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Old 11-17-2022, 05:14 PM   #1
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1986 27' Airstream 270
FALLON , NV
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1986 270? Barn find Airstream

I think I just picked up the barn find of the century I was able to grab this airstream 270 I think, for only $2000. A slow tow home later and it was secure

I was hoping to grab some more information about the models that were produced and their various features. This seems to either have been converted to a passenger van at sometime, or came that way from airstream, it has no kitchen, no plumbing for a kitchen, no bedroom or any likes thereof.

The couple I bought it from claimed the previous owner told them this was one of the NASA models but I find that highly doughtful. However we did find a very weird switchboard inside running 50v, 28v, 60 hertz and 400hz electronics. She told us there were silver wires in the rv and much to our surprise there silver plated cu wires on the switch panel.

We also found a really strange and massive heating and cooling system, is this a stock implement or was it added afterwords? It has an air condenser and a heater core with coolant from the engine.

Any information on on any of this mystery would be greatly appreciated!

(Currently not in running condition, motor wiring harness is very shot and will need to be replaced and possibly have further work done on the engine amd transmission)

I own a 4 bay auto shop and will be doing a full remodel on it.
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Old 11-17-2022, 05:46 PM   #2
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1991 35' Airstream 350
Columbia , Tennessee
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Looks like you got yourself a hand full of work ahead!
AS made a lot of custom units throughout the years.
Take a look at Fred's site to get some ideas about these coaches.

http://www.viewrvs.com/motorhome.php

You might be able to contact AS with the VIN for some info!?

Have fun with it!
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Old 11-17-2022, 06:26 PM   #3
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1986 27' Airstream 270
FALLON , NV
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Here is the strange electrical breaker board we found
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Old 11-17-2022, 06:34 PM   #4
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Little falls , New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Itsthatsguy View Post
I think I just picked up the barn find of the century I was able to grab this airstream 270 I think, for only $2000. A slow tow home later and it was secure

I was hoping to grab some more information about the models that were produced and their various features. This seems to either have been converted to a passenger van at sometime, or came that way from airstream, it has no kitchen, no plumbing for a kitchen, no bedroom or any likes thereof.

The couple I bought it from claimed the previous owner told them this was one of the NASA models but I find that highly doughtful. However we did find a very weird switchboard inside running 50v, 28v, 60 hertz and 400hz electronics. She told us there were silver wires in the rv and much to our surprise there silver plated cu wires on the switch panel.

We also found a really strange and massive heating and cooling system, is this a stock implement or was it added afterwords? It has an air condenser and a heater core with coolant from the engine.

Any information on on any of this mystery would be greatly appreciated!

(Currently not in running condition, motor wiring harness is very shot and will need to be replaced and possibly have further work done on the engine amd transmission)

I own a 4 bay auto shop and will be doing a full remodel on it.
You friend are a brave man!
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Old 11-17-2022, 07:14 PM   #5
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Silver and silver plated chassis wiring is used extensively in Aerospace & Defense, check if it’s teflon wrapped (PTFE or something similar lettering on the wire). Are you sure about the 400Hz? 50Hz is weird enough - Japan I think uses it, I can’t think of what would require a higher clock like that, typically you’d have one standard (60Hz at that) and upconvert on any particular equipment.

Ah OK a little searching, yeah 400Hz power is used in aviation, and 50Hz makes sense as an even divider/multiplier. So yes - A&D, maybe NASA, or as well could have been support vehicle for who knows - Boeing, Lockheed or the like. The heating/cooling was probably for whatever equipment they had in there, look around for a 19” rack, vertical rails with screw holes for holding instruments.

Interpreting that panel - CB might mean “Common Bus”, S = “Source” or “Signal”, NF, don’t know “No Fault” is the only thing that comes to mind. This stuff is always cryptic.

Second look at the pictures, yeah appears to be more people support than equipment support, and kind of upscale at that. Astronaut transport? I imagine they use DC for the suit support power not AC but no idea.
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Old 11-17-2022, 08:50 PM   #6
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I have no idea what the history of your new find might be. It looks to me like a blank slate for whatever you want it to be! Welcome to the madness!
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Old 11-17-2022, 09:05 PM   #7
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1986 27' Airstream 270
FALLON , NV
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The more and more I dive into this thing the more and more of the mystery it becomes it definitely seems like it was pretty application specific whatever it was doing.

I have renovated 2 old 1960 trailers and built a Sprinter Van completely from the ground up, I am very excited to be taking on this new project it should be a good canvas to work with.

The frame and chassie and cab all seem good, no water leaks.
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Old 11-17-2022, 10:05 PM   #8
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1986 27' Airstream 270
FALLON , NV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrivingDan View Post
Silver and silver plated chassis wiring is used extensively in Aerospace & Defense, check if it’s teflon wrapped (PTFE or something similar lettering on the wire). Are you sure about the 400Hz? 50Hz is weird enough - Japan I think uses it, I can’t think of what would require a higher clock like that, typically you’d have one standard (60Hz at that) and upconvert on any particular equipment.

