

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