Category Archives: Refurbishment Projects

Friendship of Avion Owners is Limitless!

Never underestimate the power of the internet to connect old friends and make new ones!  Sometimes those new friends are virtual and although you may not have met them in person you form connections….

Such is the case with Avion owners.  There are at least 4 very active Facebook groups exclusively for Avion owners.  Kevin and I have gotten to know dozens of folks quite well through these social networks and learned so much about how to take care of and love our Avion from them.

There are Avion Facebook sites that focus on:

  • Sharing tips and product sources
  • Taking Avions on trips around the country, campground reviews, beautiful views
  • Avion Rally Events (yes, there is one for the IN, TX and AR rallies),
  • Renovation projects (interior and exterior), how to’s
  • Avions for Sale.
  • Hey–there is even a FB page just for becoming part of the now annual Avion Christmas Card Exchange club!

Most of us patrol through all of them if not daily…at least weekly.  If you do not belong to these groups do a simple search using the keyword “Avion” or “avion trailer” and they will pop up.  I believe all are by being approved to join the group, its easy–just ask to join the group.

Kevin and I have been extremely fortunate to have been able to travel to some rallies and actually been able to shake the hand, and give a hug to those we have “met” and gotten to know through these FB pages.  It has been simply wonderful.

Now for a “next level” connection and the main reason for this post….

There is a fellow Avion owner in Milwaukee, Wisconsin named Glenn Reinle.  We have never met each other, but have exchanged many conversations about tires, reno projects, tips and techniques….He has seen photos of our Avion, we have seen his and he is a subscriber (I think) to this Pewter Palace blog!

So in mid-November…out of the blue, Glenn sends me a PM and says…“Hey, Luisa isn’t this the same canvas as your awning?”  OH YES IT IS!!!- I shoot him back immediately!!  

zipdee chair, 2019

Glenn proceeds to share with me a marketplace listing on his Milwaukee facebook marketplace that shows an ORIGINAL ZIP DEE FOLDING chair WITH FOOT REST ATTACHMENT!  WOW!!!  super duper I am ecstatic!  Yes, it matches our awning that we had purchased new from Zip Dee in 2017.

Not only does Glenn unselfishly share this listing to me…he volunteers to contact the seller, pays a visit to the seller to see the chair in person to make sure its in decent shape, springs are tight, etc,  and after feeling it is worth the price ($80) being asked, he purchases it for me so I can just send him the money as a reimbursement through our paypal accounts.  You can see the canvas is vintage, not perfect but thats fine with us as long as it was not dry rotted (he checked that out)  What a guy, what a friend!!  

So our fabulous Zip Dee Chair with matching canvas (and the very hard to find attachable footrest lounger piece) is sitting patiently in Glenn’s garage  in Wisconsin waiting to come to its new “Mama” when we meet in person at the Silver Avion Fellowship Rally this summer in Indiana!

How awesome is that!  This is surely a case of a fellow Avioner going above and beyond the call of duty to think about and support a fellow Avion fanatic!

Thank you Glenn!  Can’t wait to meet in person!

Merry Christmas!

Prevent Moldy Mattresses! Moisture protection for mattresses- project

WHO WANTS MOLDY MATTRESSES?

There are many reports about moisture issues from underneath RV mattresses.  This is a real issue and one not only that can cause rotting wood structure of your bed platform but also cause unhealthy mold to form there as well as literally on the outside and inside of your mattress itself.  Not good!

This issue becomes more prevalent with those who full time in their rigs or especially for those who are in high humidity areas or who winter in their rigs where internal heat temps versus external surfaces (e.g. in ours the wheel wells under our bunks which essentially are “the outside”.  This converging of a heated surface (body heat, furnace heat) and a cold surface will cause sweating and condensation.

After researching and doing a lot of checking of reviews and posts from full time RVers we found the following product.  We ordered it last spring and did our install before beginning our 2019 camping season.

https://www.mattressinsider.com/mattress-condensation-prevention.html

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This is the roll, as received and standing atop my curbside Avion bunk.  Note I am not sure all bunks come with the cut out handles like this.  Could have been something done by one of our rig’s previous owner, but a great idea even though you also have the below bunk cabinets!

It is sold by the foot and is I believe 4 ft wide. So for our Avion bunks @ 34″ we did have to cut to fit both width and length.  The stuff is very sturdy but also simple enough for me to cut with sturdy kitchen shears.

GATHER ITEMS NEEDED:

  1. Sturdy Kitchen Shears
  2. Metal tape measure or yard stick
  3. An extra pair of hands
  4. Double faced Heavy Duty  minimum 2 inch wide Velcro strips or large squares (more about this later!)
  5. Duct or Gorilla Tape (if you have a double or queen bed and will need to piece together)

STEPS:

Measure width and length of your bed/bunk.  If you have an Avion floor plan like ours and two bunks, simply double the length of one bunk for what total length you will need to place for your order.

Place order, will be shipped directly to you. Is not super heavy. Watch for when company may have sales on free shipping!

We took our measurements of bunk base, first cut new mat the correct length, then marked and measured the correct width and cut. Note- we have a slight molding lip on our bunk base that is intended to create a bit of a lip to prevent mattress sliding off.  So we cut our mesh mat to also fall just inside that small lip.

For the actual install, we followed the manufacture’s recommendations and we placed the “mesh pocket” side down on our plywood bunk base, then placed the mattress on top of the breathable fabric side of the mesh.

** after using for a few trips this way we did find that the mesh side was very likely to cause our whole mattress to slide a lot and often found our mattresses half into the hallway after being on the road.  A fix we plan to do this year is to take a few large strips of the 2 inch wide sticky back Velcro strips and place them a few places on the mesh side to stick down onto the wood bunk base.  The small molding on the bunk base that DID keep the mattress itself in place was not enough to hold the mesh layer in place.  The mesh layer is a woven plastic and a bit slippery.  We anticipate that the Velcro strips will do the trick and highly suggest this modification.

After securing down with the Velcro strips, replace mattresses down on top of fabric side of new mesh mat.

Sleep well!

If you have found other materials or fixes to prevent moisture from ruining your wood bed base or mattress let us know!

Kevin & Luisa Sherman

K-L and Avion-bitmoji-withCopyright2bHr

Adding Extra Counter Space-Project under $30

Like many RV of ANY age (ours is 46 years old this year-2019!) there never seems to be enough kitchen counter space.  Especially now with the advent of Instapots, Keurig coffee machines, etc. there are times where we just need MORE!

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Here is a 1/2 day project we did to nearly double the size of our counter space in our 1973 Avion, 28 foot LaGrande model.

