Hello to everyone from Wisconsin! After much discussion and searching, my wife and I finally bought a "brand new" 30' 1968 Airstream
Sovereign! Our goal is to be able to do some nearby (150 miles) camping by September of this year, and then do some more extensive exploring and boondocking across the United States as time permits starting next year. Retirement may be 4-5 years away which hopefully allows us more time to travel and explore and perhaps even use this Airstream as our Winter getaway for 4-5 months at a time!
The plan is to do enough remodeling / refurbishing to be able to travel by September. These immediate projects include making all the windows "leak proof"; replacing the water heater; and gutting the back bathroom allowing us to put in a new floor there as well as possible newer fixtures. Outside of that, the rest of this Airstream is in pretty decent shape basically needing a cleaning and updating of some of the appliances (which all seem to work with the exception of the water heater). We have already replaced the axles with new Dura Torque axels while she was in storage with the RV dealer last winter. We finally brought her home about 3 weeks ago. 1st adventure was finding the driveway just steep enough to have the rear bumper scrape as we were trying to back her up. Thankfully, a couple of 2x10x10 boards under the tires raised her enough to get her next to the garage with no scraping!
So, we hope to share our adventure with you (with pictures) and also be able to tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience of those who have done this before us. I have just enough knowledge as a do-it-yourselfer to be extremely dangerous, so please feel free to suggest and critique! At this point, we are also struggling with whether to gut the interior (because she is in really good original shape) in order to update and put in new wiring - or - maybe just gut the washroom to replace that floor and update the fixtures there. The floors in the rest of the trailer were replaced at one time with standard maple flooring and all appliances are original and seem to work (except the hot water tank). We do want to update all the appliances as money permits especially since we want to boondock and don't need a 46 year old appliance to pick that time to stop working. Although I know it will be heresy to some, we would like to remodel the interior to look like a Northwoods Wisconsin / Minnesota cabin. For those that desire to keep their Airstreams original, we will have a good number of original fixtures (including bathroom fixtures) available for your restorations.
Our first project that was tackled this week were the windows. I understand that the 1968
Airstreams are legendary window leakers!! We have replaced all of the gaskets on all of the large crank out windows - but still have some leaks. I know that part of the problem is where the larger windows fit into the upper aluminum glass bar on this Type 3 window. Some of the sealant there is coming out - and I bet all of it is original. My research tells me that Airstream originally recommended a "bedding tape" that is no longer available and that most people use a silicone RTV sealant instead of tape to bed the window to that upper aluminum bar. MY 1st question for you is can I use - or does anyone know why I shouldn't use a 3/4" Butyl Putty tape as a "bedding tape" to hold and seal the glass in that aluminum bar instead of the silicone RTV sealant?
2nd question - I am resigned to removing the smaller fixed windows that are directly below the larger crank-out windows on this 1968 Airstream
due to shoddy fix-it jobs in the past and potential leaks in the fixed windows. I believe I can remove the fixed glass panes from inside the trailer, scrape all the gunk off, and re-install. When I re-install the fixed pane of glass - can I:
1. again use butyl putty tape to install the glass against the "glass stop" ( ie - exterior 'lip' or 'glass stop', then butyl tape, then piece of glass)
2. Is there such a thing as Butyl caulk - or - what would you recommend that I use to run a seal on the exterior perimeter of the fixed window pane once it is re-installed
3. Currently , there is a plastic-type 1/2" molding holding the glass pane in place from the interior. Is there a replacement for this - or if not - would you have a recommendation as to what to use to hold the glass pane in place?
Thank you in advance for any and all suggestions regarding these windows or anything else you would like to comment on. And, thank you for your patience with this post! We're looking forward to this adventure!