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Old 08-13-2008, 08:15 PM   #1
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1978 23' Safari
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Orlando , Florida
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1978 Safari restoration "the ol' hunt camp"

This thread will follow me in my restoration of my newly acquired '78 Airstream Safari, i.e. the "hunt camp" as the PO described it as. He thought this is what you could do with it, as in tow it up to your land lease in Georgia and park it there, then hunt. He said it'll never leak cause it's round and the stainless steel will never rust. He swore up and down that it was all stainless and that aluminum would never hold up like this! He really did not want to sell it but the wife was obviously the one wanting it gone and was getting her way. Good for me and my 750 bucks, which was the asking price.
You could also call this "flip that airstream" cause my main career is buying and selling homes. But I have a passion for old vehicles so this should transfer well. We plan to use this as our home for a few months since we will be selling one house and the current project is not livable yet. It will also be to take to Florida State football games for accomidations, then to be our office on our christmas tree lot.

To begin, the trailer came with no beds/ gauchos but the rest of the interior is well used original. The first major project is to get the big bash on the side repaired.

Started cutting and poppin' today and found out whatever did this big dent went all the way into the frame and bent it.

I took the belly pan off and rolled it back like I saw someone do on this site. Found some severly rusted frame rails that are rusted through where it counts where the front triangle meets the main rails. Is this gonna hold? Is this fatal for the frame?

Grinding starts next.
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Old 08-24-2008, 07:00 AM   #2
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1978 23' Safari
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Orlando , Florida
Join Date: Aug 2008
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New plywood everywhere!!!

Did some work last weekend on the ol' hunt camp. Really tore into it and I only like to do things the right way, so it is on to the down and dirty stuff first. Found some nasty spiders and one dead rat who chewed up some of my wires. Got to get the 8 track back working.
Patch Pix: I removed the damaged floor from the accident and cut a patch to fit into the void. I ordered some u channel for the edge of the floor and some z stuff for the new ribs. The new aluminum showed up from airparts that will replace the crumpled stuff on the side and a bit for a new belly pan patch.
Dinette Pix: I took out the shelves the PO put in I guess for huntin' supplies. I then designed and built an eating area/ single bed structure. I think they call it a dinette. The cushions will be connected and when you drop the table down, they will make a bed. I saw this setup in the many RVs I delivered during my RV driving career. I really wanted to have a place to sit and eat as well as a third sleeping place for friends. This will get covered in a tough fabric my wife found, then there will be the cushions made by the upholsterer.
Sucks! Pic: How about this found relic! Someone at the factory was not having a good day. After ripping up the stapled down all weather carpet, the brown recarpet, and the blue original carpet, this is what I found written near the door.
Next up is putting the new aluminum on the outside and getting this dent area back together. Also have been working on the front panel inside where the 8 track is.
John.
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:39 AM   #3
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Looks like you are making a lot of progress. What did you end up doing with the frame damage? The graffiti picture is hilarious.
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:53 AM   #4
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Nice work! Someone didn't like their job in the good ole days too huh?
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:24 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jkrauk View Post
I ordered some u channel for the edge of the floor and some z stuff for the new ribs.
John.
Where did you find the "z's"? I need about 6-8 ft. I could have my sheet metal guy brake them but I didn't want to have to buy a full sheet of aluminum. The one that I have taken out seems to be about .070" thickness.
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Old 08-28-2008, 07:06 PM   #6
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1978 23' Safari
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Orlando , Florida
Join Date: Aug 2008
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New metal welded on

Had my brother in law over into the city with his welder and he put the new metal on the frame. He lives in the country and has 7 tigers. Kinda wild!! He put the angle iron on and then fit on the new outriggers. Turned out nice. I feel much more secure now with a beefed up frame. It still has a wicked hit in it but that's just some character (like a good scar).
Still searching for what goes into this hole in the fridge door- exterior. Any ideas???
The z channel I just had made up by my metal guy from his supply. It was less than $10.
Lots of ordering now. Ordered orange boomerang formica for counters, New stainless kitchen and round sink from Ikea, new counter edging from outwater, and bit the bullet and ordered two new axles from inland rv. Dexter gave me the runaround and no conclusive answer on what they could make for me and in the end you still have to pay shipping, so it was the easy replacement/higher cost option for me.
Next up it is a full weekend of work on it putting fabric on the plywood, assembling the kitchen and making the counters.
Cheers, John.
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrauk
Still searching for what goes into this hole in the fridge door- exterior. Any ideas???
Cheers, John.
That would be where the lock/latch goes. You could probably get a thumb latch from someplace like Camping World to hold the door shut. That's also why there is duct tape holding the door shut.
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:25 PM   #8
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1978 23' Safari
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Orlando , Florida
Join Date: Aug 2008
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exterior work finishing up

