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Old 05-15-2017, 10:17 PM   #1
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Washnigton , Washington, D.C.
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 11
BCCade's 1982/3 310

Long story short I recently left my job to take some time off to travel and basically have an early midlife crisis. I was on a bit of a roll with making fun albeit unwise decisions, so the draw of having a gorgeous old Airstream was too hard to resist versus the more pragmatic sprinter conversion I'd been planning.

I ended up purchasing this 310 on ebay sight unseen. After wrapping things up with my job in DC I packed my things in a UHaul and headed west. After some hiccups due to an erroneous Make specified on the title discussed in this thread I left the seller's place outside of Denver the morning of Friday May 12th. After two days of driving and a few bumps in the road including a 5 hour detour to replace a fried ignition coil I made it the bay area where I'm renting a workspace for the first month to get some of the more major work done before setting off.

The general plan is to have a refurbished and selectively updated setup, mostly around it being better oriented to one person in it full time with an emphasis on boondocking.

Beyond the general mechanical rehab, some of the highlights include
  • Update electrical system with solar panels, lithium house battery, and inverter large enough for general loads short of running the AC
  • Convert all lights (except headlights) to LEDs
  • Put in modern stereo/GPS/Backup camera
  • Add 4g and wifi boosters
  • Fix dents, polish exterior, and refinish trim
  • Add beefier hitch with rack for motorcycle
Then the big thing I'm undecided on is what to do with the interior. Since its in pretty good shape part of me would like to keep things as original as possible, but at the same time both the aesthetics and functionality leave tons of room for improvement. Some of the items I'm considering are:
  • Stripping the vinyl wallpaper to expose the interior aluminum
  • Replace window treatments with more clean/modern option like roller woven vinyl
  • Replace dated engineered hardwood flooring
  • Possibly reconfiguring the shower into the hallway similar to this both to gain storage space, and give all 6'2" of me a bit more room
  • Switch out the toilet for composting toilet, reducing water consumption
  • Removing upper cabinets, almost all of mine have big cracks in them, so I'm afraid to use them, plus they make the space seem really tight without providing much usable storage.
  • Reupholster or replace sofa and dinette seats
  • Replace driver and passenger seats due to the bolsters not at all fitting my broad shoulders
  • Painting the beige plastic pieces a more modern color, likely a shade of white
  • Redoing the dash with brushed or possibly engine turned stainless inserts instead of the faux burl
  • Redoing kitchen cabinets so everything pulls out on ball bearing slides so the spaces can be better utilized.
  • Replace fridge with AC/DC only since boondocking means uneven surfaces (I may have killed it before I knew this could cause issues)

That's about all I can think of at the moment. I'm just getting momentum going trying to triage everything, so many update pictures will be coming soon.


And just so this isn't a thread of me rambling I included a shot of where i stayed this past Friday above the Bonneville Salt Flats.
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Old 05-16-2017, 06:19 AM   #2
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCCade View Post
  • Add beefier hitch with rack for motorcycle
There are several good examples of how to beef up the hitch on a 310. A good welder with the ability to cut some steel support bars is all you need to do the job right. I beefed up the hitch on my old 310 and it worked great.

Quote:
Then the big thing I'm undecided on is what to do with the interior. Since its in pretty good shape part of me would like to keep things as original as possible, but at the same time both the aesthetics and functionality leave tons of room for improvement. Some of the items I'm considering are:
  • Stripping the vinyl wallpaper to expose the interior aluminum
Unless I'm missing something the walls aren't covered with vinyl wall paper, they are coated with a vinyl like substance that over time becomes sticky or tacky. There are a lot of threads on Airforums that describe how to clean the walls to make them look good again and gets rid of the tackiness.

Quote:
  • Redoing the dash with brushed or possibly engine turned stainless inserts instead of the faux burl
This task is a whole lot harder than it sounds. You'll have to remove the whole instrument panel which means disconnecting all of the wiring and the various control cables. This will likely turn into a lot larger task than you bargained for. Search for Chaplain Kent dash rebuild to give you a better idea of what you're looking at.

You've got an ambitious task ahead of you but it should be a fun one!