Supplies:

  • 1 wood topped snack/TV table tray.  Here is the $10 one we used purchased at our Walmart. (we already had a set of these in our sticks n bricks home, so no cost to our project!)
  • Aprox. 3/4″ thick x 2″wide wood strip (for support inside drawer cabinet).  Length should be based on interior cabinet (under countertop) to floor of cabinet.
  • Folding and locking wall mount table hinges.  Here is a selection on Amazon
  • Power drill
  • Pencil and tape measure
  • Carpenters Level
  • Screws (will vary based on thickness of your exterior wall base cabinet)
  • sheet of paper (for making a template)
  • flashlight (to have helper light up inside base cabinet for marking drill holes)
  • extra pair of hands-always helps and is needed!
  • NOTE:  If you prefer to purchase a kit from Camco for a 12″ counter extension here is that product along with an install video which may help you even if you do the do-it-yourself one like we did below.  Camco RV Counter Extension Kit

Step 1:

We took the folding legs and wood hardware bracket off of the snack table.

Step 2:

We made a paper template of the positions for the hinges by placing on tray back, taking measurements of the distance in between the 2 brackets we felt would provide optimal support.

This template will later help us know where on the side of the kitchen base cabinet we need to drill our pilot holes.  You can choose to position your lift up counter extension at same height as your existing kitchen counter or just below.  We recommend to install it just below the bottom edge of our formica countertop.  By doing it that way, our extension, when folded down is flush with the cabinet. See position below.

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Step 3:

Using the hinge template, we made marks on the exterior side of our kitchen base cabinet where we wanted the hinges placed.  Careful to take into account that your hinges are going to be below the finished edge of your extension snack table board.

We measured from just under the formica counter edge down to the position of the top holes for the hinges to ensure this jived with our template.

We used the template to figure out where on the INSIDE of our base cabinet (drawers had been pulled out) that our vertical wood slat needed to be positions to provide additional support to the cabinet once hinges and extension table was in place.

Here is a photo of the wood support slats in place waiting to receive the screwed in hinges from the outside.  Note, we used small screws that did not protrude through the base cabinet but were sufficient to hold the slats in place independently before we proceeded with project from outside of the base cabinet.

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Step 4:

We then double checked and with a pencil marked the holes using our template were we would be screwing in the hinges onto the exterior side of the base cabinet, and screwed in the hinges.  Be sure to ensure they are level.  Install 1, then use this to hold your level in place while you position the second one the same distance apart as your wood slats are on the inside that are being used as support to receive the long screws that go from the hinge exterior, through your base cabinet wall and sink into the wood support slate on inside of cabinet.

 

Step 5:

Next we used the template again to drill pilot holes into the underside of table tray top.  Ours was oak and very hard so pilot holes are a must.  It should be noted that wood top snack trays come in many colors, honey oak, walnut, etc. and you may wish to select a tray top that compliments your base cabinets.  We used a snack tray we already had on hand to save money-hence the “butcher block” look rather than matching our base cabinet stain.

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Step 6:

Perhaps the hardest part of the whole project was laying the tray table down on fully deployed and locked in place hinges and from the bottom, screwing the table top to the hinges.  This really does require a helper to ensure the top stays in place and is level.

All Done!

 

Safe travels….one life…Live it riveted!

K-L and Avion-bitmoji-withCopyright2bHr

Kevin & Luisa Sherman–ThePewterPalace.com

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Mud Flap Install- Protecting the Beauty!

We spent the following week preparing for our big trip out to Elkhart, Indiana to enjoy the Silver Avion Fellowship Rally with 41, count ’em…41 other Avions! While at it…we installed a mud flap system to protect our silver beauty!! 

Back story.……When we returned from our longest road trip to date (16 days) to Dearborn, Michigan this past May/June for the TCT (Tin Can Tourist) Centennial Rally we noticed that at some point, we must have driven over some loose gravel, rock chips in a construction zone because on the curbside of our Avion front area (yes, the area where Airstreams have those protective “wings”) we had a whole lot of small, tiny dings into our aluminum skin.  We  know these were not there prior to our trip.  It is worthwhile to note that with our multiple excursions now through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana…that the roads in those states are not nearly as good, or well maintained as ours are in NYS.  So ok, higher gas taxes, and over all taxes may have some redeeming quality…but we still live in one of THE most expensive states in the union–so not much solace there.

So we have decided to purchase a mud flag bumper guard set up for our tow vehicle which is a 2011 GMC 2500 Denali HD, 6L gas, 4 WD, Crew Cab with Leer extended bed cap (which we LOVE!!).

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A mudflap system would have most likely 99% prevented these chips from happening.  Only sorry we did not do sooner, 46 years on the road and our baby got dinged!  Not only does a mudflap protect from errant rocks coming up and hitting your rig, or worse yet, your rockguard or windows…BUT it also handles…well….MUD (snow, slush, dead animal debris, floating garbage or UFO’s on the highway!-yes it happens!)  Kevin works for NYS DOT and can tell you amazing stories of what his crew finds on the highways.  Mud was the other thing that washed up onto our Avion body front during this most recent trip.

Kevin got lucky when he inquired about pricing for a Rockstar Mud Flap bumper system at our favorite local after-market auto parts detailer and installer- Mac The Knife (Mac also is the one who redid our rock guard and spare tire cover- he does great work!)  Mac happened to have a left over demo model of a Rockstar brand system that he had had on display in his shop a few years back.  Yeah, it was dusty but Kevin got it for less than 1/2 price off current retail …and it is the same system being sold today for over $479 list.  Here is link to similar set up that we have which is currently available through ETrailer.com.  FYI-We have purchased several things from ETrailer.com and are very impressed with the ease of ordering online, their quick shipping and quality products.  They have a huge inventory of tons of stuff and their customer service reps are very good.

Bear in mind, these things are heavy.  We realized that since this will be a one time purchase for us…and when we are in our 70’s and 80’s and still on the road (don’t laugh…we will be good LORD willin’ and the creek don’t rise!) we needed the easiest way possible to lift this baby off the back hitch to store it away if we did not want to cruise around with it on the truck (it does add weight= lesser gas efficiency when not towing)

Here is a good video to show how you hook on the system to your rear bumper.

So Kevin had the idea to create a semi-permanent fix which was to affix the flap system to the receiver piece insert which then can be pulled out with the mud flap bumper system.  Otherwise, we would also have to be pulling off the entire (and super heavy) GenY Torsion Hitch with the whole mudflap bumper system attached as one unit.  That GenY Torsion Hitch is also a great piece of equipment and we will do a separate post just on that and cross link it here at some point.

