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Old 04-20-2016, 07:40 AM   #1
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1969 27' Overlander
Sebring , Florida
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 55
Just brought home 1969 Overlander

Yesterday my wife and I brought home our restoration project, a 1969 Overlander. Blew two tires on the way home but had some 6 hole wheels from Tractor Supply that we put on and got it home.

Trailer light wiring doesn't work, we locked the door and now can't get back open as the door lock seems to be shot. Ah, the adventures.

It has been a dream of my wife to have an Airstream, and now we get to restore it. I'm a high school woodshop teacher about to retire, so I have access to many things that will be helpful.

Any advice and suggestions are welcome. I'm impressed with the depth of information available on the forum.

We have a 3/4 ton suburban to tow it, so that will not be an issue. Just need to get it road worthy again.
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Old 04-20-2016, 08:45 AM   #2
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1968 24' Tradewind
Oxford, , Mississippi
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Welcome to the forum and welcome to the adventure of working on an older Airstream.
A couple of tips: 1) everything will take 3-4x the time you think it will 2) you will spend 2-3x the money you think you will. That was my experience and I have spoken with a lot of folks who have redone Airstreams and all agreed i was close on my estimates. A lot depends on the condition of your trailer to start with and how far you want to take it. Mine was a real mess, yours might be in fine shape and just needs a few things updated.
A couple of more thoughts: A lot of the trim pieces can not be replaced, especially in the bathroom. Be careful when you take things apart because there may be no replacements. Some parts are available, Vintage Trailer Supply has lots of hard to find small parts and Steve is adding to his inventory all the time, but some are not. Make about 3x the number of pictures you think you need before you take things apart and as you are working on them. The pics can be invaluable 9 months later when you are trying to figure out exactly how something fit. Finally, bag every small part in a zip lock bag and take your time and label everything very carefully as it will save you hours of frustration when you are putting things back in the trailer.
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:05 AM   #3
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1962 28' Ambassador
1961 19' Globetrotter
1962 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
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Looks like your dream and adventure already started.

Tips and advice:
Read, Read Read
Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy
Strive for safety, enjoyment and memories.

Everything you need to do someone here has likely already accomplished. It's just a matter of finding the info or asking.

Start your own thread and you can document all your fixings and camping there. You can post your specific questions in the areas.
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:30 AM   #4
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1969 27' Overlander
Sebring , Florida
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69 Overlander

Thanks for the advice, First job is to get the wheels, tires and running gear/light working. Re packing bearings and check the shocks.

I'll work on the outside getting those things done, and I'll let the wife deal with the inside for the short term, when we get the door unlocked, LOL

Thanks for the warm welcome.
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:40 AM   #5
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1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
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so you are a teacher...just make a plan and try to stick to it. So you don't get overwhelmed. Best of luck with it.
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:58 AM   #6
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1961 24' Tradewind
1967 26' Overlander
1973 27' Overlander
Savannah , Georgia
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What those before said! Congrats and beginning your new adventure!
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Old 04-20-2016, 11:05 AM   #7
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Taos , New Mexico
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Enjoy the project and the trailer. We have a 1969 Safari 23' and absolutely love it. It has been sturdy and the quality of the build and the interior products have stood the test of time and use. Have a great time restoring yours - Ken
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Old 04-20-2016, 11:45 AM   #8
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1969 27' Overlander
Sun Lakes , Arizona
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I have a 69 Overlander as well. Ours sat for 16+ years before I got it. Trailer lighting. First check how the TV is wired then compare it to the AS. They are different, you can adjust at the TV side of the cable, on the cable that connects the TV to the AS. By doing this before anything else you'll save a lot of time.
Next check each light for corrosion, at least one is absolutely unrepairable, go to Vintage Supply for replacement. You'll need to decide if you going to keep the old or start changing out for LED. If you keep the old you can buy LED bulbs. If you change to LED you'll need to add a ground wire.

Let me know when you finished this and we can start to talk about plumbing, aha plumbing
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Old 04-20-2016, 12:37 PM   #9
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1969 27' Overlander
Sebring , Florida
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 55
1969 Overlander

Thanks for the thoughts. I realize it will take time and lots of resources. First step today is to get two more good tires, and get the door open.

Then trailer exterior lights, and then get the wheel bearings and brakes serviced, then on to the interior systems.

The forum has been a great resource to know what and how to check things out.

Being a shop teacher I know how to make a plan stick to it step by step. This will be a long journey and I know what I want in the end, so one step at a time. AS give me a good platform to work from. I always admired the quality and the construction. It appears the earlier models had some better interior quality than the early 70's, but I'm only reflecting on what I have read in some of the posts.

