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Old 02-06-2019, 08:26 AM   #81
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1977 31' Sovereign
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Awesome to see your progress Bill. Very good point about anticipating space needs. Fortunately I have a large pole barn and old horse stables to stash the contents of my projects but it still takes a massive amount of organizing which I find rather tedious. I rolled my interior skins by group and secured with rope, this makes for a smaller footprint and a robust package to protect against potential damage. I also had a metal wire shelf that I adjusted to fit grey folding lid storage totes (12 I think) and all my parts where then put in tupperware or ziplock bag (if they fit) as I loaded them and labeled the outside with the contents. If I didn't do this as I went, it would be a total mess.

Rooting for you!
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:37 AM   #82
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If the clear coat is gone, we use marine grade boat hull aluminum wash from Bass Pro. It give a satiny sheen that you can see your foggy reflection in
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:54 AM   #83
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In regards to your exterior finish: we were amazed when we stripped off the clear coat. Made a HUGE difference in the look of the trailer. We had corrosion around the top sides of the trailer, which Chris tackled with Purple Polish and a mild abrasive pad to remove. Then we Walbernized it. It's not a super shiny finish, more mat. But we've had a lot of compliments on our "Polish" job and we are happy with it. Trailers of this vintage have a few dings if they've been used at all and ours is no exception. We actually found a couple when we stripped off the clear coat that we hadn't seen before then. After experimenting with several environmentally friendly strippers which did almost nothing, we ended up with Aircraft stripper which made short work of the clear coat.
Ian has a good idea in his storage ideas. We, several times, bought stuff, then forgot we had it or couldn't find it, and ordered again. We tended to spend winters ordering stuff for the next summer's work. (then forgetting where it went in hubby's workshop). Oh well. Mostly small stuff anyway.
We did use Olympic rivets on our trailer in our reno. There were already some there from a long ago repair which had not leaked. We discarded the rubber seal rings that come with them, and used Trempro under them all. No leaks so far.
Center ceiling panel: it's a bear (polite word for what we actually said when we took it down). We rewired entire trailer, using a different color wire for each 12V application (my husband wanted to know at a look where each one went to for future repairs). He's the master mind on most of the build, I'm the Renfield (yessss, Master!). When we put the center panel back up, we split it in two at a practical spot for ease in getting it back up. Definitely made it easier.
Hope some of my ramblings help you!

Kay
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:55 AM   #84
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Thanks Coloradobus for this tip. I have a Brass Pro near me.

What is your project?
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:01 AM   #85
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Kay

Every suggestion you made is excellent, all of which I am noting.

I have followed your thread and am so impressed with what you guys have done so far. Nice work. Hope to tap your knowledge as things progress.

Thanks again,

Bill
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:23 AM   #86
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Thanks Kay

Thought I had posted a reply but donít see it. Try again.

All of the ideas that you offered are good one. Iíve noted all of them. Thank you.

I check in on your thread frequently and am very impressed by what you two have done. Good job!

As I go through next phases, I hope to go to school on the Minno projects.

Thanks again,

Bill
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:19 PM   #87
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Hello again from snowy Colorado: Enjoyed your post on your major progress inside Faith. Certainly there is a lot of stuff that comes out of an old Airstream. A lot of it is very useful to clean and restore, then reinstall. Or used as patterns for this new wall, or that new shelf. You will need that stuff in your interior remodel project.

The vista view windows were a problem. The sun cooks the plastic into hard and brittle material. Kinda like very stale toast. Crumbly. My battery box was the same way. I'm rather thankful my Overlander doesn't have vista windows. I think they were optional. Most folks like them for the light they allow. I can live without them.

At the point you lift the body off the frame, you have "turned the corner" so to speak. Activities on Faith will become restorative instead of destructive. You will see what needs rebuilt or repaired on the frame to make it like new again. After that, you can figure out your plan for the water tanks. Then you can replace the old subfloor. Faith will have a new "nest" to sit on soon.

I piddle around with new galley cabinet shelving, you are out there pulling the body off the frame. Big difference.

