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Old 05-28-2006, 06:22 AM   #29
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Rob,

First, don't cry in front of your daughter. (Go somewhere else)

Second, you're probably not going camping this summer. Yes, you've got into a bigger mess than you ever could have imagined. (I speak as one who has replaced two rear floor sections, one in a '72 Overlander, the other in a '73 Sovereign).

Third, don't kid yourself....your frame is probably pretty rusty and in need of restoration and probably repair. 1000 hours may not be too much of an exaggeration. (I wouldn't worry about axles at this point.)

All that being said....you can complete the task if you really want to. Don't kick yourself...many have made the same mistake. I paid $4500 for the Overlander (all original equip working except new Coleman A/C), found rear floor rot/separation month later and eventually replaced all equip (fridge, water heater, furnace, stovetop) as they failed. If you stop now, you might be able to get your money back, but if you continue, plan on another $2K-$3K, not including axles, to complete the job (assuming you do all repairs yourself)

I completely restored the Overlander to very good condition but with 7 children, it just wasn't big enough. I now have a '31 Sovereign center bath which I've started repairs on, but have been stopped for a while now, as I focused on selling Overlander and boat repairs. I'll get back to it eventually (I hope).

I reallly would like to go camping again someday, and Airstreams are special (they tow great and are very well built), but it's a long way from here to there.

I'm currently helping another gentleman (technical advisor, welding) restore a '72 Overlander and would be happy to assist if you decide to tackle this project. I'd be happy do discuss the pros and cons of continuing, if need be. (I can see both sides of the coin, believe me.) (706-296-5682)

Here are my pics. It's a little confusing sorting them out as all of the first 5 pages are of the Overlander, than the Sovereign, and then some more of the Overlander.

I'm just up the road on the other side of Athens from you (going toward Hartwell).
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Old 05-28-2006, 11:29 AM   #30
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Perspective realignment....

We actually came to enjoy the repairs and the weekend routine of making some old broken part of the trailer perfect. I know - it's weird - but it has been a reported phenomenon by many forum members. The project is part of the journey.

We have an eighteen year old - he was 14 when we started. He loves the trailer, does his homework there - says it's peaceful. He helped (a little) with the repairs. He thinks it's cool. Your daughter may find this long term project an interesting life lesson in patience and perseverance and recreational work (work for pleasure).

It's not all about video games, the mall and cell phones..... When we were contemplating adding a TV/DVD to the trailer our son objected. His quote was "who would want to watch infomercials inside a Fabergé egg" .... amazing what kids pick up.
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Old 05-29-2006, 10:15 PM   #31
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Thank you all; haven't been ignoring you, just been searching & reading, trying to get in the position where I can better understand and discuss this thing.

A little more background, if I may. In an effort to quit being such a workaholic, I returned to competitive shooting after a 20 year lapse (specifically, rimfire benchrest). Been enjoying myself immensly, but skyrocketing fuel and ammo costs have had me searching for ways to make it more affordable. One problem is that my wife works nights, and I just can't leave early enough after she gets home to make some matches, unless I go Friday, take the kid, get a hotel. Too, we've developed a habit of vacationing on Jekyll and other islands, and rent houses a couple of times a year.

Some quick math indicated that a camper would be cheaper, as well as letting me get to more matches and let me and the wife have more opportunity to get away. Sounded good.

You know the rest of the story up to this point. Our general conclusion at this point is dance with the devil we know, to mix the metaphors. With new air, fridge and toilet, no signs of tanks leaking, we can probably iron major systems out OK. The axle thing blows, but that's the one biggie so far, and not immediate.

We don't think dumping this one and buying something else for the money we're willing to spend will have any better results, or at best it's a 50/50 shot. From reading on here, I'm becoming convinced than any older AS is going to exhibit some of these problems to a greater or lesser degree, and all other brands of campers we've looked at have all older appliances, which with our luck will exhibit catastrophic failure in a house of cards fashion.

