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Old 09-12-2016, 06:24 PM   #141
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Smile The Bottom Line

Well, Burnside Bob, otherwise known as Dave, has done the math and has yet to post the final numbers. He thought we were nearing $20K, however, I won! A hair under $15,000.00! Yeah! I forgot to mention, at the beginning of this thread, that he gave me an ultimatum: our AS purchase had to be less than 10 yrs old and less than $20,000.00! He did not want to constantly have to work on it to keep it rolling. His criteria made a near impossible task.

I put on my thinking cap and found our trailer on a salvage site. With a little creativity and a lot of elbow grease, we now have a very nice trailer.

People do ask if we parked it under a tree (dimpled upper side panels), as those will always be with us. My favorite comment was from VeeVee, who was on the Wyoming Rockdocking Adventure this Summer. She had asked how the upper panels got so worbly. We told her the trailer had been in a fire and that we rescued it. She then asked if we had seen that trailer, Phoenix, who had a thread on Airforums. We said yes, that's us. She replied "no, no....Phoenix was in a warehouse fire, got really burned.." We said,"yes, that's this trailer". Once again, she said "no, it was burned badly...." "wait...you mean this is Phoenix, really, the Phoenix? This is a famous trailer! Wow!.. Wow! I can't believe that this is Phoenix!"

Made me very happy! That VeeVee, Jen, is one very nice person.

Now that I have posted this, Dave will most likely follow with the real hard numbers. He wants to answer the question "would you do it all over again?" with "No". He is disappointed with how the end product looks. The sides are too warped for him, the end-caps marred from tar. He did do all of the tough stuff, lots of uncomfortable work, and wished for a better result for the energy spent.

My answer is just the opposite. A resounding "yes". I think we got a heck of a good deal. We got to know our trailer inside out and have a fine mobile tent that I can cook, bathe and sleep in. I am proud of our efforts and grateful that it didn't cost us an arm and a leg.

It was a lot of fun telling our story. Somehow, writing it down and revisiting our progress through photos did help keep us motivated. So, thanks for following along with us and thank you for your advice and comments.

Susan
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Old 09-12-2016, 06:37 PM   #142
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Well - I just admire the heck out of you both and the AMAZING job you did on the trailer! I'd love to see it live but I'm never in your part of the country. Still - the pictures of the transformation have been amazing - and on that budget - well, not counting the elbow grease - it's nothing short of a redemptive miracle - and who doesn't love a great redemptive miracle story?!?!

What a great, one of a kind trailer and story!!
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Old 09-13-2016, 08:27 PM   #143
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Phoenix Cost Accounting

Phoenix Cost Accounting

To recap, Susan and I bought a 2009 Flying Cloud 25’ FB at an insurance auction. The trailer had been stored in an RV storage facility that caught fire. The trailer was a mess:

How the trailer looked, 24 February 2015:






We were hoping to make the Phoenix a serviceable trailer, but weren’t really sure we could back in Feb. 2015. Here are the questions this post answers:

After the smoke cleared, how much did the Phoenix restoration cost?
Was it worth it?
Are we happy with the results?
Would we do it again?
Are we done?

Now Susan and I aren’t completely in agreement on the answers, and she has weighed in in a previous post (#140). So the following is more my take than hers.

But before we get into the answers we want to say we owe Air Forums, all of you guys, a huge debt of gratitude for info on how to do repairs, what products to use, and sharing your own inspirational stories. A special thanks to those who shared their stories about bringing old Airstreams back to life and those professionals who offered advice.

Thank you one and all!!!! Go Air Forums!!!!


How much did Phoenix’s restoration cost?

Cost categories: costs to purchase, title and license; costs of replacement parts; costs of supplies and consumables; costs of tools and non-consumables; incidentals required to complete project not due to fire. We did all labor ourselves so no labor value is included.


$7,379.12 Acquisition and licensing costs. As some of you may be curious about auction purchasing, I’m detailing these expenses.

