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Old 01-28-2020, 10:16 PM   #1
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1978 31' Sovereign
Sachse , Texas
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Replacing Interior ends

So I am in the process of remodeling my 1978 Sovereign and the interior ceiling ends might not be able to be re-used. I was wondering if anyone else has run into a similar situation and what they ended up putting in their place!

Thanks in advance,
Chels!
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Old 01-29-2020, 12:00 AM   #2
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1979 Argosy 27
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I'm in the same situation. I am finally ready to redo the interior of my 1979 Argosy 27 and I needed to use something on the ceiling because the last owner did all sorts of weird crap. I decided to use 1/8 inch Polywall on the ceiling and I'm going to use it on the end caps as well. It's really easy to work with, flexible, waterproof and you can get it at Home Depot for around $25 for a 4ft x 8ft sheet.The ceiling was easy, I just directly glued and riveted it to the aluminum. I have a bigger gap at the end caps so I plan to use 1 inch stringers so I have something to attach the polywall to. I haven't decided if I'm going to use a fan design or what. I'm going to start posting the interior soon.
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Old 01-29-2020, 11:06 AM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Welcome to the Forums!

One popular approach is to build a 15 panel interior endcap out of aluminum. There are several threads that show how folks have done this starting from scratch. Try doing a Forums search for "interior aluminum endcap". One example is below:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ps-187313.html

Colin Hyde, of Colin Hyde Trailer Restorations was planning to sell kits that would provide all of the precut pieces (according to what I recall hearing on the Vintage Airstream Podcast a few years ago), but I don't know whether that actually came to fruition.

good luck!
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Old 02-17-2020, 08:12 PM   #4
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Hey all,

Today my daughter and I are in the process taking out the panels on the inside. We are not sure about what we are going to do with them, but we know we need to redo the electrical, plumbing, etc... We go to the back end of the AS taking out the pop rivets. The backend dome basically fell down. It was not aluminum? It was a hard shell plastic end piece! We were shocked? Is this normal? What should we do with it? Put it back? There was nothing behind it but insulation and wiring? It was like the panels had just stopped to that point, and a hard plastic, plexiglass, or some sort of shell was in its place!

My daughter and I were thinking about taking the vinal off of the panels and going with a bare aluminum look, but since there is not aluminum back there, not sure what to do? How expensive it is to get the back dome aluminum? Where do I get it from? That large yellowish plastic dome is what I am talking about.
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Old 02-18-2020, 10:25 AM   #5
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Your trailer looks to be a 70's era, and yes, in that era, the interior endcaps were made of plastic. I think in the 60's they converted from aluminum multi-segment endcaps to fiberglass, and then in the 70's, they changed to ABS plastic.

The easiest thing to do is to reuse the plastic endcap. There are no new replacements available, and certainly no new or used endcaps made of any other material than plastic. I replaced all of the interior skins with fresh aluminum, but still used the plastic end caps. Fixed the cracks and splitting mounting holes with a plastic compatible fiberglass, and painted them "Dolphin Grey." Turned out OK.

The only other option is to build a multi-segment aluminum endcap as described above. Choose your poison.

Before you go to the work of stripping vinyl off of your existing interior skins, just beware, that this is a really labor intensive job. You would probably be better off just buying new aluminum. The next headache is that the new or stripped aluminum will corrode every time a finger is placed on it. You will need to seal it in some way, and that has proven to be very difficult (clear coats don't stick to raw aluminum very well). The stuff in the new trailers has a factory applied plasti-coat on it and it ridiculously expensive.

I've added a pic so you can see roughly how it turned out.

good luck!
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Old 02-18-2020, 12:24 PM   #6
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1958 26' Overlander
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The change from metal to plastic/fiberglass seems to vary from model to model. My 58 Overlander (although it had a 57 layout) had plastic end caps. Covered in latex paint when I got it.

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I converted to metal for a better look.

