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Originally Posted by Maya
I just purchased a 62 Globetrotter and am wondering where to begin. I'm not really sure what is original and what's not. I'd like to get rid of the carpeting, lay some fun linoleum, strip the interior aluminum or paint it a vibrant color. Some of the wood in the front has old water stains & delamination and I was thinking of just using it as a template and replacing it with a warmer more atractive wood. Bathroom sink is in pretty much the same shape. I'd also like to replace the nasty vinyl bath door? I'm not nuts on the formica countertop and was thinking of substituting materials. Also there's a light I can't belive is original above the sink that looks like a cheapo florescent that I'd like to get rid of. The curtains and cushions are missing. There's a sill/shelf under the front window at the dinette that I don't believe is original and would like to lose. What do you think of these changes? Are they criminal? Any one have an original floorplan? I have the Ohio model.
Something you might want to consider before actually jumping into a project is to do a thorough assessment of the coach so that you know just what needs to be done. The cosmetic issues can be easily seen, but there are other systems that need to be stabilized before getting involved in cosmetics. The general consensus is to start at the bottom and work your way up in doing the assessment. Some areas where you will want to focus your attention might include:
1.) Axle, bearings, brakes, tires. Your coach should have a Henschen DuraTorque axle. Quite frequently these axles are either worn out or have taken a set to the point where replacment is necessary for safety as well as the long-term health of the coach (a worn axle can literally shake the rivets out of the coach's panels). A guide that can help you to assess the condition of your axle can be found at: The DuraTorque Axle
. Brakes and bearings are familiar trailer pieces that are far from unique and require the service typical of electric drum brakes. Tires and wheels can become an issue, especially if the coach happens to have split rims (the general consensus is to replace split rims as few tire stores will service these wheels in today's environment) - - the tires need to be an ST (special trailer) tire with weight rating sufficient for your coach. Also, be prepared for an argument from your tire retailer - - many won't want to balance your trailer wheel/tire unless you demand that it be done - - there is also a consensus that it is advisable to insist upon metal valve stems as well.
2.) Frame and outriggers. While it isn't terribly common, frame repairs can be needed on Vintage coaches - - especially to outriggers (run from main frame rails to ouside edge of coach). In a worse case scenario, a failed outrigger can puncture the banana wrap but will typically result in a "springy" area in a perimeter edge of the floor (the outriggers near the battery and refrigerator seem most prone to problems). With the bellypan in place, it can be difficult to assess the frame, but an indicator of potential problems can be found by rapping on the frame rails with a rubber mallet - - a resonant sound of gravel grating on the aluminum can be an indicator of hidden rust problems.
3.) A-Frame hitch and running lights. It isn't uncommon to find the coupler to be in need of rebuilding. Inland RV offers a rebuild kit for the 2" Marvel couplers that were typical for the early 1960s coaches. Most problems with running lights on the coach can be attributed to ground or corrossion difficulties at the individual fixtures (cleaning, sealing, and replacing bulbs usually takes care of these issues). The junction box for the umbilical cord (usually a rectangular patch in the bellypan near one of the "A-Frame" members) often can have issues with corrosion where the various wires have been spliced/joined - - again cleaning and refreshing these unions can solve a number of problems. The Bargman connector can also be a source of problems due to corrrossion if its contacts haven't been cleaned and inspected recently.
4.) Floor. The floor is a critical part of the coach as it is a major part of the structural integrity of the body. The perimeter of the floor needs to be inspected for the presence of rot as do the areas of the floor where rot is often found - - near refrigerator, near fresh water tank, near water heater, near battery compartment, near shower/bathtub, near toilet, near entry door, near exterior storage compartment doors, as well as under windows. A sharp awl used as a probe should help to identify any soft spots. If you happen to find soft spots or worse yet, holes; you will find a variety of posts on these issues by using the Forums search function.
5.) Sealing exterior and openings. Periodically, these coaches need attention to joints to prevent leaks as well as new gaskets and seals for windows, doors, compartment openings, and penetrations through the roof. Even on a well-maintained coach, you will likely find that some of these will need attention.
6.)Major appliances and LP system. This is where an RV Technician can be very helpful. I have trusted this part of my assessment to one of my favorite RV repair facilities - - the entire LP system should be pressure tested and checked for leaks and components needing replacement. This is also a good time to have the LP appliances inspected and cleared for service including the furnace, water heater, range/oven, gas lamps, refrigerator, and any other LP appliances in the coach (I also had the technician clean and adjust the refrigerator, furnace, and water heater if they were cleared for service). Also included in this area would be such things as the Air Conditioner if the coach is so equipped as well as the water pressure pump (if the coach has its original water system it is likely a pressurized system rather than demand), and the Univolt (power converter) if one has been added along the way (the Univolt or power converter did not become standard equipment until 1964
if my notes are correct).
