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Old 12-06-2007, 12:32 AM   #1
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Release the Hounds!! Newbie and my creampuff

Greetings to all:

Just a short note to introduce myself . . . my name is Bill and am the fortunate owner of a well-preserved and modestly updated 1966 Airstream Overlander.

Originally, I was in search of something to occupy a ranch in Northern Arizona that was a bit larger than my Volkswagen Westfalia. A travel trailer was the logical choice (nevermind I have no tow vehicle). I had thought of buying a cheap SOB (Jayco, etc.), but the more I looked the more depressing the selection became. It seems like every person on the planet has at least one derilict travel trailer parked behind their house that they're trying to get rid of. My wife and I quickly agreed that buying a "Prowler" or some other plastic catastrophe along the same lines was just not how we wanted to spend our weekends.

Not to mention their limited life expectancy. The nature of such plastic beasts goes something like this: you buy it, it breaks, you fix it, it continues to fall apart and then you become one of those goons posting a derilict travel trailer on Craigslist because you're sick of having it parked behind your house!

I have always loved vintage travel trailers (The Shady Dell Trailer Park in Bisbee, Arizona was a monthly getaway for my wife & I . . . before kids, that is) and the aesthetics of vintage trailers has always appealed me. While I would like a Spartan Imperial Mansion (heh) the Airstream is the standard by which all others are judged and from a utilitarian standpoint, nothing holds up better.

So, I started looking for an Airstream without really knowing the specifics of the models, the common issues, etc. I spent a bit of time researching on-line, mostly looking for models to avoid, problems you may run into, what to look for, re: tired axles, appliances that don't work, etc., and then started searching nationally.

And then last month, AirForum member Robin Lee (username draftwomyn21) posted her Overlander for sale on the AirForum. I ran across it on Craigslist, of all places. She purchased it in Colorado, brought it back to Arizona, re-tiled using Marmoleum, re-upholstered, etc., etc. She did an extraordinary job.

So, after looking it over two or three times, crawling around underneath, looking through the various cabinets, checking the components, the maintenance records, testing the appliances, etc., I bought it. I always imagined buying some old roach trailer and restoring it myself, but at this point in my life, the one thing I do not have is time.

What really makes this Overlander unique and remarkable (apart from it being remarkably preserved and well-cared for) is the optional dinette installed by Airstream at the factory (in place of the gaucho). I was really looking for something with a factory-installed dinette and I didn't realize how rare they are. I felt fortunate to have found one locally.

Though it is a little "too nice" for hauling up the back-country of the high desert, at least I know it will likely last for another 40 years.

Pictures here: http://www.lassendas.net/overlander/

I have started the hunt for a tow vehicle (since I don't actually OWN anything that can tow it) and I have spent several days reading the tow vehicle forums. YIKES!! I have decided NOT to post any questions there, as I don't want some know-it-all to pronounce my death sentence! "Be careful what you wish for" and all that.

Comments, suggestions, advice, etc., welcomed.

Regards,

Bill
1966 26' Overlander
Team No Adventure Racing
Mesa, Arizona
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:02 AM   #2
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Hi Bill and welcome aboard.

That my friend is one very nice looking trailer. You got lucky.

So now its time for a TV. A 1/2 truck/SUV or 3/4 truck or van should do you just fine and yes you'll want a WD hitch.

Fortunately for you folks are selling off their SUVs and trucks wholesale to buy gas sippers so search the local paper and you'll find something to fit your budget and get the job done.

Disclaimer: You must have a 3/4 diesel and a Hensley Arrow or everyone in your state will die! Die I say.

Your trailer is light compared to the new ones so a big diesel and an uber hitch is not required. Nice but not required. However a decent wieght distribution hitch is required. It really is a safty issue that can save you big bucks and possibly injury.
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:09 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forums! Congrats on your "new" Airstream! Nice find! Pics look sweet!

Be sure and check out the rally calendar at the top toolbar and see what is going on in your area... Airstream rallies are great times and a wonderful place to meet other folks that have Airstreams. Wonderful place to talk to others about those little mysterious details that creep up!

Have a great time!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis ~ from the Great State of Jefferson)
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:19 AM   #4
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Bill,
Welcome to the forums!
That is a great looking Overlander. The original dry weight for your trailer was 4250 pounds. Like many other things, it has picked up a few pounds along the way. A decent 1/2 ton truck should be fine for towing it. My 75 Trade Wind is very close in size and weight and my 07 Tundra is more then enough truck to do the job.

Once you get the TV, the next thing is rallies! The 4CU of the WBCCI has several local rallies here in the area. The next one is New Years at Picacho Peaks. After that we have Dead Horse 2 in Cottonwood in February. Both events will be a lot of fun and it would be great to see you there.
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Old 12-06-2007, 07:47 AM   #5
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Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. I looked at your photos; nice Airstream.

