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douglasbury 07-30-2011 08:42 PM

1961 Space Liner
Hello to all Airstreamers! I am a new Airstream owner, however the
Airstream I bought is a basket case and with any luck my family and I will
take our maiden voyage to Yellowstone National Park next year. My
Airstream is an unbadged 1961 22' Spaceliner. Originally purchased in
Oklahoma City and some time in its lifetime it found it's way to Benld
Illinois. I believe the last time the trailer was on the road was 1987.

When we went to look at it, it was in pretty bad shape. The only thing
original on the interior was the complete kitchen and the toilet with waste
tank. The Trailer had been remodeled 3 times.

The First remodel consisted of painting the interior yellow. The second circa
1969 was red velvet wall paper and the final remodel was white paneling
that someone used an airstapler to affix the paneling. The front gaucho was
gone replaced with an ugly loveseat. The L shaped divan and table were
replaced by an equally ugly upholstered rocking chair. The bathroom sink
was gone and someone tried to install a metal shower and never finished
the job. All of the trailer lights were missing or broken. The hitch lock was broken and rusted solid and the chains were too short. Getting it home (107 miles) was scary. I told my wife if it falls off we were going to keep going, luckily the weight of the trailer kept it on the hitch.

Once home I emptied out the trailer that night of all the stuff that wasn't
bolted down. The next day I removed everything else. On the third day a
friend came over and we removed the paneling, wallpaper and finally the
inner skin, wiring and insulation. The following week I removed the lower
outer skin and windows and my wife and I lifted the body off the frame. I
suspended the body in my garage and stripped the heavily corroded under
belly, rotten plywood and anything else left on the frame. I took the frame
to a welder who is going the replace all but the two main C channels. The
outriggers and cross braces are rusted clear through. In fact 2 cross braces
and the rear angle iron fell off on the road.

Each bump seemed to jar off another piece of the frame. If I can find some
windows I will proceed with the renovation. it seems as the windows broke
the PO(s) took the windows out and screwed Plexiglas or galvanized steel
to cover the openings. I think if I proceed with the renovations I will replace
about 90% of the outer body panels due to creases, scuffs or deep

The last owned let a tree grow up over the trailer and when the wind blew
it did a number on the skin. Other window options at this point are to
replace all of the windows with modern Hehr windows, but I think it will
ruin the look of the trailer. Hopefully the moderators will change the drop
down trailer selector to add in my trailer. For any one interested here is a
magazine article about the trailer when it was new:
Pictures to follow.

Doug and Gina

BIGED52 07-30-2011 09:07 PM

Great to have you join us here at the forums. I think that adding your trailer to the model listings on the site will be great! Again, We are all glad to have you here and enjoy seeing your pictures that will follow. Happy Trails, Ed

robandzoe 07-30-2011 09:38 PM

Very cool!
Loved the article... great find!! we want pics!!

ROBERT CROSS 07-31-2011 06:07 AM

Welcome Aboard....
Doug & Gina,

Great trailer, need those photo's>>>

Noticed your post on another careful there.

Sweet Streams.

dwightdi 07-31-2011 06:18 AM

You are in central Illinois. There is a chapter of WBCCI called Lincolnland which is close to you and someone there might be able to give you in person assistance. We are members of the Northern Illinois Unit. We have some members from your area that come up for rallies regularly. Bill Thomas RV of St. Louis could also resource for you.

douglasbury 07-31-2011 07:28 AM

Spaceliner Pics
4 Attachment(s)
I am the worst for taking pics, however my wife snapped some as I was cleaning out the trailer. Starting in the upper righthand corner and moving clockwise (I hope) Curb side view, Front, Red Velvet wall paper and finally nicotine stained white panelling.

douglasbury 07-31-2011 07:31 AM

Other Site?
Robert, I stumbled on the "other site" while searching for wiring diagrams. What should I look out for?

douglasbury 07-31-2011 07:34 AM

More Spaceliner pics......
2 Attachment(s)
A couple more pics. Broken/rusted coupler and contents of trailer ready for garbage man.

ROBERT CROSS 07-31-2011 07:40 AM


Originally Posted by douglasbury (Post 1026036)
Robert, I stumbled on the "other site" while searching for wiring diagrams. What should I look out for?

