Progress on the Safari is painfully slow at times but, we HAVE made progress!
We scrubbed the inner skins several times and patched the old ceiling light holes and other unused holes. With the inner skins back up we primed and painted using Sherwin Williams primer and paint. The color is “Stucco” and a close match to the original. We had an issue in the Overlander with the vinyl off-gassing and becoming a little tacky in the heat. We decided to not take the “wait and see if it happens again” approach and go for the “better safe than sorry” one instead! We used Minwax Polycrylic to seal the paint in the Overlander with excellent results so while everything was taped up, we sealed the paint on the Safari with it as well. The results are a super tough finish with a nice satin sheen. Done!
Next we moved back down to the tanks and waste lines. The location for the toilet, vent pipes and tank heat ducts were marked on the floor. We raised the tanks up temporarily so we could drill a marker hole through both, then lowered the tanks, drilled the correct size holes and installed the correct fittings in the tanks. Next, we ran wire from one tank to the other in pex for the SeeLevel Tank Monitoring System and installed the tank sensors on the tanks. The new dump valves were installed, plumbed together and out to the new bayonet fitting.
We chose to use Armstrong VCT tile again for the flooring. We loved it in the Overlander and had no problems with it whatsoever. It comes in a million colors but we chose…of course…GREEN. Kiwi to be exact. It’s bright, fresh, clean, happy, and we love it! I’m sure there will be haters but you gotta go with what makes you happy! We took the screen door to Wise Powder Coating in Chico, Texas and had it powder coated to match. It’s GREEN! 🙂
Up next….new laminate for the bath walls! Sneak peek…..
With the shell off, the next step was to remove the old floor and start on frame repairs. We knew this trailer had spent some time in the Florida Keys so we were holding our breath and expecting the worse. What a pleasant surprise to see that the only bad area was right at the front door. The floor was bad there so this was no big surprise. We originally thought the door was leaking and causing the problem but after we took off the inner skins we could see that the door hinge was a bad leak source too. We ordered two new outriggers and the right hand step outrigger from Out of Doors Mart. We replaced all the belly pan strapping that runs between the outriggers also. Dan welded some angle iron in the frame section behind the axle to attach the pan that will hold up the new grey tank and in the back section for the new black tank as well. He also added a piece of angle above the black tank in front of the toilet area. This was a pretty large unsupported area of the floor in a heavy traffic spot so we decided it was worth the extra weight. We did the same across the front to support the weight of the fresh water tank and the new location for the battery. When the welding was complete, we used a wire wheel on the frame, cleaned it, and used Metal Prep everywhere. After a day in the sun drying we pulled it back under the car port and brushed on the POR-15. We love this stuff! It covers great, levels out, and dries rock hard. Next we brushed Sterling Silver Topcoat on the bumper, steps, and A-frame. We weren’t exactly thrilled with that though. It dried really fast making it impossible to get a smooth finish. The next day we sanded it all and tried spraying it. The good news was no brush marks but, once again, it dried too fast and has a rough finish. It’s not great but we are calling it “good enough” …for now anyway!
The new 5000 lb. axle and the new waste tanks should be here in a week or so. In the mean time, we can get the new floor cut and ready to install, run the new brake wire, clean, repair, and paint the inner fender wells; and start making an electrical plan. Our initial plan to keep this trailer original has been scrapped. We want to make it better than original! Someone once recited a Wally Byam quote to me that was something like, “Don’t make changes, only improvements”. That’s our plan…to make the improvements that we feel we need to do to be comfortable, and to make the necessary upgrades to keep our ’66 Safari on the road for another 48 years!
Hope to see you all at the HOTCU Halloween Camp Out at the LBJ Grasslands! We, of course, won’t be camping (BOO), but we will be visiting all weekend. Trick or Treat!
Removing the interior of an Airstream is like putting a puzzle together…in reverse. You have to start at the front and work your way back. We made it to the bathroom and stopped so we could figure out exactly what we are going to do back there. The original toilet has been removed and the fiberglass was cut out to make room for a newer model toilet. We will have to make more modifications to make way for an even newer model toilet. In doing that we may need to replace the black tank. And then there’s the plan to add a grey tank. So much to think about! We have consulted with our friends at A & P Vintage Trailerworks, browsed the Airforums and researched tanks at Vintage Trailer Supply and others. We still don’t have a firm plan but at least we have some ideas. We have decided to replace the floor instead of trying to repair it. You know what that means…. the shell has to come off. I knew in my heart we would end up doing a shell off the day we bought it. This is our “forever trailer” and we want it to last as long as we do!
It will be a few weeks before work can resume on the trailer but, in the meantime, I plan on working on those rusty window clips, gaskets and screens. Dan will be sewing up cushions, curtains and an awning for a beautiful 1970 Caravel brought to us by A & P Vintage Trailer Works. I’ll post pictures when it is complete. It’s a WOWzer! Enjoy the cooler weather…fall is on it’s way!
Installing the black, grey and fresh water tanks were next. We were able to re-use the fresh water tank pan, but the rear pan obviously had to be replaced. We had just completed some work for a man that had the tools, and the know-how, to make us a new one. He did an outstanding job, especially considering half of the original was missing. We had to drill new bolt holes in the pan, as well as the areas on the frame where we added new steel. Getting them lined up precisely and tapped was critical.
With the new water lines and heater hose attached to the fresh tank, up it went. Not too bad…still uncomfortable down there though!
We replaced the Thetford valves on the black and grey tanks with Valterra valves from Vintage Trailer Supply. The price difference was the main reason for our choice. Installing the rear tanks took a little tweaking. Most of the floor back there was long gone so we had to guess where to cut holes for the valves, etc. We weren’t too far off. Grainger had the black ABS pipe and fittings for the waste lines. We found rubber gasket material in the plumbing department at Lowe’s and installed it were the pipes come through the frame. It should help keep mice and water out.
The trunk lid was such a poor design, we had to do something. Dan came up with the idea of attaching a piece of aluminum angle to the underside of the lid at the hinge to try and direct any water seeping through the hinge to the sides and out, instead of into the trunk. We installed a rubber gasket on the lid and vulcumed and parbonded anything and everything we could see. Now we have to wait for rain and see if it works!
Now Al has a nice behind to go with that pretty belly!