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Old 02-11-2018, 09:48 AM   #85
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1973 29' Ambassador
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David

I am following your journal with great interest as we have recently bought a Overlander as well. It is dated but appears to be in good shape, I will not know for sure until I open it up. Our plan is to replace the rear bathroom with a queen bed ( my bride loves her bed space ) and move the bathroom and shower to the middle. We probably will not start for a couple of years yet so I am gathering information currently. I noticed that you have a shop that fits your AS, very jealous of that because we are in snowy cold Southern Alberta and I need to figure out how to accomplish the rebuild without taking several years to do it.

Great job so far
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Old 02-11-2018, 06:10 PM   #86
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Welcome from Colorado Don: I'm glad you are following along. We have a 1986 Limited 34' that I've done quite a bit to. It is a mid bath, rear bed model.

I had a 1966 Trade Wind 24' which was my first retirement project. I renovated it to "travel ready" status. The mid sixties have several rather unique parts, including the windows and door lockset, that are hard to replace. I sold it and got this Overlander instead. It is the new body style (started in 69) and does not have unique parts. But it does have the lousy rear body seal that rots out the rear subfloor and rear crossmember. Most Overlanders have this or they have been repaired.

I'm just updating the plumbing and appliances and soft goods. And I'm fixing this and that as I go. I have new axles on order. I have no plans to alter the original layout except moving some weight forward. Mine is a rear bath, twin bed model. Good enough for us. Again, my goal is a comfortable, reliable "travel ready" trailer my whole family can use.

Here is a link to the 1975 Airstream floor plans for the various models. You likely have seen it, but just in case you haven't, it might be of interest. Airstream did build them that way in 75. The rear bath layout went the way of the dodo bird. A center bath makes a lot more sense. You can look at some of the layouts in newer models to see how Airstream designers did the center bath. A rear queen and a center bath will encroach on the galley room some I suspect.

David

https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...c978cc1dc7.pdf
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:14 PM   #87
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Upside Down Drill Press

I admit it. I don't like installing new belly pans. There is a lot of rivet holes to drill while holding the drill and pushing hard into the frame rails and cross members. I use 5/32" and 3/16" inch large flange pop rivets. My shoulder gets real sore with tendonitis drilling all those holes. Growing old is for the birds.

A Air Forums participant Panama Red rigged a upside down drill press with his floor jack. That idea stuck with me.

I search the internet looking for some tool I could use. I found this StrongArm5 that looked like it would work. I purchased one and used it today for the first time. I drilled ten 1/4" diameter holes in the frame rails for mounting my wastewater tanks. The tool worked great.

The foot sits on the floor. The drill mounts to a fixture. The lever moves the drill up and down. Position the drill where you want it, turn it on, and use the lever to push the drill up and through the metal. Much easier.

Maybe others would find this upside down drill press of interest. Heck, maybe Panama Red invented it.

David

http://strongarm5.com/products/
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Old 02-13-2018, 06:18 PM   #88
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Now there's a good idea. Nice find, David.

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Old 02-14-2018, 06:33 PM   #89
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Airstream Control Panel Out

The control panel in a overhead over the cooktop drew my interest. I'm installing a 709 SeeLevel tank monitor for my new tanks in the Overlander. The little monitor (2"x4") has to go somewhere. I decided the old control panel might be as good a place as any.

The control panel is rather buried up there. The cooktop exhaust filter, exhaust fan are all part of the assembly. There are small rivets holding the thing in there which were hard to find for me. But I finally got it figured out.

The wiring harness is big for this thing. There are maybe 4 wires from each tank, plus the pump, battery, amp gauge, and the rest. My harness connector was stuck tight. It finally came apart.

The front of my control panel was quite warped. I can now reduce that somewhat. The faceplate is a plastic sheet of some sort that just sagged and warped through the years. The switches are mounted to the face plate, and the gauges are mounted to an aluminum sheet. There is 1/2" between the two pieces, which is the thickness of the gauges. I don't know why it was done this way.

However, I found the control panel quite well built. More aluminum extrusions to hold the thing together. The gauges and switch are pretty high quality, especially for 1975.

So the SeeLevel monitor fits nicely on the faceplate. So after 43 years we will still go to the same place to monitor the tanks and battery in this trailer. Modern technology in a vintage location.

David
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Old 02-21-2018, 06:03 PM   #90
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New Black Tank Installed

Stop dithering and just do it! I finally bit the bullet and installed the black tank.

I wanted to insure I reviewed my thinking several times so I don't scrap the tank. I was sure the toilet down pipe was located correctly centered in the floor flange. I was sure the floor flange height issues were resolved. I was sure the tank vent connection was going to work. I was sure I can plumb the bath sink to the black tank and it would be well vented. And my tank mounts and tank "compartment" for tank heating are okay. Lastly, the new dump blade valve will fit the drain manifold and out the side of the trailer.

There is a lot of considerations when installing a new black tank. Mess one up and I could have quite a headache.

