Vintage Airstream

Percy, Our 1966 Airstream Caravel
Demolition Summer 2004

Exterior Before Interior Before Demolition

This spring I took the front rock shield off the window. I'm lucky it didn't fall off. All six screws were tiny and most were nearly rusted off. New replacement rock guards are available.

You can also see where I removed the water filler spout. I'm lucky to have the original cap. As with everything else that is screwed on, this will be screwed back on with stainless steel screws.

Note the faded original "Airstream" nameplate. The best option here is to replace these with new nameplates

Vintage Trailer Supply is also the best place to get new all aluminum propane tanks.

Vintage Airstream front; Summer 2004
I removed the awning earlier this summer. It's not original to 1966, but I do have the receipt for it from the early 70s. The material was pretty stained from being rolled up so long, but I was able to clean it up pretty well with a light solution of bleach and water. I let it dry in the sun for a day and it really brightened up. The poles are terribly rusted. I'm not sure if I will paint them or have some new ones fabricated. They're just simple round tubes, bent to fit the curve of the trailer. They lift off the bottom brackets so the awning can be used with stakes and poles or with the poles attached to the trailer. The ratchet mechanism for rolling up the awning is completely rusted. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do with it. In retrospect, the best option was to go with a new vintage style awning.
Vintage Airstream front curbside; Summer 2004
I'd rather you were seeing this angle as we cruised down the highway. But for now, this will have to do. I removed the non-factory spare tire holder that was bolted to the bumper. It looks much better without it. (no, really!) You can see where there were two non-factory tail lights installed down low. If I don't replace those panels, I will cover the holes with reverse lights. Replacements for the original factory tail light lenses are available. Somewhere in time, a previous owner thought it would be a good idea to cut a hole through to the shower and cover both sides with weather-tight electrical outlet covers. It's not a terrible thing (obviously I'm using it), but I think it messes up the symmetry of the rear end. Call me crazy. I also have the trim strip removed all the way around the back. There was a lot of gunk and dirt under it. As usual with this era of Airstreams, plenty of water got under the back end and rotted out the floor behind the shower pan. More on that later. Lastly, the license plate light was complete, but rusted. I may have it rechromed or take the easy (and cheap) way out and buy a new replacement. Yeah, I'll probably do the latter. The new license plate brackets and lights look great.
Vintage Airstream back; Summer 2004
After numerous failed attempts to remove the toilet flange from the black water tank, I finally decided to tackle the problem from the other end. I removed the rear portion of the belly skin and unbolted the black water tank from the sewer outlet. Finally, I was able to lift out the entire lower bathroom fiberglass, including the black water tank.
Sewer drain, Summer 2004
Things are a bit of a mess, but you can see where I have removed the lower interior skin.
Interior front, Summer 2004
Here's a closer shot of the front streetside corner. This is the area where the water pump was. You can see the hole for the water filler. The fresh water tank fit transversely under the front sofa.
Font streetside corner, Summer 2004
This is the front overhead storage with the face and insert removed. You can see the black sealant on the interior seams. This entire upper front endcap is one piece of fiberglass. This was new for '66 on the Caravel. The '65 Caravel had an aluminum interior endcap on the front with no overhead storage.
Front overhead storage, Summer 2004
Here you can see the black steel plate that comes up from the frame and secures the front of the shell.
Front center, Summer 2004
This is the front curbside corner.The horizontal bands of sealant were simply used to "glue" the insulation in place. Good idea.
Front curbside corner, Summer 2004
This is a nice hole right through the floor inside the entry door.
Hole inside door, Summer 2004
This is the screen over the intake for the refrigerator. You can also see the disconnected gas line.
Fridge intake, Summer 2004
This is everything you never get to see under you kitchen cabinets in a Caravel.
Under the galley, Summer 2004
This is the curbside wheel well cover. At some point, there must have been a tire blowout on this side. You can see how the trapezoidal cover is now rounded from being beaten to death by a tire that was flying apart.
Curbside wheel well, Summer 2004
Here's a little closer shot of the furnace and water heater. I haven't removed the furnace yet because I can't. I can't seem to get the two-piece vent pipe apart. The two pieces of smaller steel pipe inside this galvanized pipe are rusted together. I haven't figured out how to get it apart without destroying it. I haven't ruled that out... In retrospect, both the furnace and the water heater should have been replaced.
Furnace and water heater, Summer 2004
This shot looks over the water heater and under the sink area in the bathroom. It's hard to see, but there is floor rot in there. The next two shots detail this.
Water heater, Summer 2004
If you want a closer look...
Floor rot, Summer 2004
Those of you with weak stomachs might want to skip this one.

Wait a minute... Did you just click on this picture because of the boob-shaped shadow? I assure you that is not mine.

Floor rot detail, Summer 2004
Let's back off the close ups. Here's a nice overall shot of the rear of the trailer. That sink, shower pan and toilet area is all one piece of fiberglass. Fortunately, it's in pretty good condition.
Rear inside, Summer 2004
Here's an overall shot of the toilet area. Note that the black water tank is still atached to the fiberglass. I couldn't get the flange off the tank.
Toilet area, Summer 2004
Here's some detail of the blackwater tank. That's the 12 volt transformer in the lower right corner of the shot. This should always be replaced with a modern 12V converter.
Black water tank, Summer 2004
This is what the other wheel well should look like. This one's on the streetside. By the way, these were covered by plastic covers, with insulation in between the plastic and the galvanized steel.
Streetside wheel well, Summer 2004
These are some interior panels and trim pieces. You can see that I label each piece on the back, including which way is up, so I know where and how it goes.
Interior panels, Summer 2004
This is where I removed the interior panel between the two streetside windows. I couldn't believe it. The aluminum, the insulation and the wiring all looked brand new. That's the only thing on the entire trailer that looks this way.
Interior, Summer 2004
Here's the brains of the electrical system. I thought about keeping it, and then I thought better of it. Someday this area will house a new Intelli-power unit. I like to keep this wasp and hornet spray handy. Don't even ask about the range hood vent incident.
univolt, Summer 2004
Let's head back outside for a few shots of the exterior wheel wells.

This is the curbside to the rear of the wheel.

Curbside wheel well, Summer 2004
This is forward of the wheel on the same side.
Curbside wheel well, Summer 2004
This is the streetside wheel well.
Streetside wheel well, Summer 2004

Exterior Before Interior Before Demolition

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