Bidder registration fee (annual): $200.00.
Winning bid price: $5,750.00.
Auction Commission (15%): $862.50.
Auction service fee: $55.00.
Financial Fee (Credit Card Cash Advance): $233.37.
Oregon Title, registration, license fee: $278.25

Bolt on parts: $6,245.63. Our objective was to restore the Phoenix to 2009 standards plus a couple of upgrades, since we were mucking around anyway. The single biggest expense was a Dometic Penguin II AC/HP with CCC-II as the 2009 original equipment wasn’t readily available (Penguin 1 with CCC-1, no HP).

Consumables. $872.38. This category includes bulk supplies like wire, wiring connectors, tubing, pvc pipe, insulation, and other hard goods plus cleaners, waxes, clear coat repair product, caulk, and such.

Tools $370.06.

Other non-consumables. $929.37 This category includes replacing a broken window, buying a weight distributing hitch, upgrading to LED lighting, running HDMI cables in the walls, and other miscellaneous expenditures not fire related but required to get the Phoenix on the road.

Items not included in my cost accounting: extra pillows, bed clothes, throw rugs, shower curtain, shampoo and soap dispensers, and other misc. items.



Grand Total, all expenses $15,848.44.
Backing out the LED upgrade, HDMI cabling, incidental non fire repairs, and tools gives Phoenix’s acquistion and restoration cost as $14,554.13.

Cost to buy, license, and restore: $14,554.13!


Was it worth it?

Yes. Other than the electrical and vent stacks above the beltline, the trailer was intact. So all the plumbing, heating, appliances, etc. were good and did not require more than cleaning and adjustment. We finished with a fully functional trailer upgraded to LED lighting and current (2016) climate control technology.

Are we happy with the results?

We are both happy with the results—go Phoenix, a fully functional 25’ Flying Cloud FB. When it sits next to other Airstreams, it is still a little yellow/green and not quite as shiny. But you still need shades to look at it on a sunny day!

Would we do it again?

I say “No”. Susan says “Yes”.

For me, while we call our trailer the Phoenix, the mythical Phoenix comes thru fire reborn. Our Phoenix turned out wrinkly. Short of a complete gut, complete exterior reskin with buck rivets, and complete interior rebuild we can’t restore the Phoenix to pre-fire condition. I would not restore another trailer with the degree of exterior skin buckling the Phoenix had.

That said, the degree of skin buckling does seem, very slowly, to be lessening, and who knows, maybe it will look as good as new in 10 years!! Or, plan B, execute my secret fantasy of taking the trailer to the meat packing plant that uses liquid nitrogen by the truckload, and slip the driver a Benjamin to hose the wrinkly parts down with liquid N!

For Susan, getting a functional Airstream was well worth it despite the wrinkles. She would go thru the rehab process again.

Are we done?

No. The fire exposed the trailer to all sorts of aerosolized chemicals and we are uncertain what the long term effects of that exposure will be. At this time the following are noted:

The end caps look like they need re-clear coating.
The lounge cushions, mattress, and foldette doors were not enhanced by the fire.
Some cabinet hardware and the kitchen faucet have corrosion from the fire.
All exterior caulk not already replaced is deteriorating and needs replacement.
There is a certain amount of filiform corrosion cropping up despite high quality wax.

And then there are the “upgrade” projects we talk about so much. These aren’t fire related, but would make the Phoenix better:

200 watt solar system expandable to 700 watts.
Upgrade to AGM batteries housed in cabin where we can keep ‘em warm.
Convert queen to twins for increased storage, improved locker access, accommodate in-cabin battery.
Kitchen storage improvements.
Dexter Axle Lift kit.
Self adjusting brakes/sealed bearings with centramatics.
New tires.

So more posts will be coming to our “Smoking Hot Deal” thread.



And we did get on the road a bunch—maybe 21 days so far. Here’s a few photos:

In the Snowy Range, WY, Aug 12, 2016.


Near Challis, ID, Aug 20, 2016.


Why does the turkey cross the road? Near Prairie City, OR, Aug 24, 2016.


Where is it?




Our best to you and see ‘ya on the road to somewhere!!

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Old 10-13-2016, 08:37 PM   #144
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Great restoration

You folks rock. Hope to meet you along the highways and byways in the west.
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Old 10-14-2016, 12:06 AM   #145
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Thanks Robere! It's nice to know that we rock---even in our 60's!

