Saturday, December 29, 2007

A time for thanks

I have been somewhat remiss about posting lately. To be honest I have been very busy with family, work, and occasionally being able to work on Anna. About the only thing I really wanted this christmas was another Airstream, and what would you know, but, I got a new 2007 airstream Bambi...

Another wonderful gift came on Christmas Eve...

Yep, that's right, it is the elusive 46" drip cap or eyebrow as it is called in Oregon. This is one of those truly obsolete parts. Not only is this drip cap the right one, but it has never been used. Shiny virgin aluminum....
Now as to the actual work... for the past three weeks I have been removing or destroying everything I touched. Today marked a distinct turning point, for today, I began putting things back together. I went to the steel yard and purchased a hunk of 4" channel which matches the frame rails exactly. The rear cross member was still very solid, but had some rust along the bottom edge. I cut out the rusted one during the demo phase and today replaced it with this new channel...

I have not welded in close to twenty years. A good friend of mine, Monty to the rescue, loaned me his bosses MIG welder. I looked around for some scrape chunks of metal to practice on, but did not find anything apropriate. Instead of practicing, I just jumped in and got right to it. Well, welding is like sex and bicycles, do it once and you will never forget. I welded using a flux cored wire without shielding gas. The welds are not pretty, but are very solid and have a full penetration into the metal. Tomorrow I will begin welding in the supports for the new wash water tank that will be mounted into the frame. So much to do and only 96 days to do it.

Monday, December 24, 2007


The job gets bigger and bigger every day. Just two days ago I had only 4 feet of floor out...

Now I have the rear 8 feet removed.....

I got out the grinder and removed the rear cross member and cleaned out the rusty side plates...

I will be getting busy next week on obtaining new steel and a welder to make the necessary repairs to the frame. I will also be making some minor alterations to accommodate a 28 gallon wash water holding tank. I will post more on this once I have obtained the tank. I cannot see the point of making any alterations until I have the actual tank in my hands.
Today I was visited by Mary and Rick. They are fellow Airstreamers and members of the Washington DC Unit. Mary and Rick have 1961 Safari that they have been working on for the past two years. It was very nice to have some visitors give their two cents at what they are seeing. Often someone else will notice things you do not. Earlier in the week I was also visited by another WDCU member named Tom Waugh. He has one of those mod 1969 units that he has been working on for awhile. I hope I can get out and see their projects in person soon.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What have I done?

Two weeks ago Anna was a fully functional camper. We could have gone off and enjoyed camping at any time, but no I had to find floor rot and challenge some professionals to a renovation restoration resolution show down. After two weeks of dedicating two hours a day, I have gotten to this state.

I removed the elevator bolts by cutting them with a grinder. I then removed all the sheet metal screws from the "C" channel and cut the remaining elevator bolts. The shell was loose all the way around and so was the floor. I then ran a saw up the middle so I could lift the two halves out. It took one good tug and out it came.

The frame is in real good shape except for the last cross tie. It had suffered from the continuous leaks.

The "C" channel is also in good shape except in the area around where the leak was. This piece can easily be fabricated.

All in all a ton of work for 14 days...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

She looks so sad...

This past week has been a busy one with my paying job taking president over my passion. I was however able to get all of the furniture out and organized into a corner of my shop. All the rivet have been drilled out on all the lower panels from wheel well to wheel well. The insulation has been pulled out of the lower walls to get a clear look at the infamous "c" channel.

All and all the rot is not as bad as I had thought. There is rotten wood, but not nearly as bad as I had thought. In total area it is less than a square foot. Regardless of that, I will be replacing the rear eight feet of plywood. I have gone this far, why do it half way? Well I am doing it half way... half the trailer... half way... at least I am laughing.

If you ever take on a project like this, get help carrying the things out. I made a challenge that I would beat the pros solo, so I didn't want to ask my wife for help. As a result I slammed a wardrobe into my glass shade on the gas lamp. Now I need yet another, probably difficult to find item. I did find some very cool time capsules. I found this one on the back of the bathroom wardrobe mirror

But the best was finding this on the back side of the tub.

Do you think the assembly line was putting out trailers on new years day 1961? Maybe the tub company was behind on filling orders and the guys were working overtime.

Removing the water heater left me with huge gapping hole in her side. Surprisingly, there is no rot in that area. The entire floor is actually very solid except for under the bathroom window. I have so much to do that the job looks insurmountable. I will over come though.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Okay, maybe something is or has been going on.

Hey where did Anna go? That is where she has been sitting for the past two months. I see her tire tracks in the muddy ground. I think that Rob Baker snuck into my yard and took her somewhere. He has been trying to find a way to derail my project. I suspect he had a vial of termites in his pocket last time he was here. He claimed it was a social visit....

Oh, there she is... looks like she might have been dragged up onto the concrete. Looks like she is sitting level... what's up with that? Is something going on here? Hey the doors open. Must mean it is open house.

nothing, it is a blog about nothing....

