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Old 05-11-2014, 02:30 PM   #1
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1971 27' Overlander
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 4
1971 Airstream Overlander, don't know where to start!

This is my first airstream and I don't know where to start. I live in Denver and I picked it up in Montana last week. I plan on doing as much of the work as I can (I'm fairly handy and have done several home remodels, but never a trailer). I'd like to put together a game plan for a renovation, but don't even know where to begin. I'd like to get rid of all of the cabinets/furniture, start from scratch and put laminate flooring in.

I had a shop in town inspect it and they said structurally it looks like it's in great shape. They also:

- Installed all new brakes & breakaway unit
- Put on new tires & rims
- Did the bearings

So far I've also hooked up an equalizer hitch and got all of the tow lights in working order. Here's what I know about the current condition:

Electrical
- All the lights and outlets work
- No battery and the old converter isn't hooked up

Plumbing
- Most of the plumbing has been upgraded to pex (and was told it holds pressure, but haven't tried it).
- The freshwater tank is not hooked up & no water pump
- New black tank, but I haven't tested it
- Hot water heater is a small electric unit like you'd see in a gas station bathroom (see photo)

Appliances
- No furnace or range (all of the gas lines & tanks have been removed)
- A/C not functioning

Other
- The key to the door has been lost, and they use a padlock and latch that has been mounted to the outside (so no way to lock it from the inside)
- Windows are in good shape, but could use new seals

Thanks in advance for the help... I'm going to need it!
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Old 05-11-2014, 03:31 PM   #2
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1973 27' Overlander
Portsmouth , Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 776
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdp5150 View Post
This is my first airstream and I don't know where to start. I live in Denver and I picked it up in Montana last week. I plan on doing as much of the work as I can (I'm fairly handy and have done several home remodels, but never a trailer). I'd like to put together a game plan for a renovation, but don't even know where to begin. I'd like to get rid of all of the cabinets/furniture, start from scratch and put laminate flooring in.

I had a shop in town inspect it and they said structurally it looks like it's in great shape. They also:

- Installed all new brakes & breakaway unit
- Put on new tires & rims
- Did the bearings

So far I've also hooked up an equalizer hitch and got all of the tow lights in working order. Here's what I know about the current condition:

Electrical
- All the lights and outlets work
- No battery and the old converter isn't hooked up

Plumbing
- Most of the plumbing has been upgraded to pex (and was told it holds pressure, but haven't tried it).
- The freshwater tank is not hooked up & no water pump
- New black tank, but I haven't tested it
- Hot water heater is a small electric unit like you'd see in a gas station bathroom (see photo)

Appliances
- No furnace or range (all of the gas lines & tanks have been removed)
- A/C not functioning

Other
- The key to the door has been lost, and they use a padlock and latch that has been mounted to the outside (so no way to lock it from the inside)
- Windows are in good shape, but could use new seals

Thanks in advance for the help... I'm going to need it!
First welcome aboard. Now where do I start? For starters, take some of the inspections you got with a grain of salt. The pictures are a big help, and what they show me is that you have a trailer with original axles and lots of non standard plumbing, non standard cabinets and major systems that don't work to name a few things.

The two biggest tasks ahead are to really assess the condition of the floor and frame and to make sure it doesn't have any active leaks. To check the frame, you HAVE to remove the belly pan and look underneath. I hope you don't find any surprises, there have been a couple of folks recently that bought trailers that looked real good on the top only to find completely rusted out frame parts below. The vinyl tile that has been put inside can be hiding some rotten flooring, really hard to know without some demolition, but you say that is part of the plan.

The plumbing looks to be a mixed bag of copper, some stainless covered lines to fixtures, a home grade water heater and some automotive radiator hoses and a galvanized fitting to boot. Its got no heating and the ac unit isnt functioning. Depending on what you intend to use it for, these could be some expensive appliances to replace. Without a converter and battery, there is no way to check any of the 12v lighting either. There could be a lot more going on, but this is what I can tell from the photos right now.

So once you get it home and start working on it, come up with a list of everything that needs fixing and replacing. Verify the condition of the frame, its not worth spending lots of money on the topside if the frame is badly rusted. Make sure all the windows and door seals are keeping the water out, get up on the roof and look at things like the two plumbing vents, the rubber is usually long gone and that lets the water run down between the walls. If you are planning on gutting it, then lots of this may be taken care of when all the existing stuff comes out. I would start looking around for replacement appliances, either new or used to put back in. Plan on replacing both the axles as well, and you might as well get new brakes with em. If the tires are more than 5 years old, they probably should be replaced as well.

