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ErikFrolich 01-31-2013 02:44 PM

Are you installing a shower? Just wondering, I'm renovating a 57 Caravanner.

Sparky57 01-31-2013 08:35 PM

Yes- I am putting a shower in too. I am putting it in the rear, curb side corner. Haven't finalized the design yet but probably 28" by 46"...

tinman54 02-02-2013 08:29 AM

Nice change to get the insulation in there, it starts to feel like things are going in the right direction!
Looks Great!

Sparky57 02-02-2013 10:15 AM

A game of skins
Started putting the skins back in today. Seems very final and it makes me wonder if there is anything I forgot to do:blush:

Any advice on painting the inner skins? I sanded, washed with TSP, rinsed, and they look really clean now. I think the PO used to smoke in bed because there are brown patches around the old bunks.

My plan is : seal it with a good low VOC sealer- KILZ Max is what I am thinking, then top coat with no VOC latex, something with a bit of sheen to it.

Question: Should I prime and paint after install?
Other question: Some of the inner skins were installed with buck rivets- so I have no idea how the hell they did that, or really even why. Is that normal? It was the center panel that runs the length of the trailer. I am thinking just putting pop rivets back in, could use Olympics, but then I have to shave em down, etc...

Also had to take my new batteries back to Costco- 2 6v deep cycle golf cart batteries. They were draining down in a matter of hours. I was getting maybe 6 hours of 60w output from them. New replacement ones work much better, but now my PD 4045 converter has quit. It won't charge the batteries. Only puts out 11.7v when charging. Phoned Progressive and they are shipping me a new one no charge on Monday- so that is nice to see they care about their customers, even the Canadian ones :huh:


nmbosa 02-02-2013 11:56 AM


Originally Posted by Sparky57 (Post 1256307)
Other question: Some of the inner skins were installed with buck rivets- so I have no idea how the hell they did that, or really even why. Is that normal? It was the center panel that runs the length of the trailer. I am thinking just putting pop rivets back in, could use Olympics, but then I have to shave em down, etc...


The center section with buck rivets was riveted together before installing in the trailer. I was able to take mine out and re-install it as one piece without disturbing the buck rivets.


Sparky57 02-02-2013 12:00 PM

Ok, hmmm...That wasn't possible for me. Did you take it out the front window or something? I think I'll pop rivet it...

Thanks Norm!

nmbosa 02-02-2013 12:05 PM


Originally Posted by Sparky57 (Post 1256369)
Ok, hmmm...That wasn't possible for me. Did you take it out the front window or something? I think I'll pop rivet it...

Thanks Norm!

We were able to move it in and out of the door by just letting it hang like a giant upside down taco and carefully manuvering it through the door. It was very tight, but Airstream either designed it to go in the door or buck riveted it together inside the shell.


Sparky57 02-24-2013 07:19 PM

How many rivets?
Ok- so the inner skins are all but back in and all the rivets, minus a couple are in place. Any guesses on how many 1/8 rivets I put back in? I have 30 still to install, only put them where needed to secure the inner panels. Any non-structural holes will be filled and sanded smooth. I will plate the empty light fixture holes and electrical boxes (unless there is a better solution out there???)
I also have a couple dents from who knows what....I am thinking bondo will fill these creases in nicely. Any comments on that?

My rivets when back into the exact hole they came out of a year ago, with only a few exceptions. That was a big surprise.

Also fired up my See-Level monitor today. It runs my pump, monitors my 3 tanks and my battery. All was good!

Next steps- fill, sand prime and paint. Then I am thinking of building from the back to the front. It is going to be more on the modern side, so if you aren't into that then you can unsubscribe now :)

rumrunner 02-24-2013 09:17 PM

I suspect you will be unhappy with the results if you fill and sand the extraneous small holes. Many will quickly pop out when the shell flexes going down the road. Much easier to just fill with a pop rivet and forget it! Once you paint nobody will ever know that they are not original. Also, dont be afraid to get a little original with the small patches- they can look really cool with a little imagination:cool:

Minno 02-25-2013 07:14 PM

We primed with Bonds oil based primer, and then painted with exterior latex paint. Time will tell, but 2 year so far and happy with it. Key is to make sure your walls are very very clean and very well rinsed clean of the cleaner you used prior to priming. We painted after the walls were back in place. Hope this helps!


Sparky57 04-27-2013 05:19 PM

Ok, it has been a while since my last post.

Here is how I painted;

I have primed and painted all with Latex low Voc paints. 1 coat Kilz Max, and 3coats of Benjamin Moore no VOC paint. Washed first, then TSP, then sanded with 100 grit.
I filled a bunch of dents and holes before painting. Used Bondo Hair to fill the big holes, then top coat with Bondo top coat, sanded and it looked great, except the texture of the bondo was WAY too smooth compared to the zolotane paint. So then I put ceiling texturing spray over that, then primed that. What a mess. Looks good now, but was a lot of work.

I also replaced a patch of inner skin where the old centre light fixture was, so I textured that the same way and painted it too, and then I also filled a huge number of dents and creases around the door and the old beds, so the inner skin now looks just perfect, but took 5 times longer than I budgeted for.