As to a tow vehicle, remember that you won't use your Airstream unless you are comfortable with your towing combination on the highway. An insufficient tow vehicle is the primary cause of perfectly good Airatreams becoming very expensive pieces of yard art.
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Old 12-06-2007, 09:23 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forums. That is one beautiful Airstream you found. I love the colors!
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Old 12-06-2007, 09:33 AM   #7
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Love it....love it.....love it! And, WELCOME TO THE FORUMS!
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:28 PM   #8
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Team,
Welcome. Needless to say, you scored! To get a rig that someone has spent that much time and attention to detail is priceless. I like the tone of the wood. Sweet find.
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:29 PM   #9
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Great trailer. Great post. You have the right frame of mind for taking on a vintage Airstream. A great way to get the kids in the right mindset as well.

Welcome to the forums. No matter what you can think of, you will find an opinion (and counterpoint) here. We all love to share our life experiences and since this is the eCampfire of Airstreaming it is all taken with a grain of salt.

Have fun,

Barry
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Old 12-06-2007, 06:05 PM   #10
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Great post! Waiting for pictures of Arizona.

Greetings Bill,
Your trailer looks great too......but........it might look nicer in comparison with my sorry looking rig parked next to it, for say, one? two? weeks every year. Do you have any beer? Can I borrow a towel? Dave
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Old 12-06-2007, 10:20 PM   #11
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1966 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
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TV, neighbors, idiocy, etc.

The irony of this trailer is it was for sale on the Air Forum . . . I don't know what the response was to it, but obviously no one bought it. The PO said one man was interested but was from out of town and wouldn't get a chance to see it for weeks.

That's when I swooped in. Old-timer, if you're reading this . . . really, it's not as nice as the pictures

As far as it being "priceless" . . . oh . . . it indeed had a price, about 2x what I wanted to spend! However, time is the finite commodity which I value most of all, and once upon a time I used to restore vintage cars and in the end I was never quite able to fully enjoy them because they served as a constant reminder of where I cut corners, what I didn't spend enough time on, what I could have done better, etc., so buying a well-preserved, modestly renovated example spares me the regret of not doing a better job, then that is actually priceless.

As far as a TV, this afternoon I put a deposit down on an absolute, unequivocal beast. And while technically not designated a "crime against humanity", this vehicle will definitely get the neighbors calling the Homeowner's Association

As far as a hitch, the Overlander came with a monstrous hitch reminiscent of the sort of thing one is bludgeoned to death with. It's an old Reese Strait-Line frame hitch (circa 1972 if I am to believe the original installation instructions) with the dual cam sway control & snap-up brackets.

Likely I will have to fabricate or purchase some sort of drop hitch, as the TV I am destined to get seems to have provisions for the hitch about seven feet in the air. Maybe eight. Heh. I'd like to use the original hitch (it has to weigh a hundred pounds) but I think I would have to install a new frame tow bar assembly. I know whatever I get has to have provisions for the spring bars.

Lastly, and I suspect I am insane for even pondering this, but every time I look at my TT, I think, "It really would look a hundred times nicer if it were polished." I would think polishing is akin to scrubbing the Statue of Liberty with a Brillo pad, i.e., generation after generation of your family would have to work until it were finished.

Actually, I know it's not that bad, but once I strip the lacquer off, I'm obligated to polish it. And polish it. And polish it. And polish it. Of course, in Arizona, with a whopping 7% humidity, I may have it easier than you poor jokers in Florida, but still . . . is there any over-the-counter medication I can take to dissuade or at least stave off this irrational desire to polish it?

Again, thoughts are welcomed.

Regards,

Bill
1966 26' Overlander
Team No Adventure Racing
Mesa, Arizona
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Old 12-06-2007, 10:26 PM   #12
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1966 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
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AZ WBCCI rallies

Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
Once you get the TV, the next thing is rallies! The 4CU of the WBCCI has several local rallies here in the area. The next one is New Years at Picacho Peaks. After that we have Dead Horse 2 in Cottonwood in February. Both events will be a lot of fun and it would be great to see you there.
As far as New Years, we're actually flying back East to visit family over the holiday, but I'll definitely pencil in the shindig in Cottonwood.

I contacted the PO to ask her if she could relinquish her membership number in the WBCCI so I can apply for it. That way, I won't have to cover up the membership number with black construction paper. Heh.

Bill
1966 26' Overlander
Team No Adventure Racing
Mesa, Arizona
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:02 AM   #13
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OK Bill, you've got us curious about your new TV. The way you decribe it in your post, we must know what it is and see photos. A TV that would raise the ire of the homeowners's association, must be something really cool.

Brian
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:18 AM   #14
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Easy perfect polish every time!

If you polish it once you'll have to polish it again and again. Lots of time and effort.

So here's my method for the perfect easy polish.

Before you do the strip job take your trailer up to the ranch and park it. Now you need your supplies. A chair a side table and an ice chest. Fill the ice chest with your favorite beverage. Sit in the chair and drink the beverage until the trailer looks perfect and the insanity has passed.

Trust me it works.
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