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Old 03-26-2008, 01:05 AM   #1
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Bremerton , Washington
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Looking at buying

Went and looked at a '55 today. Fellow said it was a 30'? Won't bore you with details. Basicly it's fairly complete, but trashed. I'm curious what it takes to rewire and plumb it, to make it safely liveable. I'm a carpenter, so I'm not afraid of getting my hands dirty, but not sure what it would be like dealing with the rivits, etc. Not looking for a factory resto or even anything showy. Just looking for a simple place to live that I can tinker with. Also, some heads up as far as common problem spots to look out for would be appreciated. Here is a link to a couple pictures of the trouble areas I saw: 55 airstream Thanks for any info!
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Old 03-26-2008, 01:24 AM   #2
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Welcome!
Tomorrow you will get more posts with useful info.
You mention safety. Is this a trailer for towing or sitting? I'll assume you'll be towing although you mention living in it.
Some of the things you'll want to either check yourself or have a qualified technition check is:
Brakes
Axles
Wheel bearings
Tires
All propane appliances
Electrical systems
Frame stability - rust?

As far as costs, be aware that the cost of parts alone will quickly rise even though you aren't looking for a complete restore. Add to that any shop time for things you may not be qualified to handle. (Propane appliances)
Good luck in whatever you do,
Dave
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:24 AM   #3
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Wow, that's a pretty big leap.
Check out my pages on the links below, it may give you some idea (s).
Good luck, looking forward to hearign about your decision and progress!
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Old 03-26-2008, 07:27 AM   #4
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If you're planning to live in it, most of the stuff on the trailer is off the shelf household or mobile home stuff. You can pick up a lot of it at Ace Hardware, of all places. For the stuff you can't get there, you can check your local mobile home supply store. We did this with our '63, and had great success.
It will have a very rudimentary 12v system, if any at all.
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demulsion
Went and looked at a '55 today. Fellow said it was a 30'? Won't bore you with details. Basicly it's fairly complete, but trashed. I'm curious what it takes to rewire and plumb it, to make it safely liveable. I'm a carpenter, so I'm not afraid of getting my hands dirty, but not sure what it would be like dealing with the rivits, etc. Not looking for a factory resto or even anything showy. Just looking for a simple place to live that I can tinker with. Also, some heads up as far as common problem spots to look out for would be appreciated. Here is a link to a couple pictures of the trouble areas I saw: 55 airstream Thanks for any info!
The frame and floor are probably the most expensive to repair.
If you do not plan on moving it far maybe ok, maybe, but would want more details.
Do you have an ice pick to test floor for holes and soft spots?
The floor is part of the structural integrity so be careful.
R
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:19 AM   #6
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Howdy demulsion -- Welcome to the Forums!

Member Rob Baker has been restoring a '55 Sovereign of the Road for quite some time now. It's your decision on how to do put it all back together. 'Countless' is overused, but Rob really has put countless hours and miles into scrounging for parts -- literally around the country. overlander63 is correct that modernizing parts are widely available. In addition to it maybe not having a 12 volt system, you would find the water/tank system was pretty rudimentary back in those days. The frame can support the original weight -- plan on keeping that as close to original as you can. Save all the interior skins; they have to be put back in place to preserve shell rigidity.

"They all leak." Especially the 13 segment years. It would be the unusual vintage unit that didn't need the floor replaced. Other ideas can be seen at http://www.airforums.com/forums/f91/its-girl-31084.html.

Good resources:
Price vs. Condition - Airstream Values
Vintage Airstream Photo Archives (with VIN samples on each page)
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ons-35399.html

No silicone caulk, okay? There are skilled and active renovators here who just WAIT for somebody else to start their own thread, asking the zillions of necessary questions, and on and on. You are welcome!
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:28 PM   #7
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thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fyrzowt
Is this a trailer for towing or sitting? I'll assume you'll be towing although you mention living in it.
I'm moving, so would have to tow it 250+ miles, but then it would just sit. I am comfortable working on the brakes, bearings, etc. I have done propane appliances, too. How do you check for frame rust with the bellypan?

Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
If you're planning to live in it, most of the stuff on the trailer is off the shelf household or mobile home stuff. You can pick up a lot of it at Ace Hardware, of all places.
Very good info. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fastrob
The floor is part of the structural integrity so be careful.
Wow, I didn't realize that. He said he replaced a big portion of the front floor. Not too sure of the quality fo work, though.

CanoeStream, thanks for all the links. They are very helpful. I would have never guessed the interior panels were structural. Are the newer (70's) trailers aluminum inside, too?

I think at this point, with moving and a new job coming up sooner than I think, I would be biting off more than I should chew. I will have to be content to live in the blah 5th wheel, and ride things out for a while. I'll keep lurking here, and browsing craigslist, I can't be long with something to tinker on. Just killing me I find a deal so close to me, right at the worst time. Thanks again all.
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