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Old 06-06-2011, 11:22 PM   #1
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Question Clipper Deluxe restoration

Could someone please give me a general ideal of how much time and money it would take to restore a 1950's(we think) clipper deluxe? The appliances seem to still work, BUT(and its a big one) there is a lot of dry rot in the bathroom, so the floor at a minimum needs replaced.


My wifes Grandfather said we could have the trailer. But after reading through this forum, i'm not even sure its a realistic project. My wife really wants to try though.
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:31 PM   #2
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Also, in case it's relevant

We don't really care about keeping it original.
I'm good with cabinetry and woodworking
I'm an electrician
But i have limited experience with plumping
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:36 PM   #3
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A big factor is cost is how much work can you do yourself and how much will be hired out. Several hundred hours if not a thousand including polishing. Parts, rough estimate $10,000, labor, yourself $0, hired out $50 to $100 per hour.

Bill

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Could someone please give me a general ideal of how much time and money it would take to restore a 1950's(we think) clipper deluxe? The appliances seem to still work, BUT(and its a big one) there is a lot of dry rot in the bathroom, so the floor at a minimum needs replaced.


My wifes Grandfather said we could have the trailer. But after reading through this forum, i'm not even sure its a realistic project. My wife really wants to try though.
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:43 PM   #4
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A big factor is cost is how much work can you do yourself and how much will be hired out. Several hundred hours if not a thousand including polishing. Parts, rough estimate $10,000, labor, yourself $0, hired out $50 to $100 per hour.

Bill
We'll i was hoping it was going to be under $5000. Are the parts pretty hard to find?
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:54 PM   #5
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It's not realistic.....give the trailer to me for free......
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:08 AM   #6
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The parts seem to work, but do they? Floor replacement, new wiring, insulation, paint on the inside, cabinet rebuilding. The old fridge is 110V only, do you want to live with that or have the availability to camp without hookups. Your trailer has no holding tanks, you need them if you camp without hookups. It goes on and on, but you will have a unique trailer with family history.

See what someone else says.

Bill

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We'll i was hoping it was going to be under $5000. Are the parts pretty hard to find?
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:44 AM   #7
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Bill is being fairly realistic here, though I think his cost estimate a bit low...
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:33 AM   #8
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The parts seem to work, but do they? Floor replacement, new wiring, insulation, paint on the inside, cabinet rebuilding. The old fridge is 110V only, do you want to live with that or have the availability to camp without hookups. Your trailer has no holding tanks, you need them if you camp without hookups. It goes on and on, but you will have a unique trailer with family history.

See what someone else says.

Bill

Cabinetry, and wiring is no problem. I'm good at both, and have all the tools. The plumbing makes me nervous though. By holding tanks do you mean fresh water and sewer? Forgive my ignorance, i know nothing camping trailers.
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:12 PM   #9
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Actually three tanks, fresh, toilet (aka black) and sink/shower (aka gray or wash). The plumbing is not difficult, check out a few restoration threads on this site. You biggest problem might be location of the tanks for weight distribution purposes. You will also need a water pump and how about air conditioning?

Bill

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Cabinetry, and wiring is no problem. I'm good at both, and have all the tools. The plumbing makes me nervous though. By holding tanks do you mean fresh water and sewer? Forgive my ignorance, i know nothing camping trailers.
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:13 PM   #10
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Plumbing is actually pretty easy, especially for water and wastewater, someone with basic DIY skills can do this with modern tools and equipment like PEX instead of the original copper.

The plumbing for propane gas is trickier, might be best to hire it out if you're not comfortable with it and it would require several hours which adds up to $$$ though parts are fairly inexpensive.

You can build out most of your trailer with parts you find at hardware/plumbing/big box stores. If you're experienced and comfortable with the cabinetry and eletrical, you'll be able to estimate your time and expenses on your own for that.

Right off, $5K is going to be too low. A minimum of $10K parts alone is probably more like it, and if you have to replace the axle and other running gear, it'll go well above that.

But I think you might be putting the cart before the horse-- first, it sounds to me like you need a basic RV primer on systems/usage. There is probably already one here somewhere in the Forums, but a quick search didn't turn one up, so I'll do my best to help.

There are two basic ways to use an RV:

1) Full Hookups. This would include being hooked up to some external "city water" supply via a garden hose style attachment that is supplied by the campground on a utility post alongside the parking pad, and sends water to all of the faucets and systems inside your RV via standard city water pressure, just like a standard home. A full hookup site would also include either a 30A or 50A 110VAC electrical supply to run all the AC systems on board, this connects to a cable from inside the RV that runs into the RV's breaker box. And finally, a full hookup site would include sewage hookups to evacuate both black water (your toilet water) and gray water (shower, sinks).

