Thursday, December 23, 2010

More Bees...

I'm glad its winter. I'm glad its cold as I'm finding more and more little bees nests.. This little duo of mud mounds was on top of the bunk, but under the original awning that was folded up and stored up there.

I only had about 30 minutes to work on the camper so I moved some trash out, and stored some other things I'll need later. I also demo'd a little bit of the bathroom and got the rest of the cabinet doors off and out.

I measured the dinette and removed some of that too..  I have to admit, I'm not looking forward to revealing whats behind that front wall.. I know there is rot.. just don't know how much yet~

I'm on vacation the week after Christmas... Maybe I can get the rest of the paneling and cabinets out so I can prepare for (and maybe even install) the new subfloor.

A note about the oven.. My wife saw the post about possibly removing it and was sceptical. "We need an oven" she said..  I said, "Most people take them out in favor of a cooktop in the counter, or outdoor cooking". She replied "How will I make you cookies?"    I love my wife

ps. I did reply that she could make them the day before we left and we could bring them with us.. problem solved :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Have to start somewhere

Although it was pretty cold today (25 degrees) the kids were itchin to get outside and play for awhile so I bundled them up and out we went. They ran around the yard having the sorts of adventures kids do, and I went in to the garage to see if there was anything I could start doing to the camper.

Since the overall plan is to gut it, replace any rotten framing, and rebuild from there I figured cleaning it out would be a good start.

I only had a hour or so before the kids (and I) were cold and wanting to head back in.. I managed to clear the rear half of junk and insulation. I did save trim I found, and a couple window cranks hidden in the debris.

It doesn't look too too bad.. some obvious rot in a few places but nothing that can't be easily replaced.  Only one roof support is saggy, the rest look good. All the glass is good, all the windows work, and I found all of thier interior trim parts in decent shape. All that stuff should clean up nicely.

So here are the pictures from today after removing 2 large bags of trash, a spare tire, 4 support jacks, the awning, the poles, the couch wood, the closet doors, the paneling parts that had already been ripped out, the cushions, 2 bees nests and a zip lock baggie with a complete set of new wheel bearings in it. (score!)

I'm going to need to find 2 of these crank handles, 1 broke, 1 MIA. (all the front window cranks are still on)

I'm really mulling over the kitchen and its future.. I am tempted to reconfigure the interior since it will be torn down to one open space to replace the paneling and floor. I'm contemplating the usefulness of a full oven for long weekends and maybe a week getaway here and there. I mean, its camping after all.. that should by some sort of unwritten rule include outdoor cooking, not a tuna cassarole in the oven :)

I need to measure where the wheel wells fall and see what sort of plan would make sense. I do know that I'd like to move the couch to the front, and the dining area to the rear with a larger U shaped setup.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Twins ?

So the 68 was tucked away in the garage awaiting the first stage of rennovation when something popped up..literally. I have an RSS reader that searches Craigslist every 15 minutes for a variety of items and one of those searches is for 'Shasta' if the sales price is under $1000 dollars (thats how I found the 68). Well, while working one day last week I got a little pop up window that said '71 Shasta Camper-$100'

I opened the Craigslist listing and there was what looked very much like our current camper, only a little cleaner, for $100 about 25 minutes away. I contacted the seller right away.. My only real question was 'Will it tow home as it sits?' and the answer was a very confident Yes. Furthur discussion revealed that he had started to strip the interior to replace some water damaged paneling and never got around to finishing. He mentioned it had the cushions in good shape, the original awning and poles, leveling stands, a nice newer fridge, and that the stove, table, heater and sink were all there in ready to use condition. No further discussion was needed, I quickly made arrangements to pick it up.

The ride home was uneventful, it towed beautifully at 65 - 70 with no sway. We have a Ford Expedition with an 8000 lb tow rating and it was almost like I wasn't even towing anything. Maintaing highway speed was no issue, it didn't even drop out of overdrive going up the hills on the way home.