AccessRockstarMudflapsBumperFlange_2
view of bumper step, where guard sits atop for custom look

Steps we did:

  1. Retro fit a longer 12″ insert reducer from 2.5″ to 2″ so that we could bolt the mud flap guard system right to that. Here is the link to the additional hardware bracket needed as well.   Link to hardware sold at ETrailer.com
  2. Kevin used a DeWalt Saws-All with brand new blades to cut off the excess length off the reducer.  Be sure to clamp down the reducer so you get as straight a cut as possible.  The reducer was too long and butted right  up to our spare tire, so that needed to be trimmed back by several inches.  Doing this however, then threw off the alignment of the pre-drilled side holes in the reducer, making use of a hitch pin lock impossible.
  3. He then used several different drill bits to cut new holes in the correct positions needed to now be able to throw the hitch lock 5/8 ” pin through. It has a key lock and we have had it rekeyed to match the truck ignition so you always have it handy!
  4. We followed some video’s found on YouTube for the Rockstar brand installation because as we mentioned, this was a store demo unit and therefore we had no instructions or paperwork with it.
  5. Once installed where we knew it was properly in place, we also had to install a Heat Shield (bought on Amazon, see our link/resource page) to prevent the heat from our large exhaust pipe from damaging (a.k.a melting!) our heavy rubber mud flaps.

heat shield

It is very important to have this heat shield if your exhaust goes out back before using the mudflap unit. If your pipe exhausts to the side you will not need the heat shield.

IF you are purchasing a brand new kit, you may have to put your unit together yourself.  See Video    As a demo model…Kevin did not have to do these steps!  Ours was ready for install!

 

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This is showing the install WITH the GenY Torsion hitch in place.  The GenY now can be removed by itself and the mudflap guard system stays on the vehicle unless we decide we want to take it off for non-towing times, or touring. Still to do was install the heat shield, and apply some bumper pads on truck bumper to protect from rubbing of mud flap bumper tabs.

If you have any questions about this install, or why we chose our hitch or this mudflap system, feel free to email us directly at 1973Avion@gmail.com!  We would love to hear from you!

Safe journeys!  Share photos of your mud flap project with us on our facebook page!

Kevin & Luisa Sherman

K-L and Avion-bitmoji-withCopyright2bHr

Avion ’73 Rear Tire Carrier & Tire Cover

Recently there has been several newer Avion owners seeking info on the rear tire carrier and their original hard plastic covers.

Did you know this was an OPTIONAL item back in the day when Avion’s were being ordered or purchased? Yup….a SPARE TIRE CARRIER for the rear bumper would set you back another whopping $33 for tire holder and $16 for the spare tire!!! This explains why you will see some Avion’s of this or earlier vintage with nothing on their rear bumper. I am not quite sure where or if the owners carried a spare, lets hope they did somewhere! Perhaps strapped down on the top of the 1973 Mercury Station Wagon roof rack!! [ my dad had one of these!!]

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Check out these 1977 AVION Trailer OPTIONS and Standard Equipment lists!

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(yeah…what happened to THOSE prices right!??) Above is an awesome list of options from a 1977 sales sheet we found at the archive library at the RV Hall of Fame Museum in Elkhart, Indiana in 2017!

Lucky for us our 1973 Avion (that we purchased from the 4th owner who resided in VT about 2 hours from us) had the original tire carrier welded onto the rear round bumper. We would never travel anywhere without a spare tire. But we are constantly amazed at how many RV owners of all brands and styles do! Seriously?? To us having a spare tire is safety and responsibility 101.

Here is a photo of the rear of our Avion in as purchased condition in fall 2016.

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Shortly thereafter, we purchased this great vinyl spare tire cover which I really love. This enabled us to take off the original hard plastic spare tire cover (another optional purchase when originally ordered) in prep for its refurb.

Note- if you are looking for reproductions to replace worn out Travelcade stickers like the one centered above our running lights, please visit our blog post all about Avion Medallions and Emblems. I have links to all about this sticker and where to purchase reproduction replacements!

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Here is the link to that vinyl tire cover. It has held up very well in 3 years. The elastic stays supple and strong, the vinyl has not faded and it comes in a variety of sizes.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DL8PBG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

These hard plastic covers were originally sold with a nice locking bolt feature (see picture below), but most of those locks are long gone now. Occasionally we will see one still existing on an Avion. Below is one that we came uponm for sale in Milford, Michigan when attending the 100th Centennial of the TCT (Tin Can Tourist) club rally. The owner of this ’74 Avion had her out on the end of a driveway for sale, BTW it was sold within 1 week of the rally! Some one got a good deal at $4500!

(below is NOT our Avion. Photo is a Avion for sale on side of road in MI in May 2019)

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Once our hard plastic cover was removed, we knew it was going to need suring up of the center mounting hole.

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There is a considerable amount of stress over 45 years that is put on that bolt and the center circular opening had stress cracks and its thickness of hard plastic worn thinner from rubbing and wear.

We took the cover to a local auto body repair shop, Dave Ure’s in Queensbury. We were pleased with the results but it came at a higher cost than anticipated, $434.00 when all was said and done. ouch!

They did do a great job of applying some additional reinforcement material on the back interior of the tire cover around the center hole while also applying a beautiful hard auto finish paint coating and sealant of the outside of the tire cover. We had selected the color to compliment our interior color scheme and add some pop to our rear end! The finish and coating applied resulted in a very durable, hard finish that no doubt will last a very long time.

For the lettering, we wanted something that would add some “bling” and even more pop to our “rear end” of the RV. We also wanted to some double duty marketing opportunity to promote ourselves and this blog. So we laid out a rendering of the lettering we wanted and took it to Mac The Knife who we had refurb our rock guard and had done an awesome job (better and cheaper than Dave Ure’s shop) Mac followed our instructions to a tee. Mac The Knife is an auto detailer on Quaker Road in Queensbury only about a mile from our house. We are very happy with the results.

Total cost of the lettering by Mac the Knife was: $200.

So while we have a considerable investment (nearly $700) in our original cover, she is beautiful and will surely last us a lifetime of enjoyment! yes, its secured in place!


Below are some photos of our rear tire carrier hardware.

This is the optional feature that sold for the $33 in 1973 when our first owner (we are owner #5) purchased our 1973, 28 foot LaGrande.

We have yet to do a repaint on this. It honestly does not show since the cover is on, but at some point we will repaint it completely. The photos may help those of you who are chosing to have one fabricated. To the best of our knowledge there is no one who currently has these for sale in stock, so you would need to be lucky enough to find one from a parts salvager. NOTE, we believe that the 1980 models and newer of Avions had a very different configuration and system for spare tire storage.

It should be noted that this carrier is really hefty and well made. It is securely welded to the round bumper. We have since installed a clamped on (with long bolts) hitch receiver so that we can mount a bike carrier or a storage shelf on the back of our bumper when needed.

