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Old 04-24-2019, 09:52 PM   #1
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The world's slowest Airstream restoration

Around 2008, we bought a 1967 Airstream Overlander. We gutted the unit and then ran into a series of misadventures. This includes unsuccessful work by contractors; unsuccessful work by me, family medical issues, moving, disinterest, and the demoralization of continued leaking.

A long story short, we simply parked the Overlander and waited for the stars to align. That neatly explains why I haven't posted on Airforums for years.

Dearly last year, we decided we would take a six-month to year sabbatical. We hoped to have the Overlander ready for the second half of our planned slice of early retirement. Another long story short, after a nine-month wait, the planned contractor told us he couldn't do any of the internal work. We had the leaks repaired... or so we thought.

In a serendipitous turn, we found someone willing to pull the interior pieces together and fix the damn leaks. We visited the Overlander (currently in Kansas) yesterday. Depending on the polishing schedule, we should be able to pick up the trailer sometime between mid-June and the first of July.

After over a decade, we should be on the road (and camping) in July. I started this thread to post a few pictures of the nearly completed project.

We have made some design changes to our original concept. We have twin beds aft and a head amidships. And when I say "head" that's all it is. We abandoned the composting toilet idea and picked up a DryFlush vacuum toilet (based on our experience at a remote outpost in Alaska). Our only shower facilities are outdoor. The midships galley has a Princess marine stove, a Dometic refrigerator, and a small microwave. Storage is limited but we wanted to keep it as open as possible.

We have the water heater and furnace on the starboard (head) side. The bow has a wrap-around built in couch. The water tank stays in its original position forward. Another addition is the rooftop AC.

We still need to find an installer to put on a ZipDee awning after the polishing is complete, but we're mostly in the home stretch.
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Old 04-24-2019, 09:57 PM   #2
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A view of the forward couch

This is a view of the forward sitting area. The overhead cabinet is original and the doors will be replaced and remounted. The front window will be replaced and a rock guard installed. Still working on picking out the flooring.
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Old 04-24-2019, 10:05 PM   #3
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Galley

This is a view looking aft towards the port side galley. The Princess marine stove is visible in the lower right hand corner. While difficult to see from this angle, the control panel is the dark square just forward of the bulkhead (wall). There is storage below the two twin beds.
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Old 04-24-2019, 10:20 PM   #4
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Starboard galley/sink

This is a view of sink opposite the stove and refrigerator. It's located forward of the head. This gives a sense of how we're using the woodwork. Sorry for the lopsided view. Tried unsuccessfully to rotate the photo.
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Old 04-24-2019, 10:24 PM   #5
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The head area

This area is waiting on the installation of the DryFlush toilet. Again, apologies for the image on its side.
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Old 04-24-2019, 11:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
This is a view of sink opposite the stove and refrigerator. It's located forward of the head. This gives a sense of how we're using the woodwork. Sorry for the lopsided view. Tried unsuccessfully to rotate the photo.
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This area is waiting on the installation of the DryFlush toilet. Again, apologies for the image on its side.
Hi, twisted.

Looking good.
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Old 04-24-2019, 11:09 PM   #7
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. . .we're mostly in the home stretch.

Sweet words indeed. Congrats on persevering through a difficult process.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:23 AM   #8
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Thanks

Thanks for the kinds words, but I'm not going to be lulled into a sense of satisfaction. There are still some electrical gremlins. The shell needs polishing. Some of the window hardware could benefit by replacing. The floor needs to go in and the interior painted and varnished. I'm sure there will be a few dozen adjustments we'll need to make during the "shakedown cruise," but I'm looking forward to sitting under the awning, drinking a frosty beverage, and thinking of minor changes to do while camping.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:29 AM   #9
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Galley and overhead

A few more views of the overhead (ceiling) and galley countertop looking forward.
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:23 AM   #10
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That's a good looking Overlander. Nice work.
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Old 04-25-2019, 02:38 PM   #11
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Thanks for the update!

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Old 04-29-2019, 08:43 PM   #12
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Status update: The Overlander is getting towed to the polishing guys in a couple of days. The ETA on completion is mid June. Polishing seems like a vanity project, probably because it is. But given the energy put into the interior, we thought having a nicely polished exterior (hopefully one that doesn't leak) would enhance the overall camping experience.

We expect some punch list items when the trailer comes back, much like moving into a new house. We plan to start camping in July, hopefully to include a trip to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) event in Park City, Utah this summer. After we have possession of the Overlander, we'll start working on some of the interior decorating pieces, some wall art, window treatment and other touches. I'll keep track of this thread to post the updates. We also need to make some final decisions, i.e., awning or no awning, paint color on the tongue and bumper, and other odds and ends.

