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Old 09-28-2004, 03:50 PM   #1
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Cool need help with concerned husband

My husband and I just came from looking at a '68 overlander that has been in a field for 9 years.The shell is in good condition but has some scrapes.There is no sign of leaks inside.The inside needs a good cleaning and some new things.It has always been our dream to take something like this and restore it.But,now my husband is not sure we're up to the task.He has concerns about getting into the wiring and plumbing without destroying the inside.He also is concerned about repairing the scrapes on the outside.
It is very reasonably priced and will not last long.Help me convince him we can do it.names of good web sights and books would be helpful.Thanks.

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Old 09-28-2004, 05:21 PM   #2
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1980 31' Excella II
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to the right place! You will not find much more information in any other single location that you have right here. And if all else fails you can ask a question, post a picture and usually get a decent reply; that if nothing else will get you headed in the right direction. If you run a search you will see that there are a multitude of trailers in various states of rehab, everything from "shell off tore the thing completely apart", to those fortunate few that bought a unit that only needs to have the LP tanks filled. BTW before I forget my manners...Welcome to the forum!


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Old 09-28-2004, 05:31 PM   #3
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1973 31' Sovereign
Portland , Oregon
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A lot of the things are accessible...

Some things to think about...

One thing I have observed about AS trailers is that things are generally more accessible than they are in a regular house. My rig is a 1973 so it could be different on the model that you are looking at but probably not too much. In general you can get to most of the plumbing by either removing panels or by removing part of the belly pan (the bottom skin of the trailer). Most of the electrical wiring on my unit passes down the middle of the trailer ceiling. The middle ceiling panel is removable without having to take apart of lot of things. If you have to make repairs I think you could fairly easily fish a new wire down the wall from the center without too much trouble. All the appliances and fittings are removable and most all of them can be replaced. The harder things to get exact replacements for are some of the more AS specific stuff.

Sitting in a field for 9 years might have been an attraction for pests to take up residence. Check out the inside of the trailer for odors as a place to start. Probably you should consider having to open up the belly pan to make sure everything underneath is OK as a part of your restoration work anyway. That is not really all that hard but it can be a bit dirty. If the trailer has not been leaking you may be in luck without having any floor problems to fix. You will be able to assess that from underneath without having to remove anything from above. Repairs might involve removing things above the floor depending on how extensive the repairs are that you need. At least you can tell without having to take everything apart. Major floor repair is probably the worst thing that you could encounter since pretty much everything is in the way. There is a lot of information about floor repair from minor to major in these forums so you can get the help you need if it comes to that. Before you buy the AS you can at least carefully look for soft spots in the floor. Check especially around the outside edges, near the door and the windows. Some types of leaks let water run down the inside of the wall and pool on the floor without showing up much anywhere else. Those are the kind you want to look for.

Take a close look at the axle or axles. They may need to be replaced if they have sagged too much with sitting. There is a lot of information in the threads here about that but in general the swing arms behing the wheels should be pointing downward at least some (down from the axle cross member to the end where the wheel attaches). Check out the info about axles on the Inland RV web site below:

By the way they are a good source for a lot of otherwise hard to find parts.

I have read on these forums that the tires are pretty much guarnteed to be toast if they have been sitting that long.

You don't necessarily have to fix everything at once either. Some of the cosmetic things on the outside may be able to wait if you can get the AS usable.

