Tag: Airstream Renovation

Pex Piping for Airstream
nocmanus November 2, 2018 0

Airstream Argosy and Pex Plumbing

The days of old copper piping for our Airstream Argosy had come to an end when we decided to renovate her. But even more dire to our plumbing renovation, was discovering the intake for the a Water Hook up, ran next to our 30 amp electrical box. What were those 70’s Airstream Argosy builders thinking?

Pex Piping for RV's

Researching our plumbing project we found a few surprising details. No need for copper, Pex Piping was installed in most new RV’s and much easier to install, AND there was something called the “Shark Bite” that meant I wasn’t going to have to take a plumbing course to learn plumbing.

Our first step was to map out what faucets we were going to be using, and how the fresh water tank was going to be utilized when boondocking. We new we had 3 main faucets. Kitchen, Shower, and Bathroom Sink.  We opted out for hot water in the bathroom sink, and we really wanted a outdoor shower along with our Center Bath Shower. We drew up our plans with anticipation and excitement.  The one component we had NOT decided on was our Hot Water Heater.

We saw a video on using the Excel Tankless On-Demand Gas Water Heater VENTFREE – Propane (LPG) – Low Water Pressure Startup. Low Water Pressure Startup. Starts up with only 2 psi. of water pressure. Holds up to 150 psi. All other tankless gas water heaters require at least 20 psi to start up due to their outdated technology.

This sold us right away. The best part is that is runs on 2 D Batteries and that will save our Deep Cycle Batteries.

The next step was to buy 2 rolls of 50 ft Pex 1/2 pipe. One Blue (cold water) and one Red (hot water).  Then buy the appropriate Shark Bite fittings including a Check Valve that you will see explained in our video below.  A big expense however was the Crimp Tool Pex 1/2 and the SharkBite PEX Pipe Crimp Ring 1/2 Inch, Plumbing Fittings.

TIP: DO NOT secure the crimps until you are done mapping your Pex. Things change, design changes, and you don’t want to waste time taking apart the crimps.

Our design includes a outdoor shower utilizing the old battery box and re-using the old Argosy shower fixture. We also wanted real copper piping in our Center Bath. The GOOD NEWS, Shark Bite makes connectors for copper piping. NO sweating copper.  Airstream Center Bath Renovation

All in all, we are very happy with our design and using Pex as our piping choice. Time will tell how well the Shark Bite connectors hold up.

We will do a full review of the Excel on Demand Water Heater when it’s installed, so SUBSCRIBE to your YOUTUBE Channel and hit the “bell” so you can get all the updates on our Airstream Argosy Renovation.

Heating your Airstream
nocmanus October 28, 2018 0

Heating Your Airstream Argosy with a Cubic Mini

We have to admit, we were a little nervous with the decision to put a wood burning stove in our Airstream Argosy. It’s not normally done in moving RV’s. After all, the goal was to make our Argosy as eco friendly as possible without the need for so much propane. We also are avid backpackers and always looking to “multi-use” gear, including RV gear. The other reason was in colder or wetter environments, propane heat tends to cause condensation in your RV and that is something we did NOT want. The dry heat of a wood burning stove eliminated that.

The first step was to see if was even allowed.  We read a good article on RVLIFE.com and how many RV’ers have installed one.  We then researched on RV Forums there was much debate on it. Seemed to be a thumbs down, but there was a lot of mention that a Pellet Stove would be better.  We also looked at the National Fire Protection Association’s Standards for Wood Burning Stoves in a RV. We also looked at Ordinances and Regulations for Wood-Burning

We out weight the Pro’s and Con’s and determined that the Con’s weighed heavily on the safety part and the Pro’s seemed to be more on effective heat in small places.

With all the research we noticed a trend among the Marine Lifestyle and how they were using a wood burning stoves quite a bit. So if they were using it, why couldn’t we?

