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Old 06-01-2010, 04:37 PM   #1
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Burlington , Vermont
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Full Restoration Costs?

Anybody know from experience what a full interior restoration might cost if done by myself on 26' 55 OVERLANDER? I want to do it on the cheap, and have most of the tools.

I plan to do bamboo flooring, would have to make most of the furniture & shelving, and replace the bathroom.

Lots to do, I know, but I plan to full-time in it for a few years.

Any ideas on rough time if I will have one experienced plumber/carpenter/electrician working with me?


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Old 06-01-2010, 04:42 PM   #2
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2005 22' Safari
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There is nothing cheap about these treasures. Open the wallet. And good luck

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Old 06-01-2010, 04:57 PM   #3
Restorations done right
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1962 26' Overlander
1961 26' Overlander
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you should fix the structure before you go cheap on the interior.
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Old 06-01-2010, 05:01 PM   #4
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Ottawa , ON
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Frank's right, Mora. A "full" restoration would start with a shell-off frame and floor resto first.
If it's to be, it's up to me.
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Old 06-01-2010, 05:18 PM   #5
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Here's my post with an estimate of our time spent.

Moneywise...we have spent about $15K from tongue to tail - plus the purchase price of the trailer ~

Check out the entire thread to see the extent of our restoration...of course, your expectations & results may vary!

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Old 06-01-2010, 05:28 PM   #6
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Ditto on the "Good Structure" first suggestions. After that the interior is your canvas to make your own. You will save substantial sums of money if you can do most, if not all of the work yourself.


"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

Eleanor Roosevelt

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Old 06-01-2010, 05:45 PM   #7
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Upperco , Maryland
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How much does it cost? How much do you have?

Seriously, though, we've paid for some mistakes. We've also spent some "smart money." Frank is right. The Airstream is a structure you are going to pull down the highway at 65 mph. It makes no sense to scrimp on "the bones." We went with a shell off, full blown frame repair with new metal, POR-15, the works. This includes a full floor replacement (which everyone will tell is is part of the Airstream structural design). Bad floor = bad structure. Bad frame = bad structure. Bad running gear = road to bad structure.

We're doing most of the inside ourselves... with a great deal of help from the experts here. Still, there isn't much about Airstream you can do on the cheap. RV stuff is often crappy. Marine stuff is often better but spendy.

You can save some money on using your own labor, but an amateur takes longer to do things than a pro. Other items, like a new fridge, a new furnace, a new rooftop heat pump/AC unit, new water pump, new water tank, new gray water tanks, new black water tanks, new head, new shower, new sink, new fixtures, new bed, new cabinets....

A great deal depends on your goals and your starting point. A pristine vintage Airstream can be camp worthy from Day One. Camping ain't full timing. If you are going to live in this thing, you want to be comfortable and you don't want to fight old, failing equipment. Go quality, treat yourself and think of it as a lifetime investment. Personally, if someone asked me for an "average" restoration number, I'd ballpark around $20k. Some people will spend a lot less; some a lot more.
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Old 06-01-2010, 05:49 PM   #8
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treasures everywhere

make a list of what you want. then a list of what is needed. then go out to garage sales, pour over the free ads in Craigslist. do not expect miracle wonders, and guess what? some amazing stuff will come your way. check out the barter section. have an idea of what new stuff would cost and weigh your time spent against it. anything can be done cheaply. somethings outright miserly. others for free. ya'd be surprized. time and patience is required, tho.
be cool.
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:03 PM   #9
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The complete renovation of my Cruiser 1954 costs me (converted) more than 130 '000 dollars, including shipment to Europe etc.
A little pleasure must be!
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:09 PM   #10
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make an estimate of what you think you need and what you think it costs, and double it. we 'budgeted' $6-7k and we're at 11.5k now. (incl purchase price). we had a trailer that was mostly garaged, and the frame / electric / floor was in perfect condition. what adds up is the 'little' stuff; blue tape, rivets, bonnets, going out for the right drill bit or tool, more primer, shipping costs, etc. the things that are little that you dont budget for is the stuff that really adds up.
'57 Overlander | '56 Flying Cloud | '51 Spartanette
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:18 PM   #11
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Oxford, , Mississippi
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NJtoNC has good advice, plan on double whatever you think it will cost and you won't be far off. I'll have around 12K in my Tradewind plus the cost of the trailer. I figured around 6K. Also if you double the cost you need to quadruple the time you think it will take. Seriously, to do things right takes lots and lots of hours so plan for that. Good news is that every hour working on an Airstream is rewarding (at least to me).
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:27 PM   #12
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Bonita , Texas
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Also weigh the value of your time against the cost and how long it will take you. I started doing a resto on a 72 Overlander and have decided to buy a new 25' Flying Cloud. Just don't have the time anymore and want to spend these quality days with my family instead of working a project that will take years and a substantial amount of $$$.......
Link to my restoration blog:
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:46 PM   #13
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1977 27' Overlander
Carrollton , Texas
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I'm $10 G 's into my resto on a 77 Overlander and have not started on the exterior skin and not including the $4 G cost of the trailer in 2003. Still want to pex the plumbing, new window gaskets and other miscellaneous. Figuring another $3to4 G on stuff I don't see and maybe $4-5 G for polish.

So whats a new 27 retail cost. $60-$70G ? And the vintages weigh
much less and pull just as easily? Still a bargain even if you put $20 G
into it!
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Old 06-05-2010, 12:05 AM   #14
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1985 25' Sovereign
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We replaced all the carpet with laminate "Bamboo" from Home Dumbo... We like it, easy to clean - and takes a good amount of abuse. I can send pics or look at the ones I've posted so far. Cost wise, your labor is free - that's how I look at it. I've probably put a total of $4k into my interior - curtains, sink faucet, upholstery, solid wood (Light Ash) fixtures, window screens, paint, lighting, etc. Never ending story, we continually add to our "to do" list.

Good luck, brother!

Art - W0ABX
High Desert Country of the Rockies
'85 Sovereign 25'er

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