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Old 03-31-2015, 05:56 PM   #1
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charleston , West Virginia
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Now I'm beginning to regret this purchase!

77 overlander bought from FL, towed to WV. I have been pulling out rotted floor (that was covered by bamboo hardwoods)... I discovered today that my frame rail nearest the tub is literally rotted and crumbling to the touch. Should I drop my pan and the grey water/black water tanks? The metal sections where the bumper is bolted to is also severely rotted. Can this be "sistered" with another piece welded to the good metal and extended the same length as it should be?
Should I just gut the whole bathroom, drop the tanks and hope I can find someone to weld new frame pieces? It looks bad and I am sick over this... any advice? Thanks.
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Old 03-31-2015, 05:57 PM   #2
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Search for the "Full Monty" threads. Those will give you all the information you need on handling how to tackle your frame. Best of luck.
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Old 03-31-2015, 06:26 PM   #3
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Trust me you're not the first person to buy any trailer thinking rosy times ahead, only to miss what others would or could have seen. I missed the subfloor damage on my 310 which gave me that sick feeling as well, so I know what you're feeling.

I can't give you advice on fixing your trailer myself as I don't have one. However, if I were you, I would try and find the closest Airstream person that has experience with fixing frames and subfloors; get them to come over and give you their opinion if a restoration is viable with your budget or should you gain from this experience and look for another trailer in better shape, keeping what you have for parts.

It's a great feeling once you complete the repairs and the coach or trailer smells fresh and looks in great shape, BUT, I can personally attest to countless hours of knuckle busting work that it took for me to get my 310 in shape.......and I'm still only halfway done as I have the exterior to do.

Goodluck
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Old 03-31-2015, 07:52 PM   #4
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1965 26' Overlander
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Hate to say it, but several people on this forum that have bought Florida trailers have had the same experience ! It's kind of like buying a car from Minnesota ! Good luck...


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Old 03-31-2015, 08:44 PM   #5
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Having never done this... if the frame is really bad is it possible to strip everything off and tow the raw frame to a shop to use as a template to construct a brand new one?
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Old 04-01-2015, 08:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
Having never done this... if the frame is really bad is it possible to strip everything off and tow the raw frame to a shop to use as a template to construct a brand new one?
Oh yeah, thats been done. Search for user millertime and check out his post, thats exactly what he did.
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Old 04-01-2015, 08:43 AM   #7
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1973 27' Overlander
Portsmouth , Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vcsnover View Post
77 overlander bought from FL, towed to WV. I have been pulling out rotted floor (that was covered by bamboo hardwoods)... I discovered today that my frame rail nearest the tub is literally rotted and crumbling to the touch. Should I drop my pan and the grey water/black water tanks? The metal sections where the bumper is bolted to is also severely rotted. Can this be "sistered" with another piece welded to the good metal and extended the same length as it should be?
Should I just gut the whole bathroom, drop the tanks and hope I can find someone to weld new frame pieces? It looks bad and I am sick over this... any advice? Thanks.
You're going to have to drop the tanks in order to get good access to the frame as well as remove everything out of the bathroom to replace the rotten sections of flooring. I've been there and done that on my 73 overlander <points down to blog>.

Yes, you can weld new steel to sister in bad parts of the frame. If the damage is very extensive, then you may have to do a frame off restoration. Hopefully it wont come to that. The only way to know for sure is to pull the whole belly pan and look at the frame after you remove all the old fiberglass insulation.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but figure this trailer is near 40 years old and has lived down in a rather moist environment all its life. Take lots of pictures and post them here and maybe we can give you some other heads up on other potential issues you may not have yet seen.
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Old 04-01-2015, 11:02 AM   #8
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Houston , Texas
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Get out your screw driver and poke along the walls all the way around the trailer. You may find that windows have leaked for the last 20 years, and you have soft spots all over the place (along the walls). Behind the refrigerator is another typical rotten spot. This is what I found on the trailer I bought on the Florida panhandle. I eventually decided to bite the bullet and just do a shell-off. When I had the frame completely exposed, I found many of the outriggers needed repair, a couple had to be completely replaced. About 4 ft. of my rear frame rails had to be replaced, and both of my rear-most cross members were completely disintegrating.

Sorry for the unpleasant surprise. I am sure the seller assured you that there was no rot and it was totally good to go. My gut feel is that the vast majority of these vintage trailers are candidates for a shell off.

Good luck!
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Old 04-01-2015, 11:10 AM   #9
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You are most likely looking at a "frame off" restoration which is a big deal. If my hunch is correct, dropping the black and grey tanks would be the least of your issues because you'll probably be replacing them along with everything else on that unit. The good news is that if you have the budget and time, you could have a beautiful trailer in six months to a year.

If you just thought you could get away with a few hundred dollars worth of work and then hit the road, sorry.
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Old 04-01-2015, 11:45 AM   #10
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Call airstream at 937 596 6111 ext 7413They can give you an idea on repair cost,most can be repaired with out removing she'll. ask for Chris
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Old 04-01-2015, 01:32 PM   #11
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Everybody will need a major surgery sooner or later. It will be nice when you are done! Hang in there.
Clayton
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Old 04-02-2015, 05:28 AM   #12
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1966 24' Tradewind
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The Overlander is a nice size trailer, very popular. As stated earlier, old vintage Airstreams are almost always project trailers. I suspect some sellers are unaware of the condition of their trailers and mistakenly represent them as "ready to go" condition.

Many vintage Airstreams are being renovated and can be worth $15k or more when done. You might rather find an Airstream enthusiasts buyer instead of tackling this project yourself. If it has a good body, the windows and door are in reasonable shape, you are likely to find a buyer who is interested in investing maybe $15k in materials and 1500 hours of free labor to do the "full monty" rebuild of this old Airstream Overlander.

It is my observation that "travel ready" vintage Airstreams are worth $15k or more if nicely done. "Field find" project trailers that have been neglected through the years vary in value from a few hundred "scrap value" to a couple of thousand based on the condition of the body. Most folks figure everything but the body is shot and needs replaced or rebuilt on these old trailers. The iconic aluminum body on Airstreams make them candidates for rebuilds.

You may take a haircut on this thing. But if you aren't interested in doing a complete rebuild of this trailer, advertise it and chances are you will find some Airstream crazy folks like many Forum members that would love the challenge and understand what they are getting into.

David
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:33 AM   #13
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1975 31' Sovereign
Davin , West Virginia
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My neighbor just brought a utility trailer home from FL and it was covered in the weirdest rust all over-- like grainy, sandy rust that goes deep into the metal. Guess it's from the salt air.


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Old 06-16-2015, 01:06 AM   #14
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1972 27' Overlander
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Loomis , California
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Another frame off restoration thread

Hi there-millertime is a great thread, and you can also search for ours under my husband digidad. We used our old frame as a template, found a sympathetic welder, and many months and a few thousand dollars later have a better than new frame, new axles, new floor, welded on bike hitch etc. We even went to our first rally using it as an aluminum tent! It's a lot of time, work and money but it will be worth it in the end. Keep dreaming in aluminum!
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