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mazdeuce MegaDork
6/8/17 6:11 a.m.

Parked next to a house somewhere in the Dakotas is an old Airstream. It's been in one family for a long time and carries around a lot of memories. I've become friends with the current owner and have the opportunity to go get it.
I don't know much about Airstreams or travel trailers in general. I do know that these trailers are pretty nice and that sets a high bar for me. I'm going to try and bring this trailer back as well as I can within a Challenge budget, and this year that means $2017. When it's done it will provide a place to stay for my family when we visit Rally Ready driving school outside Austin. When we're done with it there, it will rejoin the family that I'm getting it from, fixed up and with another layer of stories.

Edit: if a mod sees this could you change the work return in the title to refurb? Spell check got me. I'm writing early before coffee. Always ill advised.

alfadriver MegaDork
6/8/17 6:24 a.m.

This should be fun. Something I've considered doing, too.

(but, like many of my considerations, it's likely to only progress on someone else's project)

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
6/8/17 6:33 a.m.

Never write before coffee!

Airstreams are cool looking but I know nothing about them, so watching you tear into one should be fun.

mazdeuce MegaDork
6/8/17 6:45 a.m.

In reply to ¯_(ツ)_/¯:

Trailers (or RV's) are an interesting intersection between cars and houses and they share tech with each of them. I'm going to have to stop myself from saying "I know how to fix that" and spend some time learning. There is also the curvy factor. I've spent years trying to make sure everything I do with wood is straight and square, and now I have to fill an egg.

Dusterbd13 UltimaDork
6/8/17 7:10 a.m.


759NRNG Reader
6/8/17 7:45 a.m.

I see an opportunity to utilize CAD on a grand scale. Should any interior issues arise, cabinets, walls, etc. the shell could serve as a template.

mazdeuce MegaDork
6/8/17 7:46 a.m.

In reply to 759NRNG:

I have saved several large sheets of cardboard already.

759NRNG Reader
6/8/17 7:50 a.m.

one can never have enough cardboard.....that's the excuse I give SWMBO.

Ovid_and_Flem HalfDork
6/8/17 7:51 a.m.
mazdeuce wrote: In reply to 759NRNG: I have saved several large sheets of cardboard already.


mazdeuce MegaDork
6/8/17 8:03 a.m.

I sometimes replace cardboard with crayon depending on the scale of the project. There are even projects where I combine the two technologies.

I'm going crazy waiting to leave. We have to stop at the orthodontist on our way out of town and getting there early will just result in a longer wait. Grrrrrrr.......

759NRNG Reader
6/8/17 8:11 a.m.

In reply to Ovid_and_Flem: You are correct sir yes!!! An integral element to the entire Project Binky series, not to mention NoHome, Loose C, Ben_M and countless hundreds of other hive dwellers.

759NRNG Reader
6/8/17 8:12 a.m.

Have a safe journey.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
6/8/17 8:17 a.m.

We have a freaking 3D scanner at work, along with fancy drafting software- you'd be surprised how often it still comes down to cardboard templates.

Dusterbd13 UltimaDork
6/8/17 8:22 a.m.

I love cad....

Posterboard works better than corrugated for me.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/8/17 10:14 a.m.

Will there be adventures that combine Fergus with an old Airstream?!

Side Note: Airstreams are built in Ohio and about an hour north of the factory and therefore about 45 minutes south of me is P&S Trailer, the international, foremost authority on Airstream refinishing and restoration.

Could be helpful in the future.

hhaase Reader
6/8/17 10:15 a.m.

Does the cardboard patterning get easier if the original cabinets, though in poor shape and removed, are still included?

I also need to replace a broken window in a couple days here too.


EvanR SuperDork
6/8/17 11:02 a.m.

So are you taking the Airstream off the axle and mounting it on the flatbed of the International??

java230 SuperDork
6/8/17 11:18 a.m.

Rivets and huckbolts whoohoo!

ssswitch Dork
6/8/17 12:27 p.m.

Airstreams are super cool, I am excited for this project.

bluej GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
6/8/17 12:36 p.m.

That thing is going to make an awesome mobile fort for the MazKids.

hhaase Reader
6/8/17 1:25 p.m.

So, who wants more history on this camper? I can provide a few tidbits. Eventually I'll have to start talking about bits and pieces of the history as the project progresses, so I might as well admit I'm the one providing it.

The camper is a 1965 Airstream Safari, 23' model, rear bath. My Grandpa Fred bought in I believe 1968 and used it for his retirement vacations, hunting trips, and a spare bedroom. He towed it all the way up the Alaska Coast, through Yelllowstone, and a lot more of the USA. Some of my earliest memories are a goose hunting trip when I was 3-4 years old in this airstream, and summer vacations staying in the camper. As a teenager, we'd bring it out to Pickerel Lake for the 4th of July.

When Grandpa passed away, Dad took it over, and used it for his big yearly hunting trips for Antelope and Mule Deer. However, Dad's slowed down a bit and I inquired about it, so it became mine in 2012. We had it hauled from South Dakota to New York where I was living at the time. The big joke was "Watch, we finally haul the Airstream out here, I bet we'll be living in South Dakota soon". It arrived in NY on July 4th, we moved to SD on October 4th. So I'm the third owner, and it's been in the family for 50 years so far. It's seen a LOT of use by all of us, and there's a lot of happy memories under the patina.

But, being a 50 year old camper, it's suffering. The rear 4ft of floor in the bathroom area badly rotted out, and the toilet collapsed into the floor. Hell, the pot metal casting for the toilet base collapsed on itself too. The only intact piece of the original toilet was the ceramic bowl. The original camper fridge is long gone. I started taking out the cabinets and bathroom in the aft section so I could start working on floor replacement and plumbing, but then we moved, and life has been chaos ever since. I also sold my tow vehicle and can't tow it myself right now. It just isn't the right time yet for me to work on it.

Now we're moving again, sold our house, but there will be a gap till we move into another house. So I was in a panic about what to do with this camper. I don't want to get rid of it, I don't have a place to keep it for now, but I REALLY don't to sell it to some jackass either. Deuce posted up that he needed a new project, so I half-heartedly suggested this one. I figured it was too far away, not quite what he's looking for, too much work. BUT he's already passing through the area and had a need for a vintage camper. So, I'm ecstatic that there are more great chapters to come for this Airstream. I gave Deuce a couple of veto rules to the build. It has to keep a polished silver basic look, and no significantly disturbing the exterior appearance. Otherwise I'm giving him a lot of leeway to find the best way to make it work for his family and his needs. If the end result meets those criteria, and is at a sufficient standard to make his family happy, then I'm happy.

The0retical SuperDork
6/8/17 1:58 p.m.

Very cool and a sentimental story to boot. Should be fun to watch.

coexist New Reader
6/8/17 2:21 p.m.

Here we are dragging a 61 Tradewind out the neighbor's yard

One thing leads to another

Add in a $250 F250, and get:

One thing these trailers are really good at is storing things inside. Lots of things.

Good luck with the adventure.

759NRNG Reader
6/8/17 2:23 p.m.

hhaase, will there be some square tubing replace/repair in the floor so that MazD will get to buy a new tool (welder)?

hhaase Reader
6/8/17 2:48 p.m.
759NRNG wrote: hhaase, will there be some square tubing replace/repair in the floor so that MazD will get to buy a new tool (welder)?

I'll be honest, I didn't get any of the flooring torn out. I was only able to visually check a few sections and didn't see anything that had me worried.

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