Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-23-2014, 08:08 AM   #1
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar

 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 300
Considering a rehab? Rank Amateur's renovation

I decided to blog (here) and cross-post here in the Airforums about my purchase and renovation of a 1956 Flying Cloud. This is a day-of-purchase photo of the Flying Cloud:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0162.jpg
Views:	789
Size:	320.6 KB
ID:	204205

Many others have blogs and online postings about their Airstream restorations (many here on the Airforums), and you might wonder what will distinguish my postings from those other online materials. The major purpose of this blog is to share my experiences as a complete neophyte to a camper trailer renovation. I started the process as a rank amateur with very little knowledge or experience in many of the skills necessary to an Airstream renovation.

So, this blog will be a catalog of what I consider to be the information most useful to persons who (1) are contemplating a trailer renovation and (2) have little or no experience in one or more of the principal tasks (or tools) involved in a renovation.

I am launching this blog in early 2014, at which time I have finished only demolition of the Flying Cloud, so I have a long way to go before I will have a completed camper. Another complication is that the Airstream is in Montana, where I spend only part of the year. In addition, when I am in Montana, life can be very busy sometimes (why be in Montana if you do not take advantage of all that it has to offer?!). Accordingly, I am confident that there will be times when I will have no postings.

In the postings below, I will (1) give some background as to my decision to purchase an Airstream, (2) describe how I found the Airstream that I purchased, (3) explain the demolition process, and (eventually) (4) describe my renovation of the trailer. Step (3) now is complete, but step (4) will be very challenging and time consuming. I feel as if my progress to date has been satisfactory (and without loss of life or limb), but I think that the demolition will prove to be the easy part.

I also am a big fan of the Vintage Trailer Academy (as it now is named), and I encourage anyone contemplating a camper trailer rehab to attend one of the annual Academy programs.

So, if you are contemplating a trailer restoration or renovation, and want to read about one amateur’s experiences, please read on. I hope this blog will provide information to help you decide whether to tackle a trailer rehab. So far, I have really enjoyed working on my trailer, but I have a long way to go! At this time (with the demolition complete), I have no regret about my decision to undertake a renovation.
__________________

__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2014, 12:26 PM   #2
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar

 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 300
Why consider a camper renovation?

I was approaching retirement, and I wanted a significant retirement project that would require me to learn new information and skills.

I am an out-of-doors person who has camped, hiked, and canoed throughout my life. Later in life, I started flyfishing for trout, and as a result of that flyfishing, my wife and I now spend part of the year in Montana.

One afternoon, while I sat at my desk in Texas, out of the blue came the idea to restore an Airstream trailer. My family had no connection to Airstreams, and I never had been inside of one, so the idea was radical.

I immediately started internet research, and I soon found this Airforums site, which proved to be an absolute treasure trove of information. My browsing through the Airforums eventually took me to the message threads concerned with the Vintage Trailer Academy (as it now is named). The VTA is offered once a year in Albuquerque, and it also is a terrific source of information about trailer restoration.

I decided to attend the VTA for information that would contribute to a better decision about whether I should buy and renovate an Airstream. In addition to all the technical information at the VTA, I met many people (on the faculty and other registrants) who were very helpful. One couple, with whom I had dinner one night, provided me an internet URL that ended up being the source of the Airstream I bought.
__________________

__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2014, 12:32 PM   #3
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar

 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 300
I decide to do it

After returning home from the Vintage Trailer Academy, I decided to go ahead with a purchase and renovation. I knew that I would have a lot to learn, but that really was one of the most appealing elements of doing an Airstream renovation.

Next, I had to decide what trailer I wanted to buy. I liked the appearance of Airstreams, so I considered only Airstreams. As to the vintage, length, model, configuration, etc., here are the factors that influenced my decision:

1. I wanted a trailer for only my wife and myself. In other words, I planned for a camper with beds for only two people. Our children are grown, and if we go camping with children and/or grandchildren, we will make arrangements for them to have their own camper or tent.
2. I wanted a relatively short trailer for easy of towing, parking, etc., that would fit in my garage.
3. I wanted a trailer long enough to have a dedicated rear sleeping area so that the beds would not have to be converted to some other use as living space during the day.
4. I wanted enough trailer length for a wet bath, as I expect to use the trailer in the Rocky Mountains for primitive camping and fishing.
5. I did not want a dinette in the front of the cabin, but I wanted enough space in the front for an L-shaped lounge that would be comfortable for reading and watching a video on a rainy day.