One of our plans include attaching vintage metal coolers (aluminum skinned, bought on Ebay, $25-45) to the rear bumper to serve as extra storage area for sewer hose, and spare electrical cords. They can also double as ice chests for beverages once set up at camp. They even have bottle openers built into their side handles! The original hollow bumpers are too small of a diameter to handle modern sewer hoses and couplers. We DO however keep a spare 30 amp RV power cord in stuffed in there and snake it out when needed…which has happened that we need an extension to our regular built in cord. For example, at Sampson State Park in the Finger Lakes of NY.

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Safe and Happy travels to you! If you have enjoyed this post, or found it helpful please follow our blog by activating the box at top right of this page!

Let us know if you have enjoyed this information. Also let us know if there are topics that you wish we would cover and have not yet! We are always interested in what YOU are interested in when it comes to Avion life and passion!

Thank you!

Kevin & Luisa Sherman

K-L and Avion-bitmoji-withCopyright2bHr

Rock Guard Rescue- PT 3

For those following our Rock Guard 3R’s (rescue, restore, reinstall) we are on the final step.  Installation of our beautiful, newly rehab’d rock guard we salvaged off of a 1983-84 crunched Avion we found by sheer luck not more than 1.5 hours from our house and in a campground bone yard in a tiny town in VT.

Here is the before….and after…..then…..”THE REST OF THE STORY” ( yes, dating myself)

Below (left) is soon to be salvaged rock guard off a ’83-84 found in VT, (right) is completely rehabbed and now rehung back onto our 1973 Avion.  Note the “bling factor” and read on to see how and what we did!

Obviously the first steps of this rehab was literally just elbow grease to take off years of grime.  You can see all the steps we did including photos and videos in our Phase 1 & 2 blog posts.  We chose a high gloss finished on the interior and exterior of the guard which was professionally painted and finished by a local auto body detailer, Mac the Knife on Quaker Road in Queensbury NY.  He loved the diversion this project gave him over the long Adirondack winter!

The final phase 3 of this big project has been to reinstall the guard.  But there were some issues.    The hanging track of our original (the part installed to nose of trailer) was smaller than the “new” rock guard.  In fact it was 7 inches longer.

We determined that this longer length was actually preferable as it would take more of the pressure off those areas that historically start to show stress cracks on countless Avion’s we have seen (yes believe this was a 45 yr old design flaw on part of original manufacturers).

This meant, we had to first remove our original hanging track.  A little scary since we had never worked with rivets, etc.  But as usual Kevin had watched 100’s of hours on “how to rivet” on YouTube, purchased a few books and then all necessary equipment from Vintage Trailer Supply.  He felt confident in what he had to do.

First step:  Drill out old rivets holding hanging track on our rig.  Old track drilled out and removed.  Clean up of area really well is very important. We use a “bone tool” we buy at the auto parts store to remove old grime, butyl tape, any sticky stuff.  This one works perfect, it has a flat scraper end and a rounded end.  It is actually a hard nylon plastic which will not scratch your aluminum but give you the ability to get stuff off…even smushed bugs too!   Kev is “all about the prep!”

Installed 3/4 inch Butyl tape strip on back edge of new track before installation.

Install replacement (longer) hanging track onto trailer front.  Use stainless steel rivets for install, use Parbond to cover over each rivet head to prevent any possible water penetration.  Parbond along seam that runs along top of guard hanger where attaches to trailer.  This is a critical step.  When riveting or screwing anything into the skin of your trailer, you create a possible way for water to eek in behind and roll down into the holes made by the rivets or screws.  Using Parbond, (we use silver/aluminum colored and and our handy dandy dental hygiene syringe applicator (Amazon, 8 for $10) to a make perfect thin line edges.

We tried reusing as many of the original holes we could from where the original guard track was hung.  Unused holes were pre-filled with Parbond completely sealing them.  Kevin snipped off the tines of the rivets and used the rivet shaver to smooth them down.  Photo above with my gorgeous purple gloves shows rivets before trimming all of them.  Note the small magnetic level to ensure you are keeping the track placement level.  You can see some of the Butyl tape has softened and eeked slightly below the track.  No worries, as this will be unseen and underneath the top of the guard.  Better to have a great seal.

We let the track sit for two days to allow Parbond to dry out pretty well.  Then time to hang the rock guard.  NOTE:  All arm hardware had been removed before hanging so it was not in the way.  WE ONLY REMOVED THE ACTUAL ARMS, NOT THE RECEIVING HARDWARE since that had been re- riveted on and reinforced during the rehab by our auto body person!

We also found that the hardware locations on the NEW guard were not exact to our original.  So we did have to re position the “plunger” receiver on the bottom of the window on one side (only) about 1/4 ” out so that the receiver slot, see right photo below would meet the plunger pin.  Plunger pin hardware (bottom photo) is the one on streetside, note parbond behind, on top and in screw holes before reinstalling with stainless screws.  To re position the curbside one, Kevin drilled the holes into slot shaped and pushed the bracket to align as needed.  Once parbonded and screwed in place it is secure.

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How to Hang:  Carefully we hung the new rock guard

NOTE:  done as a two person job only please!!!  lift guard parallel to the ground and both people using step ladders, you slide the track on top of guard into receiver hanging track that is installed on trailer, slide guard across length of hanging track.

Hanging Problem!  Once hanging the guard- we noticed that our new guard was not seated very securely in its track.

This was the track salvaged with the guard so we knew it was right (and longer which was good) but for some reason it was way too easy to pop out when lifted up.  To combat this we studied the lifting process closely, watching the relationships between the track on rig and track on guard.  We realized there was too much “play” in the track on rig and that we needed to put something back there so that the bent “J” portion of the track on guard could not rotate back and the guard come unhinged should we hit some pot hole, etc. on the road.

We found some “U” shaped aluminum in the exact length needed at Lowes.  Cheap enough, under $15.  You can see it in photo below just in front of the wood strips we used as shims to force it close to the hanger on the guard.  We then used stainless screws and screwed this track (parbonded over each) 5 places on this track thereby securing it into the hanger track affixed to the trailer.  This process allows the rotation of the guard perfectly but it cannot slip upwards and pop out unexpectedly.

Below you can also see some of the added steel reinforcement strip that we had our auto body fellow fabricate to provide additional rigidity and support to the top of the plastic rock guard itself.  As mentioned previously, these guards are notorious for cracking where the arm hinges are due to years of stress on that particular part when traveling down the road.  These reinforcements are on the outside and inside so the plastic guard is sandwiched between.  They are applied with rivets and were painted at same time as guard so all match, inside and out.

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Here is the results, we are very pleased and safe in the knowledge that the guard is not going anywhere with our filler aluminum track safety addition.  You can see the reinforcement steel strip clearly on the video below too.  Obviously we removed the wood shims after this part of the project was tested and done.