David
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:18 PM   #88
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Obserevation and two questions

Just a quick update
They say when restoring a vehicle, it always takes twice as long and cost twice as much as estimated. I have a feeling that an AS is similar experience. Before I outgrew cars (and some might argue with the truth of that statement) I built street rods and restored a couple of cars. It was all the incidental things that you canít predict and donít think about that elevated the cost of a restoration.
Case in point.
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When I towed Faith home, only one of the tail lights were working. The other day I discovered that the driver side taillight housing was mostly rust. But when I went to test the taillights again in preparation for moving Faith to a different site, the one light no longer worked. And I didnít want to tow it across town with no lights. Then I thought about having to transport the frame less the body to the welderís 60 miles away and that I would need temporary taillights to do that. So rather than messing with faulty ground wires and questionable connections, I decided to buy some temporary taillights. And of course the kit is mainly for small trailers with wire 20 feet long rather than the 40 feet I need to span Faithís length. Ka-ching. $65 for the kit and additional wire.
The point being that the list of unanticipated stuff will continue to grow making original estimates obsolete before the ink was dry.
Two questions
First, here is a picture of a normal AS window latch.
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Here is one of Faithís
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Not good. Anyone know where to begin the search for replacing a couple of these that are badly corroded.
Second, can anyone tell me what this is?
Here is a long view.
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Here is a close up.
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This thing is wired to the two taillights. Iím wondering if it is an indicator that taillights are working properly. If it is, something is missing. Anyone know what it is and have a picture of what it looks like in its complete state? More later.
Bill
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Old 02-07-2019, 02:13 PM   #89
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Latches for window:

https://www.vintagetrailersupply.com...p/vts-1094.htm

No idea what that thing is but you are probably right.
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Old 02-07-2019, 02:46 PM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcronin4 View Post
-----------snip--------------------
Second, can anyone tell me what this is?
Here is a long view.
Attachment 333104
Here is a close up.
Attachment 333105
This thing is wired to the two taillights. Iím wondering if it is an indicator that taillights are working properly. If it is, something is missing. Anyone know what it is and have a picture of what it looks like in its complete state? More later.
Bill
That is probably a fiber-optic taillight indicator. The 'wire' that goes to the taillights is actually a plastic transparent fiber inside an opaque sheath that picks up the light from the bulbs and lets you see in the side mirror if the taillights are working. I think it's missing a cover.
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Old 02-07-2019, 03:41 PM   #91
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taillight indicator

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
That is probably a fiber-optic taillight indicator.
"Fiber optic." 1978? I guess Air Stream was out on the leading edge with that. That will be a half-a-pound of wire I don't need anymore. What can I do with that spare weight.

Thanks RMKRUM for educating me.

Bill
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:04 PM   #92
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My 75 Overlander has the fiber optic tail light indicator on the street side of the trailer also. It works pretty good. Gives me a quick indicator that my tail lights are on and working. I can see it from the side mirror. I did remove the wrong polarity indicator.

Renovating an old 70s Airstream is expensive. I predict you will have over 10k in it before you are done. I will have that much in my Overlander. In round numbers, axle assemblies 2k, fridge 1k, water heater .5, cooktop .3, toilet .2, new tanks .7, frame steel and welding 1k, good plywood .5, paint bath plastics .6, belly aluminum .4, plumbing supplies .3 and on. I believe a well renovated vintage Airstream has good resale potential beyond the material costs, but not likely much labor costs. It is best to do the work yourself for free.

David
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:52 PM   #93
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Cost

David
Iím thinking more than 10k, like 15k.
Big chunk in frame axles, wheels and tires and you still have an empty shell.
B
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Old 02-08-2019, 07:47 PM   #94
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Your estimated budget is very reasonable for the work you are planning. I keep all my Overlander receipts as well as photographs to document the work that was done should I ever decide to sell. Your project thread is also good documentation.

