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Old 09-22-2013, 01:07 AM   #1
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Naddy's Renovation thread (second attempt)

Ooops - posted this in teh 1956 Overlander forum but I think it should go here

Naddy is our 1957 Overlander and I will use this thread to update you on the rehabilitation effort.
Actually, Naddy is the second last Ohio-built Overlander in 1956 but, acording to her serial number but I think it is fair to assume that she is a 1957 model, right? I have a also a full blog on the renovation on blogspot. So here we go. I will ask specific questions (of which I have A LOT) in the specific repair sub-fora.
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Old 09-22-2013, 01:12 AM   #2
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Endpanel dent removal

When we got Naddy, we thought that we would have to live with the dents in the endpanels. I do not have the $ to pay an Airstream Service Center repair and made peace with the fact that this is how Naddy looks.
Then last week, I put in my first order to Harborfreight Tools and I see this pneumatic suction cup dent remover. Cost $69 or so. Well, I got it and what it did today is shown in the pair of images below. I am very very happy. The dents are 90% out and the last one came out but popped back in. So that one I fix with styrofoam as insulation once the inside skin is off (as one of the wizards recommended). Although there are 2 mild creases, 2 of the dents popped out after one minute. It is a great tool IMHO.
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Old 09-22-2013, 01:22 AM   #3
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Naddy is loosing weight

Another thing I did today is taking some of that excessive weight of Naddy's extended rear bumper. The frame was extended 7" and there was a 3" diameter steel-tube attached, maybe as storage for the sewage pipe. Also, Naddy had some very heave homemade stabilizer jacks (mentioned in a post elsewhere) and a steel bracket for the spare wheel. Well, I cut out more than 120 pounds of steel and now the rear bumper looks much more like I think it is supposed to look like (still needs to be welded back on the frame).

I wonder where the spare wheel is supposed to be stored. Though the front tongue on Naddy is 38" long and I think that is where I will mount it (will post on that at a later point).
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:57 AM   #4
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I put my comment on the other thread.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:58 AM   #5
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Great work on removing those dents!!!
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:13 AM   #6
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Contact Kip, Aerowood on the forums, if you want to make those end cap segments look even better. Kip knows aluminum repair as well as anyone and makes a roller to help remove the residual effects of such damage. Great work on the bumper. Keep asking questions. It's amazing how helpful people are when you ask. It sure has helped me.
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Old 09-12-2015, 12:08 PM   #7
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Emptying out the trailer

I got really paranoid about ripping the interior out of the trailer and accidently throwing things away. So we decided to keep everything and try to take things out as undamaged as possible. Wise people on the forum cautioned us that templates are of utmost importance for rebuilding the interior (and I completely agree). Being a complete novice and amateur in Airstream renovations that - well - that took a while.
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Old 09-12-2015, 12:35 PM   #8
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And then we threw something away and regretted it

I don't have a shop or a barn and consequently storage space is somewhat limited. When I took out the heaviest mattresses on the planet they were pretty dirty and we thought there is no way that they could be cleaned let alone repaired. I hope we were correct because they were original and made out of foam rubber - as far as I know. They also had a delivery date stamped on them "JAN 3 - 1957" (the trailer was built in Ohio in 1956, the second last Overlander that yr I believe).
In any case they are gone.
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Old 09-12-2015, 01:38 PM   #9
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Stripping paint

One of my most favorite places to go to look for pictures of renovated airstreams is Eric Stoltz - Vintage Airstream Restore, Rebuild, Repair - Central Texas (New Braunfels, Austin, San Antonio, Houston) and their project photo album. My wife really likes the trailers with the inside shell polished as is seen in some of their trailers. She says it is the analogue to stripping layers and layers of paint from old wooden doors in vintage houses and the just oiling them. I kind of agree.
So stripping the paint from the inside shell was the next task at hand. How hard could it be? It was hard. It is one of these jobs you start and half way through you cannot believe you are really doing it and just before you are done you really want to give up. Many thanks to a number of folks here who posted what works and what does not. I used the following:
Any kind of paint stripper, regular Kleanstrip, strong Kleanstrip, Aircraft Remover, etc. They all work quite good for the 4 or 5 layers of paint that POs added on top of the Zolatone. For the Zolatone itself in my opinion (after 22 linear feet of airstream stripping) CitriStrip is the by far best working product. All in all I went through 4 gallons of CitriStrip and a similar number of conventional paint stripping solvents. Plus 2 gallons of Mineral Spirits, which works great in combination with CitriStrip.
As far as tools are concerned, I used exclusively plastic razor blades with and a sturdy metal grip. The metal holder was supposed to hold metal blades but somehow one can squeeze the plastic ones in. I found it important because it allowed to exact much more pressure while scraping paint still without scratching the aluminum. I went through a number of pairs of gloves and found Neoprene ones to be the most resistant/resilient.
Thanks again to folks who recommended methods and tools before, Reinergirl and Rankam come to mind but I am sure there were many more who have posted on the topic. I attach a few pics.
The last pic shows the owner of the trailer checking on the progress of the renovation
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Old 09-12-2015, 07:23 PM   #10
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Nice to see your back at it. That owner looks rather demanding, so you better do a good job.

