The Airstream Diary

Airstream Trailer Answers and Questions

Archive for the ‘ Exterior ’ Category

Stuck and Unstuck

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Looks like we are still stuck at GO as far as the Marmoleum issue goes. Just wish we had gotten it right to begin with. I am trying to avoid calling the Marmoleum a “worst case scenario,” but that’s where we’re headed – cost and appearance. Once I can bring myself to think about this entire episode, much later in life, I will go back through and tell you what all went wrong, and how you can avoid my mistakes.

However, I finally decided to bypass what I thought would be the normal order of things, and am fast at work – bolting down the trailer, and working my way to the back where I had to remove rivets to the back center outer skin – in order to get the uniquely angled steel piece to go in AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – be Sikaflex-ed and bolted down – through the U channel, through the flooring, through the plywood, through the skeleton piece of steel angle that was abandoned and through the new back crossmember. Also found that the bottom edge of that back inside skin had corrosion progressing quickly (remember the tail rot?). So that will have to be backed or fronted with a new sliver – the location is just below the back hatch if you are playing along.

The front end cap is out. That revealed another tiny skeleton – this one a lizard. Removing the Airstream end caps also lets you get a look for evidence of leaking, and test for water leaks before you put it all back together. That funky Airstream smell is just about gone, and I think these last vestiges of pink fiberglass insulation will be the final hint of “that smell.”

Starting at one end and working to the other is the way you want to check leaks and go back together. In previous weeks / months rains, I found a freight train of water running down outside the diagonal seam in the front end cap, and straight under the window frames of both curved front side windows (note photo of aluminum tape which diverted the flood). It was a non-stop torrent. The process for removing those windows is to first TAP the centers of the rivets, and second – drill out those rivets. The windows are still in, but according to Paul, they are jinked behind the frame of the front center window to some extent, and the final remove takes some real strong sensitivity (how’s that for an oxymoron!).

The end cap itself is in perfect condition, and will need some custom woodwork for the opening that had the gauges and speakers, as well as a new door on the wide compartment that is at the bottom of the end cap (below the gauges and all).

Leslie has done a quick and fantastic job of replacing the gaskets around the windows, and is down to her last window which just needs to have the new foam (D Pattern) stuck on (came pre-backed with sticky covered with peal off paper backing.

NOTE – I shot some video of work done to prepare windows for new D Gaskets. If you want to see it, let me know.

LBJ Grasslands

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Of course it’s going to take me awhile to get all the details and photos together, but here’s one in the meantime –

LBJ Grasslands Airstream Gathering 2012

There are plenty of photographs of interiors that I will go through and perhaps create a slideshow soon. It’s almost time to get in and go to Paradise – to work on our trailer. Soon soon.

How Much Does it Cost to Polish Your Airstream

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Dear Wally,

I consider polishing my Airstream to be a final step, definitely optional, and possibly impossible.

I know it takes a lot of elbow grease to do it yourself, but recently I priced it locally in Dallas – Fort Worth at 175.usd  a linear foot which is 75. more than when I first started on my Airstream Safari ’23. The measurement runs bumper to tip of the tongue (add 4′). Wow!

I still have a sampler set of the Nuvite polishing compound from Vintage Trailer Supply and they to sell the Cyclo Polisher for about 279.usd. Yes, that’s just the tip of the iceberg … add a DeWalt variable speed grinder, miscellaneous deplete-able items … add all this up and you could come in for less than a grand. Now, what’s your time worth? Keep in mind, you can resell the Cyclo and variable speed grinder after you are all done!

I had heard the Airstream aluminum continues to oxidize after being polished and as to be polished again, but apparently normal waxing with car wax delays that problem. Who wants to wax the Airstream for me?

The end of this part of the restoration ultimately means thousands on a new carport, or storage unit fees – to protect that mirror finish.

Airstream Safari Tail Lights

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Airstream Safari

Dear Wally ,

I am thinking about replacing my tail lights on my 1970 Airstream Safari. They are showing some rust stains, the lenses are brittle and hazy, and since the Safari is a “rebuild” and not a “restore”, I could use just about any setup I want. So, where do I find what I need to either a) fix these, or b) put some of those fantastic new LED units in where these were?



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