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Airstream Trailer Living and Repair

Archive for the ‘ Interior ’ Category

Airstream Eyelids – Who Knew Airstreams Have Eyes?

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Installing skins and interior trim on the 1970 Airstream Safari.

airstream aluminum buck rivets being drilled

We made the trip to A&P today, and although it wasn’t a full day, Leslie did get squared up with where the interior “eyelids” are riveted though the body exterior, through the plastic eyelid trim pieces in the interior. In typical Airstream fashion, nothing was typical about the original install. Some of the six rivets (3 top 3 bottom each side) are aluminum buck rivets, and others are olympic rivets. We will be going back in with olympics. Removal of each type of rivet is a distinctly different process.

WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?

Airstream 12 Volt RUNNING LIGHTS

Well, since I was floating the ground from light-to-light for the running lights, I had to pick a spot and ground to the trailer so that the single wire exterior running lights (grounded only by the socket’s contact with the body) can work. That will also take care of the light above the door. All of this would probably be fine with the final big grounding at the power center, but I just had to make them work before I started closing up the inside skins.

HOT WATER

We have a donated hot water heater – gas of course, and with tank. I was moving it around, and realized it had water in it, so I drained it. Whether it makes a difference, there was a good amount of mineral deposits that drained out as well.

VENTING THE Airstream DUAL REFRIGERATOR

Our fridge runs on electric and gas. The old fridge ran the same way. Venting is pretty critical. I was recalling that the trailer had a permanent open rectangular hole in the floor where air could pass from outside up to the fridge, and then pass through the big curved wall vent. We’re talking A LOT of circulation! What I don’t know is; do the new refrigerators need the same amount of venting?

CONCLUSION

It is certainly a warm fuzzy feeling to see the skins on the verge of going back on – after we get all the trim done, and electrical … and and and. No matter what, this IS the build-back. No more rebuild, no more demolition.

Hard At Work

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

THE PUSH IS ON TO MAKE HAY

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 Airforums.com 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.

THE END CAP

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.

LED TAIL LIGHTS

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 – www.airstreamsupply.com, 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 www.texasflycaster.com.

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.

Another Day at the Airstream

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Images from another workday at A&P Vintage Trailer Works.

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.