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Old 11-13-2009, 09:35 AM   #1
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Zep's '72 Overlander

Not much new here, just a thread for my 'private' record of what the heck I've been doing on this one. And to provide any potential future PO with some idea of how the redesigned systems work.

History: Saw the Overlander in an RV storage area in Acton, CA, back in early 1999 and bought it a few months later. PO had just inherited a Sovereign from his folks and was moving up. For two years not much happened--the Caravel that fell into my hands soon after acquiring the Overlander was taking up most of my refurbishment efforts. But in 2002 a new job in Vegas popped up and I decided to make the Overlander the traveling, working, living Airstream.

The first job, in April 2002, was to convert it from a twin to a double and make provisions for a desk. A little more kitchen counter space was also high on the list. So the first big modification, done over a single weekend, was to cut the tub in half, move the bath and kitchen partitions aft about 14", install a double bed, and make a new countertop. Unbelievable, but I was back to work on Monday with a double Overlander.

The initial work was done at the Edwards AFB hobby shop. You can see someof the old bed components in front of the Overlander.

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The original interior was unremarkable, standard stuff. One of the interesting items was the cabinet over the toe end of the street side bed. It was matched by the oven over the toe end of the curb bed.

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Once I got going on Saturday morning, it became a complete trash pile. The tub was cut using a saber saw and a hand held hack saw blade for those corners where the saber saw didn't reach. It was extremely critical to get the edge exactly flat, since the seal to the new partion was going to be a simple butt joint using silicone. The side of the partition facing the tub was faced with FRP. I wish now I could have seen into the future and moved the Univolt. More on that later.

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The old overhead shelves are still in place as the rear partition goes in.

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The bed was designed with a vertical support the length of the bed, approximately 1/3 of the distance from the wall to the inner bed edge. This allowed for a nice long storage area that could be accessed from the outside through the access door that originally provided access to the Univolt. The inner part of the bed was supported with vertical dividers. These storage spaces are big enough for the large plastic bins that are widely available today. They were covered with 'doors' held on with velcro, so they can be completely removed for access.

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A new shelf over the bed provided headroom toward the head of the bed and additional storage space at the toe end.

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Final bed and shelf. The shelf was actually made some time after this frantic weekend. But all the bed and partition pieces were done in two days. Why can't I be that productive now? Oh, I know, I found the Forums and you know what that means....

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The bed components were later removed several times for varnishing, but that bath partition went in and was permanent from the git go.

Zep wait, wait, more coming...
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:44 AM   #2
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Looks super!
Thanks for sharing your expert craftsmanship
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:45 AM   #3
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The Desk

The next task, in May, was to get a desk and some 'office space.'

Once the twin bed was removed from the street side, shelves for printer and scanner, as well as a legal size drawer and pencil drawer were installed in a column next to the bath. The next section was the desk. These photos are 'cranked' a bit, as they are montages done before I knew a bit more about Photoshop.

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The installation of the partitions and shelves looked a little better. You can see that the original closet and bath cabinet are still installed. They come out soon enough.

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Here's a link to the final installation and notes on how the desk works. The ability to slide the desk in and out quickly makes it easy for others to move through the Overlander, without disturbing the work on the desk.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f38/...esk-21037.html

Zep wait, wait, more coming....
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:57 AM   #4
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Would love to see how you reworked the shelves around the fridge. That's my weekend task coming up.

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Old 11-13-2009, 10:03 AM   #5
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Copper Plumbing and Kitchen

The plumbing had been damaged (but not broken) by an earlier freeze, so it was totally replaced. Boy, was that fun getting the pipe runs under the tub! Nothing special about the pressure regulator, but it was an added function that the original didn't have.

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The next big task was to replace the old closet with a drawer stack and a 'cutting place' as an additional counter top prep area. A new drawer stack was also installed under the counter top on the curb side.

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The dish drawer, copied in the Caravel and Sovereign, is great for providing max storage and vibration protection in a small space, but you limit yourself to a specific selection of plates and cups. I think it's worth it. The Caravel design is a bit different--here's the comparison http://www.airforums.com/forums/f38/...ods-21431.html.

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Zep wait, wait, there's more...
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:09 AM   #6
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Vents and A/C

Somewhere in the early days I decided that the Fantastic Fan really was fantastic. With two of these installed in an Overlander, there really isn't a need for a third vent amidships, so out it went. I documented it all here
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f455...ent-23318.html

The one thing I didn't talk too much about in that thread was the difficulty in patching the shell and retaining the faired curve shape. In order to fix this, I used the shrinker to curve some 3/4" channel and use the existing rivet holes to install them. Even the tiny patch over the TV antenna mount required some curve help.

