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Old 05-17-2019, 07:17 AM   #61
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1978 31' Sovereign
Lincoln University , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 65
Nuts!!!!

So, we have been wondering what to do with the crystallized vista view windows - ours are glass inside and out. So, we carefully cracked out the inner pane on the first one last night - a little work and it was out, about half of the caulk pulled, and cleaned a lot of the glass.
Went to bed feeling accomplished.
This morning, my wife goes out to watch my 7 year old head off to the bus and the outer pane had spiderwebbed in place. No evidence of an initial point of fracture. I was careful not to hit it and didn't see any evidence of a point of contact from last night.

So, I have to pull this one. Can I pull another one and use the inner glass on another as the outer glass on this one?
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:31 PM   #62
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Rats!!! I wonder if some internal stresses were generated when the support of the inner pane went away.

I know my son's 69 square corner front wing window shattered one night. We found no evidence of why it happened. The square corner wing windows are hard to get. We've got lexan in it for now. Lexan may be an alternative for you, at least for a while.

David
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:55 AM   #63
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Our inner panes were already gone when we got our trailer. Our guess is that inner and outer panes are the same size, but it's just a guess. Worth a try? Or go with David's assessment of using Lexan. Sometimes, these windows get completely eliminated, and are pulled, and sealed up with aluminum to eliminate the possibility of leakage (they are notorious for leaking).
We like the windows, and use them on cold sunny days to help warm up the inside of the trailer.

Kay
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:50 PM   #64
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Kay, David, Joyflea, thanks!
How does the Lexan look compared to the glass? Easy to spot, or nearly impossible to tell - we'll be tinting moderately - everything on the trailer. We want to keep the windows as windows... If it will be difficult to tell, I'd rather not pull a window if I can get away with knocking just the inner pane out. But, I don't want to break my 3 good panes, then realize that the lexan doesn't pass muster.

Finally got the front belly pan on along with the between the tanks pan... Using .018" aluminum for the banana panels along with the ABS corner panels to replace our worn corners. About ready to hang the grey and black tanks - just need a couple of hours to apply sealant to the joints on the 3" pvc to the tank, clamp everything together, and hang the tanks... I want to do it all in one shot.

Dual brake wires are run - one for the front axle and one for the rear. Dual fuses - don't want to loose everything, though I don't think our Ford Excursion will blink at this trailer being back there.

Since my AC is in, and the drain line is in place, we may wait to see how it does before pulling the AC to add the drain cups. My AC does appear to have a sealed hole on the bottom - wondering if I can add a drain fitting right to that. I'll have to get in there with a boroscope to look around more closely. Does the entire pan fill with water an the dual cups are used in case the trailer is on a slant? Are there holes already there for the cups and the cups just catch the water that would be dumped and direct it to the drain line?

I appreciate the insight along the way!
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Old 05-21-2019, 07:23 AM   #65
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Sunset Valley , Texas
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Hey Andy,

Regarding using Lexan (polycarbonate)...

There are advantages and disadvantages of course,

Pros:
- strong
- easy to machine/cut
- available in many thicknesses, tints and colors
- moderately inexpensive

Cons:
- scratches easily
- can warp or haze in high heat

If it were me, I would make a template and have a good glass company cut some tempered glass to replace. I don’t have the upper vista views but do have the lower ones and those are flat and can be easily made.

Ian
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:46 PM   #66
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Hey Andy,

I just had a brief conversation with a fellow forum member whose shell got flipped recently during a storm. It appears he is parting out the shell and listed a beautifully brand new frame he just had made on the classified section. Perhaps he has the stack or vista views you need?

Search for: “glrtex” as the user name.

Anyone else who needs parts or a badass frame should contact him. I’d bite on the frame but it’s a center bath and the axles are 7” forward of where mine are...

Ian
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:40 PM   #67
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That is one gorgeous frame - holy cats! If it wasn't half a country away, it'd be sold!

Ian, I sent Glrtex a note - Thank you!
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:58 PM   #68
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78 Sovereign Resto progress.

