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Old 09-27-2013, 07:45 PM   #155
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1972 25' Tradewind
Hopkins , Minnesota
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Successful Surgery...and other progress

I recently purchased one of the Airstream stainless steel outdoor shower unit$$. It's been sitting in a box...waiting for me to come up with a plan. I had decided some time ago, that I was going to eliminate the aft curbside battery box and move my batteries and all electrical up front. And the plan was to make a patch to cover the hole, and install the outdoor shower in what used to be the battery box.

Well...I was going through my garage...and came across the old battery box frame and door...and thought, "wouldn't it be nice to have an outside access door to the space below my soon-to-be-built rear bedroom...for storage....so I don't have to climb in and out of the main door for everything???"

So, I decided I would re-use / remodel the old battery box frame/door as a storage access door....and mount the outdoor shower unit a little higher than originally planned. Best of both worlds.

Glad to say the surgery went fine. I marked out the location for the outdoor shower unit....took a deep breath....and cut the hole with my grinder with a metal cutting blade. Like butter.... actually, a little too much like butter, as the blade wanted to go MUCH faster than I did. But I kept it under control and did not have any OOPs. I had to make a couple of secondary cuts to get the hole just right...but it really was pretty simple.

When the hole was the perfect size, I slid the shower unit in...had a buddy hold it steady while I drilled holes for the attachments...and screwed it to the shell. I have to say, for the money....I was not overly impressed with how it fit...along with a couple other issues:

1) As delivered, the frame of the shower box is pre-drilled every 4 inches for attachments. After securing it to the shell, there were some very big gaps between attachments and at the corners, that would have to be sealed. I was also not impressed that the corners of the shower frame actually flared out...away from the shell...creating even greater seam/seal problems. So, I doubled the number of attachment points...every 2 inches, instead of every 4 (I guess I can't return the shower unit now...). I also added an attachment at each corner...which did not completely eliminate the corner flare that I described...but it was better. I may try to re-orient the corners, so they do not flare...but banging the corners of my $$hower unit with a hammer is not exactly what I had in mind. Over all, I am happy with the fit....after some tinkering.

2) I am concerned about replacing the shower hose at some point in the future. They all wear out eventually. And this one is connected so close to the back and bottom side of the housing, that it is nearly impossible to get one's fingers around it to loosen or tighten as needed.

3) Who designed the closure for the shower box door??? Am I supposed to take a screw driver or a quarter with me every time I want to open the thing???

4) Folks...about those faucet inserts that have the H for Hot...and C for Cold?? HOT goes on the LEFT....COLD goes on the RIGHT....not the other way around!!

5) The door gasket is a little aggressive, if you ask me. It takes quite a lot of pressure to close the door and operate the 'lock' without a big screw driver. Once again, I don't usually carry a screw driver with me when I take a shower!

I'm going to give the unit 4 out of 5 stars. I think there are some design issues that need to be addressed....IMHO.

In other news....with Fall at the doorstep...and Winter not far behind, I have spent the last few days addressing window issues. I took all of the windows out over several days and removed the old seals...cleaned them up...and installed new seals. I took off all of the window locks....they were pretty corroded....so I soaked them in WD40 overnight...cleaned them up....cleaned up the window frames with some steel wool and denatured alcohol....re-installed the locks. Good as New!

Now, I wish I could get the danged umbilical straightened out. I must be dumb...
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:15 AM   #156
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1972 25' Tradewind
Hopkins , Minnesota
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So many projects...so little time...

before the weather [could] turn ugly on me.... Rushing to try to get things done.

I finished insulating the belly with 1" foil faced foam panels. I don't imagine they are going to be real effective...but every little bit helps (maybe). I will be installing a floating cork floor with underlayment. I imagine that will increase the insulating factor by quite a bit. Don't think I am going to tackle that job before winter, however. There hasn't been enough rain lately to determine if there are any leaks yet to be dealt with. So I would rather not install the floor until I am 99.9% sure that all potential leaks have been addressed. The shell did not leak last winter, and has not leaked during any rain....so I am hopeful.

I've been installing all of the new electrical...bringing the batteries, converter/charger, surge protector, relay switch, inverter, battery cut off all up front under the front window. But I don't have the batteries yet, so I am not getting anywhere fast with building the cabinet that will house it all. Maybe will get them this weekend. My brain would hurt much less if I could get all those wires connected and hidden in the cabinet...LOL.

I've started on the new belly pan. Using black anodized 6062. Attaching to the main frame rails using #10 3/4" ss self drilling screws with a nylon washer bonded to a galvanized washer. I left a 3" overhang outside of the main frame rails to allow plenty of material for a double row of rivets to attach the wraps. I love the way it looks...and it's quite a bit tougher than the original. So far, I've managed to install from the tongue back to the fresh water tank and the rear most piece forming the trunk. I am going to have a real challenge installing the last sections over the axels, as my welder tacked the new axel mounting plates to the frame rails, so there is no space between the mounting plates and the frame rails to slide the new belly pan material between. I will just have to measure very carefully and cut out around the mounting plates...and then seal the heck out of it. It's a challenge to lay on my back underneath the AS, and then pull the sheets of belly pan over me like a blanket, supporting it with my knees and left arm, while loading the drill-driver-screw with my right hand and getting it tacked up....then it's not too difficult to finish the install.

