Phase One-Rehab update 4-21-17: Window seals, roof fan work

News update and photos in from Bill “Fletch” Fletcher owner of Fletcher’s Trailer Restoration and Sales in Trumansburg NY (Finger Lakes Region) was received today. Owner Fletch has two Avions he personally owns and has restored and maintains. Plus he has a sales yard full of some really cool vintage aluminum trailers ready for their new owners to finish off.  I saw a Spartan that was awesome and ready for a new interior!  Kevin was partial to the Holiday Rambler that Fletch owns and uses.  Kevin was raised up during his youth with his parents owning several Holiday Ramblers and ultimately with so many kids (Kevin is youngest of 8) they owned a 32 footer.

Here is our Pewter Palace parked snug and a bug in a rug indoors while being worked on.

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The palace is inside the shop and windows and exterior curbside compartment being recaulked with Par Bond which is the aluminum color caulk/sealant of choice for aluminum trailers.

2017-04-21 15.21.38It looks great and will certainly provide some needed sealant especially for that outside compartment that holds our leveling blocks, etc.  Not that anything in there cannot get wet, but it also provides more protection so that moisture does not get in there and possibly compromise any adjoining internal areas like the bathtub area, etc.

Good news is that Fletch said our roof and its seams, and sealants around roof vents, etc looks quite good.  He has ordered Eternabond tape to go over a few seams but for the most part she is in really good shape.   Yeah!  We had not seen any but wanted to be sure.

They are also working on replacing the roof fan shrouds with the new ones we had already purchased direct from Cayo in Watervliet, Michigan–the guru of Avions and whose family started the company.  Chuck Cayo continues to be the go to man for things having to do with Avions and their restoration.  These shrouds were so hard to find, that he took initiative to have a prototype made up and now offers replacements identical to the originals.  These new ones are nice a light, bright and clean looking and will certainly last another 40 years.  Fletch will then replace the toggle switches and motors for the fans.  I in the meantime will be restoring the mesh screens that get inserted at the final stage inside.  Once complete…we will be all set.  These are the 18″ square fans which are much larger than the typical fantastic fans made today (14″) and really they let a lot of nice light in too.  One thing I wish we did have that newer Airstreams have is a skylight…but oh well…we have a vintage rig and we love her.

Here is E.J. one of the workers at Fletcher’s fitting up the holes on the new shrouds using the original  ones for template for drill holes.  Note the brittle, almost butterscotch color of the 44 year old ones.  I will be doing a whole separate blog page just on the roof fan systems since Avion restorer’s who have these are always sharing photos and tips.

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2017-04-21 22.52.40We also have a few windows where the gaskets around the windows after 40+ years have either broken off in small sections or have shrunk where the seal is not sufficient. Fletch is on the hunt for the right stuff….

This is the curbside front window which is the one that we knew was leaking a slow leak last fall. Definitely have to get it fixed.  It is great that we were able to get our rig out about two weeks ahead of Fletch’s original schedule  because he got a chance to start working on her earlier than expected.

We continue to amass stuff to outfit the inside.  I have yet to begin working on the curtain rehab….more to come!

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Removing old caulk and applying new Par Bond sealant.  See the difference below on top track of window.

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P.S.  Sorry some of these photos are a bit wonky.  Fletch sent them embedded in an email and I had a really tough time working with them and could not download them separately so I had to use screen shot images.

Out of Hibernation, into Refurb Mode

After getting four new tires on our rig on Thursday, the brakes checked and our new vanity “1973 Avion” license plate on….we were off!20161225_113532

Last Saturday we woke up at 3 AM, hit the road by 4:15 AM for a 4-5 hour ride out to Fletcher’s Trailer Sales & Service in Trumansburg, NY.  “Fletch” is an Avion affectionado who currently owns two, but has owned others including a C-10 slide in model in the past.  He also was president of the Tin Can Tourists Northeastern division some years back and it was really cool seeing some of his memorabilia and photos in his shop.

