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Old 04-27-2018, 07:56 PM   #181
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Quick update for a partial days work today. Got one more coat of polish on the floor and got the wheels and tires installed on the trailer. Started cleaning more vinyl trim. Then had to break for other commitments, so that was it for today.
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Old 04-28-2018, 07:21 PM   #182
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Maybe your trailer has one of those "curtain holders" to keep the sun off of the tires during storage? My old 66 had these, and I thought they were wheel well opening "stiffeners" so the exterior skins weren't flapping in the breeze. I was corrected by a knowledgeable Airstreamer.

Nothing like new shoes for your baby.

David
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Old 04-28-2018, 09:53 PM   #183
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Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Maybe your trailer has one of those "curtain holders" to keep the sun off of the tires during storage? My old 66 had these, and I thought they were wheel well opening "stiffeners" so the exterior skins weren't flapping in the breeze. I was corrected by a knowledgeable Airstreamer.

Nothing like new shoes for your baby.

David
Yes David, I did install the awning rails over the wheel well openings. We will eventually make fabric curtains to cover the tires when camped. If you read back in my thread, you will learn that I added the awning rails on both sides in an attempt to hide my repairs to both wheel well openings as well as strengthen them.

The streetside wheel well opening was damaged on the ATWC, because that damage can be seen in photos from the later part of the ATWC. The skin was ripped at the front and rear of the wheel well opening and the belly wrap was beat up immediately behind the wheel well opening to the point of bending up an outrigger. I assume this may have occurred when the Cramer's ATWC trailer broke its axle in a small town near Ghazni, Afghanistan, as they were on their way to Kandahar, Afghanistan. Just to let you know how bad the roads were, the caravan only made 36 miles that day.

The curbside was damaged much later and was a combination of a skin perforation cause by galvanic corrosion against the steel wheel well liner (due to a window leak above the wheel well opening) combined with intentional damage by sawz-all and pliers when a previous owner bent out the lip to change the tire (he must have been inspired by the ripped opening on the other side).
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Old 04-28-2018, 10:13 PM   #184
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Today was a momentous day!

I reinstalled the first refinished wooden items into the trailer!

It seems like I did not accomplish much, but it took most of the afternoon and evening until it turned dark to reinstall the shelf under the front window as well as the front gaucho frame and front drawer slides. I also riveted in two pieces of vinyl shoe molding where the floor meets the inner skin and that tuck under the gaucho frame. Progress was slowed because there were some hidden screws and over 3 dozen screws to just install these few items and I lost my camera before I had downloaded the disassembly photos for this area of the trailer, so I couldn't just reverse the steps seen in disassembly photos. I eventually figured it out and had to make a trip to buy a few screws that need to be changed (due to stripped out holes in the inner skin, etc.).

The drawers are only installed temporarily. I needed them to locate the drawer slides. Tomorrow I will measure around them to see how to fit a battery and battery charger under the front gaucho. I hope I don't have to shorten one of the drawers, but it could come to that if I don't have enough space. I want to get a charger ordered soon so I can get the 12V system up and running. That was the primary reason for starting the re-installation at the front of the trailer. After this, re-installation will probably occur from the rear bath forward.

The front gaucho slide probably won't be installed for a while, at least not until after we pick up the new cushions and extra fabric that we ordered. It will be easier to recover the front edge of the gaucho slide with new fabric before it is reinstalled.
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Old 04-29-2018, 01:55 PM   #185
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Nice! Looks like it's coming along Joe...congratulations!

Shari
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Old 04-29-2018, 10:15 PM   #186
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Quote:
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I've been keeping track of your progress, everything is looking great, I like your fabric choice and looking forward to seeing it in person at Salem.
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Nice! Looks like it's coming along Joe...congratulations!

Shari
Thanks Teresa and Shari!!! It is a lot of work, but I hope I am doing the trailer justice. Hope to see you both in Salem.
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Old 05-01-2018, 12:48 AM   #187
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I guess it's after midnight, so yesterday's primary activity was trying to get the original Dometic M50a fridge to start up. This was a bit of a time filler while I wait for some recently ordered parts for other projects to arrive. My best guess is that this fridge had not run in at least 20 years, possibly 30 years. I had been wanting to test the fridge for some time, but I did not finally get all the proper fittings to do so until yesterday morning.

