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Old 03-10-2013, 09:32 PM   #81
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Thanks everyone for the condolences. I would not normally have said anything, but when asked about restoration progress, I did not know how to explain the recent slow down without mentioning some of the reasons. Your kind comments are appreciated.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:45 PM   #82
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Time for an update. I have been back working on Cramer since late March, starting on just weekends, but also including weekday evenings lately.

This post will provide some progress photos from the last month or so as follows. I removed the rest of the last two 4' sheets of the old floor. The frame that was exposed when that floor came out was in good shape, only requiring a coat of paint. I did decide that it would be best to repair the belly wrap behind the streetside wheel well before reinstalling the floor. I then insulated the furnace duct and stapled insulation to the floor outboard of the main rails, because it would be too tough to do so after floor installation.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:02 PM   #83
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The attached photos show some details of the rear floor installation. I bolted it to the cross members and outriggers using the elevator bolts from VTS. The perimeter floor channel was bolted to outriggers and the rearmost cross member using stainless bolts with lock nuts. In between the bolts, the floor channel was screwed down using stainless screws. All sections of floor channel were secured down through 1/8" thick aluminum bar stock to distribute the clamping force and make it stronger than when new in 1962. And speaking of floor channel, I made new floor channel for the rear using hand seamers to bend it to shape (the old channel was just too corroded to reuse).

I don't have photos, but I installed both 4' sections of the rear floor in "halves" so that it would slide under the floor channel. The "halves" were joined together with an underside backing board that was screwed and glued (with construction adhesive) to the floor for strength.

Today after work Lorrie helped me complete buck riveting the new floor channel to the shell. This completed the rear floor installation. The new floor is in and is completely bolted to the frame, and the shell is completely bolted and screwed to the floor and the shell is re-buck riveted to the new rear floor channel. The trailer has a much more solid feeling again when walking inside. Yeah!

P.S. Don't expect regular updates. I am using all my free time trying to somehow get this trailer back togather enough to be able to take it to the ATW Caravan 50th Anniversary Celebration at the WBCCI International Rally at the end of June. I am finding very little time lately for anything on my computer other than researching parts I need to buy and ordering them on-line.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:14 AM   #84
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Very nice work Joe. It is a labor of love and it takes time to bring any restoration back to life. I am glad you are taking your time to do it right. Look forward to keeping up with our progress.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:02 PM   #85
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Time for a long overdue update. It's been a busy summer. The fact that I haven't been posting photos doesn't mean nothing was happening.

I will admit that shortly after my last post reality set in that there was no way the Airstream would be ready to attend the 2013 WBCCI International Rally in June/July.

I continued to work, partially dropping the ceiling to replace all the wiring. I found a couple of places mice had chewed on the wiring, but it was mostly OK. There were a few mouse trails in the insulation above the kitchen, but most was untouched and reusable. I did find a hidden TV antenna cable between the inner and outer skins.

I planned to replace all 12V and 110VAC just to be safe and to allow me to separate it into more separate circuits to limit the effects, should a short ever occur.

I did not want to un-rivet the door frame, and I felt that completely removing and re-installing the ceiling were not a one person jobs, so the ceiling was rolled back from the street side toward the door without being totally removed. The fiberglass endcaps were not removed. This required me to use a fish tape to fish new wires in places that were not exposed.

The attached photos show my progress up to about June 1st, at which time I stopped working on the trailer so that I could prepare two presentations I was scheduled to deliver at the WBCCI International Rally at the end of the month. As work stopped, the ceiling was hanging down and the new wiring was partially installed.

I will continue to update progress from July to October in later posts.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:20 PM   #86
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After returning from the WBCCI International Rally in July, work resumed.

Because of some other commitments that somewhat limited the time I had to work on the Airstream, it took until about Labor Day to complete installing all of the new wiring and get the ceiling re-installed. I reused insulation where it was still in good shape and replace sections that had mouse trails.

I also installed new marker lamps, finding that the exterior skin should eventually polish up nicely. I make sure that all exterior lamp wiring had service loops in case I ever need to remove/or replace lamps.

I also got a friend to help me buck rivet the rear exterior molding back in place to prepare for re-installation of the lower rear inner skins.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:38 PM   #87
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From Labor Day on, the pace of work increased as I attempted to get all of the inner skins re-installed and painted before it got too cold to paint in an unheated garage.

