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Old 04-21-2021, 10:36 PM   #1
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1969 27' Overlander
tidioute , PA
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 8
1969 Shell Off Mid Bath

Hi all,

Starting this thread as a new guy because I have found a ton of help on here by searching and hope to get more help/suggestions from this thread as well as help others who may want to do this same project. Thanks for all the input and help in advance.

About 2 months ago my wife got the idea of living in an airstream. A month later we bought this 27' 69 overlander. Haha that's the way it goes, happy wife happy life as they say. I am all in for the plan though as I love travelling and camping. Although, this is definitely more on the glamping side, still awesome to live camping and seeing the country. Anyways, I had already done some research and bought this knowing full well we were going to have to remove the shell to replace the subfloor and spend about a year(probably much more) fixing everything up.

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I hope these pictures show up as this is my first time. Right away we dug into gutting Jewel as she has been named. She was fully furnished and supposedly functioning, although I didn't bother checking out any of the appliances as we are replacing all of them except maybe the oven/range.

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The Endcaps came out in one piece and in good shape. We definitely will not be using the rear bath endcap as we are switching to a mid bath. Probably won't use the front one either so if anyone wants or needs these pieces or other interior all original stuff please let me know because this girl was in good shape interior wise and we saved most things.

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After getting her gutted and the interior skins/endcaps out, I got to work building gantry cranes to lift the shell. I had a ton of treated 2x4s from replacing our living room beam a few months back so I only had to purchase 4 2x6s for the beams. I used larch for the beams which was significantly cheaper than treated lumber and stands up to moisture just as well or better so I am told. However you can see some of the wood I used for the cranes was untreated anyway. I am not worried about it as these are not permanent cranes(hopefully we don't need them for more than 3 or 4 months haha). I made the cranes about 15' high and 12' wide so we would have more room for lifting and working on the shell after the lift if the cranes stay where they are. I will say the cranes were hard to get upright as the fresh larch was way heavier than the old treated and made them top heavy. We ended up getting them upright with some rope and pulleys operated by the wife, while me and a helper walked the legs up.

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Old 04-21-2021, 11:15 PM   #2
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1969 27' Overlander
tidioute , PA
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 8
I took the inner skins one at a time and pressure washed them, used some cleaner and pressure washed them again to get them cleaned up and ready for reinstallation down the road. We labelled each of the pieces while taking them out with sharpie to make reinstallation easier.

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After taking out the vents and skylight, I hooked up a chain hoist on each crane and used my old living room beam(2 2x10x16s) to get the shell ready for lift. I bought two eye bolts to go through the beam and used some large washers on the bottom. I shimmed between the beam and each rib in the shell to distribute the lifting stress as much as possible. After getting slight tension on the chain hoists, we started drilling rivets until we thought it was good to go. Then lifting and waiting for the pop, looking for more rivets, lifting again, tapping the c channel down, and so on until it was finally free. The front got caught up on the 7-way plug which I hadn't noticed was attached to the front hold down plate. It also seemed like the entire curbside was getting stuck somehow and wasn't lifting, but I could tell it was free... Come to find out the awning weighs quite a bit and I probably should have removed it first because the whole shell tilted quite a bit before that side finally came up haha. We lifted her up quite high and I am glad I made the cranes so tall now because it took a good bit to clear the wheel wells, especially on the curbside haha. Anyways, other than tipping, the shell came off easily.

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After parking the frame and floor next to the shell, we built some simple framing and "legs" for the shell to sit on and set her back down. After this picture was taken, I bought some shed auger style tie downs and strapped the "legs" to them to prevent lift off in high winds haha.

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Old 04-21-2021, 11:35 PM   #3
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1969 27' Overlander
tidioute , PA
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 8
At some point during this process before the shell came off, I ordered axles from Colin Hyde. 3500lb axles with the 34 degree angle. After some research and much deliberation, I also ordered Coosa bluewater 26 in 5/8" for the subfloor. With the price of plywood right now I was willing to fork out a bit more and not be as paranoid about leaks in the future, also we are pretty young and we want this girl to last our whole lives without doing another shell off. I wish I would have measured the old subfloor because it is 3/4" and it would have been much easier to find Coosa 26 in 3/4". As it was I found only one distributer who had 5/8" in stock after calling Coosa directly, so I jumped on it and got it ordered before they sold out. Advanced plastics in TN was where I found it. Anyway I will have to add 1/8" underneath the C channel to ensure the shell goes back on correctly. I am thinking I will just use 1/8" plate aluminum under the c channel which could probably use some reinforcement anyways. I am not too worried about the subfloor not being as strong as the 3/4" plywood since it seems everyone on this forum has found all different thickness and size plywood in their airstreams and the Coosa will be much much much more supportive than the non existent rotted old floor that she was towed home with haha.

