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Old 05-11-2006, 09:37 AM   #1
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1973 27' Overlander
1972 29' Ambassador
St. Paul , Minnesota
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My alibi & I'm sticking to it.

After having a 20" window fan venting continuously for a month my nose has finally decided to let my first Airstream join the family - even if a band of gypsy mice had clear deed under squatters' rights.

Depending on your perspective things came together or went to the wind when buyers fatigue set in after 18 months of browsing & shopping Airstream - I knew just enough to be dangerous and had a Goldilocks "just right!" revelation w/ 27-foot rear bath floor plans. So by the time I was introduced to my Overlander I'd already bought worse a dozen times in my mind. Still though I think you'll find this purchase the definition of "compulsive" in Websters!

Ended up arranging & accepting delivery at midnight, and pulled out close to 3 AM. Yes it seems indefensible until you learn seller was working midnight shift w/ overtime and literally had family waiting on porch w/ suitcases for a needed vacation which synched well with my driving time to pick it up. I've worked shift work before - all in all made it a quiet, peaceful, calm transaction. Actually no surprises on the purchase and quite painless as I had that 1400 mile drive time to imagine much worse!

1973 27' Overlander (127T3J20**) near Erie, PA during trip back home. Had full length helpers added to rear leaf packs, the 1999 F-150 dropped one inch w/ hitch load, though the shop raised front end too high (Front wheel well lip is 38 1/4 inch height) it still handles great. Bilstein shocks jiggle a little bit much in city driving, but steady once they are loaded or at highway speed. 3/4 ton TV would be perfect but the F150 is what I have...


First time towing more than a utility trailer. A nervous walk-around after fifty miles showed the door still attached, all windows and belly skin still attached & no hot bearings, tires or failing tread. I boosted tire pressure beyond what previous owner deemed correct and made 14 mpg max-conservation mode at 55ish giving $11-an-hour cruise vs. $15-17 at 65-70, and that's with TV / trailer both in need of a wash and wax.

Trailer was too dirty to sleep or even relax in, so my cat (on dashboard in picture) and I slept in tow vehicle. Somewhat sleep deprived my drive went well untill I was forced off westbound I-94 onto 'Lakeshore Detour' in Chicago, then found my detours' IDOT-signed on-ramp "CLOSED" - I knew two things, where the lake was and where Midway Airport was from flying jets so we headed away away from the lake... Took trailer through 1890's underpasses w/ near-zero clearance, felt like a cabbie in NYC! Emergency stops from pedestrians, double-parking, vehicle traffic merges, odd divided cross street traffic signals - this rig stopped from 25mph in length of city bus using the Prodigy Controller! (well bus was moving very slowly, HE had seen the red light) - plus some drive-way-direct action cutting through some rough looking neighborhoods... Other then that the trip was uneventful, though just now eyelid is merrily tic-ing away at the thought of it.

Trailer was in fair condition - I want you to look at shell oxidation and remember that next time someone (YOU) wants to plaster decals on an (YOUR) Airstream. Where ancient decals aren't sunburnt into surface its only because somewhen a well intentioned joe used solvent to remove adhesive & then ignored the clear-coat damage wrought. There is a "This Trailer Custom Made For Ralph F****" plaque beside the entry door that piqued my interest, so here is a "google found" snapshot of young Ralph, unbeknowest to him affectionately now known as "Decal Man!". The trailers WBCCI number 12095 surely must be his - and unless you want your mug shot posted someday keep the decals off the Airstreams!


(image borrowed from http://tinyurl.com/ejr5p - thank you)

Anyhow, trailer has been here a month already and just in the last few days has the reek of thirty years of bug spray, air freshener and worse started to fade. A 12-pack of paper towels is half gone if that tells you where I am in the cleaning process. Who remembers 6-12 insect repellent? The foam mattresses, cushioning and draperies were saturated w/ that and citronella so its new foam time. The ceiling tambours were replaced, the floor ones are AWOL, the kitchen inbetweens suffering from shock-and-awe... just a loose formation of fragments left.

Peeling out the sandbox liner (carpet) I found flooring was in good shape except for some stains in front of refrigerator, leaking condensation at door seals discolored the plywood w/ frig frame rust stains (no I dont want to look under it just now). I found the coolers door to be wracked slightly, a bit of tip of toe / heel of hand pressure and frig door seals much better, but a new frig is on the wish list. After cleaning most horizontal surfaces I realize my time is not my own anymore, for every task accomplished I find five more! And there'd oughta be a law that all trailer carpet tack strip and 1/4" staples must be made from stainless steel since its like working bare handed with rabid bats to remove it!

Furnace is in good shape w/ very little rust. I was troubled by missing pieces on furnace per owners manual until the piezo electronic start upgrade kicked in when I finally gambled and let LPG flow into unit... How do I spell relief? Whoooosh : )

New axles & tires are required. (Wah!) and I've found at least one outrigger rusted with a broken weld - I bet there is frame sag too, about an eight inch 1/8"-3/16" vertical pleat fore'n aft of wheel wells, please tell me its supposed to be there! Street side front lower cowl has a dent that's been there at least twenty one years per photos included w/ manual. First repair accomplished was permanent added support to the battery locker hinge area by backing up hinge w/ oversize aluminum bar stock. Found the hatch affixed by one very corroded sheet metal screw, glad I didn't know to worry about it on drive home!