David
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:33 PM   #95
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A rusty mess

Yesterday, I moved Faith to her temporary home. I did all the work I could do on Faith in my driveway, but building gantries and lifting the body off would leave an eyesore for my neighbors that I didnít feel comfortable with. My son manufactures surfboards, and suggested that I park Faith at his shop and do the lift there.
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Before I moved Faith, I considered that I needed to haul 12í framing for the gantries, that I didnít have a trailer big enough and my 6í bed in my truck wasnít adequate. So Faith came in handy.
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Since I wouldnít be needing the lumber for the gantries for a while, I used 6, 2X6X6 that will be used for the base of the gantries to create a temporary lift for Faith to make the underneath work more accessible. I screwed each 2X6 together, and made chocks that were also screwed down. Not pictured are jack stands added after for safety. The three 2x6s provided 4 1/2 inches of lift, which turned out to be a perfect height for the underneath work.
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To do the lift, I am only removing the panels that would interfere with separating the body and frame. So the main belly pans will remain with the frame and be taken off later. Today, I was able to remove 75% of the banana pans, and side panels, which gave me my first real look at the frame.
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The hole you see above is in the main frame. While the pic is a little out of focus, there is no mistaking the damage. Under every panel I removed, I saw this picture; the frame was badly damaged. This was not a surprise to me. From what little I could see of the frame before the panels were removed looked pretty bad. This was confirmation to me that Faithís frame could not be repaired.
The work underneath to remove gas lines, stabilizers and rivets was not as challenging as I anticipated. Like virtually everything else on this AS, the side pans and belly pans were so corroded that they are only good for patterns. The bolts holding the stabilizers all snapped off in the frame, but they donít need to be drilled out since the frame is junk anyway. And again, since the pans will need to be replaced, I used the most expedient way to remove them, chiseling most of the rivets out without concern for the damage being done to the pans.
If there is a continuing theme for this ďFrame OffĒ project so far, is that nothing Iíve encountered has required any significant skill. It has been tedious, dirty work and a lot of it. Again, nothing that would have discouraged me from undertaking Faithís rise from the heap of rust.
In fact, Faithís condition in my opinion IS the worst-case scenario. This is as bad as it gets. Everything in Faith needs to be redone or repaired. For those of you following this thread, I am getting help from the Forum for every step of this project and posting what I am learning here. Stay tuned.
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Old 02-09-2019, 08:36 PM   #96
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Well, many other vintage Airstream renovators have discovered what you are discovering, a hopelessly rusted frame. You can use her frame as a pattern for a new one. Trailer frames are not the most difficult thing to fabricate. The frame's outriggers and cross members are available on line, maybe from Airstream. I'm not sure where. 5" by 3/16" channels and square tubing are readily available. The axle mounting plates can be fabricated too.

You will need a competent fabricating shop to do the frame project. Maybe others following your project thread can recommend one in your area. Pull the rust bucket frame to your chosen shop and they will weld a new one up for you.

David
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:07 PM   #97
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Out-of-doors Mart, odmrv.com, carries a nice selection of frame parts and outriggers. However, before ordering them, I'd talk to the local welding shop about which parts might be easier to fabricate in-house. Outriggers, unless you need them to have a hole, are just a piece of steel channel with the correct curve cut in them.

Definitely worth the price of admission to get a new frame if that's what you need.
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:58 AM   #98
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A welder

Hey David and the Greatlys
Thanks for your input on the frame.

Fortunately I have a longtime relationship with fabricator in Lake County, Florida. He is a very talented man, with experience building AS frames. I trust him, too.

So on that front I am set.

Bill
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Old 02-10-2019, 06:09 AM   #99
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Ps

Sorry that should have been Greatleys.

To the point of making or buying components, it all comes down to cost and quality.

There are parts of the frame I want to beef up like certain outriggers, (like fore and aft of the wheel wells) and select cross members.

But David and The Greatleys are absolutely right. Finding some who knows what they are doing is important.
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:36 PM   #100
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It is wonderful you know a shop that can fabricate a new trailer frame. That is a big project in itself. There won't be a whole lot you can do until the frame is completed. Give lots of thoughts to the water tanks; how to hold them in place, how to remove them if need be, how to drain them. Almost all Airstreams since the 70s have water tank pans to protect the tanks, to hold heat in, and to help support the tanks.

Here is a photo of the pan out of my wife's 86 Limited, and here is a photo of the aluminum pan I had fabricated for my 66 Trade Wind. In both cases the tanks are drained below the frame rail. Yep, it obiliterates a flat belly pan and reduces ground clearance some. But it sure makes the holding tanks bigger and better using a pan.

Our trailers have a fresh water tank pan, and the holding tanks pan. The 70s Airstreams drained through the frame rail at the rear of the trailer. Not so hot in my view. Although I'm keeping that arrangement in my Overlander as I'm keeping the rear bath.

David
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