Lots of progress...
Ian, I reached out to GLRTEX, but no response. I'm probably still interested in a spare window though. Broken window pulled, disassembled, cleaned, .093 lexan cut to fit, window frame assembled with Lexan in place, Lexan taped to mask off from the Vulkem116, window pushed outward into place, the Vulkem trowled to a nice edge, window flipped, and the big slot on the back filled with a nice smooth layer of Vulkem and trowled. Allowed to cure a few hours on a hot sunny day, then Olympic riveted the window back in place with a layer of butyl tape, rivets trimmed and then rained on... And NO LEAKS!!!

Gray and Black water tanks installed... Box was painted last fall, tanks were cleaned up the best I could, the copper foil put in place for the Arduino capacitive tank sensor, 1/2", 1" and 2" XPS put in place along with some foil bubble to seal things up a bit better and hold the tanks in place, Valterra valves installed, slid under the trailer, jacked into place, wires run, toilet ring slid into place, and bolted up!

Forward belly pan installed, and the curb side forward banananananana panels installed along with the front corner panel. My bride really liked the look of a black stainless paint so the banananananas aren't black, but a metallic black - I kind of like it. My 7 year old joined in for that effort. Then, Laura advised me that the bananananananas were supposed to go on before the belly pan... I figured the way I had it allows any water entering the bananananananas to drain out before ending up on the belly pan.

Street side walls and the back walls are all in place. Roxul insulation installed - Laura has been rocking this! Need more clecos or I just need to start squeezing rivets in those parts and call them done! I come home and she's got more walls cut, primed, painted, insulating and cleco'd in place!

Water pump wiring, Blue tooth stereo wiring and rear speakers installed, AC / Microwave switch installed. 120V connected for that switch and the converter. Inverter in place and ready to be connected...

I screwed up here. I was going to put the fridge on the AC / Micro circuit, but forgot that the AC is high load and don't want to pop that breaker with the AC and loose my cold stuff (or burn a bunch of propane keeping the fridge going.) I kept the fridge off of the house circuit since I wanted the outlets all to be able to be inverter powered by the flip of a switch if I had noisy generator or campsite power - I flip a switch and all of the 120 outlets become pure sine inverter powered from the converter / battery. I may put the fridge on another circuit - either the converter circuit or another dedicated line.

Redesigned my power system a bit. 120V feeds the Boondocker at a fixed voltage, and an intelligent batter charger. Boondocker feeds 12V to all of the house appliances. Boondocker gets 12V from the battery through a 3 position switch (Off, Circuit 1 or Circuit 2). Circuit 1 is through a Schottky 100Amp diode, Circuit 2 bypasses the diode. The intelligent battery charger keeps my battery in top shape at all times. In circuit 1 (shore power mode) if a lot of power is pulled, the battery will pick up the difference, otherwise the charger will keep it charged. When off grid, I flip to circuit 2 and the battery feeds everything direct. I guess I could do this with a relay, but... I don't like the dumb charge methods in the Converters.

Working on the current sensing shunts, etc... for the Raspberry Pi based system monitor. Using 2 Arduinos - 1 for electricity and 1 for the tanks, talking USB to the RasPi, displaying on the screen. Catch is I need to got ~20 feet of wire from the power system to the display - I may go 900MHz packet radio for that... No wire, just a message every few seconds. Anyone know how to make a pretty Python interface - I have no artistic ability!

Next window was cracked and cleaned out last night... Took a Dremel stone bit and ground a heck of a notch on the interior pane and made it easier to knock out without risking the exterior pane. I still wonder if I tweaked the exterior pane on the first one (I probably did... ) Now, do I keep the original outer seal and block the window against it, or do I do like I did with the lexan window and run a nice even bead of Vulkem around the outside and seal it that way??? Any suggestions?

Tonight I installed the first 4 light switches at the entry - now we aren't fumbling for a switch hanging on some wire to turn things on and off. 4 of the 5 cap touch switches are installed, just need to wire up the 5th switch (over the door LED, the outside flood light, center area interior lighting, forward (dinette) overhead lighting, and the hanging lamp lighting)

If you're still following, what can I provide to make this more useful to others here?
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Old 06-05-2019, 07:37 AM   #69
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Holy Banananana panels, Batman. You HAVE made some progress, Andy.

