So it's a super short update for you guys today, but I'm sooooo excited to share her progress after a rough winter break working on her ;)
Until next time! <3 Becca
You guys! This has been a super exciting week for me, mentally, with Maude! All of our progress so far has felt like we were going backwards - demolition, removing her inner aluminum skin, removing all of the old insulation and wires and then lifting her shell off the frame so we could remove the rotten flooring. But I'm starting to get progress pictures from Tim of AHK Fabrication!
Her frame being welded!
Her wheels were salvageable, so they were sandblasted and powder-coated white - we'll be able to put the iconic aluminum hubcaps back on her!
Her original bumper was also in good condition! Here it is sand-blasted and attached to the new frame :)
So it's a super short update for you guys today, but I'm sooooo excited to share her progress after a rough winter break working on her ;)
Until next time! <3 Becca
Sooooo.... apparently, having a vintage Airstream trailer frame fabricated is a niche market ;) I spent a HUGE amount of time this week emailing and calling around trying to find someone who could make a new one for us. I got a LOT of, "I'm sorry, we don't do that. You might try this guy over here." I did find one guy early on, be he couldn't get to it until at least June! Ack! That would totally cut into our hoped-for time frame! So I continued emailing and finally found a guy who can do it :)
This is a sketch of the frame that I sent him (along with real-life pictures) to get an idea of what we were looking for.
Sunday was the day to take the old frame to him to use as a template to build the new one! We simply hitched up to the trailer frame and towed it out from under Maude's shell! Easy peasy!
Here's Maude's shell minus the frame! My next project is getting the last of the nasty (and now sopping wet from all of the rain we've been having!) insulation, walnut shells and mouse poop cleaned up! You can't really tell from these pictures, but we had to cut the belly pan in half in order to get the frame out. Later, we'll need to either patch it with more rivets (yay! ;) ) or replace it completely. We'll see!
Our frame guy thinks he should have the new trailer frame fabricated and all ready for us in 5-6 weeks! SOOOOO much better than probably July!
We are super stoked to be progressing forward! We're also really excited to be almost ready to put things back together instead of breaking it all apart ;)
Until next time! <3 Becca
Welcome back! This is part two of what happened with our progress on Maude over our winter break! :)
After we got the shell lifted off, we were super excited about the progress we'd made! This was the biggest barrier to getting her done in terms of scariness ;) So we were super excited to get the rotten subfloor ripped up so we could continue moving forward with getting her frame sandblasted, repaired and painted!
Some sections were more difficult than others. Areas around the front and back curves were pretty rotten, so popped right off! Sections in the middle that had been a bit more protected from the water damage were MUCH more difficult. What didn't help is that we were fighting the "jungle gym" support structure - it was difficult to get the pry bar in the proper position, let alone get much leverage, because we kept hitting the end of the bar on the structure! But we persevered! Have I mentioned how stubborn we both are? ;)
Unfortunately, as we were working along, we started seeing just what sort of shape her frame was in. And even though we have little experience, we could see that it was NOT good. TONS of rust! And not just rust, but rusted out completely in multiple spots on every single piece of metal. Dang it!
So I started calling around to different businesses trying to find someone who could help us. At one point, we were told that "He'd seen very few frames that were beyond salvaging, send over some pictures and we'll take a look!" We were excited that maybe it wasn't as bad as we thought! Woohoo!
Then we were told, "Nope, can't repair that, it's too far gone!" Hopes dashed again! ;)
The good news is that we knew she was going to be a huge project and that a ruined frame was a possibility - we were just hopeful that it wouldn't be our reality.
Turns out Maude is a roller coaster, not a trailer ;)
The great new is that we've found someone who can build a new frame for us! The bad news is that they're backed up until June. So we're still on the lookout for someone who can get it done sooner, but at least we've got someone who can eventually!
In the meantime, we adopted this lovely lady to help us heal our emotional wounds ;)
Meet Ann Purrkins! She's a great conversationalist and snuggler and we couldn't have asked for a better fit for our family :)
Thanks again for following along on the roller coaster ride that is renovating Maude the Trailer!
I know it's been a while since I've posted a Maude update - sorry 'bout that! We knew we were going to need a big chunk of time to get her shell lifted off, so we waited until our holiday vacation to do it. In the meantime, we were still doing little piddly things to get ready, but I didn't think a whole blog post of me vacuuming would be that exciting ;)
Note: This is the first of two posts about what took place during the holiday break, so stay tuned next week for the follow up :)
Reminder: last update, we had gotten the scaffolding completed on the inside of Maude. Oooooh, Ahhhhhh!
