It's been a few months since I posted, so decided to throw a few words up here.
I'm still on deployment over in Guam. 2 months here and 4 more to go until I can get back to working on the Airstream. I've missed 2 great rallies since I've been here and wish that I hadn't. One, the 50th Anniversary Cape Town to Cairo rally that Steve put together and Two, Airstreams in the Wilds that DanB from the forums put together.
I'm hoping that these two rallies will carry on again next year and HOPEFULLY, I'll be able to bring my Airstream along. I think that I even seen a date for Dogwoods and Bluegrass in Kentucky already scheduled for next year. I'll be hitting that one up again, even if I have to sleep in my tent again. That was the first rally that I'd ever been to and I met some great people and have a lot of new friends from there.
I'm still throwing ideas around in my head in regards to the interior for my Airstream, but I'm thinking that I'll mostly keep the same "setup", with a few re-designs here and there. I've managed to come across a cabinet builder, that's very interested in helping me out with the interior. He's one of the builders in the Seabee battalion that I'm stationed with and he said that he's familiar with Airstreams, which makes me feel even better. He was coming up with some pretty unique ideas when I was talking with him a few months back. Of course, as it is, he's up in Okinawa, Japan and I'm in Guam, so I won't be able to talk with him much until I get back home in February. But until then, I can come up with some basics for him to toy with when we get back.
I still have a ways to go before I start the interior, as if you read the posts from before I left for Guam, I'm still sitting with a shell partially removed from the frame. But the way that I look at it is I'm 50% done with the project, now all's I have to do is get it all back together :)
I've been considering possibly buying a "new" used Airstream in the mean time until I can get mine to the point that I can use it full time. I'm thinking something a little smaller, that is practically turn-key and that I could re-sell once I get my project done. I'll be keeping an eye out, but if anyone knows of anyone selling a nicely used 70's model Airstream for a reasonable price, feel free to let me know. I'm looking in the 25 foot range, but would consider anything at this point.
Well, that's about it for now. Just wanted to give everyone an update on things that are going on. We have a tropical storm headed our way in a day or two, so I'll be preparing for that this week and then, it's back to Airstream Dream'n :)
Hope to hear from you all soon and take care!
P.S. I haven't come across an Airstream in Guam, yet, but I'm looking every time that I leave base. I'll be sure to snap a picture of one, if I ever do find it.
It's been a few months since I posted, so decided to throw a few words up here.
Not a lot has happened to the trailer in the last month. Re-braced the shell, but other than that, it's just been sitting there. I'm going to have to put the project on hold until I get back from Guam in February.
My next priority is getting it strapped down to the frame and then anchoring the frame to the ground. (Just in case a hurricane blows through while I'm away).
While I'm away it will give me the time to create a design for the interior. I still have alot of thoughts on how I want to do it, but have to start making the plans.
I'm still looking at a "cabin" look and have seen some nice photos online of folks that have done it before. I would like to use some reclaimed barn wood for a majority of the wood work inside. Especially for the drawer/cupboard faces and things like that. I'll have to find those pics again and put them on here to show you what I'd like to do.
Other than that, I'm battling a raccoon at my mom's house. He's trying to eat all of the bird seed and isn't afraid of anything. Might have a throw something at him.
Well, It's been almost 2 months since I last posted here, but I havn't been slacking, I swear
I've actually re-worked my shell bracing a bit and added some more stability to the screw/nail points.
I've since got the 4x4's underneath, going to add some bracing for the end caps and I should be ready to go.
I do have to come clean, though. After doing some additional research in lifting the shell, I didn't realize the the plate up front where the 7-way connector is, was riveted to a plate that is welded to the frame. This could have been why I was having sooooooo much difficulty getting the thing to lift up front
So this weekend, or possibly during the week, I'll get the chisel back out and get those rivets off.
I feel alot more confident in lifting it after reading up some more. The only thing that I fear now is we just entered the hurricane season and I'll be headed out to Guam in a couple of months for a 6 month deployment.
I'm hoping to at least get the tanks and flooring back in before I leave so the thing has some stability while I'm away, otherwise I'm going to have to hog-tie the entire thing to the ground
I'll keep you all posted and again, thanks for all of the assistance thus far.