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Replacing the air conditioner was typical. Some are harder than others, depending on how the original A/C pan was installed on the roof.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...a-c-55715.html

Zep wait, yes, there's more
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:24 AM   #7
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PEX, axles, Zip-Dee, Vista Views, Wing Windows

Some of the big jobs were documented in other threads.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f443...ect-55710.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...ect-54805.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f442...ion-46267.html

This 7-pin is from the Sovereign, but it's identical to the Overlander job.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/...tor-48969.html

The vista view windows were removed on all my Airstreams.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f454...ews-32184.html

The wing windows have been replaced in both the Overlander and Safari.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f454...ent-57687.html

Zep jeez, am I not done yet?....
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:48 AM   #8
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Fridge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan View Post
Would love to see how you reworked the shelves around the fridge...
Funny you should ask. I'm not sure if you mean the cabinet next to the fridge, or the fridge surround itself. I'm assuming the latter. You can see how I did the Sovereign all through the Sovereign thread, but here's the details on the Sovereign vent, for example http://www.airforums.com/forums/669830-post54.html

I didn't document the fridge partitions. Previously, all my partions had a kerf cut in the back edge so that they could accomodate the original metal channel that Airstream used against the curved wall. Now, with a shrinker, I can curve 3/4" "L" channel to match the wall, then screw the partions to that channel, with the flange on the less visible side of the partition. I no longer cut a kerf in the back edge.

The big issue is to get a 'perfect' seal all around the fridge and ensure a nice free-flowing chimney effect behind the fridge. When I took the vent cover down, I found a really crappy fit between the inner skin and the actual vent. Here's the fix.

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Fixing a cracked vent cover is not easy, which is why I replaced the Sovereign cover (link above). I didn't have the time on this one, plus it wasn't in terrible shape. But getting a good seal between the cover and the shelf above the fridge eluded me. The original design just didn't hack it. So I put a metal flange on the lower edge of the cover. It takes some magic measuring to get this channel on the cover in the exact right place. You have to install the whole surround, then cleco the cover in place, then draw a line. I didn't have any more sophisticated measuring capability than that. BTW, I used bucked rivets (actually, squeezed rivets) to attach the flange to the cover. Pop rivets might work, but I'm always concerned about cracking the plastic. With a rivet squeezer you can control the deformation of the rivet shank a little better.

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You can see in the installed photo that the flange continues left and right a bit, to help get a seal between the back edge of the shelf and the wall. You don't see the flange of the channel against the wall in this installation because these partitions were made several years ago and the flange is actually in the kerf at the back edge. I don't like it--it reduces the strenth of the partition attachment. But so far it has worked fine--no cracked edges.

Zep yes, still more....
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Old 11-13-2009, 11:18 AM   #9
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Electrical and lights

Not done yet on this stuff, but so far here's the scoop. One thing I've forgotten to mention is that in all the work on the inside, I removed all the cabinets in order to varnish them. Some of the inside skins came down, too, looking for a pesky smell (turned out to be a rubbed propane line that had developed a pinhole--six people never identified it as propane!). Anyway, I discovered that the ceiling skin was 24-1/2" wide, making it very expensive to replace! So I moved one of the ceiling rails up 5/8". This worked perfectly and is not noticeable.

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Remember the cut tub and the Univolt? The Univolt was installed on a makeshift tray that could be pulled out by removing one screw. Putting the Intellipower replacement converter in the same spot wasn't as big a deal, since I knew the fuse panel would be elsewhere. I've definitely got to get in there to secure and dress those wires. Damn, the list is now 57 items long.

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The fuse panel was a problem. I wanted to retain as much of the storage as possible, but also wanted good access to the fuses. I finally resolved this conflict by putting the fuse panel on a hinge and added a small clip that retains the fuse panel in an up position when access is not desired. This frees up the entire access door space. The reason the wires are run along the bottom of the panel is that when it swings up, it requires less twist on the wires and it was easier to install and then dress them.

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The lightining project is just getting started. There are three posts, starting here, about the electrical characteristics of the G4 replacement LEDs, and about the installation of this over door light and step light.

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OK, enough for now. I need to go see if I can have an epiphany about cabinet latches...and figure out what to do to replace the goucho that I tossed out two days ago. Did I mention 57 tasks? Well, here's the first 56 (and counting).

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Zep
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Old 11-13-2009, 12:51 PM   #10
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Pics don't do it justice.. it looks really slick inside! The woodwork is outstanding...
Great meeting you Zep!
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Old 11-13-2009, 12:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium View Post
Somewhere in the early days I decided that the Fantastic Fan really was fantastic.
Once again I am left awestruck by the Aluminum Guru. Your miscellaneous expertise shall never cease to amaze. I find myself chanting the mantra Zep El Linn Ahh Numb.

Any teachings on the advantages of Fantastic Fan over Maxx Fan/ Maxx Vent? I know Fantastic is cheaper and has great service, but I kind of like the Maxx Fan being able to be used in the rain.
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Old 11-13-2009, 01:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
...Any teachings on the advantages of Fantastic Fan over Maxx Fan/ Maxx Vent? I know Fantastic is cheaper and has great service, but I kind of like the Maxx Fan being able to be used in the rain.
I am not worthy, but thanks. We all bow to INSIDEOUT and AEROWOOD here in Colorado (not to mention many others, like Forrest and 47WeeWind--those guys know their stuff).

