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Old 04-04-2012, 06:43 PM   #1
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1973 Avion Le Grande 28ft

So I've got the Aluminitis bug pretty bad and one trailer to work on is not enough so I bought an Avion trailer about a month ago to get get back on the road and hopefully sell to a lucky couple.
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:05 PM   #2
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Congratulations on the Avion. Be careful. You might just end up keeping it. We bought a 73 Avion Travelcader 4 years ago to use while we fixed up our Airstream. Then we were going to sell the Avion.

The Airstream is now for sale.

That galvanized sunshade/gutter over the door looks like a real scalp splitter.
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:46 PM   #3
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Thanks Kevin.
I think I have a name for her,Evelyn. For some reason Evelyn the Avion has a nice ring to it.
I do like many things about the Avion so time will tell whether or not we keep it or sell.
The trailer had some water damage from a sprung entrance door. The top layer of wood flooring was rotted in a 2x2 foot area. The Avions have a cool wood sandwiching styrofoam flooring. The styrofoam was in good shape other than being compressed, bottom layer of wood is ok.The PO had added that sweet galvanized rain cap trying to keep the water out, it didn't work! That baby came off right away
Here are some pictures of the damaged floor.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:14 PM   #4
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I have about a months worth of post's so bare with me.
I have more pictures of the total 70s interior here. The gold couch has to go!
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:05 PM   #5
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Avion fabrication is such that major floor repairs can be made without shell removal, which is a plus. The down side is the weight as they tend to be on the heavy side. The walls are insulated with spray foam so you'll be in for a surprise if you pull any skins off. Also, they switched to an anodized exterior surface finish in the early 60's.

Your rig has the double bed versus the more common twins. This is a nice feature IMO. Is the cabinet above the bed convertible?

The only 70's era colors we have remaining is the avocado shower and bath sink. We like the green, so no complaints there.

Fleetwood acquired Avion in 1976 and stopped making the silver Avions in 1990. There aren't many around and parts availability is limited. There is a small shop in Michigan that does repair work and provides some parts, outside of that you're on your own. There is a Google Avion group that is fairly active and the www.silveravion.com website has some useful information.

Keep us posted.
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:26 PM   #6
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Are you going to overhaul the suspension? Sort of like the torsion axle in that the rubber is ancient on that walking beam suspension (not to mention bushings, etc).

MOR/ryde still has the Smooth Glide parts in stock as a complete kit right down to shock absorbers (see DOWNLOADS, Legacy Tandem Axle Suspension Systems).

I might be wrong, but it's my current bet that the 1973-1977 AVION might be the most bomb-proof aluminum trailer ever built. The question remaining for me is the roof. Riveted or sealed otherwise?

Have the couch re-upholstered. I wouldn't otherwise replace it as it fits so well. Have never seen a replacement that worked as well in appearance or function.

And despite these statements I wonder what others think. I would not ever turn down one of those, especially with a double bed (about perfect for a single person).

And, according to AVION literature I wouldn't call them heavy. But interior/exterior measurements to establish a closer comparison to the competition would be a good idea.

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Old 04-07-2012, 10:08 PM   #7
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great trailer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin245 View Post
Avion fabrication is such that major floor repairs can be made without shell removal, which is a plus. The down side is the weight as they tend to be on the heavy side. The walls are insulated with spray foam so you'll be in for a surprise if you pull any skins off. Also, they switched to an anodized exterior surface finish in the early 60's.

Your rig has the double bed versus the more common twins. This is a nice feature IMO. Is the cabinet above the bed convertible?

The only 70's era colors we have remaining is the avocado shower and bath sink. We like the green, so no complaints there.

Fleetwood acquired Avion in 1976 and stopped making the silver Avions in 1990. There aren't many around and parts availability is limited. There is a small shop in Michigan that does repair work and provides some parts, outside of that you're on your own. There is a Google Avion group that is fairly active and the www.silveravion.com website has some useful information.

Keep us posted.
Hey Kevin
I noticed the foam insulation in the wall.Looks like it's holding up really well,not crumbling at all. I did also notice how durable the anodized skin is when I removed some foil decals.Once i got the decal off after about 2 hours of serious work you hardly notice any kind of outline from the old decal.I guess the only drawback to the skin is trying to polish.

Not sure what you mean about the cabinet above the bed being convertible.I'll have to take a closer look.I do like the double size bed in the back,can't wait to go camping and try it out.I've been emailing Don Gradeless and he pointed it the bed as well.He's a super nice guy and very helpful.
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:29 PM   #8
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Are you going to overhaul the suspension? Sort of like the torsion axle in that the rubber is ancient on that walking beam suspension (not to mention bushings, etc).
I was hoping I didn't have to overhaul the suspension but I better check it out.
MOR/ryde still has the Smooth Glide parts in stock as a complete kit right down to shock absorbers (see DOWNLOADS, Legacy Tandem Axle Suspension Systems).

