Friday, November 28, 2014




The Barber Shop.  

A trip to the local barber shop can keep one looking sharp with a fresh cut and current on gossip and local news.  Such was the case on my latest visit.  My barber knew that I was obsessed with older Airstream trailers.  As I was being quaffed, my barber told me about a garage sale down the road where a fellow was trying to sell an "old Airstream trailer."  

The barber explained that he had been there only yesterday and had actually seen the trailer.  
"Oh yes," he said. "It's an old one."

  My eyes widened as I learned the details.  I had a hard time sitting still as he trimmed and chattered.  


I knew exactly where the trailer was located.  I would drive there immediately.


This is what I saw from the road !


As I pulled into the driveway my heart skipped a few beats !
It was old alright. And it looked like it was in good shape.


There it was. It had bee sitting there for several years.  
I was shaking with anticipation !


 On closer inspection I found that it was all there !!!
It was being used as a storage shed.
I had to have her.

1952 Flying Cloud.
(21 feet-California built)
I summoned the owner and immediately made my "deal of a lifetime."



Now to get her home.  I had to cut some tree limbs and change a tire to get her out.



Once I got her out she was good to go !



Here she is all cleaned up.


Her name is "Siri," a 1952 Flying Cloud-21 feet with single axle.
My wife said, "This one is mine."

"Siri" joins the family with 
"See-More," a 1959 Ambassador-29 feet with double axle 
and
 "Stella," a 2000 Excella-34 feet with triple axles.

Stay tuned - "Siri" will have a blog of her own soon ...

P.S. - Oh, I had to get a job to support this (aluminum) habit.

Vent stack work.


This vent stack is located on the roof of the trailer in the kitchen area.  It is used to vent the fumes from the furnace. Modern RV furnaces are vented through the sidewall of the trailer making this vent stack and interior vent piping obsolete.  We will remove the inside vent piping but keep the vent stack on top of the roof to maintain the "vintage look" on the outside of the trailer.



The vent pipe was routed up through the kitchen cabinets and then boxed in on top of the counter top. It continued up through the overhead cabinet and out the roof stack.
Making the vent inoperable and removal of the piping will provide additional space.
   

The roof hole for the vent will be closed off and sealed.


This picture shows the vent stack removed. The area was then cleaned and shinned.


To cover the area a patch was fashioned from the same type aluminum .


The patch was installed using pop rivets and sealed with caulking.


The patch was made smaller than the vent base cover for proper fit.
The vent stack will be polished before being re-installed permanently.


Friday, August 29, 2014


Time to "SHINE."


Oh My !!!  It really does shine after a lot of hard work....

This "desire" to shine all the aluminum started very early in the process. My plan was to build and complete a functioning trailer. The final step would be to "shine" the trailer.

So, the "desire" began when I decided to shine some parts and pieces. Like the awning rail and the area of the body under the awning rail.  Then there was the area in front of the trailer
where the trim piece attaches near the bottom of the shell.

I reasoned, "Wouldn't the caulking adhere better if it were shined?"
After seeing the results, I just could not stop myself!


My grandson saw the opportunity to test the new shine.
  

Looked really good so far. Let's do more!


Polishing aluminum is addictive!


What a difference it makes!


My choice for polishing this alclad aluminum travel trailer is Nuvite's Nu Shine II.
It was purchased from  "Vintage Trailer Supply."

Grade F 9 (very course) was selected for the "first cut" due to the heavy oxidation and light corrosion.
The second pass polish will be done with a grade F 7 (less course).

To what degree and when to stop polishing is a personal decision.
My goal is to make it look "Stunning!"


The 100% wool polishing pads were also purchased from "Vintage Trailer Supply."


Polishing an Airstream trailer is hard work.
I followed the detailed polishing instructions in the publication listed
 on the "Vintage Trailer Supply's"web site.



The tail lights, marker lights and other items were removed to make the job easier.



I polished the entire top of the trailer by gaining access through the "open" hatches.



After a few days (and sore muscles) the "first cut" polish on the trailer was almost complete.


