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Old 05-18-2013, 09:12 PM   #41
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So, I guess the question will still remain, should this trailer have been left in it's original state, & perhaps gone into a museum somewhere to be gawked at, or become the basis of someones dream & go onto another wonderful life.
There are assorted, far more historically significant trailers sitting in the front parking lot at the Airstream factory right now, that spend their lives in the sun, rain & snow, that are more deserving than Henry Ford II's wardrobe trailer. Perhaps these ones should be preserved in a museum for future generations?
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I almost mentioned the trailers at the factory. It is hard to believe the Airstream Company STILL has not seen fit to put these trailers in a situation were they can be preserved and displayed as part of the legacy of Airstream. Maybe they want them to look a bit decrepted so the vintage craze cools off.

As you said Colin, they sit out front in the elements with half deflated tires and birdy do while the former AS prez spent 300K on a foolish Harley chopper (really a poor excuse for a motorcycle) with a few bucked rivets on he gas tank. That kind of moola would have built a very nice enclosed display area.

I recently had an east coast museum curator contact me looking for a particular vintage Airstream to use as part of a new mid century show and collection that was included at the Modern Art Museum in LA, CA. That trailer was privately owned and the travel expense and rental was cost prohibitive. I suggested a few names to contact (including Colin) and also the Airstream Co. but winced at the thought of the condition of those trailers.

As the saying goes, you can't buy that kind of publicity. Look at the press Airstream got from the Bambi at MOMA. So there is something to be said for the history and historical value of particular trailers. Maybe the HF was just too strange to be in this class, but I hope the Henry Ford retains its past uniqueness and is improved upon by its rebuild and reintroduction to service as what Wally himself insisted they be called...a travel trailer. As you suggested Sum, that IS a pretty exciting life.
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Old 05-18-2013, 09:40 PM   #42
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Well, Jane and Gary... Don't just get me interested in the trailer then leave me hanging! Will there be a thread about it? If so, I'd love to follow along! Interesting is interesting! :-)

As for Phoebe... I'm finally pregnant with my first and likely only baby (well, babies: twins!)... So Phoebe isn't getting a lot of attention right now :-( Though I do now have new motivation for getting her restored! I need a guest room in the near future and family camping headquarters longer term! But I won't be doing any heavy lifting/ stripping/ polishing/ you name it for the next few months at least.

So-- I really really need links to cool threads during this down time! If you don't have a thread started on the Henry Ford trailer, then by all means start one! Waiting impatiently... :-)

Summer
We will see about that. If I do start a thread it will be on the 1957 Custom 22' that we bought from Bruce. It could be a way to help inspire or at least push us along in the process. I'll let you know if we do.

The HF Cruiser is back in Colins hands for more floor, tanks and frame work. Floor plans and windows placements will have to be addressed first, so just think how much further you and Lonewolf are down the restoration road than all of us!

Twins huh? double trouble. Thats what my parents told us being twins and all. Good for you.

Gary
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Old 06-25-2016, 11:02 PM   #43
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Ok, everyone... Hi! It's been a while since I've posted/ been on the Forums. Just want you to know that my Overlander is still in my driveway and on my mind! My twins are now 2 1/2 years old, so that has been my project lately. But I'm finally starting to feel like I can get back to my Airstream, little by little. I'd like to get her out on the road in a few years.

Although I haven't been working on her, I did install a hitch on my car a few months ago and I've tried to keep up my construction skills by building my kids a giant dollhouse.

Hoping to rejoin this wonderful community, I've missed you!


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Old 03-23-2017, 12:46 PM   #44
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Checking Back In - Again

When I first started reading on the forums (way back when- more than a decade ago), I remember hearing about concepts like "polished turd" (ouch!!), and the palpable disdain true airstreamers had for exuberant new owners who jumped in with both feet, disassembled a vintage trailer, then got overwhelmed and listed it on ebay. I didn't know a lot, but I sure knew I didn't want a turd, or a project that would get away from me.

After years of owning my Overlander, I finally was in a place of stability in my life and had it towed to my driveway in California (at the start of this thread). I began my restoration project, inspired by so many stories and threads and amazing people in this community who felt like friends. Even though I rarely chimed in, I followed them with zeal!

I started the disassembly of my beautiful trailer, gave her a name, and began looking forward. Then, as anyone who read this thread knows, I got pregnant- with twins! Life changed radically.