Interior is missing two rivets above entrance door, few if any black ring rivets elsewhere but the liner panels look 'sagged' in a few places. Lights, vents, fans water pump and glass are good - small fogging in center front window though. I'm preparing cribbing and jacks to lift trailer and pull bottom skin, I've worked around heavy railcars & sure miss lifting 150-foot 80 ton railcars six foot high in 60 seconds (and parts department open 24-7-365) so maybe I will post that process for feedback.

Anyhow - that's my alibi how I came to be here & I'm sticking to it. Thanks for reading this far, count on seeing some pestering, wheedleling and whining posts from me.

Good to be onboard!

Daniel
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Old 05-11-2006, 09:53 AM   #2
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Wow!

Nice find! I like the trailer!

You'll find that you'll be cleaning for awhile - it took us some time to get our inside free of "funky" smells too. Curtains hide smells too - fyi

A couple of items - you probably don't need the add a leaf...do you have a weight distribution set up? That will take weight off the rear of the Ford and put it back on the front. That plus sway control - you'll be set.

Axles - hard to tell from the pic angle, but you may have some time yet (but replacement would help the shell survive longer). I wouldn't worry about small creases, "the all have them." Severe ones, I'd worry about. Search "rear sag" or "rear seperation" - from the looks of your trailer, I think you may be ok.

No AC? I haven't seen that many without the roof top ones. It looks sleek this way... will you be adding one?

Clear coat peel - yikes! Some Removall (from ICI) will not etch the aluminum - I'd strip it and see... it should look more even after stripping... then you can decide if you want to polish or not.

Enjoy!
Welcome to the forums!
Marc
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Old 05-11-2006, 10:16 AM   #3
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Twin Cities , Minnesota
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Hey Wabbit,
Good post.
Welcome to the forums!
Where in MN?
I live in Golden Valley but my AS stay up at the lake in Aitkin.
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Old 05-11-2006, 10:57 AM   #4
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I got a great chuckle. We can all relate. My first one was a '74 - at least you have a Zip-Dee; build upon that.
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:32 PM   #5
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Welcome. I loved your first post and am waiting for more.
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Old 05-11-2006, 07:36 PM   #6
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Thumbs up Looks like a

Welcome aboard the Forums. Looks like a good find and worth the trip. Better yet to bring it back to the great State of Minnesota.
Best,
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Old 05-12-2006, 12:38 PM   #7
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Thanks!

Ultradog and Wayward - trailer cat and I are near 35E river bridge in Saint Paul proper.
Peegreen & Kent, got to love the written word to have it tell its secrets!

3Ms75Argosy ---> you probably don't need the add a leaf...

Had a sinkhole open up checking fenceline in Missouri that reverse-curved one leaf, that plus MN highway icemelt corrosion had me put new OEMs on at 70,000 miles. For $80 extra I installed custom fit full length helper springs (http://tinyurl.com/krxzp) and wont own a 1/2 ton truck w/o them again.

---> Weight distributing hitch - sway control

Trailer came w/ most WD pieces but I don't see a need - only had one worrisome sway incident from 75mph truck wake boosted by 30mph headwind. Rolling at 65-70 I see through the trailer windows and the back end does oscillate some, lowering the front of the truck plus new axles raising trailer should help cure that. Anyhow for now there's no/low money and ability of quick hitch, quick disconnect is a plus for now.

---> smell grabbers

Can't launder matresses!

And anybody got a clue how to clean these curtains w/o inflicting fatal damage?
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Daniel
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Old 05-12-2006, 07:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wabbiteer
And anybody got a clue how to clean these curtains w/o inflicting fatal damage?
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Daniel
To you or to the curtains?
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Old 05-12-2006, 09:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wabbiteer
And anybody got a clue how to clean these curtains w/o inflicting fatal damage?
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Daniel
You can try dry cleaning--but expect to get back nothing but a handful of thread.
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Old 05-13-2006, 12:23 PM   #10
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Oops!

> No AC? will you be adding one?

After moving to MN from Washington DC area I don't believe I could be too warm again. In eight years in MN I've seen fireflies & heard peeper frogs in January and & seen earthworms sunning themselves from under snow drift mounds. Replacing the Suburban furnace with a dual-duty heatpump is a possibility but for now an oscillating fan and having the heat lift at 3AM seems like heaven!

> Clear coat peel!

Tried some Zymol cleaner wax on front cowls w/ buffer and wasn't impressed with results. I've seen the clearcoat on the pickup truck start to crack and lift in a few places so I believe the Walbernize treatment is way to go up to the day of stripping & polishing. I think I will be doing the "Gnarly Duct Tape" clear coat rip-off removal on the tops dandruff area with two coats of wax protector untill I can mirror finish it.

> inflicting fatal damage : To you or to the curtains? & try dry cleaning--but expect to get back nothing...

Funny you should mention that! My dear Mother has said "send me the old ones and I'll make you a new set" but my fight or flight instinct tells me I'd be doomed from minute one when she actually set sight on them! For now it is a "live and let live" standoff with the curtains - will be doing alot more research on window treatments. Dry cleaning would be an extravegant funeral I'm afraid... Thanks!
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Old 05-13-2006, 12:57 PM   #11
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Nice post, welcome to the forums. Lets see some interior photos.
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Old 05-13-2006, 02:36 PM   #12
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In all seriousness, you can get replacement drapes here:

http://www.jpadrapes.com/

I have a package of fabric samples and measuring instructions from this company, which were included in the binder of information that came with my trailer from the previous owner. I hope this helps.
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Old 05-19-2006, 07:47 PM   #13
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> Nice post, welcome to the forums. Lets see some interior photos.

Certainly!! any requests? Its all pretty (pretty what to be determined)
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