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Old 10-22-2014, 09:11 PM   #1
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1961 26' Overlander
DeWitt , Michigan
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Pulling wires in a Vintage Airstream

Well... we did it! We are now the proud owners of a "project" aka 1961 Overlander.

As we are cleaning, and making lists of things we have to do... would like to do...etc....

We are guessing we need to re-wire...
Has anyone pulled wires through without removing the interior? Does anyone have any suggestions?

She has been parked for approx 15 years w/o any power hooks up and I don't think the mice and other residents used any power.

We have learned so much from this site and all your posts!! THANK YOU!!
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Old 10-22-2014, 09:27 PM   #2
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1951 21' Flying Cloud
1960 24' Tradewind
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my '60 had that "aligator" type romex 120v wiring w/ great blobs of electrical tape in certain locations, which ran thru fairly small rubber grommets in framing members . . . I can't imagine being able to "pull" new wire thru it. If you're set on re-wiring AND don't want to remove the interior skin, then I would maybe consider running your wire in concealed spaces (not in the walls) to as close as you can get to each device and then see if you can "fish" your way to the device . . . even that sounds "optimistic".

Having said that, my wiring was basically fine - the only reason I replaced it was because I had "slipped off the slippery slope" and ended up doing a complete tear down . . . and then ended up moving things around - layout wise, so I just went ahead and replaced it all.

A new breaker box and new outlets and switches will probably be "adequate".

Just my dos centavos.

(can we see photos?)
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:05 PM   #3
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do it right

If your set on new wiring....do it right. This will mean drilling out panel rivets (not hard) and feeding the new wire thru the original holes and grommets. Spray silicone makes the feeding thru tight spots easy. There is no pulling the wires thru the walls....don't even try. You can feed the wire between ribs and stringers but not thru. The old wads of tape splices jam any hope of pulling a new wire.
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:16 PM   #4
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After upgrading my 310 to 50 amp wiring this past year and trying to wrestle the wire into place through holes in the stringers between beams. I can categorically state....you haven't got a chance in heck of pulling wire without taking off the wall panels.

One tip....buy some 4" candle stick tubes...white 4" long 7/8"or 1" diameter plastic tube that slips over the light fixture on a candelabra to use as wiring protection when it goes through holes in the stringers and beams. It will protect you from shorts later on down the road.

Cheers
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:11 AM   #5
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Hello V Pline; Way to go on acquiring the 61 Overlander! Some say the early sixties trailers are the best of all. The 26' Overlander is a very nice size for comfortable traveling. It was very popular, just like the 25 through 28 footers are now.

I almost purchased a 59 Overlander. It was in fair shape. But it had a single leaf spring axle. I decided to keep looking for dual axles for improved towing stability. See the photo below.

I'd suggest you start a thread in the Airstream Knowledgebase - Travel Trailers, and 61 Overlander. Find this category toward the bottom of the home page. There you will find many folks who have the same trailer as you, and will enjoy helping you along. And we would like to read about your progress in renovating or restoring this lovely old trailer. Your thread may be a multi-year odyssey, and that's just fine.

I'm not sure, but I think some early sixties Overlanders had single axles, and some had dual axles. I'm anxious to see some pictures of your trailer "as found". Your trailer may be one of the first ones with the Dura Torq axles instead of the old leaf spring type.

It's good you are starting to assess your trailer's needs. It takes a lot of time and a lot of dollars to get all the problems straightened out. But as you add dollars, you will add value to your trailer. For example: New breaker box, new wiring, new outlets and ground fault interrupter will add value to your trailer. The old 115v system has a "polarity" checker so you don't plug the neutral side into the load side. New AC electrical systems prevents someone from doing that. And you will have to remove the interior skins to rewire your trailer. While your at it, install new insulation, and seal the seams, and fix the floor rot, etc, etc etc.

Welcome to the Airstream community

David
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:23 AM   #6
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I upgraded the electrics on my 64 Bambi ii (modern converter, fuse panel, etc) but the original wire (stranded copper 12v and solid copper romex) was fine so I was able to avoid "rewiring".
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:52 AM   #7
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Highly recommend to take off lower panels and do the job right, including the 12v.

see post 358 http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...-38289-26.html

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Old 10-23-2014, 11:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V Pline View Post
Well... we did it! We are now the proud owners of a "project" aka 1961 Overlander.

As we are cleaning, and making lists of things we have to do... would like to do...etc....

