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Old 02-25-2007, 10:58 PM   #1
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Restoration Companies - Anyone Dealt with 'em before?

Greetings,

Just out of curiosity...has anyone here dealt with or done business with a company to redo their A/S interior? I am sure they charge a hefty price, but I am interested in seeing their work, and seeing what their labor rates are.

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 02-25-2007, 11:20 PM   #2
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Lots of 'em

Steve, There are lots of places that do trailer restorations and remodels. Check the sites listed under Airstreamtrailers.com or Vintagetrailer.com. I am sure you will find lots of resources that will give you quotes on the trailer. The most noted Restorer/Remodeler is probably Andy R. at Inland RV in Corona, Ca. Check out his various remodels and modified trailers on their web site at: InlandRV.com. Hope this helps I am sure others will jump in and offer you other places to look. I am not affiliated with any of the places I referred you to. Just trying to give you a few starting points. Ed
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Old 02-25-2007, 11:21 PM   #3
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I utilized RV-Restorations www.rv-restorations.net to do a lot of the major work on my restoration. Like you suspect, it is not cheap, but it was able to get me kick started in a big way to wear I can make time to do the finish work as well as some other restoration projects on the A/S. Gary at RV-Restorations is a man of all traits,he is very good at working with aluminum, used to build furniture, and has built several teardrop campers from the ground up. Great Honest Company to deal with...good luck.
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:06 AM   #4
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Oh, there are a fair number of renovation/restorers out there. The following ones are thought of most highly. More than jump starting a project, I believe they work with an owner to create a top shelf product.

GSM Vehicles Colin Hyde's business. Hear him on theVAP - The Vintage Airstream Podcast - Home. Located in upstate NY. Specializes in vintage. See the current issue for an Airstream Life 'Vintage Lightning' project that is sponsored by actor Matthew McConaughey -- the design is probably more novel than their normal work.

vintage airstream and other classic travel trailers David Winick's website. David created the retro 75th Anniversary Bambi for Airstream. Great work! Located in the midwest I believe

Iowa Boys, LLC - Vintage Trailer Sales & Restoration 818-764-4796 Located in CA. Supposed to rank with the best. We don't hear a lot about them on the Forums. Try search?
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:28 AM   #5
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I would think that any of them are going to base their costs on on T&T (time & materials) that said, I est $75-90 an hour, 100-300 hours is the range.
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:01 AM   #6
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The one I always hear about for Airstream interior redo's is Fowler RV Interiors.

I've never used them, but have seen their work and it was nice. I hear they can be pricey, but you get what you pay for, I guess.
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:12 AM   #7
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Steve, how much do you know about your floors or axles? I'd want to know this before focusing on the interior.
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:09 PM   #8
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It is possible to break the interior restorations into simpler steps. Take things apart and inspect the perimeter everywhere possible. Replace roof vent gaskets and window weatherstripping.

First, make sure you understand the complete state of your water pump, plumbing (Pex it!), furnace, HW heater, consider a new converter. The furnace & HW heater are modular and any industry unit of similar size/capacity can be made to fit. A local handy RV tech can be hired if you get some of the compartment access doors and trim out of the way. It will require some Dremel, riveting & fairly basic sheetmetal fabrication on your part. Figuring out tanks and wastegate for discharge will be something to scout out (if original, neither of your units have grey tanks -- those didn't come until 1974. Blue totes are used by a lot of Airstream & SOB campers I see in campgrounds.).

Then you could look at refinishing possibilities. By '74 (my Argosy), so many of the interior finishes look like aged airliners. Reusing your original cabinets will look best. Some stripper, light stain, varnish and your dividers/compartments will look pretty good.

Flooring is cookbook from iFLOOR.com - Hardwood Floors, Laminate Flooring, Bamboo Flooring, Cork Floors, Carpet, Area Rugs -- or even Home Despot. If you take in your complete upholstery units, a local upholstery shop can duplicate with new foam and it'll be great! New mattresses ... ? Camping World had same size for our twins. Curtains -- $$$ Ambruso; $ very good value from member SilverThreads -- willing to work with you. But definitely do your interior nice finishing last.

This all takes 12-24 months of some light weekends and some heavier weekends or vacation time. That beats a $20,000 bill to me!
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:14 PM   #9
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Never personally did a restoration with either, but both do phenominal work.... I've seen work from both and they are just stunning....

