Two weeks ago the adventure began with the purchase of a 1965 Overlander. After looking for an airstream on and off for a year I decided to get a real fixer-upper. And that's just what I did!
I'll use this thread to keep everyone updated and hopefully draw in some advice, tips, and other help from the wealth of info on this site--and of course share whatever I learn with you all
So, Saturday, August 30th, I purchased her in Socorro, NM and brought her home to Edgewood. We've named her "Silver Peanut"--after the circus peanut candies. We both liked Silver Twinky, but notice that's taken. Of courese, there's always "Touinquis d'Argent" or some other variant.
I've attached photos of her in "as received condition". Whew! Because of the mold and animal refuse, as well as nicotine staining and tobacco smells, she will be needed to be gutted. And that's okay, since that's the kind of project I like
1.) At the Socorro Walmart
2.) In my driveway--safely made it home!
3.) Again, in my driveway.
4.) After taking out the loose items, here we are looking aft.
5.) Looking forward
6.) The lavatory--floors ready to fall through, so it comes out real soon.
7.) Portside aft
8.) Stb'dside aft interior
9.) Portside in cabin looking forward
10.) Stb'dside in cabin looking forward
Nice purchase!!! So what are the plans? Total gut? Basic remodel? Just remember when you gut you will not be using it for a long time.... Whatever you decide the forum has more information than you can process. Best of luck and post plenty of pictures.
INTERIOR & BODY
After getting the A-S home, the gutting began--and finished (see first pics).
Next the faulty brake was inspected. This was one that, although she made the 110 mile trip from Socorro, locked up on the way to the DMV a week later. The result was nothing worse than a worn-through tire which needed replacing anyway.
After inspecting the brakes, I figured it was a good time to replace not only the tires, but all brakes, both axles, and shocks. This way no matter what condition the inside happened to be in, she would be riding on a solid foundation. That has been done and yesterday the goods, with the exception of the tires, arrived by UPS freight. With the addition of the Prodigy P3 brake controller, expected today, she should be an empty-but-operational trailer by monday--ready for tags, title and registration.
In parallel to this work, I have gotten the basics for the hydro system:
1.) Freshwater tank: old compressed air version was in good shape and after clean out will be reinstalled.
2.) Water pump: SHURflo Premier RV automatic demand pump
3.) Accumulator: the hydro system's "aorta". SHURflo 24-oz 30psi.
4.) Holding Tanks: 36-gallon blackwater holding tank and fittings. This is from Amerikart industries and made from ABS plastic. It should do, but based on the cost and quality of this, I see an opportunity to make high quality metal holding tanks.
5.) Hot Water Tank: The original appears to be in good shape and will be overhauled.
6.) Toilet: Thetford Aqua Magic V, white, handflush, low profile.
7.) Shower & Sinks: original will be used.
Also, I've gotten basics for the electro system. Since there is no battery or generator and the rest of the system appears to be vintage, I get to start from scratch. In the long run I want a battery/inverter system to act as the primary power source, so that a generator would need to only be run once every 1-2 days. This will permit flexibility in the choice of *energy* source, allowing me to use wind, solar, and generator to charge the battery bank. Here's what I got:
1.) Batteries: 2 115-AH deep cycle trolling batteries (for a total of 76-kw-hrs of capacity without any external energy source.
2.) Converter/Charger: Intellipower 9200 80-amp
3.) Inverter: Xantrex X-Power 1200 1.2/2.4KW. I though of going bigger but figured that capacity could be scaled up by simply installing additional 1200's if necessary.
4.) Generator: For now I have a small Yamaha 1000i but may move up to a small onan LP later.
5.) Ship/Shore Power Selector Switch--still need to find one of these.
6.) Solar and wind: Still need to get these.
PROPANE & HEATING
1.) Tanks: Have only one--got it filled yesterday with 30-lb.
2.) Heater: Vintage, appears overhaulable.
3.) Supply Line: I will need to pick up a pipe flaring tool, regulator, and ball valve for the propane supply today.
4.) Heat: Auxiliary to the propane heater, I will be getting a small woodstove, using the outlet originally for the refirgerator (I'll move to electric). For fall and winter camping, backup heat's a must!
That's it for now! Next...Painted interior & Layout options.
Thanks! I think what you're seeing is the ambition and enthusiasm that always comes at the beginning of a project like this
The floor's rough and should be replaced. For now, though, it's campable, except for the aft-most panel. That will come out with the installation of the holding tank and toilet. The rest will be saturated with primer and indoor/outdoor enamel paint. Later I have an admittedly ambitious design concept for the floor. It keeps with an overall design style I like to refer to as Airship Deco (for lack of a better name). We'll see how it turns out!
Not sure if I mentioned, I want to keep her usable while upgrading.
Later I have an admittedly ambitious design concept for the floor. It keeps with an overall design style I like to refer to as Airship Deco (for lack of a better name). We'll see how it turns out!
Here's an Update on my project...(sorry for the delay! Between work and airstream, not much time to write!).
