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Old 04-10-2012, 11:46 PM   #1
BlueBoy
 
1973 25' Tradewind
Ventura , California
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Where do I start?

Hi Fellas,
My girlfriend and I just bought a '73 Land Yacht Airstream that we plan to renovate. This being our first renovation, we were wondering where the best place to start would be and if anyone would like to be our mentor. It would be greatly appreciated and we hope to someday pass on our learned information!
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:37 AM   #2
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My suggestion would be to put aside a couple hours aand review the renovation threads. Much info from experienced owners and good advice. jim
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:43 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forums and congrats on you new to you AS.
Start by posting some pictures.
Also what do you have in mind when you say 'renovate'? Just fix up or gut and start from scratch or somewhere in between.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:29 AM   #4
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I am in the same situation just bought a 1975 overlander and I am wondering where to start. photos here https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/1...19300786498417
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:55 AM   #5
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Gut it and start from scratch. Want to achieve that 50s diner modern look.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:02 AM   #6
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I would start out by reading everything you can here on the forums. As well take photos. I've taken well over 1000 photos of the trailer I'm working on and I wish I had taken more. There is so much information here. So many people are great at sharing.

Now I just need to learn to follow my own advice

Have fun, don't rush it and please post lots of photos for the rest of us to learn from
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:34 PM   #7
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1963 26' Overlander
Austin , Texas
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Typical order of operations:

1) Clean and seal exterior leaks (they all leak)
2) Drop the bellypan to inspect the floor and frame (the leaks cause floor rot in the plywood subfloor and frame rot in the steel frame)
3) Repair any damage you may find there.
4) Get the trailer coupling, lights, and running gear sorted out and repaired if damaged.
5) Then start on the fun stuff like building out the interior and decorating.

Take a look at the threads on the link I'll provide below, they're what we call the "Major Renovations" threads. Many of them are lengthy but they're also entertaining and inspiring, and the amount of knowledge gained from them is priceless. Almost any question you'd want to ask is liklely answered in these threads:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ons-35399.html

Good luck!
-Marcus
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:35 PM   #8
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Anna , Illinois
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Where do I start?

Starting with a sound foundation will insure the durability of your renovations. Virtually any Airstream with torsion axle(s) -- (Henschen, Dexter, etc.) that is (are) more than 20 years old will likely require replacement. When replacing axle(s), it is possible to replace with new complete new brake with the choice of either electric drums or hydraulic discs. Generally, most go with drums, but the disc option can be beneficial if you are considering towing with a Vintage automobile . . . my Overlander will be getting new axles with the disc brake option when its current axles are replaced.

Working up from the axles/running gear, you will want to insure that the frame and outriggers are solid. Repairs to the frame and adding of additional reinforcements can sometimes be necessary if your renovations include adding new or larger wastewater holding tanks . . . or if your plans include any significant increases in the empty/unladen weight of the coach.

With solid running gear, a frame that is solid, the focus can then be switched to the subfloor. The condition of the subfloor will dictate the next move. With most Vintage Airstream trailer renovations, there will at least be some floor replacement required . . . the extent of required floor replacement is often directly related to the level of maintenance performed by the most recent previous owners. The most usual places for rot are found in the extreme ends of the coach, but areas of the subfloor below any window or near any openings in the shell bcome likely areas to look for possible rot.

Any floor rot found will point to areas that will need attention for sealing leaks. A complete renovation is likely to include the following activities:
  • Replace seals, and gasekets around windows, access hatches, and doors.
  • Clean and reaseal seams in exterior of coach . . . Alcoa Gutter Seal was the product of choice in the days when our coaches were new . . . the products being used at the Airstream factory today are available from the online factory store.
  • Replace seals around wastewater tank vents. These are items that most recommend replacing either every third or fourth season of use.
  • Reseal roof vents, around air conditioner, antennas, etc.
Once leaks have been addressed, floor replacement has been addressed, renovations can be commenced with a degree of confidence that backtracking will be less likely to be necessary.

The degree of planned renovation also has some impact on the process. One of the selection criteria for both of my coaches was something that was camp-ready that I could utilize while refurbishing the coach. I didn't really plan to change anything significantly with either coach . . . the process was probably about 80% restoration and 20% modernization of appliances and utilities.

Good luck with your project!

Kevin
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:44 PM   #9
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Welcome to the Airstream fever,, and hang on..

What you planed to invest in time the first few weeks just as well be tossed in the trash right away,.. When we got our 72 Overlander home I sat down the first night and made a list.. Inspect all seals,, roof, windows and by the experts off this site I was able to put together it all first thing first.

Well after a few days of poking around I then placed a time estimate to each step.. That's when it all fell apart.. What I felt would take a few hours turned into a full day.. My way to deal with it was to just work longer days.. After 300 some hours I can sit here and say I am road ready.. Its sealed, gaskets,, axles serviced and brakes in good order.. AND A FULL POLISH JOB..

Now to just find the time to ball up and get out of Dodge..

Sodbust
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:59 PM   #10
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Inspection Report PDF

I'd start with the trailer inspection checklist at:

Air trailer inspection.pdf (623.2 KB, 3781 views)

First fix leaks, then replace window, door, and sewer vent gaskets. Then repair any damage. Then upgrade brakes, tires, 7-way, breakaway switch, battery, and alarms. Then repair/replace appliances and fixtures. Last, make it pretty.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:10 PM   #11
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All great advice. Also, find a place where it can live on blocks for a number of months (6 or more to be safe) if you really want to get to the frame and it ends up needing some work. There will be a lot of head scratching while you figure out the best way to do something. It's fun for sure but can be very daunting even if you have a lot of experience with fixing things. Just take it one step at a time.
Dropping the belly pan and seeing what's under there make you doubt your decision to buy the trailer...just power through it...it's all worth it.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:18 PM   #12
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A TT is a system of systems. As with the above responses, the order of importance of a TT is:

- mobility
- water
- propane
- electricity

Where to start is with structural integrity (penetrations, leaks, rot) as all else flows from this.

One will be busy in compiling lists.

The disasters come about by those who tear things out with no plan. Plenty of those are for sale within short order, at a considerable loss.

Read, read, read. And then make notes. Every problem has a solution found here, and likely three ways of doing that.

Set aside 2-3 years at a minimum.

.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:19 PM   #13
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I am about to pass the one year mark since the purchase of my 1976 Safari (May 2011). I am in the midst of a full monte. I have taken a lot of pictures. Listened to all of the the VAP.com episodes. Read through many of the restoration threads on the Air forums. I didn't have a great interior. Started from scratch. My advise is to not go overboard on spending. Here's my story: www.surfershack.com. Good luck!!
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfpod View Post
I am about to pass the one year mark since the purchase of my 1976 Safari (May 2011). I am in the midst of a full monte. I have taken a lot of pictures. Listened to all of the the VAP.com episodes. Read through many of the restoration threads on the Air forums. I didn't have a great interior. Started from scratch. My advise is to not go overboard on spending. Here's my story: www.surfershack.com. Good luck!!
This is the best photo blog of a restoration I've seen.
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