Brad
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkahler View Post
There are several good examples of how to beef up the hitch on a 310. A good welder with the ability to cut some steel support bars is all you need to do the job right. I beefed up the hitch on my old 310 and it worked great.



Unless I'm missing something the walls aren't covered with vinyl wall paper, they are coated with a vinyl like substance that over time becomes sticky or tacky. There are a lot of threads on Airforums that describe how to clean the walls to make them look good again and gets rid of the tackiness.



This task is a whole lot harder than it sounds. You'll have to remove the whole instrument panel which means disconnecting all of the wiring and the various control cables. This will likely turn into a lot larger task than you bargained for. Search for Chaplain Kent dash rebuild to give you a better idea of what you're looking at.

You've got an ambitious task ahead of you but it should be a fun one!

Brad
Thanks for the advice Brad!

For the vinyl wall covering (or whatever the proper term is) its not that I care so much about the stickiness, more that I love the look of an exposed aluminum interior.

I realize lots of trim pieces and the end caps are plastic, but for the majority of the area my plan was to basically work my way through one room at a time and do something similar to or if I go nuts possibly remove the interior panels all together so I can reinsulate with spray foam and run new electrical while I'm at it...

I've looked into the dash situation a bit and you're absolutely right. At the moment none of my HVAC controls work, the stereo is almost impossible to reach while driving, and most of the plastic pieces are warped to some extent, not to mention 35 years of sketchy wiring repairs... Whenever I tackle this it will involve some major surgery.



For the first month or so I'm trying to do all the more major items that require more of a formal workspace or will disable the vehicle. I'm building the queue for what to do and the necessary supplies any and all input is appreciated!


Engine Refresh
While I'm tempted to swap to a diesel or 8100, having been down that road before I just don't have the time at the moment. Instead I'll be doing a bit of proactive work on the old 454/TH475 to reduce the frequency of breakdowns. If it didn't go without saying I'll no doubt find more issues to address as I tear into things, so this is just a preliminary list.
  • Carb rebuild
  • Replace all belts
    • Gates 7410, 7460, and 7495 (not sure on the last one, mine only has 2 of the 3 belts)
  • Replace stuck fan clutch
  • Replace ignition wear items
  • Flush all fluids and replace filters
    • Engine oil and filter
    • Trans fluid and filter
    • Diff gear oil
    • Coolant
    • Power steering fluid
    • Brake fluid
      • Theres plenty of pad and rotor material left, so not doing a brake job
  • Replace failed exhaust collector gasket
  • Do a compression check
  • Get it tuned

Suspension Rebuild
My main priorities is to get the ride more compliant and getting the steering a bit tightened up. For the ride, currently hitting moderate or worse imperfections in the pavement is absolutely punishing at highway speed. For the steering there isn't so much of the feeling of a distinct amount of play before any steering input is felt, but more like the steering linkage is made from rubber.

I'm a bit on the fence on how far I should take things here, I could also do new control arms with bushings and ball joints, but that would be considerably more involved, and would make it easy to rationalize things like new springs, tie rod ends, HD bell crank arms, larger swaybars, etc. It only has 106k miles on it so I'm not sure what would really benefit from replacement at this stage.



Misc

Body Repair and Polishing
If I'm able to address everything with the engine and suspension I'll get as much done as possible with the exterior renovation. Hopefully at least pulling the panels with dents so I can work them out, and stripping off the clearcoat

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Old 05-17-2017, 01:40 PM   #4
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Oxford , Oxfordshire
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Have a read of the Motorhome P chassis alignment guide. It's a good read.

http://www.oemys-performance.com/med...-alignment.pdf
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:43 PM   #5
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1984 31' Airstream310
Honokaa , Hawaii
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Welcome! We have strangely similar stories. I bought our 310 sight unseen off of a Denver Craigslist ad seven years ago. And, broke down with a bad ignition coil on the way home.

You might want to add the rag joint/steering coupler to the list of front end stuff. I took ours in to a shop on the east coast for brake work and they would not even test drive it until that was replaced.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:47 PM   #6
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1969 31' Sovereign
1982 28' Airstream 280
Edmonton , Alberta
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 190
Congratulations on the purchase looks like a mint ride!

