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Old 08-18-2017, 11:15 AM   #1
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1970 27' Overlander
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Texas City , Texas
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Hiring ! Help wanted !!

Hi airstreamers!
my plan A has crashed and burned....so onto plan B.
I would like to hire someone with experience to do the plumbing, electrical and/or carpentry in my 1970 27ft. Overlander!
It is completely gutted..... no interior walls....clean slate to work with..!

my trailer is located in the texas city area....(42 miles south of houston!) If you are in this area, these are my requests:
1. experience in any or all of the skills listed above and have your own
tools..(if you restored airstreams already would be a plus!!)
2. airstream knowledge of how systems work (which is why i'm looking here)
3. since the clock is ticking for me...prefer individuals who are retired or have
the time to complete the job in a consistent and timely manner !
4. allow me to help you in any way i can to to allow me to learn about
where everything is and how it works!
5. would enjoy taking on such a project and be as
excited about it as i am....well "almost" as excited would be ok too !

If you are interested and would like to discuss further, or have any questions please respond to this post or leave me your contact info! looking forward to hearing from you!!
thank you , teri
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Old 08-18-2017, 11:59 AM   #2
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Hi Teri! If you've browsed Airstream Addicts on FB for any length of time, you'll have seen a collection of stories about not-so-happy endings to hiring "not ready for primetime" contractors that end up in bad situations--over their head and the owners are out lots of money.

I'd suggest your criteria may be leaning that way. I don't think anyone is going to get "the dream" quite like you do, you'll have to pay them to care enough to achieve your vision. There's very little recourse with individuals if things go sideways. Personally, I'd never hire a private individual to work on my Airstream in the absence of a resume as long as their arm...with pics and references (lots) that I could talk to. The gutted state of your trailer doesn't necessarily make it easier to work--quite the opposite in my mind. You need someone who possesses the skills and knowledge to create a template out of thin air--not for the beginner. All of this says nothing about the proper weight distribution inside the trailer that is needed to have something that can be towed (like where the tanks go relative to bath, galley, appliances, what the tongue weight's going to be, etc etc).

They don't do work fast, but I can't encourage you enough to contact Harry at Bob Jones RV in South Houston (just across the I-45 from Hobby). It will cost a lot (still true no matter who you hire), and they take a while to do it, but every dollar is well spent. There's not a shortcut from where you're at to a finished trailer.

Alternatively- Tim McNutt and Jim Foy over on Airstream Addicts are two guys that I'd trust. The downside, is you'll be paying them to come from Tennessee area and Maine, respectively. Best of luck and keep in touch to let us know how you're progressing.

Dave
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:00 PM   #3
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thank you dave!!
valuable information and i appreciate your insight to my dilemma!!
I do plan on taking it to an airstream specific place for some things....so it probably won't hurt to see what kind of quote they can give me....but time is essential and i can't let her sit around for months .....thank you for responding!!
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by terirdh View Post
my plan A has crashed and burned....so onto plan B.
If you'll pardon my impertinence…

Anyone who has ever watched an action/adventure movie— or planned a major project— knows that Plan A never works. That's why I prepare a Plan A and a Plan B up front. Then I throw away Plan A unused and make Plan B my first plan to try! Saves a lot of grief that way.

But getting onto more pertinent matters… Do you at least have a design for the workers you hire to use? Or will they also have to design the interior as they go?

I respectfully submit that you need someone to do the design first, including at least approximate weight/balance computations to make sure the weight is properly distributed between axles and tongue, and from side-to-side, with appropriate allowances for "live" loads (loads that may vary from one trip to the next, i.e. everything that's not attached). Allowances for live loads are important, because otherwise you may be building in storage that you can't use due to weight distribution limitations.

Then, when you have at least a rough written/drawn design to work from, you can start looking for people to implement that design.

