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Old 06-05-2017, 08:19 PM   #1
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Fort Lauderdale , Florida
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How to remove fiberglass wet room?

I have a 23' 1970 Safari with side bathroom (wet room). The wet room stall has a toilet and shower in a fiberglass enclosure similar to the one in http://vintageairstream.com/photo-archives/1970-safari-23/

I need to fix (weld) the rusted frame underneath it and wonder if 1. there is a way to fix the frame without gutting the bathroom; 2. how one can remove the bathroom and save it for a reinstallation.
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Old 06-12-2017, 04:13 PM   #2
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1970 23' Safari
Marion , New York
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I have the same model as you. My Safari has floor rot in the back and needs frame repair as well. The welding could probably be done from underneath but since I have to replace the floor anyway I plan to take the shower room out. From what I understand you have to remove the cabinetry around it. Then there are some hidden fasteners holding the fiberglass to the wall underneath the plastic trim the goes around the middle of the wall. Once I get the room out I can patch some holes in the fiberglass that the previous owner tried to fix from the front side.
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by DremStremer View Post
I have the same model as you. My Safari has floor rot in the back and needs frame repair as well. The welding could probably be done from underneath but since I have to replace the floor anyway I plan to take the shower room out. From what I understand you have to remove the cabinetry around it. Then there are some hidden fasteners holding the fiberglass to the wall underneath the plastic trim the goes around the middle of the wall. Once I get the room out I can patch some holes in the fiberglass that the previous owner tried to fix from the front side.
@DremStremer, thanks for the advice. How many holding tanks do you have in yours? I saw a translucent tank right underneath the toilet. It can be seen from a sink cabinet. This is convenient because I can check the level without using a sensor. The black water tank sits higher than the shower, so I'm guessing that there must be another tank for gray water. I might need to install a sensor for that one.

I don't have an A/C and will have it installed. In case you're in the same situation, I found what looks like a drain hose behind the curb side wheel well. I'll start the renovation next week. I'll post updates here.
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Old 06-13-2017, 09:45 PM   #4
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1970 23' Safari
Marion , New York
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There are only two holding tanks in this Safari model, one for fresh water under the floor and the black water tank that you can see in the sink cabinet. I'm not sure I really want to see what's in the black tank..haha..but like you said it will be easy to check the level. Grey water tanks were not added by Airstream until 1974 I believe. I would like to add a grey water tank but I'll wait and see how the frame repairs go before I decide.

Interesting, my Safari never had AC installed either. Thanks for the info on where I might find the drain tube. I've also read that the wiring might be in the ceiling as well.

In case you're not aware, the model Safari we have was part of the Special Land Yacht series for 1970. It came as a Twin or Double layout. That series also included the Caravel and Globetrotter models. All three had the wet shower room in the roadside corner. There was also a Deluxe Land Yacht Safari that year, which had a dry bath across the back.

Good Luck in your restoration. I will be following closely.
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:09 AM   #5
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1970 23' Safari
Marion , New York
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Any updates on your restoration, Writemate? Were you able to remove the shower room?
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Old 07-09-2017, 06:23 AM   #6
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Any updates on your restoration, Writemate? Were you able to remove the shower room?
Sorry for the delay. I have been very busy with the renovation. I was able to remove the bathroom after removing wood panels. There were so many rivets under the belt. There are two layers of the belt. The layer underneath was attached to the fiberglass shells. The top one concealed the messiness. I thought that there would be a lot of glue and caulk under the bottom belt, but it was not too bad. The first layer of rivets is for stitching the top and bottom pieces together. The second layer is for attaching the assembled bathroom shell to the wood panels. And there were few screws attaching the shell to the aluminum skin. The top shell was able to be lifted off.

The bottom shell was attached to the toilet. There are two bolts under the toilet. The one in the front is behind the flushing peddle. The one in the back is difficult to reach. It was rusty, so I had to break the toilet. I didn't plan to reuse it anyways. After removing the toilet, I was able to take the bottom she'll out. I found a plastic floor base sitting on the subfloor.

I have removed the subfloor and am working on the frame. I had new crossbars welded to replace rusted ones in the rear. The last one is rusted through. I left it there since it was attached to the wall and welding under the wall would burn it. A new crossbar was welded about 5" away. I will add small pieces running down the middle for strength and receiving self tapping screws. The frame is much stronger now with the new crossbars.

I used Opho Skyco, and will reactivate it and rinse. Acid residue can prevent primer from sticking to the frame. There's a series of youtube videos on that (SPI epoxy primer & Ospho torture test).
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Old 07-09-2017, 07:13 AM   #7
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1970 23' Safari
Marion , New York
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Thanks for the update, and great detail. Now I have a better idea of what to expect in removing my shower room. Unfortunately my previous owner caulked the edges of the belt molding and then painted the whole shell. The paint doesn't look real bad but there's no way to know what type of paint was used or how it will hold up. I would have preferred to have the original gel finish.

Sounds like you're making good progress. I'd love to see some pics if you have any.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:22 PM   #8
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Fort Lauderdale , Florida
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Originally Posted by DremStremer View Post
Thanks for the update, and great detail. Now I have a better idea of what to expect in removing my shower room. Unfortunately my previous owner caulked the edges of the belt molding and then painted the whole shell. The paint doesn't look real bad but there's no way to know what type of paint was used or how it will hold up. I would have preferred to have the original gel finish.

Sounds like you're making good progress. I'd love to see some pics if you have any.
All my photos of the fiberglass shells in my cell phone are corrupted. I'll see if I can restore them by downloading to a laptop. I am looking for the plastic/vinyl trim/belt for the middle seam. I found a vinyl bath insert in the Vintage Trailer Supply website, but it is an insert that goes in an aluminum channel. Any suggestion on where I can find it? By the way, I just installed a gray tank. I'll take some pictures before installing subfloor.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:01 PM   #9
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1970 23' Safari
Marion , New York
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Good to hear you're making progress. I look forward to seeing pictures of your grey tank install and wet bath shells if you can retrieve them. I spent the last few evenings taking out the toilet. The toilet removed easily from the flange but the flange itself was a real chore. I think the plywood swelled up around those rusty screws holding them tight. Eventually I got them all out but then I had to figure out how to unscrew the funnel pipe from the holding tank. There are two notches in the rim of the funnel so I cut a flat piece of metal to fit into the notches and act as a handle to unscrew it from the tank. Someone used a lot of caulk on the threads of the funnel pipe when it was installed. It took a great deal of effort to get the pipe to turn. Unfortunately once I got the pipe out of the tank I saw the threaded fitting had partially lost it's seal to the tank. I'm not sure yet if it can be repaired.

I'm not sure you'll have any luck finding that plastic snap on trim strip. The only place I've seen it was on the Out of Doors Mart website and it was listed as no longer available. I'll let you know if I ever find any.
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