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Trex 11-21-2010 10:39 PM

The old girl needs new shoes....
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I am going back and looking at all my blogs and threads and plan to submit here, so I can have a record of repairs in one location on the forum. My hope is that other new 72/31' Airstream owners don't make some of the same mistakes that I have made over the last two months. And as I progress thru this process, my hope is that others who have been down this same "Road", can pass on some of their knowledge to me and others who may read the following....

My first blog about my new, (to me) 72/31' Airstream was 10-03-2010. At that time, I really couldn't see "The forest from the Trees". Meaning When I first saw her I wanted her. The skin looked good, and the interior was all original. I didn't pull back any of the old carpet and check for water damage. For some reason, I had it in my mind that Airstreams don't leak water, the axles last forever, and the wheel wells are bullet proof!

BOY-O-BOY... was I wrong! I take the old girl to the Wheel Doctor on 10-07-2010. They replace one small spring and tell me that the wheels/axles look "Like New" overall. But after reading some of the threads about axles and "How to test axles", and then perform that test on the old girl, I discover that I will be replacing the axles sometime early winter!

This shop works on RV's all the time.... but they don't have any basic understanding of Airstream Axles and the fact that Airstream axles have a shelve life. If you'er thinking about buying a 70's Airstream, or older, you will be buying new axles for your new baby. "YEP, your baby needs new shoes"!

On 10-09-2010 The Bunny and I take the old girl on a quick trip to Rolling Hills Casnio in Corning, Ca. Approx. 1 1/2 hours south of Shasta Lake, (were we live). We wanted to camp in her once, before I started the process of remodeling.

I connect to shore power and water in the RV park behind the Casnio. Water lines and sewer drain line are leaking under the kitchen counter! So, for the rest of the weekend we do without water service.

That following monday, I started gutt'en out the Old Girl, and that was like openning a "Great Big Can of Worms".

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The Bunny and I at Rolling Hills

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Our dog, Jacky Russell, watching me head over to the restroom.

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On 10-12-2010, I posted a blog about removing the kitchen cabinets, stove top, over, etc. That is when I discovered that the plastic wheel wells needed to be repaired and/or replaced. At the time I was thinking that the PO had a tire blowout.

What I know now is.... my worn out axles caused the damage to the wheel wells and may have caused the sewer line under the sink to break at the 1st fitting. Trex :wally: "May Wally be with you"

Trex 11-21-2010 10:56 PM

From: Something Rotten in River City
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On 10-15-2010 I posted my first Thread on water damaged floors in the "Old Girl".

At that time I was feeling like.... what and the hell have I gotten myself into. But with the Help of Wasagachris, Barts, Wahoonc, RedhawkerII, Andy, and many others, they helped to walk me thru the process. Thanks Guys and Gals....

Floor in the bulkhead... before and after

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Trex 11-21-2010 11:15 PM

RE: 1972/31' AS wheel well patch
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On 10-21-2010 I started on another new Thread concerning patching the wheel wells. Following is from that Thread.....

Now that the floor replacement is done, its time to move on to the wheel wells. Pulled the outer plastic wheel well cover to inspect the black inter wheel well. I found four cracks in the black wheel well, one in each lower corner, and two on the topside of cover. I have decided to use that Rubber roof patching tape.

Cleaned wheel wells with TSP….let dry and applied Tape over the cracks. Hope it works! What other produces are out there in Airstream land to patch cracks like this, (see Photos).

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As you will see later in this Thread, I went back and patched wheel wells the "Right way". Trex :wally: "May Wally be with you"

Trex 11-21-2010 11:38 PM

RE: Taken leak at a time
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I started this thread on 11-01-2010, the following is my first post, that is when I got my "leak fix'en kit" from Inland RV. Thanks for you advise CrawfordGene and many other Rivet Master's for their help.

Weather report says 4 days of sunshine in SLC, so it’s time to pull the tarp off the old girl and start cleaning, prepping, and sealing. Looks like “The Old Girl” is leaking water around the wing windows, the vista windows, the awning, and possible water leaks around all the vents, sky lights, and AC. Today I will clean around the vents, awning and AC. Tomorrow I will start sealing around the above said areas.

The task is feeling a little over whelming, but I will try to take it… ”one leak at a time”. I will post photos as I go and I am sure I will have some questions for you Streamers who have already gone thru this process. I keep re-reading other threads concerning this task and you folks make it look easy. "Learning How To Become" a good RV tech in harder then I though it would be. trex :wally:

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Note: razor blade in wing window sash.