Anyways the rot in the subfloor was pretty extensive here are some pictures. You can see the pallet with the new Coosa in the background.

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My wife went through the subfloor here at the rotted refrigerator section... Got a pretty good bruise on her shin and perhaps worse yet... bent the c channel in that section. Haha just kidding I am sure we can get the local tin knocker to make us some new stuff for the straight sides which would be good to replace anyways.

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Old 04-21-2021, 11:55 PM   #4
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1969 27' Overlander
tidioute , PA
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 8
We got all the c channel off the floor and it was in good shape other than the rear bow which had split in one of the corners. I think it is salvageable though and adding the 1/8" plate under it should splice that split and return it to its original strength. What do you guys think? we made templates of the front and back subfloor sections out of 1/2" drywall I had laying around leftover. The rear template copied the rear bow which was still solidly attached to the shell when we got it so I am thinking that will be a good starting place. the front template we copied from the plywood after we removed the front C channel bow as that plywood was still copy-able. We started pulling the belly pan and made it from the hitch to the axles at which point we decided to start pulling the subfloor off instead.

Here we found a nice bee nest in the belly pan.

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Subfloor removed.

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I must have missed the bolt holding the floor to the front outrigger because when I pulled up the plywood, it broke the tip of the outrigger off haha.

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The front hold down plate seems to be in decent condition, although I am sure I will replace it. You can see the welded on piece going up from the hold down plate which the 7-way plug was attached to.

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The worst part of the frame that I have found so far is the curbside rear rail which has some rust on the bottom that managed to make it all the way through that edge. Other than that, the frame seems to be in pretty good shape. I will see once we have the rest of the belly pan removed and the spray on insulation all cleaned off how bad the rest is.

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Old 04-22-2021, 12:23 AM   #5
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1969 27' Overlander
tidioute , PA
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 8
I am trying to stay ahead of the game with parts ordering so now that the frame has been exposed, I was able to make a rough layout of the frame so we can decide where the toilet goes and get some tanks ordered.

Here is my rough drawing of the frame. Each square equals one foot.

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Time for us to determine our floorplan. We want a mid bath with bunks in the rear for the kiddos and a dinette/queen in front for us. There are not a whole lot of options for toilet placement without lifting the trailer several inches to allow plumbing over the axles or installing a macerator pump, which I am avoiding. So far things I am considering while making the bathroom layout are: windows, wheel wells, AC/roof vents, outdoor storage areas and hot water heater, heat ducting under subfloor, tank drainage, drain pipes into tanks, vents for tanks, and distance between axles and frame for plumbing. Any other things I should be thinking about as far as bathroom layout? I am planning on running the bathroom sink into the black tank as I have read that it is never the first to get full and the sink water should help keep things "looser" in there. Here is the bathroom layout we are considering. This drawing is by no means complete haha but it took a lot of work to get this figured out. We would have a sink somewhere over the wheel well in the toilet area and we can easily push the forward bathroom wall out to give more space in there if we need. The swing curtain is my wife's idea. It would be a curtain and curtain rod that stored over the shower doors. When you shower, you can swing the curtain rod over to where it attaches to the bathroom wall. This way you can get out of the shower and dry off, get dressed in the hallway with some privacy.

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And here is the tank layout that would go with it. The bottom layout would be the one we are considering-V2. I understand that the black tank (Inca Plastics H2 is what I am considering) would hang below the frame as well as the dump valves. I would add some steel to the bottom of the frame to protect all this and then wrap that with the belly pan. I am sure I may have to modify the cross members around the gray tanks (VTS 55"x21"x5") to allow for the fittings and plumbing and probably lower them by about 0.5-1". There is about 1.25" of space between the axles and the belly pan currently I believe. What is the standard dump piping for gray tanks? 3" like the black tank? or can I get away with 2"?