Only suggestion I have is adding some pics.

Bill
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:45 PM   #70
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Pics...

First pic is the black stainless paint on the bananananas... I added an 1/8" Al strip across the frame cross members to support the belly pan. My belly pan had 1/2" holes where the rivets went through. Thoughts on this? I'll trim these down and clean them up, but the goal was a stronger support for the original belly pan.

Next pic is the waste lines... I'm going to seal this up with an Al plate, etc... Need to figure out what length of extension handles are needed. I'm probably going to replace the fresh water line as well. New copper to inside the trailer, then PEX.

Leveller... I really want a bracket that I can remove these easily instead of having the permanently mounted. I don't like stuff hanging down here. Any ideas? Thought was a pair of mating Al extrusions that slide together with a locking pin.

Next one... This is the Lexan window with Vulkem116 sealing it up. Bead laid down pretty nice - I may try to clean it up with a knife and a second pass of Vulkem. I hope I don't ever have to pull this one out. Outside of the window has a nice Vulkem bead as well. Thinking I may do the same on the glass windows, but open to other ideas.

5th pic... Looking aft - my controlled mess. rear speakers are in - now I can listen to some Cody Jinks or Willie Nelson while scratching my head - far beats scratching my head in silence. 2 sconces are installed for over the bed too. Lots of Clecos!

Next one... Looking Forward. Dang spiders that hang colored webs off of the ceiling. Wait, that's my wiring. Disregard. I had a bunch of 3M stick 'em and zip tie 'em holders. Worked great all fall, winter and spring. Heat from the sun is cooking them right off. Anyone have a better idea here? That's my red pex for the AC drain. Still trying to figure that one out. I need to life the AC and look underneath to see if I can attach the drains how I expect. Switch hanging out on the left (street side) is for selecting the AC or the Microwave.

My little touch dimmer light switches at the door. Three on the left are for the over table light, lights for the front area, and lights for the mid-section. Two on the right are for the outside over door and outdoor flood light. Those two are on / off.

A close up of the copper foil on the fresh water tank for the capacitive level sensor. This is looking down in the shower drain trap hole.

And a view of my 7" Pi touchscreen tank, weather and electrical monitor. I really need someone who can make a pretty interface in Python! I failed 7th grade art. This will also be my thermostat for the furnace. This Raspberry Pi talks to one or two Arduinos for tank and electrical status (Volts and Amps - both 120V and 12V). I anticipate this being a work in progress, but it's a start. Any other thoughts here?
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:10 PM   #71
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Lots done this weekend - in addition to a day at the state park with the kids...

Electrical system is about done... Battery switch wired with diode, converter powered up for the first time - still need to tweak it's voltage down a hair - target is low 13's, it's around 13.8. I have a dedicated smart charger on the battery. If I'm not using the converter (no 120, I bypass the diode. If I am, I keep the diode in (all on a switch) so I don't slowly cook down the battery and allow the smart charger to manage the battery. 50 amp fuses on both power and ground. Converter set to constant voltage mode.

AC was tested and works.

Curb side lower wall insulated and almost ready to install.

All wiring cleaned up and bundled so it no longer looks like colorful spaghetti.

All of the vista view windows are cleaned up and look nice! Rear one came loose as I was working it, and the exterior seal was a mess with sealant already, so it got a smooth layer of Vulkem around the exterior seal. Interior - left the seal in place. my wife wrapped a layer of an exterior grade fabric around some 1/2" backer rod. We pushed that in very snugly between the inner seal and the out window and they look decent.

More of the walls were drilled and put in place with cleco's. Ordering more clecos - wife says not to start pulling rivets until I'm done forgetting things that should be behind the walls.

Reworked some of the 120V wiring - got the fridge off of the AC and Micro circuit. That was an oversight.

I think that's it for now - pics will come soon again.

Need to install fan switches, cut walls for last 120V sockets, cut the last few pieces of interior walls (small parts here and there...), then clean things up and re-finish the floor and get it ready for plumbing and all...