I concluded that 22’ would be the shortest trailer that would suit my needs.

Eventually, I decided to look for a 1950’s 13 panel. As I learned more about the Airstream trailer models, I decided to search for a “whale tail” model.
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2014, 01:09 PM   #4
Birdie Momma
 
NJtoNC's Avatar
 
1957 26' Overlander
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Vintage Kin Owner
Rutherford Co. , North Carolina
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 905
RankAm,
i will be excited to see your progress on the trailer. I suspect many of us start as amateurs and leave as ... well.. addicted, honestly. i sure am
__________________
'57 Overlander | '56 Flying Cloud | '51 Spartanette
NJtoNC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2014, 03:26 PM   #5
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar

 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 300
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJtoNC View Post
RankAm,
i will be excited to see your progress on the trailer. I suspect many of us start as amateurs and leave as ... well.. addicted, honestly. i sure am
Lauren / Adam, thanks for your post. I see from the list of your coaches that you do have a big addiction! I certainly have enjoyed myself so far. Hank
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2014, 04:42 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
64airstream's Avatar

 
1964 22' Safari
1968 26' Overlander
Beaver County , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 519
We can relate

We can relate to everything you've posted so far. An advantage you have is that you joined the forums well before you started. We found the forums after we finished. We wish you all the best and look forward to seeing your progress. We've learned that this forum is a wealth of information and knowledgable people very willing to help one another. It's a great community.
We posted our first project on 64airstream.com if you're interested. We have 't updated it for awhile with many great trips, but we'll get to that too, someday.
Enjoy the process,
Marie and Roy
__________________
64airstream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2014, 08:25 AM   #7
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar

 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 300
Quote:
Originally Posted by 64airstream View Post
We can relate to everything you've posted so far. An advantage you have is that you joined the forums well before you started. We found the forums after we finished. We wish you all the best and look forward to seeing your progress. We've learned that this forum is a wealth of information and knowledgable people very willing to help one another. It's a great community.
We posted our first project on 64airstream.com if you're interested. We have 't updated it for awhile with many great trips, but we'll get to that too, someday.
Enjoy the process,
Marie and Roy
Marie & Dave:
Thanks for your post. I agree that the Airforums site is a goldmine of information. I just browsed through your website, and I will save that link for future reference. Hank
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2014, 07:34 AM   #8
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar

 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 300
Searching for a whale tail and finding #8038

Having completed the thought process of selecting the length, vintage, and whale tail version, I set out to find a 22' whale tail. Eventually and through the internet, I found a 1956 22' Flying Cloud model whale tail for sale in western Nebraska. It was owned by a family that was (I am fairly sure) only the second owner of the trailer. The good news for me was that they had apparently kept the trailer in a barn most of the time, so it was protected from some of the elements.

I was interested in the trailer, and I decided to see the trailer on my spring drive from Texas to Montana. I made a detour into western Nebraska to see the Flying Cloud, serial number 8038.

Here are some images of the trailer at my visit:

Click image for larger version

Name:	2004_0728airstream0022.jpg
Views:	502
Size:	298.8 KB
ID:	204288

Click image for larger version

Name:	2004_0728airstream0023.jpg
Views:	511
Size:	352.5 KB
ID:	204289

Here is the interior (looking from the rear of the cabin to the front) with a double bed in the rear curbside and a front dinette (that converts to another bed):

Click image for larger version

Name:	2004_0728airstream0029.jpg
Views:	505
Size:	304.0 KB
ID:	204290

Here is the galley area:

Click image for larger version

Name:	2004_0728airstream0031.jpg
Views:	498
Size:	319.3 KB
ID:	204291


As best I could tell, the interior components (lights, oven, refrigerator, etc.) were original.
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2014, 07:51 AM   #9
Site Team
 
Aage's Avatar
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11,174
Images: 25
Not a bad looking rig for one of its age. Congrats!

