Category Archives: Ceiling- Vents- Originals

Ceiling Fan Restoration, Phase 1

Most Avions made in the 1980’s through 90’s began using the 14″ square roof vents, some I believe were the FantasticFan brand at some point.

That was not the case with our 1973 Avion LaGrande.  Our ceiling (roof) vents were a little over 18″ square and not easily if even possibly replaceable.  We like the size though and want to keep them if possible.  The former own had installed the full clear plastic protective covers (Maxi-Air) over them on the roof so it is nice to be able to open then even in a torrential downpour and not have rain get in.  We also can keep them open if we want to when rolling down the road.

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Problem was a few things with our ceiling fans were lacking….

Both had screen covers that had cracked frames (hard plastic) and were monsterously dirty. The interior shrouds as they are called (photo with Kevin) were cracked, yellowed and dirty.  Thankfully, replacements for them were available for purchase from Chuck Cayo for about $75 each.  A good deal considering they will last another 40+ years.

 

The rear fan only works on high, while the front one has a faulty switch and does not operate at all.  We continue to try to find replacement parts.

 

Several of the great folks (fellow Avion owners) have pointed us in the right direction for sources for the fan switches, but honestly the whole issue with the Ohms, wires, circuits is way beyond my comprehension and we just feel that this might be a job for Chuck Cayo the Avion Guru whose shop is in Michigan.  We have a few things on a “let the pro do it” punch list for Chuck to work on in 2018 so i think these ceiling fans might be added to that list.  Our AC works awesome, and the rear fan- being overtop our beds is sufficient enough for even hot nights.  It is quite loud though and I think these fans were loud because this is often the most repeated comment that we see from Avion owners who have switched out their large fans to the smaller FantasticFan.  That retro fit requires creating a false template to hold the smaller unit into the larger opening, etc.

So for now anyway, we decided to make do, and work on restoration of what we can handle.  First off….making the screen covers more presentable and usable.

First step–a really good bath.  Used Simple Green HD (Purple) which is also what is recommended to give your Avion a bath outside.  The solution is diluted to 3 water to 1 Simple green (so not use the green version!).  It did a decent job, set them out in the sun to dry but still a lot of mottled discoloration after they were dried.

Then i repaired the cracks with small plastic thin slices to beef up the areas.  Second was to use Gorilla Glue and provide a really good glue job on the cracks to firm them up.  These cracks evidently happen to nearly everyone because this is where the hand cranks turn into and the hard plastic, if the crank gets turned too far, simply cracks.

 

So, cracks mended it was time to purchase some ivory colored spray paint and gently with very light multiple coats painted the mesh fabric as well as the hard plastic frames of each one.  The result was fabulous.  I think I did about 6 light coats.  Careful not to allow any paint to pool in the mesh fabric.

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The final result of these being freshly painted really has made a big improvement and it offered  the stop gap measure needed at this point.  See the finished product below~  not bad eh??!!

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Total cost of project:  About $8 and about 5 hours of elbow grease.  (we had the Gorilla Glue, and for the thin plastic i cut them out of a left over clear plastic take out container-so free!)

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I will post the source for the switches on our resource page.

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.