Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Look at all of that "Bling."

Time to hang all of the pretty items back onto the shiny body!

Original but refurbished Bargman tail lights.

 New Airstream nameplates on the front and back.
Refurbished license plate light with new red lens showing to the rear.

New LED clearance lights from Vintage Trailer Supply.

A 30 amp Marinco Shore Power Plug was added to the left rear of the trailer.

A receptacle for a portable porch light was reinstalled near the door on the curbside of the trailer.
 This type of light is powered by 120 volts and only used when the trailer is 
plugged into adequate shore power.

Several styles of this type of light were used originally.

The aluminum propane tanks were polished and mounted back onto the front of the trailer.

Polishing the tanks worked best by following the grain in the metal 
which goes up and down instead of side to side.

A new tank rack and regulator holder was added to the front hitch area.

 Here is the trailer all "blinged up."

Great reflections.

 Sunglasses were helpful while taking these pictures!

The outside of the Airstream is basically complete and waterproof.
I can now turn my attention to the inside of the trailer.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Moving Forward- 

It is obvious that I have not been very busy working on the Airstream.  Yes, life goes on and there are too many distractions.  

However, I have not lost my zeal to complete this monumental project .  
I have been doing some research and strategic planning to aid in the future tasks.
The goal of a finished project in mind requires one to plan a few steps in advance. 

The outside of the Airstream was stripped of every accessory for cleaning and repair.  The placards (like the one pictured above) were removed along with the lights and window drip caps.  
My aim was to repair/replace any broken or obsolete items with new parts.  All items would later be reattached on a "polished" clean surface using methods that would inhibit leaks.  As this process proceeded I must say that  "I was sidetracked!"

Let's face it -
I became obsessed with polishing the Airstream!

As I polished a little here and a little there it became apparent that the Airstream would look great once the surface was completely polished.  Anyway it would be easier to replace the items onto a clean surface.

Once I started I just could not stop!

One polish (first cut) was not enough so I had to do a second polish (second cut) to make it look better.  And of course a third polishing was necessary to satisfy the eyes.

Polishing is not for the faint of heart.  It is hard work.
The right tool for the job is necessary to achieve the desired result.
Proper safety equipment and clothing is also a must do.
I was very happy with the shine that appeared after a considerable amount of
very hard work!

I tried several methods of polishing.  
Airstream metal of this vintage does not polish evenly with equal effort.

Polishing the top was very rough going due to its constant exposure to the sun.
The end caps are stretched aluminum and were tougher to polish.
The sides were easiest to polish to a brilliant shine.

My Airstream was badly pitted, oxidized and scratched in places.
It is 59 years young and I am sure that it had never been polished since new.
The task at times was daunting but became a satisfying endeavor.

Several products and methods were used to successfully polish my Airstream.
I had the best experience using  Zephyr polishing products 

purchased from Amazon.

The shine is not perfect but I think it looks great.  
I have since added some additional polishing effort to satisfy the eye.
I did not count the hours but it took over 3 weeks work to make it shine!

Friday, November 3, 2017

The door on the Ambassador needed attention.

The door was removed from the body so that several issues could be addressed:
First, the door handle was badly pitted and worn and needed to be replaced.  Second, the hinges needed to be reworked for better alignment.  Third, the door needed some metal work and cleaning that could be done easier while lying on a table setting.

When the door handle was removed, I discovered that there were broken parts inside.  
Replacement parts are not easily obtained. 

This view shows the multiple holes in the aluminum.

Outside view of the handle.

Inside view of the handle.

I decided to install a modern door latch with deadbolt that I had in my stock pile of usable vintage parts. It is in used condition, but it is in very serviceable.  It will function well, but it certainly is a sizable departure from true vintage.

Now to address these holes left behind by the old handle on the inside and outside of the door.

The one section of aluminum that held the latch handle on the inside of the door  was easily removed by drilling out several pop rivets. I cut a new piece of aluminum and re-skinned the inside section of the door.  The newly installed handle will look good against the new aluminum.  The new skin will later be painted the same color as all other interior panels.

I carefully measured, made the cut-out for the handle and drilled screw holes in the new aluminum. 

The new skin was fastened onto the door using pop rivets as before.
I also put new insulation into the cavity since it was easily accessible.  The old rubber seals on the door were removed while the door lay on the table. Three new rubber seals will be ordered from Vintage Trailer Supply. 

The two latches to the door-within-a-door were re-installed on the new skin inside the main door.

The outside of the door needed a patch to cover the holes and to install the new latch.
Buck rivets were easily installed here using a rivet squeezer.

I mounted the hinges onto the body.  I installed aluminum backer plates on the inside of the trailer behind the hinges.  These plates added another layer of strength to the wall and will stabilize the door operation.  My assistant with a bucking bar made it much easier to install buck rivets through the hinges. The hinges were then aligned for proper door placement within the body cavity.
Lots of fitting and adjusting were necessary here. The door now swings true and the latch works great.

 Outside view of the finished latch.

Inside view of the finished latch with incorporated deadbolt.

The door on the Ambassador has a feature known as a "door-within-a-door." 
The specialized hinges allow for the incorporation and the operation of this door-within-a-door, which allows a cool breeze to flow through while still retaining privacy.
They work very well.

After all that work both doors work perfectly!
The screen insert will be added later.

Two more conveniences were installed during this time.

One was a door "hand hold" that I acquired a couple of years ago.
It should work perfectly to assist one to "step up" into the trailer!

I also installed a 110/120 volt electrical outlet on the curbside front corner. 
I used the opportunity to re-purpose the odd opening from an previously obsolete electrical plug.

Exterior Priorities

Water Heater -

The opening for the old water heater was "Huge."
It was in need of a big "Patch" to plug the irregular sized opening.  A smaller opening will be created later for a modern water heater.  It will "look" modern and will not protrude three inches from the surface like the old one.

I cut out a patch from the same composition aluminum as the body to cover the hole.

I drilling and spaced rivet holes evenly which took patience.
Buck rivets were used here since the back side is exposed and accessible for a bucking bar.
A  horizontal brace about  five inches from the top was also re-installed on the back side to add strength.  (See the secondary rivet line.)
The old water heater was so large that this brace was "cut out" to make room for the install.

The finished patch looked great and blended right into the body.

When I install a new water heater here it will require a much smaller surface cut out. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Windows and more-

I have heard people say "I don't do windows!"
Now, I know why.

Windows take lots of time to clean and repair.  Such is the case with the windows on "SeeMore."

Earlier in the project I removed all of the windows and had new glass cut for them.  
Both the sashes and the back frames needed to be cleaned and new seals needed to be ordered and installed.
Once everything was cleaned and the new glass was installed I set the windows aside to work on other projects.  
Now, I was ready to put seals onto the back frames and reassemble the windows into the trailer.
The back frames required a special bulb type seal and was ordered from Vintage Trailer Supply
The seal has a specific profile to fit into the small channel on the back frame.

Here is a look at the profile of the seal.

Proper orientation to the window requires careful attention.

Tools necessary to install the seal are patience, scissors and a flat blade screw driver.

Once the new seals were installed the windows and hardware could be reassembled.

It was nice to have windows on the trailer again.

Refrigerator vent door-

The vent door needed to be repaired and a new seal installed.
All was polished before reassembly.

The seal was ordered from Vintage Trailer Supply.
It was required to be buck riveted onto the trailer body.

The seal had to be sandwiched between the body and the vent.

The seal and vent was all held into place with clecos and then buck riveted together.

With the bottom intake vent installed and the new roof vent in place the system should be ready for an operable refrigerator someday.

Roof vent with cover in place.