Thanks for the comments and hope to see you on the road.
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Old 07-14-2019, 10:34 AM   #13
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Polishing complete

After a few delays, the '67 Overlander ("Helen Wheels") is out of the polishing shop. There is some work to do on the electrical side (a bad control panel) and some fit-and-finish punch list items. It should be mostly camp-ready in about a week, and from there, we can focus on the interior decorating stuff.

Due to the delays and an interview in Fargo, North Dakota, we weren't able to make the Park City, Utah, trip. If everything goes according to plan (which almost never happens), our first excursion will be to Laramie, Wyoming. From there, our travel direction depends on what happens this week. Whatever may come to pass, we need to make a jaunt to Florida for a formal "break-champagne-over-the-tongue" christening ceremony and back to Maryland to show some old friends and family that the damn thing is finally done. Pictures of the interior to follow in about a week.
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Old 07-14-2019, 01:26 PM   #14
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Looks beautiful!
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Old 09-04-2019, 10:04 AM   #15
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The first 4000 miles

The '67 Overlander has logged its first 4000 post-renovation miles without major incident. The states we can take off the list: Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland.

Some lingering issues... we need to fix a slow leak in one of the tires. The battery isn't charging while on shore power. The refrigerator cools down very slowly (could be a Dometic thing). There are a few leaks, but that's pretty much a lifetime thing. Somehow, we lost the fill cap on the water tank. And I think it's time to swap out the WD hitch. Oh, and the lids hinges for the rear bumper compartment keeps eating rivets. A new technology is needed.

I'm throwing on a picture of the bedroom, but overall, not bad for a shakedown cruise.
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Old 09-04-2019, 10:39 AM   #16
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Nice write-up. That button tuft wall looks very nice.
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Old 09-04-2019, 02:50 PM   #17
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Cool - thanks for the update.

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Old 09-04-2019, 04:29 PM   #18
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Hi

If you have the original converter / charger from 1967, that's the likely problem with your battery not charging. If you have a replacement unit that is more than 15 years old, it is equally likely to be the issue.

Simple checks:

1) Use your DVM to measure the voltage on the battery. It's probably around 12.4V. The notes below *assume* that's what you read.

2) Plug in to shore power, check the battery again. If it's still at the same voltage, the converter isn't getting to the battery. If it's a half volt or more higher then it is indeed charging.

3) Assuming you still get 12.4, now check at the converter output. If it's up above 13V, then it's working and you have a wiring issue. If its at 12.4 then the wiring is ok. If it's at zero then you likely have a couple of problems ( = short circuit on the converter output or something equally nutty).

4) Assuming you get 12.4, then check the 120V going into the converter. If it's not there then follow back to the 120V fuse or breaker panel and see what's what.

Best bet - it's time for a new converter / charger. Resist the urge to buy on on Amazon. Get it from someplace you can actually talk to the guy selling it to you.

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Old 09-21-2019, 02:41 PM   #19
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Thanks!

We have left a campground in southern PA and are house sitting for the next ten days. This will give us a chance to do some work on the trailer. As we left, I tried to use the trailer jack without shore power. Nothing.

The battery is a new AGM deep cycle RV battery so I doubt it's the culprit. The converter is not the original, but something new. It could be the converter itself or how it's wired. I'll follow your diagnostic steps and report back on what I find. We have twin beds in the back and all of the electrical is under one of the beds. The access isn't great but it's possible to get to everything. Thanks again.

BTW, I think the new converter is Progressive Dynamics "Intelli-Power." I recognize the wizard on the outside of the box. Supposed to be a good box so maybe it's a wiring thing.
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Old 09-23-2019, 03:57 PM   #20
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A multimeter update

This is a bit out of order but, I checked the output at the converter while on shore power. The DMM read 14.48 volts at the converter outputs and at the battery. I dropped shore power and had a few things on, interior LED lights and a fantastic fan. The fan ran but more slowly and no lights. The DMM read about 5 volts at the battery. I turned off the fan and lights popped on. The DMM read about 8.8 volts. I'm not an electrician nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night but I'm feeling the battery is the issue rather than the converter or the wiring. If I read Uncle Bob correctly--acknowledging that if there's a way to read directions wrong, I've done it--the output of the converter seems ample to charge the battery. So, any thoughts O mighty wizards of 12v systems?
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