I got the new panel put in on the driver's side this weekend. Cut out the old one and started straightening the bent ribs. I put the new u channel down on the floor and riveted the zs to it. had to put a L channel connecting the two windows to strengthen the whole thing up. Got the whole thing bent back and riveted back into shape, then put the new panel on. Looks good but kinda shows up the other panels with its shine. At least it is straight. Then put the inner panel on with rivets with some new insulation in the middle.
Underneath, I put the rust converter on and then painted it all silver. Hope it is the right combo to stop any more rust from happening. Started putting the belly back on but ran out of rivets. Looks good and I am getting over the hump of the hardest part of the rebuild. The new kitchen cabinets are in now that the wall is put back together.
Axles should be here in the next day or so with the new inverter and misc parts. Going to cut the plywood for the counters tomorrow. Upholsterer is making the pads for the dinette. It still looks like a wreck inside but it is coming together and should be ready for the FSU game this weekend.
John.
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Old 09-07-2008, 07:52 PM   #9
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1978 23' Safari
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Orlando , Florida
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Axles n interior

Lots of work this past week. At one point I went all in to working on the airstream and not working on my house which is my real job. I had a deadline of Friday afternoon as we were leaving for Tallahassee to go to the FSU game. We had paid for the two nights at the campground already and I was under the eye of the wife. Of course the axles didnt get here till thursday afternoon. I ordered the axles from inland RV and had them ship their in stock ones to me directly. I went with two 3000 pound Henshen axles for the exact fit replacement that made the switch very smooth. Old axles came out with relative ease with wd40 and my impact wrench. Frame looked pretty good back here and the new axles slid right in. It was basically removing 8 bolts from the axles and the 4 shock bolts, then they were out. New axles in and new bolts on. The hardest part was finding missing parts. The hardware for putting on the brakes was absent and I did not realize you needed to buy your own grease seals. Thanks to this forum, I learned what they were and how to pack a bearing. For tires, I went with Goodyear Marathons cause they seem to be tried and true and the Discount Tires near me did them mounted + balanced for $510 that day. I threw it all together, loaded up our stuff, and we were off on the 4 hour trip. It all went smoothly and turned out to be a great weekend. The Safari towed well and only bucked a little over the overpasses. I really like the 23' feet for a size. Anything bigger would be tougher to tow and get around with.
On the inside are some big changes to the interior. We ordered a couch/bed from West Elm that fits perfect where the old gaucho went. Got the countertops cut and put in. New kitchen from Ikea, and other upgrades that I will post about when I take some pix of them.
As for now, the new running gear is sweet and the funniest part of it for me is how much higher the new setup makes the airstream. I had to take my reese 2" drop and turn it over to make it a 2" rise! When I see others out there with their wheels tucked up under the wheel cutout, I shake my head and now feel like an expert. Thanks to this forum I think I am.
We stayed at Tallahassee RV park which was very nice but we did not look much like the other rides there. Most were the big bus types and our little airstream looked humble and cute next to them. We had fun and the initial outing was a success!
John.
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Old 09-16-2008, 01:44 PM   #10
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Wow! Looks like some great progress! I love the shot with the axles strewn about the lawn.

The 78-79 Safari is one of my favorite vintage floor plans, but I'm not exactly up for such a project....
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Old 11-26-2008, 04:58 AM   #11
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1978 23' Safari
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Orlando , Florida
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Ol Hunt Camp now FOR SALE!!

Yes the Ol hunt camp is now finished and up for sale on ebay. Auction ends tuesday night and should be a good one with how unique this trailer is.
Check it out at:
eBay Motors: Vintage Airstream Safari "Retro Mod" Redo YOU MUST SEE! (item 160301140636 end time Dec-02-08 20:45:22 PST)

John.
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