Free time became nonexistent. Discretionary income became a thing of the past. Airstream dreams were put on the back burner. Well, as I reported a few months ago, I'm still here. Phoebe will be restored, I will NOT be one of those exuberant owners who bites off more than he/she can chew.

This trailer speaks to me. She is part of the family. So this is where things stand right now: I'm pricing Coosa board (since the subfloor is the weak link in these amazing trailers, and I don't want her to have be taken apart again in 40 years). I'm also waiting for a sale on Prodex, and I just purchased some Por-15 products. I'm going to start looking at tanks, as well. All systems are "go" for this resto! I'm going to get back to it, even though I have small children, a full time job, and (because that's not enough, clearly!) I'm two classes into a Master's degree. Life is too short to keep putting this on hold.

I've checked back in on my favorite restoration threads, and they are eerily quiet. I suppose you're all out there enjoying your trailers now. It's a little sad to feel as though I'm alone in this, but it's also incredibly reassuring to have the collective wisdom of this site to draw upon.

When I was 7 weeks pregnant, I attended the Vintage Restoration Rally in New Mexico. I was totally exhausted but I still managed to learn a lot. So I've got the resources from that weekend to draw upon, as well.

If you're following along, it may be slow going but I'm going to check in when I can!
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Old 03-23-2017, 07:56 PM   #45
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You'll still have lots of company and new cheerleaders along with some old ones.

Hang in there your little ones are almost camping ready.

Our threads are quiet and our campers are so agonizingly slow to come along because we bought a project house to park them at.

We do however go camping. So be assured you don't have to have them done done in order to camp. Just road worthy
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Old 03-23-2017, 09:37 PM   #46
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I am happy to see you will be returning to your project. I could not remember if any other restoration threads were mentioned in earlier posts on this thread that you were following. A few of my favorites : PB Sailors thread (1957 Caravanner, and Inside/Out (Birdie) restoration. Also CV65 Overlander restoration.Sorry I have forgotten how to link these but hopefully you already know about them.

Still it is good to review your favorites for inspiration and jog the memory on different approaches to your restoration.

I had to look up that "Coosa Board" that is expensive, yes? I just bought some marine plywood with a fancy name (Hydrotech). The dealer said it was 11 ply (looks like five ply) It looks way too pretty to cut or drill and bolt. Also not as heavy As I thought. Also expensive. The dealer still suggests sealing edges after cutting.
So, good luck with your project, no rush, you have a great trailer.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:08 AM   #47
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You'll still have lots of company and new cheerleaders along with some old ones.

Hang in there your little ones are almost camping ready.

Our threads are quiet and our campers are so agonizingly slow to come along because we bought a project house to park them at.

We do however go camping. So be assured you don't have to have them done done in order to camp. Just road worthy


Thank you! That's my goal right now (camping with the little ones!). It's time to start making some family memories.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:36 AM   #48
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I am happy to see you will be returning to your project. I could not remember if any other restoration threads were mentioned in earlier posts on this thread that you were following. A few of my favorites : PB Sailors thread (1957 Caravanner, and Inside/Out (Birdie) restoration. Also CV65 Overlander restoration.Sorry I have forgotten how to link these but hopefully you already know about them.



Still it is good to review your favorites for inspiration and jog the memory on different approaches to your restoration.



I had to look up that "Coosa Board" that is expensive, yes? I just bought some marine plywood with a fancy name (Hydrotech). The dealer said it was 11 ply (looks like five ply) It looks way too pretty to cut or drill and bolt. Also not as heavy As I thought. Also expensive. The dealer still suggests sealing edges after cutting.

So, good luck with your project, no rush, you have a great trailer.


The Coosa board is expensive. I contacted RevChem and the pricing is much better than any of the sites I found online. Just waiting on our tax return and I'm going to bite the bullet on it. There isn't a lot of space in our garage, so that should motivate me to get it installed vs. having something pricey gather dust.

My subfloor is 3/4", not 5/8", so that helps (it's a size they stock so no minimum order, whereas the 5/8" has a minimum order of 20 sheets from this supplier).

I'm not familiar with all the different plywood products, but hydrotech sounds great!

PB Sailor's thread is amazing. What a gorgeous trailer and what a sad, sweet story. He inspired me on a lot of levels during a challenging time in my life.

I have a lot of threads saved, but I've only had time to revisit a few lately. That one featuring Island Girl, Moonraker (even though Shelly's trailer is from the 60's, she is so meticulous in her work), and Dark Knight/ Peter and Marie-- but I intend to keep perusing my collection! I have like 50+ threads saved! Eek.