 

Some still shots of the aluminum U track we added.  The last image shows the track before we installed this added piece.  You can clearly see all the “play” space that was there and needed filling up to prevent the guard’s track from jumping out by accident.

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Next came the re-installation of the support arms.  Here Kevin is showing a prelim of how we plan to add additional support arms when set up in camp.  First we needed to order additional arms, and do some changes to hardware.

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We had decided to copy a fellow long time Avioner we met at the Silver Avion Fellowship Rally in IN in 2017 and ordered two additional awning lift arms from Vintage Trailer Supply.  These would be used in conjunction with our originals to create add on support arms when we are camped.  More on that in a minute.

The new sets (sold separately) from Vintage Trailer Supply were a little shorter than our originals but would work.  Kevin drilled out the receiver hardware off the new ones opting to use our original hinge hardware to mount in its original location and holes on our window frames.  He used stainless screws, lock washers and nuts to install the arms to the hardware rather than riveting like was originally done.  Using screws allows for adjustments, replacing or repairs on the fly far easier than riveting.  Below is original mounting bracket that goes on window frame but with the NEW guard arm from VTS installed with stainless screw and lock washer, nut.

 

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We applied Parbond again behind the hardware before installing back on to the window uprights.  Using the original mounting hardware we could reuse the original holes which is always preferred over making more holes in your Avion.

Once we did this, we reattached to the bracket on inside bottom of guard.  These arm brackets stay attached permanently and are adjusted using wing nuts and washers on stainless screws (1 inch #10) so that the guard can be raised or lowered to just about any height.

The “new” old arms, now with just holes on both ends will be used for additional support for the guard when we are set up in a campsite.  These are screwed on with washers and nuts each time they are applied.  We strongly feel that this additional support (downward) provide superior support for the guard and take away some of the stress on the permanently mounted cantilever ones that hold up and out the guard.  We will simply store them in a little pouch and inside our exterior battery box so they are handy.

Finishing up the new support arm system and we are all done with this major rehab project.  Notice we have repainted the underside of our rock guard in a lite off white, high gloss.  What this does is it serves to reflect back out the light coming from our lamp (when guard is closed) and also to create a far brighter feeling when guard is open.  Previously, the back of the guard was the medium dark grey of the plastic composite material of the guard.  This darker color absorbed the light rather than reflecting it.  This small change to white has made a huge effect and one we highly encourage. Even just spray painting the underside white with over the counter high gloss paint yourself will help if you do not want to spend the money on the whole auto body finish like we did.

 

There is nothing more heartwarming and welcoming to us than the Avion Glow!!

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“We travel not to escape life….but for life not to escape us”

Safe journeys!

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Front Running/Marker Lights-Reworked

As many of you have read, we are undergoing a major redo of our rock guard on our 1973 Avion, 28′ LaGrande.  While doing this we were “up close and personal” with the nose of our Avion and realized that some dingo along the way of line of ownership of this Avion installed 5 of our running or “marker” light fixtures upside down. Below is with existing fixtures before our rehab project started.

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What does that mean?  How can you tell fixture is upside down?

Is there a right side and wrong side, right way and wrong way?

Well, yes….the outside housing (normally white or off white) of these fixtures have pre-cut “weep” holes  (normally one on center edge and one on the lower half of each side) that allow any moisture and rain to seep out rather than be trapped inside the fixture causing the internal workings to rust and eventually fail.

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Here is a great photo (above) of our center one that obviously was installed upside down (don’t be confused by the manufacturers writing being upside down when you install it properly.  Just be sure the weep holes face downward) and therefore had been a collector of water for who knows how long.  The rusted metal is quite evident and this as can be seen on the photo above had also caused a rust streak to show on the Avion’s skin below the fixtures themselves.  You can see the rust stains in this quick video clip below.  You can also clearly see the left fixture is upside down with weep holes facing the sky whereas the right fixture is correctly installed with weep holes on the bottom facing the ground.

Not to mention, the potential of enough build up of rain to find their way to the hole made by the wire coming out of your rig’s skin and thereby allowing that water to get in between your skin.  Not good!

So while we had our rock guard off, it was much easier to work on the three running lights on the “nose” of our rig.  One had been replaced by Fletch (see previous posts and our resource page) and installed correctly, but we were not sure he had used stainless steel screws (a must do according to Kevin) but it also had not been sealed with par bond along the top and part of the sides and so Kevin decided, lets just take all three down, update their bulbs and do a little maintenance while we were at it.

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First step was to purchase one replacement fixture to retire out the rusted one (see bag picture below).  Kevin purchased a replacement easy at our local Auto Parts store.  Most will carry them unless you need a real vintage look one.  At some point we believe all of our truly original ones had been switched out- what we have now is modern standard style anyway.  The wiring placement was just a little different though.  The ones on our rig have the electrical wire (single) come through a hole in the fixture back and then connect to the wire of lamp on front.  Kevin had to drill a small hole in the new fixture to guide that Avion wire  to the front.  No biggie.

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To LED or Not to LED….that is the question!

While Vintage Trailer Supply (VTS) does carry LED fixtures we decided for now now to replace with LED quite yet.  In time we will definitely put in LEDs because reports are they are so much brighter and of course, also are far less on your battery.  For now, we went with those like what they identify as “1970’s Marker Lights” on this same linked page.  We noticed some reviews said that the VTS LED fixtures are for wiring to be done on rear of the fixture.  Hmmm…that could require some modifications for our set up, so we decided hold off on LEDs and to talk to other Avion owners on the Facebook chats or in person at rallies this summer first to see what they have done.

We took down all fixtures.  None of the fixtures had a rubber gasket behind them.  This may be a step you wish to take. VTS does sell sheets of rubber gasket that then you can cut to fit any fixture, etc. you need it for.  We chose not to use gaskets and leave them as they had been installed.

My job was cleaning up the plastic lenses and other housings.  Meanwhile, Kevin took to cleaning up the area underneath the fixtures and making sure that the aluminum skin underneath was clean, prepped and treated.  The fixture that had the rusted stuff had in fact begun to eat rust through our aluminum skin so we were really glad we had taken on the project.  In order to prevent any more rust corrosion he gently sanded away the rust (green scrubby) and lots of elbow grease.  He cleaned and prepped the area well.  I then did a very small touch up with grey rust inhibitor paint (same as was used on our frame and hitch) that will be totally invisible when fixture is reinstalled but we have piece of mind that no more rust will grow there.

2019-04-21-13.14.44.jpgWe had trouble finding the very small wire caps at Lowes like what was on there, so we purchased these and they worked fine on the two original fixtures we had but Kevin did have to re-use one of the smaller grey caps on the new fixture simply due to the different interior design did not allow for a comfortable fit using the blue cap.