Thoughts on a second water line running to the black water tank for flushing - a hookup by the drains? Turn on the water to fill the tank, then drain while the hose is running until it runs clear(er). Worth adding?
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:57 PM   #72
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Many modern RVs including Airstreams have black tank rinsing system. We don't, we just run a couple of minutes of water with the toilet into the black tank to help rinse it. I also allow grey water to enter my empty black tank, then soak for a few minutes, then dump them both. Some folks have a wand that is stuck down the toilet and used for rinsing. A hose is run through the trailer. Messy.

Study some black tank rinsing methods and see if you can engineer something that would work for your system.

Big holes around the rivets is pretty common in vintage Airstreams. It happens due to galvanic action between the steel frame and aluminum rivet. I have simply replaced the belly aluminum on my trailer. Cost was about $450 for aluminum and rivets. It takes maybe 20 hours of work to complete as each piece of belly aluminum needs trimmed to fit around this tank, that step, or another propane line. Time consuming for me.

David
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:46 PM   #73
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We have the wand attachment for occasional need to really rinse the black tank well. I've wanted a "thru the wall" spot for the hose so I'm not dragging it from the front of the trailer to the rear to do the rinsing but have been vetoed so far by the master mind (otherwise known as husband who does the work). You can buy(and we have done so) a rinse attachment that goes onto your drain between drain opening and sewer pipe, and has a hose attachment to direct water back into your black tank and rinse it. It works, probably not as well as an installed rinse system on modern trailers, but well enough for us.

Kay
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Old 06-15-2019, 04:50 PM   #74
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Thanks! I'm going to scratch my head on the tank rinsing for a few days... Not sure if I plumb in a back flush at the drain pipe, or run a water line to the inside of the tank to clean. A bit late to plumb a flush line just upstream of the shutoff valve (where I see as ideal - keep toilet paper from jamming up the valve). Might just plumb a quick disconnect for a hose in the bathroom for a wand...

We got the street side forward banana put in place, but not riveted in. Fought with this one a bit, but... We might do better attaching to the bottom first, then wrapping up the side and trimming to length (middle of the rub strip), vice hanging along the rub strip and bending around the bottom. I'm wondering if one of the outriggers is sitting a bit proud - will inspect that before riveting. I thought the ABS corners were going to be a pain - so easy to put on.

Here's a couple of pics of the electrical cleanup, the 12V power system and windows...

Electrical - 12V side... Current / voltage sense from the battery, 50Amp fuse, diode to keep the converter from cooking the battery, battery switch, converter.
  • Noco smart charger manages the battery when 120V is available.
  • Current sense allows me to view battery charge level and battery consumption.
  • Fuse to protect the battery.
  • Diode to keep converter from charging the battery.
  • Switch - Pos 1 keeps the diode in to preclude the inverter from charging the battery.
  • Pos 2 bypasses the diode when boondocking to improve efficiency (no diode drop)
Inverter connection is the one I'm scratching my head on... Normally only needed straight from the battery, but I want to be able to protect electronics (house outlets only) from crappy power (generator, etc...) by switching my house power over to the inverter. This would not include AC, Fridge, Microwave, etc... Just 4 or 5 outlets.

Thoughts?

Windows are looking good (still need to clean the goobers off the glass once the vulkem cures.)

Anyone know where to get a few more of these wire holders? I seem to be about 3 or 4 short.

My trusty three helpers cooling off for a few. We have a play pool for them, but my wagon is the preferred hangout when dad's working.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:17 AM   #75
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Happy Father's Day. David
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:34 PM   #76
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1978 31' Sovereign
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So, thing came to an abrupt stop last weekend... Broke my wrist playing with the kids. :/ If you're over 15, stay away from skateboards. Hopefully I don't have any dis-similar corrosion issues with the titanium in my wrist.

But, I spent this Sunday re-writing the user interface for my control and making it much prettier. Screenshot below... This is already displaying actual indoor temp and humidity and the thermostat is ready for the relay control - just need to add a couple of lines of code for each of the 4 relays. One for the thermostat, one for the water pump, and 2 for the inverter - one to turn the inverter on and one to activate the relay to cross over the house power to inverter power from shore power. Also need to start on the arduino (tank quantity and electrical system) serial comms to this - haven't done that yet - now to scour the internet for code snippets.