Actually, I wanted to get the interior painted and the new floor tiles installed before it got too cold, but I keep amazing myself at how easy it is to miss self imposed deadlines, not to mention that work has been very stressful lately. I now say that anything involved with restoring a vintage Airstream is going to take 10x as long as it seems like it should. There are just too many little details to address. In the end, I came to accept that getting the interior painted before winter was a more realistic goal.

My next accomplishments were to get the rear and front lower inner skins re-installed. I washed the front and rear lower inner skins BEFORE re-installing them. After re-installation, the contrast to the rest of the inner skins was dramatic. The interior walls would require a THOROUGH cleaning before sanding and painting.

The attached photos get us to about the end of September.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:58 PM   #88
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Luckily Michigan Has been experiencing a very nice Indian Summer with high temps mostly in the mid 60's so far. That plus using a couple of vacation days allowed me to re-install the window and roof vent trims, remove window, curtain, and miscellaneous hardware, wash the walls several times, sand the walls, wash the walls again, mask the areas that won't be painted, paint the walls, and remove the masking.
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Old 10-14-2013, 08:11 PM   #89
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This brings us up to date.

What paint did I use?

Well, I do not own professional spray painting equipment and I did not want to purchase any and then learn to use it to spray new Zolatone.

But I wanted an original "specked" Zolatone like appearance.

I compromised and used Rustoleum Multicolored Textured aerosol cans in the Caribbean Sand color. I used 38 cans on the inner skins plus three cans of primer (I will use more cans repainting closet and roof locker inner walls before re-installation, since they have already been painted in latex).

I think it looks good. The color is a little lighter than the original Zolatone, but I think it will work fine.

BTW, I masked off areas behind the fridge, cabinets, and bath tub that can't normally be seen, and did not paint them, so whoever re-restores this Airstream in another 50 years will know what the original Zolatone color was.
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:22 PM   #90
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Work has continued. Since the last post I finally removed the furnace and the last of the original floor tiles.

I also made an aluminum tray to hold the custom gray tank that I will be adding. But before talking about that, here is some info about the custom gray water tank that I had made to my specifications a few months ago . . .

The gray tank is only about 12.5 gallons, but it will allow limited boon docking for a day or two without dragging out a blue boy. It will fit in a single frame bay without removal of the in floor furnace duct and it will not hang down below the belly pan. It will be mounted in the 2nd bay rearward of the axle, which should not be too bad for weight distribution. The tank is 42" x 21" x 4" and is made from 1/4" thick black polyethylene that was hot air air welded. The two threaded fittings on the top were made made from solid blocks of white polyethylene that were drilled and tapped for superior strength compared to normal spin weld fittings. The discharge pipe will also serve as an inlet from the bath tub and bathroom sink. It was welded to the tank, rather than use a threaded fitting to allow the inside of the pipe to be right at the bottom of the tank to allow for complete drainage. One pipe through the floor will connect to the vent pipe in the closet and the other located under the bed is for water from the kitchen sink.

I made the tray for the gray tank out of an old piece of Reynolds Aluminum 6061-T6 that is 0.050 thick. That heavy panel was originally an outer skin repair panel from my old '55 Safari, but I had to replace it because it too had been creased by a prior owner. I had been holding that panel for a future project and a gray tank holding tray seemed like the perfect use for it.

I then made three gray tank holding straps out of 1' x 1/8" steel straps and as of this last weekend, I had everything temporarily test fit in place before dis-assembly to allow the straps to be painted. Final installation of the tank may not occur until spring.

I also made a brace to strengthen the cross member that I had to cut for the gray tank discharge pipe, but I did not get a photo of it.

There may not be any more updates for a while. Work is probably going to slow down for a while because after the daylight savings time change it is too dark to work after work and I have some weekend commitments coming up.
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Old 07-17-2016, 07:51 AM   #91
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Long time no activity on this thread. I last posted in 2013, but work continued through August 2014 before stalling until slowly resuming work earlier this year. I will try to catch things up over the next couple of days. This will be the first update.

In March 2014, I took the tub to a professional to have it refinished. At his suggestion, I went with a paint based rather than gel coat based refinish. He repaired the cracks and sanded it smooth before painting it and he tried to match the original color as close as possible. This option was less than half the cost of gel coat. I guess time will tell if it was the right choice.

Before and after photos are attached.
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:30 AM   #92
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Hi from AZ. . . Now THAT'S what I call a project ! ! ! glad to see the old girl coming along, thanks for sharing. . . Craig
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Old 07-21-2016, 07:48 PM   #93
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The next overdue update occurred between May and August 2014 (working very infrequently), when I repaired the belly wrap forward of the street side wheel well.