We had our punch list of little to medium sized things that we wanted to get done on the Pewter Palace, and well…we had read horror stories of Avion owners (and Airstreams too) who took their rigs to local RV dealers (big and small) to be worked on with disasterous results.  So we decided that a five hour one way trip to the Finger Lakes Area of upstate NY was worth it to have someone who knows, loves and respects Avions could give her the TLC we were looking for.

2017-04-08 04.14.25So our early morning departure had an initial unexpected joy when the rear running lights (we thought were not working) ended up coming on!  wow…great!  well…not really, it was short lived and they must have a short or some wiring glitch because they only stayed on for a few miles.  Kevin had jury rigged some temp lights though on the rear bumper so we were fine.  The front running lights and the brake and signal lights all work fine all the time….so the mystery is now squarely in Fletch’s lap!

The trip was very uneventful with breakfast at a Denny’s outside Oneonta, NY and then continuing on RT 88 over many, many medium to very large hills which gave our Suburban’s new transmission and the Pewter Palace her towing trial.  She performed beautifully and Kevin continues to remark how smoothly these Avion’s tow.

The rig on the whole is in very good shape.  We do have two small window leaks on the curbside and some LP hoses and electrical wiring we need checked and repaired.  We figured, lets get it all done now and enjoy the next few years without much care or worry about safety or periodic issues.  All the systems worked when we bought her and when we slept on her last November, the furnace worked like a charm too and we were cozy, cozy despite it being 38 degrees outside that night.

We are planning to get the palace back by mid-May and have a few events planned as well as going to do a few campground jaunts too.   Gotta say, when we arrived back home at about 6:30 Saturday night, my brain was pretty much jello.  It had been a long day- but we are hopeful and glad to have our trailer in good hands.   Hopefully after we pay the bill at Fletcher’s we still have enough money left for gas!  LOL

Stay tuned.

Tow Vehicle….update

It has been a very long winter here in the Southern Adirondacks.  A lot of snow, cold and dreary days.

Last weekend, while riding back in our tow vehicle, our 2005 Chevy Suburban, 1500 Z71 4 x 4 our transmission went on RT 28A south of Vergennes VT–about an hour north of our house.  Thank goodness for AAA RV Plus and we were towed back to our local transmission shop for repairs without a dime out of our pocket.

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We love this vehicle and did not hesitate to put the new trany into her…but to a tune of $2800 ouch.  We did beef up a few of the components which did add a couple $100 to the ticket–but worth it when towing our 1973 Avion trailer.

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We are so thankful that we were not towing when the transmission went, or that we were not half way down the east coast or mid-west.  It is worth it to put the money into her since she is expected to last us a good  many years and will need to be in prime shape for towing our Pewter Palace this summer and many more.

Kevin and I enjoy watching many of the great Vlogs on YouTube with full timers who have Airstreams (Like “A Streamin’ Life“, “Long Long Honeymoon” and “Less Junk, More Journey” and are learning a lot from them in preparation for the day/year we take our final step to full time RV living.

One thing we noticed is that all or most of them have adopted pet names for their tow vehicles.

I have been trying to come up with a pet name for our Suburban and yesterday when I was hopping in to go to work it hit me when I wasn’t even trying—whammo!

Darth Vader!!  “Darth” for short.

Notice the resemblance?? (pardon the mud on “Darth” I was off-roading a bit today)

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So home from ABC Transmissions in South Glens Falls, who by the way were awesome and really stand behind their work.  Its a quality deal, with quality people and we would recommend anyone to go there.  Heck, the owner owns a 2004 LT Suburban…a kissing cousin to ours so he can’t be all that bad right!?? (BTW–he did love our vehicle and loved all of our bells and whistles that comes with the Z71 package…and he said wow, that is a sharp looking vehicle)  We agree…

So parting shot, here is Kevin with Darth and the Pewter Palace!!

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Happy Trails!  many more miles to go…..