It goes without saying be sure your wires are in good shape.  Be sure that you are using plastic caps AND use only STAINLESS STEEL screws when doing your install.  Stainless will not rust up and add to the potential for rusty water stains on your Avion aluminum skin.  Stainless steel screws should be the only type used on your RV in our opinion (in addition to rivets obviously)

Be sure to put a dab of Parbond INSIDE each of the screw holes before screwing in anything into your Avion skin!!  We did this with the marker light installation too.

Kevin intentionally installed the NEW fixture in the center since the outside casing was just a little different than the existing two.  I applauded him for recognizing that slight detail but having it look intentional and more symmetrical really did look great.

After the new or cleaned up existing fixtures were installed, my job “as artist” was to apply Parbond around the top and partially down both sides of each fixture.  Kevin tends to have a heavy hand with any of this kind of step, so since I have a steady hand these tasks fall to me.  I did apply straight out of the Parbond tube because I needed a goodly bead to ensure that no gap existed between the fixture edge and our rig.  Be sure to NOT cover the side weep holes if your fixture has them as long as they are low enough to be effective.

You may notice on the large bottom picture above there is a different color silver on the left side of the fixture. This is because our NEW fixture did not fit completely flush against the skin of the Avion.  So I cut a 1/3 width of our Eternabond Tape and applied that just around the side sections (covering weep holes there since too high) and all along the top lapping half of the width of the tape to the skin of the trailer to create a perfect seal against water penetration.  Then I applied Parbond over that.  Done!  This baby is not gonna leak!

**If you tend to be heavy handed and shaky you may wish to put some Parbond into a smaller disposable syringe with plunger and use that. See short video clip below to see what we use in narrow spaces or edges.   We will have detailed on these in our post about our rock guard final install post and also source for what we use on our blog’s Resources Page.

Note- the new fixture had two large weep holes on the bottom so we were not concerned about covering the one on either side.  Since these fixtures sit so high on your rig, you will not ever even notice the Parbond unless you get on a ladder.  When camped, most times we have our rock guard open so the fixtures are even less noticeable.  Far better to secure from leaking than to worry about aesthetics.

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Another project checked off our 2019 Spring Punch List!

Hope this blog post has helped you in some way to tackle your light fixture projects.  If it has, please leave a comment– if it did not help….please tell us that too and what would have been more helpful.  We always want to create not only a journal of what we did for nostalgia sake for ourselves but we strive to be a helpful resource and inspiration for Avion and other aluminum trailer lovers.

Please subscribe to our blog so you get notified of future posts on other how to projects and our travels!

Safe Travels…..One Life…LIVE IT!!

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Luisa & Kevin Sherman  at ThePewterPalace.com           Visit and LIKE us on FACEBOOK!

Rock Guard Rescue- Avion Trailer, Part II

Spoiler alert—be sure to visit our Rock Guard Rescue Part I before jumping in here!

In this part II blog post I am going to review how we made measurements and decisions on how to best do the “THREE R’S” (rescue, repair and re-invigorate) our classic original Avion rock guard.  As mentioned in our previous blog this was a junk yard find and it is NOT one of the knock off reproduction ones currently being made out of fiberglass (see photo at end of this post for sample) or other such materials.

(Photo below: our junk yard find on ground in front of our Avion)

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I will put some links to how to video’s and sources for rock guards at end of this post for those who are not as lucky as we have been to find an original for sale.

So once we had our junkyard find home, it was time to decide the best course of action for restoring it to its former glory and functionality.  But wait….could we do more??  Could we jazz her up a bit with some subtle “bling” and wow factor??  YES!

But how? without going too far and destroying the classic Avion look and we did not want to offend those traditionalists and preservationists who would not want to see too much altered–ours is a classic after all.

First Step:

First step was to put our new-to-us rock guard on two saw horses to support the hard plastic form and to prevent any torquing/flexion which could cause some unwanted cracks.  It is best to have two people handling these rock guards.  This was done in preparation for a good, gentle cleaning.

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Cleaning:

After removing cobwebs from the hardware on the back,

we gave it a good washing with just clear warm water to start to get the surface all wet.  We then decided to use the same purple colored HD Simple Green brand cleaner (purchased at Home Depot).  It is very important and is highly recommended to ONLY USE THE HD PURPLE type of Simple Green on Avion’s for all the washing of the trailer’s aluminum bodies.  Since this is the recommended cleaner for the bodies themselves, we felt that we were also safe to use it on the rock guard.  We also employed the recommendation to not do this washing in the sunshine, so we picked a cloudy day to do our rock guard washing too–just to be safe.  Perhaps not as necessary as it is critical when washing the aluminum bodies (so detergent does not have a chance to dry on metal and the metal is not warm/hot from the sun–which causes cloudy streaks) but why not right?? We diluted it following the instructions on the container and used a regular boat washing hand brush with medium bristles and then soft terry towels. (yes, we baby our Avion!)

Taking Measurements:

We decided to take measurements of the existing original Avion logo stencil so that we had them for future use to make a stencil ourselves for other possible purposes.  Also so that we would have photo references to show for before and after looks, etc. or to assist anyone who  is looking to replicate the logo because they have a knock off repro, etc.

You can see by the large photo above that our logo had been touched up by hand by some former owner.  Honestly they did a decent job but this was no where near the quality look that we wanted.  Also note the bottom right photo where you can see the nicks and missing paint off of the round edge.

From the facebook Avion Owner’s site managed by Mark Obinterio here from their files are PDFs of both the older avions (pre 80’s and the newer Avions) in case you want to download, print and use.

Downloadable Avion Logos: (many thanks to those generous folks who have posted them on the Avion Owners facebook page files)

avion_logo_old-from Avion Owners fB files     

Avion Rockguard Decal_pdf on Avion Owners FB file page

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Design Decisions:

We  knew we wanted our rock guard to be somewhat of a “Rock Star” when it was finished.  The rock guard is a very prominent feature of this trailer and what people see first when you are coming into a campground or rally.  It is also your “front door” so to speak about what kind of rig this is and when down is your hallmark.  At least this is the way we view it.  We are very proud of our Avion and wanted her to have her best foot forward–quite literally all the time.

So after much consideration, and review of sample sheets of aluminum being put on the rock guard (Chuck Cayo had given us these actual samples of aluminum that he uses for his body restorations on Avions) we decided on a “grey” that would best compliment our aluminum trailer body and be just slightly different so it did not look like we were trying to match the aluminum…rather we were trying to compliment it.

Below you can see where I went to Lowes and picked up a variety of paint chip samples in grey’s and also the red we ultimately chose for the lettering accent color.

