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Old 08-28-2008, 12:32 PM   #1
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1965 26' Overlander
RTP , North Carolina
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'65 Overlander - Keeping it in the family

The 65 Overlander forum seems a bit neglected here, so I'll start a thread chronicling the restoration of our new/used '65 Overlander. I have a lengthy thread in the intro forums your welcome to read but here is the 2 bit version of the story.

My wife's great uncle bought this trailer new and took very good care of it traveling all over the country in his retirement. In the mid 80's it was passed down to my wife's father who used it until the early nineties. For the past 15+ years it has been sitting outside in MI.

Last Thanksgiving: it was brought up that we wanted to inherit the trailer eventually, and he said come and get it.

April: this year we registered the title and got new tags.

Last week mid Aug: we realized it would probably need something to tow our new Airstream with, so we looked for several weeks and found a very nice '04 Suburban. Yay for no more minivan!

Tomorrow!!!: we embark for MI to pick up our trailer. The way home will probably include a short detour to Jackson Center so I can at least pick up some fun stuff in the store. I think we will be there in the AM so will probably miss the Tour.
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Old 08-28-2008, 12:37 PM   #2
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1965 26' Overlander
RTP , North Carolina
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Obligatory Pictures:

Curb side - FIL was doing some cleanup work for us.

Twin that will sadly probably be ripped out at some point to fit 4 kids.


Yay for new Tow Vehicle!
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Old 08-28-2008, 12:46 PM   #3
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1965 26' Overlander
RTP , North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2007
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No idea what issues I will encounter. I was originally going to pick up and install axles before I brought it home, but since '65s aren't bolt on, I didn't want to deal with drilling and aligning since I will be under time constraints.

I have new wheels being shipped directly there, tires will be bought when I'm up there next week.

P3 Brake controller and wiring harnesses are being shipped as well.

The other issue is the Astradome at the front is gone. Some local 'utes thought "hey that air stream surely has good stuff in it we can steal". So they went in the middle of the night, crawled up on the roof and kicked through the astradome, shattering it. The door was never locked in the first place since there was nothing valuable to punks inside.

I was going to replace that too before travel but didn't realize they were so expensive to replace, so its time to break out the plastic sheeting and duct tape to get it home. The hole is covered now but wasn't discovered until the floor under has a soft spot. oh well

Please let me know if there is anything sound wrong with this plan:

1. Put new tires and wheels on (currently has split-rims on it)
2. Check brakes repair if possible (the manual says they are electric)
3. Check, repack, replace if necessary the wheel bearings
4. Make sure the lighting is working and put temp marker lights on the back if they aren't
5. Baby it the 800 miles home over several days.
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:32 PM   #4
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1965 26' Overlander
1962 24' Tradewind
Vincennes , Indiana
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Yay for you guys!!!!

I also have a '65 OV and started gutting in order to do total floor replacement. Haven't had any time to work on it lately.

I thought the Henschen axles were bolt ons for '65??

I would suggest checking the steel pan under the black tank for rust which might possibly somehow lead to the steel pan and wet insulation causing the rear belly skin to drag on the road. Don't ask how I know this!

Godspeed,
Trent
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:34 PM   #5
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1965 26' Overlander
1962 24' Tradewind
Vincennes , Indiana
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How big are the kids? Thought about finding factory bunks? If you do rip the bed out I might be interested. Is this a twin or a double Airstream?

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Trent
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:36 PM   #6
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1962 28' Ambassador
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That sounds like a solid plan to me. BTW great looking original AS. The only thing I would ask is do you have a weight distributing hitch, I am assuming there is one with the trailer, but you did not mention it. That will make a world of difference as you tow it home. Congrats on the new trailer and have a safe trip home.
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:57 PM   #7
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1965 26' Overlander
RTP , North Carolina
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I said twin above but it is a double pull out (goucho?). Kids are little but we plan on using this until they are out of the house and beyond. For now they could probably all cram in the double. My wife likes the original wooden framed bunks that tilt up and latch to the ceiling so I might try making some of those.

When I called Andy, he said we are a few years before having bolt on replacement axles. They fit fine, but need 3 holes drilled through the mounting plate. It should be quick and easy. I just don't want to wind up with 500lbs of axles 800 miles from home and need something welded, or changed with only a few days to get it repaired and back to NC.

It does have a Reese weight distributing hitch which according to my FIL has all the parts and is ready to go. I think it is from the late 70s, not sure how much they have changed or improved since then.