2) Partial or No Hookups. This would exclude one or all of the above. The absence of all hookups is often called "dry camping" and/or "boondocking" for various reasons that are probably obvious. This means you'll need to source everything from on-board your own RV, and you'll need to store all of your outputs/waste as well. A lot of campsites that offer 30A electrical and city water, but don't offer sewage hookups, so you'd need a black tank to store the toilet water, and probably a gray tank to store shower/sink waste. The next step of campsite usually omits the electrical as well as city water. So you'd need an on-board freshwater tank to store water for showers/cleaning dishes and the like (many people carry extra bottled water for drinking and don't drink from the RV faucets at all). And to have electricity within your RV, you'' either need to run a generator that plugs into the exterior 30A 100VAC electrical cable, or you'll need a 12V battery that runs various 12VDC lights/appliances within the RV (this is standard, pretty much all RVs have 12VDC electrical systems that parallel the 110VAC systems.

So, your choices in renovation are going to be driven by how you desire to use your camper. If you plan on doing a lot of dry camping, you're going to need different systems than if you plan always to plug into a full hookup RV resort. Personally, I like to change things up so I need the versatility of having the option of doing completely dry camping, or having full hookups.

The basic systems are:

1) Freshwater. The freshwater system has two sources, as discussed above. Either a city water connection from the outside, or the freshwater tank which uses a pump to move water within the coach.

2) Waste Water. For modern RVs, the drain of the toilet goes into a blackwater tank which stores the waste until you're ready to dump. If you're not at a full hookup site with sewage, then most campgrounds and some truck stops have a dump station to dump your sewage.

For modern RVs, the drain of the shower and sinks goes into a gray tank, which is either plumbed directly to sewage hookup at a full hookup site, or is stored in the gray tank until you reach a dump station.

3) 110VAC Electrical. For smaller RVs this is typically 30A. For those giant bus-style RVs with 2 or 3 air conditioners and 20 flat panel plasma TVs, they use 50A. The 110VAC is used to run lights within your RV, and can also be used to operate a refrigerator, the water pump, the water heater, microwave, air conditioner, TVs, DVD players, and other various appliances.

4) 12VDC Electrical. This is tied to the battery, most modern RVs come with a 12V deep cycle marine battery. When plugged into 110VAC, modern RVs use a converter/charger to run the electrical systems on-board and to charge up the battery. When not plugged into 110VAC, then the 12VDC battery runs various lights, fans, and other electrical items on the RV, including some RV refrigerators that are specially designed for DC operation.

5) Propane gas. Typically used to provide fuel for stove, oven, water heater, furnace, and RV-style refrigerators. Older vintage RVs also sometimes had a lantern-style light or two inside that run off the gas. Modern RVs usually have two propane tanks mounted to the tongue, these are most likely 20# or 30# tanks each. Airstreamers like to get two 30# aluminum tanks and polish them, it looks great.

6) Running gear. This includes the axle(s), springs/shocks/struts, brakes, wheels, tires, and anything else involved in the driving of the RV. On vintage RVs like yours, typically some or all of this needs to be replaced.

7) Structure. This is the frame (possibly, even likely rusted at this age), the subfloor (possibly, in fact very likely rotted at this age), and all of the various fasteners and such. This will need to be assessed and addressed ASAP to make sure your Airstream is structurally sound.

I think that's the basics. So as you can tell, how you want to use the RV will determine which systems you might want to replace, leave alone, eliminate completely (I tossed my furnace, no need for it down here in Texas).

Hope that helps, good luck!

-Marcus
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malador View Post
Could someone please give me a general ideal of how much time and money it would take to restore a 1950's(we think) clipper deluxe? The appliances seem to still work, BUT(and its a big one) there is a lot of dry rot in the bathroom, so the floor at a minimum needs replaced.


My wifes Grandfather said we could have the trailer. But after reading through this forum, i'm not even sure its a realistic project. My wife really wants to try though.
Howdy and welcome to Airforums.com, Malador!

How neat to have an Airstream in the family! Your wife is right; this could become something that you are able to pass on down to your children, too!

As for the restoration, all the numbers and ideas are accurate, and you are getting some of the best people on this site giving you advice already.

But, consider these points:
  • You don't need ANY tanks if you go to an RV camp
  • It only needs to be clean and safe inside to camp
  • A 110V fridge will work Just Fine at that RV camp

So: don't try to do it all in one session! Lay out what has to be done now so that you are safe and reasonably comfortable. Do it, and then go camping!

Over the winter, map out what you want to improve for next year, do it, then go camping again next year!

I didn't buy a 34-year-old trailer to have a repair project, I bought it to go camping. It has turned out to be some of each, camping and repair, but I try to keep reminding myself to have fun with it, as well as fix it up. Ask yourself why you and your wife want to have this trailer...

Surely it isn't just to have a new repair hobby, is it? Look at it this way: you're about to get it for free, so it can only go up in value as you slowly do all those things listed in the posts above. But in the meanwhile, there is NOTHING to stop you from using it!

And hey, let's see the photos: you need to document it as you make it better. Many detailed photos will allow the people on here to help you with your work on it.
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:41 PM   #12
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Wow you guys are great. I really didn't expect to get this much information. I'll be going back to where the Clippers currently being stored in about a month. I plan on taking lots of pictures, and probably working on the running gear so it's safe to tow back at least.
Thanks again!
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