Airstream Forums

Airstream Forums (
-   1997 - 2004 Bambi (
-   -   2002 Bambi customized (

dtbw 04-03-2003 10:21 PM

2002 Bambi customized
Just thought I would introduce myself. Although I am new to this forum, I have been around Airstreams since my pre-teen years. Our new 19C Bambi was exactly the size and layout that we wanted, but we absolutely hated the bland, vanilla interior. Being an engineer and a big DIYer, the challenge was to customize it to our liking. We did buy it off the lot even though the interior colors were our last choice (but then again, we were not really crazy about any of the choices). The fact the the unit had the LS package along with a couch (rather than dinette) and the fact that the dealer wanted to move it (ie about $4K off list), made our decision a no brainer. (our opinion of the dealer after the sale is a WHOLE other story...not pleasant).

Over the last few months we have been working what seems like, non stop. As you can see in my pics, we really transformed the interior into something far more inviting and elegant. In addition, we added a roadside and rear Zip Dee awning, two 50W solar panels & a MPP controller, a battery telemetry system (Tri_metric 2020), an 17" LCD TV on a fully articulating arm mount, ceramic backsplash in the stove area and lots of little other things. Given that few Bambi's are produced with the front couch, plus all the enhancements make this a one of a kind. We think this unit will work for us for many years as we are 10+ years from retirement.

We made our first Unit rally back in March and really enjoyed the experience and leave Tuesday for the Region 9 Rally in Harlingen, Tx.

Silvertwinkie 04-03-2003 10:29 PM

Very nice! I like the colors and...well, I don't think that there is anything I don't like.

Nice job! Thanks for posting pictures of the before and after shots!


Pahaska 04-04-2003 12:03 AM

We leave Sundy for Harlingen. I hope to see your unit while we are there.

Stefrobrts 04-04-2003 12:50 AM

Super nice! Say, how do you like the hensley? I know a lot of people would pooh-pooh someone using that hitch on such a small trailer, but I am also considering one for my future 20ft AS (which I'm still searching for). Any particular reason you went with it?

Pick 04-04-2003 06:06 AM

Wow! Very Impressive!
I don't care much for the new interiors. But, wow! What you folks have done is truly amazing. You have taken a sterile interior and made it look just like home. My favorites are the floor, and backsplash for the stove. Choice of colors really makes the interior warm.

Stephanie, the use of a Hensley on a single axle short trailer is not a bad idea. In my towing experiences, those kind of trailers are more prone to sway than an larger, heavier dual/triple axle unit. Whatever makes the driver more confident and safer is important. RVing is no fun if you arrive at your destination all stressed out, and have to look foward to "white knuckles" on the way home.:eek:

Les Gilliam 04-04-2003 07:24 AM

WOW! What a great job. I really like what you have done to the interior. You ought to send the pictures to the A/S factory, might give them some ideas.

I especially like the floor. What is it made of and how difficult was it to install?

kamadeca 04-04-2003 07:35 AM

I don't want to sound like an idiot, but where do I find the pictures?


Les Gilliam 04-04-2003 07:47 AM


Click on "Photos" at the bottom of their post.

RoadKingMoe 04-04-2003 07:59 AM

Very, VERY nice custom work!

59toaster 04-04-2003 08:16 AM

Taking notes for our redo of our 59!

Stefrobrts 04-04-2003 08:25 AM

Hi Pick, I agree, whatever makes it safer and more comfortable makes it more fun. I've just seen people on this forum (and friends of mine locally) saying you don't need any fancy hitch for something so small, so I was surprised to see someone else who seems to think it was a good idea. Personally, I'd rather spend the money and never have to deal with sway, then go cheap and scare the heck out of myself until I got it all adjusted just right. But then again, I don't have the money to throw away either, so I keep going back and forth. Luckily I don't have the trailer yet, so it's all in my head right now.

LuminumTraila 04-04-2003 08:49 AM

Wow! Very nice job, dtbw. I'd love to see what others have done with the interior of the newer model Bambi (hint, hint ;))
I'd also like to know what you used for the floor. My least favorite thing about the interior of the new Airstreams is the carpeting.