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Any thoughts on this layout would be appreciated. I am sure there are things that I think will work that may not and I would rather know now than after I start cutting holes in the subfloor haha. Any thoughts on the bunk beds?

Thanks in advance for any input!
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:29 AM   #6
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1969 27' Overlander
tidioute , PA
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 8
I noticed this method of heating the black tank when I removed the old one...
Just a ~1" pipe from the furnace ducting to inside black tank cover/box thing. There was also foam insulation surrounding the tank inside the cover.

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Is this an efficient way to keep the tanks from freezing? Is anybody still running this kind of heating for their tanks or has the industry switched to heat tape or something like that? Something else I am considering for my tank layout. Thanks!
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Old 04-22-2021, 02:22 AM   #7
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2005 25' Safari
1968 17' Caravel
1967 22' Safari
Leawood , Kansas
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A couple thoughts on your build. On your holding tanks, think about your center of gravity. If you've ever seen a person towing a trailer that is wagging the dog and about to wipe out, it's because of not enough tongue weight. Your V1 looks like it would be a safer bet in towing. One other thought about your shell. With spring storms coming, don't trust it hanging from your gantry. It has a lot of sq feet for the wind to affect and can go sailing on you. Your auger anchors were a good idea, but I think you need some diagonals inside to keep your shell from getting sprung. It would be easy to use your ribs to put some lumber cross ways inside, and keep it strapped down, rather than strapped up. Atomic_13 has a really nice build thread on his trailer, and as soon as you can flip your frame, I think you'll really appreciate how much easier it is to work on that part. He built a rotisserie using a hitch receiver and ball, so that he could flip it at will. Looks like you have a great homestead where you've got room to work. Replacing your endcaps with something other than your fiberglass seems like a real time buster in a build. You might think about having someone skilled in fiberglass mod your endcaps to your liking. Thanks for posting your build. Jerry
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Old 04-22-2021, 06:20 AM   #8
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1955 22' Flying Cloud
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Preston, looks like a great project and a well thought out plan. Slow and steady is a good speed to make sure nothing is missed. Good luck and take care.
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Old 04-22-2021, 08:19 AM   #9
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1958 26' Overlander
Battle Ground , Washington
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Look forward to following your progress. Overlanders are a nice size for traveling.
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Old 04-22-2021, 09:32 AM   #10
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2019 25' International
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You really love your wife. You seem to know what you’re doing, I am so impressed. Your project reminds me of the guy in Alaska (Otis?) that many of us were following. I wonder how he’s doing. You two would definitely have a lot to talk about!
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Old 04-22-2021, 01:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Preston West View Post
I noticed this method of heating the black tank when I removed the old one...
Just a ~1" pipe from the furnace ducting to inside black tank cover/box thing. There was also foam insulation surrounding the tank inside the cover.

Is this an efficient way to keep the tanks from freezing? Is anybody still running this kind of heating for their tanks or has the industry switched to heat tape or something like that? Something else I am considering for my tank layout. Thanks!
There are electric heating pads available for tanks that some high end trails use. Just google RV water tank heating pad and you will get plenty of choices.
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Old 04-22-2021, 10:34 PM   #12
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Fort Worth , Texas
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If I were doing this project I would plan for two grey tanks and no black tank. Use a compost toilet and plumb the urine into the grey tanks. On the tanks and other appliance locations, you can calculate your original center of gravity (CG) and duplicate it, adjusting your tongue weight as you desire. You can glue Coosa bed with Sikaflex 252 if you need to join two pieces. Increasing the Coosa thickness for the "C" channel comes to mind or joining two floor sections together with a support piece underneath. Another consideration for corrosion proofing is to cut elongated holes every foot or so through the "C" channel and Coosa to let air circulate through the walls to the area above the belly pan. Airstream is doing that with their composite floors now. On your inside upper curved front and rear ends you could use aluminum. Make patterns out of poster board and cut them out. An electric shear would sure be handy. I think aluminum is more durable than wood and less prone to cracking than fiberglas. If I were a rich man I would make a new frame out of aluminum because pound for pound it is stronger than steel. So you could end up with an overall lighter trailer. Just some thoughts. Good luck and enjoy your project!
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Old 04-23-2021, 07:50 PM   #13
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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Hello from Colorado and welcome to the vintage Airstream hobby. Man, you tore right into that 69 Overlander 27'. I'm surprised it has spray foam insulation. I thought that went away in 1968.

