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Old 10-01-2012, 10:58 AM   #15
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Figuring things out here....

Sorry if my posts appear out of order.... still trying to figure out how this forum works.....
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:27 AM   #16
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I am all for making your things yours in what ever way they make sense to you.

I like original because I found a trailer where it suites me - it is complete and has a twin bunk bed layout that works for my family; even the upholstery is pretty intact.

I may find out that doing the complete floor once makes more sense than than patching multiple times but I don't want to lose the use of the trailer any longer than necessary. I like using things while they are in progress which means small steps where possible.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:53 AM   #17
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I still think an A/C with heat pump is useful when temps are cool, but not down below 35 or 40˚. The newer thermostats turn off the heat pump around 28˚ and turn on the furnace, but they are noisy, so we use a catalytic heater—Lasko makes a gazillion versions and they are cheap and work well. Either way you are using campground electricity rather than your propane for the furnace. The A/C/heat pump is noisy too.

I'm all for a redesign of a trailer. I'm sure your cabinets will be far superior in quality to anything made by Airstream. But there are limits. The most weight should be over the axles. Plenty of storage at floor level brings the center of gravity down. All trailer companies have to deal with these constants and there aren't a whole of lot of options. Kitchen and bath go in the middle, bed and dinette at the ends. When Airstream made trailers with either the bath or especially the kitchen at one end they eventually got rear- or front-end separation. Many Airstreams have the shower over the wheel wells and that limits floor space to turn around, so if I were doing it, I'd look for a way to have the shower just before and after the wheel wells, but the shower takes up a lot of space, so that may not be easy.

Water tanks should be in the middle too. Yours may not have had a grey water tank, so you'll want one of those for boondocking. And you need heat to be directed to those tanks for cold mornings (and days). Only the furnace can heat the tanks.

Radiant floor heating means a hot water system. Airstream installs that in trailers meant for Europe, so there is knowledge about that, but I don't know if the tanks are heated in those models. Can you use a propane fueled heater to heat the hot water for radiant heat—I'm sure you can and use it for domestic hot water too, but what is the efficiency of that compared to a regular RV furnace? Ho9w do you prevent using so much domestic hot water than you drain the heating system? One of the problems with the furnace is it is noisy and inefficient. One reason is the flexible ducts used by Airstream. If there were straight metal ducts with few bends in them, it would be quieter and more efficient, but routing ducts can be a big challenge. That's why they use flexible ones. They require little skill and are not as labor intensive as metal duct work.

Insulation is also something to think about. Airstream is still using fiberglass and it is not as good as foam products. You also have to think about adding paths for water vapor to exit the trailer. You can count on leaks, but attaching roof items with double sided industrial strength tape for fans, skylight and vents helps, though I'm not sure the A/C should be attached with tape.

Gene
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Radiant floor heating means a hot water system.
I'll bet the OP was referring to electric radiant floor heating system.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:50 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by dboehmer View Post
I'll bet the OP was referring to electric radiant floor heating system.
Could be. It would restrict him to campgrounds and maybe he would need 50 amp spaces.

Gene
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:18 PM   #20
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Would love to have you and Harker70 come up. We kind of enjoy showing off what we've done so far. PM when you want to come! Hopefully we're past needing extra help now: just cabinetry to build. However we're available to help if you need extra hands (but you're on your own dropping the bellypan - eeewwwww! It was pretty gross.).

Kay
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:39 PM   #21
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1972 25' Tradewind
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Thanks for all of your input. Yes, I was speaking of electric radiant heat beneath a floating floor...probably cork. Considering the amount of renovation I hope and plan to do, some compromises will have to be made down the line. For the time being, I am going to be concentrated on repairing/replacing the plywood sub-floor. Can't really do anything with the trailer until that is done and buttoned up. But I did order my on-demand water heater today. I'm excited about that!
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:14 PM   #22
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We installed a floating cork floor in ours. Really like it. Floor is definitely warmer now. My concern with radiant heat is that the electric wires will break when they flex while you're traveling. You would also have to have electric hookups to utilize it. We have never done it though, so maybe someone with experience with it will chime in....

Kay
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:27 PM   #23
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1972 25' Tradewind
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No More Panic....

A lot of things I'm dreaming about doing to the interior of the '72. Will be interesting to see how it all pans out. For now, it is an empty shell...but a CLEAN empty shell...as I used about a gallon or more of industrial strength bleach cleaner...a good scrub brush and plenty of elbow. She cleaned up real nice...and smells fresh and clean.

Will probably have to hold off on taking the floor out for a few days.... duty calls elsewhere. But I'm ready for the task.

Wish me luck
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:19 PM   #24
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Panic....Schmanic.... Work has been keeping me busy the last week or so... But today, I tackled the rotting floor. I was expecting to find dead animals and serious issues, but was relieved to find only a few old walnuts and a lot of old insulation in the belly (was it common to insulate the belly???). I removed about 80% of the floor today...and was also relieved to find the frame in pretty good condition....no obvious problems. May have to address a couple of out-riggers...but so far, nothing too serious.