 

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It was not easy to decide on what level of darkness of grey we would go with.  We did use the center aluminum piece as our guide and ultimately chose the one that I have encircled with blue pen.  We did this paint swatch so that we could see what it looked like in daylight, dusk, and with our porch light on so we could really make the best all around decision.  The rock guard is a large piece and it would be a large and highly visible swath of grey.  We felt the one we chose would look rich and classy and if/when it faded would still have the contrast to the aluminum Avion body we wanted.

Below is a closer look at the red sample chosen.  It is not a true red, it is more of a dark red which again, we feel is more classy and rich looking.  You can see the two colors together now.  Each have similar intensity and color value. (yes, I was an art major in HS!)

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You will notice the final paint chip above is a Dover White.  We had the brainstorm to have our auto body fellow also paint the underside of the rock guard in this white in a high gloss finish.  This way when the rock guard is closed due to windy days (yes, please keep your rock guard latched and locked down in wind…they will flex, crack and or could even get ripped from the hinge on windy days-it does not take much- these are like big hard rigid sails on a ship!) the high gloss will actually help to reflect BACK into the trailer your lights you have on inside on the dinette table, reading lamps or ceiling fixtures.  As of this post we have not tested our theory but are convinced this will be the case.  How we know is that currently when our rock guard is closed, it really creates a dark grey cave-like feel.  So looking out the front window and seeing white will help a lot!  When I posted this idea on the Avion Owners Facebook page, one of the long time owners said …wow…what a great idea! Guess we were the first to try this experiment in 46 years??!!

Off to the Spa for a FACELIFT!

So at this point, our rock guard is clean, prepped and ready to take to our local and highly regarded auto body painter/detailer shop.  It is only about 2 miles from our house and the business is called “Mac The Knife, Designer Autocrafts, LLC” and is located at 310 Quaker Road in Queensbury NY.  Phone is  518-798-0872 (tell them Kevin & Luisa Sherman sent you! – no we do not get anything  from a referral but a smile!)

(Mac is also the one who redid our original spare tire cover of the same material as the rock guard (that’s another blog post coming!) installed our DECKED system and front grill brush guard, and did the paint job on our front receiver hitch on our truck)

Sources:

  • A very frequently referenced blog post that was originally posted on the AS forums.  This project really was quite well done and could be replicated for an Avion no doubt.

YouTube Videos how to make your own rock guard.

This is a photo (at right) of a circa ’80’s Avion with what appears to us to be one of thefiberglass, cayo repro avion rock guards reproduction/replacement fiberglass rock guards available from Cayo.  See our resource page for their contact info.

Stay tuned, the repair shop process and final reveal will be in blog post Part III

BE SURE TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR BLOG SO YOU DO NOT MISS A POST!

(keep coming back!…  some decorating ideas using any RV rock guard and front window/tongue area will be put into another future blog post!)

One life….Live It Riveted!

Kevin & Luisa Sherman

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Rock Guard Rescue-Avion Trailer, PT 1

We purchased our 1973 Avion in September 2016.  Quite a birthday present for me if I do say so!

Our rock guard (original to 1973) was in decent shape, with the logo faded and some stress cracks at the angle support hinge area on top.  Both of these “age-related illnesses” are ones that are very common and frequently seen in Avions especially those pre-1980’s. (you can easily see the cracks in photo below).

The previous owner to us had done a decent repair job on that right crack by reinforcing with a piece of steel behind it and filling in the crack on the outside with Parbond or something similar, but now after two years of our use we started to see the left side begin to show more of a pronounced stress crack too.

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These cracks in the solid formed hard plastic original rock guards like ours are common due to the sheer weight of the guard and the jiggling, torquing and bouncing it experiences when rolling down the road even though it is locked in at the bottom.  Hey, and our baby has done Alaska 2xs, California at least 4 times and Florida annually for at least 6 years—so after a total of 45 years and having only these cracks in her is truly not bad!

In May of 2018 we had taken our Avion out to Cayo Repair in MI to have some work done and on the punch list was to sure up that left crack to prevent further damage and to ensure that it would hold, at least for a few more years.  Chuck Cayo did a decent job with it which you can see on photo below where the rivet stud backs are showing through the horizontal piece of sandwiched steel plate.  But we knew at some point the inevitable question would have to be addressed to repair again or replace completely.

In the photo below you will also see where the two support hinges mount up underneath the top inside of the rock guard.  These hinges bear the full weight of the guard when opened (as shown) but also lock in place in the pull latches on bottom edge center of window to lock the guard in place for towing mode.  Thus all the stress is there despite the long tubular hinge that connects from the guard itself to the rig.

The photo below clearly shows the system by which the rock guard is “hung” to attach to the trailer body. (also the horizontal steel plate repair by Cayo) .The body has a receiver tube as we call it that the guard slides into from one side.

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It takes two people to effectively and safely remove or install the guard to the rig using this system.  The sheer weight of these original guards is a lot.

Newer replacement guards are being manufactured by Cayo RV Repair in MI and some other private owners these days. I believe they are made of fiberglass and therefore far lighter which is a good thing, however the ones we have seen are all black which we do not care for at all.   We prefer our muted grey which blends in with the aluminum body of the trailer better.

Here is a good photo for comparison, ours being on the left with its original as is condition, the one on the right is the fiberglass black replacement.

 

To Repair or Replace….THAT is the Question!

We knew we had only really two options with our ever growing cracks in our original existing rock guard.

  1. Bite the bullet and purchase one of the new fiberglass knockoffs (around $700-800 +S/H)
  2. Try to once again do repairs to our existing one in hopes to sure it up sufficiently for the wear and tear it would eventually get once we begin full timing in a few years.

Never Underestimate a Sunday drive to VT!

It brought us a TREASURE FIND or TWO!

One sunny Saturday in July 2018 I suggested to Kevin it would be nice to go over to nearby VT to scope out some potential campgrounds where we may wish to stay in coming years.  We like to physically see the campground and identify specific sites that we take note of for future calls for reservations.  We wanted places that would be grandkid-friendly and relatively easy to get to distance for us and for my daughter and son-in-law to drive to as they would be transporting the two grandchildren to us for a camping weekend.

Living in eastern upstate NY we can be to VT in a matter of 40 minutes.  Our trip that day took us over through Cambridge NY and then into the Bennington and Manchester VT areas of mid-state/western VT.  Using just my google map locator asking “campgrounds near me” we found several close by with no problem.  Our third one to visit though was the charm.  Not because we would want to end up camping there (no amenities, mostly all very run down, entrenched seasonals) but because on our way out the driveway Kevin shouted STOP! (I was driving) “WAIT…THERE IS AN AVION!”.  Yes, it was, abandoned and sitting among wreck, trash, bits and pieces from other trailers.  It was the campground owners graveyard of discards from two generations of ownership.  Yeah, they did not ever throw anything away!  Thank goodness!!

