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Old 03-27-2009, 10:57 PM   #1
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1953 17' Clipper
Montevallo , Alabama
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new member - vintage airstream

Hello, I am the proud owner of a 1953 17' Clipper. I am thrilled about owning it and restoring it and being part of the Airstream community. The body is in great shape but I've already encountered a few 'challenges' on the inside that I wasn't aware of when I bought it. I hope I can get some useful info from those of you who have done this before. Basically, I have several leaks and can't tell at all where the rain is getting in. I don't know how long the rain has been getting under the old linoleum but some small areas of the subfloor are soft. I need some advice on how to proceed. Most of the floor is still very solid. Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:01 PM   #2
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Welcome Silver Wren! ... we'll look forward to following your progress and seeing some pix!
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:05 PM   #3
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Welcome from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. We'd love to see pictures of you baby.
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:13 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forums.

I have a 53 Flying Cloud and have begun an extensive restoration. You can click my blog below to see where I am out. I may also be able to offer insight specifically about what you may encounter on your trailer.

As for the leaks, there are likely MANY places that the water is entering. I believe you have a rear hatch correct? The weather stripping is probably bad on that door. The front and rear frame gaskets on the windows are all likely leaking as well. My wheel wells were an area where alot of rot was found as well.

Let me know if I can help you at all.

Steve
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:30 PM   #5
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This will be your online home away from home. Everything you ever wanted to know about your airstream and things you havent even thought about are here. We look forward to your pictures.

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Old 03-28-2009, 12:03 AM   #6
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Welcome,

It would be a good idea read in the forums about body sealing and window sealing as these are two very likely areas to cause the leaks you have. Those riveted seams look great, but they can and do leak with time. they can be re-sealed with the proper materials and a little handy work. window seal leaks are usually the easiest to find. Leaking rivet heads and seams are harder to track down, as the water can migrate from one place to another between the inner and outer shells of the trailer. If water is coming out of the wall at the floor level you probably have an outer shell leak or leaks running down the inside of the inner skin of the shell. If so, you will need to seal everything you can find above that area. Seams at the roof vents are a wonderful source of leaks. I started there and worked my way down the outer shell seams and rivets. Don't forget the rivets.
If you want to do a nice, clean job, put a strip of masking tape along each side of a seam, leaving just the seam itself exposed. Force the sealing material into the seam with a caulking gun or similar, then wipe it off and smooth the sealant with you finger or a wooden or plastic tool. Have a beer, then carefully peel off the tape. You will be a pro in no time at all.

Just don't have the beer until after you apply the caulking!

Happy streaming, Rich
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Old 03-28-2009, 12:11 AM   #7
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Welcome to the forums!

Please post some pictures, we love pictures here! In a nutshell you will more than likely want to do a frame off restoration to have a perfect trailer....it isn't as hard as it sounds.... your trailer is small and manageable!

Here is a thread to my hubby's restoration of our 1963 Bambi... much of the construction is different, but will give you lots of ideas of what to expect! http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...mbi-17925.html

Have fun! Again, Welcome!
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silver wren View Post
Hello, I am the proud owner of a 1953 17' Clipper. I am thrilled about owning it and restoring it and being part of the Airstream community. The body is in great shape but I've already encountered a few 'challenges' on the inside that I wasn't aware of when I bought it. I hope I can get some useful info from those of you who have done this before. Basically, I have several leaks and can't tell at all where the rain is getting in. I don't know how long the rain has been getting under the old linoleum but some small areas of the subfloor are soft. I need some advice on how to proceed. Most of the floor is still very solid. Thanks in advance for any advice.
The 1953 Clipper is one of my favorites, picture's, post lots of pictures.

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Old 03-28-2009, 11:02 AM   #9
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A big welcome from Tennessee. Oh yes, you've GOT to post pics. We all love pics!

Congrats on your new gem. Go through the restoration sub-forums here. You'll find tons of info to help you. You'll find this Airstream community to be very supportive in these restoration projects.
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Old 03-29-2009, 01:22 PM   #10
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1953 17' Clipper
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The 1953 Clipper is one of my favorites, picture's, post lots of pictures.

toastie

Thanks. Your photos are fantastic. What did you use to strip the paint off the inside? Mine has obviously 3 coats. I had figured I would just try to sand it and paint but I would love to see the aluminum on the inside, too. I also have a weirder situation. Some previous owner painter the outside - green! Most of that was removed by the person I bought it from but there are still some spots. I don't think there is any way I could ever remove the body to replace the floor and I was hoping to be able to replace only sections on the subfloor. I need encouragement!
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Old 03-29-2009, 04:33 PM   #11
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Welcome to the Forums, Silver Wren. You've got a great rig and we're looking forward to seeing the progress. With Airstreams, as in life, a good foundation is important. Sure some of us have overcome chinks in our foundation to make it, but be careful in putting additional funds into cosmetic corrections if you don't have a good, solid foundation. The trouble with the foundation (frame, subfloor) is, you can't see or enjoy them, but the peace of mind will be worth it as you're traveling the States.
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Old 03-29-2009, 05:37 PM   #12
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. . . I need encouragement!
We think you can .... we think you can .... we think you can!
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Old 03-29-2009, 05:54 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by silver wren View Post
Thanks. Your photos are fantastic. What did you use to strip the paint off the inside? Mine has obviously 3 coats. I had figured I would just try to sand it and paint but I would love to see the aluminum on the inside, too. I also have a weirder situation. Some previous owner painter the outside - green! Most of that was removed by the person I bought it from but there are still some spots. I don't think there is any way I could ever remove the body to replace the floor and I was hoping to be able to replace only sections on the subfloor. I need encouragement!
Thanks, I also had 3 coats of paint, here is a link to my thread on how I removed the three layers of paint. If you can remove the paint from the inside you should be able to remove the paint on the outside.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...t-38289-6.html

toastie
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Old 03-29-2009, 05:56 PM   #14
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Hi again, silver wren,
Your floor goes under the walls and holds them in place, along with the frame. If your floor is soft in places it may (read probably, or certainly here) need to be replaced. Don't freakout yet though. It's a big job, to be sure. But many here have done it and can show you the way!

I would still start by sealing the shell, to protect the interior from any further deterioration while you plan your attack and proceed with it. That is unless you have it under a carport or something.

The trailer you have is probably one of the easier ones to do a restoration on due to the small size, so smile at yourself for getting such a prize, and don't do anything to the outside of the shell until you read up on what works and what does not. There are horror stories here about trailers that have been sanded, scotchbrighted and steelwooled to death. None of these things are appropiate, and will cause damage that might not be repairable.

Do post some pics as soon as you can. We are dying to see it!

Thanks, Rich
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