Seeing the results after polishing was fun but it did uncover some serious issues.


The battery box on the front of the trailer needed to be removed.
Considerable corrosion was found behind and below it and will require much attention.


During polishing the buffing wheel helped locate a few buck rivets that
were not installed correctly at the factory.
Several were removed and will be re-installed properly.


Inspection of those rivets from inside the shell showed evidence of corrosion and leaking.


Lots of work has been accomplished but there is much more to be done.
Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


More Roof Work.


One of the items needing attention is the "antiquated" refrigerator vent. 
It did not provide proper venting for the refrigerator. 



The vent is small and will be replaced with a more efficient style. The vent was poorly designed and caused some damage to the skin of the trailer.  


Excess heat and soot pooled in the area above the old refrigerator.  While inspecting this damage I poked my finger through the outside skin. 


 Vent path was not well defined. Heat and soot build up caused damage.


The new vent was located and installed above the future position of the refrigerator.
This is the new style vent and will look good on "SeeMore."


I measured and marked the shape to be cut out.


The base fit perfectly after it was trimmed for the ceiling rafter.


Nice dry-fit here.


Hood sitting over the vent looks good and will provide proper venting.
Screws will be used on both ends of the vent hood to attach it to the roof.

Monday, August 11, 2014


The Roof Inspection.

The goal for the trailer is to get the top sealed up and the windows repaired before winter.  Working on the interior of the coach will  be much easier in a dry environment.


  A thorough inspection of the roof revealed several deficiencies.
I will need to prioritize these repairs. 

The awning rail that runs the length of the trailer on the curb side had multiple pop-rivets installed in place of, and in addition to, buck rivets.  An inspection from inside the coach revealed holes in the center of the pop-rivets that allowed light and water in from outside.  Obviously, this problem will need to be repaired. I will remove the rail, clean and re-install with all new buck rivets.



View from inside the coach showing random extra holes for pop-rivets in the awning rail.


Awning rail removed and all caulking cleaned off the shell.


The area under the awning rail was polished during the repair.
The rail was polished while in the shop and off the shell.


Yes, I think this trailer will shine!


The awning rail was thoroughly cleaned and straightened before re-installation.  Holes from an old awning bracket in the skin will also have to be repaired.
Plans for the future are to use a "Rope and Pole" awning.


Large head buck rivets were used to fill the holes.
Looks a lot better to me.


A backer plate was placed on the inside of the skin to accept the rivets.
Note: Messy caulking. It gets on everything!


Awning rail re-installed.  

The top of the trailer has three openings for vents.  An air conditioner is sometimes installed in the center opening. Each opening will require special attention.  Two of these openings are 14 inches square and will need to have the trim ring removed to allow installation of a "Fantastic Vent."  The opening near the front of the coach is called an "astradome" and is 14 by 24 inches.  It will receive a new "Lexan" reproduction cover from "Vintage Trailer Supply."  


Rear vent opening with trim ring removed.


Astradome opening near front of the trailer.

The possibilities of leaks from dried out caulking must be eliminated.
The astradome will be removed and cleaned. It will then be repaired, shined and re-installed to ensure a leak-proof seal.


Astradome removed, straightened and cleaned of all caulk and sealants.



Reworking the astradome took quite some time.


The top of the trailer needed to be shined as well to make for a good seal.



Astradome re-installed and well sealed.

The inspection inside the coach revealed a few roof supports that were damaged. Those roof supports will need to be replaced and improved to provide adequate support. The middle opening needs extra support (instead of wood) should an air conditioner be installed at a later date. Added support will allow easier access to the top of the trailer.


Center vent opening with trim ring removed.  Note: damaged support from installation of an air conditioning unit.  I removed the wooden supports installed here by previous owner to support an old air conditioner.



Replacement "C" channel was added and "doubled-up" with existing metal to provide strength.


Photo of aluminum supports added to the roof structures.


The condition of the roof will require some further polishing to allow repairs to be done efficiently. 
Access to the roof through the openings at this stage is an added advantage in the areas that are otherwise hard to reach.