I might be wrong, but it's my current bet that the 1973-1977 AVION might be the most bomb-proof aluminum trailer ever built. The question remaining for me is the roof. Riveted or sealed otherwise?It's definitely a well built trailer.I haven't gotten on the roof yet but I can see the PO used Kool seal on the roof and he went a little overboard and painted more than just the seams.I've been cleaning old vulkem from windows and seams.Man that stuff is like concrete,lots of paint thinner,scraping and elbow grease.

Have the couch re-upholstered. I wouldn't otherwise replace it as it fits so well. Have never seen a replacement that worked as well in appearance or function.
My wife started on the interior and the couch has a makeover already.I just ordered some cork flooring and once I get the flooring installed I'll get some pictures of the couch,I think it's going to look pretty good.
And despite these statements I wonder what others think. I would not ever turn down one of those, especially with a double bed (about perfect for a single person).

And, according to AVION literature I wouldn't call them heavy. But interior/exterior measurements to establish a closer comparison to the competition would be a good idea.
Towing compared to our Sovereign did seem heavier but I did not have WD bars on Avion and I've heard Avion are a bit heavier so could have been the palcebo effect I was experiencing,
More pictures to come. and thanks for the great advice.
Mike
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:00 PM   #9
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Well yesterday I decide to take a look at the water heater. I was really hoping for a nicely working unit but no such luck. I tried to light the pilot and noticed something inside the burner tube(not sure the correct name). I found the biggest mud daubers nest, That thing was hard as a rock,I hit it with a spray bottle hoping to soften it up. It took some chiseling but out came a huge chunk. Anyways the freakin nest filled up the first 10 inches of the tube, biggest mud daubers nest I've ever seen.
Back to lighting the pilot, of course it won't stay lit! 2 trips to HD and 2 more trips to the local RV shop( Roadrunner RV)2 thermocouplers and a gas valve later I have a working hot water heater. Only took about 4 hours.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:30 PM   #10
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Today was furnace day, I'm feeling pretty good about yesterday's success and figured what ever it takes I'd get the furnace working. Thermocoupler replacement needed of course. Piece of cake I thought! I really need to stop thinking something is going be easy cause every time I do it bites me in the A$$! I couldn't figure out how to remove the thermocoupler, so I decided the furnace had to come out in order to get it. Furnace came our pretty easy and sure enough thermocoupler access is mine! I found a nice suprise in the back of the furnace, a nice mouse nest.
My in stock coupler is not long enough so off to Ace hardware for a 30" Thermocoupler. I really like Ace, I have to remember to try them first. Anyways thermocouplers in vacuumed out furnace closet and back in she goes. I get it all hooked up and ready to test when I notice a hole in the furnace where it's rusted out. Guess I'm not making this baby work,new furnace time dang it!
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:55 PM   #11
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Wow I just looked at prices on furnaces,little pricier than I figured. Anyone have any luck replacing the heat exchanger (I think that's what the rusted part I have is called)? Or maybe a used furnace?
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:02 AM   #12
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Anyone know anything about this hole? Some of my windows have it and some don't. I'm wondering if I should seal it or leave it open if it's some kind of weep hole/ drain.
I've been cleaning the rock hard vulkem from the window frames by spraying it with mineral spirits and scraping it with various tools. The mineral spirits seems to soften the vulkem in some areas and in others areas it seems to make it more brittle which allows it to be scraped off a little easier. I found a wd40 spray bottle which seems to hold to the mineral spirits a lot better than a regular spray bottle.
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDNAX
Are you going to overhaul the suspension? Sort of like the torsion axle in that the rubber is ancient on that walking beam suspension (not to mention bushings, etc).

MOR/ryde still has the Smooth Glide parts in stock as a complete kit right down to shock absorbers (see DOWNLOADS, Legacy Tandem Axle Suspension Systems).

I might be wrong, but it's my current bet that the 1973-1977 AVION might be the most bomb-proof aluminum trailer ever built. The question remaining for me is the roof. Riveted or sealed otherwise?

Have the couch re-upholstered. I wouldn't otherwise replace it as it fits so well. Have never seen a replacement that worked as well in appearance or function.

And despite these statements I wonder what others think. I would not ever turn down one of those, especially with a double bed (about perfect for a single person).

And, according to AVION literature I wouldn't call them heavy. But interior/exterior measurements to establish a closer comparison to the competition would be a good idea.

.
Not installed but some pictures of the reupholstered couch.
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:29 AM   #14
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On the furnace: Yes, there is a possibility of replacing it with a used one, but I can't really recommend it. The safety issue of rusted out heat exchangers is simply too great. You were lucky to have your holes in a place you could see them, but often they are very well hidden, and still very dangerous. You just never know about furnaces, even ones which have been used little can have developed rusty heat exchangers over the years.

New furnaces are very expensive, but you also will get electronic ignition vs. the old pilot lights, and in general, lower fan motor current draw. However, many of them are noisier than the original, which is too bad.
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