Our trailer, Phoenix, did write to his previous "Dad", who wrote back to his "son". Our trailer had a bittersweet history with the previous owner, who said that we could share his letter with our Air Forum family. I am not computer savvy, so will try to convince my husband to copy and paste it on this thread.

Susan
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:48 PM   #146
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That would be cool. Please share!

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Old 10-16-2016, 10:04 AM   #147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan View Post
That would be cool. Please share!

Jim
Susan and I were very curious about our trailer's past. As we worked on it we noticed more and more intriguing details or clues. Rather than jump right to the conclusion I'd rather do a series of posts that provide context. So please bear with us.
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Old 10-16-2016, 10:21 AM   #148
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One Thing Leads to Another

Bug Proofing--One Thing Leads to Another

Dear Air Forums.

A previous post mentioned that Stink Bugs invaded our trailer Fall 2015. And I didn’t understand how they got in. So I’ve been looking, and this post compiles what I’ve found and done. Many Air Forums members have posted about pest entry points. I checked those places and found many were a problem. Thanks, guys and gals, for the heads up!!


Main Frame Tubing. Open main frame tubing underneath the coupler. I formed screens from hardware cloth and pushed them into the open tube ends. Friction holds them in place.
Hardware cloth screen.


Screens installed in frame tube ends.



Entry stairs (steel). On both sides of the entry stairs the frame outrigger does not meet the banana wrap, leaving a curved hole up to 3/4” wide and 4” long. I cut screens which I secured to the outriggers with sheet metal screws.





To do this ‘fix’ it helps to remove the stairs, which on our 2009 Flying Cloud are steel and secured by 4 bolts. When I got the stairs out, I realized how badly they had weathered. The original shiny black paint was dull grey, and that’s how pest proofing led to painting! Now that the stairs are freshened up the “A” Frame and rear bumper look pretty bad, which will lead to more painting!

Wheel wells. While installing the second screen in the stairway well, I realized I could see thru to the tires. Yes, the outriggers at either end of the curbside wheel well did not reach the banana wrap. Interestingly, these locations in the roadside wheel well were caulked.
Here’s one hole and my fix.




Later it dawned on me that screens are a poor solution for wheel well holes. Screens allow tire spray and dust inside the banana wraps, so I will have to redo these. Live and learn.


Bumper compartment. There are oblong holes in the top corners of the bumper compartment. You can’t see them from outside, but you can feel them. I installed screen over these.

Curbside bumper compartment hole.


Screen over road side bumper compartment hole.



Refer Door. I cut a piece of bronze window screen to fit the door’s inside. I taped the screen in place with aluminum furnace tape. I installed the screen before our Crater Lake and Wyoming trips and the refrigerator worked perfectly.

Screen taped in place—note stink bugs caught by screen!!


Close up of door latch cut out.


Furnace and Hot Water Heater Exhausts. I purchased (from Amazon) and installed Camco furnace and water heater exhaust insect screens spring of 2015. However, the compartment doors on both appliances leave a gap at the hinge large enough for stink bugs to enter. Despite the Camco screen 30-40 stinkbugs tried over wintering in the furnace. They were evicted with prejudice!!


“A” Frame Cross-member. Holes are located where the cross bar of the “A” hits the frame rails of the “A” frame on the tow vehicle side. I taped these holes closed with aluminum furnace tape.

Curbside Hole—caulk seals brake wiring hole.


Roadside “A” Frame Hole.



Propane Lines. Penetrations for the propane lines were adequately caulked but others have reported holes. There should be gas line penetrations for the furnace, refer, stove, and hot water heater.

Refrigerator propane line penetration (Gas Line enclosed in plastic).



Dump Valves. A slitted rubber shield surrounds each tank valve stem where it enters the waste tank shroud. One shield was completely off and the other out-of-position. The out-of-position shield I screened. I was able to fish the other shield out from inside the tank shroud. I taped it into place over the cut out on the tank shroud.

Black Tank Dump Valve with out of position rubber bug/rodent shield.


Hardware cloth screen for dump valve hole, rubber shield for gray water tank valve hole.


Dump valve hole screen taped with Aluminum duct tape.



Drain valves. Mine were OK but others have reported gaps.