Once I got it home and got a good look at it I determined that the 71 was actually a better starting point for us to refurb than the 68 we paid so much more for. The exterior is a little better, the door is definitely better, the original L66 handle works and even has the original keyset, the windows are not encased in silicone and they all work well, and the inside is already partially apart making it easier for me to finish and refurb.

The new plan is to finish gutting the 71, replace the interior paneling, put down a new floor, reinstall the kitchen area and rebuild the closet/fridge area. I'll move the new propane tanks over.. the new tires as well.

Here are pictures of the 71 as purchased.. Interior obviously looks worse due to being partially apart, but overall, this one is in better shape:

So there it is.. looks somewhat daunting, no? I'm actually glad its half apart as now I can see how things are put together on these old campers and it will be easier to finsh stripping it.

Once I swap the tanks and tires between the campers, I'll decide what to do with the 68. I may part it out and dismantle it so I end up with a decent utility trailer.. I may take what I need for the 71 and sell it whole to reduce our overall cost. I'm just going to play that by ear as I see what I need as I go along. For now, I've moved it out of the garage and moved the 71 in for the winter.

Some who read this I'm sure will disagree with this next decision.. The first thing I did was take the wings off. To be honest, I don't care either way if they are there or not, especially on this 'toaster' style Shasta. If I had a really cool 50's model in the canned ham shape, I'd want them, but on this particular camper I really don't mind them not being there. I threw them on ebay for 99 cents with no reserve and the end result is that after all fees etc I've paid for the 71, the NH tags for the next year, a tank of gas plus I've got some cash left over... and thats just fine with me.

Updates won't happen real often but as I get to working on it I'll take pictures and post progress as I go. Keep in mind, I'm no expert, I'm sure I'll screw up plenty along the way, but it will be fun to tinker on it, and it will be very worth it in a few months when we take our maiden voyage with the kids~

We should get a camper...

Hello all, My name is Kevin and over the last few months my wife Kim and I had discussed maybe picking up a camper so we could enjoy some long weekends next summer with our 2 boys. Tent camping, while both of us have done it in the past, is a little too 'rustic' for our tastes, but we certainly don't need (or want) a Taj Mahal on wheels either. A small travel trailer that would be easy to tow and park, with a comfortable bed and a place to prepare food seemed like it would be the best fit for our family.

I'm a fan of all things 'retro' and have seen many cool old campers from the 50's - 70's online and had been keeping my eyes open for a decent deal for some time. Our budget does not allow for running out and buying something fabulous that has already been restored, what we needed to find was something under $1000 that would be 'campable' without major expense in repairs and renovations. We are fairly handy and I have no problem tackling do it yourself type projects so I was thrilled when a 1968 Shasta Airflyte popped up on Craiglist for $750 just a few towns over. (I know, this blog is called '1971 Shasta Airflyte refurb'..  read on)

We looked at the 68 Airflyte and it had some good qualities.. It was sitting on new tires (including the spare), it had 2 new propane tanks, the trailer frame is nice and solid, it had a working propane / electric fridge, and was water tight..mostly due to at least 5 tubes worth of silicone that had been 'liberally' applied to every single possible water entry point.

The downsides that were obvious were that the interior was partially painted white, the fridge cabinet area had been reconfigured in a very amature way, the door handle was broken, and the trailer wiring that hooks up to the tow vehicle doesn't work.

Still, for $750 deliverd to my driveway, we went ahead and purchased the camper.

Here are a few pictures of the camper as delivered, taken the day we got it:

Some quick measurements revealed it would fit in the garage! Bonus. We'd at least have a covered spot to work on the trailer. My plans were to take out the fridge side cabinets entirely, and rebuild them in a better way, seal off the potty hole and put a new floor down, repaint the interior and reupholster the cushions. Not too ambitous, and certainly 'do-able' by springtime.

So the camper was parked in the garage and a few days later... something came up...