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Old 01-03-2005, 02:48 PM   #1
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starting a renovation

This weekend i took the plunge and bought a 58 overlander in need of a total overhaul. i have several questions for the forum:

1) what is the appropriate order in which to tackle the restoration? ie: floors first, running gear second etc
2) what sources are there for replacement parts? are there any books that'll help get me going on the restoration process?
3) assuming i have to go gut the entire interior, is it possible to change the interior layout without too much pain/agony?
4) ive never seen but would like to put bunk beds in place of the twin beds on either side of the aisle, has anyone done this? do you have any suggestion? suppliers?
5) are there any original manuals out there that give specs for the 58 overlander? what should i look out for when tearing the thing apart?
6) should i give up now and stick to watching football on the weekends?

I'm excited about the process and thank you all in advance for your help.
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Old 01-03-2005, 03:20 PM   #2
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Here's a good place to start...

Here's a great little site with loads of information:

http://www.vintageairstream.com/FAQ/...html#Restoring

Good luck and let us know how it's going.
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Old 01-03-2005, 03:44 PM   #3
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58

I'm in the process in restoring a 58 also - do you have pictures?

Best to start from the ground up - outside then inside.

It might be easier if we know what parts you need

Yes you can change the interior in any way your want - just be VERY careful about weight - keep things as lite as possible.

You can build in bunk beds - look at www.vintageairstream.com for ideas

There are no orginal manuels for that year - they did, however, hand out flyers explaining various systems. Watch out for rodent droppings, dust, aspestos when tearing apart.

No you should give up football and all activities for about two years.

Look under posts in my name and you will see the thread of my 58 restoration.

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Old 01-03-2005, 03:53 PM   #4
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starting a renovation

Greetings 58overlander!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 58overlander
This weekend i took the plunge and bought a 58 overlander in need of a total overhaul. i have several questions for the forum:

1) what is the appropriate order in which to tackle the restoration? ie: floors first, running gear second etc
My suggestion would be to do an overall assessment before deciding the precise method of attack. If a full floor replacement is necessary, you will also likely find frame issues as well as possible issues with axles/spindles/brakes/shocks. Your '58 coach pre-dates the Henschen axles so axle replacement may not be imperative, but the condition of the running gear needs careful inspection. Since you will want a solid foundation from which to work, you will want to start with the running gear/frame/floor system and work your way up assessing and prioritizing the tasks that you will want to complete.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 58overlander
2) what sources are there for replacement parts? are there any books that'll help get me going on the restoration process?
Basically, there are very few Airstream specific parts being reproduced; those that are available tend to be offered by either AirstreamDreams.com or Inland RV. Replacement parts such as shocks, brake shoes, drums, magnets, wheel bearing, seals, etc. are generally available through sources that provide trailer parts - - it is usually necessary to take your original part(s) in to the parts person for matching. Beyond these items, finding a replacement part often means contacting dealers and shops who sold/serviced Airstreams of your coach's vintage to see if they might have an NOS part - - or in some cases a search of RV boneyards may become necessary. Many of the fixtures and appliances utilized in Airstreams were common to other manufacturers of the period.

There aren't any Airstream specific restoration books available, and typically the reference book that is most often cited as being helpful in understanding the general systems is RV Repair and Maintenance, 4th. Edition by Bob Livingston

Quote:
Originally Posted by 58overlander
3) assuming i have to go gut the entire interior, is it possible to change the interior layout without too much pain/agony?
If the interior must be gutted due to advanced rot or damage, changing the layout is possible, at least to a degree. Changing window placement can be EXTREMELY difficult as can be adding windows that will either match or compliment those that are original to the coach. An eye toward both changing the weight distribution/balance of the coach as well as anything that might add to the gross weight needs to be considered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 58overlander
4) ive never seen but would like to put bunk beds in place of the twin beds on either side of the aisle, has anyone done this? do you have any suggestion? suppliers?
There were two types of center twin bunk arrangements available beyon the base twin beds. The first, which seems to have started in the 1950s, were the "hammock bunks" that were a folding aluminum frame covered with canvas suspend by aircraft cables from the cieling and supported by "L" brackets attached to the wall - - it is my understanding that Inland RV has plans to reproduce these bunks. With an Overlander twin, you can have these over both of the center twins. Also, in the 1950s, it wasn't uncommon to see custom cabinet bunks that were essentially near permanent fixtues built-into the cabinetry. The one difficutly with a permanent bunk installation is blocking the sidewindows thus making them difficult to operate and clean. My '64 Overlander originally had the hammock bunks, and there was a storage area provided in the rear wardrobe for these bunks when they weren't in use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 58overlander
5) are there any original manuals out there that give specs for the 58 overlander? what should i look out for when tearing the thing apart?
Unfortunately, Airstream didn't start publishing Owners' Manuals until 1964, and it would be 1972 before a service manual would be published. During the time period of your coach, the original owner would have been provided with a manilla envelope containing a variety of pamphlets, brochures, and other documents describing the use and care of the various components and accessories found in the coach.