I can't say I'm terribly impressed with a lot of AS engineering at this point. I understand the monocoque construction (now), and while I don't have a problem with trying to achieve lighter weight, it's the execution of it that kills me. The suckers are designed to work and leak, and depending on the floor as the main shell support....words "perimeter frame" ring a bell....not to an ME at AS. Effective sealing and flanging methods, oh well. Holding costs down - c'mon, at what these sell for new, someone could put out the effort and maintain profitability. OK, OK, rant over, I know I'm not the first, but had to personally throw my 2 cents in and vent some frustration. I won't ever do it again, but had to just once. Thought I was getting a Cadillac, just didn't understand it was a '76 Seville (another horror story, fortunately of my folks not me). OK, I just did it again, sorry, now I'm really, truly done. Let's deal with what it is and fix it.

In case I haven't been clear. WE"RE KEEPING IT. The major disappointment has been not being able to go as quick as I wanted, and the embarassment of buying it based on reputation and not enough hard research. My bad, and despite my less than endearing comments on AS construction, all the blame is mine. I did the deal, nobody forced me, just taking me a bit to get reoriented and develop a plan.

So if anyone's still listening, here's the rough plan, MK I:

1) Get it shod and get it home. Doable, still deciding who's going to supply the Marathons, but should happen Fri or Sat. One good stroke; found the Reese spring bars for the hitch under the bed in the stateroom. Cool, there's $150 we don't have to send to Reese (sidenote: spoke with Amanda at Reese, she was helpful, helped me figure out what I had, and there didn't seem to be any problem getting bars for the older hitch/1985.)

2) Given that the bathroom has to come out, I've decided to take the lower furniture and cabinets out starting forward and working aft to the bath. The gaucho has ills and doesn't fit our plans so it's going anyway. Anyone want? This will allow a full inspection of the floor; once any ills are fixed in the structure, then I can peacefully continue with the rest.

3) Obviously, repair the floor in the rear and any othe areas (and frame, etc)

4) Put bath back in (wish I could find some of that magic tub spray in black). At this point, once running gear is good enough, scarily it'll be ready to go to matches. One army cot as furniture, and away we go.

5) Refinish and reinstall woodwork. Since it'll be mostly out, I'm debating on whether to oil the interior (can be done at the home shop; wife and daughter can work on days), or get it all prepped and run it up to the main shop and spray it one weekend.

I think having the interior out will make it a lot easier to chase down wires and check a lot of things. Naturally, there'll be road wiring and brake work and all sorts of little things going on as we attempt what I know is a simplified list, and we'll probably do the axles this winter.

Probably will eventually redo some, or all, of the interior, but throwing the original back in will give us a chance to use it and decide how to go from there.

Dennis and Ron, thank you for your comments on the specifics. Ron, it was your photos that originally sent me to check on this stuff. I'll be in touch someday, but didn't want to call and whine about what an idiot I am. Getting better now.

Janet, we have been looking at this as an enjoyable project, but more with an eye to interior work. The mechanical and structural ills brought me up hard to say the least, but at this point we're resigned to our fate and will make the best of it.

I think in the end we'll have what we want, and I don't think we'll be in it too bad money-wise. I don't think the work is that hard, it's just I guess I was hoping that it all wasn't so, or the genie would pop out of the bottle, or..well, you get the point. Lest I sound too upbeat, I have done major yacht refits, house remodeling, curently design and build pipe organs, and maintain my own personal shops for about everything else. Downer is that I'm in the middle of a large lathe rebuild of a machine I need on line, was caught trying to get 3 new competitive rifles barreled and stocked, and in my spare time the dog needs a fence. And they expect me to show up at work. Not complaining, just have a lot going on and it's going to take some reordering of things to fit it in. Need the camper to shoot, so the guns slack off a bit while we ramp up on the camper, etc.

To conclude, we're going to give it a shot, and I'll report back as we go and see how far off my guesses are now.

Time to read some more, I think I'm going to need some rivets soon so...


Rob
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Old 05-30-2006, 07:08 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by blackboat
3) . . . Question is: Is it acceptable to do spot repairs on the floor, assuming one can put patches in to where they land on structural members? This is as opposed to entirly gutting it and doing a whole new floor. . . .
Rob, While I haven't done it, spot repairs on the floor are possible, but you do not want to put the edges of the new section directly above the frame or cross members because you get no strength that way. The floor is part of the monocoque of an airstream. It needs to remain strong. Splice in a new section of floor by cutting between between the frame members and secure the edges together using a strip of floor board (a cleat?) screwed (and glued?) to the bottom side. You can attach this strip to the underside of the existing (good) floor when you have the bad section cut out. Then you can attached the new section to it when you install it.
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Old 05-30-2006, 07:32 AM   #33
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Rob- Your project is doable. I am attaching a link below from a fellow forum memeber who replaced his bathroom floor, fixed his back frame, and did a great job an his rear bath.
http://www.balrgn.com/
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Old 05-30-2006, 07:42 AM   #34
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Rob,

