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Old 12-18-2018, 01:17 PM   #15
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1968 26' Overlander
Los Gatos , California
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Belly Pan Adventures!

I finished removing the belly pan this weekend! NASTY JOB. Essentially the same thing as removing the interior wall panels, but on your back looking up getting rained on by nasty insulation, dirt, trash, rat/mice/rodent poop and carcasses, a couple poops entirely to big to be from any kind of rodent, a cologne bottle, glittery nail polish, and a fork. Yes - all those things were found in the belly pan! But let me tell you it was REWARDING! The entire time I've been gutting the trailer it's sort of been like hm I wonder if this is necessary/worth it. But seeing all the junk in that belly pan I knew it WAS worth removing it!

My belly pan was in three sections: one under the black water tank in the back and then one on each side running the rest of the length of the trailer. I decided not to cut the pan into pieces because I think it will be reusable. That made the work a little more tedious. I had to carefully label and pull the brake wiring (which is brand new, but going to be moved up into the pan). I also had to deal with the axels, which the aluminum sheets of the belly pan run above. I unriveted all the sheets (note that most of the rivets in the belly pan are larger than the interior rivets, but still pop rivets) and then scooted one piece at a time to the middle of the trailer and pulled them out the front. It was important to shift the metal to the middle of the axels because they got so easily snagged on the axels/cutouts right around there. The way to go about this is to have someone at the front pulling and someone underneath the trailer at the axels to guide. I also highly recommend a tarp underneath the trailer/section you're working on so that you're not directly on the ground and so that cleanup is easy.

I should mention that I pulled the propane piping, which was fastened to the underside of the underbelly (as in, nothing between the propane system and the road). This really puzzled me and I thought that it couldn't be original to the trailer. But I have learned that they do this in case there is a propane leak so that the fumes don't get trapped in the underbelly and trailer. That makes sense, it just also seems like that much exposure would make a leak way more likely in the first place.

So far (but I'm not trying to jinx myself) the frame looks solid. There is minor surface rust that should be fixed with a good wire brushing. And I would like to brush and reseal (if that's the correct terminology) the frame. However I would also like to avoid taking out the subfloor. All but the curved ends is in really solid shape still. No rot, no sagging, no real sign of age - though of course it is 50 years old now. Does anyone have advice on this? Can I replace the subfloor insulation (spray foam it looks like) and take care of the frame just having the belly pan removed and not the sub floor?? I know it would be dirty and tedious but possibly better than dealing with the dreaded c-channel. I've said before and will never deny that I'm afraid of the c-channel.

Anyways the next step is to cut out the curved end subfloor sections. Maybe then I'll have a better idea about if the entire subfloor needs replacing. I'm also going to begin sealing the interior with some vulkem. Happy Holidays!
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Old 12-18-2018, 02:48 PM   #16
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Alpine , Texas
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Looks like fun . Glad I’m past that . Have fun and when you get depressed step back , breath deep , and relax and start over in the morning. Think of it as a bunch of little jobs . Doesn’t seam as hard . Keep up the good work . Blue
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Old 12-18-2018, 02:51 PM   #17
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You’re well on your way. Glad your framing is in relatively good shape. There are a lot of discussions here concerning how to seal the exterior joints. Even with the ribs and stringers on the inside, it can be done. There are spray sealants that can be used for the inside and on the exterior, we’ll be using Capt Tolleys and Parbond. There are also multiple discussions on replacing the subfloor without removing the shell. The rivets for the belly pan are the large head pop rivets specifically for the belly pan. VTS is one source for them. Everyday it will become a little more fun. Good luck.
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Old 12-18-2018, 03:42 PM   #18
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1968 26' Overlander
CORDOVA , TN
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I also have a 68 Overlander.....I am watching with anticipation each step of your process....My Airstream is mostly original and seems solid, but I have not removed the belly pan, and do plan to do so eventually.....I want to paint the frame and anything else under there that is not aluminum......

Good Luck in your exploration !
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Old 12-18-2018, 04:10 PM   #19
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Subscribing to this thread. And rooting for Summer!

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Old 12-18-2018, 08:00 PM   #20
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The 1968 trailers are one of the best model years, goofy windows aside. It is the last year of the "twinkie" shaped body. The 69s had a different body, different windows with drip caps I might add. Check out Aluminuminum's posts on the Corning curved glass windows. He knows how to seal them up correctly. The 68 windows are better built than my old 66 Trade Wind windows.

The "c" channel is nothing more than the attachment piece between the body exterior and interior skins and the frame.

You might find working on the trailer a bit easier if you put it on jack stands and drop those axles. Maybe they need replaced anyhoo.

Remember the vintage Airstream axiom #12. It takes about 10 times longer to reassemble the trailer than it does to tear it apart. Be ready for that. It's a long slog.

