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Old 03-10-2008, 11:38 AM   #1
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1970 27' Overlander restoration

I purchased my A/S February 9, 2008. It’s a 1970 27’ Overlander rear bath beauty. Unlike many of you, I was not at all in the market to purchase one. I was planning to build a 12’x24’ portable cabin for my hunting lease. I built one last year for my farm and we enjoy it very much. All the comforts of home.

But them my brother called me and told me about this really nice 1988 Airstream is great shape. He said it was very shiny and that the carpet had been removed for replacement and the plywood floors were in excellent condition. He said the PO had put new tires and wheels on it because it had been setting on blocks for the last 14 years and the PO could not recall what he did with the originals. All this for only $1800.

It sounded like a good deal and I could use it on my hunting lease instead of going to all that work to build a cabin. Less work for me, right? Wrong!

When I went to pick this gem up it turned out to be a 1970 model. The excellent plywood floors were actually a ¼” overlay to cover up the rotten sub floor.

Well, a card laid is a card played they say. Now I am getting excited with my new project. I started the restoration project two weeks ago and it is going fairly well. I am sure that I will need a lot of your knowledge to complete this. I do have one advantage which has already proved useful. How many trips have you made to a hardware store or big box store during your redo? Well my wife and I have owned a hardware store for the last 30 years and I have my A/S parked right behind my store. It affords me time to work on it during slow sales times and any tool, fastener, and etc. that I need are just a few steps away!

I am documenting this project with pictures and have posted some in the picture gallery under my username.

http://www.airforums.com/photos/brow...0&userid=26858

For some reason they are in reverse order so you might want to start at the last one and work forward.

In closing I want to invite everyone’s opinions, comments, or suggestions. This forum is such a valuable resource!
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Old 03-10-2008, 03:31 PM   #2
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Well, at least you can make a new pair of boots...

...out of that snake skin! Ha!

I can understand your concern over discovering it's not at all what you signed up for, but with your access to parts and tools, and your apparent DIY skills, it seems like you're the perfect person to take on this restoration. I've heard others on this forum say that they did not find their trailers, but rather their trailers found them. In your case this seems quite true.

And on the bright side, I've been looking for an Overlander here in Central Texas for several months and still don't have one. They don't seem to be for sale that often around here.

Anyway, good luck on your restoration, I'll be following it closely (and hoping to follow in your footsteps in the near future).
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Old 03-10-2008, 03:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vhord
... In closing I want to invite everyone’s opinions, comments, or suggestions. This forum is such a valuable resource...
My three-year older Overlander has a web site that might provide insight into your project.

Tom
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utee94
And on the bright side, I've been looking for an Overlander here in Central Texas for several months and still don't have one. They don't seem to be for sale that often around here.

Anyway, good luck on your restoration, I'll be following it closely (and hoping to follow in your footsteps in the near future).
Thanks utee94,

I appreciate your confidence in me.

In all fairness to my brother, he travels all over east Texas with his business and he has found he and I a lot of great deals on Jeeps, trailers, land and etc. I will tell him to be on the look out for you and if he finds something I will let you know. You then can inspect it and make your own decision. He loves doing this kind of hunting!

Vernon
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:26 AM   #5
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Thanks Vernon, I appreciate it very much!
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:00 PM   #6
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I never thought about it that way, I should park my trailer behind the hardware store, would save me hours and gallons of gas. Weekend cashiers know us by name and ask how the trailer is coming (that's a bad sign isn't it)

Good luck on your project!
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW
My three-year older Overlander has a web site that might provide insight into your project.

Tom
Tom,

Thanks for sharing your web site with me. I have already been to it several times and will definitely put it in my Favorites. I notice that you even mentioned Ace Hardware in you links. We appreciate that!

Vernon
Crosby, TX
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:16 PM   #8
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Am I missing a c-channel??

When I removed the water heater and rear floor section I noticed that there was no c-channel connecting the side walls to the rear. Is this correct?
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Old 03-17-2008, 03:33 PM   #9
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That is how my 71 was. I,m raising the new water heater cutout so it doesn't sit quit so low.
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:18 PM   #10
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That is how my 71 was. I,m raising the new water heater cutout so it doesn't sit quit so low.
I am glad that maybe this was original (although I think strange). I was thinking of at least putting a piece of 1-1/2" (or 1-1/4" if necessary) aluminum flat bar across the bottom of the opening to tie the two wall sections together.
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:39 PM   #11
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- as long as all the rest of the floor is locked into channels and c's into ribs this should not be a problem, my '69 is the same

- important that the floor be solid and bolted to the frame correctly, that's the more common issue

- also important that, naturally, the water heater doesn't LEAK, another common problem, bench test if necessary before re-installing

- great find, you should have a lotta fun with it!

- my local (2 miles away) Ace is the only hdwr around that can still ANSWER QUESTIONS! Home Despot (5 blocks away) doesn't even have black ABS pipe! poor employees have no idea about most issues we face..
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Old 03-18-2008, 04:52 PM   #12
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- important that the floor be solid and bolted to the frame correctly, that's the more common issue..
I am still wrestling with this. On one hand if I re-bolt it as before then I have to put the insulation in after from underneath, before reinstalling the belly pan. Right?

I have seen others that insulated from above but then how do you get to the elevator bolts?