Since these coaches often received many custom touches, and the factory seems to have had a penchant for making running changes during production; anthing that is dissassembled should probably be accompanied by writing notes and numerous photos to document disassembly and make reassembly a bit easier. There are a number of late 1950s Overlander owners currently involed in the restoration/refurbishment process so you will likely find several with whom to share experiences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 58overlander
6) should i give up now and stick to watching football on the weekends?
The key, in my estimation, is to develop a prioritized list of projects broken down into small enough increments that the project doesn't become overwhelming. I am not a do-it-yourselfer, so when I did my initial assessments on my coaches, my objective was to have those projects completed that would result in a safe, usable coach as quickly as possible. The restoration/refurbishment of my Overlander was spread over nearly seven years, but it was a ready to travel less than a year after purchase with the more "cosemtic" and less critical "mechanical" issues being handled as financial resources allowed. The resoration/refurbishment of my Minuet is still continuing with a probability that it won't be completed for another two to four years; but I have been enjoying using the coach during the interim.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 01-04-2005, 08:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64
Greetings 58overlander!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!



My suggestion would be to do an overall assessment before deciding the precise method of attack. If a full floor replacement is necessary, you will also likely find frame issues as well as possible issues with axles/spindles/brakes/shocks. Your '58 coach pre-dates the Henschen axles so axle replacement may not be imperative, but the condition of the running gear needs careful inspection. Since you will want a solid foundation from which to work, you will want to start with the running gear/frame/floor system and work your way up assessing and prioritizing the tasks that you will want to complete.



Basically, there are very few Airstream specific parts being reproduced; those that are available tend to be offered by either AirstreamDreams.com or Inland RV. Replacement parts such as shocks, brake shoes, drums, magnets, wheel bearing, seals, etc. are generally available through sources that provide trailer parts - - it is usually necessary to take your original part(s) in to the parts person for matching. Beyond these items, finding a replacement part often means contacting dealers and shops who sold/serviced Airstreams of your coach's vintage to see if they might have an NOS part - - or in some cases a search of RV boneyards may become necessary. Many of the fixtures and appliances utilized in Airstreams were common to other manufacturers of the period.

There aren't any Airstream specific restoration books available, and typically the reference book that is most often cited as being helpful in understanding the general systems is RV Repair and Maintenance, 4th. Edition by Bob Livingston



If the interior must be gutted due to advanced rot or damage, changing the layout is possible, at least to a degree. Changing window placement can be EXTREMELY difficult as can be adding windows that will either match or compliment those that are original to the coach. An eye toward both changing the weight distribution/balance of the coach as well as anything that might add to the gross weight needs to be considered.



There were two types of center twin bunk arrangements available beyon the base twin beds. The first, which seems to have started in the 1950s, were the "hammock bunks" that were a folding aluminum frame covered with canvas suspend by aircraft cables from the cieling and supported by "L" brackets attached to the wall - - it is my understanding that Inland RV has plans to reproduce these bunks. With an Overlander twin, you can have these over both of the center twins. Also, in the 1950s, it wasn't uncommon to see custom cabinet bunks that were essentially near permanent fixtues built-into the cabinetry. The one difficutly with a permanent bunk installation is blocking the sidewindows thus making them difficult to operate and clean. My '64 Overlander originally had the hammock bunks, and there was a storage area provided in the rear wardrobe for these bunks when they weren't in use.



Unfortunately, Airstream didn't start publishing Owners' Manuals until 1964, and it would be 1972 before a service manual would be published. During the time period of your coach, the original owner would have been provided with a manilla envelope containing a variety of pamphlets, brochures, and other documents describing the use and care of the various components and accessories found in the coach.

Since these coaches often received many custom touches, and the factory seems to have had a penchant for making running changes during production; anthing that is dissassembled should probably be accompanied by writing notes and numerous photos to document disassembly and make reassembly a bit easier. There are a number of late 1950s Overlander owners currently involed in the restoration/refurbishment process so you will likely find several with whom to share experiences.



The key, in my estimation, is to develop a prioritized list of projects broken down into small enough increments that the project doesn't become overwhelming. I am not a do-it-yourselfer, so when I did my initial assessments on my coaches, my objective was to have those projects completed that would result in a safe, usable coach as quickly as possible. The restoration/refurbishment of my Overlander was spread over nearly seven years, but it was a ready to travel less than a year after purchase with the more "cosemtic" and less critical "mechanical" issues being handled as financial resources allowed. The resoration/refurbishment of my Minuet is still continuing with a probability that it won't be completed for another two to four years; but I have been enjoying using the coach during the interim.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
Thanks Kevin, and all others that responded. Count on me pestering the group from time to time. i'll post pics shortly. I sincerely appreciate the sage advice and the detailed responses will prevent alot of head scratching for me down the line!!
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