That is when the Cubic Mini Wood Burning Stove found us. It was made in Canada and they had two sizes. The Cub, and the Grizzly.  The Grizzly only weighed 35 lbs and could heat 200-400 sq. ft. Since our Argosy is a little under 200 sq ft we thought this may just be what we are looking for. Plus, when we saw a video of someone installing it in their Airstream. But what really sold us was the fact if you remove the rail you have a cooking area of 6 1/2″ from the flue to the edge of the plate and 13″ side to side. We were sold. Now we have a piece of gear in our Argosy that in cold months we could boil water and have heat at the same time without ever turning on propane. Heating your Airstream

The true test of course was that; would it do what we needed it to and was it going to be functional and pass inspections of any kind. We did notice the one thing that could “burn” us, was the transportation of wood from State to State. But we found a solution to that also. It turns out that the Cubic Mini Stoves (made in Canada) are really Pellet Stoves according to the size and capacity of United States Standards. The Cubic Mini’s have a 3 inch Flu size which by all U.S standards are Pellet Stoves. In Canada of course, they are called “Wood Burning Stoves”.

Speaking of Flue size. (AND THIS IS IMPORTANT) There is a single wall 3 inch pipe for wood burning stoves, and a 3 inch double wall. You need to go with the double wall. This will prevent creole from collecting in your pipe and it’s much safer. We went with the Durevent Double Wall Pipe.  (1) 12 inch, (1) 24 inch, (2) Duravent Pellet Stove Vent Elbow 45 Degree Insulated 3 ” Dia. Double Wall All these pipes are made for pellet stoves. Again, Pellet stoves are named that in the U.S because of size. Canada does not do this. So in essence the Cubic Mini in the U.S is a a Pellet Stove and thus sanctioned by Fire Code Standards and are allowed in Mobile Homes.

Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel. We’ll answer all questions there.

Here is the Video of the Installation: Many questions answered on the video.

Other Items we used to complete installation:
Rutland 500°RTV High Heat Silicone (Black) 10.3 Oz Cartridge
DEKTITE PIPE FLASHING BOOT: #7 RED High Temp Silicone Flexible Pipe Flashing Dektite
Simpson Duravent Pellet Vent Wall Thimble Insulated 3 ” Double Wall Steel (I made my own)
Century Drill and Tool 05074 5-Inch Shark Hole Saw

nocmanus August 14, 2018 0

How we Insulated a 40 Year Old Airstream Argosy

One of the biggest decisions we made was how to insulate our vintage Airstream Argosy.  First, a little history lesson. Old campers, specifically vintage Airstreams came with pink fiber glass insulation and attracted almost every living creature that could squeeze into a little hole. Usually it meant baby mice, ants, birds, you name it, Airstream Renovators have found it. Notwithstanding the fact, then when this insulation got wet, it took forever to dry and usually contributed to wood rot. Wood rot you say? Yes, Airstreams not only had insulation in between the inner skins, they also had fiberglass insulation down in the Belly Pan. Which was underneath the wood floor. Which go wet…ALOT.

So when we decided what kind of insulation to replace it with, it was quite the big deal. After watching hours of videos and browsing the multitude of forum threads on Airstream forums, we decided on what we were going to do.

First, we decided NOT to insulate the Belly Pan (underneath the sub-floor). This decision was based solely on technology. The R value we would get was not worth the expense and we could lay down a cork underlay when we installed our NuCore Waterproof floor.

Second, we looked at how converted vans would use foam board to keep heat out, then Reflectix to keep heat in. This  convinced us to go with 4×8 Polystyrene Garage Door Foam Board Insulation bought at Lowes.

Using 3/4 inch tiny foam squares, we could glue spacers on the inner wall to leave a 3/4 space between the outershell and the foam board. This maximizes the R-Value to 5.0 with one side of the foam board having a foil side or reflective side to reflect heat away.

On the other side of the foam board, we then put a layer of Reflectix which can add a R-value of 3.0 Getting to a 7.0 R-Value is about as good as it gets in an RV or camper. If other RV’ers are telling your they are getting a higher R-Value in a Argosy, they are in fantasy land.

You might ask, “why do you want to keep heat in”? We are putting in a Wood Burning Stove. (later post) It’s important that during colder months we can reflect the heat back inside the Airstream.

In a RV or any camper, you are dealing with keeping the heat out. You just can’t run the air conditioner all the time since you are often boondocking and have no Shore Power to use. This way, we can keep the Airstream as cool as possible by reflecting the heat away from the Inner Walls. Using a spacer between outer wall, and the inner foam board, we trap the heat in that space.

We feel pretty good about our decision and we definitely have noticed the difference between the old insulation and the new.