Bonus holes—who knows what you’ll find. I found bonus holes underneath. One was where the battery cables and 7 way wiring harness pass thru the trailer floor. The factory did not completely caulk the hole closed. Inboard of the entry stair well, I found a 10” gash in the underbelly where the trailer had gone over something. I covered this hole with aluminum furnace tape, and will rivet in sheet aluminum later.


This fall I’ve found stink bugs between the storage compartment door and its gasket and between the main door and the screen door. If you have gaps in your sealing gaskets stink bugs could get in. I also had stink bugs between the fantastic fan lid and the insect screen and inside the Dometic AC (which they accessed thru the wiring port of the inner shroud).


* * * * * * * * * *

Susan and I hope this post helps you protect your trailer from bugs and mice. Looks like we wait until spring to find out how successful we were at keeping them out this fall.

During the bug-proofing process we found clues to our trailer’s past. The tear in the belly pan is one. The paint scraped edge of the entry stairs another. Something happened. More to follow.
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Old 10-16-2016, 11:45 AM   #149
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Great info - thanks for sharing!!
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Old 10-16-2016, 07:59 PM   #150
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What's up with all the stink bugs?? My DH says they're an invasive species....I just know I never really noticed many until the last couple years. Thanks for all your tips. I may have to do some of those!
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Old 10-26-2016, 11:22 PM   #151
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2009 25' FB Flying Cloud
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Where O Where has our trailer been?

Mystery and intrigue!!

We bought the Phoenix at auction, so it came to us without history. Of course we were curious, and Susan long spoke of writing to the previous owner. We fueled our ideas with our observations of the trailer as we cleaned and worked.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The trailer was so sooty we didn’t notice the dent in the front end cap. It wasn’t till we cleaned the roof that we noticed that dent and the scrape running from it to the rear. After Susan cleaned the trailer’s sooty sides I noticed Olympic Rivets secured all body panels below the beltline. Last summer I found the 10” gash in the trailer’s belly pan, apparently unnoticed and so left unrepaired.

The propane bottles were wrong for a 2009 trailer. One had a 2001 date stamp, so was too old, and the other had a 2010 date stamp, so was too young.

At initial inspection the oven looked new, never used. “I don’t think the trailer was used much,” I concluded. There were Glacier National Park stickers on the screen door. But it was still a surprise to find the running tires had the same tread depth as the unused spare. The tire date stamps were right for a 2009 trailer, but no measureable tread wear?

Because the lower panels had been replaced, there was no manufacturer’s plate in the usual location. But the front axle had a sticker indicating it shipped to AS on 19 Feb, 2009. A sticker underneath the propane cylinder rack indicated the frame was made March 20, 2009. So we figure the trailer was completed late April or early May, 2009.

The auction house removed Phoenix’s license plate but did not discard it. The plate stickers showed the trailer was first registered in Oregon May, 2009 and had been continuously registered in since.

Batteries were new August, 2013

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Last summer, as we made our way to Wyoming, we passed the empty interstate miles discussing these clues. Made-to-order so didn’t sit on dealer’s lot? A road accident? Wow, what kind of accident gets it top, bottom, and all around? Trailer back on road August, 2013? One owner? Trailer seldom used save one big trip to Glacier NP? Were there other adventures?

“What if the trailer could talk?”, I mused. What could we ask Phoenix? But we were just talking, so our questions went unanswered. “Maybe Phoenix could write a letter.” And Susan adlibbed some great ones as the miles ticked by. Turns out Phoenix was quite the correspondent!


A month after returning from Wyoming, Susan actually wrote and mailed a real letter. Will we get an answer??

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Dad,

I am writing to let you know that I am O.K. I knew that December 24th is the most exciting night of the year, but not in that way! I was not expecting to be toasted and roasted! Especially after you cleaned me up, all tidy, for a good Winter’s rest. However, it happened, and I did survive. I did sustain a few scars, well, quite a few scars, but with a little intensive care and a long rehab, I want you to know that I am happily traveling down the road with my new adoptive family. I thought that you might worry and wonder about whatever happened to me. Can I tell you about my new life?

