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Old 11-22-2011, 03:13 PM   #41
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1997 34' Limited
1970 27' Overlander
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My two cents would be to make it over to meet your tastes. Personally, I love the wood in the older trailers. If that can be saved/restored, that is th path I would take. I would totally redo th water system with a mor modern tank/pump setup. Cushion and curtains to personal taste.

But this is what I would do. I think any owne should feel free to restore or modify to their own taste. (Unless it is a historically significant trailer)
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:19 PM   #42
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
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1962 Overlander fresh from the barn

Greetings Todd!

Good to hear that you are enjoying the discovery process with your Overlander!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pies1212 View Post
Full disclosure: Found 2 leaks at the front of the trailer in heavy downpours, near front windows. Can the rivet seams leak?
Yes, the rivet seams can leak. In part, it is a part of the aging and use process . . . as the coach is towed down the road, vibrations and bumps are transferred to the coach and this can loosen rivets and break seals between sheets of the aluminum skin. When our coaches were new, a product called Alcoa Gutter Seal was utilized for sealing seams and some continue to use this product today. Each seam needs to be carefully cleaned of dried sealant -- then, the usual advice is to mask either side of the seam and apply the Alcoa Gutter Seal (Airstream sells a modern replacement for the Alcoa Gutter Seal through their online store, but I am not sure what it is called). Where openings have been cut in the skin, Vulkem is often recommended for sealing at those joints.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pies1212 View Post
Electrical system, including 12 volt works great.
Keep in mind that if your coach hasn't been modified that it doesn't have a built-in capacity to charge its 12-volt battery. As delivered from the factory, the assumption was that the tow vehicle would keep the battery charged. Today, owners deal with the situation differently. Some install a modern converter/charger and run a new, modernistic 12-volt system; while other simply carry a small battery charger that they can connect to their coach battery when parked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pies1212 View Post
Propane system, untested.
While anything is possible, I wouldn't anticipate good news on two fronts -- water heater and furnace. The furnace is likely one manufactured by a company with a reputation for bad heat exchangers -- it was one of the first items condemned among my LP appliances on the Overlander -- at the time, I was advised that the furnace (typical of the one utilized by Airstream for a number of years in the early 1960s) had been the subject of a recall and that even the recall repair had failed on my furnace. I now have a new furnace, and while from all external appearances, it doesn't stand out as a new addition -- it does have electronic ignition so I don't have to deal with trying to light the pilot. The water heater prognosis may not be quite as grim, but it is still quite likely at the end of its service life. When I purchased my Overlander in 1995, I was able to get through about three years before the tank began leaking requiring replacement -- the nice thing about the new water heater is that it is smaller and more efficient as well as much easier to light and adjust.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pies1212 View Post
Water system, untested ????? I'm not excited about the pressurized tank/torpedo.
I would share your concern about the old pressure tank. Since many of the campgrounds in our region have well water, I would suspect that the tank is likely lined with plenty of minerals -- and I suspect that you may find that the bottom of the tank is full of pinholes. A good friend of mine who owns a 1960 Overlander that has been in his family since it was new, removed his pressure tank about three years ago only to discover that the bottom of the tank was full of pinholes and had been the culprit of starting some floor rot. I have had coaches with both demand and pressure systems, and a demand system is typically a little easier to deal with as leaks aren't continually fed as they are with a pressure system -- with a demand system you will know when you have a probable leak by the sound of the pump cycling -- with a pressure system, you may not be aware of the leak until a visible portion of the floor becomes saturated. While it is possible to find replacements for the pressure tanks, the search can be quite involved and finding a tank that will fit in the available space can be a nearly insurmountable challenge unless things have changed in the past three to five years. The biggest change to be made when converting a coach from pressure system to demand system is in providing for the water fill as you don't want the demand tank fill under pressure as the fill was for the pressure system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pies1212 View Post
Tires, need to be replaced.
Beyond tires, you may also need new wheels. When our coaches were new, split-rims were the fare of the day. Today, tire shops frown on servicing these split-rims as they tend to become failure prone with age and wear -- in fact, many tire shops (outside of agricultural areas) refuse to service spit-rims. Another issue with most split-rims that I have encountered is that an inner tube is required which can be an additional complicating factor.