The real test of course is when it’s a 100 degree’s in the summer, AND it’s below freezing in the winter. So far so good. No complaints.

Materials Used: 

Insulform 4 x 8 x 3/4 foam board 

Reflectix 50-sq ft Reflective Roll Insulation (24-in W x 25-ft L) 

Sharp Scissors

Cutting knife

Super 77 16.75 fl. oz. Multi-Purpose Spray Adhesive

If you have any questions, we would love to answer them as best we can. Please, like or share and help support us. We really appreciate our community.

 

nocmanus April 17, 2018 0

How to Build a Bed in a Airstream Argosy

Rarely do we get to put to test our woodworking skills. However, renovating a Airstream Argosy and custom building everything will test your knowledge quickly. Our first woodworking test was building our queen size bed frame that open up to provide extra storage underneath our bed. Being that our Airstream Argosy is only 180 sq ft. It’s important to utilize every single space.

As the original part of our design, we knew right from the start we wanted our bed to be a queen size. After all, we have two dogs that demand a big bed to stretch on. It was also our plan to have the bed sideways instead of back to front. We wanted to utilize our panoramic windows and wake up each morning looking out. But more importantly, we wanted to create a extra storage compartment on the back window side to store sheets, blankets, and also use it as a shelf.

First we laid out everything for the build.

Materials we used were:

(2) 8 ft 2 x 4

(2) 8 ft 2 x 2

(3) 8 ft 1 x 3

(1) Piano Hinge

(4) 2 inch L Brackets

(1) Box of 1 1/2 inch wood screws

(1) Box of 2 inch wood screws

Drill

The only caveat in the build was building around our subfloor trap door. We needed to make sure we still had access to pull up our trap door and at the same time make a support piece to hold up our bed when we lifted it up.

Renovating a Airstream ArgosyWe wanted to use light wood so the top and bottom boards were 1 x 3 and our supports were 2 x 4. Our Queen size mattress was going to be 60 x 80 so we could just fit that in before the end curve and long enough to give us 3 inches on both ends.

We went with a 12 inch Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress It fit’s perfect and we can wake up looking right out of our windows without ever lifting up our heads.

The next step of course was to build the side and back end and how to integrate a shelf unit back there.  This was going to be the tricky part.

How to build a Airstream Custom Bed Again, using 1 x 3’s and 2 x 4’s we finished the frame, so it was  now on to the bed lift. Really just a square so the bed lift itself can sit on the frame. You can see in the right back corner how close we to the corner we got. This was important because we had to build the shelf back on the 2 x 4 that crosses in the back. Its also where the piano hinge sits.

The bed sits on 2 x 2’s and the 2 x 2’s sit on the bed frame with full support.

It lifted up pretty easy, but that was without the mattress and all the blankets Ariane just has to have.

 

Building a Custom Airstream Argosy

We had to make sure that we could still access our 30 amp box in the lower right hand corner and of course plumbing and other important access gear.

The back storage/shelf was just building a inner wall against the bed and then cutting out the top. We had saved some of the old Argosy shelves that we could use as templates.
Airstream Argosy Renovation
It was time to put it all together and test. We used 1 x 2’s for the slots that the mattress sits on. Once we put our mattress on it certainly made it much harder to lift, but not that hard to hamper anything.

Renovating a Airstream Argosy

Take a look at the whole process from start to finish.

If you have any questions about how we built our bed OR if you have your own Airstream Reno project. Ask away, we will be happy to answer.

nocmanus March 14, 2018 1

How To Renovate An Airstream Argosy

Bringing back a 40 year old Airstream Argosy is not an easy task. There are some things we wish we would have known before we dove into the deep.  Let’s start with a little history on a Airstream Argosy

History: Argosy trailers were made by Airstream Company starting 1971 in Versailles, OH. near Jackson Center, and are usually recognized as “Painted Airstreams”. Many features were first tried out on the Argosy models, and then incorporated into the more traditional Airstreams if they were a success. A good example is the large front wrap windows. These painted trailers were able to utilize steel end caps and aluminum panels that were damaged or blemished. Argosy created a series of diminutive trailers in the ’70’s called the “Minuet”. There was the 6.0 Metre (20?), the 6.7 Metre (22?), and a 7.4 Metre (24?) Minuet.

