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Old 03-29-2014, 07:16 PM   #1
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casa grande , Arizona
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Brand spanking new user!

I do not now own nor have I ever owned an Airstream. Having said this I have always admired them and very interested in buying one and restoring it. I am here seeking the knowledge and insight of folks in the know. I have several questions and any help would be very much appreciated. I just recently built my own teardrop trailer from the frame up so I think I am fairly versed in most of the skills required in the restoration. Is there any particular parts of a restoration project that would be better left to professionals? Can exterior panels be replaced by the amateur? If you replace a panel can the different panels be "matched" in appearance? Can the amateur polish an oxidized trailer to something close to new appearance? Can the skin be so degraded that it would be impossible to polish successfully? Are there any years or eras or models of the trailers that are best to avoid? Are there any that are preferred? My teardrop took about a year to do after work and on weekends so I have the patience to take project like this on, I think. I have many more questions but I am afraid if I put them all in here it would be even longer and no one would read the whole thing, lol. Again any assistance would be appreciated.
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Old 03-30-2014, 08:24 AM   #2
flygrrl
 
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1962 19' Globetrotter
Winchester , Ontario
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 251
Welcome

Hi Jim, welcome to the forum.
I hope you find the perfect AS for your needs.
It seems as if the smaller, pre '69 trailers are the most coveted, due to the thicker aircraft aluminum, quality of materials and are lighter and easier to tow. There is lots of information on the forums to help you narrow your search to a specific model and year range. Check out the model listings at the very bottom of the forum page, when you click on a model, there is a list of the years, click on a year and you get the threads.
Obviously the LP system should be done, or at least thoroughly checked, by a licensed gas fitter. Carbon monoxide can kill you. If you are not good with electrical stuff or plumbing, find a friend who is, or hire the work out.
If you tackled building a teardrop you should be well on your way to a resto of an Airstream, IMHO.
There are some good threads on what to look for and determining if the trailer you are looking at is priced appropriately for it's condition.
Once you have your rig:
Start from the ground up.
List what you think you can tackle, and call in suckers-oops, I mean friends-to help when more than two hands are needed, or they have skills you may not (like woodworking or sewing for example).
In fact, all the questions you asked have answers, (sometimes many more than 1, pick your poison), in the forums. Use the search function, check out restoration threads, look at pictures. Aerowood, Pbsailor, Frank, Shari, Uwe, Marzboy, etc. etc. etc., too many wonderful threads to list, they all have done amazing work, and it is all documented for us peons to learn from.
The beauty is that it is not a huge house, it's little, has a large satisfaction quotient, has no time-limit, unless you impose one, and has value when you are done.
Have fun looking!
Leonie
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Old 03-30-2014, 08:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flygrrl View Post
Hi Jim, welcome to the forum.
I hope you find the perfect AS for your needs.
It seems as if the smaller, pre '69 trailers are the most coveted, due to the thicker aircraft aluminum, quality of materials and are lighter and easier to tow. There is lots of information on the forums to help you narrow your search to a specific model and year range. Check out the model listings at the very bottom of the forum page, when you click on a model, there is a list of the years, click on a year and you get the threads.
Obviously the LP system should be done, or at least thoroughly checked, by a licensed gas fitter. Carbon monoxide can kill you. If you are not good with electrical stuff or plumbing, find a friend who is, or hire the work out.
If you tackled building a teardrop you should be well on your way to a resto of an Airstream, IMHO.
There are some good threads on what to look for and determining if the trailer you are looking at is priced appropriately for it's condition.
Once you have your rig:
Start from the ground up.
List what you think you can tackle, and call in suckers-oops, I mean friends-to help when more than two hands are needed, or they have skills you may not (like woodworking or sewing for example).
In fact, all the questions you asked have answers, (sometimes many more than 1, pick your poison), in the forums. Use the search function, check out restoration threads, look at pictures. Aerowood, Pbsailor, Frank, Shari, Uwe, Marzboy, etc. etc. etc., too many wonderful threads to list, they all have done amazing work, and it is all documented for us peons to learn from.
The beauty is that it is not a huge house, it's little, has a large satisfaction quotient, has no time-limit, unless you impose one, and has value when you are done.
Have fun looking!
Leonie
Leonie.

