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Old 11-08-2005, 12:05 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1969 27' Overlander
Colorado Springs , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 26
Over my head and sinking further.

Bought 1969 overlander LY that appeared to be in good shape and actually towed it to my back yard.

After taking out three layers of carpet I found the rear floor and frame to be rotted out. I have removed 1/3 of under belly and most of rear interior black tank.

Now following a windstorm a 7'diam limb blew down on the roof requiring me to attempt toreplace two back panels. Here are my questions if you have any sage advice fire away, i need this ready by spring and can't afford to send the work out. .\\

1. Does Airstream sell the exterior aluminum panels pre-formed or do these have to be hand made.

2. Since most of the bathroom is out should I take out the fiberglass interior wall covering?? Based on a review of this forum sounds like riveting is much easier with the inside wall removed. It is three smaller but complex upper rear panels.

3. The box that held all the hoses and elec cords is totally rotted our, do the sell these preformed or do I have to get this made? same question with the battery box?? Same question on the box that hold black water tank/ with foam? All these must have been galvanized steel and were rotted bad.

4. There is some under belly frame rust so i am going to weld some reinforcement in any hazards there. Migth add on a spare tire holder in the back, any negatives to this.

5. The plywood floor replacement seems to be an easy cut and place, what type of bolts did I grind off willmany flush mount type do?

6. The 1969 water heater probably works is this worth saving or should I just replace.

7. All my copper water line is now exposed. WHY?? are there three or four places where it appeares to be spliced with re-inforced plastic tubing, is this a freeze protection or just past repairs. Should I resolder new copper, nowe would nbe the time or is the re-inforced hosing prefrerred?

8. Removed and am cleaning my fresh and black water tank. The fresh water tank is greenish plastic and appears to be okay but I can't remove some of the mineral water stains. Also the water pump contraption looks like something out of well the 1960's it works do these have a lasting reputation or should I RR while I have access??

Thanks for any input posted?


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Old 11-08-2005, 02:39 PM   #2
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,435
Images: 292
Welcome to the Forum, Deano:

Lots of questions for one post - I'll try to address them in order - keep in mind that my trailer knowledge comes mainly from my '78 Sovereign of the Road that is undergoing a slooooowwww repair for mostly minor items.

1.) Most any Airstream repair facility will sell the preformed Al panels.

2.)Any appreciable amount of repair requires removal of the inter plastic endcaps - the endcaps break and crack easily, and I doubt if you will find replacements for them - handle with care!

3.)I do not think these items are off of the shelf - but they are easy to make since no compound breaking will be necessary.

4.)The framing and outriggers (at least on the '78) are lightweight - be careful what you weld for reinforcement - Spare tire carriers are generally thought to be a major mistake - search the Forums (search function on pull down bar at mid-top of entrance page).

5.)I do not think that the bolts need to be high strength - plywood replacement may be more difficult than at first glance, since the plywood MUST be inserted between the shell "C" channel and the frame. Your Airstream is a monocoque construction, and the shell, floor, and frame work together for structural integrity....a strong (no rot) floor is absolutely required around the entire perimeter of the trailer....the inspection of the full perimeter is a necessary pre-purchase inspection, but usually entails a considerable amount of cabinetery, bedding, and seating removal to do a proper job of looking at the perimeter.

6.)Replacement depends on your peace of mind - how much do you trust 30+ year old gas controls?

7.)Most of us here in the Forums use PEX, or a similar product for water line repairs - your preference - most of the time PEX is easier to install than copper, but not always.

8.)New tanks are also your call, I usually carry bottled water for drinking and cooking, and almost always camp where there is water available, so the main use of the potable water tank is flushing the toilet when not hooked up to campground water. I would not want to drink water from an old plastic tank - bugs and other such nasties. The water pump, if it as a PAR, should have replaceable parts, and most of these parts are readily available.

Good luck - let the Forum know how you handled your situation.


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Old 11-08-2005, 05:25 PM   #3
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,096
Okay, I'll try to add more:
If you want a spare tire, the recommended location is in the front, crosswise on the bottom under the A frame. There is a factory spare tire bracket that can be purchased and installed there. If you are having rusty frame issues now in the rear, you don't want to put more weight back there.
The old Par water pumps tend to work well, and if yours works now without leaking, keep it. They are repairable and rebuildable. If it doesn't work, or the housing is broken, you should probably replace it.
The box for the hoses, etc, can be refurbed with new internal parts as long as the door and hinge hardware are intact. You can either use aluminum or plywood for the construction, aluminum is preferred but not necessary.
If your water heater works, and doesn't leak, keep it and use it. Even if it lasts a year before crapping out, it is one thing, and one less expense, that you will need to do right now.
The plastic tubing between the copper lines is where the lines leaked for one reason or another, and were replaced. It was probably replaced with the vinyl lines because the copper swelled when it froze, and standard lines won't fit anymore.
Hard water stains shouldn't be a problem for a water tank. Make sure you sterilize the tank before using it.
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