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Old 06-14-2006, 08:28 PM   #1
New Member
1966 26' Overlander
Ayden , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1
Feeling Overwhelmed

Just joined. Hope to be able to gain some knowledge from others who have tackled the task of restoring a vintage airstream. As a little girl I had always been fasinated by the silver bullet and wanted to have one for myself one day. Was I ever surprised when I threw in a bid and won the beauty. Never pulled a camper in my life but set out alone from eastern North Carolina to New Mexico to bring it home, it had been owned by a movie studio and I just knew Paul Newman had used it has his dressing room, however,the interior told me that was not true, and now the real work begins. Feeling very inadequate at times, seems that close inspections just turn up new tasks to be performed, and its not like I can go to a local hardware store and pick up parts. I shall do my best not to get discouraged and to learn everything I can about my new project.

Hope to learn from you all.

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Old 06-14-2006, 09:40 PM   #2
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1975 27' Overlander
Twin Cities , Minnesota
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 466
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Great first post.
We all remember some dream we've had since we were little girls or boys. One of having something or doing something or going to some singular place.
Alas, when we got to be adults we realize how big a task this dream will be to fulfill. And sometimes we are overwhelmed.

But the dream must have been worthwhile or we wouldn't have kept it this long.
So perhaps if you remember your first nuptials, or birth or mortgage or even job - how daunting they were going into them. And yet you're still with us, and you've grown and profited by the experiences.
Airstreams are small compared to those other things.
You've got courage enough to set out alone and pull that thing home.
I doubt there's much that could prevent you from keeping and living your dreams.
Welcome to the forums.

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Old 06-14-2006, 10:20 PM   #3
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 13,279
Images: 19
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Found the Forums -- great start!

Howdy atsnana and welcome to the Forums! Every participating member has one foot set here, one foot set over there ... running out of feet here. I'm trying to say that any individual may offer only partial information for any question du jour. This is a very good source of cumulative experiences, but please take any single answer with a grain of salt. Feel free to ask, "Come again?"

The search function is always a good place to start. The number of Search returns can be numbing unless you give it at least 2 or 3 keywords. There have been some awesome threads on most any subject -- fortunately it is quick to click thru search responses (open in new window!). You might do okay if you hit 'Reply' at the bottom of an old thread and rephrase your specific question. Or you can always go to the most appropriate sub-forum on the Forums page -- Start a thread if nothing seems to fit. There are no rules and kindness carries far. Browsing and spending a lot of time in research will produce more ideas about what you need to pursue. Bet you've already been there, eh?

Lastly -- hang in there. Restoring takes many steps and will be a long haul. Ask about reputable Airstream repair people in your area if you need help with furnaces, water heaters, etc. Stay roadworthy by watching your tires, wheel bearings, hitch, tow vehicle, weight distribution, 7-pin connector, breakaway switch, etc. There -- you've got an aluminum tent! At least you can haul that, a cooler and grill to go anywhere!!

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 06-15-2006, 07:20 AM   #4
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1968 24' Tradewind
Louisville , earth
Join Date: Jun 2005
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welcome to the forums

Welcome to the forums and congratulations on the acquisition of your fine airstream! As the relatively new owner (end of last summer) of a similar vintage (68) coach, I fully understand where you are coming from. Canoe stream gave you some great advice on using the search tool, use it and use it often.

What I have chosen to do with my airstream, which may or may not be a usefull idea for you, is to get it in working conditon so I can use it, list all the upgrades and repairs I want do, and then prioritize that list.

Several folks have a single ongoing thread that documents their progess on their coaches. These are kinda neat, and you may wish to do the same. Figure out how to post pics in your post if you dont know how already. This is important for a couple of reasons; 1) we are all airstream junkies here and love to look at them, and 2) pictures make it much much easier to see what is going on and hence, makes it easier to give advice.

Anyway, I have no doubt that you will do fine with your camper and will make it a show piece that you will enjoy on the road for years to come.

Visit my photography page
and the
Favorite camp grounds project map
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(The artist formerly known as General Disarray)

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Old 06-15-2006, 08:28 AM   #5
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1976 25' Tradewind
. , AZ to Maine
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 544
Been There, Still There and Love It

We have not talked much about bringing our beauty home 6 years ago. I was traveling down a 1 lane dirt road off a steep mountain in Vermont. The hitch and brakes were not set up properly. I was stressed out and the truck overheated. We have not done much to it but we use it. Our Tradewind is special for the two of us; the time we spend in it. It may or not be renovated but it should be. No matter. Enjoy what you have. Do what you can, when you can. There is a treasure of experience here on the Forum, and neat people to help you. R
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Old 06-19-2006, 06:55 PM   #6
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1975 27' Overlander
fort wayne , Indiana
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 184
if there is nothing to fix, something is going to go wrong!

hey that might be my signature?!

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Old 06-19-2006, 07:09 PM   #7
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1978 31' Excella 500
Venice , California
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Yep, if there's nothing to fix, you're just not paying attention.
"Not all who are laundering are washed" say Bill & Heidi

'78 Excella 500,"The Silver Pullit". vacuum over hydraulic disc brakes, center bath, rear twin. '67 Travelall 1200 B 4X4 WBCCI 3737
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Old 06-19-2006, 07:09 PM   #8
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1988 25' Excella
Sunnyvale , California
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The messages about learning clever searching are good ones... General Disarray's message about making a list and prioritizing it is also very helpful...

