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Old 03-28-2021, 10:10 AM   #1
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1989 29' Airstream 290
Hannover , Germany
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AS290 Restoration - Mario

Hi,

The fun begins! Friday I picked up my 290 motorhome from the port and saw it the first time. Positively surprised about the good condition. No rust (built 1989), no leaks and a lot of extras. It stayed in a quite dry location in Oregon for the past years, itís dusty inside but no smell of moisture or rotten.
We had to drive it onto a flat-bed truck, engine didnít start as battery were empty but after charging it, it started, sounded great and drove. Itís now at a repair shop, specialized on US cars and having many autos with Chevy 454 on the backyard. So seems to be in safe hands and at people who are familiar with the engine and transmission. As we need to convert it to European regulations (tires, lights, etc.) it will be reviewed by an certification engineer the next days and he will set up a list of items which need to be fixed.
I have some questions:
- The belt which drives the a/c is broken and the a/c compressor wheel could not be moved by hand. Not a disaster yet but which other unit(s) are on the same track? I touched the rear air bags and they are empty so no pressure there. Also the air pressure gauge on the dash is at ď0Ē. Is the Air pump on the same track?[/INDENT]- The rear curbside banana wrap was smashed and needs to be replaced. Unfortunately I did the same to the roadside one (the truck driver didnít notify me to stop early enough when I put the unit on his trailer). Knowing banana wraps are NLA I need to refurbish them on my own. Are they fixed with rivets under the trim? I could work on that while the repair shop is doing the conversion.
Thatís it for the moment, more questions to come.

Thank you all for your support so far (PeterH-350LE, Boom Sounds, split window, Roquefort, german6563,Ö)

Mario
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Old 03-28-2021, 12:51 PM   #2
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Welcome!
In the US you could simply have the AC compressor and system rebuilt, likely needs it, not sure if its that easy in europe
Airbags are a firestone part number, if they're original they may likely also need replaced, still available, not super complicated

Banana wraps are held on by rivets, yep, have to pull the belt trim off first, but that's good, when you put it back on use sealant so rain doesn't seep into the floor. I pulled mine off and did fiberglass repair last fall, worked well.
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Old 03-28-2021, 03:19 PM   #3
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Hey Mario, again congratulations on finally getting the 290 home.

Good thing you had it trucked to Bielefeld instead of driving it with the non functioning Airbags. It does a lot of damage to the springs, frame and Airbag components to drive it flat.

The airbag part number is W01-358-5412 available here . But I first would inspect the whole system, starting with why the compressor does not start up, then continue to leaks, leveling valves and then the airbags
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Old 04-06-2021, 11:29 AM   #4
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Firestone airbags are stock items in Europe. Here is one example, but I am pretty certain there are German/French suppliers and probably more too https://airride.co.uk/air/shop/manuf...irestone-9000/

Compressor leads:
http://acmeairparts.com/images/compseltec.pdf
https://www.apairinc.com/shopping/pr...135081&c=10892

Hope this helps

Nick
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Old 04-06-2021, 12:49 PM   #5
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Nice looking rig, Regards, Bob
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Old 04-15-2021, 12:13 PM   #6
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1989 29' Airstream 290
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnet18 View Post
Welcome!
In the US you could simply have the AC compressor and system rebuilt, likely needs it, not sure if its that easy in europe
Airbags are a firestone part number, if they're original they may likely also need replaced, still available, not super complicated

Banana wraps are held on by rivets, yep, have to pull the belt trim off first, but that's good, when you put it back on use sealant so rain doesn't seep into the floor. I pulled mine off and did fiberglass repair last fall, worked well.
Hi Rob,
The broken belt is feeding the CA smog compressor/pump and not important. About the airbags I need to find the source why they not inflating, as Peter suggested starting from compressor.
As you went thru the pain to repair the banana wraps, maybe you could help. I removed the rear bumper - was so easy, just two bolts - the side light and the flood light. Then I lifted the belt trim. Next is to remove the rivets under the trim - right? Picture attached.

