Back on track!

After several months of being derailed by work, we are back on track!  We have made a little progress here and there over the last few months, but it doesn’t seem like much. Although, when I finally uploaded our pictures starting in January, yes…January :/, we have accomplished more than I thought!

Our trailer never had an A/C unit. From what we understand the proper placement of an A/C unit, if you wanted to add one, was to cut another hole between the two rear vent holes.  To us this seemed crazy. Why wouldn’t you just put it in the center?  Then we realized the ribs  weren’t continuous at the center vent hole.  They stopped half way up on either side.  To fix the problem, Dan riveted aluminum channel to the existing ribs and buck riveted it to the outer skin.  Now the vent hole will be strong enough to hold a new A/C unit and it will be centered on the roof. I’m happy!

We used Trempro to seal all the seams from the inside, installed all the new wiring, got the new 7-way plug wired up and installed new seals on the two front stationary windows.  We insulated behind the end caps and got those big boys back up! It was a challenge for two people so we used some big wood closet rods we had to help support them.

That brings us up to date on our progress since the Holidays! Sure doesn’t seam like much but…we are BACK ON TRACK!

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Shell ON!!!!

Over the Thanksgiving holiday we had a few days to work on the trailer and made some major progress….finally! Dan cut the wood for the new floor, using the old floor as a pattern. After some tweaking, we were satisfied with the fit and bolted it down. We positioned the trailer frame under the shell by hand, using a floor jack. With the frame level, we started lowering the shell back down using the same method we used to raise it. On this trailer, the front and rear banana wraps were installed first, and then the shell over them. When we were within a few inches of the floor we did a test fit of the front wraps. They were pretty beat up and Dan did a great job hammering the dents out of them using a sandbag and an auto body dolly.  We cut new aluminum for the rear wraps from the old patterns, making sure to cut them exactly as they were. Fitting them was definitely a two man job and difficult. It took awhile, but we got them on.   Once the shell was all the way down we noticed something just wasn’t quite right at the doorway. The shell seemed to be pushed out at the threshold and the fender wells weren’t lining up perfectly with the shell. Then Dan remembered reading a post on the forums that said something about the floor being notched out at the threshold. Our floor was rotted away in that spot so with no pattern to go by we had no way of knowing that. Once again, great information obtained from the Airforums! We raised the shell back up a little, notched out the floor a 1/2″ the entire width of the door jamb, lowered it back down, and…PERFECT FIT! The rivet holes lined up everywhere…amazing! Rivets are all bucked and our “honey” looks very happy to be back together again. The new axle gave the old girl some lift and she looks like she’s ready to hit the highway! Of course we have a few more things to do…just a few. 😉

The Christmas campout with the HOTCU is this weekend…see you there! Merry Christmas!

 

The frame is ready!

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!

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Up, up, and….off!

When we raised the shell on the Overlander, it was a nail biter.  It wasn’t just the  raising and securing of the shell, it was the fear, for weeks, that a big storm would blow in and off it would go…like a tin can rolling across the highway! This time was a very different experience. We removed the skins and braced the shell as if we knew what we were doing, then before I knew it Dan started pumping those jacks, and it was up. Now we have the shop space to keep it inside while we work on the frame and install the new tanks and floor, so we have no worries of wind and hail storms. It was a long day but…it’s up and off!

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Inside out

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!

 

 

 

 

Bring on the shine!

     Stripping the clear coat from an Airstream is one of those things you really don’t want to do, but must do if you want to polish it to a mirror shine. When we stripped the Overlander, we used the Aircraft Stripper you can buy at any auto parts or home improvement store. It works fine, but dries out quickly so you have to work fast and do it in sections.  Once the water hits it, it wants to seize up, and whatever you do, don’t get the tiniest speck on you!TestSpot (Large) We decided this time we would try a different product.  As I mentioned in my last post, we chose to use PG Aerospace PR-5044 Peroxide-Activated Stripper from Vintage Trailer Supply. We weren’t certain how long to leave it on so we decided to do a test area first. This is after one hour and rinsed off with a water hose. It was about 90 degrees out and the trailer was parked in the shade.  Woohoo!  It doesn’t take much to get us excited! We were out the door and headed to Lowe’s to buy some covers for our paint rollers. 

     The directions say it can be sprayed, brushed or rolled on but, it’s so thick (bananna pudding) I don’t see how you could spray it. We put on some old clothes and chemical resistant gloves and rolled it on. It went fast and only took about 2 1/2 gallons to get a good thick coat on. We even put it on the bumper, step, tongue and wheels that had several coats of paint on them. After about an hour we pulled it out away from the building and used a pressure washer to rinse it off. Stripping a trailer is a messy job but this product made it much easier and no pain! 

     The new marker lights, window clips, gaskets, and door latch came today. It’s official, the restoration of our 1966 Safari has begun! We should be camping by Spring! 😉 Ha!

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Itching to get started!

Good grief…it’s been awhile since my lost post!  The summer is almost over, and you know what that means… camping with the Heart of Texas Camping Unit!  The first camp out has been scheduled for September 19-21 at the Bosque River RV Park in Hico.  Thinking about our friends and all the fun we will be missing is all it took to get us itching to get started on the Safari.

We ordered the stripper from Vintage Trailer Supply and will strip what’s left of the clear coat off just as soon as we get some cooler weather.  After that, we will be ready to start gutting the interior and removing the belly pan so we can get a good look at what we are in for.

In the mean time, I made a new web site banner for a new trailer! We love this little Safari and can’t wait to get started.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!