I'll def check the back end. Dragging parts sound bad. I picked up an infrared instant thermometer too so I can monitor the wheel and tire temps on the way home. I plan on stopping regularly to check everything out. Traveling with a car full of little kids makes that necessary anyway.

Here are the rest of the pictures if you want to see them:

huntersaim/Airstream - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:41 PM   #8
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1966 22' Safari
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CONGRATULATIONS!!! Sweet looking trailer. Your plan sounds good. If you go home with the old axles, keep the speed low and check things frequently.
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Old 09-08-2008, 02:25 PM   #9
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1965 26' Overlander
RTP , North Carolina
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Wow, what a week. I'm not even sure where to begin. We learned a lot about the trailer, some good and some bad. I guess I will start at the trip up.

1/2 way between NC and MI I noticed that our nice new used tow vehicle was driving funny. Having always had a 4wd of some sort, it was pretty clear that the AWD system was sending power to the front wheels when it shouldn't be. By the time the trip was over I ended up spending more time and money getting the suburban fixed than working on the Airstream.

We ended up having to get four new tires and replace the whole transfer case to the tune of $2600 and the loss of 4 days spent at repair shops and dealerships. We didn't get the car back until Friday, which was supposed to be the day we left. That meant no trial runs or tests with the Airstream. A little scary, but it all went well.

The tragic part of leaving late meant we wouldn't be passing by the mothership mid-morning. We got to Jackson Center around 7pm. Everything was long since closed, but we chatted with the guards at the gate, and peeked in the windows at the store. We are definitely going make another detour to JC in the future when they are open. It also put us at Out of Doors Mart in North Carolina after they were closed on Saturday. I had really wanted to get some weather stripping to start sealing up the trailer but maybe I can get back out there later this month. Its only 90 miles or so from the house.

On to the trailer:

The good:
It was babied by its original owner. So most things were in great shape. -
- The tongue looked good
- The metal box in the back that holds the black tank looked good and solid
- No frame seperation at the rear
- The axles while old were still surprisingly springy and rode very smoothly on the way home
- The bearings were well maintained and looked brand new, the spindles shined like new too
- The wheels I ordered arrived fine, and fit perfectly. However they don't have the clips or place to add them for the silver moon hubcaps. I'm not sure how to get those put back on
- The P3 brake controller arrived fine, plugged right in, and worked perfectly. The brake pads were a little worn down, but had plenty to get us home, and they worked perfectly.
- The interior was in pretty good shape. Enough that we are going to try and keep/restore as much of it as we can.
- The tail and brake lights worked great with just new bulbs
- Everything towed great! I was a little worried about having a 1500 vs 2500 suburban but it had plenty of power, ran cool, the trailer stayed straight and true. The tires and running gear were checked at a minimum every 2 hours and everything remained cool.

The Bad:

- Water. It is bad news to almost anything but swimmers and fishermen. We had a couple good downpours while in MI so I was able to check how badly the trailer leaked. Every window leakes to some degree. The one over the table (road side directly opposite the door) is espcially bad and has caused a lot of damage to the cabinet there. The floor on either side of the door is rotted completely through, and got wet in the rain, but there is no evidence of the door leaking, so maybe something on the roof? I'm guessing there are some leaking coming down between the inner and outer skin. Time to buy stock in vulkem and rivet companies.
-Bellypan. It looks, acts, and feels like rotted cardboard. It has pulled away from a number of rivets. The area around the wheel well has pulled away allowing water from the road into the frame area, and pulled the lower side panel against the frame. The outriggers have worn through those panels just before and after the wheels. I was actually worried the whole pan would give up on the ride home.
- Dents - there are more than I thought. One behind the curb side wheels looks like it might have done some damage behind the skin. There is a big one on the rear roof. The rest I guess add character.
- Interior - I'm in a quandry about this one. Much of the wood is in good shape. A couple places need the veneer glued back down. A few areas need total replacement. I have no idea how to match up the veneer. I'm also not sure how to get out the areas that are bad, without stripping the whole interior. Anyone have any ideas? Also my wife isn't a big fan of the zolatone paint on the inside. We will have to see how it looks after cleaning.

Overall we are very happy with the condition its in and how well it made it home. Now starts the real work. I still might end up doing a full frame off restoration, but I'm trying to avoid that. I'll know more after the bellypan is removed. First job is figuring out how to make it watertight. (trying not to feel overwhelmed) I'll get some pictures up soon, and will try to keep future updates shorter and more illustrated, thus more interesting.
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