I had a nightmare first flight it's good to see you had it good
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:46 AM   #7
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Minneapolis/St. Paul , Minnesota
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BCCade's 1982/3 310

Hey BCCade, great to have you here. I love your story about having a fun midlife crisis, buying a classic AS motorhome and getting ready to get away and see the country!

I would love to do that myself. Sadly I have to stay put (except for weekend trips) to keep paying the bills, but I'm excited for you.

You may have seen that I have a 1981 280 and for the past year have been working my way through bringing it back to life. I'm a total n00b, so I don't have any good advice for you, besides be sure to buy brand new tires right away, but I just wanted to say hi, congrats, and I will enjoy living vicariously through your adventures. Post often and include lots of photos!

Oh, and come to our Classic Airstream motorhome gathering in Kansas on June 9-12. We'd love to meet you in person! A great chance to see some of the other rigs and get great tips!

All the best to you,
Tap
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:36 AM   #8
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1969 31' Sovereign
1982 28' Airstream 280
Edmonton , Alberta
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I have a question to other Moho owners. Reguarding these overhead compartments. Do any members ever have spare space? If space is available it usually gets filled its human nature. I do not like the over head compartments at all either and was thinking about pulling 3 or 4 of mine down in the front. The passenger front 2 And either 1or two on drivers side to open up the area.

BCC I'm interested if you find any inspirational pictures of dashes as I'd like to redo mine also. I have a fabricator in my area and might just get the whole thing done in aluminum 3pce. A couple ideas for myself is all Stewart Werner gauges. And vintage instrument pieces from the past but I'm not familiar with 40's/50's/60's.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:46 AM   #9
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1975 20' Argosy 20
Chestfield , Kent
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swillv8 View Post
I have a question to other Moho owners. Reguarding these overhead compartments. Do any members ever have spare space? If space is available it usually gets filled its human nature. I do not like the over head compartments at all either and was thinking about pulling 3 or 4 of mine down in the front. The passenger front 2 And either 1or two on drivers side to open up the area.

BCC I'm interested if you find any inspirational pictures of dashes as I'd like to redo mine also. I have a fabricator in my area and might just get the whole thing done in aluminum 3pce. A couple ideas for myself is all Stewart Werner gauges. And vintage instrument pieces from the past but I'm not familiar with 40's/50's/60's.
Over head compartments? What over head compartments?

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Old 05-18-2017, 09:50 AM   #10
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swillv8 View Post
I have a question to other Moho owners. Reguarding these overhead compartments. Do any members ever have spare space? If space is available it usually gets filled its human nature. I do not like the over head compartments at all either and was thinking about pulling 3 or 4 of mine down in the front. The passenger front 2 And either 1or two on drivers side to open up the area.
Can't help with the overhead bins, I happen to like what little bit of storage they provide. Considering I have a 20' Argosy there isn't a whole lot of space to begin with so I'll take whatever I can get!

Quote:
BCC I'm interested if you find any inspirational pictures of dashes as I'd like to redo mine also. I have a fabricator in my area and might just get the whole thing done in aluminum 3pce. A couple ideas for myself is all Stewart Werner gauges. And vintage instrument pieces from the past but I'm not familiar with 40's/50's/60's.
I redid the instrument panel on my 74 Argosy. The panel layouts are totally different between my 74 and your 82 however the process I used should work for you as well. First of all check out Front Panel Express and download their Front Panel Designer program.

I used their software to design and fabricate a replacement instrument panel so I went from this:
Click image for larger version

Name:	74-argosy-dash.JPG
Views:	60
Size:	273.2 KB
ID:	285800

to this:
Click image for larger version

Name:	20170514_160651-2133x1200.jpg
Views:	60
Size:	201.3 KB
ID:	285801

Cost delivered was around $225. I couldn't be happier with the quality of the panel. With three panels to work with you can use your imagination to come up with whatever you like.

Brad
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:09 AM   #11
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1974 20' Argosy 20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCCade View Post
Thanks for the advice Brad!