This part of the process took almost two weeks to find all the leaks. I was starting to think that I would never get the awning leak sealed! Trex
:wally: "May Wally be with you".

Trex 11-22-2010 12:00 AM

Install new wheel wells/patch on 72/31' AS
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On 11-10-2010 I started a new Thread on well wheesl because I decided to redo the wheel wells the correct way. It took me a couply of days for the comments that Andy and others had posted to sink into my brain...

Finally got to install one of my new wheel wells, and patch the black plastic wheel well with Alum. sheet medal, vulken, and pop rivets. I still have leaks to run down....Damm awning supports leak'en. :wally:

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I really like my new Alum. wheel wells. trex :wally:"May Wally be with you.

Trex 11-22-2010 12:18 AM

RE: Taken leak at a time
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One of my main leaks was coming from the old roof vent. The following are the photo's from post 23 & 25 under "Taken leak at a time.

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Trex 11-22-2010 12:33 AM

RE: Remove interior acrylic vista window...easy!
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On 11-15-2010 I posted this thread concerning the plastic/acrylic vista double pane. As most owner's of a 72, this is one of the only ways to clean out the crap between the two window pane's.

After looking at a thread on "How to remove the plastic acrylic interior vista windows", I thought that I would give it a “go”. It took less than an hour to do the whole operation, and a lot easier than I thought it would be.

Using a Dremmel drill tool, I set the depth gage so I wouldn’t contact the corning glass exterior window and simply went around the window frame work, using it as my guide for the tool.

Once I cut out the main body of the old window, I made vertical cuts towards the aluminum window frame.

Than using “vise grips”, I started pulling out the sections of acrylic left in the rubber gasket and aluminum framework, starting at the bottom.

Once I had the bottom section removed, I pulled on the rubber gasket and the rest of the top half of the acrylic window fell out.

Each vista window in my 72/31’ has a separate channel framework for the acrylic window and the corning glass window, so removing the interior acrylic has no effect on the exterior window.

Make sure you use eye, ear protection and gloves!!!!!

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Trex 11-22-2010 01:03 AM

RE: Low VOC paints by Further99
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I posted this reply under Futher99 Thread concerning interior primer and paint under the "General Repair Forum".

Smart Prime
I have been looking at many of the Threads concerning priming and painting the interior walls. Looks like "Plasticizers" is the major issue, which is the magration of plasticzers to the surface of the vinyl wall cover in 70's/80's Airstreams. I think it was the bonding agent between the Alum.&the vinyl, after 20 plus years it starts to break down and shows up as a sticky subtains on the surface of your walls.

Anyway.... I went to my local paint supply store today,(Cascade Paint), with my notes. To see if they have anything that may stop and/or block the migration of the plasticizers.... I had a small sample of the, (3"x3"), vinyl wall with me. Casey the owner said that Smart Pimer by Zinsser, is a new interior/exterior primer that offers the performance of an oil-base primer in an advanced water-base formula.

So, I got a Qt. of the stuff and painted on the street side wall to test and see how it performs. Its been raining all weekend, so next week once it has dried out a little and the primer is not sticky. I will prime the rest of the trailer. Maybe three coats...maybe two!

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So, now that I have all of my threads posted in one place. It should be a little bit easier for me to stay on track.
Trex :wally: "May Wally be with you".

mwells4654 11-22-2010 06:49 AM

At times I feel the same way about my refurb. but when I look back to last fall and then to this fall I look at how much better the inside looks I think to myself. "It has been worth it, can't wait until next year for the shack down trip to South Texas.

Good luck and it does look better.

SilverHoot 11-22-2010 08:03 AM


Great reading your thread. I am STILL tracking down leaks in mine. Have one in the rear that is making me crazy and until I get all the leaks I can progress no further. Last rains revealed that while I fixed most, not all. If you are going to be around I'm going to try to make it over to check yours out...

wasagachris 11-22-2010 10:44 AM

Hey Rex & Silverhoot. I recently pulled all the inner panels in mine. So now I have an empty shell. A lot of the leaks that I attributed to roof vents, windows and the like were not in fact leaking there. I found significant corrosion all along the roof to side skin seams. There is evidence of the seam leaking and the water running down the inside of the shell until it reached a window frame. At that point it would run around the window frame and exit through the inner panels to drip into the trailer. the inside of the vent and window frames have lots of vulkem around the inside of the frame against the inside of the shell and do not show any trace of leaking. If you have a persistant leak try sealing the seams from outside unless you have the inner panels off then seal there too.