Good luck with your research and investigation! I am sure that your Overlander will provide many years of enjoyment!

Kevin
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:35 PM   #43
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1966 26' Overlander
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I have a 66 Overlander that had been in a field for 16 years or more. It was nasty inside when we got it. We chose to do the inside over to our taste, keeping the wood as close to original as we could, refinishing it though. The gaucho, curtains, flooring etc are all newly done. The counter tops, ceiling, lighting, bathroom fixtures are pretty much as they were but clean now. I did choose to add two new lights in the front room, and ne faucets and pex plumbing throughout.
I love those 60s model trailers! Best of luck making yours what you want it to be.
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Old 11-22-2011, 05:16 PM   #44
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1964 26' Overlander
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1962 Overlander fresh from the barn

Greetings Todd!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pies1212 View Post
BTW-

back to "inspiration" for a minute. I have read about the full monty, retrofitting vs restoration, painting, customizing, etc etc etc. There seem to be alot of AS owners interested in the classic artistry of their rigs. On the other hand there seem to be alot of AS owners that are interested in customizing and creating their own statement with Airstreams.

What are some of your thoughts regarding restoration vs retrofitting?

Todd

Restoration as used by many Airstreamers differs somewhat from what restoration would mean to a vintage automobile resorer. Many, but not all Airstream restorations tend to keep the flavor of the original as designed by Wally and crew with additions to make the coach ready for comfortable camping in today's environment. I have had a long history with my Overlander -- I went on my first camping trip in this trailer when it was new and I was five-years old (the Overlander belonged to friends of my family) -- I unknowingly purchased the coach from its second owner in 1995. Most of my restoration/refurbishing has been along the lines of keeping the coach ready to camp while preserving its many memories. The following is a synopsis of what I have done:
  • Refinished all of the original oak cabinetry. Rebuilt the refrigerator cabinet with all new wood as previous owner had butchered the original cabinet when installing a dormitory refrigerator. I was fortunate that all other cabinetry was still in excellent condition just needing a fresh finish.
  • Upgraded to new, efficient LP appliances including furnace, and water heater. Range and oven were carefully inspected and refurbished by a qualified LP Gas technician familiar with ranges of that era. My coach had been separated from its original Worthington LP Tanks so I added a pair of new 40 pound Worthington Aluminum LP Tanks along with a new automatic switch-over regulator.
  • Replaced original Univolt ('64 was the first year for a standard Univolt) with a modern Inverter/charger that went along with my Solar panel instllation and triple battery bank. While a huge splurge, the difference in battery life is quite remarkable, and being able to camp off-grid for an extended period was a nice side benefit when I was traveling extensively.
  • Installed new plastic water tank and PAR water pump. When Airstream began installing demand systems in 1964, the pump of choice was PAR for its durability . . . and I went with one when refurbishing my coach as the previous owner had removed the demand system . . . I now know that I have a rebuildable water pump that should last indefinitely. I carry a rebuild kit in my parts kit just in case that I need to repair while on the road . . . have had to rebuild the pump in my Minuet while traveling (it has its original 1978 PAR), but the Overlander's pump is still performing its job without issue.
  • Replaced original power vent fans with Fantastic Vent fans. Purists frown on this, but since I wanted a coach that would be comfortable in as many camping situations as possible, I wanted the versatility and efficiency offered by the Fantastic Vents that wasn't offered by the original single-speed Airstream roof vent fans. I did, however, maintain the large 14"x24" vent in the living area of the coach.
  • Replaced original Armstrong Bay Breeze Air Conditioner before I learned that a qualified commercial air technician could almost certainly have rebuilt my original Armstrong. I went with a Coleman Mach 3 Air Conditioner without the condesate drain tray so the condesate does drain onto the roof rather than into the drain tube . . . but it has not been a significant problem as my coach has good Plasti-coat. The most aggravating issue with the Coleman is that it does not allow for attaching the wall thermostat.
