Help! How might I assess damage while fulltiming?
I have a '79 TradeWind (Satine is her name) that has been in the family for about 8 years. I am now using it as a living space, so I would like to repair any damage and then renovate it.
The problem is that I am living in it, so I can only do small projects, or ones which I can break up into smaller parts.
I feel like if I am able to live in my AS, any problems I need to fix can't be too bad. On the other hand, reading horror stories from other users and browsing some of the major restorations/renovations has me really scared and overwhelmed! I don't even know where to start!
I would really appreciate a general estimate of what I might be expecting, or even just some moral support. I don't have a huge amount of cash to put into it or many relevant skills, but I do have a lot of time, access to a large cache of tools, a roofed over but open walled shop, and several highly skilled and knowledgeable people I can call on (a structural engineer with experience in architecture and construction from foundation to finishing, a mechanical engineer who now owns a business in appliance repair).
Satine's story is roughly this: when we got her, she was in very good condition. However, her inaugural journey led to a mild accident in which ripped the belly pan at the rear. She was assessed by an RV guy who told us there was no structural damage. The belly pan never got fixed, and a couple years after that we moved and had to leave her with a friend. The friend was highly irresponsible and while we were gone opened the windows to air out the trailer AND LEFT THEM OPEN. We weren't able to return to get her for another 5 years or so. The expected vermin and filth was cleaned out and she was serviced (new tires and brakes, lighting repairs and possibly other things.) She survived the cross country trip (Alabama to Seattle) and has been used at least weekly for the last year or so.
Summary: 7 years ripped bellypan, 5 years unused with windows open, 1 cross country trip.
So-- where do I start? Can I do the basic repairs, while living in the trailer and with only my resources (and a few hundred dollars)? Should I be fearing that some unforeseen problem will cause my Airstream to collapse around me soon if I can't manage the repairs?
Oh, and apologies for the long post, this is weeks of worrying and stress.