Beginning in 1974 Airstream began manufacturing a Class A motorhome, badged “Argosy”. These began as painted aluminum 20- and 24-foot models, and were followed in 1979 by the first of their Classic model motorhomes, with an unpainted aluminum body, much like the trailers they are known for. In actuality, these were modified trailers, mounted on a step van chassis also modified for the motorhome.

The first Argosy trailer was put on the market April 1971. (1972 Model)

The first Argosy motorhome introduced December 1973.

The Rehab Project:  What do you do first? It can be overwhelming. More than likely, you have pulled your Argosy to a location where the renovation will take place. You probably did an initial inspection and did due diligence to pull it. Or maybe you had it lifted and towed to your designated area. Either way, you are dealing with a 40+ year old frame.

Step 1 the frame:  Inspect the Frame! Crucial to the future of your travel experience. Your frame is going to have rust and perhaps some corrosion. The faster you deal with the frame, the more you can renovate. There are 3 crucial areas of the frame. 1. Axle  2. Outriggers (the camper sits on these) 3. the under frame.  These have to be looked at and or fixed. renovating an airstream argosy frame

How do you fix or repair a frame? That’s a good question. It’s either going to be repairable, or you are buying a new frame. If the frame has corrosion which means there are holes in it, it has cancer. That cancer is spreading and will break down  your frame to where it’s unusable.  If your frame has rust and little corrosion, you can save it and even repair it. We sanded, scraped, and removed ALL the rust on the frame, and then used POR-15 to paint the entire frame to rust proof it.

Step 2 the tear down: You have to ask yourself one question: How far are you willing to go? Renovating a 40 year old Airstream Argosy is going to take on a long journey. Buckle up!!!  It’s one thing to remove all the old interior. It’s another to gut it. I mean floor, walls, insulation, wiring. How far do you want to go? If your answer is: “I just want a remodel”. Then you are probably only going to live it in and have it parked. If your answer is; “I want to travel the country”. Gut it, and go to Step 3

Step 3 rivets, lots of rivets: Learn how to remove bucket rivets. Hint, automatic spring hole punch and a 5/32 drill bit is the key. We also bought a Air Pop Rivet Gun for cheap at Tractor Supply.  When re riveting the Belly Pan, we used Large Flange Rivets – 5/32″ Diameter to help secure the belly pan to the frame. We did not need a  new Belly Pan.

Step 4 panels: Or inner walls are long. 2 of the side panels will be at least 22 feet long. It will take two people to remove them from the Argosy. This is where you will get a feeling of…Oh crap! The top ceiling panel is in between two grooved moldings. The moldings are also riveted in. You will notice that most renovated Argosy’s that you see don’t have the center ceiling panel. There’s a reason why. It’s not easy to come off. Once you bend it, it’s over.

Step 5 the banana wraps: You probably noticed we haven’t said the sub-floor yet. There is a reason. The banana wraps are the key to successfully taking off and putting back in the sub-floorhow to remove a sub-floor in an Argosy

Step 6 the sub-floor: This is where the rubber meets the road in your rehab project. This is also where you will probably find dead things, mice, snakes, etc. that have nested in the insulation under the sub-floor. Our sub-floor was rotted mainly in the front, back, and by the door. The rest of the subfloor wasn’t that bad. But we took out the entire floor nonetheless. Read, How to Remove a Airstream Subfloor.

Tip: The entire camper sits on the sub-floor. You are NOT taking the sub-floor out without removing the bolts that are holding the camper on the frame. Everything in an Airstream Argosy is inter connected with each other. This is  how your Argosy has lasted 40 years. They are built well. 

Step 7  Remove the Pink Stuff:Removing the pink insulation is a good idea. Why? It get’s wet and will keep everything moist. Ants, bugs, and creatures (especially mice) love this stuff to nest in. Please wear gloves and a mask to remove all the insulation. We removed ours from underneath the sub-floor and did NOT replace it. However we did replace the inner skin insulation, this is how we did it.

