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Old 10-01-2010, 04:14 PM   #1
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Good Grief! What have we done?

Just got our new Airstream two weeks ago (1976 31 Sovereign) because we had a dream. Tearing into it we found a lot of problems. We aren't afraid of work but do we know what we are doing? Next question, how many divorces result from investing massive amounts of $$$ and time into an uncertain prospect? I'm looking for some hope here......
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:24 PM   #2
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The investment removes the uncertainty. It's the uncertainty of the investment going in that causes the divorces. It's the certainty that it's YOUR result that keeps you together into wizened old-fartdom that makes it worthwhile!
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:31 PM   #3
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Divorce! Ha!! We have spent about an estimated $10,000 on our Buttercup, and that did not break us! Its the backing up and parking that takes us to the brink!
"You don't listen to me." "No, you don't listen to me!" - you get the idea.
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
Divorce! Ha!! We have spent about an estimated $10,000 on our Buttercup, and that did not break us! Its the backing up and parking that takes us to the brink!
"You don't listen to me." "No, you don't listen to me!" - you get the idea.
You got that right.....throw in the in-laws at the same time and it's all out war!!!
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ND10CentCan View Post
Just got our new Airstream two weeks ago (1976 31 Sovereign) because we had a dream. Tearing into it we found a lot of problems. We aren't afraid of work but do we know what we are doing? Next question, how many divorces result from investing massive amounts of $$$ and time into an uncertain prospect? I'm looking for some hope here......
You can minimize crazy expenditures, by using a "service manual".

That manual gives you many instructions of how to test and/or fix ,many things on your "new" Airstream.

It's also a great help in the event the previous owner/owners did some "red neck" repairs or modifications.

It will also save you a lot of gray hairs.

Welcome to Airstreaming and a zillion questions.

Andy
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Old 10-01-2010, 07:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
Divorce! Ha!! We have spent about an estimated $10,000 on our Buttercup, and that did not break us! Its the backing up and parking that takes us to the brink!
"You don't listen to me." "No, you don't listen to me!" - you get the idea.
I've noticed that's a fine test, if you can hitch a trailer together with out angst, it's a good sign of compatability. Or just deafness. Maybe there should be a class, "trailer hitching for two".
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Old 10-01-2010, 07:49 PM   #7
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Just don't keep track of the money you are putting into it. I quit at about what I paid for the thing. If you don't keep track it makes it more enjoyable. And drag it out over 2 years like I have and it doesn't seem as bad.
here's what I have been doing.http://www.airforums.com/forums/f327...dor-44644.html
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Old 10-01-2010, 07:57 PM   #8
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My daily plan is to put on the blindfold, walk to the Airstream, reach out and touch something and it will need repair or replacing. Then I get out the checkbook and start writing. This week I ordered a new water heater and a new furnace. Next week I plan on ordering a new gas range. I had forgotten what it felt like to have a full time job until I got this trailer. The work is like a job . . . only I pay it.

The first morning after I brought it home I watched two squirrels slide off it and I had the thought "This is gonna be hard." It was a vision of the difficulty I'd have replacing the air conditioner and the roof vents. How do ya work on top of somethin' "round"? I updated my will, took out more life insurance, checked to see if my cell phone had a 911 panic button, and started.

The only way I'll know I'm done with this thing is when everything that can be replaced, is. I still have the refrigerator to replace and I haven't even started on the inside yet. I had hoped to limit my budget to the cost of the trailer when it was new but I see now that's not even going to be close. Now my cost will be double my purchase price and double it all again and I'll never get half back what I put into this thing.

I lost so much weight over the summer working on this thing my friends think I'm sick.

Gary
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Old 10-01-2010, 08:05 PM   #9
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Believe it or not the restoration part can be a lot of fun. It is a time filled with hard dirty work that can also be expensive and daunting. There is the fun of looking back at your accomplishment and dreaming about what you can do with the restoration and of course dreaming about the places you can take the trailer when you get it far enough along.
Think about what needs to be done, read the forums and ask questions.
REMEMBER TO EAT THE ELEPHANT ONE PIECE AT A TIME!
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Old 10-01-2010, 08:08 PM   #10
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Class Schedule On Trailer Hitching For Two

Quote:
Originally Posted by NevadaGeo View Post
I've noticed that's a fine test, if you can hitch a trailer together with out angst, it's a good sign of compatability. Or just deafness. Maybe there should be a class, "trailer hitching for two".
How about trailer hitching for two:
Class Schedule:
Hand Signals VS Cell Phone (Covers wether or not to use the trucks built in blue tooth with a 2 second delay)
Dividing up The responsibilities (who really gets to sit in the A/C and who gets to haul the 30lb driveway ramps)
Backing up to the hitch - Beginners (Backing up communications skill that will prevent 30 minutes of the silent treatment during the drive)
Backing up to the hitch - Advanced (This is how to back up to the hitch with a XXXL dog crate obscuring your view of your spotter, the trailer, and the hitch in less than 15 minutes)
Pulling out of the Drive (How to line up the ramps, communicate with the driver, and generally run around like a chicken with it's head cut off until the rear wheels clear the end of the drive)

Also cover basics of:
attaching the chains
removing the chocks
lowering tongue onto the hitch
connecting the cord
storing your locks, chocks, keys
locking the trailer that comes unlocked after hitting a bump
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Old 10-02-2010, 10:27 PM   #11
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Laughing or crying....