David
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Old 12-19-2018, 05:49 AM   #21
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Your thread is bringing back memories. I only had to replace the rear sub floor and then patch a few other spots. There is a cross member that is between the frame rails right around the door opening for the bathroom. If you use a vibrating saw (multi-master or in my case Harbor Freight) and run the cut exactly in the middle of the rail you will have a ledge to secure the new floor . If you can get the old floor out in big pieces you can use it for a pattern. Mine was so rotten that it was no use for a pattern. If not, use a piece of 1/8 thick plywood and make a pattern. Get it fitting perfectly and then trace the outline on a new floor. Reason is you will have to take it in and out several times and the flooring is too heavy to work with. You will have to split the new floor as it is impossible to slide one big piece into the c-channel and the curves. Make the split along one of the frame rails. Finally, round of the edges of the new floor with at router and then seal the edges with a good epoxy (I like West System) to prevent future water damage. I applied a couple of layers of fiberglass over the area of the bathroom floor between the frame rails. The really stiffened up the floor and took the bounce out of it and will proved protection if the toilet ever leaks. Feel free to PM me on a 68 specific question.
Also here is a link from a good friend of mine documenting the restoration of his 67 Overlander
http://www.knology.net/~tcwilliams/AirstreamIndex.htm
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Old 12-22-2018, 11:50 AM   #22
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1968 26' Overlander
Beaver County , Pennsylvania
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Summer,


We agree with the many posts singing the praises for the '68 Overlander. Don't hesitate to use the forum for inspiration, ideas, solutions and questions. We've found that whatever you get into, someone here has been there before and figured out a solution. If interested, here's a link to our rebuild thread, https://www.airforums.com/forums/f36...er-155180.html.



Here's a link to a sealnat thread that has lots of great info on what sealants for what applications, https://www.airforums.com/forums/f45...ry-116214.html


I'll offer my opinion on your frame question. Recognize others will likely have different opinions (that's the strength of the forums...) I think, if your frame is solid and the amount of subfloor you need to replace is reasonable, you should be able to clean the frame up (wire wheel/brush, etc.) and paint it from underneath. Lifting the shell is a significant step that adds a considerable amount of time and labor to your project. The '68s were among the few that had spray on insulation under-floor. Again, my opinion is you only need to remove the foam in the way of inspecting, repairing and painting the frame and on any floor pieces you need to replace.



Having a covered work area is a definite benefit. We hope you enjoy the project phase and are sorry you were disappointed by the restoration company. Please keep us posted on your progress.


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Old 12-28-2018, 08:48 PM   #23
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Stargirl the Airstream - 1968 Overlander Overhaul!

Summer

Sorry about your difficult start, but sounds like you are on the right track and doing a great job (and look at all the stuff you are learning).

I agree with David. Go ahead and remove the axles. You will need to install new axles and brakes. I wouldn’t try to reuse the old belly pan. Install new material and install the pieces going across. I did this on my 66 Tradewind. I replaced pieces of flooring where it was rotted out in the bathroom. I recommend you do the same. This shouldn’t be too hard since your interior is gutted. My thread is “Dan’s 66 Tradewind improvements”. Take a look at post #93 concerning floor repair.

A 68 Overlander is a great year to have, probably the best. Count yourself fortunate here.

Keep up the good work and ask questions and post photos. Lots of knowledgeable folks here to help you out.

Dan
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Old 01-13-2019, 11:00 PM   #24
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1968 26' Overlander
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Removing Spray Foam Insulation + Waterproofing

Thank you everyone for your encouragement! I find myself thinking about the forum and the posts I can add to show my progress while I'm working on the trailer. It's motivating

I've been working on scraping off the spray foam insulation from the belly pan/subfloor. The plywood looks as good on the bottom as it does on the top! Also the frame is looking really solid Love it when I have good news to share!

My method for getting the insulation off: make random/criss cross cuts with a utility knife, then scrape/stab/pry out chunks with a mill file. I had read online to use a paint scraper but the ones I had on hand were too flimsy. I've also read moistening with water and/or acetone can help. It hasn't come to that yet, but I'm less than a quarter of the way done so we'll see!

I also began to waterproof skin seams on the interior with vulkem. The majority of my leaks are coming from around the ceiling vents though so it will be a whole new can of worms trying to get those uninstalled and replaced.

Happy renovating everyone!!
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Old 01-14-2019, 05:40 AM   #25
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You are doing great work . The frame and plywood do look good . Lots of fun ? Keep up the good work with lots of photos .
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:48 PM   #26
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You gotta love those California Airstreams. The trailers from the southwest always seem to be in better condition. There are tons of aluminum aircraft stored at Davis Monthan air force base in Tuscon. They are there for a very dry reason.

That spray on foam insulation was an idea that didn't last. It is a bugger to dig out from under the trailer. You'll get it one chunk at a time.

David
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:05 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stargirl View Post
Thank you everyone for your encouragement! I find myself thinking about the forum and the posts I can add to show my progress while I'm working on the trailer. It's motivating

I've been working on scraping off the spray foam insulation from the belly pan/subfloor. The plywood looks as good on the bottom as it does on the top! Also the frame is looking really solid Love it when I have good news to share!

My method for getting the insulation off: make random/criss cross cuts with a utility knife, then scrape/stab/pry out chunks with a mill file. I had read online to use a paint scraper but the ones I had on hand were too flimsy. I've also read moistening with water and/or acetone can help. It hasn't come to that yet, but I'm less than a quarter of the way done so we'll see!

I also began to waterproof skin seams on the interior with vulkem. The majority of my leaks are coming from around the ceiling vents though so it will be a whole new can of worms trying to get those uninstalled and replaced.

Happy renovating everyone!!
An oscillating tool with a smooth blade will make short work of this job.
Menards has the tool listed as their brand name "Master Force" ??? It is actually made by Makita.
It comes with a smooth blade (like a putty knife) rigid and strong.
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:07 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
You gotta love those California Airstreams. The trailers from the southwest always seem to be in better condition. There are tons of aluminum aircraft stored at Davis Monthan air force base in Tuscon. They are there for a very dry reason.

That spray on foam insulation was an idea that didn't last. It is a bugger to dig out from under the trailer. You'll get it one chunk at a time.

David
Yes! I have the full DMV history of owners (I think something like 12 came before me) and the trailer has spent its whole life in Arizona and New Mexico until now. Thank goodness for deserts!
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