After all of this, then you are finally able to start planning your design and plot how you will re-build.

nocmanus March 9, 2018 0

Restoring a 40 year old Airstream Shower Pan

When we first bought our Argosy is was apparent that things were old, and needed desperate repair. Of course there is always the option to buy “new”. What is the fun in that? We decided early, that we were (to the best of our ability) to try and restore, refurbish, any of the original Argosy interior, while implementing our own style. Our Airstream Argosy’s Shower Pan was one of the pieces we really wanted to save…but it was a mess.

Did I mention, we had a small crack in it also. Yea! As with most Argosy renovation projects, this was going to take patience and understanding.

  1. The first was to clean, clean, clean. We used 409 Degrease Cleaner. Then we had to get those fish stickers off which wasn’t has hard as I thought. We used GOO GONE. Once we got the fishies off it was time to get the dirt and grease off.
  2. This products by far worked the best. SOFT SCRUB W/BLEACH. But the trick here. Do this is direct sunlight and let the bleach whiten the ABS Plastic.
  3. Repeat this process a few times.

How to fix the crack: This was tricky because our tiny crack was in the lower right back corner.

  1. Drill a very tiny hole on both sides of the crack. This will help stop the crack from expanding and getting worse. We used 3mm bit (mostly used for crafts or jewelry)
  2. We used two products to repair the crack.  The first product was  J-B Weld 8277 WaterWeld Epoxy Putty Stick – 2 oz.  Great for repairing plumbing, fuel tanks, tubs, showers, drains, boats and portable water tanks it also sets in 25 minutes, cures in 1 hour to an off-white color with a tensile strength of 900 PSI. Once cured it forms a permanent bond and can be drilled, tapped, filed, sanded, painted and will withstand temperatures of up to 300ºF.  The next product we used was FLEX SEAL Spray (CLEAR).

Once everything dried and cured, it was time to bring this guy back to life. We used Rust-Oleum 206999 Marine Topside Paint, White, 1-Quart. This paint is used on Boats above the waterline. This is a thicker paint so be prepared. It takes some patience to put this on and it cures quick.

After a few days of working on it and letting it dry. It was time to test. We plugged up the drain and let water sit in the tub for 2 days. Not one drip.

 

This project truly was a labor of love (aren’t they all)? But this turned out to be very worth while project because the end result was saving an original piece of our Airstream Argosy.

As with all of the other projects, we were really proud of this one. To restore something that looked like it would never be used again was really self satisfying and gave us some much needed confidence to move forward.

 

 

Our shower pan is now installed and ready to use. We can’t wait to use our shower on the road with a sense of accomplishment.

If you have a Airstream project that you would love to share, please post below, we would love to see it.

nocmanus January 16, 2018 0

Renovating our Vintage Airstream Electrical pt.1

Renovation our vintage Airstream is certainly a labor of love. It’s not always easy and sometimes pretty frustrating, but all in all it has been a blast.

As in most RV’s, there are two types of electricity. The first, is much like your home electricity. You plug something into a outlet, and it has electricity. You know that because you get a electric bill each month that tells you  how much you use. This is called AC power. Your home get’s it’s power from the power pole and comes into a circuit breaker box.

The other kind of power is DC power. This is electricity that you would find in your car. You open up your car door and the dome light comes on. Or you plug something into the cigarette lighter and charge your phone. Most cars have a fuse box that operate Turn Signals, Head Lights, Radio, and all the other electrical in your car. As you know, you can turn on these lights without the car running. You also know, that if you keep lights on all night, your car battery will be dead. Of course, when you start your car, your Alternator charges your battery and all your lights run off that alternator when your car is running. As long as your Alternator is working, your battery remains charged.

Having said ALL THAT. RV’s use both AC and DC. So when we got into the electrical part of our Airstream, we had some work to do. The first thing we wanted to tackle was the DC wiring. We literally had to pull every wire that was associated with the Battery that runs the DC. RV’s run DC for: Interior lights, Furnace, Hot Water, and Water Pump. Newer RV’s even have more to run off of batteries. Ours were a mess.

A vintage Airstream Argosy has color coded DC wires that run to different parts of the camper. PINK, YELLOW, PURPLE, and WHITE.  Each color goes to a different circuit that runs lights, water pump, etc. This is where the fun starts. In our Airstream these colored wires ALL run to the battery which was in the battery box located inside. (they all had a door on the outside also. These wires were 40 years old and had to be replaced. So we pulled out every single wire and traced every single circuit to find out where they went.

