New Trailer

February 23, 2007

Finally brought our 1973 Airstream Overlander home. It is a 27′ trailer, which due to it’s age I believe now qualifies as a vintage model.

I found the trailer in an online ad at a trailer dealer near Ottawa. Inspection at the dealer was a little surprising, as it was not in the shape that the ad stated. Bringing it home was a real adventure, as it was the dead of winter and there was a winter storm underway, with lots of crosswind. The dealer was very good at helping set up the trailer for towing, which was helpful as it was really my first major tow. Fortunately I was able to take it slow all the way down the 401 and through Toronto traffic to get it home.

All of the appliances generally work, although I am not too comfortable about the original propane oven. So, the oven will be the first that has got to go. It has also been in some sort of accident on the right rear, given the denting in the upper panel. Best guess is contact with a tree.

Once I had the trailer at home, I built a list of major repairs that I felt needed to done immediately:

– Rear end sag. The rear skin was separating from the frame, resulting in the dreaded rear end sag. Basically the trailer was coming apart in the last 2 feet and around the back. A common issue with vintage Airstreams with a lot of miles on them

– Axles. At this point they were effectively run-out. No shock absorbtion. Every bump was being partially absorbed by the tires, with the remainder transmitted to the trailer directly.

I took the trailer to Trailer Center in Dorchester Ontario. Brian has many years of experience on Airstream trailers, and was very helpful with both advice and repair expertise. He repaired the sag by opening up the back, reinforcing the plywood, lifting the rear, and reattaching a C channel to hold it all together. A textbook repair.

Brian also replaced the axles. After much research, I agreed to replace the original 34 year old axles with Dexter axles with modified mounts to fit the AirStream chassis. They matched specifications, and were also cheaper than the original axles.

After the major repairs, I started ripping out a number of items including the front Gaucho, the streetside table, a couple of chairs, and the propane oven. This actually cleared out a lot of room, and also helped get rid of some of the odors left over from storage.

We had a couple of family meetings where we discussed how things we would like to do.

To do:

– layout of the front room.
– additional storage locations
– plumbing
– radio
– furniture
– kitchen layout
– sleeping arrangements
– a good exterior polish

Let’s see how much we can get done before the season starts.

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