Airstream, Inc. :: Travel in Style

P & S Travel Trailer Service, Helena, Ohio
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:47 PM   #10
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South Jersey RV, in Newfield NJ, did mine. Overall, I am quite pleased with the end result, and Ron and Linda are incredibly nice folks though, looking back on it now, I would change a few things (hindsight 20/20).

I met and spoke with Colin Hyde at the 2006 CBR and he is, in my opinion, the person you would want to deal with. He focuses on every detail, no matter how minute, and he is very personable....something you definitely want, when you're dropping $30K (roughly what I spent) on a resto. That's my $.02.

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Old 02-26-2007, 08:00 PM   #11
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Restoration Companies - Anyone Dealt with em before?

Greetings Steve!

I have had both of my coaches' interiors refurbished by Fowler Interiors in Symsonia, KY (about 60 miles East of Paducah, KY -- just a few miles off of Interstate 24). My Overlander was completed a little more than five years ago, and my Minuet was completed a little more than three years ago. Arlene has an excellent selection of soft-goods to select from -- my Overlander was a complete change from the original Avacado Green color scheme to a more modern silver and blue scheme -- my Minuet was a variation of the original Burnt Orange that preserved my nearly mint counter tops, but replaced the burnt orange shag carpet with Armstrong light cherry laminate flooring.

In addition to the expected new foam, upholstery, and window treatments, the fowlers also handled refinishing my walls (ugly brushed paint courtesy the second owner of my Overlander) with an very elegant sponge painting technique that included both the blue and silver used in the balance of the color scheme. The original cabinets in the Overlander were also carefully refinished to match the original color and sheen -- this also included replacing two panels that had been damaged by botched repair attempts by a previous owner. Henry is a wonderful woodworker, and recreated the top of my drop-leaf dining table in solid oak finished to match the cabinetry. The Fowlers hired a sub-contractor to install a seamless Congoleum industrial grade vinyl floor in a blue and silver speckle that was an excellent compliment to the balance of the interior. Both coaches also received all new screen fabric in all windows and the screen doors as well.

The Minuet was more of a foam, upholtery, drapery project. The flooring was redone in Armstrong laminate with Quiet Step underlayment to compensate for the rivets that attach the aluminum composite floors to the chassis. New birch veneer tambours were installed in the upper cabinets and finished with a pickling stain that blended them beautifully with the white/gold veined vinyl clad aluminum on the walls and upper cabinets (the Minuet has all vinyl-clad aluminum cabinetry). For an extra touch of luxury, Henry reproduced the original Credenza table in solid oak with a beautiful golden finish.

I have been absolutely pleased with all of the work that the Fowlers did on both of my coaches. In both cases, Arlene provided me with honest estimates prior to contracting for the job. There were very minor cost changes with both coaches due to unexpected problems uncovered as the work progressed. The Fowlers kept me informed at all steps along the road, and the projects were finished well within the estimated time frame.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 02-26-2007, 11:17 PM   #12
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New Floor and Frame

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe stream
Steve, how much do you know about your floors or axles? I'd want to know this before focusing on the interior.
Due to the amount of rot in the floor, and the separation in the frame, I had a new frame constructed and a marine grade ply floor installed. The shop is getting ready to place the top back down shortly.

I will most likely be rewiring for the most part since I didn't have an invertor when I bought it. I could refinish the old interior, but I also like making it fit for my personal needs. A separate sleep area for me and the wife, and our son is wanted. Our 68 Safari is set up with everyone sleeping together, so perhaps a rear bed/side bath is in order.

I kept all the original interior incase I decided to restore instead.

Will look into the companies you recommended..thanks.

Steve
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Old 02-26-2007, 11:36 PM   #13
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New interior design

Steve, Keep us updated on the re-design and post pictures. Keep in mind weight distribution was key to a balanced trailer for tongue weight and axle/frame load bearing. If weights are off side to side or front to rear you could have a dangerous situation with the finished trailer. The towing and handling characteristics could be very different from the way that the trailer was originally designed with the layout from the factory. Be very sure that your new design takes in the engineering to provide you with the best handling and towing trailer. Safety First is a good thing! Ed
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Old 02-26-2007, 11:44 PM   #14
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Hey Ed,

The weight distribution problems is why I would either restore it the way it was, or have a professional lay it out for me. I am not taking any risks with safety.....of course I did jump out of planes paking a rifle in my younger days.

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