I was a little surprised when I pulled up the floor....to find 3/4inch spacers on the cross members. I was only expecting the 3/4inch floor. Not sure why...but I guess that will make it easier to join the new flooring sections. Glue & Screw!!

I debated whether or not to remove the inner skins. I'm glad I did...or started to anyway. The old insulation was spotty and non-existent in some areas. Thankfully, it was held on by very little adhesive...so was very easy to remove...although I itch half way up my arms, even though I wore long sleeves. This will give me an opportunity to update the electrical systems after I install the new floor. Yippeeeee!!!

I've received my new Progressive Dynamics Controller. On-demand water heater is on the way, as is the catalytic heater. Will be looking at batteries and a battery box soon. I'm thinking about moving the batteries to the front of the Airstream...under the dinette (yet to be built). Anybody have any thoughts on that?

It's been a long day. Sleep is now required. Tomorrow will be another long day removing the remaining floor and skins. Have NO idea where I am going to store 15 feet of skins once I get them off. But will tackle that problem as I go......

'Night fellow Streamers......
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:29 PM   #25
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Oh, and one more thing.... I have a dent on the port side - front corner - where the radio antenna is....about 6inches wide by 18inches tall. Now that I have the inner skins removed, I am looking at ways to remove the dent. It won't pop out on its own (slight crease). Is there a preferred way of doing this? Maybe heat the metal with a torch and then gently push it out??? Ideas??? Thanks!
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:40 PM   #26
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Tradewinds rock!

Welcome to the forums. Your life will be forever changed.

Change is fine, but remember that new solutions have new problems.

Insulation is one area that I believe you can do a better job than Airstream did originally.

I would be wary of changing the floor plan unless you have really thought a lot about the changes and the impact that these may have.

Install a new furnace. The new ones are more efficient and have spark ignition. They are also safe with no holes in the heat exchanger. Catalytic heaters will not put out enough heat especially in your cold climate. They only put out 5,000-8,000 btu/hr. A furnace will put out 20,000 btu/hr. Also the manufacturers of the cat heaters do not recommend sleeping with them operating. Ok for some temporary heat during the day, but not ok for a good nights sleep in cold Minnesota.

Hope that you like your new tankless heater, but I would not have gone that route. My regular heater works fine. Great for boondocking. Reasonable price and very reliable. Why change?

Good luck. Looks like you have a lot of experienced folks nearby.

Dan
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:25 PM   #27
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3/4-inch? I had 1/2" on my '73... Your frame spars are offset height-wise to accommodate floor joint backer-boards on every-other one.

If I had it to do again and the battery locker was in good shape, I would not omit it completely (with gusto) like I did - It might go half-height with above/below storage and access and find a use for it later, once its 'gone' its gone forever.

Battery(s) forward means moving some other weight back...
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:49 AM   #28
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We had (and have) 3/4" plywood on our '72. Every other cross frame is dropped 3/4" to accommodate the 3/4" plywood gusset you glue and screw to the bottom of the plywood to reinforce the seams. Your trailer is not 8 feet wide, so you'll cut off about 4" off of each sheet of plywood. This cut off is then used for the gusset under the seam.

Yes, Airstream used fiberglass insulation in the belly pan. It's actually sandwiched between the floor and the frame cross members. We opted to not install insulation in the belly pan. Instead, we installed an engineered floating cork floor. It has enough insulation power for us since we do not do really cold weather camping.

We stored our inner skins in our garage at first. They are flat and take up minimum room up against a wall. Then I coiled them up and stored them inside the trailer for that winter. They were easier to deal with coiled up.

There are other insulation options you can think about. Prodex and reflectix (sp?) come to mind. Other have used them successfully. Do a search for these on the forums and you can read about them. We opted for fiberglass in the walls again. It's cheap and easy to install, and so far it's provided very good insulation for the trailer in the heat and cold. We're going camping again this weekend, so we'll see how well the trailer does in cold rain (hopefully it'll rain!).

Your on-demand water heater - is it intended for RV's? I ask because the house-hold ones are not a good fit for an RV. In part because they are not meant to be rattled around while traveling, and in part because they require too much water flow to turn on and heat the water.

We also moved the batteries to the front of the trailer. They are mounted inside center, and will be under a table we'll build between two recliners. We offset the weight by changing from 40 lb to 30 lb propane tanks and but not building in a sofa/gaucho in the front of the trailer. We kept the old battery box at the rear of the trailer, and will use it to store something. Not sure what yet - maybe our leveling blocks.

If you can, try your catalytic heater while it's cold out before deciding to not install a furnace. We go camping in May and October, which are the times we used our furnace. Kay's parents had a catalytic heater installed in their 34 foot Airstream, and the one time I remember being in it that trailer while using the heater, it kept the front living area nice and warm. They do need a fresh air supply (window and vent cracked open).

Chris

ps - post pictures!!!!
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