The Airstream Diary

Airstream Trailer Answers and Questions

Just About The Time

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airstream trailers vintage airstreams #airstreamlife

Just about the time you think I’m gone … there’s a lot of things that got in the way of this endeavor …

Like a bout with cancer, and many, many more things that we can finally go into now that the season has me surfacing.

For now, you will want to see the latest and greatest things happening at A&P Vintage Trailer Works. I have constructed a new website for them, and also run their Facebook Page – for better or worse on that last one!

I have learned a lot about Airstreams through all this, and I have learned a lot about a lot of other things since last writing here! The lifelong profession of photography has waned, and other I am attempting to “wax” on other work to make up for the budgetary shortfalls (shall we say).

If you have questions about anything Airstream, contact me! I am showing two for sale right now on the AP Vintage Trailer Works site and I just linked them to the AP Vintage Facebook page as well.

Great Information at AP Vintage Trailer Works

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airstream repairs ap vintage trailer works information

I had a chance to sit down for an interview with Ann and Paul from AP Vintage Trailer Works yesterday, and go over some basic information you should have before you hand over your hard earned money for that Airstream dream you’ve been looking for all these months and years.

Ann and Paul go over some basic costs for general repairs they typically do AND MOST IMPORTANTLY; we created a checklist of things to look for when you pull the trigger on a new purchase of an old Airstream or vintage trailer for your dream machine. It’s a checklist I’ve never seen before, and one that will open your eyes to what you are looking at when you pull up to a shiny old trailer, and emotion begins to cloud good judgment.

As yo may know, I created the A&P Vintage Trailer Works website for Ann and Paul, and we have struck on a formula where I interview them to provide stories that inform Airstreamers about their own trailers, what to look for, what to avoid and common problems and solutions the Airstream repair world encounters on a daily basis. Call it the AP Reality Network Show if you want.

Airstream Repairs – Restoring the Original License Plate Light

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Well the Texas weather told us just about all we needed to know this past weekend. I ran out to A&P Vintage to see where the leaks are in the Safari, and was both disappointed and pleased at what I found.

Some of the leaks that got our attention have been slowed. Unfortunately, slow doesn’t count. And we added a couple of new ones to the list. After Paul couldn’t trace down what’s left, he decided it’s time to pressurize the trailer to find the rest of the leaks. The leaking refrigerator vent on the roof is fixed.

  • Leak – on the vertical rivet lines (both) at back center outer skin.
  • Leak – front big rectangular window left (street) side.
  • Leak – visible empty rivet hole in front roof around new fan.
  • Leak – visible from rivet in roof holding second new fan.

Believe it or not, that’s progress.

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I decided to do something slightly more visually rewarding, and finally got into the light that illuminates the license plate. There can be numerous configurations of the exact same piece of hardware on Airstream tails. Typically the light and the license plate holder are a single unit attached together. And that unit can be placed any number of places – dictated by the model of Airstream Trailer it goes on. Not on the 70 Safari 23′ though. The license plate (bracket) is on the back hatch door, and the light is above it. IN BETWEEN is a vent hole (pop out screened) that used to vent that back area where the battery/inverter/electrical/sink once were located. So we pulled the screen and ran a patch over that vent – which will no longer be necessary as we move all electrical to the front street-side.

If you can’t see the images large enough – It says Yankee 331 Norwalk Connecticut. Overall the split in the rubber housing can be a problem. The actual light housing has two hairline cracks in identical places on both sides, and I am missing that darn lens that goes in that long rectangular opening to diffuse the light source. That will be the hardest thing to deal with.

Once I tapped out that old bulb housing (quite easily), the new LED has plenty of room to mount. I used a flat grey primer to help bounce the LED light around before it passes out that long rectangular opening (with something to cover that opening yet to be found.


Hard At Work

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airstream rebuild #airstreamlife airstreaming grote scare light led license plate light


There’s a push on, what with 80-degree January days, to get a lot done on the Airstream. As you probably know, we’re parked at A&P Vintage Trailer Works out in Paradise (Cottondale) Texas, and they’re even more busy due to the break in typical winter weather.

Just before we left last night, the owner of the prominent came out to check on his trailer and drop off a load of parts to go into that ground-up rebuild. His trailer has a great looking body, and the frame – built from scratch – is just as much a work of modern engineering art.

I was so busy putting the new belly pans up on our trailer, and the physical demands of drilling so great (drilling rivet holes through aluminum sheet then a steel frame – some of it boxed), that I didn’t have the energy to take photographs.

We’re doing a lot of little things to begin to button up the outside for good. That includes finding a new scare light that will substitute for the holes that once held the radio antenna – on the front road-side curved panel.

And there will be some time involved in retrofitting a new bank of LED’s into the old license plate housing that on this Airstream model, is separated from the license plate. Oh the joys of a unique trailer. That shouldn’t be a problem though. We also patched the old ventilation hole that was just below that light, the screened hole that provided air circulation for the old lead batteries and inverter. (This is all at the tail of the trailer.)

Now that the back inside fiberglass end cap is down, all access is granted to the taillights, the body panel seams, the running light mounting, the wire running to all that, and finally access to the end cap itself.


As you can imagine with a 45-year-old piece of curved cooked fiberglass, there are a few hairline cracks in it. What we do for repairing those cracks is to drill two small holes just beyond the end of the cracks, and then glass it again – on the backside.


I’v now been around the track twice in order to finally settle on a replacement LED taillight for our particular trailer. They typically go by terms like, “replaces old Grote Can,” and come in varying degrees of fit and finish – all at an extremely high price. The ones I settled on are / were sold at Airstream Supply –, and the ones shipped first were the wrong ones, and completely unlike the photograph shown – Round LED Airstream Tail Light – the ones shipped are the type that get “glued” or essentially Sikaflexed into the original mounts, and have those modern 3-pin connectors. You’ve seen them everywhere.

That is a big nogo for me. I let them know, and was informed that there are only five (red) lights left in the world, and they would trade them out for the extinct ones. So four of the last five in the world – screw in LED light replacements for vintage Airstream with 20 led’s – are headed to me as I write.

I’ll make sure to get photographs of the extinct tail lights when they arrive and maybe as they go in. No matter what, we will be doing away with old school connection that plugs into the old bulb socket. Those old sockets are only still working because they’re inside a hermetically sealed, and never opened housing. Eventually they will go out (remember the springs and oxidization?).

Time to get back to work on the Thursday Texas Fly Fishing Report. You can see that crossover (if you want) at

Thanks for reading!

A Look at the Texas Fly Fishing Report and Inside the Airstream

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airstream trailers restoration rebuilding fly fishing GoPro video

My fellow fly fishing Airstreamers will enjoy more of this than the Airstreamer Nation, but watch a little and check out the GoPro shot inside the Airstream. Not as bad as it looks really, although the weather has shut the operation down again.



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