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Old 09-24-2013, 02:58 PM   #1
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1968 26' Overlander
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Tree Damaged '68 International

I just received a very heavily damaged Airstream. I think I can fix it. Im willing to take on the challenge. I plan to start inside by gutting it then removing the damaged Aluminum sheets. The question should I hammer them back into shape or order new skins.
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:20 PM   #2
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Anything can be fixed, but at what cost for materials and what cost for time? It is not a rare or very valuable trailer to begin with.

Have fun.
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:31 PM   #3
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Looks like a waste of time to me. If you buy new skins you will have way too much money in the trailer to ever come out on it. If you try to straighten the original skins you will spend lots of hours and may not have satisfactory results. Looks like a parts trailer to me. Good luck.
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:37 PM   #4
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This is beyond salvageable. You will have more invested in new aluminum then the trailer is worth. Plus you also need new ribs. Perhaps a window or 2. The new end cap segments are 450 ea new x 5. New aluminum is $200 for A 12 x 4 ft segment.
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:38 PM   #5
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I admire your since of adventure but you have the 6 million dollar man thing going. Remove the paddles and call it! Parts and scrap is all I see! There are some things you just should not try to save in my opinion so I would be in salvage mode on that one or looking for a shell if the frame survived. Good luck and please keep us informed.
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:46 PM   #6
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It is a lost cause. If you want to have an Airstream, then find one that is less of a wreck to refurbish. If you want a challenge, then build a trailer from scratch--you could probably do it faster and cheaper than you could repair this one.

Repair of the exterior panels is going to be expensive, for parts alone. Those formed segments that make up the endcaps will run you hundreds apiece.

Then there is the interior--you will likely have to replace the interior skins as well. The fiberglass/plastic interior endcap will likely be unrepairable, and also very difficult to find as a salvage part.

Then, there are the ribs, which you are going to have to bend back into position, or cut out and replace. Again, there are no parts to buy off the shelf--you are going to have to figure out how to remanufacture ribs with the perfect shape. Chances are, all the parts you are going to need to repair this trailer are going to come from a donor trailer that is in much better condition than this one.

A few years from now, when you are done with the shell, there are all of the other things that are probably wrong with a trailer this age, rotting floor, non-working appliances, rusting frame, sagging axles.

good luck!
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacklamb View Post
I just received a very heavily damaged Airstream. I think I can fix it. Im willing to take on the challenge. I plan to start inside by gutting it then removing the damaged Aluminum sheets. The question should I hammer them back into shape or order new skins.
Wow, I would just use that one for parts....
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:46 PM   #8
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Oh, and sorry to sound so discouraging--but welcome to the Forums!
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:06 PM   #9
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I have taken on some very big projects in my day but considering time, cost, and end value I would not take on this one. Sure almost anything can be restore and you would have the personal satisfaction of actually doing it but.....

Good luck if you go through with the plan.
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:21 PM   #10
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I have been there, done that. I had a smushed 1967 Overlander that was hit by a tree in the rear end. My wife and I spent the better part of a couple months and the thing is now dead 5 years latter.
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Old 09-25-2013, 02:58 AM   #11
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I love an optimistic person... That said; your biggest issue is going to be the fact that once stretched, aluminum never will return to where it was originally. $400/ segment, $17/ square foot of flat stock, the skin alone is really going to add up. You are also going to need another trailer just to harvest the ribs that are no longer available. I wish you luck, but you are swimming up hill in a desert stream in my opinion.
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Old 09-26-2013, 06:50 AM   #12
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1968 26' Overlander
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68 Damaged international airstream new ?

I have listened to all the response's and I'm inclined to forget the whole process due to cost. unless anyone knows of another damaged 68 in the new England area the I could harvest for this camper one with back end damage I need the front as can be seen on my pictures. if its out there im interested In doing it. I am a disabled vet and this gives me something to keep me busy. I hade been planning on getting an airstream when the funds became available. This one came up so I took it thinking I could fix it. Again if anyone knows where one may be available I would appreciate it.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:44 AM   #13
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Well, here are some things to help you in your search:

Find out which years are similar to your '68. For example the whole body shape changed in '69, but chances are, you could go back several years and still have a body that could be mated to the good half you have there. You may have a decent chance of finding what you want, as it is not unusual for people to back their trailer into low hanging tree limbs and damaging the rear end.

Post a "Want ad" in the Airforums Classified ads--this will help get the word out as to what you are looking for.

Keep an eye on ebay and Craigslist for a wrecked trailer. You can also try doing a Google search, for things like "Airstream trailer for sale scrap" or "Airstream trailer for sale damaged" and see what you can drum up.

In the mean time, have a look around the forums for threads relating to complete restorations ("full monty"), and you may get some insight into all the aspects of restoration that are involved in a trailer that has a reasonably decent shell.

good luck!
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:48 AM   #14
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I spent a year restoring a 1978 Sovereign 31'. Got it all done, new floors, everything inside refinished and looking great, outisde polished, re-striped, sealed, and all that.
Installed the newly recovered gaucho-couch-bed on a Saturday, and two days later the trailer was destroyed by a huge tree felled in an awful storm. It looked a lot like the one you show here.
Things could be worse.....hang in there and you wil find a better project that will need a lot of work but has possibilities.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:59 AM   #15
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I am in MA as well. I have seen an ad on craigslist-1972 27' airstream - $1500 (Wakefield ri)

1972 27' airstream


I have not seen the trailer, but it may be worth looking at.


Best of luck, and thanks for your service.
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Old 09-26-2013, 10:09 AM   #16
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'68

jacklamb, First let me dispel any idea of mating other years of Airstream bodies together! All rivet lines will be different from each individual trailer no matter what model in the three years you have to work with. The only luck you may have is donor parts from '66 to '68 as those are the only years that have the curved windows/ribs and panels that match the curve of the body panels/ribs that you have.
Secondly, the ribs are all set in a jig for each body style at the factory so, once again, the only ribs that will fit are from the above three years.
Third, you would be well advised to part out this trailer and use the money you acquire to help pay for a trailer that has at least a decent chance of being usable as a camper. Too much damage on this one for even the most experienced A/S restorer to even consider trying to repair.
Lastly, I will send you a Private message with my phone # and you can call me regarding how to market individual parts from the trailer. To the right persons the parts from your scrap trailer would be very welcomed as some of them are hard to come by. I will be happy to share with you how to go about the disassembly as to reap the most $$$ from the available parts. To be clear you have some parts I would like to have and I would be willing to purchase those at any time you have them removed from your donor parts trailer. (PM) Private Message to follow shortly.
Thank You for your Service, Ed
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Old 09-26-2013, 10:56 AM   #17
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Wow. At first I thought it was a joke, then saw that you were new to the forums.

Part it out. That'll give you some experience working on the trailers, removing rivets and the like. Then you'll have some money and experience to apply to a trailer that can appreciate it. What you can't part, recycle, and again pick up some cash. Even the frame you can recycle to some extent at a metal recycling station. All of this will give you experience you can use.

Now, if the tree had taken out the middle, and not down the center, you could cut out the damaged middle section and shorten the trailer. That could be fun, but not in this case.
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