After exploring under the interior skins, I found that many frames were cut and coupled (sistered) with wooden frames. Also, the base rail for the shell (1.5x.75.x0.063) was corroded all the way through at its original fasteners due to much leaking and the resulting galvanic action. The metal was gone in these places. It had been repared using wood screws all the way around. Ouch.
So, off comes the shell. After getting the shell and belly pan off, I found that it is really unusable--more galvanic corrosion, and all the way through in many places.
I'm generally not a big fan of joining aluminum to steel, and this has reinforced that feeling. Though, I have to confess, if leakage is never an issue, galvanic corossion may never be this bad.
After getting the shell off and cleaning the frame, I found many frames rusted through and a good amount of stress corrosion cracking. This was all repaired with my mig welder (flux core welding only).
Now I have a confession to make. I'm the kind of engineer who can't help screw with the design of something. And that's just what I did. Not being a big fan of wheel wells, and seeing the opportunity to get rid of them while actually *lowering* the CG of the trailer, I have replaced the deck (which was rotted something awful) with a raised deck structure. I'll try to get some pics up tomorrow for this. In doing so, I can now mount the water tank and all utilities (as well as bulk storage) 5" lower and eliminate the need for the overhead bins. Also, the flush deck (it was raised 11" to get this) enables me to put an aft bedroom and a side bathroom. (I'll send a copy of the floorplan tomorow too ).
Well, the the raised deck was done and the trailer carefully replaced under the shell-on-sawhorses. Now here's the bad news.
It's very windy here in edgewood, NM. (you probably know where this is going). Knowing this, I have been very careful to protect against the wind for the past 9 months. Well, it was a very still day, and I unscrewed the shell from the saw horses which held it 12" higher than it needed to be while I prepared everything to lower it into place and begin repairs/replacement of nearly all the lower skins and frames. After unscrewing the bracing, I went in to get my fiancee' who whas going to assist. The air couldn't have been calmer.
The moment I told her I was ready for help, we heard the wind whip up out of nowhere and heard a sound like thunder. Except that thunder is quick and this went on for what seemed like an eternity. I knew before the sound ended what had happened.
So out I go to find that the shell is now beside the trailer, upside down, having taken my trucks side mirror and my Stanley Workmate portable bench with it.
Ouch. I was a bit in shock. My was to be helper immediately took action and mixed up a white russian and pushed it into my hand. I downed it quickly, followed by another and went to assess and stabilize the situation as much as possible before lying down.
Now for the damage. Well, the sides took the brunt of the impact, and they needed to be replaced anyway (it looked like it had been sideswiped on both sides). Unfortunately, the top whose scar collection was limited to large hail-stone damage (over the entire ting) now had some bigger dents. and a few dozen popped rivets. Since those absorb impact energy, I look at it as a good thing. But no tears or factures.
This was on Sunday. Not being one to cry over spilt aluminum, I'll do what I can do and no more. She'll be an unusual AS regardless!
In the mean time, maybe if I work less and write more, these things will be less likely to happen again
Sorry to hear of the wind incident. I would need more than a few White Russians if such a thing happened to Marge (my '65 Overlander).
It sounds like we have been on parallel paths - I purchased Marge late last year and have been busy gutting and rebuilding her. It looks like our floorplans are identical. If you find yourself in need of any specific parts, let me know - I'm building a fairly custom interior so I'm only using some of the old interior.
Good luck with the cleanup and your on-going work on the Silver Peanut!
1959 22' Caravanner
1963 24' Tradewind
1961 26' Overlander
, South Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2009
Wow! You da man! This is exactly what I have been wanting to do with my gutted '67 Sovereign. I have been studying/reading posts/searching internet for ideas about how to get the tanks and mechanical in the floor and minimize the space those pesky wheelwells take up. Now it is clear to me what I need to do to put my ideas into metal. Thanks!!!! Keep posting pictures of your project.
I am looking for my grandfather's 1965 Overlander. Any chance you could check your VIN number for me? Here is my post below, thank you so much for your time:
I have been searching for over two years for my grandfather's 1965 26' Overlander, which he sold (unbeknownst to the family) prior to his death. I know the following information:
Original state of registry: Wisconsin (Beloit, where my grandfather lived)
Sold to: Rex Stageman of Rockford, IL around 2002
VIN: J026539 (provided by the wonderful state of WI)
title number: T2241075020 last titled in IL in 2002
I know that Stageman traded in the Airstream to a boat dealer somewhere, but the hideous state of IL will not forward a letter to the current owner (but they sure did take my money). I am thinking that it currently resides in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, or Minnesota? Most likely places for someone from Rockford to find a boat dealership.
It is my greatest wish to bring the old girl back to her family where she belongs. She was my grandfather's pride and joy and I would love nothing more than to send a letter to the current owners and ask them to consider selling to us. I would love to build new memories with my family...
I have tried every single VIN and title search engine, but none accept the old Airstream VIN convention. She isn't registered in WI, and IL and MI will not confirm if she's registered or not. Help!! Someone told me to find a nice policeman, but I'm hoping that my wonderful Airforums friends can assist.
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