Saturday, April 30, 2016

84 Out the Door...

I posted about the 1984 Avion in for a renovation a while back.

I thought I would snap a few shots of her before she rolled out the door.

Please look past the sofa, that upholstery work is going to take place in the future...

Rear bedroom office...

Lighted closets...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Carlisle Spring Meet.

I probably should have posted this here. 
It was published on my Anna Lumanum Blog instead. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

1967 Overlander

I have launched right into a major structural restoration. This old Overlander is in need of a serious tune up. 

At this stage of the project, I knew all the floor need to be replaced. I did not know how badly. If you own a 1966-1968 Airstream, you too have all of these same issues. It is not your fault. It is Airstream's fault. They did not intend to build something that would leak so badly, the times were changing and so was the attention to quality all across America. I guess it really is their fault.

Just about every corner has very soft or completely rotten floor. You can never see many of these spots due to the bathroom module. 

The galvanized wheel tubs seem to always give out in this location, allowing water to rot the plywood edges.

The refrigerator vent always leaks allowing in rain water. A replacement hatch done improperly just adds to the leak effect.

The water tank and gaucho hide what is going on up here.

Plumbing stacks, hatches, windows, roof vents... they all were serious culprits in this era. They all leak badly in this era.

Big honking screws used to attach various things that should not have,  allow water in. These are actually the biggest I have extracted yet. 

Holes, holes holes. Not one of those you see is supposed to be there.

This is caused by steel and aluminum making contact for years. The aluminum atoms do not like being near the steel molecules. The aluminum atoms do everything in their power to get away from the steel molecules.  You can put your finger right through the skin here.

This is also a major bane of my existence. The dreaded Olympic rivet. The Olympic is Airstream approved, for panel replacement.  By doing the repair from the outside, they substitute the solid rivet. This technique  provides a speed and ease for panel replacement. They are complete garbage. They leak like crazy and over time the mandrel in the center begins to move outward. 

When the plywood subfloor comes off it never looks pretty. Sometimes it looks very scary. BTW, this entire frame is 1/8" formed steel. My steel working friend is shocked by this. To quote him, "thats all it is? Seriously? how do these Airstreams even last so long?"

Honestly, I was kind of surprised how much metal had completely rotted away.

Remember that leaking plumbing stack I mentioned.

It did not look so bad with the floor still on.

Unfortunately that leak ate up the entire out rigger and part of the main frame rail.

Remember that patch of floor missing by the door? That leak was from the bad door seals, leaking access hatch, and refrigerator vent all letting water in...

This area is really bad. 6 outriggers are toast, two of which are stair slotted. The main frame rail is also completely compromised here. The entire frame sags 1 1/4" in this location. 

All is not lost. I have the means to repair it all. 

I simply cut all the bad metal out. Yes, it really is that simple. This pile is just the beginning. It would grow three times this.

I will caution you however that once you start cutting, things will begin to move. It is imperative that you keep them where they belong. Sometimes you even will need to persuade them back to where they used to be.

I simply cut the cancer out and replaced it all with new metal.

New metal was formed to the exact same shapes and dimensions as the originals. Piece by piece the parts are mended back together.

New outrigger. Yeah, I just make them myself.

And the slotted stair units I make those too.  I use a laser to make the perfect slot.

The stair units are currently unavailable though various suppliers. I was told that the consistency of the slot has been an issue for years. People were buying a left to find it different from a right hand one. Because of this problem, my main supplier of frame parts has stopped stocking them entirely. FTW has solved this issue by now selling them as a pair. Soon, very soon, you will be able to buy these directly from me. Made in the USA, from American steel, fabricated by American craftsmen.

As the frame goes into it's next stage I will be sure to post more photos. Feel free to post any questions below in the comments section.

Did I mention that this guy loves to weld?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Great Hack

I really do need to get more regular on posting. My apologies. 

Currently I am working on a 1967 Overlander. It has some very unusual tail lights. In all honesty they kind of have me puzzled because in 1967, Airstream was using an entire taillight assembly, pictured above. The assembly is a boxy affair and not very aesthetically pleasing(in my opinion). These assemblies are also really bad leakers.

The Airstream I am working on has an AutoLamp system on it. Here is where it gets very odd, Airstream did not use AutoLamp. As late as 1966 they used the Bargeman 99, but only on the Caravel. By 1967 all models had the boxy tail lights I showed you earlier. Why the anomaly? I wish I knew. These AutoLamp taillights are no longer made. You can still buy reproduction lenses but not the bases. As most things made of stamped steel they tend to rot out over time. AutoLamp was commonly used on mobile homes and house trailer that were not really moved too much. 


This is what I found under the lens. It may not seem odd at first glance but it is actually a very clever hack. This hack was so well done that I did not pick up on it at first glance. When I did notice, my thought was 'Nice hack!!! Well played'

Someone took a Bargmann 99 reproduction base, similar to this original and they cut off the outer lip. Then mounted it onto an original AutoLamp base. 

The craftsmanship used to adapt the new base to the old is simply brilliant.
Well played.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Winter Palace

I do not usually work on trailers from the 80's. There was something about the sound of 'in need of an extreme makeover' and 'something completely different' that appealed to me. 

She is a really big girl this 1984 Avion. 10.6 meters. That translates to 34.77 feet. I do not know the weight, but it is way up there. This Avion is an Abrams tank on three axles. It cannot be polished, that is a big plus.

Come on in... 
Be careful though, 1984 really wants it's vibe back. 
I graduated high school in 1984. 
It was a very awkward period in America. 

This rather awkward flooring was installed very recently. It is all going away.

Do you think I am joking? Just look at that fabric...
In all honesty, it really is one, seriously comfortable couch. It pulls out to make a queen sized bed. Pretend... do not sleep well one night... get 3 hours of sleep and by 10am you are spent. 
You clock out.
That couch might be a very good place to take a little nap.

This trailer is very spacious. There is a very nice dinette to have the morning coffee while reading the online news paper. An almost full sized refrigerator makes full time living very easy. The one you see is a 110volt only and it is going to be replaced by a propane/ AC version.

The full time, rear, walk around queen sized bed is a nice luxury. It is a bedroom suite. 

The various room dividers are made of solid wood. I think most Airstreams are some cloth or plastic version.

They all recess into the wall so you do not see them. 

These two dividers create a private dressing room just outside the bathroom. 

Looking forward from the bedroom suite. Bathroom is on the left. 

A generous shower/ tub unit.

Take it all in. Soon it will look completely different.

The command central all works. It has an AM/FM stereo. I was hoping for 8 track. I do not want to miss quote the tank statistics, but all three tanks are huge. This girl can go for a long time between fill ups or dumps.

Not everything is an aesthetic change. There is a little of this and that to fix. 

This AC was installed fairly recently. I suspect it was put on by the RV dealer in Ohio that middle manned this sale. It is fairly small for such a long trailer and is not installed correctly. When it rains, it literally pours right through. 

The roof seams have been gone over a few times with various things. More slop put down on top of leaking slop. 

I guess I could slather something up there like everyone else would. 

I could also remove it all and seal the seams correctly. It all starts with a heat gun and a nylon chisel.

Then some lacquer thinner on a cotton rag motivated by serious helpings of elbow grease. Repeat. Repeat again. 

Eventually, with enough determination, you end up with this.

All three roof vents were removed. The half closest to you has been hit with the heat gun and nylon chisel. The upper half was wiped with the cotton rag and lacquer thinner. 

Liberal helpings of elbow grease. Liberal. I love that word. Halfway readers now have elevated blood pressure. But liberal amounts of elbow grease get this job done. 
Take a deep breath.