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Old 04-22-2015, 07:03 AM   #1
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Smile Avion

I just read an ad for a 27', 1968 Avion. Just curious, it sounds like it is in decent condition, price $5,900. But I'm wondering, what kind of work would anyone think a trailer like this would need. Also, what's with the outside, why do some trailers look like they have been painted with white paint? Ad states, anodized aluminum shell. Can a shell like this be polished to look like shiny aluminum again? I'm pretty sure this will open up a pile of responses listing all kinds of possible work needed. This is the only way to learn about what I am looking at. Thank you.
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:14 AM   #2
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Anodize is better if it is in good shape. Anodize won't peal off like our lovely Airstream's do. Yes you can shine them but it takes work to get the anodize off. They dip the panels in acid and run a current through them to oxidize the outer layer of metal. This forms a seal healing oxide layer (ceramic) that protects the skin. It can look silver gray. It is a no maintenance coating. AVION trailers were better built in general than Airstreams but one that old on the east coast probably has issues unless it has been kept covered.

Perry
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:10 AM   #3
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I just read an ad for a 27', 1968 Avion. Just curious, it sounds like it is in decent condition, price $5,900.
A high price that would only be justified if the trailer needs little or no work

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But I'm wondering, what kind of work would anyone think a trailer like this would need.
Tires
Bearings
Brakes
Batteries
12v converter
Replace all exterior light assemblies
Replace all window weatherstripping
Check shell for leaks and recaulk as required
Check/repair/replace appliances (fridge/range/ac) as needed
Clean/adjust/repair furnace (should have a gravity furnace which will last forever)
Install greywater tank if one is desired (not equipped in 1960s)
Replace toilet
Replace dump tank valves
Replace or overhaul (new cartridges) faucets
Replace shore power cord
Replace propane tanks or have them reinspected and new valves installed
Replace propane regulator
Replace WD hitch assembly
Source missing hardware (latches, handles, hinges) and install
Inspect plastic bathroom components and repair and repaint if needed (laborious job)
Inspect freshwater tank and holding tank and replace if leaking
Replace door lock (this era Avion uses the L-100 which is almost impossible to find)

Interior Cosmetic work as desired (floor, curtains, counters, varnish, paint)
Exterior cosmetic work as desired (send out pieces for rechroming, clean/polish aluminum, replace missing or damaged hardware)

In general very similar to an Airstream except that the Avion axles can typically be reused (check for broken or missing spring leaves), and the Avions typically used gravity furnaces that last for decades while the Airstream furnaces should be replaced.

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Also, what's with the outside, why do some trailers look like they have been painted with white paint? Ad states, anodized aluminum shell. Can a shell like this be polished to look like shiny aluminum again?
Avion used anodized aluminum, which has a satin appearance when new and becomes somewhat dull with time. It can be polished with good results although it requires somewhat more effort than vintage Airstream aluminum.
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Old 04-23-2015, 04:34 AM   #4
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Restoring, Maintenance, Upkeep

Thank you for responding. I'm trying to learn all that I can about Airstreams. Are there any books you could recommend about restoring from start to finish, inside and out? Also, once you own and are using an AS, what regular maintenance is needed to keep it in good running order?
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Old 04-23-2015, 04:38 AM   #5
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What peels off the airstreams? And can you prevent that from happening?
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Old 04-23-2015, 06:32 AM   #6
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Clearcoat.
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:07 AM   #7
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Thank you for responding. I'm trying to learn all that I can about Airstreams. Are there any books you could recommend about restoring from start to finish, inside and out?
The difficulty with books is that they are edited in such a way as to make people want to purchase them.

The best references are the major restoration threads on this forum. There's a list somewhere.

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Also, once you own and are using an AS, what regular maintenance is needed to keep it in good running order?
If you have a polished exterior it will require re-polishing every one to three years to maintain its appearance. Re-polishing is not as time consuming as the initial polishing effort but is still a good deal of work. Some see it as a labor of love, and it can be done a few hours at a time.

In my experience (with a 2010 Airstream trailer and a 1970s Cayo (Avion) truck camper, not much is required other than seasonal maintenance. Mind you, that's provided that the initial work is done thoroughly and after a shake-out period spanning a number of trips over the course of a year or so. Also, I keep my campers inside, which reduces the maintenance costs somewhat.

Seasonal maintenance is a matter of draining the plumbing and removing everything that freezing weather can damage in the fall (winterizing) and putting it all back and restocking in the spring, replacing the smoke detector and alarm clock batteries, replacing the water filter, that kind of thing.

Tires, brakes, batteries, and wheel bearings require yearly checks and occasional replacement. Bulbs burn out. Hoses and cords fail. The shell (roof and wall) will develop leaks over time, which are normally no big deal if dealt with promptly.

Eventually, even with care, costly items like appliance repair/replacement will come up, but that's rare. Fridge replacement is the most likely big expense.

For me, the overall cost of the RVing activity has been driven by, in order from largest to smallest:
1) Purchase price (including initial repairs)
2) Tow vehicle maintenance and depreciation
3) Gasoline
4) Campground fees

Trailer maintenance would be a distant 5th.

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What peels off the airstreams? And can you prevent that from happening?
The clearcoat eventually fails. It takes a long time. It a paint-like coating, essentially, and there's no way to make it last forever. Storing the trailer inside helps.
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Old 04-23-2015, 12:21 PM   #8
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The Avions prior to about 1963 were Alclad, like Airstream, and you can polish them up nicely. Newer than that and they are anodized, as has been mentioned above.

The best product I've found for them is Par-Fe wax. It's sort of a combination of petroleum based liquid with carnuba wax added. It shines them up nicely, and it will last through a few storms. WD-40 will make them shine up nicely, but the first rainstorm and it's all gone.

It is theoretically possible to sand through the anodized layer and get back to the pure aluminum, but it'd be an awful job.

I've seen one product that did a great job on them: I think it's called Everbrite maybe? There's a thread on here about it. It's a lot of work, but the trailer looked great when they were done.

Any trailer that old will probably need a lot of work. Either by you, or the guy you're buying it from. But the shells last forever. Frames do if you take care of them. You replace the systems and you're good to go.

Best of luck,
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Old 04-23-2015, 02:30 PM   #9
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I think you meant after 63 they were anodized. Good info. I might be wrong, though. Jim
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Old 04-24-2015, 09:36 AM   #10
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Thank you everyone for your very helpful responses. I'm glad to hear I can find info and answers from the forum website. I've always been a "buy a book and read about whatever it is I'm trying to do" person. (from before the internet days) I see on the forum everyone talks about everything imaginable. I'm sure I will get lost on it for hours on end.

The other thing I really get a kick out of on The Forum are the quotes you all write. They just make me smile. I'm glad everyone is so witty, you need a sense of humor to live in this world.
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