Month: July 2018

Some Notes on the Airstream Project

Some Notes on the Airstream Project

A trailer is like a miniature of a house – all the same systems but concentrated in a 29 foot by 8 foot “small” house. Kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, closets, doors, windows, roof, floor, appliances, sinks, toilet and shower. Harder than it first seems.
First, reality check. Remember I said the trailer had no leaks? Well, wishful thinking. So far, we’ve found four leaks – one from the water tank, one from the air conditioner, one from a tap and another from the pump. All fixed. I strongly suggest anyone read up on those Airstream forums on how to inspect a trailer for leaks.

What has happened so far?

Wheel axles checked and bearings greased
                We still have to see how old the tires are but they are holding up the trailer right now and it’s not a panic.
Sewer hookups checked and working
New roof vents and re-sealed
                We called Airstream in Ohio and then they shipped the vents to an RV place in the US just over the border from us. We picked up the roof vents and had to figure out how they affixed to the roof of the trailer. They sell you the vents but nothing to attach it with.
A/C unit sealed and checked
Exterior seams re-sealed
New LED lights inside and out
                I love LED lights. Environmentally friendly and cheap to run. Lasts for ages.
Carpet pulled up, new subfloor out of ¾” plywood not particle board which Airstream had used, floor insulated under trailer between floor and underpan, underpans sealed to keep from water penetration
                My husband was actually really surprised that Airstream, the Rolls Royce of trailers, used particle board instead of plywood. Gasp. Really a cheap move. But I guess you can’t see it, so what the hell.

New eco flooring installed

                I found this through someone else who had restored an Airstream. It’s light, sharp looking and lays down beautifully. A little glue along the edge of the room and just butts up next to each other. The hardest part was the curve at each end of the trailer.(See the photos below!)
Checked all seals: toilet gasket replaced, shower seals checked, pump seals replaced
Hot water tank checked, taken out and re-sealed so watertight
                A little tip here. As the Airstream whizzes down the road, it vibrates and the tap on the tank can loosen. Our maintenance fellow attached something to the tank so it doesn’t vibrate and the tap won’t work loose. Genius.
Replaced pans under trailer with new galvanized metal and then undercoated the metal supports
Next step is painting all of the cupboards. There is a mountain (forest?) of oak in this baby. Don’t judge. I want the oak painted.
Below you can see some of the progress.  From the plywood underneath to the new Eco Flooring:
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Airstream Trailer: The Floor

Airstream Trailer: The Floor

The Floor

The first thing we had to do was handle the leaks. We had the roof seams sealed with caulking and had new roof vents put on. The air conditioning unit which was on the roof of the trailer had to be checked and sealed.

Then the wheel axles were checked and the bearings were greased.  Sewer hookups were checked and fortunately they were working.

New LED lights purchased through eBay replaced all of the old lights. We still have a bunch to replace in the closet and a few others.

The carpet was pulled up. Who puts carpet in a trailer?! We have another trailer with linoleum and I sweep it about 8 times a day when we camp in it. So out came the carpet which was weirdly wedged up the wall like a baseboard. In the bathroom too. Don’t get me started.

As a result of the leaks, there were a lot of leaks and resultant wrecked floor under the carpet. To replace the chipboard floor – my husband was SHOCKED that Airstream would use chipboard on a trailer and not plywood! – we used ¾” plywood as the subfloor.

The floor was insulated under the trailer between the floor and the underpan. The underpan was sealed with a special coating to keep it from water penetration.

The hot water tank was taken out and re-sealed so that it was watertight. Interestingly, as the trailer travels and vibrates over a long period of time, the valves loosen. A bracket was added so keep the water line steady so it didn’t vibrate.

A new floor is now going in. It’s called EZ Lay Eco Flooring. Apparently easy to install and light for the trailer.

It all takes a LOT LONGER than you could imagine.

I have taken one of the curtain panels out of the trailer to examine it. It requires this weird slider hardware which is only available through Airstream. I ordered a lot of these slider doo-hickeys. There are 18 panels I am replacing. I am going to do this one by one. I bought lining and I’m waiting for the hardware to arrive. I need about 25 yards of fabric to do the living area and the bedroom. I saw on the Airstream Forums that people pay big bucks to have these done. I can now see why.  I will take the panel out, copy it and put it back in the trailer. I’m not going to do the set over the kitchen stove as you can imagine these can get dirty. There is a mini-blind there now and I’ll leave that for the time being.  Same thing with the window beside the door.

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