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Old 03-15-2006, 01:07 PM   #1
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Removing interior skin-Overlander

Hey, I think we need an additional subforum in the "Interior Restoration Forum:, to wit, "interior skins"! This should include removing and replacing, cleaning, painting, removing paint, patches, etc.

Anyway, here's a *&&*&*$$% problem I just discovered on my 1972 Overlander. While removing the ceiling skin, I drilled into a wire bundle because the factory installers put a rivet (actually, two rivets) right under the wire channel! I hadn't ever seen this area, so I had no idea where the wires were, but I trusted that the factory wouldn't so such a bad bad bad thing. The other three locations in the same trailer were done properly, but now I've got to get under the end cap in order to repair the wire (yes, there were sparks).

For other newbies, notice the wire run is a relief in the rib that's about 4-1/2" wide. It may not appear that the rivet hole with the arrow is under the wire bundle, but believe me the wires are running diagonal there and they go right over it. I'd say the rivet was 1-1/2" inside the wire run area, not to mention the other rivet that was right in the middle of it, but fortunately not under the wires themselves. There is a similar relief in the rib on the other side of the area covered by the top skin, but my Overlander had no rivets there. Bottom line, if you have a rivet within 4-1/2" of the channel, in the area between the channels, be especially careful drilling it out.

I included the other two photos so that other novices could see how the top skin comes out of the channels that rund the full trailer length on both sides, eg, take out a visible rivets, then coax the skin out of the channels. You have to bow the skin downward to do this. In the longer skins you have to slip something between the skin along it's length to keep it from getting a double curve and becoming impossible to remove. I used a 1x4 piece of wood about 5 ft long, slipped it in next to the skin, then rotated it so the 4" dimension positively deflected the interior skin into a downward trough along it's entire length. Skin then came out easily.

You can see a shim still hanging in the channel in the longer-view photo. I had several of these, all retained by a rivet than can't be seen until the interior skin is down. Don't know if these shims are standard (anti-rattle, maybe? or maybe they allow the interior skin to slip more easily into the channel by hiding the rivets that retain the channel?).

Led
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Old 03-15-2006, 01:32 PM   #2
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Been there, done that. I got lucky in that the rivets and wires were seperated from one another, so no fireworks. The shims you are referrring to weren't in my '73 Overlander, but the rest of it looks pretty much like what I encountered. Good explanation of a difficult task.

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Old 03-15-2006, 07:02 PM   #3
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I guess my question is, how big a deal is it going to be to remove the end cap (bathroom end) so I can get at the wire bundle? Any other ideas on how to repair the wire will be greatly appreciated. The wire was not cut, but I would be reluctant to leave the insulation in less than 100% shape. I don't even know if it was 12 VDC or 115 VAC that I hit.

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Old 03-15-2006, 07:35 PM   #4
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I know a man who has been repairing and rebuilding Airstreams since the 50's. He says he always leaves the power on when drilling the skin. If sparks occur and something is left without power he knows where the problem occured. I do not recomend this proceedure myself, but he was quite serious.

On the insulation repair - I'm no electrician, but I have seen this self sealing silicone electrical tape in use for about 10 years now and it seems to hold up very well. http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=family

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Old 03-15-2006, 08:09 PM   #5
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If it was 12v, a blue butt-splice connector and a piece of heat shrink tube will put all things right with your wire again. If you really, really want it to be a good splice, cut the wire, slide on the heat shrink tube, solder the two pieces of wire back together, slide the heat shrink tube over the repair, and apply heat. The repair if done correctly will outlast the trailer.
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Old 03-15-2006, 08:31 PM   #6
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Use Terry's method. Takin' that endcap out is a huge, and I mean HUGE undertaking, unless you have the rest of the interior out already. Caveat: Do you have any reason to believe that there is a problem actually under the endcap? That is the only reason I could think of to remove that endcap. Assumption: you have rear bath model. There is really no way to get that end cap out without taking out the bulkheads between the bath/bedroom area as well as the bulkheads between the bedroom/galley area. A Gen-u-wine pain in the keester!