Don't kick yourself. Assuming everything is intact, you're not really hurting on the deal yet (given what you've said you spent). I came to the same conclusion on my Overlander....that there are two types of old Airstreams.....those with issues and those whose issues have been addressed. After reading some of the posts from members with newer and sometimes brand new units with issues from the factory, I'd rather do it myself. If you think you feel bad now, just think how you'd feel after dropping $40K on a unit with stupid little issues that never should have left the factory. This way, you pay as you go. (And will never approach that number.)

And think of all the fun you'll have!!!!!

My only suggestion at this point is to start at the rear and work your way forward. Deal with the biggest issue first and you can go camping this summer (bathroom will be finished). I haven't searched, but I'm sure you can find 2-part epoxy paint in black, although I'd do some serious praying before I did it!)

There is a '72 Overlander here in Athens gutted, in the process of restoration that you might like to see. He put the new floor in last week, after I fabricated and welded on new rear frame sections (see pics). I'd be more than happy to coach you through this and will save you time and money if you're willing. (It's a lot more fun to help someone else than to work on your own mess.) (Yes, the picture is real, the frame rail was almost completely GONE!)

1. Don't start disassembly until it is securely up on 6 x 6 lumber. (see my pics) This makes a HUGE difference when working underneath.

2. Accept the fact that you'll have to remove the entire bedroom to get to the bath. There are a couple of screws on the back side of the pocket door which hold the tub that can't be accessed without removing the door. (It's just easier to get everything out of your way)

3. Use ziplock bags and labels to keep track of screws and stuff. It'll save you a lot of time and guesswork in reassembly.

4. Make sure you're on good terms with your neighbors and they understand what you're doing. (if you live on acreage like me, this isn't an issue)

Give me a call
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Old 05-30-2006, 08:32 AM   #35
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Quote:
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2) Given that the bathroom has to come out, I've decided to take the lower furniture and cabinets out starting forward and working aft to the bath. The gaucho has ills and doesn't fit our plans so it's going anyway. Anyone want? This will allow a full inspection of the floor; once any ills are fixed in the structure, then I can peacefully continue with the rest.

3) Obviously, repair the floor in the rear and any othe areas (and frame, etc)

4) Put bath back in (wish I could find some of that magic tub spray in black). At this point, once running gear is good enough, scarily it'll be ready to go to matches. One army cot as furniture, and away we go.


Rob
You already know what I'm going to say. Been said here many times. If this is a keeper, and it sounds like it is as the size is good, safe your self alot of time and heartache. Replace the floor and get all the old fiberglass insulation off the frame. It is faster to replace the whole thing then piece by piece by "Oh, I might as well do this section to" piece. It isn't that hard and you may find some great metal and some really bad cross members you have to fix so it doesn't come apart when you hit that railroad track you didn't see at 60.. Took me three times longer because of reluctance and having to learn as I go. Trailers aren't suppose to smell. You'll have a healthy sound unit and with your woodworking skills it will be famous. There are cautions, read the full monty threads.
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Old 05-30-2006, 11:47 PM   #36
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Got to get the tires ordered tomorrow so I can move this tub this weekend. Yes, interior will get gutted to start the work. I am hoping I don't have to do the whole floor at this point, but once I can see it all that may change. I'd really like to get it going with most of the original furniture back in so I can see how it lives and start planning a new interior, which i think I'm going to want since I don't like the layout. Problem is, I haven't seen a trailer where I like the layout, so I figure I need some live in time to come up with ideas. I ve even thought about living in it here at the house to hurry the "get a feel" process up.

I figure over winter this year or next, whenever we have a design planned, I will get the shell off and do the floor totally new then. Yes, essentially I'll be gutting it twice, but in my job we do more build it, tear it down, build it again, than most people believe, so it's not a big thing in my mind. At this point, my gut tells me that most of my problems are aft, and not as bad as I suspected. 'Course my gut bought this critter, so we all know what that's worth. Just have to see what I find and adjust as I go; have to start with some sort of plan, though as it's been said, no plan survives first contact with the enemy, etc.

