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Minno 05-03-2009 08:30 PM

Little Girl Refurb 1972
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Finally, after a long trip to get her home to Minnesota from Mobile, AL, and then finding a place in our yard to park her for a few years, and then building a shelter of sorts to help protect her and us from the rain and sun, we have started the long road of doing a complete refurbishment of our Little Girl. We’ve done a fairly extensive audit of what needs to be done plus all the stuff we want to do, and have a plan. Of course, like all plans, it’s subject to change. Overall, we are going to start by gutting her on the inside. We’ve been working on that the last couple of weekends and a few evenings here and there. So far, we have taking out everything from the front wall to the bedroom area. The pictures below show our progress. We still need to clear out all the loose stuff in the front, but at least it’s all loose and removable! We’ve found a couple of mice nests, and several paper wasp nests. All old and currently unused thank goodness! Even this little bit of progress is very gratifying.

Once we have her gutted, and I receive the many weather-stripping parts I’ve ordered, we’ll start making her weather tight on her upper shell before proceeding with more fun projects (like removing what’s left of the belly pan and the floor). She's our retirement project - in that we hope to have her completely refurbished in time for retirement. No big rush, we have at least 8 to 10 years…

Our plan is to make her into a rear bedroom, side bathroom floor plan. We'll be adding a grey water tank, as well as most likely moving the black water and fresh water tanks. The galley will basically remain in the same place, as will the refrigerator. Outside, we want to keep her as vintage as possible, but giving in to a few more modern safety items. For example, she needs all new tail lights and several new running lights, so all will be replaced with LED versions.

Chris & Kay

72BamaStream 05-04-2009 12:07 PM

:lol: I see that the glove is still there... too funny

willyd 05-04-2009 04:18 PM

Keep up the good work - looks like you are on the way to a fine Airstream.

Minno 05-04-2009 08:45 PM


Originally Posted by 72BamaStream (Post 694029)
:lol: I see that the glove is still there... too funny

Yes, we haven't gotten around to removing the glove yet. It keeps us from snagging on the lines! :D
Do you want it back?

Minno 05-17-2009 09:17 AM

Little Girl Inside Demo Complete
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Making progress – the demolition is all done after two or three weekends and several evenings of work. Still need to clear out the front of the Little Girl, but everything is detached and loose. We’re going to save all of the aluminum extrusions that held the paneling/walls in place. Not sure if I’ll use them yet or not, but if nothing else they’ll be a great template for the curved upper part of the walls.

Found floor rot in the bathroom – not unexpected, but a bit more than we thought. No biggie to us as we’re going to remove the entire floor and replace it anyway. Also found where a PO had made several plumbing repairs – clamped on clear vinyl tube where the copper water lines must have sprung a leak at some point. These were done long ago, in a galaxy far, far away… :) Also one vent pipe repair under the bathroom sink.

Anyway, now that we have an empty trailer, we started playing with floor layouts for the rear bedroom and side bath. Looks like we’ll end up with more room in the bedroom than we originally thought, which will be a plus!

With the side bath, we’re trying to decide if we should go with a shower or a step tub, since either one will be next to the front part of the wheel well on the curb side. We noticed that a 2009 AS with a side bath has a shower that must be next to the wheel well, as it looks like there is a void between the shower and the side wall. Does anyone have any idea what that space is used for? We were thinking a linen closet would be a good use of that space, but we’re also looking for ideas. The step tub would give us more room in the shower though…

Now, it’s on to working on the exterior, and making her weather tight. I have several hundred rivets to replace, where previous repairs were done using regular steel pop rivets. Two of the vista windows leak – the rear one on the curb side leaks badly. Both are also held in pace with those regular steel pop rivets, although the major source of the leaking is around the glass where the gasket material has failed. Vulkem will solve that. Other immediate outside projects include replacing the door latch (which is currently a regular house door knob) with the vintage one we bought. Pricey, but worth it for us to get the original look back. Unfortunately, we may end up with a patch around the vintage door latch, because there’s a patch there now and the patch is bigger than the latch itself. But, since I may need to repair the door at some point because is seems to be warped (doesn’t seal tight at the bottom of the opening), we may end up completely re-skinning the door anyway. First things first though…

Current plan:

1. Get her weather tight above the floor line.
2. Remove the belly skin.
3. Remove the floor.
4. Inspect the frame, sand blast if needed, repair as needed and paint.
5. Figure out tanks and plumbing layout.
6. Replace the floor.
7. Make new plan to see what to do next…:wally:

Chris & Kay

72BamaStream 05-19-2009 07:29 AM

So that's what she looks like "naked" huh? Wow you guys have done a ton of work! Well done...

Update here when you can! I look forward to watching your progress!

Minno 06-08-2009 07:47 PM

Front overhead cabinet gone
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We're making progress again. What we've been working on for the most part are the windows. Taking each one out, cleaning it, polishing the metal parts, replacing parts as needed, putting new gasket on, and then re-installing and adjusting them so the open and close easily and seal completely when closed. About 2 hours per window. So far, we have the 3 on the curb side done.