I'll be looking for any advice and ideas that anyone would like to share. Thanks
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Old 04-20-2016, 01:13 PM   #10
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1967 26' Overlander
Spartanburg , South Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Woops, I guess I took too long as Air Forums required me to log in again. Hope the info I had put in to you wasn't lost. As I was saying, look at replacement axles carefully to ensusre you don't have a loss of brake size. With a 3/4 ton Suburban though that might not be a worry as it is with my 1/2 ton Silverado PU. Also, the floor tends to get wet at the rear where water can leak in behind the band that hides the edge of the rear end sheet metal. On ours is behind the bathroom fiberglass panel and is not easy to see. One of my mistakes was not checking after each rain.

Airstream Supply in Utah may have what you need to repair your lock. I had to have a local machine shop make parts for mine.

If you need more info, feel free to email me at jacobbutts@gmail.com.
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Old 04-20-2016, 01:14 PM   #11
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1969 31' Sovereign
Williston , Florida
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I have a 67 Overlander and am about finished on the cabinet refinishing. It does have s really nice cherry finish.
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Old 04-20-2016, 04:52 PM   #12
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1965 30' Sovereign
West Allis , Wisconsin
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Have fun with your new project. The previous posts are great advice. I wonder if you already have it home and you don't plan to move it why worry about tires or axles now? You may take awhile with the restoration and you might use stripper or polish on the outside. Time and chemicals aren't good to tires. Life and other projects might get in the way. Buy them last.
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Old 04-20-2016, 06:34 PM   #13
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1969 27' Overlander
Sebring , Florida
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It's home in the drive way, door was unlocked and we are on our way cleaning and inventorying what needs to be done.
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Old 04-20-2016, 06:46 PM   #14
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1967 20' Globetrotter
Englewood , Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68 TWind View Post
Welcome to the forum and welcome to the adventure of working on an older Airstream.
A couple of tips: 1) everything will take 3-4x the time you think it will 2) you will spend 2-3x the money you think you will. That was my experience and I have spoken with a lot of folks who have redone Airstreams and all agreed i was close on my estimates. A lot depends on the condition of your trailer to start with and how far you want to take it. Mine was a real mess, yours might be in fine shape and just needs a few things updated.
A couple of more thoughts: A lot of the trim pieces can not be replaced, especially in the bathroom. Be careful when you take things apart because there may be no replacements. Some parts are available, Vintage Trailer Supply has lots of hard to find small parts and Steve is adding to his inventory all the time, but some are not. Make about 3x the number of pictures you think you need before you take things apart and as you are working on them. The pics can be invaluable 9 months later when you are trying to figure out exactly how something fit. Finally, bag every small part in a zip lock bag and take your time and label everything very carefully as it will save you hours of frustration when you are putting things back in the trailer.
Twind, you are exactly right about the pictures. We thought we had enough pictures of our Silver Streak we are re-doing, but not nearly enough! 3 years ago we re did a 67 Globe Trotter and we took lots of pictures which help a lot. Save every screw like you said. Often I thought oh i can get those later, Thankfully my wife saved them when we needed them and couldn't find any!
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Old 04-21-2016, 05:26 AM   #15
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1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
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looks from the photos that you have a great one to fix up. Love the TV with what looks like a VHS slot.
The dent in the front might be a challenge.
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Old 04-21-2016, 05:45 AM   #16
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1969 27' Overlander
Sebring , Florida
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The dent in the front will probably stay there, adds a bit of character, too many other things to work on.

Yes, the TV is vintage, so sometime in the future a flat screen will be there.
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Old 04-21-2016, 06:16 AM   #17
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1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
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a dent pulling suction cup might help. Not being critical it looks like a great trailer
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Old 04-21-2016, 07:16 AM   #18
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1969 27' Overlander
Sebring , Florida
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Yep, thought of that. I am also a pilot and owned a number of aircraft, so working with aluminum is nothing new. You just pick you battles. Biggest concern is the running gear, brakes, bearings and lights, interior/ exterior wiring. I can live with the other stuff for a while. When you close you eyes, you can't see it anyway.. LOL
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Old 04-21-2016, 07:19 AM   #19
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1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
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true. You may find that your axles have lost some spring but will to just fine for quite a few miles to come. Bearings also retain grease a lot longer than expected.
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Please visit our blogs and web pages:
OUR AIRSTREAM PASSION! BLOG
RESTORING AN AIRSTREAM
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Old 04-22-2016, 05:47 AM   #20
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1969 27' Overlander
Sebring , Florida
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Thanks Alan, I put on the other two new rims and tires yesterday afternoon, so now it has all new rubber.

Next task is to get the lights to work and then get it to a shop to get the brakes fixed and wheel bearings re-packed. When I hooked up the lights on the trip home, the trailer plug was shorted and started to melt so I pulled it out. Nothing blew on the truck, so I think it is in the plug on the trailer. I'll be splicing in a new one this weekend and see what happens. I bought a new trailer light and wire set to clamp on if I need to use as a temp travel to the shop rig.

I'd like to convert the trailer lights to LEDs so anyone having some ideas on that would be welcome. Thanks,

John
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