Ah OK a little searching, yeah 400Hz power is used in aviation, and 50Hz makes sense as an even divider/multiplier. So yes - A&D, maybe NASA, or as well could have been support vehicle for who knows - Boeing, Lockheed or the like. The heating/cooling was probably for whatever equipment they had in there, look around for a 19” rack, vertical rails with screw holes for holding instruments.

Interpreting that panel - CB might mean “Common Bus”, S = “Source” or “Signal”, NF, don’t know “No Fault” is the only thing that comes to mind. This stuff is always cryptic.

Second look at the pictures, yeah appears to be more people support than equipment support, and kind of upscale at that. Astronaut transport? I imagine they use DC for the suit support power not AC but no idea.

All pretty good insights, CB I assume is standing for Circuit Breaker, every switch marked CB has a Resettable circuit breaker like action to the switch.

The breakers are all marked with their respective voltages and frequency, or marked DC.

Most are 5 amp, with a few 15amp here or there, there's an assy number on the back but searchs don't pull anything, no manufacture.

But at 5 amps or so, at so many odd voltages and frequencies, seems so low power and specific, it must have been some low power computers or transceivers, nothing consuming a lot of power, but a lot of high end wiring to support some specific systems.
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Old 11-18-2022, 10:29 AM   #9
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Can’t wait to see what it becomes. Good luck.
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Old 11-18-2022, 11:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Itsthatsguy View Post
I think I just picked up the barn find of the century I was able to grab this airstream 270 I think, for only $2000. A slow tow home later and it was secure

I was hoping to grab some more information about the models that were produced and their various features. This seems to either have been converted to a passenger van at sometime, or came that way from airstream, it has no kitchen, no plumbing for a kitchen, no bedroom or any likes thereof.

The couple I bought it from claimed the previous owner told them this was one of the NASA models but I find that highly doughtful. However we did find a very weird switchboard inside running 50v, 28v, 60 hertz and 400hz electronics. She told us there were silver wires in the rv and much to our surprise there silver plated cu wires on the switch panel.

We also found a really strange and massive heating and cooling system, is this a stock implement or was it added afterwords? It has an air condenser and a heater core with coolant from the engine.

Any information on on any of this mystery would be greatly appreciated!

(Currently not in running condition, motor wiring harness is very shot and will need to be replaced and possibly have further work done on the engine amd transmission)

I own a 4 bay auto shop and will be doing a full remodel on it.
most aircraft, military, and a lot of space stuff use the voltages and frequency you listed. YOu probably have a legitimate NASA model

have you tried getting info from Airstream?
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Old 11-19-2022, 09:16 AM   #11
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If the frame and body are in great shape you have the makings of a wonderful custom RV with a provenance
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Old 11-21-2022, 06:39 AM   #12
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1989 29' Airstream 290
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Itsthatsguy View Post
All pretty good insights, CB I assume is standing for Circuit Breaker, every switch marked CB has a Resettable circuit breaker like action to the switch.

The breakers are all marked with their respective voltages and frequency, or marked DC.

Most are 5 amp, with a few 15amp here or there, there's an assy number on the back but searchs don't pull anything, no manufacture.

But at 5 amps or so, at so many odd voltages and frequencies, seems so low power and specific, it must have been some low power computers or transceivers, nothing consuming a lot of power, but a lot of high end wiring to support some specific systems.
Hi, it's not the Astrovan from the NASA museum or the one in the movie Space Cowboys (which are maybe one and the same). The passenger door is there more in the front, before the two windows.
But because the different voltages I also assume it was for some agency, research and NASA might have had more than the Astrovan. Good luck in finidng out more about the history and sharing with us.
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Old 11-23-2022, 11:25 AM   #13
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What is the motor?
Exciting!
Any initial plans?
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Old 11-23-2022, 11:32 AM   #14
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Little falls , New York
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What is the motor?
Exciting!
Any initial plans?
Agreed. Interested…gas GM chassis?
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Old 11-23-2022, 01:21 PM   #15
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I can barely follow the technical stuff, but what an interesting thread. Good luck - bet you can do it!
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Old 11-23-2022, 05:48 PM   #16
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The original Astro Vans

NASA operated other aircraft that required astronaut-type support, including the X-series rocket planes and the Blackbird.

The AC and special heating features allowed the astronauts to plug their suits into the vehicle systems to save the limited power supply of their portable units for walking from the vehicle to the aircraft and back.

The wiring and switches do appear to be mil spec hardware so it could be NASA or even USAF provenance. Definitely not your everyday Airstream!
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Old 11-23-2022, 09:52 PM   #17
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So cool!
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