But rain and cooler weather brought us back inside for a bit. After hitting my head on the underside of the front overhead cabinet for more times than I care to admit, I decided it was time for it to go. I completely lost count of the number of rivets I had to drill out to remove it! I was going to count them, but gave up after 50 something...:) Anyway, the overhead piece is out. But not in one piece... :(

I was surprised to see that there are not any ribs supporting the curved end caps! No wonder they can dent so easily! But taking out the overhead really opened the front end of the trailer up! Now I can work on the front window without hitting my head every 5 to 10 minutes. Replacing it should prove interesting, but that's another day and another upcoming story.

Chris & Kay

Minno 06-14-2009 09:24 PM

New Door Latch
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Took a break from doing windows on Saturday and installed the new door latch on Little Girl. The regular house door knob, while functional, certainly wasn't in keeping with the looks of the her. Plus, I was worried that the knob would eventualy cause a good sized dent in her side. So replacing the latch was a project who's time had come...

A PO had replaced the airstream latch long ago, and had made a plate to cover the original hole. They also had moved the strike plate up about an inch or so in the door jamb by cutting the opening in the jamb quite a bit larger.

After removing the old door knob and the patch, I discovered a bit of a surprise - paper wasp nests! Fortunately, these are quite old, so no danger of getting stung! :)

The new latch fit the old hole perfectly. The screws on the inside of the door fit through the old screw holes, so actually installing the new latch was a breeze. I filled in the rivet holes that held the patch on with olymipic rivets, using vulkum to ensure they are sealed.

The interior of the door needs some cosmetic work, but we'll deal with that once we get to the cosmetic part of the interior design down the road. Waaaay down the road I'm thinking....

Moving the strike plate back to the oroginal position required a bit more work. I fashioned a new backup plate out of the old door patch, and used it to mount the strike plate. Seems to have worked out quite well. I'll be able to reinforce it once we have the inner skin off (I hope!) so it will withstand the rigors of traveling...

Once I got the door latch taken care of, we spent the rest of the weekend on the windows. Now, all of the opening windows have new gaskets, and they are cleaned, polished, parts replaced as needed, lubed, and all work quite well, and most importantly, seal tightly shut for the first time in many years! :):):)

Chris & Kay

danalee 06-15-2009 06:00 AM

I think you have the bug bad. Little Girl may be road ready sooner than later. That's ok you need to practice lots before you retire!

Maryw164 06-16-2009 02:24 PM

Nice work on the door latch. It looks so much better. Looks like you've had good sunny weather to work in. We got our new floor down finally, and will start on the bath tambour you sent us this week.Thanks again,

Your friends in Calif.

Steve & Mary

Minno 06-16-2009 03:39 PM

Two things:

Dannie, Having the bug bad is just ducky with us! :D

Mary, do you have a thread showing all of us your work? Love to see pictures of what you're doing. :)


Maryw164 06-16-2009 09:59 PM


No I have not yet had a chance to post to a dedicated thread. I want to start a blog with all the progress. I will send you a link when I do. We are just trying to get things done in order to go on our summer trip next month.


Minno 06-20-2009 05:09 PM

She's Titled!!!!
Received the MN title for Little Girl today! Woo Hoo!!!!! :clap:

Only had to send the DMV extra information once, and that was some photos of her. Needless to say, we're excited! :D:D:D

Chris & Kay

easyride 06-20-2009 08:24 PM

GT going thru the redo
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I`m going thru about the same thing on my GT,iy`s just been so hot here can`t do much without sweating to death.Picture of the beginning.Dave

mello mike 07-09-2009 01:03 PM

The door looks good, Chris.

Minno 08-15-2009 08:01 PM

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Been awhile since we posted any updates. We have several to post, so I'll try and catch up in the next couple of days. We kind of have several projects going on at the same time right now. The big ones are the vista view and wing windows, and then getting her ready to remove the floor.

We took out two vista views. Both had been repaired or replaced at some point, and both were installed with regular steel pop rivets. Both also leaked because the gaskets around the glass panes had deteriorated quite a bit. Took the first one out, and we cleaned it all up, removed as much of the old gasket around the glass as we could, and then resealed it with vulkum. I then re-installed using vulkum and Olympic rivets. This is the re-installed vista view below that looks all clean and pretty. :) Still need to shave the rivets, but I’ll wait until we get everything re-riveted and then do the shaver rental from Out of Doors Mart.