When I got the trailer, there was a repair panel in this area that was installed with a second row of steel rivets that had rusted and had been touched up with silver paint (1st photo). It did not fit right (there were bubbles where it did not fit flat) and worse, the rear edge of this panel at thew wheel well opening was cracked and bent and the wheel well trim was missing.

I removed this panel to expose the much worse damaged original belly wrap (2nd photo). The trailer was obviously pulled along some low object that wrinkled and tore the belly wrap. I have no photo evidence showing this damage during the Around the World Caravan, so I believe this occurred some time after the trailer returned home.

I installed the new repair panel by drilling out the rivets holding the side skin to the C-channel and buck riveting in a new panel (3rd photo) tucked undere the side skin, just like the original belly wrap. I even had a piece of wheel well trim left over from a prior project that I used to dress up the wheel well opening. I think it looks much better now. Most casual observers will never know there was damage there.
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Old 07-21-2016, 10:19 PM   #94
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Eagle eyed readers will see some signs of progress on another repair in the photos in my last post.

In August 2014, I also repaired the street side wheel well opening that had bent outward with accompanying rips in the aluminum skin at the front and rear of the wheel well opening. This wheel well opening looks normal in photos from the early part of the Around the World Caravan, but is seen in the same ripped condition in photos from the latter part of the ATWC. I do not know the story of how that damage occurred, but I suspect that the wheel studs likely broke and the wheel came free, ripped the wheel well opening, and then beat up the belly wrap behind the wheel well opening. I had previously repaired that rear belly wrap damage before I replaced the rear section of floor since that provided easy access to both sides for the bucking of rivets.

Attached are before, during, and after repair wheel well opening photos. I did not want to replace the whole side panel. You will see that after bending the ripped section back into place, it did not return to a fully smooth surface, so I decided to rivet on a section of awning rail to hide the waves in the skin. An awning rail of this type has been a common Airstream modification over the decades to allow a wheel skirt to be put in place to keep sun off the tires while parked, so it seemed like a period correct disguise. I also had to add one small patch above the awning rail because the front rip extended above the rail.

As you will see in my next post, I had to use a similar awning rail on the curb side wheel well as well.
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Old 07-21-2016, 10:47 PM   #95
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Atfer August 2014, all work stopped until about June 2016 when I finally started working on the curb side wheel well opening. This was the last panel repair needed on the exterior, but it posed one of the biggest challenges, so it got left to last.

The curb side wheel well was also ripped when we got Cramer (our name for old #6768 based upon the last name of the couple that took it around the world). This wheel well was damaged much later and was done purposefully with a saw and pliers. I believe the street side wheel well served a prior owner as inspiration when a tire change was needed and the original axle was frozen in place. I believe the wheel well was cut and bent outward to allow the wheel and tire to be slipped off and back on the hub.

The bigger issue, though was that there was a previous leak above the wheel well and the aluminum skin had experienced galvanic corrosion to the galvanized steel wheel well tub to which it was riveted. I knew that when I started working on this side, a hole was going to open in the aluminum skin and possibly in the galvanized steel tub as well, but I did not want to completely replace the side skin.

In the end, I had to put a patch panel over the holes on the side skin as well as another patch inside the galvanized tub. I then riveted an awning rail over the patch above the wheel well opening as on the street side to make the repair as inconspicuous as possible.

With this post, this thread is now up to date on restoration progress. I will next return to working on a variety of things in the interior.
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:05 AM   #96
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Amazing.
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Old 06-01-2017, 02:45 AM   #97
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1963 26' Overlander
Longmont , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2017
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I just joined this forum. I was a member of the Around the World Caravan - my dad wrote the book commemorating the trip. I wonder if anyone knows what happened to 8511, which was the trailer we travelled in?
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Old 06-01-2017, 08:39 AM   #98
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1962 22' Safari
2016 30' Classic
Southeast , Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by email2scott View Post
I just joined this forum. I was a member of the Around the World Caravan - my dad wrote the book commemorating the trip. I wonder if anyone knows what happened to 8511, which was the trailer we travelled in?
Hi Scott,
I met your parents and sister Judy back in 2014 and communicate by email with Judy & Lorie occasionally. I am in touch with several other ATWC participants from other families. It's great to be in touch with you too now. I will also try to reach you via direct email, so that we can catch up on a variety of things, but I will answer your specific question here:

At the current time, I know of almost a dozen surviving Airstream trailers from the 47 that participated on the ATWC. It seems a new survivor is identified every year or two. Unfortunately, the 1963 26' Overlander bearing #8511 that your family used on the ATWC has not been rediscovered yet.