Here is a 59 Overlander that I almost purchased. I may have been into it like you are with your 57. Overlanders must be the most popular model Airstream made back then.

I ended up with a 66 Trade Wind instead. Working on it was still fun, some of the time. The Trade Wind had that great vinyl laminated aluminum interior skins. They cleaned up easily and nicely. No paint stripping for me this time.

Thanks for the link to the Eric Stoltz business.

Press on regardless...

David
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Old 09-14-2015, 10:24 PM   #11
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Thanks David,
The owner is very demanding. Problem is she cannot make up her mind between playtime with dad or getting the camper fixed up to go on trips
I originally looked at mid 1960s Overlanders and then stumbled upon these single axle Overlanders. I thought they are pretty, large enough, and at 3550 pounds really light. In hindsight, I think to myself that a tandem axle would have been a quite a bit safer option. One of my friends who is a rancher and has a trucking business asked me in disbelief what I exactly I mean by a 26' long trailer with only one axle.
The Interior of that '59 looks amazing. Mine had it's interior but it was completely taken over by rats. And the outsider of my trailer is in pretty rough shape too. But I figure that way I learn more fixing it up.
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Old 09-15-2015, 06:31 PM   #12
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The 59 Overlander does look long from the axle back, but like you mentioned, they were built light back then. You will have to plan your renovation with weight balance in mind. A nice fresh water tank in front helps add tongue weight. Keep waste water tanks in front of or very close to the axle. Don't be planning a king sized water bed in the back. Maybe a light weight air mattress would work good? I might recommend 12 to 15 percent of the weight of the trailer on the tongue. And a good anti sway hitch will help in cross winds and down hill curves. You should be able to pull your Overlander with a 6 cylinder minivan.

There are dual axle Overlanders as it was an option. I'm not sure what year that started.

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Old 09-16-2015, 12:19 AM   #13
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Thanks for the advice David.
You are completely right, I will have to do quite a bit of calculation. I will get a 40 gal fresh water tank for the front. So that should help.
I was actually off regarding the weight of the trailer. It's only 3170 lbs. according to the Airstream archive. But I will add quite a bit of weight (for example the non-existing battery bank). I got a 5000 lbs rated axle from Inland RV and under no circumstance do I want to get near to that weight.
But the holding tanks are something I have to address pretty soon since I hope to take the shell off later this month. My Overlander has the bathroom in the back and I'd like to keep it there but that does not bode so well for locating the black tank or grey tank for that matter close to the axle. I have read up on a few '57 Overlander renovation threads. I just began reading your thread on the Inca tanks, which is really helpful. I was considering those tanks for my trailer.
I don't know when Airstream began selling the Overlander with a tandem axle option but they stopped producing single axle Overlanders in California in 1957 and in Jackson Center in 1959. So, the one that you were thinking about must have been one of the last produced.
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Old 09-16-2015, 08:50 PM   #14
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I think your frame rails are 4" C channels. My 66 has 5" channels. The channel depth is a big factor in the type of molded tanks you purchase.

Your bathroom design has to consider toilet placement. You can do an above floor black tank and have the toilet on the outside of the frame rails. My son's 69 Globetrotter is built this way from the factory. I elected to move my Trade Wind toilet inside the frame rails so I could have a below the floor black tank. The toilet has to be position over the black tank so gravity can do its thing.

With your Overlander, you could always make it a rule that you drain your waste water tanks before hitting the highway. Boondock, then drive carefully and slowly to the nearest dump station, drain off the water weight, and be on your way. I have a rule that I always tow the Trade Wind with 50 percent fresh water in the tank for tongue weight ballast.

Here is the little bathroom sketch I did one evening trying to consider every detail. I admire the Airstream designers as they do a wonderful job with limited space. There are other Forum members who have created nicer bathrooms than mine, and you will too. But it's a place to start.