We recently had about 3 days of rain (forecasted...but didn't amount to much). So I spent a day Parbonding all of the windows and vulnerable seams (still have some non-vulnerable seams to go...). I did not find the syringes to be much help. I found I got much better control just squeezing the tube. Still, there is a learning curve involved here...and not everything came out as cleanly as I would have liked. But at least things area sealed for now...and there is always next year to re-do what I am not satisfied with.

My mid-ship rub rail was pretty corroded. So I taped it off yesterday and sprayed it with Rustoleum Titanium Silver. It really freshened it up...and has a tiny bit of sparkle in it...BLING. I also did a non-traditional install...which I will hopefully have a pic of later today.... tease.....

I also got tired of the look of the old interior color on my door. So I taped it off and sprayed it with a brushed nickel metallic spray. The spray preserves the texture of the vinyl coating...the updated color is great looking. Don't know if that will be my final color...but it is a big improvement.

I dug my bumper out of the garage attic storage area. It was a little tough to re-install because my welder boxed in the main frame rails from aft of the wheels to increase the strength of the rear of the trailer...where I will be building a bedroom. and some minor storage. But it was a great feeling to be able to start pulling parts out of storage. WooHoo!!

My next challenge will be to replace the manual tongue jack with my new power jack. I've tried a couple of times to loosen the bolts holding the old jack on the coupler....no joy. Sprayed a liberal amount of liquid wrench on the bolts...still won't budge. Will try again today. Any ideas from anyone who has had to remove their tongue jack? Are these bolts welded? I'll try to post a pic later today.

In the meantime, the sun is starting to come up.....time to get back to work.
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Old 10-10-2013, 02:46 PM   #157
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Insulation—half the battle is sealing between the panels—you can use glue, tape and/or spray foam. Make sure you get the foam that doesn't expand too much. Air infiltration will derate insulation by half.

If you can drill out the bolts at this point, you'll probably save time—just be sure not to drill too big a hole as I have a tendency to do.

And you can spray the exterior with a hose and not wait for a major storm. Sounds like you have the interior panels out, so you can see what comes through (hopefully nothing) while a friend wets down the trailer.

Gene
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Old 10-10-2013, 07:28 PM   #158
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1972 25' Tradewind
Hopkins , Minnesota
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When all else fails, use a bigger tool.....

Thanks for the input Gene... insulation has been going in for the last couple of weeks....got plenty of non-expanding foam to fill in the voids.

After letting my tongue jack bolts soak in Liquid Wrench all night long, I was able to crack them loose today with a big wrench. Then I had a heck of a time removing the old jack because it had been beaten up and the shaft was no longer exactly round. So I hitched up to my TV, raised the jack....put a bottle jack underneath...sprayed Liquid Wrench all over the binding shaft....and then lifted the jack with the bottle jack (does that make sense?). After a few tries, and a few whacks with a big hammer....it finally released and I was able to remove it. I then installed my new power jack which has an emergency (no power) crank. Worked great! I can't wait to get power hooked up, so I can try the nifty remote control...

I continued with installing the belly pan today....got a couple more pieces done....until I made a wrong cut and wasted a sheet of expensive aluminum. There's always tomorrow.....

After spray painting my rub rail, I was going to repaint the blue stripe. But I decided to do something just for fun.... blue LEDs. I don't know if I will keep it, but it sure lights up the neighborhood. It will brighten my mood during the coming long winter....
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Old 10-11-2013, 08:10 AM   #159
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I want to follow you through Minneapolis the first time you go out with those rub rails lit up, Donn! Don't think of that sheet of belly pan as wasted - you will find uses for it. We're always using up odd pieces of aluminum for this and that on the trailer.
We did the hose test for water leaks before we insulated as Gene suggested too. Needs 2 people and about a half hour of water to determine any leaks. Water runs every which way so you really have to watch where it's coming in. Hopefully no leaks for you, but we had some to repair. None since.
Looking good!

Kay
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Old 10-11-2013, 08:40 AM   #160
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Ha - I don't even think those LEDs would be legal on the highway....it would probably attract like moths to bright lights....and cause a pile-up. I'm hooking them into the running lights circuit with a switch, so I can have 'party lights' in camp....but I have a feeling the neighbors would ask me to turn them down a tad....
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Old 10-12-2013, 01:04 AM   #161
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Should have done this last year....

In my workspace, I have had to store everything inside the Airstream...and remove everything every day in order to work. That has been a major impediment toward major progress. So, with colder wetter weather on the way, decided to spend on a tyvek-type garage enclosure 10'x20'x8'.