7.) Cosmetic items both interior and exterior. This area is where the owner's personality and preferences come into play. There is far less pressure to "restore" in Vintage Airstream circles than ther is in Vintage automobile circles - - there is more of an emphasis on maintaining a safe, enjoyable coach with practical changes to enhance the coach's usefulness to its owner.
As you create an assessment list of necessary projects, you will be able to prioritize your list to get the most value from your projects. Each owner has his or her own agenda - - mine has always been to get the coach back on the road a soon as practical. For instance, the restoration/refurbishiment on my Minuet is far from finished. The assessment revealed that a water heater, Univolt, water pump, air conditioner, LP Regulator, and OPD valve upgrade were immediately needed - - so those were done so that I could begin using the coach while other projects were contracted out. After the first season, the coach received its interior refurbishment with new drapes, upholstery and foam, floor coverings, and general spruce-up. For this past season, the aging and well worn axle was replaced, stabilizer jacks were added, and a new toilet was installed. The last two major projects are painting and new awnings.
You will likely find that you have original 9" square floor tiles under your present carpeting. These tiles contain asbestos and require careful handling if they are disturbed.
The interior aluminum would have originally had a coating called Zolatone - - it is something like the spatter paint utilized in the trunks of cars contemporary to our trailers. Zolatone is a very durable finish that can clean-up amazingly well - - if you decide to strip the Zolatone be prepared for a job as it takes a powerful stripper to persuade the Zolatone to depart. Zolatone is still available if you decide that you want a different color combination - - there are at least a few Forum member who have reported spraying new Zolatone finishes in their coaches.
The interior cabinet grade veneer plywoods were of various species depending upon the model year, factory where produced, and the desire of the original purchaser. It is generally easier to try to match the species of the existing cabinetry rather than to try something different - - especially in a smaller coach where the differeing color/grain may be much more noticeable. It may be that the original finishes have darkened on the existing cabinetry - - I was absolutely amazed by what a thorough cleaning and resealing with WATCO oil did for my Overlander - - the original Oak veneer cabinetry turned out beautifully, and the panels that required replacement due to a previous owner's ill advised attempt at remodeling blend in such that it is almost impossible to determine what is and isn't original.
The bathroom is one area where restoration is an "easier' path. The components are unique to Airstream, and modern equivalents typically are not available. The same processes utilized to refinish home bathrooms can be applied to the Airstream bathroom. A local bathroom refinisher completely refinished my Overlander's bathroom including the repair of any cracks or damage and changing the color from the original avacado green to antique pewter.
When you refer to the bath door, I am not sure whether you are referring to the accordion shower door or the accordian door that separates the bath from the balance of the coach. The accordian shower door is something that is virtually impossible to replace so many (including me) have resorted to installing a track on the cieling and installing a shower curtain similar to what is used in some later model Airstream coaches. The accordian door that separates the bathroom from the balance of the coach can be handled in any one of several ways. It is possible to find modern replacements in most home improvement centers that can be modified to fit the opening; or it is possible to have an upholsterer replicate the original utilizing a fabric of your choice (be prepared as this is labor intensive - - I was quoted a price of nearly $225 for one of the doors in my Overlander in a material to match my upholstery). In my Minuet, I had a double-sided drape made of the same material as that used to upholster the lounges that is mounted to the track where the original door would have been found.
If the light that you have found is flourescent, it IS NOT original in a '62 coach. Virtually all if not all of the lights would have had at least two bulbs (at least one for 12-volt and at least one for 120-volt AC). Finding an original fixture is not impossible, but will take some searching. There are a variety of aftermarket fixtures available from RV as well as boating suppliers that might be workable for your design. I utilized some fixtures similar to those found in current Airstreams when it came time to deal with some of the light fixtures in my coach that were beyond restoration.
The wood shelf found under the front window is usually an indicator that the coach originally had a front lounge. The wood shelf supported the back of the lounge when it was in its "day-use" position (the filler cushion the helped complete the bed when the lounge is opened stored between the wall and the back of the lounge under the wood shelf in many coaches). I suspect that your coach may very well have started out life with a front lounge (with free-standing drop-leaf dinette table) rather than a typical RV dinette - - the basic configuration shown for the Globetrotter in my ;64 literature shows the lounge with drop-leaf table.
Drapes and cushions shouldn't be too much of a problem as they are both generally "must-replace" items in most restoration/refurbishment projects. The draperies can be ordered from James P. Ambruso, Inc. - - Airstream & Argosy Draperies
. Fowler Interiors also make beautiful drapes for Airstreams and Argosy coaches (they handled the interior restoration/refurbishment on both of my coaches), but they prefer to make the drapes to their measurements which mean the coach nearly needs to be taken to their shop near Paducah, Kentucky. Typically, a good upholsterer can design cushions to fit the openings since you don't have the originals for patterns, this is one area where there are an amazing number of choices and you will either need to locate an upholsterer that you can trust or research the various manufacturers and their grading processes - - the quality or lack there of will be readily apparent on the first long trip taken in the coach after its upholstery is completed.
Good luck with your coach!