All I have related to #8511 is that according to the copy of a letter that your parents gave me when I visited, they were contacted in 1966 from a couple named Elden and Dexter Johnson of Orange City, FL that stated that they had bought your parents ATWC Airstream. Looking back at old WBCCI Membership Directories, I found that Elden and Dexter Johnson, of Orange City, FL were WBCCI members under the #15237 from 1966 thru 1972 and that they had moved to Sarasota, FL by 1972. We can guess that they owned your ATWC Airstream the entire time they were in the club, but cannot prove it.

I will suspect that if that Airstream is ever found, the number 15237 may be much more visible than the old 8511, given that is newer and likely was on the trailer longer, possibly much longer if not removed after the Johnsons dropped out of the club.

To everyone else reading this, if you ever find a 1963 26' Overlander bearing the number 15237, possibly with a faint #8511 underneath, and quite possibly in Florida (though it could have moved anywhere in the years that followed), please contact me ASAP! Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-19-2017, 08:29 PM   #99
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1962 22' Safari
2016 30' Classic
Southeast , Michigan
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Is been a while since I provided a progress update on ATWC #6768, a.k.a “Cramer”, our 1962 22’ Safari. Work has been more steady this year . . . year 6 of my planned 6 month restoration. House projects kept me from starting until May. None of the mundane work so far this year is worth posting photos.

In May 2017, I did the following:
  • Installed a 120V outlet behind where the fridge will be reinstalled, just in case I want to upgrade to a 2-way (LP and 120V) fridge in the future. The current intent is to retain the original “LP only” fridge.
  • Installed the 120V Breaker Box to the wall in what will be the rear closet when the interior is reinstalled. I also connected the wires and installed the breakers, except that I did not connect the 30A shore power cable because I want to install the new floor tiles before feeding the cable up thru a hole in the floor.
  • I also made an aluminum tray to line the floor the 30A power cable compartment so that the cable does no chafe on sharp aluminum edges and rivet shanks when traveling down the road. I wanted to protect the cable from the belly pan seam in the compartment.
No work in June as I was away much of the month traveling in our other Airstream.

In July 2017, I did the following:
  • Applied “Git Rot” penetrating exopy to the floor sheets that were not replaced, basically from the axle forward. I applied it to the panel edges and at every existing floor to frame bolt head. In July, I used almost 3 full 16 oz. bottles, not counting the 2 more bottles I used years ago at the very front of the floor when reattaching the front of the shell to the frame. The grand total was 5 16 oz. bottles for three sheets of floor! I think it will be fine.
Work then stopped while I attended the WBCCI International Rally.

(Truth be told, were I starting this project now, I would replace the entire floor, but when I did what I did, I was still working, with limited free time and no helpers. Given that the interior skins are reinstalled and the interior is painted, there is no way I am taking it apart again to replace the front floor. Given that this trailer will always be stored indoors when not in use, at least as long as I own it, and given that the mileage accumulation rate will be much less than in the early years when it when 31,000+ miles over all sorts of horrible roads in a little over a year during the Around the World Caravan, I think it should be good for another 50 years before the next person re-restores it.)

So far in August, I have done the following:
  • Sanded the entire floor in preparation for the application of leveling compound at floor panel edges and bolt heads and then new floor tiles.
  • Stripped all of the window latches and screen retainers and screw heads. They likely were originally Zolatoned, but when I got the trailer that had a thick layer of latex on them. They will look better unpainted.
  • Started to reinstall the window hardware (new openers from VTS, and the recently stripped latches and screen retainers). I have installed these items for 3 out of 6 windows so far, but have discovered one window frame has a broken corner, so I will have the be taken off and welded.
That’s it for now. The plan is to get all of the windows working so that I can once again seal up the trailer to keep the dust out (it gets real dusty in the rented storage unit). Then I will level the floor and install the new VCT tiles. This must happen before the weather gets cold. Then I will begin to restore the cabinets and reinstall them and refinish the light fixtures and reinstall them. The plan is to have the trailer usable (though not “done”) by next summer. I doubt I’ll get to polishing before 2018 at the earliest.

It is definitely more fun working on the “going back together” phase than in the “take it apart” phase.
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WBCCI/VAC #6768

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Old 08-28-2017, 10:30 AM   #100
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1951 21' Flying Cloud
Sacramento , California
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Lots of progress! I've used Git Rot before in marine applications and that stuff dries like concrete and stays that way. I think you'll be in good shape!
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