Thank you,

Mario
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Old 04-15-2021, 12:20 PM   #7
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1989 29' Airstream 290
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Hi Everybody,

Today the technical inspector had a look to the AS and surprisingly not that much to complain for him. He is from the governmental inspection and only he could give the green light to get the unit re-registered. His comments:
- tires need to be replaced - fine, they are from 2012,
- outside lights need to be changed - this is ok as we have slightly different color schemes here,
- rear banana wraps to be repaired and
- some smaller issues but nothing dramatic.

To be honest, I was expecting much more complains but I'm lucky this time.
Again I'm so surprised that a 32 years old Airstream is in such a good condition. POs maintained it well and it was in a dry region, Central Oregon and California.

Have a nice day.

Mario
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Old 04-15-2021, 12:44 PM   #8
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That's great news Mario
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Old 04-15-2021, 02:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirStreamMar View Post
Hi Everybody,

Today the technical inspector had a look to the AS and surprisingly not that much to complain for him. He is from the governmental inspection and only he could give the green light to get the unit re-registered. His comments:
- tires need to be replaced - fine, they are from 2012,
- outside lights need to be changed - this is ok as we have slightly different color schemes here,
- rear banana wraps to be repaired and
- some smaller issues but nothing dramatic.

To be honest, I was expecting much more complains but I'm lucky this time.
Again I'm so surprised that a 32 years old Airstream is in such a good condition. POs maintained it well and it was in a dry region, Central Oregon and California.

Have a nice day.

Mario
Sounds good. I believe (and Martin can confirm) that someone in the UK is able to fabricate those banana wraps. I can't comment on quality, but pretty sure I saw that somewhere.

If the chassis is still in great condition, I would get it protected too. I wish I had done that when we bought ours because it had zero rust.
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Old 04-15-2021, 02:50 PM   #10
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Yes, the guys at Retro Vintage have made molds and reproduce in fiberglass.

https://www.retrovintage.uk/

This is their latest 28ft Argosy so you can see they do great work.

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Old 04-16-2021, 05:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martin300662 View Post
Yes, the guys at Retro Vintage have made molds and reproduce in fiberglass.

https://www.retrovintage.uk/

This is their latest 28ft Argosy so you can see they do great work.


Martin, love the white walls on that unit. I am curious how they achieved the polished alu look of the steel cap on this 77 Argosy

Mario, congrats on big steps forward on your exciting quest
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Old 04-16-2021, 05:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirStreamMar View Post
Hi Rob,
The broken belt is feeding the CA smog compressor/pump and not important. About the airbags I need to find the source why they not inflating, as Peter suggested starting from compressor.
As you went thru the pain to repair the banana wraps, maybe you could help. I removed the rear bumper - was so easy, just two bolts - the side light and the flood light. Then I lifted the belt trim. Next is to remove the rivets under the trim - right? Picture attached.

Thank you,

Mario

Mario , after you remove the trim, seal any gaps you may find. That area is on both sides a huge source of leaks

Looking at your rear banana wrap, I had an idea. A few years ago, I replaced the right rear banana wrap on a 1991 limited trailer. The preformed section is still available from Airstream. I have never done it, but I would try to make that work on my MH, if I needed to. The space below the trim could be filled with a flat piece of alu or plastic. Just a thought.
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Old 04-16-2021, 05:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterH-350LE View Post
Martin, love the white walls on that unit. I am curious how they achieved the polished alu look of the steel cap on this 77 Argosy

Mario, congrats on big steps forward on your exciting quest
Not sure if they applied it to that specific unit Peter, but previously they had shared a chrome/polished paint finish applied to the end caps.

