Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Ceiling Is In!

This turned out to be an entire family project. It was a lot easier to get the ceiling down than back up. We tried with just my son and I holding each end up while my husband put the rivets in, but we couldn't hold it up long enough to do it, so we put in ladders and boards to support the one side of the ceiling while we held up the other side. Then my husband was finally able to put the rivets in one side in the middle and work his way to the sides.

Then we worked our way around the ceiling, with me pushing around each of the holes, while my husband put the rivet in. we worked our way in small sections from the middle out.Finally, we got to the other side, which my daughter joined us for, and we tried to work all the kinks out of that last six inches of aluminum. It seemed for a while that we would have to take out a whole bunch of it and then redo it to get the kinks out. I suggested that we get all the rest of the rivets in on the ends and maybe it would work themselves out. Sure enough, you have to have almost all of the rivets in before it looks smooth again!

So, here it is done! Yeah! We won't be putting in the side panels until the floor is complete, that way we can get the floor attached to the frame.
You can see our youngest of 4 there, using the door. It suddenly is able to shut again. It actually has been difficult to shut since we brought it home! We use a cord on it usually! I guess we will be going on to the floor replacement! Payday will look very exciting this time around!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wiring Goes In!

Aren't Airstreams beautiful no matter where they are and what time it is? Please note the well worn path to ours in the back yard! The wiring is now all replaced. We left all the fixtures off and tied them all together, so when we run them through the panels of the inside skin to finish, it won't be hard to run them through. It doesn't look like much, but it was a few hours worth of work.
The insulation is now being replaced in the top middle section, so that long middle section of the inner skin can be riveted back in place. My husband (otherwise known as MacGyver) used some strips of aluminum to brace the insulation in place, so we wouldn't need too many hands to hold it in place and rivet it. Please ignore the dates on the pictures! The camera seems to have some issues right now! They were taken on Monday, January 26, 2009.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We are now making progress!

When is it too cold to work outside on the Airstream? Certainly not -5 with a 30,000 BTU furnace to keep it cozy! My husband was determined to make progress towards getting the Ambassador on the road sooner rather than later today, so he worked with the help of the boys for about 5 hours.

We coated all the seams with rubberized undercoating the other day when it it got to be a whopping 20 degrees above zero! Here is a picture of the front curve all done. While doing the rear curve, my husband was able to push the dents out from the inside. They just popped out!
The front curve is out and ready to go back in with the new insulation.

Because it was impossible to get the insulation to stay on the ceiling all at the same time, we laid the insulation in place on the curve and then held it up to get it riveted back in place (this is where he needed the help of the two boys. They scurried back inside as soon as they had finished their duty!) Before putting it back together, the wiring and tv cable was all replaced.

Ta Da! It is back in with all new insulation and wiring! Because of the cold temperatures outside, we were able to check for leaks in the seams. The ice on the outside started to melt on the roof as the heater on the inside was so much warmer than outside, so water seeped through any holes. Hopefully, that will cure all the leaks and make it nice and cozy to stay in. Next, we will work on getting the ceiling back in place down the middle!! So stay tuned for more progress on the frozen tundra!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Too Cold

When is it to cold to work outside on the camper? I say -31 degrees is a good temperature not to work in it. As much as I wanted to, it was just too cold outside. We will wait until Saturday when it is back to 18 degrees.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Before View of the Middle Twin Beds

The next set of before pictures of the Airstream are from the Middle Twin beds area. This picture is the shelf & light that are at the head of the curbside bed. The lights all work on both battery (12 Volt) and electric. You can see some water damage though along the wall to the shelf, so we will need to replace this shelf.
This is another view of the curbside bed. Lovely blue curtains to match the blue shag carpet on the floor! The backing on the wall has foam behind it to keep the temperature outside away from the sleeper. There are shelves with sliding doors on both sides above the twin bunks, but we intend on putting fold up bunks there instead, so all four of our kids will have their own bed. We have yet to figure that out, but it is exciting to us all to have a place for everyone!

This is the curbside bed, same deal. We took measurements of the mattresses and are sending those in the garbage right away! They seem to be original, but have water damage and mold pretty bad!

There are closets on both sides between the bathroom and the bedroom. This is a picture of the original mirror in really good shape.

A view to the back - you can see the bathroom with the two side closets and then drawers under the beds. Most of the drawers are in great shape - just a few of the veneers will need to be replaced, because the carpet came so high up the drawers that the water sat on the bottom edge for some time.

This Airstream was in one of the mudslides and floods in the LaCrosse area a couple of years back, so it had water and mud inside about a foot deep, that we can tell. Fortunately, it dried out because it's out in the sun and not tightly shut up, but the damage has been done to many of the cupboards.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Resolution

Today we worked on our New Year's Resolution: to finish the renovation of the 1963 Ambassador this year (before the WBBCI International Rally in July)! Instead of us losing weight, the Airstream did. The first thing out, was the tub. My husband was unable to get it out because the drain was in there so tight and with his shoulder still healing, he couldn't do it.

As you can see, we had quite a conglomerate of nests under the tub, including carpenter ants and mice! The floor is pretty rotted out under it, so this will all have to go, which led to a very deep marital discussion of whether to replace the floor first, or fix all the leaks. We both won, because I wanted the leaks first, but my husband wanted to take all the inner skin off to fix it and redo all the electrical!

So here is the picture of the upper middle section of the ceiling. It is all in one piece - which I think will make it nice to put back. My husband was surprised that the mice had made nests all the way up to the ceiling, but I was was not surprised, as mice go everywhere! It looks like most of the insulation will need to replaced. This has opened up all the electrical for replacement, which makes my husband salivate. He plans on seal all of the seams before putting the ceiling back.

I stripped the bathroom vanity cabinet with one of the doors. It is very rewarding to find most of the cabinets salvageable, but they will need portions replaced with some TLC. My husband said that I only have the closets and the curbside cabinet left to strip and I will be done. Then we will have to get the sections either replaced or veneered and we will have that done.

From the Junkyard

For those of you that are the mechanical sort, I thought I would put up some of those outside pictures so you can see the out side of the camper.
Hopefully this can give you the idea about what we had to go through to get it out of the junkyard, too. It took us two hours of just moving junk away from the camper to get it out.

The nettles were shoulder high on the left side. There was also a real junkyard dog, that I was afraid to go near, because you could see the fleas and ticks from 5 feet way! Poor thing! He was very friendly and didn't have a problem going inside the camper.

A curbside view. Someone had tried to break into the slat windows at one time, as the bottom slat is gone and the trim is bent up. The rivets weren't out at all! I guess the person trying to get in, wasn't aware of how had it was to get into the rivets.

There are a couple of dents on the rear. It looks like a tree or something was hit at one time. I guess that gives it character. At least we won't feel awful if we do something to it. Also, the two dents just above the bumper on either side apparently are normal if the bumper backs into something. The bumper buckles that rear aluminum in.