Older Airstream trailers had thinner metal than today's production, and certainly not thicker than today.

The lower sides back then was .032 inches and now it's .040 inches.

Andy
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Old 03-30-2014, 04:55 PM   #4
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casa grande , Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flygrrl View Post
Hi Jim, welcome to the forum.
I hope you find the perfect AS for your needs.
It seems as if the smaller, pre '69 trailers are the most coveted, due to the thicker aircraft aluminum, quality of materials and are lighter and easier to tow. There is lots of information on the forums to help you narrow your search to a specific model and year range. Check out the model listings at the very bottom of the forum page, when you click on a model, there is a list of the years, click on a year and you get the threads.
Obviously the LP system should be done, or at least thoroughly checked, by a licensed gas fitter. Carbon monoxide can kill you. If you are not good with electrical stuff or plumbing, find a friend who is, or hire the work out.
If you tackled building a teardrop you should be well on your way to a resto of an Airstream, IMHO.
There are some good threads on what to look for and determining if the trailer you are looking at is priced appropriately for it's condition.
Once you have your rig:
Start from the ground up.
List what you think you can tackle, and call in suckers-oops, I mean friends-to help when more than two hands are needed, or they have skills you may not (like woodworking or sewing for example).
In fact, all the questions you asked have answers, (sometimes many more than 1, pick your poison), in the forums. Use the search function, check out restoration threads, look at pictures. Aerowood, Pbsailor, Frank, Shari, Uwe, Marzboy, etc. etc. etc., too many wonderful threads to list, they all have done amazing work, and it is all documented for us peons to learn from.
The beauty is that it is not a huge house, it's little, has a large satisfaction quotient, has no time-limit, unless you impose one, and has value when you are done.
Have fun looking!
Leonie
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer, Leonie. I will take your advice. And I hope to visit more in the forums.
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Old 03-30-2014, 05:15 PM   #5
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Learn to use the SEARCH function - top right, just under "welcome".

Use Google Search too. Start with "Airstream full monte"

Tow vehicles and hitches - start endless threads 100 people with 300 opinions.
(there are too many decent options.)

Oh, WELCOME HERE! May the force be with you.


Really good advice? Don't squat if you're wearing spurs.

Paula
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Old 03-30-2014, 06:32 PM   #6
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Hi Jim and welcome to the forum! One of the best "helps" available is the Vintage Trailer Academy held in Albuquerque, NM (fairly close to you), May 1-4 this year. Search the forum for details, but sign up if there are still openings! Experts lead the seminars, hands-on training is the usual, and questions are welcomed and answered. Plus it is a lot of fun, parts are often available, and you meet a lot of people with similar interests, I.e., vintage Airstreams!

Hope to see you there!

Vivian
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:53 PM   #7
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1962 19' Globetrotter
Winchester , Ontario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Leonie.

Older Airstream trailers had thinner metal than today's production, and certainly not thicker than today.

The lower sides back then was .032 inches and now it's .040 inches.

Andy
Oops, my bad, thanks Andy!
Leonie
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:58 PM   #8
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1962 19' Globetrotter
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Jim, Don't forget to 'just have fun' on the forum too.
Check out the Argue Thread and Sex in an Airstream (I think you can still find it) for some real belly laughs.
Leonie
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:13 AM   #9
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casa grande , Arizona
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Originally Posted by flygrrl View Post
Jim, Don't forget to 'just have fun' on the forum too.
Check out the Argue Thread and Sex in an Airstream (I think you can still find it) for some real belly laughs.
Leonie
I think I had best stay away from the "argue thread". I have way too much fun doing that sort of thing online and no matter what the bone of contention you usually upset at least half the folks. Playing nice might better serve me here, lol.
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Old 04-01-2014, 07:29 PM   #10
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Heya Jim, it's not really an argue thread in the dictionary definition of 'argue' but it is very entertaining.
Leonie
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