Next came the piddly stuff. One weekend I vacuumed out any remaining crud - I know the picture is of Mike, but I swear I did most of it!! ;) Trying to muscle the shopvac in and around the "jungle gym" was NOT easy! On that day, Mike went around and made sure that any remaining hidden rivets holding on the belly pan were popped loose so that the lifting of her shell would go more smoothly. Another weekend, we got cinder blocks to make posts for the lifted trailer to rest on. We sure got our work outs in on those days!
See, those two pictures do NOT make a blog post ;)
Finally, the holidays rolled around and it was time to get Maude's top lifted off! We borrowed a floor jack and jack stands from our neighbor - Thanks, David!!
We broke off any bolts that were holding the shell to the floor. Most of them were already rusted out, so this wasn't too tough of a job ;)
We placed the jack stands at each of the 4 corners and got her lifted enough to let the belly pan loose. Daylight!!
It's the last of the nasty mouse bits!!! SOO glad to get this far! Note: I know that looks like a freaked out rat in the picture below. It's not. Maybe it's a GHOST?!
We only had the one floor jack, so we would start on one end, lift up the trailer a couple of inches, raise the jack stands, set it back down on the jack stands, then move to the other end - rinse and repeat! It was a pretty terrifying balancing act! Pretty sure all of the curse words were uttered ;)
Once we got Maude lifted up high enough, we were able to slide 4"x6" beams under each end to set her back down on. Then we could remove the jack stands, allowing us to pull the steel trailer frame out to have it worked on! After this, we were able to breathe again ;)
WE DID IT!!! This was the biggest obstacle to getting Maude done! We were the most nervous about this part and ensuring that her shell was kept stable so that it didn't crumple and we did it!
I love how the next picture looks like an exploded diagram :)
All in all, the lifting took us about 4 hours. We had really expected it to take longer, so that's a WIN!
Next week, I'll get you all caught up on Maude's Holiday Vacation! ;)
So, I've talked and talked and talked about lifting the shell off Maude in order to replace the rotten subflooring. We're nearly there! This week we got started on the interior supports to make sure that Maude's shell doesn't shift out of shape while we've got it lifted off. What normally gives Maude all of her stability is the shell being attached to the trailer frame and her inner skin. Without those, she's a bit wobbly!
We started with a frame of 8-foot 2"x4" boards around the perimeter. The boards are screwed directly to Maude's ribs.
Next, we added boards attaching the two sides and diagonals to support the roof.
Aaaaaand... This is as far as we made it this week! ;)
We'll be adding more diagonals and more boards tying it all together this coming weekend! Then after that - lift off!
Have a great week, you guys! <3Becca
The last couple of weeks have been all about getting Maude waterproofed!
This is a huge hole in the side of Maude that used to be a vent for a water heater. We don't need the hole anymore, so we're going to cover it up! In reading about patching holes in Airstreams, we've found that many people are getting creative with the shapes of their patches, which I thought would be totally fun!
It took several tries to get the template in the outline of Oregon to be the right size for our patch. I think this was try #4 - finally, success!
After we got the patch to the right size, we realized that because it would have to attach to the bellypan, and since the bellypan is next on the list of pieces to remove and repair, we should wait to install it. Oh well! Oregon will just hang out with the rest of our tools and supplies for later use!
In the meantime, we got a cheap piece of sheet metal to make into a BORING patch so that Maude could still become waterproof!
Here's Mike applying a seal for the patch.
Okay, this tool here, I think is going to be a LIFESAVER. It's called a Cleco fastener. It holds pieces together to line up all of the rivet holes! This little patch probably wouldn't have been a huge deal, but once we get to the point where we can put Maude's inner skin back on, I think we're going to be SO glad we made the investment! It was definitely fun to try out the new toys!
SPEAKING OF NEW TOYS! That's our pneumatic rivet gun!! Holy cow, riveting is a blast! You guys can just call me Rosie now, K? ;)
And here's Maude all patched up! The second, smaller, one was a kitchen vent. It, too, is just temporary and will get a fun shape! I haven't decided what shape it will be yet, but a simple beaver outline is a possibility! We struggled a bit with this second patch, as pop rivets (the type of rivets we're using for the temporary bits) aren't quite as sturdy as the Olympic rivets that we'll be using for the permanent patches. Because the sheet metal needed to flex a bit, some of the rivets kept popping loose! Once we get the Olympic riveting tools and rivets, I'll try to explain a bit about the difference between all of the types of rivets you'll be seeing on Maude ;)
Maude is getting waterproofed enough that we're seriously restricting the airflow that she used to have - condensation is building up! We'll definitely have to figure out a plan for keeping moisture from becoming a problem for poor Maude.
