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:
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.
- 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.