Take more pix and let us know what you find, then we can all be more help.
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Old 05-11-2014, 03:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdp5150 View Post
This is my first airstream and I don't know where to start. I live in Denver and I picked it up in Montana last week. I plan on doing as much of the work as I can (I'm fairly handy and have done several home remodels, but never a trailer). I'd like to put together a game plan for a renovation, but don't even know where to begin. I'd like to get rid of all of the cabinets/furniture, start from scratch and put laminate flooring in.

I had a shop in town inspect it and they said structurally it looks like it's in great shape. They also:

- Installed all new brakes & breakaway unit
- Put on new tires & rims
- Did the bearings

So far I've also hooked up an equalizer hitch and got all of the tow lights in working order. Here's what I know about the current condition:

Electrical
- All the lights and outlets work
- No battery and the old converter isn't hooked up

Plumbing
- Most of the plumbing has been upgraded to pex (and was told it holds pressure, but haven't tried it).
- The freshwater tank is not hooked up & no water pump
- New black tank, but I haven't tested it
- Hot water heater is a small electric unit like you'd see in a gas station bathroom (see photo)

Appliances
- No furnace or range (all of the gas lines & tanks have been removed)
- A/C not functioning

Other
- The key to the door has been lost, and they use a padlock and latch that has been mounted to the outside (so no way to lock it from the inside)
- Windows are in good shape, but could use new seals

Thanks in advance for the help... I'm going to need it!
First thing to do is order a new tumbler that comes with 2 keys.

Second thing to do is water proof the trailer, by replacing all the exterior gaskets including the sewer vent pipe cover gaskets.

Then, take your time and prepare a list of all the things you want to fix, change or modify, along with the costs of time and money.

In that way you can program in a much better way, your plan of attack.

Andy
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Old 05-11-2014, 04:52 PM   #4
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1971 27' Overlander
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 4
Thanks!Here are a lot more additional photos:

https://plus.google.com/photos/11340...CJmf8av88_TBRA

What are the steps involved with taking the belly pan off (and back on)? Do I need to remove the whole thing?

Thanks again!!!
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:30 PM   #5
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1973 27' Overlander
Portsmouth , Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 776
Looked through the photos. On one shot of the tire tread, you can see the cracking in the tread, that tire is dry rotted, should be replaced. On one shot of the curb side rear at the back fender, if you look closely, you can see a dent in the trim, that is most likely caused by rear end separation, where the wood floor has rotted through and lets the body move independently of the frame.




This isnt pretty, they hacked the original opening to put the new outlet:




This is where I see copper, pex, and rubber:



Dry rot on tires:






\





So where do you want to go with this trailer? Do you want to get it back in really top condition, just get some use out of it or perhaps park it somewhere as an cabin that doesnt move. From the description, it sounds like the previous owner did just that, removing the systems it really needs to work as an RV and replacing them with off the shelf stuff from a big box store. And given the quality of the work that I can see in the photos, I am not not very optimistic about any other problems stemming from a lack of long term maintenance.

If you look at my blog, it details how I pulled the bellypan off my '73 and what I found. Get yourself plenty of 1/8" drill bits and be prepared to start drilling rivets and drop the aluminum sheets on the bottom. Don't throw anything away, many times you can reuse the aluminum even it if looks ugly, as long as it is still in one piece. Worst case you use it as a template to make new panels.
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Old 05-12-2014, 09:34 AM   #6
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1971 21' Globetrotter
Arvada , Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
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Welcome from Arvada Co. I'm in a long term restoration and reconfiguration of a 71 Globetrotter, see the link below.
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Old 05-12-2014, 09:29 PM   #7
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1971 27' Overlander
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 4
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Originally Posted by Aerowood View Post
Welcome from Arvada Co. I'm in a long term restoration and reconfiguration of a 71 Globetrotter, see the link below.
Wow, amazing work... looks like I may have underestimated the size of project I'm taking on!
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Old 05-12-2014, 09:31 PM   #8
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1971 27' Overlander
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
First thing to do is order a new tumbler that comes with 2 keys.

Second thing to do is water proof the trailer, by replacing all the exterior gaskets including the sewer vent pipe cover gaskets.

Then, take your time and prepare a list of all the things you want to fix, change or modify, along with the costs of time and money.

In that way you can program in a much better way, your plan of attack.

Andy
Thanks Andy! ...Any suggestions as to what tumbler and where to order it?
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:10 AM   #9
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1963 16' Bambi
Yreka , California
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Lots of great suggestions so far! My "list", begin with safety items first if you plan on doing any traveling with it while in progress.... then take a good hard look at everything mentioned... make a list of what is needed most for your needs. You certainly want to be sure the frame, tires, and all that is in good order. Double check the flooring! In general work from the bottom up when inspecting. There are a number of excellent lists for inspection on here use one of those and have fun! For each "problem" area, read as much as you can and ask all the questions you want, you will find lots of help from the good folks on the forum.
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