We are guessing we need to re-wire...
Has anyone pulled wires through without removing the interior? Does anyone have any suggestions?

She has been parked for approx 15 years w/o any power hooks up and I don't think the mice and other residents used any power.

We have learned so much from this site and all your posts!! THANK YOU!!

The posters upthread are correct that you can't pull or fish wire through the walls the way you can in a stick house.

A question to consider is how much 120v power you want to run and whether most or all of it can be run in a fashion that is minimally invasive, yet concealed. This can be done by running wire inside cabinetry or in small chases along corners. You may find that you only need to get power to:

1) a kitchen outlet,
2) the converter,
3) the fridge, and
4) an air conditioner if you're going to install one.

I have used type AC armored cable in some of my upgrades, which is totally rodent proof and which does not require grommets when passing through metal ribs or panels. The tradeoff is that it is more difficult to work with.
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Old 10-24-2014, 03:56 PM   #9
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1961 26' Overlander
DeWitt , Michigan
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Thanks...

Thanks for all the thoughts, suggestions, and things to ponder.

How hard is it to take off the interior panels and re-install...
I am nervous...
We are hoping to do some things and use it next summer and then really dig in!

Thanks again!


I will work on getting pictures too!
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Old 10-24-2014, 05:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V Pline View Post
Thanks for all the thoughts, suggestions, and things to ponder.

How hard is it to take off the interior panels and re-install...
I am nervous...
We are hoping to do some things and use it next summer and then really dig in!

Thanks again!


I will work on getting pictures too!
It's not really all that hard, but it is quite involved. You must learn how to drill out and remove the pop rivets that hold the interior skin to the trailer. Here is a video that gives you a "flavor" of what to expect.

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Old 10-24-2014, 07:13 PM   #11
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At the risk of sounding like and being called "Chicken Little":

Taking panels off and putting them back on is pretty easy . . . however, you'll be walking along a very steep cliff, on a very narrow trail that is covered in crisco shortening and slightly sloped towards the river of hot lava below.

Here's a realistic prediction of the "chain of events" (my 1960 Tradewind story):
You take off the interior panels and find that 60-80% of all the screws and bolts holding the wall to the plywood floor have eaten away the aluminum "C-Channel" (no longer "holding" or otherwise doing their job). The front and back 12-18" of plywood is mush, or nearly mush and unfortunately "not doing its job either . . . there are a few other less serious, but still a little disturbing, things you might discover.

At that point it's very difficult to just put it back together.

It's certainly possible that your trailer is not in the above condition. And I hope it is. Just be prepared for what you might find.

Again, the 120v wiring in mine was all fine. The 12v wiring was 95% fine and could have been solved w/out tearing the skins off. I'm glad I slipped off the cliff because I now have a "like new" trailer. My family is not so "glad", as it took years to complete. If I had more money and time I would have been able to finish it faster.

Good Luck. Let us know what you decide / find / do . . .
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Old 10-24-2014, 07:54 PM   #12
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Hi V Pline;

Removing interior skins is much easier than removing the interior appliances and cabinets so you have access to the interior skins. Like MarkR said, it is a slippery slope chock full of "while I'm at it". New electrical system is on your project plan. Time for a complete plan so you know what you're getting into.

David
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Old 10-25-2014, 08:36 AM   #13
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I completely understand the nervous feeling as I had only bought my 310 the late fall before I found this mess in the spring.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f311...me-106269.html

Taking off the interior skins is the easy part. Just make sure to take many pictures of the skins and how they overlap. Number every panel or trim piece in the order they came off and mark with masking tape an arrow indicating top of panel. Also you may want to create a wooden jig or piece of wood that encompasses the 1/8" or 3/16" drill bit so that it doesn't travel into the wall cavity too much.

All this work has been completed by many others on this site so pick a thread that someone has completed say a shell off or done repairs that you are contemplating doing and PM them to ask for their assistance.

Goodluck
Cheers
Tony
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Old 10-25-2014, 09:09 AM   #14
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I have done it this way too

I do recommend taking the whole panel off. One at a time will make it less concerting for you. However, if you want a little bit more confidence about the reinstall....just drill out the top of the panel and 1/2 to 2/3 way down the sides. Then you can bend the top half out enough to clean out and replace as necessary. You can even drill out new holes in the ribs and stringers for new runs you want to replace.(like overheads) You can do this partial drill outs for the ceiling panels too and leave the top center in place. The top sides are buck riveted and can remain attached to that top center section. This all will leave the panels attached and aligned for your reattachment.
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