The Airstream Diary

Airstream Trailer Answers and Questions

Airstream LED Lighting Outside

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#airstreamtrailers #airstreamers airstream LED lighting LED taillights for Airstreams

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It’s a tough for me to swallow. The pricing on the taillight LEDs for the Airstream are anywhere from $29 to $35 dollars apiece on www.led4rv.com, and when I look at them up close, in person, at A&P Vintage Trailer Works; I see a Chinese unit that cost somewhere in the neighborhood of a dollar to produce, okay maybe $2-dollars. Keep in mind, that retail cost is times four!


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Buttoning Up and Riveting Down and Lighting Up

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#airstreamers airstream trailers led lighting for airstream u channel rebuilding restoration

On the way back out to work on the Airstream today, and looking at LED external lighting for the Safari. Paul, the “P” in A&P, recommended looking to the website www.led4rv.com. I have dabbled on that site before, as we Airstreamers do, looking at every single item whether it’s related to the job or not. Paul told me there was a complete set for the 1970 Safari, but I no longer see that offering.

LIGHTING UP

So what I am looking at is the LED replacement for old bulbs, and lenses for the taillights. Those appear to be this item – LED Tail light kit for Airstream units from 1969-74 SKU221 and the images below show a little of how they look and work. They simply appear to have the lens and LED’s as a unit that plugs into the existing socket. Now, there’s no way I am sticking with the existing socket, so I will have to find and install those as well, but they can be found just about everywhere. And since this is a new fit, it would be more practical to completely do away with the original bulb connector (tons of oxidization potential in there), and use a direct connect two prong all weather connector. Those are extremely common, and common sense says to make that upgrade. It involves changing both ends of the connection, but why go to all the expense of a new light, and have a forty-year-old connection? Those old bulb connections are his-to-ree.

Airstream LED light replacements

 

LEDs for Airstream Trailers

Why stick with the old connectors? Upgrade your connectors while you’re upgrading your Airstream taillights to LEDs!

BUTTONING UP

The button down process includes, in our case, removing the rare aluminum U channel from the inside walls in some places, and securing it to the floor (this is the U channel that holds the trailer to the deck) with stainless steel 5/16″ 1.5 inch long bolts and nylon locking nuts (used in practical numbers), as well as stainless screws for modest securing.

Now this has to be done because the U channel can be misaligned with new things like the new wheel wells, or because of a variation in the new decking, or for any number of other reasons. Bottom line: the U did not line up. So, attach the U to the floor (most critical) and then button (rivet) the walls to the U channel.

Take a close look at your Airstream Trailer’s U channel! It is anything but typical. The bottom of the U that contacts the floor has a couple of interesting and vital characteristics. First, it has a raised line running the length of the U. That line keeps us from sliding the U all the way to flush with the edge of the decking. Very important. Second, you’ll see some holes drilled in the U channel that have no apparent purpose. Those are called weep holes, and they are supposed to be there to allow condensation from the walls to run down, through the weep holes, down into the belly and out. Do they work that way in real life? Heck, I don’t know! So don’t cover the weep holes, or run extra screws through them. Just go with the flow.

RIVETING DOWN

Before we can run around the trailer riveting the wall back to the U channel, we have to make a full run around the trailer, drilling out all the old rivets. They can be inside and out. They can be obvious, and they can be sublime. That’s a rivet. Miss a rivet, and you have a problem. That is why it’s really smart to have two sets of eyes on this process.

Riveting an Airstream trailer is a whole other story that needs a lot of time and space to explore. If we think of a rivet and gun as the Airstream version of hammer and nails, it’s possible to learn and get proficient at using a new kind of hammer and new kind of nails. Stay tuned.

 

Crowded Times at A&P Vintage Trailer Works

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airstreamtrailers #airstreamers #airstreams

It’s always fun to check into what’s happening with other people’s trailers at A&P Vintage, and these are crowded times. I couldn’t help but take a few pictures of one special trailer that was having brand new marmoleum put down yesterday. We all agree the colors are “fun” and it’s a color scheme that can’t help but make you smile. It’s a heck of a nice trailer on the comeback trail too!

airstreamtrailers #airstreamers #airstreams

airstreamtrailers #airstreamers #airstreams

airstreamtrailers #airstreamers #airstreams

airstreamtrailers #airstreamers #airstreams

Almost Hot Enough

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airstream trailers #airstreamers airstream trailer restoration

Well it seems like we wait until the weather is scorching before we get back to work on the Airstream, but tomorrow should be the first day back in a long time. The weather really did have a lot to do with that! It has been too good or too bad for awhile now in North Texas.

I did start uncovering the inside skins from their storage spot today, and dove back into the Jasco to finally finish getting the stubbornest slivers of vinyl-clad off the skins. The thing about these last shards of the old vinyl-clad is they are the toughest ones – usually under the pressure of a skin overlap – and require multiple coats of Jasco to get them to let loose.

The Airstream is on a hard deadline now, because I basically committed it to being somewhere else this winter … like Broken Bow, Oklahoma, or the Guadalupe River area of Texas. Heck, why limit it when it comes to getting out and away?

I do this thing on the Texas Fly Caster website called the “Monday Morning Sidewalk,” which is basically a review of the last week and what’s coming up ahead on the topic of fly fishing in Texas. If you are interested in fly fishing, be sure to catch the Monday Morning Sidewalk every Monday.

The next few weeks of Airstream work will be interesting, so I will be sure and have some photography to show you what’s going on. Now that the Airstream is outed on the Texas Fly Caster website, I guess there’ll be some crossover to the Texas Fly Caster site from here on out.

Freshwater Tank Fried

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Turns out the fittings on our freshwater tank were “worked on” by some previous owner. I suspected that when I took a close look, but hoped … against hope.

Now, we will be adding a new freshwater tank to go with (not literally) the grey and black tanks. If you think about it, these fluids can be a great weakness in an Airstream trailer rebuild, so why not start with new AND IMPROVED tanks?

We were marveling at all the “New and Improved” improvements that we are actually privy to – with the passing of such a great amount of time since first purchasing the Airstream. And we also thought about all the ideas we had based on our working from the trailer – on the Barnett Shale – work that has pretty much dried up and blown away. Funny, that oil business … black gold … Texas tea. Had that revenue stream kept up with us, the trailer would be long finished and on the road. Airstreams certainly are not for the financially shy.

We’re still waiting on the Marmoleum Dude, and I am getting a lot of fly fishing in between photo shoots. Add it all up, and it’s the BUSY season for sure. The best weather is the best for so many things. We already know we’ll be sweating it out during the hottest months — working on the Airstream. That’s just how it goes.

 

GO AIRSTREAM LOCO

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