BTW - I have purchased 3/4" marine grade plywood and I plan on sealing the edges with something. Maybe fiberglass resin topped with some sort of rubber based roofing sealer to insulate the fiberglass from the aluminum. I read somewhere that the resin contains acid which can attack the aluminum. I will have to research that farther.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fotochop
- - also important that, naturally, the water heater doesn't LEAK, another common problem, bench test if necessary before re-installing..
I have already purchased a new LP/120V Atwood water heater. Hopefully it doesn't leak. I have a friend/customer who is a licensed plumber and has volunteered to help me replumb it. He plans on using PEX tubing with Shark-bite fittings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fotochop
- - great find, you should have a lotta fun with it!..
I am really enjoying this project!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fotochop
- - my local (2 miles away) Ace is the only hdwr around that can still ANSWER QUESTIONS! Home Despot (5 blocks away) doesn't even have black ABS pipe! poor employees have no idea about most issues we face..
I am glad you have a good helpful Ace near you. We really appreciate you and the rest of our customers.

Vernon
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:02 PM   #13
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Congrats!

Congratulations on your surprise of a trailer. I hope you have a great time with the restoration.

Being able to park behind a hardware store is like a dream come true. I can't imagine how many actual trips my husband took to get fasteners, wood, tools and miscellaneous bits for our 1971 Safari.

Don't know if you've seen it, but there is a series on DIY showing a 70s-ish Overlander restoration. It was very helpful to us and they re-air it quite a bit.

Have fun. I'll look forward to watching your progress.
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmroot
Congratulations on your surprise of a trailer. I hope you have a great time with the restoration.

Being able to park behind a hardware store is like a dream come true. I can't imagine how many actual trips my husband took to get fasteners, wood, tools and miscellaneous bits for our 1971 Safari.

Don't know if you've seen it, but there is a series on DIY showing a 70s-ish Overlander restoration. It was very helpful to us and they re-air it quite a bit.

Have fun. I'll look forward to watching your progress.
This series will in fact begin re-airing on DIY Network beginning next week, on the 25th of March at 6:00 AM Central time. It's a 10-episode series, and I have already set the DVR.

Airstream Introduction, Inspection, History and Tear-Out Interior : DIY Network
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:58 AM   #15
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Banana wrap repairs

My banana wrap corners were badly dented and bent. I discussed it with a body shop friend of mine who put me in contact with a gentleman with an English wheel. He did what I thought was a great job and I had to force him to take $40! They did not come out perfect but will definitely be within my tolerances. I am thinking of further smoothing them out with some very fine sandpaper (maybe 1500 grit) before polishing them. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
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Old 03-29-2008, 11:10 AM   #16
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Those look great! And for $40, I think you got quite the bargain. If/when I ever have an Overlander of my own, it might be worth the gas to drive from Austin to have your new friend do some work for me.

Speaking of which, I'm thinking about coming to Houston tomorrow for the Texas basketball game, and I might stop by League City and check out this one:

Hunter's Special: 1969 Airstream Travel Trailer

Whaddya think of it?
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:26 AM   #17
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I have the back three sheets of subfloor removed and frame cleaned up. We welded in a new crossmember and added two angle iron clips to the outside of the rear frame for additional support (I think it is what is referred to as elephant ears). The outrigger underneath the water heater is rusted pretty thin so I decided to clean it up and add a couple of others, one on each side of it.
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While I wait on my welder to weld these in so I can undercoat the frame I decided to practice on the floor sheets. I used my old floor for a pattern (what was left of it!) and with the help of my marks and lines that I had scribbed before removal I was able to connect the dots and make a pretty good pattern. I cut this piece out of 1/2" CDX plywood so I didn't mess up a $75.00 sheet of 3/4" marine grade plywood if I made a mistake.

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I thought I would attempt to install it in one piece instead of splicing it. With the help of the wall opening for the water heater I was able to slide it in.

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I would like to keep the bathroom sheet in one piece for strength. Is there any reason that I should cut my final piece in half and splice it?
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:47 AM   #18
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I've obviously never done it, but from a structural standpoint I can't imagine any scenario where cutting and splicing would be better than a solid sheet. The only reason I can see to cut it is for convenience-- ease of fitting into its final position. But, it seems you have that covered, assuming that the increased thickness of the MGP relative to your CDX won't push you over the edge on space requirements for sliding into place.

Also, where do you source 3/4" MGP for $75/sheet? It's siginificantly more expensive here in Austin from what I've seen in the past, more like $125/sheet or so for 4x8.
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Old 04-04-2008, 02:14 PM   #19
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Also, where do you source 3/4" MGP for $75/sheet? It's siginificantly more expensive here in Austin from what I've seen in the past, more like $125/sheet or so for 4x8.
I bought mine from Deer Park Lumber, Deer Park, TX. I purchased 6 sheets for $74.95 ea. for a total of $449.70 and they delivered it for free. They may have given me a break as I bought it using my hardware store name. I don't know if there are differnet grades but this is 8 ply MGP as opposed the regular plywood which is 5 ply. It looks good and doesn't show any voids.
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Old 04-04-2008, 02:25 PM   #20
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definitely DON'T cut the subfloor if you don't have to! that's only if you don't have a way to pull/push down the frame to slip it in whole. one piece is better by far... now send that guy with the English wheel over to my house!

nice work, looking good!
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