Well, I'm working on a 69 Globe Trotter 21'. It had a rear corner wet bath which I didn't care for. So I have switched it to a rear bed and mid-bath. I also purchased a waste water holding tank from Incal Plastics which I'm using as a "septic" tank. It is 27 gallons whereas the original was an above floor 12 gallon tank under the toilet, with a straight down drain pipe. I didn't care for that design at all.

I also built a U shaped dinette in front that collapses into a large sleeping surface. The Globe Trotter is a small trailer, so it is not roomy inside, but it is quite functional in my view.

I might mention I have a 75 Overlander 27' that I renovated. It is the original rear bath and twin beds. It is now a comfortable, reliable travel trailer. I added new waste water tanks to that trailer also.

So we have common thinking on floor layouts. Here is a photo of my tiny mid bath "powder room" as I call it.

David
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Old 04-29-2021, 07:17 PM   #14
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1969 27' Overlander
tidioute , PA
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We haven't got a lot of physical work done this week, but we have done a lot of planning, thinking, materials research, and purchasing. Thank you all for your advice and info, we need all the help we can get. We will try to respond to you all when we get time as well as keep you updated on our progress.

Jerry,
Thanks for the heads up on the center of gravity we will definitely be keeping it in mind during this whole build. I am leaving the tanks where I put them in the V2 drawing for several reasons, but there will be more weight on the front of the trailer than there was before and the original black tank was at the very rear as well as the original battery which will be moved to the front of the trailer so I think that will even out pretty well. The gantries aren't holding the shell at all it is fully on the ground like you are talking about. we agree with adding the diagonal bracing, thanks for the advice on that. We will also be holding onto the front endcap until we are done per your recommendation haha.

PatLee,
Thanks for the encouragement! Yes I love my wife, but no I don't really know what I am doing haha.

Guskmg,
Thanks for the info, I have read you can use liquid nails pro for gluing Coosa, but it is good to have another adhesive in the back pocket. I have been considering the holes in the "C" channel for drainage and air flow, but I don't want critters and bugs getting in so any advice you have on that would be greatly appreciated. So far all I have come up with is aluminum screen mesh. We want to do the segmented aluminum for the endcaps I have seen pictures of it done. Definitely looks like a hard project, but worth it in the end.

David,
Hello from PA. I am also looking at Inca plastics for a 27gal black tank-the H2. I am new to this and not sure what fittings I need to connect a standard/normal RV toilet so any info on that would be great! I have a message out to Inca plastics with my tank design and some questions, but we will see if they get back to us or not. We also want to do a U shaped dinette. Can't wait to get to the point in this where we are building that part of the trailer! Looks like about the size our bathroom will be haha.
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Old 04-29-2021, 07:39 PM   #15
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1969 27' Overlander
tidioute , PA
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We have the frame completely cleared of all the junk and all the elevator bolts and C channel bolts cut off.

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Unfortunately, I found the frame is slightly bent on the bottom flat part of the C channel where all the axle mounts are. I cleaned it up and didn't see any cracks. I have 2x2x1/4"wall square tubing that will be welding onto the bottom of the C channel giving the trailer a 2" lift, but more importantly strengthening this worn and week part of the frame as well as the rear section which is the most rusty section. I also have a 4x8 sheet of 1/8" steel that will be used to make the new mounting side plates for the axles as well as stiffen that area of the frame. I will also use it to gusset the square tubing onto the existing C channel. My thought is that the tubing will distribute the force of the axles across a much greater section of the C channel. I will cut the tubing so that there is a foot or two more in front of the axles than behind to create more weight in the front of the trailer for center of gravity considerations. Overall I am adding about 200lbs of steel which the new axles can handle. Also Coosa is about 30% lighter than plywood which saves me over 100lbs.

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The frame rails are still pretty darn straight still.

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I ordered new aluminum C channel for the straight sections the original dimensions were 1 3/4" wide x 3/4" tall for the legs and maybe 1/16" thick. I ordered 1 3/4 x 1 1/4 x 1/8 to allow for the difference in my subfloor being 1/8 thinner and to give me more to rivet to. That was the thinnest I could get it for those dimensions. I ordered one sheet of 1/8" aluminum to make a spacer out of for the front and rear bows so that they are sitting at the original height as well as strengthen them up.