Well, I needed a break from fixing up the trailer so I decided to head out to an Airstream rally up in Kentucky over the last weekend. WHAT A BLAST!!! I meet some great people from all over, including Canada! And best of all, got some renewed inspiration/motivation to take back and start working on the trailer again.
Follow the links below for some pictures of the rally, including my "fort"
Rallying it up at Natural Bridge State Resort - Courtesy of Hank and Lois (Of course that's not their real names)
Traveling with Elvis - Courtesy of Sugarfoot
Videos of the lizards will be forthcoming :)
Come to find out, my trailer is a "Romany" and not a Sovereign. Basically it's a scaled down version of the Sovereign without alot of the gadgets. They only made the Romany in 1975 and from what I'm told stopped making them due to no demand......
Doesn't really make a difference in what I'm doing, but it's good to know anyways.
Not a lot of progress today, but did get some good advice from Air Forums that I'll try next weekend. I'd love to get my hands one a crane....it would make this so much easier :)
I emailed Airstream today to ask about the repairs on my frame and if they made a kit for what I'm trying to do.
Here's a new look at the deflection on the frame:
Well, that's about it for today. Next weekend may bring some news that the shell has been removed and I'm welding the frame.......I hope.
Only about 15 days until I head up to Kentucky, Maryland and Michigan.......I'm going to be driving like 2500 miles!!!! Wish that I had my Airstream to follow me :(
My new stove/sink combo. Just won it on Ebay. It's a Smev, which is an Italian company. I'm really impressed by the looks of the unit and it closes up for a flat surface when not in use. I've seen a lot of good reviews on this and think that I'll be happy.
Haven't got the frame out yet due to the rain, but hopefully this weekend, the frame will be out. My friend who's going to help/teach me weld is getting ready to move to Florida, so need to hurry and get the darn thing out!
Lot's of progress today, but had to suspend actually removing the frame due to lack of a precious resource........time.
Here's where I'm at with the frame removal:
The only thing that I have to build now is braces for the front and rear ends, otherwise I think that this will hold. I gave it a small test run and lifted the curbside about 2 inches and then lowered it back down. Made some scary noises and got the heart pumping, but my braces seem that they will hold the weight.
Over this week I'll be making the braces for the front and rear and looking at pulling the frame on Friday or Sunday. Until then I'm hoping that theres no wind storms brewing on the horizon because the only thing holding my shell on is the weight of the shell on the outriggers
Did a lot of work today. Started at about 9 this morning and stopped at 4. I thought the weekends were suppose to be relaxing :)
I've almost completely got the shell support on and will complete tomorrow. I just ran out of energy working today. I just hope that my design will hold the weight of the shell. That will be tomorrows worry, though.
I'll get some pictures put up tomorrow of my design. Until then, it's time to take off the boots and maybe have a beer, but then I'll probably fall asleep on the couch.
All right!!! I wasn't on a sabbatical, really. I've just been prepping my frame for the new pieces and awaiting my new cross-members.
I've also come to the decision to pop the shell off and pull the frame completely out to ease in the repairs that I'm going to undertake on the frame and ensure that they are done right. I'll be heading out to the local lumber store tomorrow to buy the lumber and start making the braces for the shell. I've been reading up on bracing the shell and will go with the saw-horse design that I've seen in other posts. I'm thinking that 3 "sawhorses" on each side will be enough to hold the shell and I'll run some 4x4's along the length of the inside to hold the braces.
For the braces, I'll be bracing every other rib and securing that down to the 4x4. This might be over-doing it, but I don't want an upside down shell laying in my driveway
I've already received my new outriggers that I ordered from Out-of-Doors mart. I was surprised in how quickly they shipped. Thanks Dan...
One of my Seabee buddies is going to come over and help/teach me to weld the cracks in the frame and reinforce where the cracks are, as well as the outriggers that I have to replace.
I'm hoping to get the frame out this weekend. Suppose to have a 70 degree weekend, so the sun and heat will be a welcomed change.