That said they also have polished the steel caps and lacquered (they have their own paint shop) to maintain the polish look.
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Old 06-15-2021, 05:34 AM   #14
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1989 29' Airstream 290
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Hi Everybody,

Sorry for the silence for two months but things moving on now. Focus over the last weeks was - beside my regular job - to build a parking area/garage on my property so the AS feels comfy if it comes home.
The AS is still at the repair shop but they are overwhelmed with work. Seems a lot of fellows investing in US cars at the moment...
New tires are on it now, the only ones in the required size with certificate are Chinese "Sailun". Checking US motorhome forums in Germany, many using them with good experience. Surprisingly the hydraulic leveling system was working without any issues, so lifting up the MoHo for the tire change was an easy job. Also the mechanic said the frame is in very good condition - and that for an age of 32 years. Brakes are ordered as well and airbags are at customs at the moment.
What I did so far: removed all six banana wraps (probably lost 10 drills while removing the dozens of rivets ) and started restoring them. Removed one roof a/c as I want to get rid of them and replaced it with a Fantastic Vent. Worked on the ZipDee and was not able to disassemble the Z-Lock so fortunately found NW RV Supply still having them in stock. But also on the Awning, very impressed about the intactness of all the materials. I see more and more, that Airstream did a great job in the 90's and also selected high-quality suppliers and materials. So it's fun to work on it.
Next steps will be change of the voltage to 230V and I already wonder how to remove the ceiling center panels inside to access many of the cables. But I'm sure I will find answers in the forum.
Will keep you updated and have fun with your projects!
Mario
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Old 06-15-2021, 05:54 AM   #15
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Hi Mario, good to see that you are making progress. The ceiling center panel has screws on the side, which may be hidden by the fabric. They were on the passenger side on my 350. Once they are out and the ceiling fixtures are removed, the panel will flip down for easy removal. Good time to recover it.
If you haven't done so, inspect the hydraulic fluid level of the HWH system. I found mine to be almost empty. My pump and reservoir is under a cover of the drivers side wheel well.
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Old 06-28-2021, 03:50 AM   #16
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Hi Peter,

Thank you for the suggestion with the center panel. Same here, fixed by some bolts. When I flipped it down a lot of glass wool went onto myself but recovered. Will refill with less agressive mineral wool later on. And good access to all cabling now. I started changing to 230 Volt, replace the inverter and it's charging now batteries.
The mechanics changed all brakes completely and I finish restoring the banana wraps. There two little rubber pieces on the front center banana wrap, above the front bumber. Any idea what they are for, not connected to anything. The only idea I have they are there to make some noise (maybe piping) when driving. Very strange thing.
Otherwise we are almost done to get the technical approval. Hopefully this week.
Cheers,
Mario
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Old 06-28-2021, 04:27 AM   #17
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Which State was your motorhome from Mario? They look like aftermarket 'deer whistles' that often get fitted in areas with a high deer population....the air flow through them creates a sound to try and spook the deer away.



In my experience deer are just stupid and they are more likely to come towards the whistle to see what it is!

I worked for one company in New Jersey that relocated 30miles south along route 202 (which has one of the highest deer populations on east coast) - the company had to pay danger money to get the staff to drive to the new location because of the high number of deer strikes!
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Old 06-28-2021, 01:40 PM   #18
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Which State was your motorhome from Mario? They look like aftermarket 'deer whistles' that often get fitted in areas with a high deer population....the air flow through them creates a sound to try and spook the deer away.



In my experience deer are just stupid and they are more likely to come towards the whistle to see what it is!

I worked for one company in New Jersey that relocated 30miles south along route 202 (which has one of the highest deer populations on east coast) - the company had to pay danger money to get the staff to drive to the new location because of the high number of deer strikes!


Iíve used them for probably 20 years. Iíve hit deer with 2 different cars without them on. No deer with cars that I have them on. I put them on everything now.
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Old 06-28-2021, 11:30 PM   #19
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Some of you guys know where I liveÖÖCharly does for sure. In the 25 years I have been on the mountain I have 14 deer hits, all at night, coming home from work. I have changed my night time speed from 55 MPH to 45 MPH. You can stop on a dime at 45 but not 55. I have tried all the deer whistles made, even the electronic ones. I think they work like a dog whistles and where developed by the body shop association to increase business. The reduction in speed works for me. The only downside is it increases my commute from 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. Regards, Bob
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Old 06-29-2021, 01:01 AM   #20
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Hi Everybody,
Thank you for the clarification about the deer whistles, something I expected as they seemed to me they are there to make some noise. So I'm bit safer as we also have deer population here - hopefully 'working' on the same frequency as the US deers. I leave them on.
Cheers, Mario
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