The Airstream Diary

Airstream Trailer Answers and Questions

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.


Back to Business

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I typically get teased when I arrive at A&P Vintage to work on the Safari 23′. “Waited until it got hot enough I see!” is a typical greeting. Truth is, the last few times I’ve been out it has been raining, steaming, leaking or burning hot.

There’s nothing quite like welding upside down outside in the heat, laying in the dirt, taking slag to the body and knowing the pain will stop before I put the fire out on my burning skin. Burn up, burn out.

Then, the leaks that are coming in from the rains are presenting themselves as another daunting task. It is less the opening windows, and more about the curved windows at the front of the trailer. They have dried out and the seam that runs from the top down the side and into the window is conducting water right under the dried out seals and inside the trailer. Another beat down.

Even if I feel beat and beat down, I know I have to push on. The list of body blows, and damage to the morale seems to be stable – give a little, get a little. None of the problems are magically disappearing.


I was watching a documentary on the Eagles, and they did a video after they reunited that had them sitting on the steps of Airstreams belting out the song, “How Long.”



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