And then I decided to try to put the thing up yesterday, during 25 mph wind gusts. Not fun. But got it basically done. Will have to do some tweaking today....hopefully with less wind. But it now gives me space to clean out the Airstream and have room to work, both in the Airstream and in the enclosure. It looks a little sloppy and loose right now...but I should be able to tighten everything up with calmer winds today.

Should have done this last year when I started this project. But now I will have room to lay out my internal skins, rather than have them sitting on edge at the side of the garage. And it will be much easier to work on the internal end caps.

I may have to reinforce the roof members of the shelter...to give some extra support for snow buildup. Worse comes to worse, I will put a construction LP heater inside to melt the accumulating snow. But I just KNOW this is going to be a mild winter....and I won't have to worry about snow build-up. Yeah...right!
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:40 PM   #162
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Wow! Almost the end of June, and I am just now getting back to where I left off last Fall. This may take longer than I anticipated. LOL! The good news is that I evidently did a good job of sealing everything last Fall, because there has been no evidence of leaks throughout the winter-that-would-never-end and one of the wettest Springs on record. So, my current projects include continuing with installation of the new electrical...followed closely behind by insulation.

I finally settled on a location for my new dual 6volt AGM batteries which I have connected in series. I put them in a secure box which will sit beneath one of the cafe-style bench seats. I had to raise the height of the bench seats by 1.75 inches, which leaves about .50 inch of headroom over the battery box. I've been running both of my Fantastic fans while working in the heat...along with my new LED lighting. So far, the batteries are doing great...reading 97% by the end of the day.

I have to admit (again) that electrical is not one of my strong skills. I can't even count the number of hours I have spent just staring at the tangle of wires...wondering WTH I am going to do. My confusion has been complicated by the connections between the TV / Umbilical and Umbilical / Trailer. It just took me a long time to have confidence that the wires were going where they were supposed to go. So, today, I hooked up the ground wire to the trailer frame and plugged in the umbilical. Turned on the TV ignition and tested all of the connections in the AS. Good-to-go, I'm happy to say. Tomorrow, I will get some more connectors...and I should have working running lights, tail lights and charging power for the battery. I have some studying to do to figure out how to hook up the charge line to the battery as well as the brakes. But at least I am moving forward....

I am using a combination of Prodex and 1 inch thick foil faced foam board for insulation. I was impressed today, when I put my hand on a section of bare aluminum...finding it very hot to the touch....while placing the other hand on a section of installed Prodex and finding it very significantly cooler. Considering the amount of theoretical heat transfer through the ribs, I am pretty happy with this application so far, as I will never likely camp in the desert heat.

Upcoming projects will include building cabinet and storage which will span the width of the front beneath the window to house the converter, inverter, battery disconnect, and transfer switch. Then I will be laying the new cork floor throughout.

So much work to do this year. But I hope to be able to give it some exercise soon.
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Old 06-25-2014, 09:00 AM   #163
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Any electrical help you need, Chris would be happy to help!

Kay
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:36 PM   #164
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I'd enjoy setting you up with infinite possumbility loops, errr.. contrasting alternative choices... call anytime.
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Old 06-26-2014, 09:03 PM   #165
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Thanks Kay! Looking forward to seeing you and Chris again!
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Old 06-28-2014, 11:16 PM   #166
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After several days of back and forth emails with the supplier of my LED tail light conversion kit (and throw in a little OCD, on my part), I finally got the tail lights figured out. Separate power feeds from the 7-pin to the running light side of the LED kit. Ground is handled by the physical connection of the socket to the light housing/frame. So, now I have blinkers, brakes and running lights....Oh, my.... Only annoyance was the 3 days that it took to get the information....argh....

So now I can continue on with insulation and getting the walls back in.....yippeeeeee!!!
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:25 PM   #167
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Holy Cow!! Near Disaster!!

I arrived at the AS this morning to find that last night's storm had broken loose a very large branch from the 150 year old tree that provides shade and a lot of angst to my beloved project. The 15ft long monster was hanging vertically directly above my forward Fantastic Fan and antenna array...like a lightening bolt from hell...about to strike. I could just imagine it working itself loose any second with the windy conditions, and creating a very large hole.

I quickly hooked up and pulled the AS out of harm's way, and then set about knocking the limb loose with a long pole. It came down with a crash...and of course made a B-line for the rear of the AS. Fortunately, it only grazed the bumper. No harm done, thankfully.

Having averted the catastrophe, I got started on some long overdue projects. Patches. One for the battery compartment, and one for the installation of the Girard on-demand water heater. Both patches came out pretty well, I think. The Girard installation was a little tricky, because the unit is designed to be installed more or less on a vertical side, rather than the inward sloping side of the AS. So, after some considerable thought, I took my cut-off wheel to the case of the Girard (I'm sure I voided the warranty), and removed a 1 inch wedge from the bottom of the casing on a diagonal to the top edge....making for a much better fit.

Here are some before and after pics:
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:43 PM   #168
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Oh, and before I forget....anybody need a battery compartment and door??
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