Complicating this activity is the fact that I have never manually lit a fridge like this ever before. But it's never too late to learn so after hooking up the propane and checking all fittings for leaks and finding none, I held a lit flame near the burner and pressed the lighter button that sends propane to the burner bypassing ths Klixon safety shut-off valve (which has been replaced by a thermocouple in modern fridges). I got a flame at the lighting orifice, but the main burner did not light. I decided to bypass using the "lighting tube" for the first test since it was not installed when I got the trailer and not using it took an additional variable out of the equation. It will be installed when I get the fridge to light reliably.

After much investigation, I was able to test that the Klixon valve does indeed "click" open and closed by heating it with a heat gun and letting it then cool and listening for the audible clicks. I then had to disassembly the main burner and the jet and clean 20+ years of dirt and grime from them with carb cleaner and compressed air and reassemble the main burner. After this, I was able to get the main burner to light for a short while by heating the Klixon valve with a heat gun until I heard it click open. I then opened the gas valve and applied a flame and the main burner lit with a nice blue glow, but it when out after a few seconds when the Klixon valve closed. At this point, it was basically dark and I decided to stop for the day.

Tomorrow, I will see if I can adjust the aluminum "Klixon tongue so that it is better heated by the burner flame to keep the Klixon valve open. If I can get the burner to stay lit, I can see if the fridge starts cooling. I am hopeful it will cool because I could hear the coolant gurgling when I tipped the fridge upside down and again when I turned it back right side up. Wish me luck.
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Old 05-01-2018, 05:49 PM   #188
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I'm sure it is quite interesting and challenging to restore these old appliances. I hope the designs and manufacturing back then were safe.

Me, I just go to the store and get a new fridge that fits the cabinet opening. Then I'm good for many years (hopefully). But certainly not original and certainly not a fridge that has been around the world.

Your trailer is going to be quite a show piece of Airstream history.

David
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:05 PM   #189
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Haven't posted for a while. I've just been a bit overwhelmed and depressed about my progress on this project. It seems like EVERY task has to start with a few steps backward before progress can be made. I'd like just one thing to go as originally planned. That said, here are the highlights since my last post:

Electrical: After many late night study periods online, I finally have a battery and charger on order. Given the tight space I have to put the battery under the front gaucho, I decided to go with a Group 34 AGM battery with about a 65Ah rating. A slightly larger Group 24 battery might have been a tight fit, but given the very limited 12V systems on this trailer (and all screw base light bulbs will be LED), and given that we will likely not use the trailer in extended boondocking situations, I decided the Group 34 Battery would work. For those who wonder, I selected an X2Power 34M AGM Marine Battery from Batteries Plus Bulbs after studying several other choices. I will not go into my logic here. I also decided on an Iota DSL-15-X/IQ4-X smart charger after much research. This 15A charger should be a good match for the Group 34 AGM battery (in my opinion) . . . and it's packaging dimensions were a good fit for the available space.

Cabinets: I pulled the kitchen base cabinet out of it's hiding place and found it warped and wobbly with some of the original staples that held it together broken. I added some reinforcing wood in a few places to make it much stronger and also to take the warp out of the front end, which had bowed considerably over the years because the thin plywood was not properly reinforced and the stove flip top cover/counter top extension was exceptionally heavy. I have also repaired the delaminated veneer over the course of several glue sessions. The cabinet is now ready to be stripped.

Black Tank: This is definitely one of those "two steps back" things and it is a roadblock to staring the bath reassembly because it needs to go in before the bath cabinet and everything forward. It took two days to get the Adapter Plate and modern Valterra Dump Valve temporarily installed because the fasteners that came with the Adapter Plate would "bottom out before they got tight". This was supposed to be a simple "just bolt it together" operation. Not. After several trips to the store looking for different fasteners and some time with a grinder, I finally got the valve installed so I could fill the tank with water to check it's capacity and check for leaks. The good news is that it holds at least 13 gallons, which is better than the 10 gallons I was hoping for. The bad news is that I found cracks in the fiberglass that will need to be repaired, one of which leaked. The worst crack is near where the vent pipe exists the tank and was probably made worse by my handling the tank several times with several feet of vent pipe still attached. The vent pipe is now cut off closer to the tank so it will not cause the tank to flex and it will be reconnected in the trailer using a rubber coupler for vibration isolation. A close inspection revealed some other cracks that had not yet penetrated all the way thru the fiberglass, but which will have to be reinforced none the less. Hopefully the fiberglass repair begins tomorrow.

Fridge:
I gave up work trying to get it to light as that is just not on the critical timeline as a working fridge is not absolutely necessary for the first trip. If I get everything else that is critical done before I get to reinstalling the fridge, I'll try to get it to light then. If not, it'll get bolted in for "looks only" until we are back from the first trip.