Thanks all for the directions, humor, and general encouragement. We discovered the frame is generally rusted badly as far as we have gotten on the entire outside. Found more mouse remains and other "stuff". I was feeling bad that the mice had managed to take entire little baggies full of fish hooks into their lairs until I kept cleaning out more of their work. Then I just wanted vengence. I have turned hateful so quickly!

Husband has decided to try to lift the entire shell up and we need to locate a welder to install new frame parts. The ND winter will soon be here so this might have to wait until May...or June...or July. He thinks we have to take it to this level of demolition to make sure everything is done right from the get go. I think he may be right. He has even offered to name it after me...Sandy's Folly. I am not sure that was necessary.

Next question I have is if it is wise to try to build some of the cabinets and drawers over the winter without having the Airstream in a spot to be dry fitting them as we go. Anyone with some ideas would be welcome.

I have also told the kids to not expect any inheritance. We are putting it all into the Airstream so hopefully some day we can actually go camping!! I will try not to add up the costs and instead think of the wonderful experience we are getting. That and an attorney for divorce court doesn't really sound like a fun time. And we haven't even tried backing up or doing any manuevering that involves a hitch...stay tuned for Round Two!
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Old 10-03-2010, 04:17 AM   #12
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As a cabinet maker, I think you're ok to construct cabinets without dry fitting. If you built the cabinets with a straight back, and do not build or mount the tops or visible end pieces, these can be tailored during installation.

Alternately, you can make a story board using a story stick so you can reconstruct the shape of the wall accurately. There are a few good search results with photos for "story stick" but I leave that task to you, as different people explain it in different ways so it depends on how your mind works which is the best way to "get it"

It's really simple though. Honest!
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:40 AM   #13
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If you want your kids to feel better about the project, tell them they'll get the Sovereign as their inheritance.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:44 AM   #14
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Next question, how many divorces result from investing massive amounts of $$$ and time into an uncertain prospect? I'm looking for some hope here......
Well Sandy I sure hope you are a supportive and understanding wife...you must be if you are asking for forum feedback! And welcome to the world of "streaming". I picked up our "78" Ambassador last September, worked on it all summer, and my wife still hasn't warmed up to the "Island Girl". I keep thinking once I get done with the renovations she will want to go camp. You will no doubt find that one project brings about another project. Just keep a positive attitude, lend some elbow grease, and you'll be surprised just what a nice trailer you will have. Good luck!

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Old 10-03-2010, 11:59 AM   #15
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On the bright side, if you can find your way to peaceful communications over the AS it can help you with overall communication skills.
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:02 PM   #16
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ND there are several ways of looking at it...a brand new Classic lists for over $80,000. If you do the bulk of the work yourself you will spend about 10%-15% (assuming worst case scenario and complete overhaul) of that and have a trailer that is better than brand new and you will know how to fix everything on it.

And as far as the backing hitching...my bride can hitch and drive, backing it up is my problem.


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Old 10-03-2010, 07:16 PM   #17
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Today brings more information to the story. We found a galvanized patch on the subfloor beside the window towards the front. It covered a 6 by 8 inch hole. Now we discovered what was behind the galvanized patch on the wheel well. Only a picture can do it justice.....
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:57 PM   #18
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Today brings more information to the story. We found a galvanized patch on the subfloor beside the window towards the front. It covered a 6 by 8 inch hole. Now we discovered what was behind the galvanized patch on the wheel well. Only a picture can do it justice.....
Cliffhanger? We have to wait until next week's episode to see the picture? I sure hope this wasn't the season finale episode and we'll have to wait months!
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:08 PM   #19
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Thanks for the good words

I am enjoying it all the time we don't find things that we aren't sure we can fix. My husband and I both love fixing and redoing things so that part is good. It is the stuff we can't do that really has us scratching our heads. We don't have a place to put it in for the winter so we can work on it. We have decided to lift the shell off and start on the frame. It will be a huge job but the best way to do it and do it right. Might not happen for awhile with October upon us.
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:11 PM   #20
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oh, I think I see... photos posted to the gallery? Those are all the same trailer? That scares me, since it seems most likely that I'll buy an old one. I guess I'll just expect the worst so all the surprises will be good ones. Hmmm....
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