Otherwise, just been ordering new parts. My kitchen is starting to look like a store room for trailer parts. Here's a list of new things that I've gotten:
- Fantastic Vent Fans (2) One for the front and the back
- New 6 gal. Water Heater
- Outriggers (various)
- Crossmembers (2)
- LED lighting for the interior and exterior
- Progressive Dynamics Power Converter All in one system
- new tail light lens
- lots of rivets
- lots of Vulkem
- cleco's for when I start the interior
- POR-15 for the frame
- Axles (haven't bought yet, but will be soon)
- PEX tubing and fittings for fresh water system
- LOTS OF ELBOW GREASE
There's a bunch more stuff that I've bought, but the list would be quite long if I listed them all out. I'm going to buy new aluminum for the belly skins, as they were pretty corroded and a little mangled from removal (I used brute force to get the mid section off). I'm thinking of getting this through my local Fastenal store, as they said that they can get it within a week. Doe's anyone else know of a good supplier of alum. sheeting?
But that's where I'm at. I was planning on taking my A/S to the Kentucky Rally, but I'll be camping instead. I may try to borrow a friends SOB trailer to go, but haven't decided on that, yet. Don't want to add dullness to all of the shinny trailers that will be there
Here's what I found today after taking off the rest of the belly skin. It's a fatigue crack just aft of the forward axle. Don't know the exact cause of why it happened, but going to take a guess and say it was from bad axles.
The frame is also bent just below the crack, too
The crack travels up about half way through the frame. I'm going to jack up the trailer tomorrow (maybe) and probably take off the front axle to see if the crack is as bad on the other side.
Here's another look at the crack. There is also another crack on the opposite side of this cross member, but smaller than this one. Still a problem that I'm going to have to fix.
Got the last two sections of floor out. As you can see, another grainery on top of the grey water tank. Ended up finding one dead rat and 3 dead mice in the last two sections. They must have eaten the rat poison that was in there. It felt like a little justice has been done :)
Here's a look at the top of the grey water tank.
And here's where the rodents were coming in.
Both tanks out and as you can see, the black water was leaking at the valve. The galvanized steel case is practically gone on the rear, so will have to make a new one.
It feels pretty good that the floors are out and I can finally switch gears and actually begin the restoration/sealing of the frame. I figure that I may be able to paint the frame beginning tomorrow and start looking for someone to do some welding on the frame. Only a couple of the outriggers need replacing and one crossmember. I might be able to hit my mark of having her road worthy by April :)
Here's a look at the A frame before I started painting. It's already been prep'd with Marine Clean and Metal Ready.
Here's what the final product looks like. It's still a little shiny because it's still drying. I'll get a picture tomorrow when it's all dry.
I also removed the fresh water tank in between the coats drying and tomorrow I plan to remove the rest of the floor.
Did some more floor removal today. Looking at this mess, no wonder the trailer stunk.
Is this Airstream common practice?? I'm glad that the fresh water tank didn't have a hole in it. Yes, that's a pile of rat/mouse poison sitting on top of the water tank.
Here's the next panel that came off. Notice the corn in the middle, right next to the rat/mouse poison. I guess that it didn't work. There was also a stray vertebra bone in this mess. Don't know where that came from.
That spider-web of wire's there in the middle is the brake wire. Definitely going to be replacing that.
One more panel off. Had to save that panel to use as a walk way. I'm running out of places to walk. I've only got about 3 panels of flooring left and it's all gone!!!
Decided to take off a window and clean it up a bit and put on new weatherstripping.
Here's the window all cleaned up ready for new weatherstripping
New weatherstripping on
Cleaned up the rusted window arms. They cleaned up quite nicely with a wire brush attached to my drill.
And the pretty window back on.
I cleaned up the aluminum with a sanding sponge inside and out. It left lines in the metal, but I'll worry about that when closer to when the trailer is done.
I ended up doing 2 windows and it took about 3-4 hours to do both. Learned the hard way with the first one that I put the weather seal on wrong. I'll have to pull that one off and re-install it.
Finally deciding to remove the entire floor, I started the process today. It may not be a conventional method of how I'm doing it, but it's working.
