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Old 08-21-2012, 10:07 PM   #1
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The Chronicles of the Shiny Tiny

Hello everyone.

Well we are finally underway on the restoration of our little 18' Traveler! We thought we would start a thread following the progress of it, where all of the pictures and posts would be in one place.

A little background about us and our trailer....

We purchased the trailer a little over a year ago. It's been in the family since 1963 but has been sitting since 1979. Since we bought it, we had a little baby girl so, needless to say, we've been a little pre-occupied. Now that our little one is 5 months old we are excited to get the Airstream restored so we can go camping. Below is a picture of her sitting in her nursery.

Now a little about what we have planned for her (the trailer):

After much toiling we have decided against a shell-off restoration. We don't believe we need to go to that extreme. We are going to upgrade everything in her but do our best to keep it period specific style-wise. A few of the highlights of what we plan to do are:

- Replace subfloor and flooring (Marmoleum)
- Add fresh water tanks
- Add Gray and Black Tanks
- Re-do all of the electrical and lighting, including incorporating batteries and solar mats on the roof
- Install a tankless water heater (TwinTemp Jr with hydronic heating)
- Install a new fridge (dual source versus the original 110V)
- Re-do all of the upholstery and window coverings
- Install an outdoor shower since we currently have none
- Install a rope and pole awning
- Oh, and of course, polish her to a brilliant shine!

One thing people have asked is where we came up with the name "Shiny Tiny" for her. Well, they say people have crazy dreams when they're pregnant and that's exactly what took place. One morning Mary woke up and told me she dreamt about the trailer (and I thought it was only me) and that name came to her. I told her that it was a great name because it meant we were halfway done with her namesake, she's tiny....but the shiny will take some time!

We'll post what we've done to her so far as we play catch-up and we look forward to sharing our journey with you!
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:20 PM   #2
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Here are a few pictures of the Traveler when we got her. Like we said, she had been sitting for a long time but was otherwise in good shape.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:47 PM   #3
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What a sweet trailer! Will look forward to watching your progress...

We have a 1963 that we did a shell off I will post the thread so you can compare. I suggest taking photos of everything (and lots of them) while disassembling, it took my husband 9 months from start to finish on our Bambi and by month 2 we may have forgotten where some things went!

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...mbi-17925.html

Have fun!
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Old 08-22-2012, 05:34 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply and advice! We are taking tons of pictures as we go along. We can see how even after a week things start looking foreign. I had a mental lapse and didn't even recognize where a countertop went, and there are only three in the whole trailer!

I'll post more pics today of what we've done so far. The floor is out and I'm cleaning the frame and belly getting ready for paint. Now that's a messy job!
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:26 AM   #5
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Looking forward to watching your progress on that cute little trailer!
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:09 PM   #6
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Here are some pics of what the little trailer looks like as we were cleaning it out. Just a little elbow grease and our creative juices were flowing! Once we could actually see what we were working with we got excited to see how we could make her into a functional trailer and what we wanted to do with it during our restoration!







As we post pics I will also link to our personal gallery we have pertaining to each section. These galleries will have a lot more pictures of our progress, which might be interesting to some.

The first galleries so far are:

In the Weeds

The Cleanout
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:02 PM   #7
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Thats not a trailer-thats a time capsule! So jealous!
Hope you know just how lucky you are.
Thank you for posting those detailed photos. Some of us who have trailers of the same general era have much less to start with so seeing the details makes a huge difference.
tim
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:14 PM   #8
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Forget the trailer......that is the cutest baby girl I have seen in a long time, maybe forever. The trailer looks pretty good too. You have lots of great family time ahead of you.

Best wishes.
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:23 PM   #9
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Thanks Aftermath. We think so too. She has her Daddy wrapped around her little fingers.

Also, thanks Rumrunner. We feel extremely fortunate to have such a cool piece of history, both Airstream and our family's. We are excited about the family time in it ahead!
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:15 AM   #10
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Still playing catch up to where we are now:

Once we got her moved out of the weeds and into the barn we began dismantling all of the cabinets and appliances. Man, Airstream liked to hide lots of screws in every nook! With the help of our trusty Golden Retriever Toby we were able to find every one and get everything removed without much damage. One interesting note, before we really got into tearing things out I had no idea where any of the tanks were. Imagine my surprise as we started peeling back the proverbial curtain when I learned that the wizard's throne just dumped into a squirrel hole. Oh well, what's a little plumbing (ok a lot)? Add it to the list.

All in all, it wasn't too bad to get everything out. Plus I had a good supervisor, who was starting to make himself at home in "his" new trailer (he even picked out which bed he wants to sleep on). The funny thing is, whenever we work on something Toby is right there with us, and I'm certain he believes that we do all of this for him. I'm sure there is some truth to that. He is an important part of the family...

Here is the link to the pics we took during the process:

The Dismantle
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Old 08-23-2012, 05:24 PM   #11
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Hi and I'd like to say your daughter is adorable! And I agree with what's been said, what a great trahlah!

Looking forward to following your thread. One thing, though, when (if) you have time, would you lease elaborate on the outside shower? What it looks like, how it mounts to what, briefly what the parts of it are, how do you contain the water on the ground, can you use it at a campground?

Sorry for all the questions, but I'd really like to know.

Thanks and best of luck.

Deb
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Old 08-23-2012, 07:04 PM   #12
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Hi Deb. Thanks for the kind words! We are pretty smitten with our little girl that's for sure.

We plan on elaborating on each step as we go. We know what we want but haven't worked out all of the details yet, especially pertaining to the shower. But that's what makes this community so great! We are planning on making more headway this weekend and we'll post our progress.