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I also ordered 1/4" thick aluminum angle to make wheel well "frames" out of which will be kind of like a cage that protects the inside of the trailer from blowouts. I will then cover them with thinner sheet aluminum that my truly amazing neighbor is giving me.

Other than that, we are trying to get our black tank ordered from Inca plastics and then our grey tanks from Vintage Trailer supply.
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Old 04-29-2021, 08:10 PM   #16
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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You are making great progress. Your frame doesn't look near as bad as my 75 Overlander frame did. I welded angle iron under the frame rail upper channel and along the axle mounting plate. I don't know if I understood your frame strengthing method, but adding height to the top of the frame raising the body on the frame will cause the banana wraps and side wraps not to fit. You can lift the trailer and increase ground clearance with a Dexter 32 degree starting angle, and a Dexter high profile mounting bracket. We also added about 1/2 inch steel "shim" under on top of the axle bracket. See photo.

Inca Plastics is tough to do business with. Email seems to work best for me. Knowing what tank you want is also helpful. I too used an H2 in my Globe Trotter project. Inca sells rubber sealing grommets for 1 1/2" ABS drain piping to the tank, and 3 1/2" grommets for the toilet floor flange connection. See photo. VTS also sells these grommets as I am sure others do to. You use the right size hole saw to cut a hole in your new tank after the tank is positioned where you want it and the toilet is positioned where you want it.

I am nearing the end of my 69 Globe Trotter 21' project. Cut the mattress foam yesterday. Got the cabinet knobs and latches installed.

David
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Old 04-29-2021, 08:38 PM   #17
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
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Preston, good thinking on beefing up the area around the axles. We did basically the same thing. The main frame members on the 55s were 2x4 tubes. We added a 4Ē x 4í x 3/16Ē plate to the side of the tube where the axle would be mounted and puddle welded to the side of the tube. My thought was to spread the load along the main frame versus having a point load at the axle mount. Anyway, so far so good. Keep ousting pictures. It helps us all.
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Old 04-30-2021, 06:36 PM   #18
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Oops, my photos didn't load due to them being too big. I'm trying again.

Here is a photo of the strengthening of the axle plate.

Here is a photo of the rubber grommets used to attach drain piping to waste water tanks. And how you can position the tank under the toilet or drain pipe positions and mark where to drill the tank.

David
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See my 1969 Globetrotter 21' Renovation Project:
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See my 1966 Trade Wind 24' Reno Project:
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See my 1975 Overlander 27' Improvement Journal:
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See our 1976 Sovereign 31' Renovation Project:
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Old 05-02-2021, 01:34 PM   #19
Tim Can Tena
 
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1969 31' Sovereign
St Albert , Alberta
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 10
Vintage 1969 Airstreams

Quote:
Originally Posted by Preston West View Post
I noticed this method of heating the black tank when I removed the old one...
Just a ~1" pipe from the furnace ducting to inside black tank cover/box thing. There was also foam insulation surrounding the tank inside the cover.

Attachment 393847

Is this an efficient way to keep the tanks from freezing? Is anybody still running this kind of heating for their tanks or has the industry switched to heat tape or something like that? Something else I am considering for my tank layout. Thanks!
Wow what a big Job, but based on your detailed notes/drawing you have this job well in hand! Really good read, I have a 1969 31í Sovereign rear bath that we have had for 20+ years,we did a major overhaul on a year ago! Iím happy to say that this year we ready for some great rod trips! All the beat on your Restoration Project!!
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Old 05-02-2021, 08:05 PM   #20
1 Rivet Member
 
1969 27' Overlander
Santa Barbara , California
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 6
Love it!

So excited for your family! You will cherish these adventures with your kids forever. I have your same year and model, mostly original. Itís just in too great of a condition to gut it. I need to replace the appliances for safety and efficiency.
I can only do little changes. I lack the talent and a place to park mine so I can work on it. I really appreciate your detailed log and photos. Some days I list mine for sale when I get frustrated hauling my bucket of tools back and forth, always without what I need. Other days I see a thread like yours and refuse to sell it. The love we have for these shiny little things is crazy!
Good luck and thanks again for sharing your work.
Also, Iím interested in some finished accessories from the interior, if you still have items available.
Thanks so much,
Lauren
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