I hope this helps some,

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Old 09-28-2004, 08:08 PM   #4
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Hello, New2, again, welcome to the forum. I'm especially glad to see more Missourians looking Airstream! You say you've had a dream for a long time. . .so did many of us, and if you read much in the past posts, you'll see that for the most part, we now are living our dreams, having found the trailer or motorhome that fits our needs- ready to roll, in need of a total redo, or somewhere inbetween. As said so well above, you'll find an incredible amount of information here on this forum and the most helpful people imaginable to talk and walk you through your questions and repairs. Best wishes in making your decision. If not this one, . . .you'll probably see another down the road, once you start looking! Somehow, one seems to come to you. . .once you open your minds to the possibility of adding an Airstream to your "family!"
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Old 09-29-2004, 08:36 AM   #5
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What, doesn't everyone have to dismantle there trailer?!?!!?!
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Old 09-29-2004, 09:13 AM   #6
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
Glendale , Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Originally Posted by new2rving
My husband and I just came from looking at a '68 overlander that has been in a field for 9 years.The shell is in good condition but has some scrapes.There is no sign of leaks inside.The inside needs a good cleaning and some new things.It has always been our dream to take something like this and restore it.But,now my husband is not sure we're up to the task.He has concerns about getting into the wiring and plumbing without destroying the inside.He also is concerned about repairing the scrapes on the outside.
It is very reasonably priced and will not last long.Help me convince him we can do it.names of good web sights and books would be helpful.Thanks.
My husband and I bought a 1956 AS trailer, has been sitting a long time too. First thing we did was get it home, that involved buying a set of take off wheels (from another trailer that ended up with new, pretty wheels) at a wheel and tire shop, they were nice enough to throw in some used tires...I didn't bother with new tires, because the trailer is going to be sitting for a bit here, as we repair it. There were a mix match of truck wheels and tires, all flat on the trailer. I'll bother with new tires when it's ready for the road. The next step was cleaning, from the ceiling down. There's been a few mice making a castle out of the space between the shell and the interior. We have decided to tear the whole interior out..well, not tear, because we want it original, and everything's in Excellent shape. Neither of us are experts, but with experience in restoring a few vehicles, being Mrs Fixit at the ol homestead, and all the wonderful posts by people on this forum, I have no doubts that we can handle this job. The last thing I will do, is polish the shell, I figure that will be the crowning glory to our restored Airstream. Best of luck with your choice, and welcome to the forum.
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Old 09-29-2004, 10:24 AM   #7
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Welcome New 2

Part of your decision (and maybe your concern):

Is this the right size for us?

Are we going to use the vehicle we already have? This may limit what weight you can safely handle..(lots of info on this forum - use search)

How important is 'vintage' and how ready for use do you "really" want.
ie I sold a '63 and bought a '90 unit after thinking "this is too much".

Info as to value is available as well.

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Old 10-04-2004, 07:29 PM   #8
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I don't want to convince you and he to do it. I want to give you some thoughts that will help you make your decision. We have a 66 Safari and it's pretty similiar to the 68 OL. Here goes:

Plumbing can be replaced without destroying or even dismantling much of the coach. Airstream made these beauties to be taken apart from the inside out, so they can come apart rather easily to make repairs. The plumbing is almost all easily accessed from the inside of the camper without taking things apart. It's currently copper, so you may want to replace with PEX. I'll let you look that up here on the board and internet. Check the water pump. If you are not handy with plumbing, you may need a plumber to do the work.

Electrical: If the wiring is bad, and this is EXTREMELY unlikely, you WILL have to remove all cabinets and the inner skin. That option scares the willies out of me. BUT, I bet the wiring is fine, but get a new battery, bring it and hook it up. Make sure all lights work and the water pump fires up. Exterior lighting is actually easier, as there are access panels underneath, but you probably will need an RV repair person to do this. Also, plug it into 120V and make sure the outlets work, and the AC, if it has one.

One last thing, and this is important: Open the hatch outside at the back. Look right under the door, at the wood floor inside, right where the shell meets it. If there is any rot whatsoever you are the way to rear end separation. This has several consequences. 1)Shell movement adds to water seeping in from the bumper, this really happens 2)If it gets bad it can cause the shell to wrinkle over the wheels - this can also be a sign of separation 3)The black tank is supported by a sheet metal pan attached to the floor at this junction and if the rot is right there the tank can start to become detached and cause a lot of problems.

My bottom line is this: If the rot is not present and the floor inside the service hatch is solid all the way to the shell, then this is a sound coach - provided you heed the advice about the axles. The plumbing is a minor system that can be fixed easily by anyone familiar with plumbing or any plumbing professional. The electrical wiring shouldn't be a problem. You may need to replace fuses or fixtures but the wiring is pretty protected.

This is a 36 year old coach, so go over it with a fine tooth comb. Look over the problem spots that everyone has mentioned. And if you're willing to restore it and understand what that means then it should be a great time!

BTW, the scrapes on the outside are yours to keep, there's nothing you can really do. Heavy dents are what you really need to be concerned about, they would need expensive replacements.

Good luck! And is it a twin or double?


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