Trex 11-22-2010 11:04 AM

Hey Hoot.... I would be working on the Old Girl thru weds of this week. With your inside skin off, have you though about the leave blower trick and seal the rest of the trailer off with blue tape and plastic? If you try this, give me a call I would like to help, and I would like to see this done. trex

Trex 11-22-2010 11:11 AM

Hey Wasagachris, The Old Girl was painted silver maybe 20 years ago, so there could be corrosion under the paint, I hope not. You must have a place for your trailer to sit out of the weather. Or are you done with your projects... I was think'en that once you buy an Airstream the projects are never ending. trex :0

wasagachris 11-22-2010 11:18 AM

Rex My exterior seams showed only small corrosion lines along the seams (maybe 1/16" wide but inside the seams at some points showed 3 " wide corrosion.
Mine is temporarily inside my workshop. It has to come out for the winter because I can't get the door closed all the way and I need the space for snow(white frozen rain for you So. Cal. folks LOL) removal equipment.
Yeah they are a lifetime commitment. Good thing they last alifetime. I started mine in June and hope to finish it next summer. I have the luxury of working on it almost full time because it is at my workplace which is also my residence.
P.S. thanks for the thumbs up in post #2.

Trex 11-22-2010 01:30 PM

Hey Wasagachris, you hoser! Hoot and I live in Northern Calif. 2 hours north of Sacramento. And a 12 hour drive north of Inland RV.

In the 1940's So. Oregon and Northern Calif. wanted to succeed from the rest of Calif. & Oregon, they were going to call this new state "Jefferson". It was a group of business men from Yreka CA who were leading the charge. They were known as the "40 thiefs". There sons were the one's who got Interstate-5 moved 7 miles out-of-the-way, so it would go thru Yreka.

Anyway, World War II came along and that changed everything, the push to succeed was dropped. Now, if you travel north on I-5, just south of Yreka, you will see a sign painted on an old barn that proclaims "The State of Jefferson". And there are many who would like to succeed from So. Calif. I think it would be a mistake, no tax base to fix roads in northern Calif.

How did I get out here in left field? Anyway, just kidding, hope its okay to call you a hoser:) Trex

wasagachris 11-22-2010 02:12 PM

Rex sorry I didn't know how far north you were. Interesting tale about Jefferson.
No problem about hoser EH!

Trex 11-22-2010 06:25 PM

Mr Silverhoot pays a visit
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Mike the Silverhoot came by today to take a look at the old girl. He pointed out some signs of rear end repair that I didn't see before... or didn't want to see.

Painted primer on about 90% of the interior today, (Smart Pirmer). Looks like we are going to see record temp. lows Weds. nite 27 degrees F. Need to shut down the outside shower...etc. Trex :wally:"May Wally be with you".

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Trex 11-22-2010 09:19 PM

Re: Wasagachris comments about N. Cal
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Originally Posted by wasagachris (Post 919850)
Rex sorry I didn't know how far north you were. Interesting tale about Jefferson.
No problem about hoser EH!

I lived in that area for 10 years, when I was working. There are more cows than people, and only 5 stop lights in the entire county (Siskiyou).

Land of many Rivers; Klamath, Shasta, Scott, Salmon, and the head waters of the Sacramento. The two largest Wilderness areas in California, the Marble Mountains, and Trinty Mountains. Two largest National Forests in Calif. The Shasta Trintiy National Forest, and the Klamath National Forest.

A great place to take your Airstream and do some dry camping. Lots of areas were you can camp for free, (many of the Fed. Campgrounds are free, and many large pullouts along the rivers were a person can camp for free).

It is one of the last areas in California that isn't overun with to many people. A place a person can go camping on a holiday and find the campground 1/2 full.

If you ever come west with your Airstream, Wasagachris, you must check out Siskiyou, and Shasta Counties in Northern California, and Jefferson County in southern Oregon.

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P.Bob overlooking the three Shasta's: Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake, and Mt. Shasta

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Trex and friends at Bear Creek Club house

Trex :wally: "May Wally be with you"

Trex 11-23-2010 11:01 AM

I ordered the 1972 service mannual last nite off ebay, $64. with shipping. They have many different years, and they also offer Owner's mannuals. If you want one, just google "Airstream service mannual on ebay.


driftless 11-23-2010 08:22 PM

Rex, thanks for putting all these threads together. I have a '73 Excella that I'm just starting on so I'm sure I'll refer back here often.

When you removed the acrylic and metal insert from your vista views, did you fill the void between the frame and the glass with anything? Did the removal seem to have any affect on the seal of the glass? I have to do all of my windows, not just the vista views.

As wasagachris says, the fun begins....

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