Our final project for the last two weeks was making a temporary cover for one of her roof vents. Eventually, it will be covered by an air conditioning unit to keep us all nice and comfortable in the summer. We don't want to be doing Bikram Acupuncture during the summers ;)
Here's the vent hole. It would normally have had a metal or plastic "lid" that could open to allow for air flow. Somewhere along the line, someone used some plywood to make a little cap to replace the missing one.
Got to use our rivet gun some more!
Mike's attaching Maude's little hat. What you see around the vent cover on the roof is some sort of material that is hard as rock and is NOT wanting to budge. We'll deal with it when we deal with the a/c unit and/or polishing.
As always, thanks for checking in on Maude's progress! Have an awesome week :) <3 Becca
We don't know about all of Maude's adventures - she WAS born in 1959 after all! But we do know quite a bit!
In 1973, Maude was purchased used by Alpenrose Dairy. For those of you who've been in Portland a long time, this should be a familiar name! I wonder what she did during the years they had her? Did she travel the country? Did she just hang out and serve as some sort of office? Did she take the Alpenrose family on road trips? That part we won't get to know. What we do know is that in 1986, Maude was gifted to another one of her previous owners as a retirement present! I wonder what sort of condition she was in at that point, already a spunky 27 year-old! Then when that gentleman passed, his son inherited her. She lived in his field for many years, and when it was clear he was going to be unable to bring her back to her glory, she was purchased by a friend of mine who had dreams of making her shine again! But you know how life goes, life changes, dreams shift and Maude sat in her field for several years - Until the day I mentioned that I was looking for an Airstream to turn into my new acupuncture practice space! Then Maude came home to live with us :)
In the meantime, Maude's title hadn't been transferred since 1973! I called DMV to see what the process would be to correct the situation - turns out that since she was so old they had purged her record from the system in what the guy told me on the phone was "The Great Purge of 1999." Luckily, he was able to go into the old system and he found her! So he rebuilt her record. Then it was a matter of bringing all of the documentation I had on her (which wasn't much!) so that they can create and issue a new title for her :)
It'll be a little while until it's all OFFICIAL official, but it's official! It's a girl! ;)
When I first got to the DMV, they were on number 40. My number was 89. Believe it or not, I only spent an hour there! Nice work, Powell DMV!
Our next step in Maude's renovation is to get her waterproof to protect all of the future steps. She was missing 1 window completely - the frame and everything was missing; 2 windows had the frame, but were missing the pane; and one window had a piece of plexiglass that was "installed" in a way that wasn't working. Above is one of the windows that was missing the pane, but the frame was still in place.
We still have a ton more research to do on vintage Airstream windows. It turns out you can't just do a search for "1959 Airstream Overlander Window" and for sure find what you're looking for. In the early years of Airstream, there were no consistent model years - you couldn't guarantee that your 1959 would look like other 1959s. If they had a style of window leftover from a previous year, they would use up whatever inventory they had before making any changes. So once we figure out what parts we'll need and then find them, we'll fix the windows properly. But in the meantime, here is Mike measuring the plexiglass in order to cut it to size.
It's a bit hard to see here, but Mike is applying a black tacky strip that helps seal the window and hold the pane in place. Of COURSE it was pouring rain as we were trying to do this ;) It turns out it doesn't like to stick to wet, cold aluminum very well, but it LOOOOOVES nice warm hands. It was a pain the butt ;)
And here is what the windows look like now! We used duct tape to further waterproof and hold everything together. Not very pretty, but seems to be doing the trick! For the most part, anyways ;) We're still getting a few drops inside from the top of the window frame. The gutter (above the window) on all of the windows is bent and misshapen, so they're not directing the water away properly. But that's a project for another day ;)
All in all, this week was a mixed-bag. DMV went WAY smoother than I had expected, while the windows were much more frustrating than anticipated, so it all evens out!
Our next step is to patch holes in the aluminum. We've got aluminum ordered and it should arrive before the weekend!
Until next time! <3 Becca
Hey Guys, things are still going swimmingly in Maude-Land! We finally managed to finish getting her gutted!
Here's where we left off after last week. Almost there!
We were surprised at how few rivets there were left holding these endcaps in place! Some of them had overlapped with other segments that we'd already removed, but many of them had just popped loose - possibly when we brought her home! Thank goodness we're doing the Full Monty (as they say, in Airstream-ese)!
There are now TWO of these giant suckers in our garden shed! I think Mike's hopeful that we'll be at least far enough along in Maude's progress to get the endcaps put back in place before we need any yard tools again ;) These endcaps, as I mentioned in my previous blog post are made of fiberglass. They came out really easily and weren't as fragile as we had feared! Phew!