Thank you everyone for your encouragement, I'm not feeling so overwhelmed. Still a bit more resigned than excited. Been cleaning out the living room today so we have space to store the interior as we strip it (we live a bit different than normal people); got a boat in the woodshop right now and space there is tight.

Oh yeah, trailer doesn't smell. I take it that's a good thing?

Now where is that brake controller? Dang holidays messing up my shipping.

We haven't found a name for it yet. Or I have, but my wife says I can't paint that on something we might take to family places. Maybe a Vargas girl on the front? There is a lot of room for nose art on these so...

Thank you all,

Rob
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Old 05-31-2006, 08:02 AM   #37
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No bad smells is a really good thing. It means that there are probably not too many leaks and the trailer was probably fairly well treated (no smokers for one, no critters for another).

Glad to see that things are looking up for you. Keep us up to date.

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Old 05-31-2006, 09:20 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackboat
....., I haven't seen a trailer where I like the layout, so I figure I need some live in time to come up with ideas. I ve even thought about living in it here at the house to hurry the "get a feel" process up.
Rob
Good observation. Find some time to go to rallies in your area. You can go just for the day sans trailer if needed. Most rallies have an "open house" usually before dinner time and folks are thrilled to show off their trailers. Spend some time looking at others floor plans - ask what works. Bring a picture or two of your project along.

We all have different space needs.. As an example - I don't like or understand why on earth anyone would want twin beds - most especially mid-twins. But some folks love 'em.

You have time to decide - work on the mechanicals first - fix the floor, systems and running gear. By the time your finished you'll have spent enough time in the trailer to understand what kind of layout might work for you.
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Old 05-31-2006, 10:24 PM   #39
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We look forward to some "in the beginning" pictures. The window placement tends to limit the lay options. I actually removed one to make room for some rear closets.
No "trailer" smell is a very good thing. Could be the snake ate all the critters.
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Old 06-02-2006, 09:21 AM   #40
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Quote:
Could be the snake ate all the critters.
Cool. Did AS equip this with a snake or would that be an owner mod?

Janet, good suggestion on the rallies; hadn't thought of going without the trailer. Funny how your mind works sometimes.

Interior will take some study. My main problem is that on vacation I fish most of the night. Would like to figure out a way to stumble in at 4:00 am without stepping on everybody., get some eats, etc. Need seperate bedrooms for me/wife, and kid. Probably don't have enough trailer to get there and still have a living area. Also want to get rid of some cabinets and have more counter space in the galley. I like to cook on vacation and could use some more room. Oh well, got time to ponder it.

Brake controller showed up, and have an appointment to get it's new shoes on Saturday, so maybe we have a shot at getting it home this weekend.

Thanks,

Rob

Thanks,

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Old 06-02-2006, 10:38 AM   #41
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I have a 1975 25 foot Trade Wind which had a sagging rear. I was unaware of the problem when I bought it an used it for several years that way. One summer we were at a camp sight with a picnic table far enough below the trailer that I noticed that the seam between the side and belly pan dropped about 3/4 inch in the last 6 feet. That caused me to do the investigation that I should have done before I bought it!

Anyway, at the time I thought I had made a mistake but, at this point I'm glad I own it. I had to replace the black water tank, fabricate a crossmember and scarf in plywood floor with epoxy. Not sure if I had any pictures but I did spend some time sitting on the floor with my feet on the ground! A big job. Water (from the holding tank or another leak?) caused the floor to rot and then the body settled.

I'm now retired and will be doing some further work on it. If I can be of any help please Email

Good luck,

Whit Nash rwnash@accn.org
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Old 08-03-2006, 10:24 AM   #42
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Tail sag / separation

]I just got my 75 í31 LY. It looks like I have separation. When I jump up and down on the bumper the frame move about 1/8 to ľ inches from the shell. Also I see that the bottom trim is crushed a little where the frame extends to the bumper.
Is this what I am looking at?

If so can I get to the channel by removing the rear cargo door frame and not removing the lower panals? It looks like I can get to the channel on both sides by removing the door frame and the inside panel rivets. Then drill new holes from below and new bolts. Also remove the lower trim to re-rivet the outer panels to the channel.
Does this sound like a way to go?

thanks,
Garth
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