So today I bolted it up and set the connections. If it doesn't work, It's my fault.

I have made an oak floor "cross member" that runs front to rear along the side of the tank, and near the middle of the bathroom floor. It will be supported by my tank supports. This will give the big expanse of bath floor a bit more support. And it will provide a side wall for my heated tank compartment.

The new gray tank is next. It is easier as there are only two pipes draining into it; galley sink and shower/tub. And there is the vent line to connect.

New black tank installed is a project milestone for me.

David
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Old 02-24-2018, 05:27 PM   #91
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New Gray Tank Installed

I now have the new gray tank installed. It is one frame bay behind the black tank. It is a traditional "T" shaped tank allowing mounting with angle irons hung from the frame rails.

This tank is drained with a 1 1/2" ABS pipe since it is just wash water. The pipe runs all the way to the bumper compartment where Airstream installed the waste tank drain manifold 43 years ago. I've elected to keep this arrangement as opposed to draining below the frame rails like is currently done.

The galley sink and the shower/tub drain into the gray tank. The bath sink drains into the black tank.

Well, for my $600 and a ton of work, I've almost doubled the dirty water carrying capacity of this Overlander to nearly 60 gallons. Maybe it is a "honey wagon" now. Some improvement, huh?

David
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Old 02-24-2018, 05:40 PM   #92
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New Bath Floor Support

When I bought the Overlander the rear bath floor was sagging about 1/2" in 45" of floor length toward the rear of the trailer. And it felt flimsy. The reason was rear subfloor rot and rear end separation.

Now that I have the rear subfloor and rear end separation repaired I can address the sagging floor. Airstream had a longitudinal frame cross member running between the black and gray water tanks. This metal cross member attachment point at the rear cross member was rusted and became detached. The subfloor was holding up the metal cross member instead of the other way around.

I made the black tank supports with enough room to install an oak board as a replaced bath floor support. The oak board also makes one of the four sides of the black tank heated compartment.

The bath floor is now solid and level. I like that.

David
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Old 02-25-2018, 08:27 AM   #93
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Nice work David. I really like your oak wood structural support and your metal support structure for your waste tanks.

Dan
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Old 02-25-2018, 05:48 PM   #94
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Thank you TouringDan: I think the frame repairs will outlast me.

Today I wired up the new SeeLevel readout to the flex circuits stuck to the tanks. Tomorrow I'll power it up and see what happens.

David
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Old 02-27-2018, 07:30 PM   #95
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SeeLevel Works

I love this SeeLevel system. Sophisticated to be simple. Stick on the circuits on the deep end of the tanks, daisy chain the "signal" and the ground wires together and then on to the readout. Wire a 12v supply and a exclusive ground wire. Then just plug it in and wah-la. The tank levels are now monitored. The system is so much better than the old fashioned molded in resistance sensors that can get gummed up in my view.

The readout shows my battery voltage at 13.6 volts (being charged) and my fresh water tank at 57% full. Fresh water is a misnomer as that water has been in the tank for six months. Yuk! The black and the gray tanks are new and the instrument rightly shows the tanks empty. I have not calibrated the senders yet.

The SeeLevel system is a great improvement.

So the tanks are installed and the SeeLevel installed. What next? I think it is time to move to the next phase of this project; the fresh water system. I have a new pressure/flow comp water pump, and a new standard fare hot water heater. I will replumb the entire trailer in PEX.

David
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Old 03-06-2018, 06:11 AM   #96
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Looks great David! I considered these gauges but couldnít find an area far enough away from metal to avoid interference. I plan to match my freshwater and grey water tank capacities (56 gal) so when Iím out of water Iím full in the grey side. This will not help if hooked up to city water but for now I donít plan to do that often.
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Old 03-06-2018, 07:55 PM   #97
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My black tank stick on circuit is only about 2" from the metal rear cross member. I covered the circuits with a 3/16" rubber sheet that I understand will help insulate the circuits from metal interference. It worked on my Trade Wind project, and I suspect it will work here too.

David
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Old 03-08-2018, 06:05 PM   #98
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New Water Heater Installation

I'm currently completing the new water heater installation. I've decided to locate it under the street side twin bed. I did the same thing in the old Trade Wind and that is where Airstream located the water heater in the 86 Limited. We usually don't run the water heater during the night. We just switch it on in the morning and off in the evening. Water is hot in 20 minutes or less.

This is a standard 6 gallon Atwood electronic ignition water heater. It will weigh about 60 pounds full of water. The old one was a manual 10 gallon heater. It was considerably heavier.

So I cut the hole through the skins, framed around the hole between the skins, made a little platform for the heater to sit on. I also strengthen the subfloor below the water heater and installed additional bolts through the C channel (actually a upside down "F" channel.) Tomorrow I will caulk the the flange mount and screw the heater to the framing. And I will wire the on/off switch.

The old location will be patched over. I will use that space for the shore power inlet and city water inlet connections.

David
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