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The process I used is detailed on page 2 #25 of our thread. The hard part can be if your window is not centered .
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Old 02-18-2020, 03:39 PM   #7
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I used 1/8-inch birch plywood, which bends nicely. I made a template of all the sections first out of chipboard, to make sure it would work. I used copper rivets to attach the sections, starting with the two outer pieces. My original molded endcaps were shot. And since there's not structural ribs behind the two endwalls, the wood (with no underlying alum skin) worked just fine. The shelving at each end was attached to ribs running beside the wing windows and on top of the end windows.
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Old Yesterday, 07:59 AM   #8
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Greer , SC
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Wow! Thank you for all of the replies. I love the look of your AS's! My daughter and I sat down and talked about it. She thinks we should take off the paneling just so we can redo the electrical, but she thinks we should not strip them. She want to clean them up and paint over them. So with that being said we are more than likely going to keep the plastic endcamp and place it back in. However, here is our thought process on it all.
1. Take off the interior skins and take out the insulation.
2. While the skins and insulation are out, redo the electrical wiring, leaving part of the flooring so we can walk inside.
3. After electrical take out the flooring, and do plumbing.
4. I have contracted out the electrical and plumbing, while this is going on, I am redoing all of the windows. Double pane. Taking them out, cleaning them, putting on tint, putting them back in.
5. after the plumbing do the polishing on the outside, so that we can also look for bad rivets, and replace.
6. After polishing place in the flooring, and start building the cabinets, etc... for the interior.

My daughter is only 17 years old, and a junior in high school. She has decided to help me build out the AS as a senior project for credit. I am a Marine Corps Infantryman turned computer scientist. Hopefully we can get this done. Does the layout above seem correct?

Thank you all for your help!
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Old Yesterday, 08:14 AM   #9
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1967 26' Overlander
1955 22' Flying Cloud
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Birch

I also installed birch plywood, but over painted aluminum skins.
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Old Yesterday, 09:04 AM   #10
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Do the windows and any other skin repairs first, reseal joints/rivets from the inside and then check for leaks.
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Old Yesterday, 09:50 AM   #11
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1972 31' Sovereign
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We painted over our vinyl wall covering and end caps: wash and rinse very very well, then use a good primer (we used Bondz). We then painted with an exterior grade latex paint. Except for touch ups (hubby tended to scratch it when he put in cabinets), it has held up well here in MN. for 9 years now.

Kay
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Old Yesterday, 11:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orozcom View Post
Wow! Thank you for all of the replies. I love the look of your AS's! My daughter and I sat down and talked about it. She thinks we should take off the paneling just so we can redo the electrical, but she thinks we should not strip them. She want to clean them up and paint over them. So with that being said we are more than likely going to keep the plastic endcamp and place it back in. However, here is our thought process on it all.
1. Take off the interior skins and take out the insulation.
2. While the skins and insulation are out, redo the electrical wiring, leaving part of the flooring so we can walk inside.
3. After electrical take out the flooring, and do plumbing.
4. I have contracted out the electrical and plumbing, while this is going on, I am redoing all of the windows. Double pane. Taking them out, cleaning them, putting on tint, putting them back in.
5. after the plumbing do the polishing on the outside, so that we can also look for bad rivets, and replace.
6. After polishing place in the flooring, and start building the cabinets, etc... for the interior.

My daughter is only 17 years old, and a junior in high school. She has decided to help me build out the AS as a senior project for credit. I am a Marine Corps Infantryman turned computer scientist. Hopefully we can get this done. Does the layout above seem correct?

Thank you all for your help!

You might want to start your own thread since this is getting off the topic of endcap replacement. You can then document all of the projects that go into the rebuild of your trailer, and they will all be in one place. Questions can be asked as you go along.

But a quick answer to the above is that the floor (subfloor) is an integral part of the structure, as it is sandwiched between the shell and the frame. I would consider how you want to go about replacing the floor and doing frame repairs before worrying too much about insulation, wiring, and plumbing. There are many threads that describe how to do floor replacements. Try searching for "Shell off floor replacement," "shell on floor replacement" and terms like "gantry" or "gantries."

good luck!
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Old Yesterday, 02:47 PM   #13
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1976 25' Caravanner
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I would heartily second the "go slow and do your research" approach. All of Belegedhel's suggestions are right on. And at each step along the way there are many and various details and decisions you will need to make. All of which have been chronicled here in these forums by very capable and experienced members. Suffice it to say there is more than one way to skin a cat, and researching the different ways you can do everything will pay off. In retrospect, I'm quite happy with how my trailer turned out, but there are many things I might do differently if I were starting over.
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Old Today, 08:24 AM   #14
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Greer , SC
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You guys are awesome! I really appreciate the input. Yes, I am definitely taking my time and doing the research. I wish I had a guide book on what order to do these items. I think the biggest problem I have now is lack of ideas, from wife, daughter, and myself. Agreeing on those ideas is another issue! I have wrestled with some items like doing solar or not solar. Making the airstream a livable area for multiple people, or making it big enough for my wife and I, and the rest for entertaining, quick trips, etc... I live in Greenville SC area, and my middle daughter attends Clemson University. A friend of mine suggested that I fix it up and rent it out for tailgating parties for the Clemson Tiger football games. Yeah, I don't see that happening, but the point is there are so many things you can do with your imagination and an Airstream!
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Old Today, 09:00 AM   #15
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Well, here is my list for the "order of operations."

