Under Belly-up

My airstreams shell is in pretty good condition yet it still seems like it will never be sealed up. After patching all the holes on the top and sides it was time to go back under. The under belly is a different aluminum than the top of the airstream. It is thinner and cheaper. So there are holes in it where old leaks had puddled up and slowly corroded it away. The rear bumper area was the worst followed by the area under where the old vac break tank was. On top of all the corrosion holes I am taking out and changing the gas lines leaving large holes at every place there used to be gas entering the coach. After all that was patched I wanted to make the belly skin a little tighter cause who doesn’t like a tight belly? There were a few large areas that the frame didn’t touch the belly leaving 4’x4′ areas just bouncing around. I thought that movement wouldn’t be good on the foam I was applying or on the rivits over time so I fashioned some support brackets that drop down and fasten to the belly. I’m saying belly to much I’m starting to gross myself out. You’re here for pictures anyway so I’m done. Foam next.

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Diamond plate is a mans best friend.

The front had a bunch of holes. Two from old batterie boxes. One from a vent hole above the fuse panel and one from where I cut off the old vac brake system. So instead of having tons of little patches I just got a piece of diamond plate and got them all at once and I covered them in redneck trucker style.

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Where my holes at?

I’m moving and eliminating some things on the airstream so that leaves holes. I’m covering those with 2024t3 alclad aluminum. That’s the same type of aluminum airstream used so when I polish the whole thing up the patches should polish to the same sheen as the rest of it.

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So I patched the old hot water heater hole, the old fridge vent hole, the old antenna hole, the old toilet vent hole, and the old fiber optic taillight holes. I also stacked some huge rocks up to use as a step instead of the small aluminum steps. Up next, diamond plate to patch all the holes on the front at once.

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Upside down and inside out

I’m about to show all you folks what this part of the project is all about. Ok that’s plenty. Anyway, I have finally finished the wheel well improvement on the front. I have been dreading shimmying around under the airstream grinding all the little aluminum shavings into my back that shower down on me when I drill the new holes for the rivets. Needless to say it sucked but it’s done now. This improvement will allow me to have the huge area in the front of my airstream insulated and it has increased the ground clearance so I can take this baby off road! (I’m currently not confident my truck can go off road so maybe no off roading right away but it’s always better to have the option.)
Some before and afters top and bottom.

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So it doesn’t look that impressive or hard and no one will ever know that it even happened but hey I’m pretty pumped about it. Now on to patching the small little holes. More pics to follow.

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Top down renovation

It has been a little while but you see I have this airstream along with two piece of shit vehicles that are also projects in themselves. So only having one major project at a time has somehow turned into three. I have been slowly getting little things done on this mammoth project. I have been working from the top down. I have got the new air conditioner shroud painted silver from it’s white and brown that I didn’t think went that well with the aluminum.

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I also had an extra vista view window that the previous owner had bought to replace those nasty ones that I just broke out and cleaned. Since I didn’t need it there I decided to make it into a skylight in the top middle where the antenna used to be. I did away with that cause it was a little messed up and I don’t watch tv when I’m at home so why would I watch it when I’m camping.

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Sorry no final picture of the window installed because by the time it was in I was covered in window gasket supper sticky black stuff. But here is me standing on top of the airstream having a pabst in celebration of my window install.

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Soon there won’t be much left to take off.

So after much deconstruction I believe I am almost out of stuff to take off so I’m going to start putting stuff back on. Since last post I totally cleaned the inside wire brushed the frame and rustoliumed it. I have also discovered a huge improvement I’m about to make. The improvement has to do with the spare tire storage. I have two spares btw cause the previous owner just bought a new one instead of taking off the old one. Anyway so the spare tire is stored up under the front of the trailer out of site. Nice, but what’s not nice is it is also up in the floor cavity area allowing for 0 insulation in the whole front middle 4′ of the trailer. Since I am not ok with .020″ of aluminum and 3/4″ of plywood being my barrier between me and the beast that is Kansas weather I am moving the spare. I am taking the aluminum that is now on top of the frame and moving it to the bottom as to allow for insulation and future increase of interior temperature control. The only other belly pan area that is a problem except for the holes is where the same situation happens when the fold out steps need space to fold up. I’m just leaving this area to the land of look the other way.

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I have also dropped all the holding tanks out so it doesn’t smell like a 40 year old shit tank baking in the Kansas summer anymore inside.

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Airstream blew it when they tried to make the top vista view windows really great and double paned and filled with something weird or coated with something weird. Over time these vista view windows in all old airstreams get straight nasty. With the way the windows are put together the only way for me to get between the two panes and clean out all the shit that time has proven to be a compleat failure is to brake the inside pane out. So I have to break the inside piece of glass that is 1/4 away from the other pane and if I break both a new window is $250 and I will have to get some good rivets. Nerve racking to say the least. I only had to do it 4 times though. Long story short DONE.

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As far as new things to put back into the stream I got my fresh water tanks, all my exterior LED lights, and in route is the closed cell spray foam insulation and 4’x4′ sheet of 2024t3 alclad aluminum to patch any holes from all the old stuff I’m taking off.

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Got a few things figured out with the layout as well so I’m pretty pumped about that. I’m moving where the hot water heater was to allow for a more efficient bathroom. I’m going to take out the exterior door that is just behind where the old hole is. So now the heater will be under the bed but the bathroom will be much better.

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More later. This seems like a supper long post since I’m doing all this from my phone.

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Vents are venting

The three vents that were in the trailer were shit. I replaced them and now they are THE shit.

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