Instead of removing the "entire" floor, what I'm doing is cutting the floor around the edge of the walls, leaving the c-channel in place and that way, I don't have to technically remove the shell. When I'm ready to put the new floor in, I'll do it in sections, like I'm suppose to and remove the slats that I left behind. This way, I don't have to worry about building a support structure for the shell and still be able to do a complete floor removal.
Here's the section near the fresh water storage tank. As you can see, there alot of rot in here. Now that I'm this far into the project, I can say for certain that there was a restoration done sometime before. I can see the old floor bolt holes in the frame and the insulation around the fresh water tank is much newer than the rest.
I did find a roach motel around the water tank....YUCK!!!!
Here's what the process is looking like. I've got the first three flooring sections out.
It appears that I'll have to do some frame welding. One of the cross members is not looking to good. Not a big deal, but adds a little time to the restore. Otherwise, I'm quite happy with what I'm finding as far as the shape of the frame!
Woke up this morning and decided to check all of the traps that I setup in the trailer and wouldn't you know it.......one of them had a mouse stuck on it.........HOPEFULLY THAT IS THE LAST ONE!!! Probably not, though. I cut out the front floor, so now there is a HUGE hole in the floor. Oh well it made me happy anyways.
Tomorrow I'll get the rest of the paneling out and maybe cut out some more of the floor.
Well, no work on the A/S so far this weekend, but I was able to finally get the new hood on my truck. It's a functional ram air hood and the truck screams with it on. Has a nice roar to it when you put the pedal down :)
Next for the truck.....a new exhaust. But I'm going to have that put on professionally at a local high performance muffler shop.
Pulled the bathroom out today and wouldn't ya know it, a HUGE rat's nest under the tube. I half expected it, but didn't realize that it was that big. Had about an inch of rat poo that I had to vacuum up in the corner and ended up sucking up the floor with it........OH NO!!!! Found some more floor rot, so it's new flooring in the front and new floor in the rear. Heck, I could probably get away with replacing the whole floor. It would certainly be easy right now with everything out. (expect the refer and closet.....ran out of flat surfaces to store my tools on :)
I also got to spend my first thunderstorm in the Airstream......NO LEAKS.....the one that I found earlier wasn't leaking at all....
Anyone know what this hole in the floor is for?? There was nothing running into it and if you look at the next picture, it was being used as a grainery by the mice/rats/squirrels, what ever decided to store it there.
Here's the grainery. I think that I sucked out about 10 pounds of corn from here!! There's going to be one made mouse from this. OH WELL!!
Here's a look at the back end with everything removed. Look at all of that filth. I Decided to clean some of it off the walls before I removed the panels. Krud Kutter is some awesome stuff. I spray it on full strength, let it set a couple of minuets and wipe it down with a sponge and water. Works great!
Here's the floor rot that I found in the rear.
This is the corner that had the rat poo in it and it's completely rotted out, so bad that like I said earlier, the vacuum just sucked it up. Probably the easiest floor removal that I'm going to do :)
After a day's work, this is what it looked like when I stopped for the night. Cleaned up the walls a bit and drilled out most of the rivets. Tomorrow I may pull the roof down, but in doing so, will lose my lights, so I hope it's sunny tomorrow.
I figured by now that all of the critters would have left, but after taking a break earlier today (just after sucking up all of the corn from the belly pan), I went back in the trailer and a pesky little mouse come running out of the vacuum hose and headed under the hot water tank. I'm figuring that he headed into the walls, but couldn't track him down. If only Whiskey was in the trailer when he went running.
I've also got a fan club growing in the neighborhood :) After seeing all of the interior parts in the front lawn over the last week, my neighbors across the street and on the side have been curious as to what I'm doing and have visited over the last couple days. They are pretty intrigued and anxious to see the rig when I'm done with it. Even got a surprise visit by one of them a couple of hours ago. Kinda scared me, as I had the radio going and was drilling out rivets with my back to the door. But I invited him in the now empty trailer. He's a older gentleman who enjoys restoring old vehicles, so he know's what it's like and what I'm doing :)