PINK – Furnace, Hallway Lights, Front Lights, and Porch Lights

YELLOW = Water Pump, Upper Fan, and Hallway Lights

PURPLE = Hallway Lights, Bathroom Lights, and Bedroom Lights

WHITE = Ground Wire

Wires we completely had no intention of keeping were Radio Speaker Wire, Thermostat Wire and Antenna Wire.

We found that the wires ran all the way to the front of the Airstream, then turned around, and ran all the way to the back again. It really looked complicated when we first started figuring out what wire went to what. But then again, it was only 3 different circuits. We did NOT have a fuse box for the DC wiring which ended up being a good thing. It helped us learn and re-build a better system. Some people keep it, but later realize they need a new one.

The biggest help to us was to plan what lights we were keeping and what lights we wanted to add. All the Hallway lights were replaced with LED lights. The Bedroom lights were replaced (with a little creativity). The bathroom lights were replaced, and we had to add a wire for our composting toilet fan. We kept the lights in the front over the couch, the porch lights, and the switch to the water pump.

The new batteries were moved to the front of the Airstream where the Hot Water Tank used to be and all the new wired led there. They were all put behind the inner skins. We attached the new Fuse Box to the New Battery Box. (see pics below)

All of the 12 volt switches were replaced. The old cigarette lighter plugs were replaced with new DC plugs (just like your car) Every single light has a LED light. Some of the old light fixtures we were able to keep and replace the bulbs with LED ones. Again, it really helps to have a plan before tackling this. In the end, we put a Battery Cut Off switch on our battery box, so when we leave the Airstream, ALL DC power is cut off from the battery.

Electrical can be tricky, so make sure you consult with a qualified Electrician if you don’t feel comfortable with it.

nocmanus December 28, 2017 0

How to convert a Vintage Airstream to Ecco Friendly

When we bought a vintage Airstream from the 70’s, both of us knew that it would be a huge project to completely update our Lucy to one that fits our lifestyle. Let’s face it, the 70’s decade wasn’t known for environmentally friendly products. We knew right off the bat that our Airstream was going to undertake a huge renovation. Which meant floor, walls, electrical, and plumbing all had to be completely redone.

Since we are both Leave No Trace Trainers, we thought it was important to leave less of a footprint by converting our Airstream to  Ecoo friendly RV. First we had to make some decisions based on our lifestyle.

Boondocking was a priority for us. We are outdoors people and wanted to be remote so we could explore.

How could Solar power our needs while boondocking?

How much Solar would we need?

Save energy by going all LED lights and limit “luxury appliances”

How to save on Propane needs.

Could we use a composting toilet instead of a black water tank?

These were all questions based on our needs versus wants.  Of course, when renovating a 1976 Airstream, there are

steps you need to take first, to get to the project you want to complete. On our post “How to remove a subfloor”, we found that the Black Tank was secured underneath the Airstream in a steel pan that was bolted to the frame. This was a perfect time to get some plumbing done, and take out the black water tank without removing the steel pan underneath.  So that’s exactly what we did. We cut the black water tank out. (it’s abs plastic) and left the steel pan bolted to the frame. (more about that later) We removed the plumbing that connected the black and grey tanks so that we just had 1 drain pipe for the grey water tank.  We could now buy a composting toilet which meant NO DUMPING our black water tank.

The next step was to move and build a new battery compartment. This was tricky since we decided that Deep Cycle 6 Volt batteries were the way to go. We needed (4) 6 Volt batteries to give us what we needed. That of course meant we needed to build a battery box and put the batteries where they could vent. We decided to place the battery box underneath our kitchen cabinets and utilize the old furnace vent on the side of the Airstream. This also meant we had to re-wire our 12 volt wiring so that the wires ended up near the battery box and the new fuse box. 

Using (4) 6 Volt batteries, we could make (1) 12 volt battery and have 250 amp hours of charge before we would be out of power. 25watt 12V light bulb, for example, use the equation A=W/V or (25/12=2.1Amps per hour) That was our decision to go LED lights. Which meant just 1 LED light used .5 amps per hour.  As of now, every single light we have in the Airsteam is LED. (detailed post coming)

Converting your vintage Airstream to Solar isn’t hard if you have gutted your Airstream like we did. When the inner walls our down, it’s a good time to determine where the solar wires will run. This is why the battery placement is important. We decided to purchase (4) 100 Watt Solar Panels from Renogy.