David
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:44 PM   #15
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David,
Thanks for sending the bathroom layout pics. Your bathroom looks great. I like the placing of the toilet and I really like what looks like a sliding door.
The '57 Overland layout had the black tank mounted on top of the floor in the corner. I still have the galvanized old black tank for tempting. Toilet was sitting on top and the, very small, shower pan was in front of it. The sink was centered in from of the aft window and the stressed corner was a storage cabinet. I would like to at least space out the shower and the toilet. That is in part because I am 6.7 tall, which calls into question why I got a '57 Overlander in the first place.
You are absolutely correct, my trailer has a 4" frame, not helping for tank sensor systems, which I believe requires a 5" tank minimum depth. VTS has 4" tanks but I thought that I may hang the tanks lower than 4" and build flanges for the belly pan side. I have to redo the belly pan anyway. I could put two 4" tanks in the frame and build or purchase a black tank for above floor installation but then I could not use the grey tanks to flush the black tank, which sounds like a desirable setup to me. For the shower, I thought I use a Hebvo drain water valve Hepvo Waterless Valve
VTS is selling them too. Well, first I have to make a nice paper sketch like yours and get an exact frame layout underneath. There are two '57 Overlander renovation threats that I have read and re-read.
Here they are
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...n-87899-6.html
Around post #81, Sparky57 discusses the tank layout in his trailer and

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f99/...-48054-20.html
Post #269 and others. It's stunningly beautiful work that Pbearsailor does, way way beyond my skills but very inspiring.
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Old 09-30-2015, 11:09 PM   #16
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Finally the inside panels come off

Now that the paint is gone I finally can take the inside panels off. It's not as if this is the greatest job in the world given that in many areas the rodent owners of the trailer had built entire cities and left 'things' behind. But it is the last step before the shell is lifted. So much fun to check some of the original construction features out. I attach a few pics showing the perfectly fine insulation (after 58 yrs) in some places and the totally chewed up insulation in other areas. Especially bad conditions between the endcaps. Quite a bit of rodent pee caused corrosion on the 'cylon' Also a pic of the original wire-junction-solution. It's dirty work but so exciting.
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Old 09-30-2015, 11:24 PM   #17
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Free stuff to give away

I have a few things taken out of my 1957 Overlander that I do no longer need but maybe you can use them?
These include:
1) a complete and almost intact maple gaucho (I think almost all of the veneer could be refinished)
2) An overhead cabinet, also in decent condition shape. It is not original to the trailer but was added later to replace one of the original upper bank beds
3) A few parts of the original TV antenna (inside crank mechanism and outside holding brackets);
4) Freshwater pressurizing pump (I doubt it works but haven't tried).

I include a few pics below. The caveat for the wooden items is that I am located in north central Idaho, not necessarily the epicenter of vintage airstream renovators, so you may have to drive a little if you want to get the wooden parts. I could probably ship the smaller things.



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Old 10-04-2015, 11:39 AM   #18
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Inside shell is out

The inside shell is out. Taking the rivets and the aluminum sheets out did not take nearly as long as cleaning out the insulation and most importantly vacuuming and vacuuming again the - hmmm - let's say not so appealing remaining bits of rodent life. Took pics of the guys who - supposedly - built the trailer. I also took out the outer wheel wells, under which I found the inner (or the other way round ) wheel wells in surprisingly good condition. Next step - floor templating.
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Old 10-04-2015, 12:51 PM   #19
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The Cylon or toasters have always come back but you have the ability to make her better than she was before just remember that crap can get fracking expensive so patch paste and reuse what you can! You can do it and so far you have accomplished a ton! I am still working on mine had to take a heat break as I suffered heat issues working on the caravel in the the beginning of the summer. I do like the pictures keep up the great work you are doing awesome!
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Old 10-05-2015, 09:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naddy View Post
David,
The '57 Overland layout had the black tank mounted on top of the floor in the corner. I still have the galvanized old black tank for tempting. Toilet was sitting on top and the, very small, shower pan was in front of it...You are absolutely correct, my trailer has a 4" frame, not helping for tank sensor systems, which I believe requires a 5" tank minimum depth. VTS has 4" tanks but I thought that I may hang the tanks lower than 4" and build flanges for the belly pan side. I have to redo the belly pan anyway. I could put two 4" tanks in the frame and build or purchase a black tank for above floor installation but then I could not use the grey tanks to flush the black tank, which sounds like a desirable setup to me.
Mark,

I am really enjoying reading about your restoration. The pictures are great! Have you given any thought to a composting toilet? I know this is almost as controversial a topic as tires and WD hitches, but there are a number of folks on the forums that swear by them and it might be a way to reduce weight and give you more flexibility with grey and fresh water. If you haven't seen them, you might want to check out the YouTube videos by the Wynns on composting toilets.

https://youtu.be/5CdnVZkCKXU
https://youtu.be/dYR6GPmDzVM

Your doing an amazing job. Best of luck in your restoration journey!
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