In other posts, the Reese hitch was recommended as adequate for the Bambi. Can anyone tell me what the difference is in safety/performance between the Reese and the Hensley in pulling the Bambi? It looks like there's a big $$ difference.

dtbw 04-04-2003 10:48 AM

Answers to various questions
First off, I will address my choice of the Hensley Arrow. As a teenager, I towed my parent's Airstreams (Overlander & Sovereign) many, many miles (yes, I was a really good kid and never involved in even a fender bender). We always towed with the Reese Dual Cam. Although I never found myself in a dangerous sway situation, the Reese Dual Cam did not totally eliminate it (kept it under control after the fact though). As I was doing my research on a hitch for the new Bambi (it had been 22 years since I last towed a TT), I came across the Hensley. Being an engineer, I stopped and contemplated the mathmatics behind the Hensley and quickly realized that it should indeed work. It took me a few days to mentally rationalize the cost, but then I put it in perspective...the hitch was less than 10% of the cost of the A/S. I also read all the testimonials and talked to the folks at Hensley. So, am I happy, oh yea! Although we have not towed the Bambi that much so far, I can tell you that the Hensley is amazing. There is simply NO sway what-so-ever, even under the worst conditions such as narrow two lane road, 65mph and have a 18 wheeling going the opposite direction. If not for the sight and sound of the semi, you would NEVER know it even passed. Another reason that I chose the Hensley is the simple fact that the Bambi is a single axle trailer. Should I blow a tire, the result could be disasterous (normally the trailer would attempt to pull sharply in the direction of the failed tire with the potential of dropping off the pavement and possible inducing a rollover). With the Hensley, the trailer simply can NOT introduce a change in the straightline path of the combined rig (all changes must originate from the towed vehicle). So the Hensley would hedge my odds of successfully coming to a stop under full control.

Enough of the Hensley sales pitch.

Several of you noted the floor. We felt all along that carpeting was NOT a good thing, especially on this small a trailer. I will not go into the nightmare that unfolded, but due to a leak in the roadside front-to-side lower panel joint, the carpet had to be removed as it had been subjected to water. We had anticipated removing the carpet anyway, so I told A/S that there was no need to replace it. The subfloor in an A/S is made of tongue & grove marine plywood, so the moisture was not an issue on it (did not even raise the grain even though it was very wet). We were fortunate that nothing other than the carpet was damaged. After allowing the subfloor to totally dry out (industrial dehumidifiers ran in the unit for over a week), we put down a layer of 1/4 luane to help bring the floor up in height so as to better approximate the level of the carpet and pad. We did NOT glue the luane to the subfloor, but rather screwed it in place on a 1 ft grid so that if we should ever want to remove it it would be possible (not easy, just possible). We then covered the seams of the luane with a commercial latex/portland cement mixture so that once finished we had a smooth surface (very important with vinyl flooring, as any underlying imperfections tend to show through after some foot travel on the floor). We then primed the luane with a latex sealant designed specifically to seal wood prior to laying down vinyl flooring. The floor we chose was in 12" squares (really added to the slate effect). The squares were preglued, but we decided to use a regular vinyl flooring mastic as well (did not trust the preglued approach...even the manufacture indicated that regular mastic was a good approach). We laid the squares on the diagonal as that made the area seem even larger. Care in planning and installation resulted in a floor that has fooled virtually everyone (I know because many have asked if I was concerned with the added weight of the slate).

At several points during the customization, we really questioned our decision, but now that we are near the end of the process, the result is exactly what we wanted and somehow all the work and frustration is fading from memory very quickly.


Stefrobrts 04-04-2003 12:14 PM

Thanks for the answer on the Hensley. I must admit, in all my research I have yet to see someone who has one and regretted it. That's speaks pretty powerfully about it to me!

Super nice job on the floor too! Looks like it will be worth all the work :-)

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:17 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.