Here are several other suggestions:

1. Build a list of possible sources for parts, both Airstream-unique and RV general... There are lots of choices, including some who advertise or post here, and eventually you can find almost anything you need...

2. Decide how much you're willing to tackle versus having someone else do for hire, and then find a competent and honest shop able to work on Airstreams. Each of those words matters! If you decide to do it all yourself, at least line up some helpers and moral support.

3. It's better to use it as a metal-sided wood-floored tent with wheels than to park it and leave it until you can get around to it... Some of these projects have a way of evolving into yard sculptures if left alone too long, and the work becomes more daunting the longer it is contemplated...

Good luck, and let us know when you need help...

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 06-19-2006, 07:25 PM   #9
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1967 24' Tradewind
Alameda , California
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I felt sooo overwhelmed and even a little depressed when we brought ours home and I realized this is not at all like remodeling a house. However as time went on I learned a few things:

It's not rocket science. Keep reading as many posts as you can, and it will begin to make sense.

Do one thing at a time. Try to focus on getting that thing done before you look too far ahead and get worried.

There are lots of people here who haven't done it ever before either, and we're all sort of lurching in the right direction. Some have done it several times and are experts, and everyone's helpful.

DON"T THROW ANYTHING AWAY until you're sure you won't be using it. Especially the bathroom of your '66!

Parts are out there and you don't have to necessarily scour junkyards for them.

Post pictures of your new-to-you rig! Maybe we can throw some advice on what to do first.

You've obviously got the drive and nerve to do this if you towed one home all by yourself. Right on!
"Let's look Death in the face and say, 'Whatever man.'"
~ Hurley

1967 24' Tradewind #19104 ~ Forums #4449
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:05 PM   #10
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1959 24' Tradewind
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: I currently do not own a 2nd Airstream
Posts: 4,313
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All great advise so far. if I could add something, it would be to go ahead and make that list, number the items by priority and visualize all of the things that you want or need to do. By visualizing and referring to your list, you'll find that certain things need to be done in a particular order because of necessity. As example; don't put on new brakes if you're going to install a new axle. Yes, this seems pretty obvious but other things won't be. Think things completely through, beginning to end and you'll find it is a big puzzle. Work on one piece or area at a time and, when done, consider it a small victory. If you only see the big picture, is will always look like a chore and not a sense of pride and accomplishment.

You can do this, we can help with long distance assistance. Oh and welcome to the Forums. You'll feel right at home here in no time. Post some pictures when you can.

4CU 2699 / AIR 10 / TAC AZ-1

I'm haunted by aluminum.
Charter Member of the 4 Corners Unit.
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:47 PM   #11
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Lowell , Massachusetts
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Making a list like that can also be quite comical when you look back on it after a few months of work and realize "holy crap, I had no idea what I was getting myself into back when I made that list!"
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:28 PM   #12
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1976 25' Caravanner
Vintage Kin Owner
Campton , New Hampshire
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Another 2 cents

When you make your list seperate it into "needs" and "wants" . Needs are things to make it roadworthy , tires,brakes,axels,frame,hitch and running lights. Needs are also things to make it safe , gas system,water system,and electric system.Now you can use it . I have tried to tackle at least one of my wants every year , it's an ongoing process . I have found that my wants have changed a bit over the years after actually using it and finding out what works and what doesn't . Good luck and don't lose heart
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:35 PM   #13
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1975 25' Tradewind
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2005
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I'll add another view of this. You have "needs" and you have "wants" and I have "Jan wants". My wife is Jan. You guess what gets done first...


WBCCI President 2016-2017
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:49 PM   #14
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2007 30' Classic
Albuquerque , New Mexico
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Dear Overwhelmed...

Originally Posted by atsnana
Feeling very inadequate at times, seems that close inspections just turn up new tasks to be performed, and its not like I can go to a local hardware store and pick up parts. I shall do my best not to get discouraged and to learn everything I can about my new project.

Hope to learn from you all.
Sometimes it's less overwhelming to divide all the multitudinous into different categories based on their importance.

First make it roadworthy; tires, wheels, brakes, bearings. Replace axles if necessary.

Second, make it functional. Get everything in working order; H2O system, H2O heater, furnace, fridge.

Third Make it esthetically pleasing and pleasant to use.

It would be human nature to do the third step first, especially for a woman who is more inclined to the esthetic than the technical. Please don't fall into that trap.
Projects become longer and more expensive when we do step three first only to discover that we must rip out that which we have already done to fix some problem with plumbing, wiring, or flooring. (Don't ask me how I know this or how many times I have had to relearn this...)

That doesn't mean you can't give it a thorough cleaning and make it habitable, just save the major interior beautification until you've completed steps one and two.

I hope this helps!

Ken L
2007 Classic Limited 30 (Sold)
2007Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax/Allison
Four Corners Unit WBCCI #8654, Affiliate NM Unit
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