No opinion on Maxx Fan. I've always envied the rain deal, but they are too big on top.

Zep
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Old 11-13-2009, 01:41 PM   #13
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Zep...the quality of your work looks very good!
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Old 11-13-2009, 05:18 PM   #14
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Before you sign off for the day, I have a question about the walls you built. Give me a few minutes to figure out how to ask the question.....

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Old 11-13-2009, 05:26 PM   #15
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OK, here we go.

Post number 3, first picture (or top left). The two walls either side of the printer (left and right of the printer that extend from the floor to the ceiling).

1) What type of wood is that?
2) What thickness is it?
3) Did you laminate two pieces of 1/4" together to have two finished sides?

Inquiring minds need to know.

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Old 11-13-2009, 05:43 PM   #16
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OK, I found part of the answer in the Desk thread. You used 1/2 birch with maple edging. Was the birch finished on both sides?
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Old 03-14-2010, 01:07 PM   #17
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Heas Up

In all my excitement to get the cabinets re-installed, I forgot one major requirement--I didn't replace the foam seals around the fridge. This may not seem like a big deal, but even though the partions around the fridge are tightly fit, the amount of air that can leak around the edges is pretty significant. You don't really notice this in hot weather, but when it's 5 degrees outside, the cold air flows in and freezes your feet.

Not to mention the hazard of CO.

I've been dreading having to take everything apart to do this, but it turned out only to take about four hours. The arrow points to the original plywood backing that the orginal partions were screwed to. I had to removed the front 3" in order to allow for a continuous band of foam strip to go around the fridge. I couldn't find any low density 1" foam, so I cut the strip only 1" wide (the original foam was about 2.5" wide) to reduce the compressive force needed to get the partitions back in place.

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This was the last item on my priority 1 list of things to do. Now to get on with priorities 2,3,4, and 5.

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Old 03-27-2010, 10:16 AM   #18
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Keeping drawers restrained during travel has been a vexing problem that is not completely solved yet. Many ideas about magnets, push rods, rotating gizmos, etc., but the only one that I really like so far is the lock the keeps the wine rack restrained in the Sovereign.

The following is a partial solution, only because it isn't really helpful for kitchen drawers.

I stumbled on a surface mount 90 hinge at HD that can provide overlay or inset doors, simply by reversing the same part. I hadn't considered anything except the Blum hinges, so this was a real find, since the Blums require at least 11/16" cabinet thickness and I only have 15/32". The drawers were already made and mounted, so some modifications were required in order to provide space for the hinge and latch hardware. As it operates, the hinge "elbows" out 1" into the cabinet, but in the full open or closed position it's only 1/2" high.

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The latch is 5/8" thick, so a simple rabbet in the top edge of the drawer would have been sufficient on the latch side. There are a number of push latches, but this one is attractive from an ease of operation standpoint. Its one drawback is it needs about 1/8" of inward motion to activate, so it doesn't hold the door tight to the cabinet cross pieces.

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Zep
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Old 03-28-2010, 10:04 AM   #19
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Old 06-20-2010, 10:26 AM   #20
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Dust Control

The 20 miles of dirt and washboards to Chaco did a number on my Overlander. Yikes. The worst part was the fine dust that settled in all the kichen drawers. What the heck?

So after a little thought, I determined that the layout provided a perfect wind tunnel from the back access door to the kitchen cabinet. This will be true for any rear bath model that has under-bed storage that is accessible from an outside door. I know everyone has noticed the road dust that is most prominent on the floor of that bathroom after a long drive. This is because the high pressure point on the shell while driving is at the rear--air is being sucked out the leaky window/door seals on the side and dusty air is being sucked in from the back.

The Overlander design has a "tub" that is offset from the shell, so there is a path around the tub to the bed, then forward.

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The old Univolt sat on top of the battery and under the partition between the bed and the bath, which opened up a huge hole in the partition. Likewise, the wheel well passes under the bed/kitchen partition and provides a large hole there (the partitions were not fitted, even loosely, to the wheel wells). [Photos are down through an access panel in the bed support.] The fuse block used to be on the face of the Univolt, very hard to see or access, as it was about 8" behind the door opening. It's now on the small panel that latches up under the bed platform and can swing down into the door opening. If I had not previously installed the IntelliPower converter, I wouldn't have been able to seal up the Univolt hole.

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A couple of suitable small panels, caulk, and expanding foam stops the airflow. You can see some of the foam around the drain pipe to the right of the IntelliPower. In addition, some foam was used to seal the air paths in the belly pan around the kitchen-side frame rail and the pipe chases in the fresh tank. Only time will tell if those fixes are effective. The panels are installed at the red lines in the floorplan above.

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Can't wait to get on the road and see if this was worth all the work.

The next step will be to seal the rear access door in a way that allows for access to the dump and water drain valves, but completely seals the door off from the interior. This step is necessary to reduce the dust/road grit that winds up on the bath floor. I asked AEROWOOD if we could make a suitable door to accomplish this--his answer was it would be easier to build an air-tight containment box inside the door. Darn...

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