I found it thru this posting, SCAM on vintage - airstream dot com Airstream Website - Airstream Forums, this morning. I guess some red flags have been raised here. I was really surprised at how well the site is presented, seems an awful lot of effort for a "scam". Others may have first hand info.

douglasbury 07-31-2011 07:45 AM

Thanks, I will keep an eye on it.

douglasbury 07-31-2011 07:58 AM

I got the Frame back from the sandblaster last night. It is in pretty bad shape. I am hopeing the welder can do some magic. I will post some pics later this week because my wife took the camera to a baby shower and wont be back home till later tonight. My plan is to get the frame fixed, plywood down and body back on before it snows this winter. I plan on replacing the leafspring axles with new rubber torsion axles with electric brakes. I think once completed I can remove the axles and lower the trailer onto some car dollies and put in my garage. This way I can keep working on the trailer this winter. I am not a member of the WBCCI and probably wont join untill I am road worthy. Could someone put me in contact with someone who has a newer airstream in my area? I would like to crawl around their trailer and get a feel for how the electrical and plumbing is configured. I need to wrap my brain around all of the things that need to be completed before I am road worthy. I really appreciate this site and the great people that are members here, you make me feel at home.


HiHoAgRV 07-31-2011 09:26 AM

Hey Doug,

Great looking start. We are rebuilding a '63 and have taken lots of photos,

Let me know if there is some detail you are looking for, I have a couple of (hundered) images that I haven't posted...

My gas plumbing had a black iron pipe strapped to the bellypan with tees feeding copper for the refrigerator, heater and water heater. I will go back with copper all the way.

douglasbury 07-31-2011 09:41 AM

Gas Pipe
Is there any reason besides the posibility of leaks that the gas line is ran on the exterior? A thought I had was to run an Iron pipe along the inner frame with minimal connections and rubber gromets.

silverleeper 07-31-2011 10:18 AM


Originally Posted by douglasbury (Post 1026085)
Is there any reason besides the posibility of leaks that the gas line is ran on the exterior?



Originally Posted by douglasbury (Post 1026085)
A thought I had was to run an Iron pipe along the inner frame with minimal connections and rubber gromets.

Can you guarantee that there will be no leaks? If you do get a leak the end result could be catastrophic.

douglasbury 07-31-2011 11:00 AM

Thanks Lee
As I rebuild this trailer in my mind I am trying to figure out the best approach. My trailer had most of the copper for the gas lines still in place. I guess I will put it back with minimal changes. One thing I will do is use stainless steel hardware where ever possible. One thing the Army taught me is that steel and aluminum should never touch. As I took my trailer apart I could why.......

silverleeper 07-31-2011 02:44 PM


Originally Posted by douglasbury (Post 1026132)
One thing I will do is use stainless steel hardware where ever possible.

I did this on my Airstreams...

douglasbury 08-01-2011 07:17 AM

Body and Soul
4 Attachment(s)
Well the baby shower is over and here are some more pics. First is the body hanging in the garage. Yesterday I removed one of the vents. It was a steel replacement that was starting to rust. The screws were rusty as well, I had to use vice grips and loosen them from underneath. The other vent will take a lot more effort, Looks like someone dumped a gallon of roofing tar on it to stop a leak or leaks. I also removed the door frame and one of the ribs. I have a buddy that can make some new ones, or so he claims. At one point a PO broke the original door knob and instead of buying a replacement they cut a new lock set, and is doing so they cut the door frame almost in half. I am pretty sure my original lock set was a Bargman L-100 instead of the L-77 like most trailer of the same vintage. The next pictures are of the Soul or the frame. Not sure if you can see the extent of the rust. Next week it goes to the welder to have everything replaced except the main channels. Additionally I will have him beef up the frame as per the Airstream specs for a new Dexter axle. I am wondering if I should have him patch the hole on the frame where the old dump valve exited the trailer. Any thoughts?

Melody Ranch 08-01-2011 07:35 AM

Whoa there!
Yes , fix the hole in the frame....even add more supports if so inclined. Now, could you show more of the shell lift off? And, most curiously, why you disassembled the shell for that lift off. I am afraid you will have some major headaches if you don't jig it in some manner.

douglasbury 08-01-2011 08:07 AM

Body lift off
I didn't give building a jig for it much thought largely due the the fact that every thing on this trailer was pretty much shot. The C channels were all coroded beyond use and the plywood was crumbeling. in fact I pulled the plywood up with my hands. I did take some measurements once the body was off, however the measurements varied by up to an inch. My thought is that once the frame is repaired I use the outrigger measurements to determine the proper width of the floor. Plus the original specs found on the Airstream service site (see link on post #1) call for interior width to be 7'1" plus 1.5" x 2 for the C channel should get me close. Then put down new plywood and new c channel and reattach the body. Every corner of my trailer was pushed in or creased. Does anyone know the proper radius of the corners? :)


douglasbury 08-01-2011 08:52 AM

Just went out and measured the frame and outriggers. The frame width is 57 3/16" and the outriggers are 15" + - 1/4". My calculations put the floor width at 88". Does the plywood go past the outriggers? Since I am replacing all the outriggers I could make them all 15 13/32" which would give me an overall width of 88". Or make them all 15" and cut the plywood to hang past the outriggers by 13/32".

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