  • Replaced the plastic light lenses on all ceiling fixtures with modern reproductions that are almost perfect matches for the originals.
  • Replaced original reading lights that had bad arm adjusters with new units that were similar to originals but not exact replicas.
  • Replaced original automotive radio with more modern automotive stereo . . . but still working on integrating speakers.
  • Installed new floor covering -- Industrial Grade, Congoleum sheet vinyl rather than vinyl composite floor tiles -- again, something that purists would steer clear of, but it was something that I thought would make cleaning a bit easier.
  • Refinished the original bathtub and enclosure in antique pewter color rather than the original avacado green. Installed new toilet, that while it would fit within the shroud, it did not have the porcelain bowl as did the original. The new toilet does insure that replacement parts should be readily available should repairs be needed while on the road.
  • For the mid-twin beds, I had custom mattresses constructed to the measurements of the original platforms. Originally, the coach just had upholstered foam cushions -- the mattresses made a world of difference in sleeping comfort.
  • New custom cushions with new upholstery were made for the front lounge utilizing the original patterns. The sofa is now exceptionally comfortable and looks just like I remember it -- only in my favorite shade of blue rather than the original beige.
  • A woodworker whom I know made a new oak top for my drop-leaf dining table -- something that would not sit well with many purists -- as the original had a Formica top that matched the coach's countertops. I did leave the original countertops in the coach as they were in excellent condition as were the sink bowl covers.
  • My drapes are based upon the original patterns, but the fabric is in my favorite shade of blue rather than the original off-white fabric.
  • New fully-loaded backing plates renewed the drum brakes . . . and I had the drums machined to match the new brake shoes -- the improvement in braking performance was remarkable. At the same time, I had new shock absorbers installed. All of this was done before I fully understood the Henschen Dura-Torque Axles . . . I now know that my axles need replacement so that is on the agenda for the near future . . . and that may include an upgrade to disc brakes as well since I like to tow with my collector cars.
  • I did make one big concession to modernizing. A pole-type awning would have been typical for the time, but I went with a Zip-Dee patio awning as well as window awnings over the bathroom and bedroom windows. These additions aren't exactly Vintage - - but they certainly do increase the camping pleasure.
  • I also went with an exterior refinish on my coach that was handled by the Ruths of P & S Trailer Service of Helena, Ohio. I went with an "original sheen" finish that is not the mirror finish that is so popular with restorers . . . it is a more subdued finish that spoke to my memories of the coach when it was new. It has now been more than six years, and I am still thrilled with the results.
I think that outside of either very old, very rare, or coaches having a particular known history; most restore their coaches to meet the needs of today's camping while maintaining some part of the Vintage feel and mystique of the coach.

Good luck with your restoration/refurbishing plans!

Kevin

P.S.: Since I have owned the coach, I have replaced the wheels twice and tires every fourth year. My latest was in 2008 when I went with Carlisle tires on new trailer rated aluminum wheels. My first set of new wheels was in 1995 when I purchased the coach and the split-rims needed to be replaced . . . couldn't afford aluminum wheels then so went with quality steel wheels rated for trailering.
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1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 11-22-2011, 05:43 PM   #45
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Fort Worth , Texas
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Sure like the look of it!

. . original Armstrong Bay Breeze Air Conditioner before I learned that a qualified commercial air technician could almost certainly have rebuilt my original Armstrong.

It would be my choice to keep that dude in shape. A ways down your list, but it is fun (a touch of excitement) to see an original Armstrong atop an A/S! There is some reading on here in regards this (parts, etc).

I'm tempted on my next trailer (big one, 1972 or later) to have [2] of these on the roof. Just to mess with the observant (and that they can be serviced, not junked).
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