Thanks again!
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:29 PM   #13
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Inner Skins and Subfloor Removal

Last weekend we were able to spend some time on removing the inner skins and subfloor. At first I was hesitant to remove the inner skins but knew it was necessary to get the floor out. So we went for it. The one thing I can recommend is have several drill bits available. There are a lot of rivets and they can eat up bits quickly! The first picture is one I took after the first bit was stacked with rivets, and that wasn't even one complete panel. We just used a pair of channel locks and hit reverse on the drill and they backed right off. Then it was time to drill some more.

Once we got the inner skins off we could see what we were up against to get the floor out. We did quite a bit of research and tried to come up with a hybrid approach from everything we read. It turned out to be relatively painless, just messy. I still have a couple of bolts that I couldn't get but that isn't bad. The one that is giving me the most grief is the bolt where the wheel well and c-channel meet. It's tucked in there tight. Does anyone have any advice on how to get that bolt cut off without damaging the belly pan or wheel well?

Once we got the subfloor removed we discovered an entire eco-system between it and the belly pan! Obviously rodents don't find insulation as itchy and annoying as we do.

The rest of the pictures of us removing the subfloor are here:

Inner Walls and Subfloor Removal

Next step, time to do a little belly pan cleaning...
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:46 PM   #14
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Boy does that bring back memories Pretty typical of what we all in the 50's club find in our belly pan. As for the wheel well bolts try a dremel with a cut off wheel if you have one, otherwise just gouge out the wood around the bolt with a chisel and grab the head with a vise grip pliers and bend a few times, comes right off.
I would recommend searching for all the build threads you can find in the 50's era and shamelessly borrowing all the great ideas you come across. It will save you a lot of time and headaches leaving you time to build other headaches.
Seriously, time spent researching on the forums is very well repaid. If you have a challenge you can find it solved here somewhere-and often multiple solutions to choose from.
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:56 PM   #15
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Oh, fer cute! (Both your baby and the trailer.) Love the name.

We very much enjoy our 16' Bambi. We aren't traveling with an infant, but have managed just fine with the small space. The key is to have only one person standing in the middle trying to do anything (wash dishes, cook, &c) at one time. The other person either goes outside or simply stays put in the bunk or the dinette.

Our model has both an indoor and outdoor shower. We've never used the outdoor one, but the indoor wet bath has come in very handy on occasion.

Looking forward to your next photos.
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:59 PM   #16
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Cleaning the Belly Pan

Last night after we got the little one bathed and into bed I headed out to the barn to do a little cleaning. Well, a lot of cleaning - 50 years of dirt, dust, nests, mud, rodents, and some unidentifiable skeletons! I just turned on some music, grabbed a bucket of water, a wire brush, a nylon brush and started scrubbing. For some reason a It's a Hard-Knocked Life rang through my head . But I knew that this was the messiest part of the project and it wouldn't take that long. So I pushed thru!

Cleaning the Belly Pan and Frame

Once it was done it looked and smelled a million times better in the trailer. I have a little more grinding to do this week and then we'll paint the frame with rust preventative. I know many people recommend POR-15, but was wondering if anyone has other recommendations as well. Also, I'm consider under-coating the entire belly pan. Is this worthwhile step or should we skip it since we'll be insulating under the subfloor?
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:14 PM   #17
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Love the name And love the Bambi...seems like a nice layout...especially in the back bedroom. Here's to tiny trailers!!!!
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:39 PM   #18
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Before you go much farther NOW is the time to make some decisions about fresh water, gray and black systems, especially regarding tanks. what kind, how many gallons and where will they go? In floor or above floor. It is much easier to prep the frame at this point for tanks than to redo it later.
Also take a good look at your wheel wells. The flanges sit under the plywood floor so if they need repair/ replacement this is your only easy opportunity.
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:47 PM   #19
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Spend the money on 'Cobalt' alloy drill bits - with them you could drill holes in standard HSS bits if you wanted too. Titanium coated is a gimmick.

To get the hard to reach nuts & bolts and stripped screw I've used a dremel style rotary tool with the little 1-1/2" aluminum oxide (not emory) metal cutting wheel, plunge it to turn stripped screws into slotted screws, plunge cut the shoulders or head of the bolt/nuts off to be able to break them away with pliers of vice-grips... The 25,000 rpms does the work, very gentle light pressure and don't wander to grind the 'sides' of the cut gives best results and keep the discs from wearing away too fast. Enjoy, errr.. careful the spark fountain does not start something smoldering.

Many times the old iron bolts are corroded enough bending them repeatedly with vice-grips will have them snap and fall away.
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:26 PM   #20
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Frame and Holding Tank Plans

Thanks for all of the replies and feedback. I'll give the dremel a try! I don't have a cutting wheel attachment but will pick one up tomorrow.

Tim, we are absolutely on the same page as you. As we've been dismantling and cleaning the trailer we started researching and planning all of our systems. We have actually drawn our trailer in Sketchup to play around with the layout. There are a couple of places that we want to strengthen the frame which we'll do before the floor goes back in.

Since our trailer didn't have holding tanks originally we knew we had to incorporate them somewhere.

After looking at our options, and exhaustive research, we think we like R.J.'s approach on his Flying Could. The fresh water tanks could be incorporated under the dinette and the holding tanks he used seem to fit perfectly between our frame rails and line up with our bathroom and cabinet. Below is a rendering of our frame plan with the tank locations below the subfloor. Both the gray and black tanks are 16 gallons. We are contemplating adding a second gray tank to bring the gray capacity to 32 gallons but since we won't have a shower (indoors anyways) it may be sufficient with one each but we are open to suggestions and feedback.

Also, we're still open to other holding tanks so if anyone has firsthand experience of under-belly holding tanks we sure would appreciate it!

Thanks again and we appreciate everyone's valuable feedback.
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