I wish I had some vivid photos or some exciting story about Anna, but the truth is nothing happened all week. I am so over whelm by the job in my shop right now, so, I was able to get zero accomplished during the week. I have come to find that my wife has big plans for saturday that involve me watching the kids and not getting any progress made. Such is life.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The true Airstream spirit...

I want to introduce my new friend Sam Baldwin.

Sam has helped me out in a major way. He had made a post on the Airforums about replacing his "pink elephant" I knew right away that he was talking about an early 60's Dometic. I had commented on the fact that it looked looked an elephant too. The thread was old, but I sent Sam an email inquiring as to the referance about the pink elephant. Turns out that we have identical units, only difference is his hinges right and mine is left. Even better was that no one wanted it, no one but me. Well now I have a 1962/ 1963 gas only Dometic refrigerator with all it's interior parts. I am so thrilled, for the refrigerator is my favorite thing about the trailer. Not only did Sam have the fridge parts, but he had the TV antenna that looks like a B 52 hovering above the trailer...

He had the living room dual source fixture...

He had the old Bowen heat diffusers to convert into a new water heater door...

The best thing he had was insight to save these things for someone else. Sam said he knew someone would come along that needed them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

how many feet can you stuff in that big mouth?

This past week I was fortunate enough to be a guest on the Vintage Airstream Podcast episode 59. The segment started off civil, talking about my baby, but fell apart when I stuck my foot and Rob's and Colin's in there too. I went and challenged the pros to a bathroom show down. I have some rot issues to take care of this winter and wanted to be pushed to get it done. The pros have both been living with partial bathrooms and being pros, well they need to get it finished.

I will now need to get moving. I still have cause to take care of before I fix the effects. I have a ton of work to do taking it all out, fixing the damage, and then putting it all back. The real winners in this challenge will be the wives. Out of this competition the real winners will be our significant others, for soon they will all have proper showers, toilets, and a place to brush the teeth.

I am still looking for that 46" front window drip cap or eyebrow as they call it in Oregon. For now I will use the designer blue drip cap to keep out the water.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I tried, really I tried. Sorry I lied..

Well, I did my best, it is sundown and I didn't get all done... street side drip rails are back on, Trempro injected into the frames... cleaned off real well (I almost typed good). All the seams, filled, were polished up before they were sealed. New 1" ribbon of gray buthyl behind the drip cap...

The bathroom window is done too, but still needs the "AIRSTREAM" plate put back. I once again ordered those up from Vintage Trailer Supply, my very first choice in supplies.

I can almost see myself... I think I will come to hate polishing

Friday, November 30, 2007

How many new toys are really needed?

Well, I bought a sheet metal brake yesterday and I had to try it out. I started out by replicating the gear box that is part of the TV antenna. The box was made out of sheet metal and has been sanded and re-painted many times. I thought about getting a sand blaster and then prime and paint... instead I chose to reproduce it. The brake actually does a good job if you mark out the place you want the bend and then offset the clamping bar by that thickness. If you look in the back of this photo, you will see my first attempt. I am learning so many new skills through this process, perhaps the best skill is patience.

I did make a few changes to the design... I used rivets to put it together, and I used aluminum. No more painting...
See before:

And after:

I will still need to drill a hole for the antenna shaft to go through. I am waiting on this because (A) this is not really a necessary project. And (B) I need to figure out what to use to replace the plastic sleeves on the box and shaft. The plastic is toast after 45 years in the sun.
I know I am not supposed to be working on gear boxes, but I had to try out the new tool. The TremPro is on the counter thawing... just you wait till Sundays post, my goal is to finish all ALL the windows by dark time Sunday. NO MORE LEAKS... for now. Rob Baker tells me often "(laugh, laugh)... you know, they all (laugh) leak(laugh, laugh, laugh)..." and the sad thing is he is right. Well my hope is to stop them for a little while, BY DARK TIME SUNDAY.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The yard is done, time to play with my girlfriend...

So How did you spend your Thanksgiving weekend? I finished cleaning up, trimming back, and mulching our entire yard. By doing that I was able to work on Anna for the few hours that were not obligated to family events.
I now have all the old putty picked out of the window frames all the way around. It was very cold and I had to put on many
layers to keep from freezing.

Good thing I blew out all the water lines last week. The putty was actually easier to pick in it's semi frozen state. I have been using these dental tools that I bought at Harbor Freight.

Don't get too attached to these if you plan to use them as I did. This is the fourth set of 6. As you can see the bottom three
are beginning to deform, soon they will be worthless. The drip cap serves an important function in keeping the water out of the window frames and sometimes some strange panel overlaps.

Now, maybe I am paranoid, but that looks like a potentially serious problem.
Anna now sits with her seams picked clean and blue tape as a temporary caulk to keep the rain out. I need a full day to get all the frames injected with vulkum (AKA Trempro) and the drip caps re-installed. Anyone out there want to come by this weekend? I would be glad to feed and wine anyone that wants to stop by and help me... I'll even let you shave some rivets.