It's the last little bit of insulation!! Can't say that I'm sad to see that stuff go ;)
All clean!! I MIGHT have held a tiny, personal, careful dance party at this point ;)
Then it hit us. We JUSSSSST finished the easy bits! From here on out, things get complicated. As I've been mentioning, the next major step is to pull the shell off of Maude so we can replace the rotten sub floor. We've got at least one "minor" job to do before we can lift her up, though! We realized that once we've got the new sub floor down, we won't want any water getting in, so we've got to get her sealed up for the winter! This weekend, we ordered aluminum patching, rivets, a rivet gun for the holes where old vents used to be that we no longer need. We also ordered plexiglass for the missing/leaking windows as a temporary fix. We'll fix them properly once we find the parts! *crossingfingers*
Our next realization was that once we've got that floor pulled up, we've got to have all of the rest of the inner workings of the trailer figured out, because we'll lose access to the belly and the inner skin soon!
So, on Sunday, we spent about 4 hours researching heating, cooling, windows, electrical systems, plumbing, lighting, pretty much ALL of it! Nerdy Becca even made an outline of the steps that need to be completed and a rough order in which they need to be performed so that we could not go so overwhelmed by all of the details! One step at a time :)
So there ya go! Sorry(?) there weren't as many nasty progress pictures this week. LOTS of brainy-work happenin' around here!
As always, thanks for following along on the Adventures of Maude The Acu-Trailer!
This week was a little less productive on the Maude Front, as I moved my practice this weekend! I'm all settled in at my new space, and if I do say so myself, I think it's lookin' pretty cozy!
My new address is:
3133 NE Prescott St.
Portland, OR 97211
We have plenty of parking! Come visit me :)
Alright, so now on to the Maude Update!
Maude's inner skin is all aluminum except for the end caps, which are made of fiberglass. You'll see them a little later :) The aluminum sheets overlap and are riveted into place. So we drilled out a TON of rivets! But before we got too far, we had to make sure we would know where each of the panels belong once we start putting her back together. We numbered them in the order they had to come off/go back on in. We had to correct our numbering a couple of times - see the panel below that was once numbered 3, but got changed to 9 ;)
Oh my god, you guys. The insulation was SOOOO disgusting! And pretty useless! Over the years, mice had tunneled through the walls and the insulation had settled and degraded. Maude is going to be super cozy once she actually has insulation! And CLEAN insulation at that ;)
In this picture, you can see where the mice had gathered plastic and aluminum to help make their nests. I suppose the insulation is probably pretty itchy to them, too?
And here's Maude with all of her inner skin removed and insulation GONE! Here you can see the fiberglass end caps I mentioned earlier. Mike and I weren't able to work on her at the same time this week, so we've left them until we can, so that we don't break them! Not sure how we'd replace them if we did!
Not shown: I spent quite a bit of time punching out stuck rivets. Once we drill off the front of a rivet, we can pull off the skin, but the back half of many of the rivets stayed stuck in place in the frame. I used a punch and hammer to dislodge them, so that when we're ready to put her all back together, the holes are open and ready to go!
Also not shown: On Sunday we took a HUUUUGE load to the dump! I rented a utility trailer and loaded her up! We had thought that except for the floor that we haven't removed yet, we'd be able to fit it into one trailer load. NOPE. But that's alright, since we still need to make another dump run anyways!
Thanks for continuing to follow along on our adventures with Maude the Acu-Trailer! <3 Becca
Due to our kids' Back to School Nights this week, we didn't get to put in too many hours on Maude, but what we did still looks pretty exciting - we began removing Maude's interior skin! Sorry, that sounds creepier than intended ;)
It began with even more rivet removal! We're going to be some pretty serious rivet experts by the time we're done with Maude! Maybe I'll go as Rosie the Riveter for Halloween with my new-found skills! ;)
Because of the way the panels overlap, we had to start at the top and work our way down. Mike made some make-shift supports for the uppermost panel so it wouldn't fall on us as we drilled out rivets. Turns out that upper panels goes almost the entire length of Maude, so it was a bit of a beast, but we did it!
A sneak peek under Maude's skin! You can't really tell from this picture, but the insulation was full of mouse feces, insect nests and tunnels where mice had traveled through it! Blech! I am SOOOO glad we're cleaning out all of the old insulation - she'll be much cozier with new (and CLEAN!) insulation!
I don't want to talk about the amount of yuckiness that fell on us as we were getting this sucker down from the ceiling - but we did it (and thank goodness for showers)! That is one big piece of aluminum! We ended up tying it with twine into a cylinder in order to get it out the door. Luckily, it's not particularly heavy, but it IS awkward!
Poor Mike. I think he's doing the Caber Toss all wrong!
And finally, a little before-and-after action!
I can't wait until next week to show you Maude all cleaned out! Have an awesome week, guys! <3 Becca