There was a young family who restored my trailers' twin back to original- they were on the forums but also had a blog I enjoyed, I've got to find that one.

Anyway, thank you for the encouragement
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Old 03-26-2017, 06:25 PM   #49
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I am glad you mentioned Shelly's Moonraker project. I should have checked my subscribed threads before posting to your thread. One of the best and amazing work.
Once again glad you are back at it!
Gary
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Old 04-18-2017, 06:00 PM   #50
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So I picked up the Bluewater 20 today... I was home with a sick kiddo, so we made the hour plus drive to pick it up.

First impressions: it is indeed light stuff. I watched the warehouse employee lift six 4x8 sheets onto my roof rack and it really didn't seem to tax him at all.

I wanted to help position the sheets on the rack so he stopped what he was doing to hunt down a pair of gloves for me. He warned me, "you should wear gloves when you handle this stuff, because it will give you splinters"- no joke. I barely touched it with bare hands and did manage to get a few fiberglass splinters. I also feel as though I have a piece of fiberglass in my eye. Just a warning to anyone else who goes this route! I will wear goggles or a face shield when it comes time to saw it.

Other developments- I can't get the belt line loose (it's secured with those ubiquitous 1950's flathead screws, and most of them won't budge). Obviously, this is a problem. I can't work on the floor until I drill out the hidden rivets beneath the belt line. I've tried wd40, I've tried to tape off the area and drill out the screws, I've tried a screw extractor... nothing is working.

But-- I found something I've never heard of on the Yardstore website, it's called a screw knocker/ old man. It looks to be a screwdriver that attaches to a pneumatic riveter- air blasts "knock" the screw loose. I've ordered one and will report back once I've tried it out!
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Old 04-28-2017, 05:45 AM   #51
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So happy to hear things are progressing for you. On May 5, I will have had my overlander FOUR years and we are just now getting to use it--and there's still just a subfloor, no beds, no kitchen, no cabinets, and no dinette. And it's all good! Everyone's project takes a different course. Life happens. Money runs short. It's ok....we have no one to answer to but ourselves. Love ya--we'll camp together someday
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Old 04-28-2017, 08:24 AM   #52
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So happy to hear things are progressing for you. On May 5, I will have had my overlander FOUR years and we are just now getting to use it--and there's still just a subfloor, no beds, no kitchen, no cabinets, and no dinette. And it's all good! Everyone's project takes a different course. Life happens. Money runs short. It's ok....we have no one to answer to but ourselves. Love ya--we'll camp together someday


Thank you! Enjoy your first adventure!!
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Old 06-30-2017, 06:03 AM   #53
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Do you recall how the front end cap locker was hung? I'm struggling to remember this, and apparently neglected to take a picture of that. It's now time to put it back in, but it just looks like screws held it in. That can't be right. Would love to know your thoughts on this.
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Old 06-30-2017, 08:06 AM   #54
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Do you recall how the front end cap locker was hung? I'm struggling to remember this, and apparently neglected to take a picture of that. It's now time to put it back in, but it just looks like screws held it in. That can't be right. Would love to know your thoughts on this.


Mine didn't have a locker in the front... just a little shelf above the gaucho, with the reading lights above. Maybe yours was custom or retrofit later? Do you have a picture of the locker? All of my upper cabinets were pop riveted in place (and then painted over with Zolatone).
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Old 08-10-2017, 04:46 PM   #55
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Does anyone know how to change the name of a thread (lol)- mine is too exuberantly happy and naive to the restoration "fun" that would be on the horizon!

Seriously, though, I never thought that I'd have the products to redo the floor stacked up in my garage for months while I struggled to remove some rusted trim screws!! Grrr, it's getting ridiculous. I think I posted that I've tried nearly everything to remove them- including hand screwdriver, power driver with bit sleeve, set at various torques, putty knife behind the aluminum skin, breaking the screws off from the inside of the trailer, using a rust removal product (Yes, very cautiously and judiciously), attempting to tap them out with a nail set, purchasing a special "screwknocker" tool from an aircraft store... The list goes on. I feel incredibly incompetent as I reflect on all of the threads I've read in which would-be restorers power through every task with the greatest of ease. How??