Now we were on to HEAT. How to heat the Airstream during Winter months and provide HOT WATER.  This was an important decision since we removed the old water heater and furnace.

Since condensation seems to be a nagging problem in a lot of RV’s and Campers we looked at Wood Burning Stoves. We went back and forth about the safety and how we would incorporate that in our design. After much debate and hundreds of YouTube videos, we were convinced that a Wood Burning Stove not only would work, but eliminate the need for a extra propane line and help with the condensation.

The Cubic Grizzly Wood Burning Stove was our choice. After a lot of YouTube reviews of RV’ers using this stove, this was definitely for us. We utilized the old refrigerator vent in the ceiling (that was propane) to run the 3 inch double stove pipe through. Of course we had to patch the old hole first. At 34 lbs and the ability to heat 400 square feet, this would work great.

The Hot water was another great use of new technology. We decided on a Excel TANKLESS GAS WATER HEATER (LOW PRESSURE STARTUP) 1.6 GPM LPG VENT FREE (PROPANE). It works on a single propane line and the best part, it starts on (2) D Batteries that are rechargeable.

This is just a start on how we converted our vintage Airstream to a Ecco friendly Airstream. The key to all of this was planning on where each piece of equipment, wires, plumbing, and access goes before you start. It’s important to understand what your lifestyle is. How much power do you need. Work backwards. We will do a much more on solar in a later post. If you have any questions, please post them here, we are happy to answer.

 

 

How to Replace an Airstream Argosy Subfloor
nocmanus October 30, 2017 0

How to Install a New Airstream Argosy Subfloor

Probably the most exciting part of a Airstream Argosy renovation project is when your new subfloor is installed. It wasn’t as hard as we expected, but it was still kind of hard. If that makes any sense.

We started the weekend on Friday with priming all of our plywood with Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer™. We had already measured (re measured) and cut the pieces we needed. We initially used cardboard to make a template of the front cornered piece. The cardboard was a good idea because we could measure and trace around the C-Channel and get a good measurement for the curves. We made sure to put a heavy coat of Epoxy Sealer on the cut edges. It’ s edges that are most vulnerable of course.

We first placed the cardboard template (front corner) where it needed to be. Of course, installing a piece of cardboard is much easier than a piece of plywood. The cardboard looked like it was where it was suppose to go and we were happy with our measurements. Maybe a “good nervous anxiety” is a better expression.

TIP: Double check, and re-check, that all of the tiny wood screws that get drilled in at the top of the C-Channel are OUT. This will save you from pulling your hair out and having a break down in front of loved ones.

Saturday was spent on the front Belly Pan. We wanted to make sure that before putting in the Subfloor, we could see the new rivets going in to secure the Belly Pan. With my new Central Pneumatic 3/16 in. Air Hydraulic Riveter we were ready to tackle our Belly Pan. We drilled out all old rivets that the belly pan had dropped through. Surprising, our Belly Pan is in pretty good shape. We did drill new holes in the bottom frame using a 3/16 drill bit and popped in 3/16? Large Flange Rivets.  Some places in the Belly Pan the holes were just too big. So we used large Fender Washers with the Large Flange rivets to secure and cover the holes. We also cleaned and prepped the frame once again, along with touching up any spots we may have missed with POR 15.  By late Saturday we were exhausted. Sleeping in a 1998 Ford Expedition with 2 dogs on a Air Matress can be cozy, but we were so tired on Saturday Night, both dogs and humans were fast asleep by 9:30 PM.

Sunday: (The big day). Woke up early to a blue sky and the Rooster crowing. After mayhem with the dogs and few cups of coffee and a brief visit with Tulip the Goat, we were ready to get that floor in. We opted (after long debate and discussion) NOT to have any insulation between the Belly Pan and the Subfloor. But we did opt to using a Self Adhesive Waterproof Rubberized Asphalt Roll Flashing. This protects the Frame and the Plywood from moisture that could get in between. The Flashing also protects the Outriggers that are most vulnerable to the elements. After taping the top of the frame, we were ready.