Water Heater Cover: Since I could not get this installed last November/December because the Vulkem sealant was so slow to cure at winter temperatures and was going to smear onto the door gasket, when I finally want to get to it this spring, I had lost the quarter turn Dzus fasteners I had bought to latch the door. I looked all over for them. Several times. Then I decided to order replacement fasteners. After some glitches and slow order processing they finally arrived a couple of days ago, so the Water Heater Door finally got permanently installed with it's gasket today. Yeah!

Some photos of this progress are attached below.
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Old 05-07-2018, 05:23 PM   #190
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I hope you get that klixon valve working. I was surprised at the position of the tongue on mine, it's nothing like the diagrams where it barely touches the flame. Mine is positioned into the burner flame but works great. It takes a solid 2 minutes of holding down the pilot button before it 'clicks' to life. Crappy photo attached.

Edit: a good heat gun can be pointed up the tube and provides enough heat to get the unit to cool. I tested one like this and it seems like it only took :15 - :30 minutes to start cooling the freezer section.
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:39 PM   #191
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Oh the trials and tribulations of an Airstream restoration. There are some days where nothing seems to go right. And some days good progress is made.

Keep battling. You will get this trailer on the road soon. There is no doubt in my mind.

David
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:03 PM   #192
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Amazing job you are doing!!!!!!
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:09 PM   #193
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV View Post
I hope you get that klixon valve working. I was surprised at the position of the tongue on mine, it's nothing like the diagrams where it barely touches the flame. Mine is positioned into the burner flame but works great. It takes a solid 2 minutes of holding down the pilot button before it 'clicks' to life. Crappy photo attached.

Edit: a good heat gun can be pointed up the tube and provides enough heat to get the unit to cool. I tested one like this and it seems like it only took :15 - :30 minutes to start cooling the freezer section.
Thanks for the tips and good to know the Klxon takes a long time to "click" from the Pilot Light. That will help next time I try to get the Fridge to light.

I have to ask what you pilot flame looks like for the 2 minutes you need to hold the red pilot button before the Klixon "clicks"? Mine is a real flame thrower. If I don't have the "lighting tube" in place, the flame shoots out 6" or more and basically misses heating the Klixon/tongue. With the lighting tube in place, the pilot flame is somewhat redirected upward toward the Klixon, but probably 80% of the heat still misses the Klixon. I am wondering if this is normal. There is no way for me to attempt to light the fridge and get a photo, so I hope this verbal description is good enough.
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:20 PM   #194
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Today was a good day. Worked on a variety of things, but the first of two worth mentioning is that I used "Marine Rx", the West Marine version of "Marine Tex" epoxy to repair the cracks in the black tank. Only one crack was a leaker, but other two I repaired perhaps could have become leakers in the future.

I now need to rebuild the wooden "supports" on the bottom of the tank that had somewhat rotted due to the floor below them rotting out. Rebuilding them will properly support the tank and enable it to drain properly.

The second item worth mentioning is that I cleaned up and reinstalled the handles, catches, knobs, and latches for the two doors on the front overhead cabinet and reinstalled the doors. That is the good news. The bad news is that I reinstalled the turn knobs that serve as the travel locks using the lowest strength "purple" thread locker. Turns out that is not strong enough, so those two knobs will have to be redone with with the medium strength "blue" thread locker. Good that I only did a test of two before I get to the remaining dozen plus turn known travel locks.
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Old 05-08-2018, 07:03 PM   #195
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You deserve a good day. David
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:01 AM   #196
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OK, gotta keep posting since this is basically my progress blog. Lots of work since my last post, typically juggling multiple projects on any given day. Sorry that some of this is mundane, but that's just the way Airstream restoration goes.

In no particular order (and not necessarily in the order than projects were worked on), here are the things I have worked on since my past post (part 1):

Kitchen Base Cabinet: It has been stripped, but is now drying out before it gets polyurethaned. I did find some previously unnoticed veneer chips near the drawer openings that will have to be repaired, but I haven't gotten to them yet.

Battery and Battery Box: I have picked up my group 34 marine battery and a plastic box that I modified to fit in the tight corner under the front gaucho, so that I did not have to cut a drawer down and lose storage. I had to cut a handle off one end of the box and cut down a corner to clear a bed slide bracket and had to make my own plexiglass cover, but it will fit. I had to temporarily cleco the bed slide into place to check the fit, but that will come back out to get recovered when we pick up the new cushions and the extra fabric we ordered. I have not yet installed the retainers that will hold the box and battery in place during travel. That will come soon. As a side note, the new charger and maxi-fuse block that will go near the battery have arrived, but I have not had the time to test fit them yet.