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We pulled off the drive and into the graveyard.  Wrangled over debris and checked her out.  Appeared to be a 1988 but the rock guard looked really, really similar in design and size to ours.  The poor rig had had a tree fall on her, breaking her center spine and was left in the graveyard to fill with rain, leaves, etc. etc. and used for storage, sort of, for perhaps a decade or more.  But the rock guard was crack free, moveable and hopefully would be ours!  We did have a tape measure with us, took measurements and tried texting and calling Cayo and posting on the Avion FB pages quickly to see if anyone could answer our question about if size of this one was same as our ’73 which of course was safely and out of reach back in NY.  A couple online FB Avioners replied they thought it would fit, but if the price was right, even if it did not fit ours, there was surely a market to sell it to another Avion owner who could use it.  That was enough security for us!

The owner of the campground came by driving his backhoe to gawk at these unfamiliars climbing around his Avion.  No worries, nice guy and Kevin quickly sparked up a perfect, nonthreatening conversation to allay the owners fears that we were some city slickers.  We are not, we are North Country folk too and Kevin knows his mechanicals, trucks, etc. to dazzle any New England car/truck junky.  After a very short and amenable conversation the deal was struck, tools offered to assist us in the guard’s removal and within about 15 minutes the new rock guard was being hoisted by Kevin and I into our Suburban.  Reddy our Cavalier Spaniel who had come along for the ride was not quite sure what this big canopy was coming over top her bed!

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This ends Part 1 of our ROCK GUARD RESCUE.

BUT THERE’S MORE LUCK TO BE FOUND!  Never underestimate what gems you may find on a Sunday drive!

Not more than 15 minutes down the road from rescuing this rock guard did we see a much earlier Avion (can you spot it in first photo below?) at a horse show along the road.

We veered quickly there to see that too!  And to our sheer delight, it belonged to a woman who ran a mobile embroidery business who was actually based out of CT.  Turns out it was a 1974, 23′ Travelcade. She had pretty much gutted the inside but had done some tasteful redecorating in prep for her boutique.

She was making custom designed hats, shirts, jackets for the horsey set.  She needed an awning for her new Avion soon to be traveling boutique on wheels.  Perfect!  We struck a deal to trade our old Carefree Awning system hardware for some custom designed clothing using our trademarked Avion artwork that we had commissioned an artist to do for us in 2017.  This was truly our double lucky day!

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My next post will be on the Rehab phase! Until then…safe journeys!

Luisa

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Keeping RV Cabinetry in Tip Top Shape

There is no doubt that one of the key features of vintage trailers is their craftsmanship and quality of products/materials.  Later in this post I will talk about what we do to maintain our cabinetry so well, but first, a little history and photos.

The Avion Coach Company spared no expense when manufacturing their signature aluminum trailers prior to the late 1970’s.  Given the price tag at the time, these beauties were high end, luxury trailers.   It was after that time that the company was sold to the Fleetwood RV company and incrementally over subsequent years the quality and craftsmanship started to wane.  For more history about the Avion Corporation we highly recommend purchasing Bob Muncy’s book shown here.  There is a link to how to purchase on our resources page.

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Our 1973 is considered by many articles we have seen to be in the “perfect window years” of style, amenities and design of the Avion Coach Company.  Truthfully, many prefer the pre-1973 models which have more rounded, Airstream-type styling (photo below left) with more front/rear fan panels—but in 1973 when they changed to our “breadloaf” front and rear (ours at photo below right) you gained some really valuable headspace and storage inside and more room to move about in the rear bathroom.

 

One of the things however that did not change during these pre- late 70’s years and even into the 80’s at least was the superb quality of their use of real wood and excellent craftsmanship of their cabinetry.   Real hinges on drawers, metal tracks and wheels.  Full length piano hinges on all tall cabinets and closet doors are all standard.  Our LaGrande model has the extra French Provincial molding and flourish handle pulls (our kitchen cabinet below).  The more basic, entry level trailer, The Travelcader, and Sportsman models had plain fronts and simple pulls.

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Now owners of Avion’s are tasked with maintaining the condition of these beautiful wood cabinets.  Some have chosen to paint over the stained finish-perhaps because of worn, dried out condition of their trailer, others because there is a growing preference especially among Millennials to have a crisp, bright, clean look so white or pale grey painted cabinets seem to be the rage.  Below is a great beautiful example of a more “modern 21st century look” recently put on one of our Avion Facebook forums.  It is a very, very nice look but not one that we would feel comfy in for any full time living.  It always amazes me how varied style  interiors each Avion owner does with their trailer.  We are all starting with basically the same bones!

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For us traditionalists, we relish the mellowed wood stain of our cabinets and do all we can to ensure they stay that way.  Look at the difference!  Only you can decide for your personal style which you prefer!

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Now, about keeping up this stained cabinetry.

Each spring, we wipe over all of the wood cabinetry, closet doors inside and out with “Restor-A-Finish” oil by a company called Howard.  Here is the link to it on Amazon, but they also have other colors available too like Cherry and others.  One can has now lasted me two complete seasons.  I did go over the cabinets this fall again because we had used the trailer more this season and they just seemed to need a bit more.  We purchased this Restor-A-Finish can at our local large Antique Co-op Shop (Glenwood Antiques in Queensbury, NY)  and it is something that many antique dealers use routinely on furniture.  It does come in a variety of stain colors and we found that the Maple-Pine was the closest match to our cabinets.  The Avion Corp. did offer a few different finish colors so some interiors are going to be different than ours, lighter, or darker.  The wood is birch with beautiful grain as you can see from our photos.

I use an old Tee shirt or other smooth rag to apply the oil.  Careful…it is quite thin and runny!

It does go on somewhat oily but that is fine and over a day or two it penetrates in and rejuvenates the wood.  There is no need to go back over it with a dry cloth.  Let the oil soak in. What I do like is that it does NOT leave a sticky film like some other furniture oils do.  The smell is not bad and it does wash off your hands fairly easy with a scrubby but I do try to wear rubber gloves when applying it because it will stain your fingernails a bit for a time afterwards.

I like that it is a little shiny when being applied because it allows me to more easily see where i have daubed and where I have not.  I have also used this same restorer if we had a scratch accidentally onto a cabinet door or trim piece.  It covers it beautifully!

Here is a perfect photo to show the treated cabinet on left, and not-yet-treated on right:

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In conclusion, we would highly recommend Restor-A-Finish for refurbishing your wood stained cabinetry and maintaining its vibrancy and condition by using it at least annually.  We have seen photos of Avion and other RV interiors where the cabinets were not treated regularly and what happens is that they get brittle, chip, peel and look washed out and faded.

So please give treat your wood cabinets to a luscious spa treatment to keep them in beautiful condition always!

See you on the road!  One Life….Live It!!

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Kevin & Luisa Sherman ~ The Pewter Palace