By the way, if the mods are reading along with the home game edition, I think you are right on the money with the idea on an "interior skins" sub-forum. There seem to be many methods/opinions out there about refinishing interior walls. A common area for them would be nice.

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Old 03-16-2006, 01:49 PM   #7
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thanks, everyone. good inputs. I will do a butt splice. The problem is that the damage is right at the rib and I don't think I can pull the wire bundle sufficiently to install the splice. I'm still doing other things, so this repair will happen just before I put the ceiling panels back in.

Wow, sparks as a method of quality control while drilling out rivets! That sure wasn't my intention, but on the other hand sometimes I'm in a hurry (lazy) and didn't want to string a long extension into the trailer....
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Old 03-16-2006, 05:58 PM   #8
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Thread name change! I'm going to keep track of my Overlander refurb here, so here's more photos of the inside coming apart. My intent was to "fix" the vista view window leak and find an odor that just won't go away, so I'm resigned to full disassembly if required. I'm going to do one wall at a time. I'll do the belly pan before I take apart the street side wall.

So this is the ceiling, from front to aft (if I post the photos correctly, urk):
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Old 03-16-2006, 06:03 PM   #9
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Here's the curb side, just the top skin (one long piece). I'm pleased to note that the inside of the interior skin is painted just like an airplane! The condition of the fiberglass insulation is top notch, even after 34 years and many recent miles (5 years) on a vibrating and hard set of axles. I've taken the insulation down in much of the ceiling and around the vista view in order to get a good look at wiring and the window frame.
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Old 03-16-2006, 07:55 PM   #10
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You can splice in a pice of wire to make your repair easier to perform, you will just need to do two splices, instead of just one. (second verse, same as the first).
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Old 03-17-2006, 06:15 PM   #11
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Another thing to think about: if you're drilling out rivets, put a stop on the drill bit. It's an old cabinet makers' trick to keep from drilling through a really expensive veneer. Drill a hole in the center of a dowell, then cut it to length so that it leaves just enough of the drill bit sticking out to get through the rivet. Use that as a collar on the bit when you drill out a rivet and you won't be in danger of drilling into wires on the other side.
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Old 03-17-2006, 08:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAFuller
Another thing to think about: if you're drilling out rivets, put a stop on the drill bit. It's an old cabinet makers' trick to keep from drilling through a really expensive veneer. Drill a hole in the center of a dowell, then cut it to length so that it leaves just enough of the drill bit sticking out to get through the rivet. Use that as a collar on the bit when you drill out a rivet and you won't be in danger of drilling into wires on the other side.
Welcome to the forums, and thanks for the tip!
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Old 03-21-2006, 03:24 AM   #13
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Led, that interior looks really clean, compared to the mess I had behind the walls and under the floor. You mentioned that you were trying to chase a bad smell. Everything in mine smelled bad, walls, floor, cabinets. Even the Univolt and the circuit breakers have that "old trailer smell" to them. I was able to wash the smell out of the walls, and I replaced the floor. I'm going to replace the Univolt and will have to clean the breaker panel in some way.

What is the inner cabinetry and bulkheads in you trailer made of? Mine are that cheesy dark plastic stuff. Yours looks like a light color wood. I'm going to replace all of that plastic with some type of light color wood as part of the remodel.

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Old 11-17-2008, 10:04 PM   #14
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Yay! back to work on the Overlander. In other posts you've seen the first round of cabinets and more recently the removal of the vista view windows and those pesky little low slit windows.

I've finally gotten around to taking out the leaky antenna rotator and lead-in port, not to mention the middle vent (two Fantastic Fans are plenty, IMHO). One thing I've noticed, not just on this particular Airstream, is that the patches often create an oil-can warp in the shell. To correct that, I take a length of "L" extrusion and curve it with a shrinker, the rivet it in as part of the patch. There are no extra rivets when you do the vent patch.

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But for smaller patches, you need add a few rivets to provide the structural support. Most of my patches are using 1/8" universal head rivets, but for these extra rivets outside the patch, I use brazier heads to match the rest of the vintage shell.

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