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Old 10-18-2014, 01:35 PM   #1
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Lebanon , Indiana
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retired, transition to full time

I am retired and want to airstream full time for a while, a long while. I am budgeting $1000 a month for 18 mos starting in Jan 2015, with a June 2016 launch date. I plan to read this site over the course of these 18 months.

I would like to buy an airstream with lots of window space, strip it and design my own space.

I have taken a job at a metal manufacturing company to learn to weld and generally work with metal. I am a retired Army pilot, but was an aircraft mechanic for the first 7 of my 25 years.

I am looking for some sort of a planning guide that would enable me to properly plan for water tanks, wiring (including internet and 2 smart tvs, better space age insulation, solar power that would enable extended boondocking, generator on board, heat and cool.

I am planning to buy cabinents and granite looking (but not weighing) countertops. Instead of a dining area I see in 25-27 ft models, I plan to have a desk with window view (where I spend most of my time writing and reading).

Now I realize that is a tall order but I am thick skinned (after 25 years in Army) so take the gloves off and let me have it. Any and all advice is welcomed.
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Old 10-18-2014, 01:55 PM   #2
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Welcome to Air Forums. You've certainly come to the right place to find information you'll need for your project. If you don't find it here you'll find references to other places that will have the information you need.

I am not aware of a single text that describes everything you've described. If it exists I'm sure somebody here will let you know. Otherwise, search the forums, go to rallies (even if you don't have a trailer) to meet people and generally scour these pages to learn.

Good luck!
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Old 10-18-2014, 02:06 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forums.

You've signed up for an interesting journey! Here is another resource for you to investigate:

The Vintage Airstream Podcast | Vintage Trailer Restoration
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Old 10-18-2014, 02:09 PM   #4
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Here is a book for you to consider which can be found on the site I identified in the previous post:

Restoring a Dream
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Old 10-18-2014, 02:26 PM   #5
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Welcome to the nut farm.

It's a good start that you have capable mechanical qualities or are willing to learn them however you may find it better to leave certain things well enough alone.

If I were you I would find a model or model year that closely resembles your ideal start point as far as bathroom placement and shower goes. Monkeying around with new waste water tanks and plumbing isn't easy, as some of the waste water tanks can be quite intricate in design to maximize volume, minimize space and fit around axles or such.

Take care to resist the urge to throw everything out. The interior gables in my coach were vinyl clad aluminum sheet with paper board (paper on edge sandwidged between two pieces of very thin backer laminate). It would be very difficult if not impossible to make new gables as light or durable as the originals, so I bought new vinyl and had them reclad. They look and feel brand new.

As a person who recently renovated a 310 diesel motorhome I can attest to how hard it is to creating cabinets that function and yet trying to be as light as possible (I'm a cabinetmaker by trade). I ended up building just a face frame out of pine with gables only deep enough to mount my slides and no bottoms or tops where I didn't need them. I even built two back cabinets that have a laminated maghogany plywood sub core (light) top with white laminate and two gables holding my drawer slides behind a face frame. No backs or bottoms at all.

The biggest concern you will have is weight distribution. Be careful where you add weight and by how much. I recently read a thread were someone had moved his battery compartment to the back of the trailer and renovated his rear bathroom with tile and granite countertops. His trailer ended up being untowable as there was too much weight behind the axles.

Goodluck and don't be shy asking for help.
Cheers
Tony
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Old 10-19-2014, 12:48 PM   #6
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Hello Mr. Keaton !

I envy you and your full time plan. Maybe an Airstream 10 to 25 years old would make the job a little easier. They have good waste water tanks, good plumbing and good electrical systems. You might find one that's been well cared for and doesn't leak much. I'd want as much room as possible for indoor comfort. Think 30 footer or even 34. Check out the Classifieds in these Forums.

I don't know for sure, but I see full timers in the campgrounds I visit. I see larger propane tanks and insulated water lines, skirts around the bottom of the trailers, and lots of stuff stored around the trailer. The view out the window is right into the next trailer site. It ain't everything. Try it for a while and see if you like it.

When we travel, we are "on vacation" and exploring new territory. So we are away most of the day and crash at night. We meet a lot of nice folks like us. Rarely we end up next to a "nuisance" neighbor, if so we simply move on the next morning, no problem. Many state parks are very good, but not available for extended stays, unless you might like to "work camp" for the season. Airstream rallies and caravans are a whole different social gathering and quite fun.

I'd guess renovating an old Airstream to your liking is a 1000 hour project at least, and probably $10,000 in parts depending on its needs. At least that would be my starting point.

Welcome to the Airstream community. I've certainly enjoyed the "hobby" through the years. These Forums are full of all kinds of people who have done what you are about to do. I'll bet they are willing to help answer your questions.

David
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:58 AM   #7
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Best of luck

After 6 years full time in a 43' Allegro Bus we have hung up the keys, sold the bus bought a 30 AS, truck and house. I'm gutting the interior for lighter part time use and not touching the major systems. I look forward to follow your progress. Good luck and be safe out there.
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Old 10-20-2014, 10:58 AM   #8
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The information is all there but scattered about. Perhaps you could synthesize it as part of your experience and write a detailed book. I'm a buyer.

Good luck! Great idea and great adventure.

Cheers,
John
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Old 10-20-2014, 11:03 AM   #9
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Also... A great way to fulltime is to volunteer at National Parks, State Parks, NFS, BLM, etc. There are many types of openings. A good place to look around is volunteer.gov.
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Old 10-20-2014, 11:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k.r.keaton View Post
I am looking for some sort of a planning guide that would enable me to properly plan for water tanks, wiring (including internet and 2 smart tvs, better space age insulation, solar power that would enable extended boondocking, generator on board, heat and cool.
There may be some Recreational Vehicle Industry Association guides that you could buy.

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association: Store

If you want to do it right, it's best to go straight to the people that developed the standards in the first place.
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Old 10-21-2014, 07:31 AM   #11
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Thanks too all. What a welcoming community you all seem to be. Following up on this Shepard guy seems like the next turn in my path. The book and his podcast will be digested thoroughly over the winter. Looking forward to learning from y'all. Can't wait to see ya out there!


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