For the vinyl wall covering (or whatever the proper term is) its not that I care so much about the stickiness, more that I love the look of an exposed aluminum interior.

I realize lots of trim pieces and the end caps are plastic, but for the majority of the area my plan was to basically work my way through one room at a time and do something similar to or if I go nuts possibly remove the interior panels all together so I can reinsulate with spray foam and run new electrical while I'm at it...
Interesting video! I hadn't realized the vinyl could be pealed off like that.

If decide to go down the path of removing the interior skin to re-insulate your coach will be unusable for a LONG time. I'm sure you already know it wouldn't be a trivial task but once you start down that path you'll be surprised at what else you'll find needs done before you can move forward. Bottom line is make sure you allocate a significant chunk of time for the task.

Quote:
I've looked into the dash situation a bit and you're absolutely right. At the moment none of my HVAC controls work, the stereo is almost impossible to reach while driving, and most of the plastic pieces are warped to some extent, not to mention 35 years of sketchy wiring repairs... Whenever I tackle this it will involve some major surgery.
See my reply above to Swillv8 about dash replacement.

Based on your lists you're definitely not going into this project blind which is a good thing!


Brad
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Old 05-18-2017, 11:29 AM   #12
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1982 31' Airstream 310
champaign , Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swillv8 View Post
I have a question to other Moho owners. Reguarding these overhead compartments. Do any members ever have spare space? If space is available it usually gets filled its human nature. I do not like the over head compartments at all either and was thinking about pulling 3 or 4 of mine down in the front. The passenger front 2 And either 1or two on drivers side to open up the area.

BCC I'm interested if you find any inspirational pictures of dashes as I'd like to redo mine also. I have a fabricator in my area and might just get the whole thing done in aluminum 3pce. A couple ideas for myself is all Stewart Werner gauges. And vintage instrument pieces from the past but I'm not familiar with 40's/50's/60's.
We make a good deal of use out of our front overhead cabinets. Glasses/cups/dinnerware on the drivers side, audio visual supplies, candles, dog supplies, and some other items on the passenger side. Weight is a concern with those cabinets so I've added additional fasteners to both sides.
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Old 05-18-2017, 12:57 PM   #13
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1979 28' Airstream Excella 28
Albuquerque , New Mexico
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Welcome BBC

You made it from Denver to Ca, so it does sound like your engine, etc are good to go!

I have a diesel, but there are a number of accounts of the gasser Classics catching on fire from the fuel lines being compromised from ethanol fuels, so you may need to replace the fuel lines with modern rubber. In the mean time, maybe an anti-ethanol additive?

I considered taking the cabinets out to open up the space, but have decided to keep them. I am also planning on stripping the center roof strip to expose the aluminum. Thinking this will make it feel more open.

I researched a composting toilet, but have decided against it. The good ones are about 1k!, Aside from this, they still require a fair bit of maintenance. There are advantages for situations like an offgrid cabin or being able to empty in a rest area toilet.

While there's nothing major, there's quite a bit of light surface rust on the undercarriage I'd like to prevent from spreading

I'm originally from PA, so I understand your point. But having been in the west for 25 years, whatever rust you see won't spread if it stays mostly in the west (but the SF salt air could make it spread). However, dryrot of rubber bits is much more of an issue here. This is probably why your dash AC doesn't work (mine doesn't either), apparently the switch runs on compressed air, and your line is probably dryrotted. The compressor itself is probably fine.

If your converter hasn't been upgraded, add that to your list. The old ones will kill your coach batteries cuz they give a constant charge and burn off the fluid. The modern ones go through cycles to maximize the life of the battery.

good luck and post photos!
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Old 06-09-2017, 08:10 AM   #14
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Springfield , Ohio
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You should consider removing the radiator and having it re-cored or at least boiled out and serviced. It's a fair amount of work to R&R it but it will ensure no problems and cool running. While you have access, in addition to changing the fan clutch mentioned, changing the water pump and fuel pump is cheap insurance. I also recommend having the alternator and starter motor rebuilt or replaced. They are both prone to failure over time and it's nice to know "it's all good".
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