But I'm not volunteering to do the design, not even for pay. My areas of expertise lie elsewhere. I'm just pointing out that if you don't have a design in hand, it's too early to hire builders. And if you do have a design, then the person who developed the design should supervise the construction to make sure it's done the way he designed it.
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:49 PM   #5
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Terirdh, I would follow DaveMC advice and contact professional Airstream restoration, otherwise you will very likely get "taken". I am basing this on the glaringly obvious state of Newbieitis. The there are lots of very unscrupulous people out there that would love to take lots of money from you who don't know much more about Airstream than you do. Before you have total sticker shock you should know that a total restoration is going to cost easy $100,000 and take 6 months from start to finish and that's if they start today and I am probably low in the estimates. I just hate to see anyone get taken if I could have said something and prevented it. You enthusiasm is endearing but your ignorance is startling. You seem to be in a hurry and restorations take lots of TIME and MONEY. Good luck to you and please go slowly and throughly check out who ever you hire.
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:54 PM   #6
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If you go with someone like "Harry at Bob Jones RV," I recommend you get some kind of quote before they get started. Given you are choosing to to the "professional" route, before you do that make sure that (1) it's not more expensive than buying a brand spanking new Airstream and (2) that they can design and build your dream. Check references, look at previous build-outs they've done, and talk with other folks for whom they have done work. Good luck, and have fun!
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Old 08-18-2017, 04:03 PM   #7
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Terirdh, I would follow DaveMC advice and contact professional Airstream restoration, otherwise you will very likely get "taken".
Restoration consists of returning the trailer to factory-original condition or as near as possible. If all that's being done is building a new interior with a new layout, that's not restoration, and it can be done for a lot less.

The fact that Terirdh mentioned "clean slater to work with" leads me to believe that they're not looking to restore the trailer to an as-original condition. So your pricing, while probably accurate for a restoration, is likely to be higher than Terirdh will have to pay in the long run.

But getting back to Terirdh's assertion that they're in a hurry… An empty shell of a trailer can still be used, as long as it has a sub-floor and it's road-worthy with regard to suspension/tires/brakes, lights, etc. Think of it as a rigid aluminum tent. Load up with sleeping bags, clothing, and groceries, take along a grill and lawn chairs, and get a campsite close to the campground's bathhouse.

I used to know someone in northern Louisiana who did exactly that. It took well over two years for him to build the interior, wire it, and plumb it (not necessarily in that order), but at least he was using the trailer in the meantime, so the time it took wasn't a burden. And his aluminum-tent camping trips also gave him ideas for custom interior details that made his Airstream unique, and uniquely perfect for him and his family.
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Old 08-18-2017, 04:18 PM   #8
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Oh, Protagonist, I love custom Airstreams. It is awesome to see what others have done. I am just concerned that the OP may be setting himself/herself up to be scammed based on his post. That's all. If I am wrong and the OP totally understands what they are getting into then I completely apologize for making an assumptions to the level of his/her knowledge.
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Old 08-18-2017, 05:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by kendrick.l.j View Post
Oh, Protagonist, I love custom Airstreams. It is awesome to see what others have done. I am just concerned that the OP may be setting himself/herself up to be scammed based on his post. That's all. If I am wrong and the OP totally understands what they are getting into then I completely apologize for making an assumptions to the level of his/her knowledge.
De nada. I was merely concerned when you mentioned "restoration" and "going to cost easy $100,000" that we might scare off the OP— especially if restoration to factory-original condition is not his goal.

By the way, the idea of using a gutted Airstream as an aluminum tent while renovation (or restoration) is underway was given to me years ago by fellow AirForums member mgriffrus, who hosted the late and lamented "Two Weeks from Everywhere" rallies a few years ago. All credit goes to him, wherever he is now.
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Old 08-18-2017, 06:04 PM   #10
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Unless it has significant special value to you, as in the case of it being a family coach full of memories, sell it to the company with the highest bid and look for a completed coach from a valid builder or well maintained coach in good condition. This is a throw away money project. May be the right thing to do, but go into it with extreme care, full purse, and with eyes wide open.