Then I took the second vista view window out, and we started cleaning it up. I then decided we should try to assembly line the cleaning and resealing of the windows, so we tackled taking out the two wing windows. The right wing window was replaced at some point, and like the vista views, it was re-installed with regular steel pop rivets. The left wing window was original, but the outside pane of glass had broken at some point. So, we wanted to remove it and see if the inside pane of glass could be moved to the front. Long story short on that – it could! :)

Getting the aluminum channel that holds the wing windows to the center window off was a challenge on the right side. :sad: I ended up using a cold chisel that I ground the end flat on to drive it up and off with a hammer. :bb: The left hand original channel came off pretty easily. Both are ok, but the bottom 1/16” of the right hand channel is kind of banged up and deformed from the chisel. A minute on the grinder or with a file should smooth that back out. Or, maybe I’ll get a replacement one from Out of Doors Mart.

Right now, the left wing window and vista window are ready to be re-installed. The right wing window needs one more shot of vulkum to finish sealing the inside. I’ll post more pictures on the installation once I can do that. Waiting for my order of the right kind of vulkum to arrive.

The vista view and right wing window openings are pretty chewed up since the replacement rivet holes did not line up with the original ones. And I discovered that in one place on each of these 3 windows that are still out, there is a section where 4 to 6 rivets do not anchor to the skins at all. I’ll post pictures on how I’ll deal with that when I post the window installation pics. Maybe next weekend, but I need to do a bit of body work on Kay’s car first.


harker70 08-15-2009 08:28 PM


Your work looks great - what part of MN are you in? We are in the NW suburbs of minneapolis and have a spot in airstream park in clear lake.

we have a 78 Arogsy that we bought a couple of months ago. I'm not doing any work on it right now, just using it, but hope to keep it together for a long time!


Minno 08-15-2009 09:23 PM

We live in Lexington/Circle Pines. Little Girl is parked in the back of our back yard (we have a 300 ft deep lot and our house sits at the front). We visited the Airstream Park in June during the open house, but we don't have a functional trailer to put there yet - at least not an airstream!

Minno 08-16-2009 04:04 PM

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Yesterday and today I changed my focus from windows and making her weather tight to getting her up of the ground and the axels off. I got her up on blocks yesterday. She's sitting level side to side, and front to back. At least the floor is level front to back in front of the axels. Starting at the axels, the floor seem to sag a bit towards the rear, but I fully expected to have some rear end sag since the floor is so rotted in the bathroom area.

I dropped the front axel yesterday, and then today we pulled the front axel out from under her, dropped the rear axel, and pulled it out as well. Did the stuff today in between showers. Got really dirty crawling around on the wet grass and dirt. Learned that crawling around on wet ground isn't as tolerable as it was maybe 25 years ago... :cool:

I have 13 to 14 inches of clearance under her now for removing the belly pan.

I have vulkum on order, and a 6 foot aluminum piano hinge that I'll cut into smaller hinges. My next steps are to get the windows re-installed and then clean up and put new gaskets on the three hatch doors I have left to do (rear, refer, and battery). I'll use the new hinge to replace the one on the rear hatch, and add hinges to the two side hatches. And most likely replace the hinge on the battery hatch. And then tackle replacing the front and middle roof vents.


Minno 09-04-2009 10:47 AM

Wing Windows
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Ok, I'm really behind on posting now. I have 3 updates I can post, so I'll do them over the next couple of days. Of course, by the time I get them done, I'll have more things to post. Been pretty productive working on Little Girl that past few weekends. :)

First project to post is the wing windows. But, I forgot to get pictures of how I dealt with the missing skin where the rivets did not go into anything. No, strike that. I didn't take pics because Kay had our camera on a girls Boundary Waters trip. And I didn't want to wait to get the wing windows re-installed. :D

So, following advice I had gotten from Terry (no longer at Inland RV – that Terry), I cut aluminum sheet to use as a filler. His specific instructions were:

What I would do in this case is cut and fit a piece of aluminum to the area of the window that the rivets don't attach to anything. I would do this by drilling the holes in the aluminum where the rivets should go, choose two holes, and thread a couple of #6 sheet metal screws through the rivet holes in the window into the sheet of aluminum. Leave the screws loose, but holding the sheet of aluminum loosely, so it can slide behind the outer skin of the trailer. Vulkem the area where the window will go, and put in your Olympic rivets, but just set them in place. After all the rivets are in place, go ahead and clamp them down. After you have secured all the other rivets, you can remove the sheet metal screws and install Olympics in those spots as well. This will secure the area with no rivets holding the skin, which could become a source of a leak.

Followed his advice, and it worked very well. :cool: All the rivets are now anchored into aluminum skin, and the extra piece on each window act a clamp on the part of the window frame that was cut too big for the rivets to anchor to.

Since it was sooooo hard to get the channel off that holds the wing window to the middle window, I was dreading putting that back on. But, after all the tweaking I did on the wing window frames to get them to lay in the opening properly and snugly, hammering the aluminum channel back onto the window was a breeze! A bit of vulkum on the channel to act a lubricant and both sides went back on without any issues.

Now, Little Girl has two non-leaking wing windows, with one pane of glass in each side, and both panes of glass set toward the outside of the frame. Makes a big different in how she looks on the outside front! Plus how clear the windows are to see through now.


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