The funny thing about putting in the first piece of your new subfloor was; “Are we really here”? We were almost in denial looking for other things to do before we actually put this in. With some trepidation, we brought in the front corner piece. We had cut some 2×4’s that we placed on the frame so we could beat the 2×4’s instead of the plywood. We brought in laying it down on the frame but on a slant. The “idea” here, was to push the out one side of the C-Channel and then to beat the front piece using the 2×4’s. Once we got both ends in the C-Channel it was then a matter of just beating it forward all the way in the “front C-Channel”. To our amazement, it worked. However, the rubber mallet was quickly replaced with a sledge hammer. (*Side Note: When something goes right on our Airstream restoration, we ask ourselves, “is this real or a dream”?)

TIP: Be prepared to beat one side of your Airstream to move the “cut” from right to left. Use a 2×4 for this also. Remember, you are pushing out one side of your C-Channel to get both ends in the C-Channel.If your cut is correct, the one side that you pushed out, will come back in.

The next section was only 2 feet wide to sit on the frame correctly and get bolted into the Outriggers correctly. That piece went in fairly smoothly.

The 3rd piece, (the biggest piece) was 4 feet wide went in by lifting the “cut” up over our heads, tucking the far end (opposite of the door) into the C-Channel, then bringing it down and tucking in the other end. This also involved major beating on the side of the Airstream.

So, the first 3 pieces are in. 4 more to go…

All curse words were omitted in the description of putting in our new subfloor and the writing of this blog. All relationships are sill in tact, and all the farm dogs still think the Airstream is a giant dog house.
nocmanus October 30, 2017 0

How to strip paint off a Airstream Argosy

I must admit, never did I think the words; “she’s an amazing stripper” would ever utter out of my mouth when describing Ariane. Yet that is simply the truth! Oh sure, I can strip with the best of them. But let’s face it: I rush it. I tend to go fast and just want it off far too quickly. She, on the other hand, focuses on the details.

I’m speaking of stripping the paint off of our Argosy, of course. What did you think I was talking about?

Stripping the paint off outside in 97 degree heat in the Georgia sun, well, isn’t fun. In fact, I would describe it as…not at all in any way enjoyable! Our Argosy is pointed North South, so the sides of her are East, West. Which means if we want the shade, we are either working on the East side at 6:00 AM or working on the West side after 6:00 PM.

Stripping the Argosy has taught me a few things that I must share. One, I suck at stripping. Two, Ariane, is virtually a machine. She actually said at one time; “Not interested in taking a break right now, I’m in a zone”. Though I actually said at one time: “Let me die so the Vultures can take me”. It was a blistering 98 degrees out on the Farm. While every living animal on the farm was seeking shade (and for our spoiled dogs, air conditioning), there was Ariane, stripping 40 years of paint off our Lucy. At one point she looked like Leonardo Da Vinci with her pallet of paint artistically looking for every nook and cranny of to highlight. In reality it was just a gunk full of scrapped paint on cardboard. But when you are hallucinating because of heat exhaustion, I would like to think of her that way.

In the end, we have Lucy almost all stripped and bare. Our hands tired, blistered, and swollen. Ariane’s hands took most of the blow, looking aged and peeling from the abrasive material. For me however it was just my ego that took most of the blow as I watched in admiration.

TIP: If you have to work in the blistering sun of hell. Listen to Disco Music. Believe me, listening to KC and the Sunshine Band and “Shake, shake, shake”, offers a mild relief from heatstroke. And at the end of the day when you tell your girlfriend. “You are an amazing stripper”, it becomes worth it.

We stripped the Argosy fairly easy with a product called Citristrip using a sponge. The trick is to apply it very thick and NOT use a brush as the directions indicate. Apply a very liberal layer and let it sit for about 10 minutes. However, do this in the shade. If the sun is directly on it, it may be much harder to strip the paint which we did using a plastic putty knife. This process is not hard at all to do and Citristrip is promoted as “no harmful chemicals”. Citristrip is a gell so it doesn’t just poor out. The reason we used a sponge was due to the amount of thickness that needs to be applied to the Argosy. You can buy these by the gallon although you may have to order the gallon online. The smaller version can be found at any hardware store like Home Depot, Lowes, or even Walmart.