My guidance regarding rennovating a vintage Airstream would be to hope for the best and expect the worst, and plan a shell-off from the beginning.

You can feel your way there by getting out the buyer's inspection checklist, going through everything, making a list of what needs to be repaired, and then tackling it one project at a time, starting at the "deepest" level of disassembly and working your way out. Or you can do the following:

1) Spend up to two years looking for the trailer that is in the best shape, with the best price, with the best floor plan, only to drive too far to look at a trailer, and buy it out of desperation, as you don't want to go home empty handed.
2) Remove the interior including all inside skins and insulation--store it in a temporary shed (that will become permanent).
3) Build a set of gantries--you'll need them.
4) Lift the shell (using the gantries) from the frame and set aside.
5) Use the gantries you built to lift and flip the frame.
6) Remove belly pan, gas lines, etc., and set aside.
7) Perform all repairs on the frame, address rust and paint (again, lifting and flipping in the process).
8) Install new floor on frame.
9) Flip, insulate the underside of the floor, install retro-fitted grey tanks.
10) Install belly pan with frame still upside down.
11) Install new axles (with frame upside down, using the gantries as a crane).
12) Pressure wash the interior of the shell--make every effort to get rid of the mouse piss and old insulation--this is your only chance.
13) Lift the shell, wheel the frame back underneath, and set the shell back in place.
14) Complete reconnection of shell to frame.
15) Replace all door and window seals, plumbing vent seals, perform any shell patches, panel replacements, AC replacement, etc. (use the gantries as scaffolding to access the roof of your trailer).
16) Seal the inside of the shell, every rivet, every seam.
17) Spray primer on the inside of the shell to not only protect from corrosion, but to seal in funk.
18) Write a mysterious message to the next restorer on the inside of your shell.
19) Rennovate/install any awnings and ensure that any new shell penetrations do not leak.
20) Confirm that your shell no longer leaks.
21) Assess wiring in the shell. Rewire if necessary, realizing what a PITA it will be, trying not to nick any wires.
22) Strip the clear coat off your shell if needed.
23) Polish the areas around the trim, emblems, clearance lights before reinstallation.
24) Thoroughly investigate every kind of insulation known to mankind and then install the pink fiberglass stuff anyway.
25) Reinstall interior skins after thoroughly cleaning them--paint the backsides with primer to encapsulate the old stank you can never wash off.
26) Rebuild electrical distribution system (battery, fuse board, etc.).
27) Layout your future cabinetry.
28) Begin to run water lines, realizing some of them will go under/behind furnishings
29) Start from the rear of the trailer and rebuild the interior furnishings, cabinetry.
30) Lay down new flooring.
31) Rerun the gas lines.
32) Finish installing appliances.
33) Do the blinds/drapes/upholstery.
34) Finish whatever polishing you want to do on the exterior
35) Seal every exterior seam
36) Discover new leaks and throw a fit
37) Throw away all the receipts, as it is just too depressing to know how much you just spent.
38) Count the gray hairs/hair loss that has resulted from the years you have spent on the project.
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Old Today, 09:08 AM   #16
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I love #18!
Our trailer has "Little Girl", "I heart C", and I heart K" inside the front lower area under the front window.
I would put #35 near the top after #16. Doesn't do to renovate the trailer if it still leaks.

Kay
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Old Today, 10:11 AM   #17
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Love the list! This is great! I have been doing some research on a lot of these items, and I believe I can handle most of them. Some I may need some outside help.
The one thing that I was told by a lot of people about doing the polishing, was to do it while the inside skins were off.
1. It is easier especially if you are doing buck rivets, which is what I was planning on doing.
2. Once you polish, you can inspect the rivets to make sure they are in place, or still in place.
This advice makes sense to me, but I could be wrong. I have been known to be wrong once or twice, just ask my wife, she can verify.
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