Shortly after the fire (I am not going to revisit that horror, best left in the past), I found myself in a fenced gravel lot with a bunch of other SOB’s(some other brands). My roof vents were open, my plastic bits melted, my sleek and shiny silver sides all tarnished and black and rain was pouring in. I was such a sorry sight! On my inside, I had stalactites of plastic drooping towards the floor. My once white walls were black with soot that had crept into every corner. And, Oh! Did I ever smell! I suffered great despair. I nearly gave up! The only life left in my soul was my faithful fire alarm, softly bleating away, in a vain attempt to save me!

A few strangers opened my door, examined my wounds and poked at me. Stranger Danger! I cried, feeling so vulnerable! Then came a day when one of those couples came through again. They touched me with gentle hands and cooed at my injuries, promising to make it better. They hooked me up to this old Suburban and plugged in my umbilical cord. Holy Moly! I had brakes! I had lights! I am tough! I will survive! So, they took me on a long trip, about 4 miles, to Les Schwab, where it was determined that my Good Year Marathons were in good shape, too! Down the road we went. I even got to talk with an Oregon State Trooper---well, that’s a story for another time.

My new parents are David and Susan Duncan. They seem to be pretty nice people. I hear her tell the story of how they found me:
They built a house, spending too much money. The woman, whom I have come to think of as Mom, wanted an Airstream to travel with the grandkids. They have been backpackers, but are getting a little too old to keep sleeping on the ground. Turns out, I have a stepbrother! Apparently, they had an older 31 ft AS that one of their children had “inherited”. That means when they all went camping, my new parents had to sleep on the ground while their daughter, SIL and grandchildren slept in the AS. Mom didn’t like that very well. Like I said, they spent too much money building her dream house and Dad told her that he didn’t want to spend more than $20,000.00 on a trailer and he didn’t want one more than 10 years old. Well, you know how expensive it is to buy into my bloodline, so this was a nearly impossible task. Mom decided to put her thinking cap on. So she looked at Airstream Salvage, and there I was! She said that she could tell that I had good lines and could pull through this if Dad and she were willing to put some effort into my rehabilitation (I’d better not mention too loudly about the time commitment Dad was about to undertake, ‘cause this is why he didn’t want an older unit).

It was 18 months of serious surgery and therapy. Cleaners, scrubbers, screws, glues…they used it all! I still have worbly sides (I look like a cooked hotdog, but shiny now) that will never be perfect. But, Mom loves me anyway! Dad is a bit disappointed, for all of his efforts (which were pretty extensive beltline up), but I think that he will come around. Dad’s are always slow to show their affection, aren’t they?

So far this Summer I have been exploring all over the Northwest and as far away as Wyoming. I got to travel with a bunch of cousins that I never knew I had! They called it a “boondocking caravan”. There were thirteen of us with our shiny aluminum sides. Mom says I did terrific! All systems go! Well, until the last day, when Dad forgot to put up tongue-jack before pulling forward. Hurt my feelings as well as my pride! Anyway, he fixed that right up.

My new parents are making plans for our next adventures, but sometimes I hear them wonder about my past. The heat of the fire not only melted all of my upper wiring, but must have destroyed my memory bank, as well. Can you help me remember? They are curious as to my previous life: where I grew up, where all I have traveled, what life experiences I have had. Dad says I got new rivets long my sides and must have had a couple of serious scrapes that required panel replacements. I do seem to faintly recall knocking my forehead at one point, as well.

That’s about it, for now. I knew you’d be curious about what happened to me. I wanted you to know that I have a new, loving family that really wants to care for me, just like you did. They named me Phoenix, as I have risen, reborn from the ashes. I heard my folks say that they hope that your insurance company, whatever that is, did right by you and that you do not miss me too much.

My new address is:

Phoenix, in the care of:
Burnside Bob and duncans
Mount Angel, Oregon
97362

You can see pictures of me if you go to Air Forums and look up the thread “Check Out My Smoking Hot Deal”. I am online with my own thread! You will be amazed!

I am hoping to hear from you soon,
Take care and love always,


Phoenix
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Old 10-26-2016, 11:59 PM   #152
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Sounds like you found a little opium in that trailer's sooty drawers...
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Old 10-27-2016, 04:42 AM   #153
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Great letter! I hope you get a response. Just great!!!
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Old 10-27-2016, 04:51 AM   #154
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Very cool letter from a hot trailer.
Sure hope it finds its way to Phoenix's original family, so it's early history can come to light.

Cheers Richard
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