Perhaps you already mentioned this, but judging by the sloped opening for the wheel, it is a California model. The serial plate should confirm this, if I'm right.

Could be just my imagination, but by any chance, is the exterior painted? The colour looks more even that I would expect, but that maybe just the lighting...
__________________
If it's to be, it's up to me.
Aage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2014, 08:09 AM   #10
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar

 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 300
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
Not a bad looking rig for one of its age. Congrats!

Perhaps you already mentioned this, but judging by the sloped opening for the wheel, it is a California model. The serial plate should confirm this, if I'm right.

Could be just my imagination, but by any chance, is the exterior painted? The colour looks more even that I would expect, but that maybe just the lighting...
Yes, it is a California model, and I am very glad to report that the exterior was not painted! That would have been another large task, and I dodged that bullet. Hank
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2014, 03:44 AM   #11
3 Rivet Member
 
cdmagda's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 100
Images: 51
Nice find...

We'll, you've done it, you picked the best looking model made to date (I'm not biased). No...really, you did find a great trailer there! The whale tail models do distinguish themselves, and personally, I think they do have something more going on style-wise. Your unit was made rather close to our '55 WT Flying Cloud (7967), but sure is in better condition than what I brought home...duck tape kept most the windows shut for the journey home, and you could climb through a hole in the bath area.
So...how's that floor of yours? Will a few patches do...or is a bigger job ahead of you? Mine was shot, requiring the whole floor to be replaced, which I did, using the body-off method. The belly had to be totally replaced also, and was done so using .040 material (it's thick, but installs looking better than thinner stock. The belly pan was the most difficult part of the restoration... I wish I had the use of a rotisserie for the frame, facilitating working from above, rather than below, on your back.
Anyhow...good luck, you have a nice one to start with. Here are some pics of my journey, so to speak. Member's Photos - Photo Gallery
__________________
cdmagda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2014, 07:09 AM   #12
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar

 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 300
cdmagda, thanks for your post and the link to your photos. As you will see in posts that I eventually will make, I was lucky and had a sound subfloor.

The belly pan was not in good shape, however, and I expect that I will have to replace a large percentage of that metal. I know that the thicker gauge metal makes lots of sense for the belly, but I will have to replace at least two of the four corner pieces, and I worry over whether I can form the .040 to a good fit. Do you have any advice on the corners?

Thanks for your comments.

Hank
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 05:33 AM   #13
3 Rivet Member
 
cdmagda's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 100
Images: 51
Belly Pan...

Concerning your belly pan corners, you will need to cut the pan off at the underside of the deck(under the banana wrap). That will enable you to hide that edge of the replacement pan, assuming the patch doesn't go beyond the banana wrap (toward the center of the trailer). The up side to .040 is that it does not create unsightly creases as easily when forming around and up to the c-channel (you will want to rivet into the c-channel for the rigidity you will need to keep that .040 in place). The replacement will lap over, rather than under, the skin of the trailer, so make good use of a quality sealant to ward off water intrusion.

-chris-
__________________
cdmagda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 07:49 AM   #14
3 Rivet Member
 
kmaggard's Avatar
 
1994 21' Sovereign
Paradise Valley , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 135
So very cool! I owned and lived in that same year and model when I was attending Arizona State University in 1975. It was in mint condition and in place of a booth it had a sofa covered in that loopy nylon type fabric. All seemed original. I would tow it out to the desert under Taliesen West in north Scottsdale for a week at a time and study. I ended up moving out of state and left it with my parents in Cottonwood, AZ and I think they sold it to someone in Camp Verde, AZ.
Makes me want to dig thru old pics now.
__________________

__________________
WBCCI# 2520
AIR# 77458
Ken and Ben the Saint
Paradise Valley, Arizona
kmaggard is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Tradewind Twin 1974 - rehab/renovation BryRedWolf 1970-79 Tradewind 10 05-11-2015 01:31 PM
total rank newbie here... katzklaw Member Introductions 10 12-18-2006 07:12 PM
amateur radio antenna for motorhome white1949 Our Community 0 01-01-2003 10:17 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by



Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:48 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.