Friend has an inventory of about 50 cars that need to be restored. Every time he gets one out for work the guy get's busy doing other things and eventually my friend is lucky to get all the parts back. There are reliable shops out there, but they are expensive. Low rent is only possible if you do it yourself or manage the project with a very watchful eye and have both an understanding of the skills required and great project management ability.

If you do find the right person, start a business with them. You will have found a true unicorn and a wonderful human being.

Luck with the project. Pat
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:36 PM   #11
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I'll be the pessimist in the crowd, although I prefer realist.

The OP mentions a revamping of plans and a time factor several times.

Sell the empty shell.

Find a usable tralier to purchase.

Save the rebuilding of a gutted trailer for a time in the future when plans and time are not a factor.



You will save your sanity and an untold amount of money.



Regards,


JD
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terirdh View Post
... my 1970 27ft. Overlander!
It is completely gutted, no interior walls,clean slate to work with..i
Forgive my bold, perhaps harsh, response to your call for help. To beautifully build out a "gutted" (how I hate that word) 1970 Airstream shell is a $100K exercise in self-indulgence. If you want to turn the shell it into a yard cottage -- hell, call it a tiny house --any handyman could bang it out lots cheaper.

M
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Old 08-19-2017, 02:42 PM   #13
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Renovation

I did my 75 International from February to June. 1st get the mechanics done. Brakes, electric, battery, plumbing, put in hot water tank, heater , water pump etc. Buy all parts 6 weeks in advance. Then put in the floor. Then move on to carpentry. Hire a company that makes high end cabinets. Be sure to work daily with them. Making sure that the frig is sealed and vented. At the same time ordering the seat cushions and curtains . I did my interior in maple with a white lament. White Corian countertops.The faucets and handles in brass. Then finally came the polish job. It Looks like a million bucks, but that was only stage 1. I had left the old upper cabinets in place but now want the rear cabinets replaced. I even had the old 4 burner stove replated. I couldn't take it anymore and had to leave but it's almost done. I left June 1st and am now we're in northern California. It was a good idea to leave, now I see all the extra things that need to be taken care of. Just get going on it. Ask the forum questions you have at night. It helped me greatly. Building your own personalized trailer is a wonderful experience. See you out there.
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Old 08-19-2017, 05:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
If you go with someone like "Harry at Bob Jones RV," I recommend you get some kind of quote before they get started. Given you are choosing to to the "professional" route, before you do that make sure that (1) it's not more expensive than buying a brand spanking new Airstream and (2) that they can design and build your dream. Check references, look at previous build-outs they've done, and talk with other folks for whom they have done work. Good luck, and have fun!
I agree with your advice completely, but feel a need to stick up for "Harry at Bob Jones".

Bob Jones RV has been active in Houston for a number of decades. My father used the services in the early 70s when they were still an Airstream dealer. Bob retired some time back, and Chris, his son, took over the head guy duties, with Harry as the #2 guy. They're extremely capable, and aside from slow results from Airstream in shipping repair stuff, they hold to the schedules they provide. Their estimates are not cheap, but they have an excellent staff that knows what they're doing. The parts for my trailer repairs came in last week after an extended period, and they're estimating the repairs will take about a week and a half. Not bad, from what I can see.

They've done some outstanding work, including complete new trailer chassis builds. They had one of the first Bambis in once a couple of years ago that took a complete shop-build chassis, as well as the most beautiful rework of the finish. I didn't know work like that skin job could be done. I'm sure it wasn't cheap, but it was CUSTOM work, and I'm sure the customer got an estimate to start with, and I'm sure the estimate wasn't inflated.

There are good and valid reasons why they're still in business.....one of the reasons is that they treat customers like customers should be treated.

They remain an excellent option.


Kent
Houston
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Old 08-19-2017, 05:15 PM   #15
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We like A & P in Paradise TX. Probably not close enough to you though.
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Old 02-22-2021, 07:44 AM   #16
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whatever happened with this story?
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