Then it was on to cabinets!

Sparky57 04-27-2013 05:22 PM

Finishing the Electrical;

My LED recessed lights arrived from China and I installed them all, they look awesome! I have 8 lights in the kitchen 4 in the rear bed area. Also installed 2 reading lights for the eating area, both led. They look good too, pics to follow later tonite.

Also ordered some LED rope lights to go under my porch steps( outside) and over the kitchen overhead cabinet ( or maybe inside them) not sure yet.

I forgot to install a hot water heater cut out switch, so when I tested all the electrical I couldn't shut my HW tank off! My see level gauge has a switch built into it for that very purpose but I forgot to run the wire to the tank. Since I ran 2 wires to all appliances I was able to steal a ground wire from one of the tank sensors and repurpose it as a switch leg. apart from that,all the electrics work and so far I haven't drilled thru a wire.

Did the final install of all the inverter and converter connections. Had to disconnect everything, cut all wires to fit and reattach them. The dinette is over the inverter, converter, batteries and solar chargers. Hours and hours. Tested out fine though. Ready to do cabinets and final nestle of all appliances.

54breadloaf 04-27-2013 05:36 PM

I'd (we'd) like to see photos if you can stop working long enough to take a break, snap a few, admire your work over a beer or two and then post them. I've been polishing here and there. Mostly around the lower perimeter in preparation for the belly skins to be done by someone else. Sad but I decided to let a pro do that part. Expensive, yes but I want to put my efforts into something that is more visible and less laborious. Hope to see your soon. Ill post when I get more area polished.
JT (54 Breadloaf)

Sparky57 04-27-2013 05:54 PM


I am building front to back. Dinette is first. Dinette is U shaped with one drawer, near the door,and lift up hatch space for the rest. No back rests for the sides, but I am building a back rest in the nose to use as storage, to hide some piping and to hide a power outlet. When it folds down it will make a 70 x 88 bed.

1/2 birch ply is what I am using for everything. I find it light, hard, strong and easy to work with. It takes paint well and looks good with just varathane too. Staples, glue and screws will hold it together, with edge tape to dress it off. So far, I am happy with it, though it is at times a bit twisty.

I repainted the floor under the cabinets and got the dinette boxes installed. Fastened them down with l brackets my father n law made for me out of anodized aluminum. Also riveted to the walls. I varathaned the interior and primed the exterior. Tops are yet to be varathaned, ran out of edge tape! The outside was primed with Zinser shellac primed. It dries super hard and seals up the wood really nice. Then I sanded it and will top coat with Benjamin Moore water based oil paint. Yes, water based oil!

Cutting and fitting the top covers was harder than I though I would be, but a belt sander proved the best tool to shape all the curves to fit the nose area. Pics to follow!

Sparky57 04-28-2013 12:04 AM

7 Attachment(s)
Ok- here some quick snaps.

One of the electrical feeds. They all come into one 24x20 inch space under the dinette. All lines to the appliances are 10g stranded copper - hot and a ground to each and every device or appliance. All grounds run back to the ground bus, then to the battery

A shot of the dinette, the back rest and the backrest hatch

Another of the fridge. Above the fridge is a hidden drawer with 2 plugs and a cable outlet.

A shot of the recessed lights and the wall sconces.
A shot of the stove cabinet.

As is my way, I am moving forward on about 5 things at once so I never get bored!

More pics when daylight returns....

nmbosa 04-28-2013 09:56 AM

Nice work. Everything is looking great! One question - how are you venting the fridge. I'm assuming it is gas and electric, but I think it needs air flow over the coils even if running on only electric.


54breadloaf 04-28-2013 10:11 AM

Great work! Must feel good to finally see some fun things get finished.

Sparky57 04-28-2013 10:28 AM

The vent is next...I will be building one of those curvy wall outcroppings to vent the gas through to a new ceiling vent.


pbearsailor 04-28-2013 10:59 AM

Quality work there, Mark! Looks really nice. :wally:

-steve :)

Sparky57 06-18-2013 11:30 PM

more finishing work....
7 Attachment(s)
Here are some more photos of the latest:

Upholstery is in and done. Lets just say that it cost more than I expected, but it is all nicely done.

I have been doing endless amounts of painting, sanding, painting, sanding, varathaning, edge taping, filling, sanding and painting.

The bunks are in- made them out of 1 1/4 aluminum box tubing, welded into a frame with 3 cross members. Topped them with 1/4 birch then edged them with bamboo. Made little crash bars out of 3/8 aluminum 1" brackets

Things left to do are the bathroom shower, the fridge vent, the bathroom door, and so on.

Also took it to the weigh scale yesterday- as it sits with no floor in it it weighed in at 4000lbs. More than I hoped but around what I expected. Was hoping for 3800lbs....but given the factory weight was 3850, and I have solar and AC it is about right I guess.....

Ask if you want more pictures- I can post them.

I have a trip planned July 6th so it has to be done by then....just won't be polished unless a miracle happens.

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