Furnace Exterior Panel: Though I made closeout for the opening required by the original furnace and cut a hole for the new furnace vent months ago, I never got around to riveting and caulking those items in place. I finally did so today in preparation for installing the furnace in the near future after the caulk cures.

Black Tank: I rebuilt the wooden supports on the bottom of the black tank using plastic wood and then coated them in polyurethane. I also sealed the interface between the fiberglass tank and the brass insert that attached to the dump valve using Captain Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure. Not sure it leaked, but now was the time to apply some preventative sealant before the tank was reinstalled

Part 2 to follow . . .
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:19 AM   #197
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Part 2 . . . again not necessarily in the order worked on as I juggled many of the recent projects simultaneously.

Front Window Guard: One of my most time consuming projects over the last few days has been the vintage front window guard that I am installing. I have replaced several (but not all) rusted fasteners, some of which were rusted so badly that they had to be cut off with a grinding wheel. I am in the process of replacing the rusty original draw latches (that really didn't work anymore to hold the guard closed during travel) with modern rubber T-handle latches, since I could not find an exact replacement metal draw latches. I have repaired cracks in the fiberglass on the back using more Marine Tex. I also scrubbed and clear coated the front of the fiberglass because it was very weathered with many fiberglass strands starting to detach. I cleaned much of the dirt off, but did not try to get it all off. A little dirt adds some patina that matches the rest of the trailer nicely. This past evening I started to install the window guard, but several hiccups (like jammed fasteners that had to be drilled out and replaced as well as forgetting to tale all the necessary tools to the storage location) prevented me form completing the installation before darkness set in. The guard is installed at the top using some offset aluminum hinges, but I stopped for the day before I got the prop rod arms attached to the trailer. That should be completed tomorrow.

Door Sill: Reinstalled.

Plumbing: No actual work, but lots of planning. I am rethinking my previous decision to use copper for the fresh water lines and am now reconsidering Pex. I need to make a decision soon (like maybe tomorrow) so that I can start reinstalling the bathroom, now that the black tank is finally ready to be reinstalled.


Well, that's about it for the moment. I have left out many hours of internet research on these and other things I have yet to buy and/or install.
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:37 PM   #198
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Wow, lots of projects all over the trailer being worked on simultaneously. Companies like folks who can "multi-task".

I vote for PEX fresh water plumbing. Maybe all of the PEX will be hidden behind those cabinets you are installing. It is much easier than sweating joints, and maybe safer to (fire danger). I did my Overlander in PEX, and no leaks found with the air pressure test. I haven't water tested it yet.

Glad to hear you will leave some dirt on your trailer. Great idea. I think I will do the same thing.

David
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:33 PM   #199
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Hi David, I had to multi-task in my job before I retired. Now I will only do it for myself. Would prefer not to multi-task, but need to keep this project moving along so I don't get hung up waiting on any particular part.

I decided today that I will go with PEX because it will be easier to do much of the install after the cabinets go in, though some routing will be different than the original copper lines. I was planning to sweat most of the copper before installation so as not to work with flame in tight spaces around old wood, but that posed a lot of fitment challenges that I am now happy to avoid.

PEX will definitely be more expensive than copper, though, especially since I'll probably use Sharkbite "Push-to-Connect" fittings everywhere rather then invest in crimping tools. Some tight spaces would make crimping hard, so why bother buying a $60 tool for the remaining spots.

Forgot one other multi-task from the last few days - the Rear End Cap Cabinet. I installed a 12V power outlet in one end of the cabinet molded into the fiberglass rear end cap and reinstalled the mirrored door on that cabinet. Originally the trailer had a 12V power outlet inside the cabinet just hanging by the wires. I decided that drilling a hole and popping it out the side was a good improvement.

I had some other appointments this morning and early afternoon, so I did not get back to the trailer to complete the window guard installation as planned today. PEX research and shopping was my main accomplishment today. Not my most productive day, but necessary none the less.
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Old 05-16-2018, 05:22 AM   #200
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Fantastic Progress

Good Morning Joe,
Unbelievable job on the Water Heater Cover! Also on every update that you have provided. I too have been considering switching over from copper to pex, and I was currious which manufacturer that you have decided for your lines and the diameter that you are going with. Also, I was wondering if you are going to come out to Camp Dearborn in Milford between tomorrow and Saturday for the TCT event. The weather is going to be perfect, so I understand why you might opt to not drop by and continue to work on your treasure. I hope to see you there.

Regards,
Steve
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