Wife wants some type of stylized art of an Airstream next to the time. Need to find something for that.

Fortunately I had the left front and side bananananas cleco'd in - they're still holding through a few storms. Need to get back out there and get it installed soon.
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:34 PM   #77
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We humans are such fragile things. Basically a bag of water with some sticks inside. Sorry to hear about your wrist. I bet it will heal completely and you will forget it happened.

Your technology is way over my head. The only code I can write is "CODE".

David
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:57 PM   #78
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Label EVERYTHING I suggest blue tape and marker pen. Tape things that are saves together.
We are not going down to frame and are keeping the vinyl walls. We purchased ultralight mdf to remake the bulkheads and I am sponge-painting them to match the vinyl walls. Where it makes sense we are plying 1/8” melamine hardboard over any 3/8 plywood which previously had “fake oak contact paper” on it. Check craigslist and Facebook marketplace for solid surface materials and stainless steel sinks. Learn to pop rivet. No good suggestions yet on shower pan 😞
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:35 PM   #79
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Dr Judy, Yes, Lots of blue tape, marked, and my bride took a bunch of pictures and that's been a lifesaver many a time over.

David, Thanks! So far, This bag of water is healing up well. Hopefully better come Thursday when I see the doc. I don't know that I'd call my software "code" - it's more like stuff that kind of works. Not elegant by any means, and mocked my most amateur coders.

I'm wanting to see what I can find in cabinet grade 3/8" ply for the interior bulkheads - hopefully I can paint that and call it good without another layer over it. Plan for the cabinet structure is probably 2x2 and 1x2 basswood and not sure for the face frames yet. Any suggestions - light and paintable to dead smooth?

I'm comfortable with the rivets - drilled and replaced more than my share.

I'm hoping to salvage our shower pan with some fiberglass and a rework of the bottom, or like I've seen, a nice teak floor grate.

Since I'm gimped up, I'm spending time getting this interface up and working. Temperature and thermostat portion is working as well as my tank quantity measuring. Need to finish up the electrical sensing parts... Got the interface looking a bunch better than my old one though... Can't think of anything else I want it to do. If you've got ideas, I'm open!

Tanks are measured with a capacitance meter and backed up with the normal metal lugs
Indoor and outdoor temps / humidity are measured with DHT22 sensors - though I'm not 100% happy with those yet - we'll see if they're good enough.
The Generator button just adjusts the red markings for the AC amperage and wattage.
The Water Pump button is on / off for the pump.
Furnace button enables the furnace.
Inverter button turns on the inverter (up front) and switches the house circuit from shore power to inverter powered (in the rear circuit breaker box).
The IncDec is for adjusting the furnace temp. The flame above the indoor temp tells us the furnace is running
The battery tabs shows similar data for the battery, but also battery level of charge.

My electrical system allows me to run just off the converter unless I start to pull the inverter below the battery voltage by one diode drop, then the battery picks up the load. Battery is charged via a smart 120V charger - hence the two tabs...

Hopefully it all works as planned. Once my wrist heals up, I'll be back at it. We are spending 2 weeks on the road, would have been nice to have it done, but we'll be tenting it at the Oshkosh Airshow and beyond on our trip.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:29 PM   #80
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The EAA Oshkosh AirAdventure event is fantastic judging by the pictures I've seen. The whole EAA organization is first rate. I would love to go some day, although I'm not big on crowds. I have a hard time at Costco sometimes.

If your Airstream was a little vintage Shasta with the little wings on the back, you would be all set. Actually Airstreams were developed by Bowlus and Byam in Southern California where lots of aircraft were constructed. They used similar techniques from the 30s for a lightweight, aerodynamic shape. Born in the aircraft industry so to speak. However, nothing like today's aircraft.

David
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See my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
Knowledge Base Airstream Trailers

See our 1976 Sovereign Renovation Project:
Knowledge Base Airstream Trailers
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