Anyway, I have now have only two of the initial 24 rusted old screws holding the front rub rail trim on, but they will NOT budge. As I strolled through my local home improvement store this afternoon, something new caught my eye- a heat gun. I've never used one, but there on the package it states that it can be used to remove rusted-in-place bolts and screws.

Obviously, I will proceed with caution. I'm not about to destroy the front panel of my trailer on behalf of two stubborn 60-year-old screws... But the prospect of having them out (and potentially the belly pan dropped/ new floor installed before the next century) does intrigue me.

Of course, I couldn't resist and bought the heat gun, but even once I've researched whether it's safe to use in proximity to aluminum skin and how to do so, I'll need to find the time. I'm hoping it will be a soon, and I can post an exuberantly happy update!
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:08 PM   #56
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Does anyone know how to change the name of a thread (lol)- mine is too exuberantly happy and naive to the restoration "fun" that would be on the horizon!

Seriously, though, I never thought that I'd have the products to redo the floor stacked up in my garage for months while I struggled to remove some rusted trim screws!! Grrr, it's getting ridiculous. I think I posted that I've tried nearly everything to remove them- including hand screwdriver, power driver with bit sleeve, set at various torques, putty knife behind the aluminum skin, breaking the screws off from the inside of the trailer, using a rust removal product (Yes, very cautiously and judiciously), attempting to tap them out with a nail set, purchasing a special "screwknocker" tool from an aircraft store... The list goes on. I feel incredibly incompetent as I reflect on all of the threads I've read in which would-be restorers power through every task with the greatest of ease. How??

Anyway, I have now have only two of the initial 24 rusted old screws holding the front rub rail trim on, but they will NOT budge. As I strolled through my local home improvement store this afternoon, something new caught my eye- a heat gun. I've never used one, but there on the package it states that it can be used to remove rusted-in-place bolts and screws.

Obviously, I will proceed with caution. I'm not about to destroy the front panel of my trailer on behalf of two stubborn 60-year-old screws... But the prospect of having them out (and potentially the belly pan dropped/ new floor installed before the next century) does intrigue me.

Of course, I couldn't resist and bought the heat gun, but even once I've researched whether it's safe to use in proximity to aluminum skin and how to do so, I'll need to find the time. I'm hoping it will be a soon, and I can post an exuberantly happy update!


Haha, forgot to add a few more things I tried (unsuccessfully): drilling out said screws, using a screw extractor- multiple sizes/ two different types failed.? Lubricating the stuck threads with WD40 also failed. So this heat gun could be a lifesaver. I'm running out of ideas and patience!
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:27 AM   #57
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If your not worried about damage to the rub rail (VTS does sell it in 14' lengths), grind off the heads of the screws. I had several froze up. Steel screws in aluminum not good.

If you have access from the inside, put a vise grip on the screw and break it off. That should loosen the screw threads in the channel. This may damage the channel though. You could try to cut the screw off with a cut off wheel. Dremel has minature cut off wheels for their tool but the diameter is really small (approx 1") and they are fragile.

Good luck
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:43 AM   #58
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Thank you SO much for that tip. I never imagined I'd be stalled for so long due to something so little!

Yes, I was trying to save the rub rail, but the level of overall discouragement and delay doesn't justify it. You know, I actually already did break the screws off with a vise grip from the inside. I was sure it would work, and it did on several of them. Just not these last two. I'll try the grinder!
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:13 AM   #59
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Today was my birthday as well as a day off from work. I decided it was time for the trim to come off, so first I tried the heat gun (briefly and cautiously), then the grinding method. It was a success. Actually I used a dremel with a tungsten carbide cutting bit. It worked. The trim piece may even be reusable. Happy birthday to me!

I drilled out the rivets that were underneath then removed every screw I could find on the outside of the trailer (holding on the porch light, at the bottom edges of the window drip caps, and a row of screwed on snap like things (I presume for the awning).

Every screw not rusted in place is now out. I believe there are only two left (not including the dozen or two holding on the rear rub rail, grrr!). I feel like maybe I can start making some forward momentum again. It's a good feeling.
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Old 08-25-2017, 08:43 PM   #60
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Stuck screws into aluminum can come out with some gentle tapping. I typically use a cold chisel and gently (really I mean gently) tap the side of the screw head on all sides. The steel screw being harder than aluminum will usually ever so slightly stretch the aluminum enough to get it to break loose without breaking off. I'd had good luck with that on belt line trim, window sash alignment screws and the like.

Glad you're up and going again. I look forward to watching your project!
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