Category Archives: Refurbishment Projects

Rear Bumper Storage Ideas for Vintage Avion Travel Trailers

In our travel last summer to Michigan and Indiana, we stopped by Cayo Service & Repair which is located in Watervliet, MI where current owner, Chuck Cayo continues to work his magic restoring, repairing and promoting vintage Avion Luxury Travel Coaches.  They do not have a website, but they do have a facebook page with limited info including their contact info and map for directions.

My goal in this post is to share some storage ideas we have come across that owners of Avion’s have employed to garner some much needed additional storage space.  

  • Please remember- there is a cautionary tale about adding excess weight to the rear of any travel trailer.  It can throw off your correct weight distribution and tongue weight ratios and therefore safety-so please use caution and get professional advise as needed. 

Anyone who currently owns an Avion, regardless of year (except perhaps those five 5th Wheel Avions that were produced and may be still in service) you know that Avions’ suffer from a real lack of exterior storage for important things like modern sewer hoses, fresh water hoses, repair kits, emergency roadside warning kits for breakdowns, not to mention the proverbial citronella candles, exterior carpet mats, camp chairs, gas grill, etc.

The extent of our exterior storage on our 1973 Avion LaGrande 28′ that is not already dedicated to the sewer/grey water flush system and electric hook up is very minimal compared to the huge storage found on modern trailers or Class A’s especially.  The streetside compartments we have are filled with sewer, water and electrical apparatus for the most part and offer very little if any additional storage.  Below is shot of our streetside “business compartments” that include  our Hot water heater (one with vent plate), and behind that our water/sewer connection compartment.  The small one underneath that drops down to open and contains some cleaning supplies but that is about it. Note how a former owner cut a hole into that door so that the sewer hose comes down through.  Nice idea but now the compartment is virtually useless to keep anything contained much less dry! (BTW yes, we LOVE our red Anderson leveler system and strongly recommend!!)

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Our ’73 Avion LaGrande, 28 foot streetside storage and compartments for water heater, sewer/water hook up and one small lower compartment.

With regards to this curbside “storage area” in the two photos directly above—- it should be mentioned these are underneath my curbside bunk used for sleeping.  So really..no sewer hose is going in there!!  We also found when we bought our trailer (we are fourth owners) that this area had been leaking due to poorly maintained rubber gasket around the door flap.  Kevin has since replaced and realigned and it no longer leaks.  We do manage to cram our Anderson leveler system into the small curbside drop down compartment (see sample in photo below) as well as some chocks for wheels and the plastic pads for our crank down levelers. See previous blog post for details on this project from Summer 2017.

Some Avion owners have taken to install water run off shields over top of these curbside access panels.  This is a great  after market idea and one we are going to still look into for double protection from the rain that literally flows like a river down the side of the rig.  Here are two photos from the same rig that we saw on an older Avion parked at Cayo for repairs.  The smaller, lower one is where we store our leveler system, etc.

It should be noted that NONE of these small drop down exterior storage areas are waterproof by any means.  The aluminum panel underbellies of these Avions are great, but after e.g.  45 years of being on the road (our rig has been to Alaska at least 2 xs and Florida annually for over a decade or more) they are not water tight- not sure if they were ever truly meant to be.  So whatever you plan to put in these smaller areas that are on the sloped down lower part of your Avion…be sure it is nothing that will rot, mold or get otherwise ruined by splash from your wet tires, or rain seeping in would wreck.  Also, replacing the original latches with new stainless steel latches is also advisable. The originals do rust and can stain your exterior finish with their run off, or rot off completely at some point.  Source for the stainless ones is Cayo themselves, or here is a link to the exact latches themselves at VintageTrailerSupply.com.

BTW- VintageTrailerSupply.com is a great source for tons of stuff and their customer service is outstanding- I know this from personal experience. Some have reported getting them at your local big box hardware store, but I am not sure if those are 100% stainless–I suspect not.

Other ideas for increasing your exterior storage:

Here is another photo we took at Cayo last summer.

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You can see where some ingenious owner fabricated a rear bumper storage area similar to what is found on many Airstreams.  This one had two liftable storage lids that lifted up from the top.  The hinge end was near the spare tire mounted in the center.  Note--the spare tire mounts (and tire covers-we have that too!) were OPTIONAL gear when these trailers were made, at least in the 70’s and so the original owners would have had to have them ordered as part of their options package at the time.  Some used ones can still be found by scouring the facebook pages where Avion parts are being sold by folks who are salvaging the ones unable to be fully restored but are still good for parts.  There are several, just do a simple search on Facebook for Avion Trailer Parts.  You may have to ask to be invited as some may be closed groups to keep out spammers and ner-do-wells that could clog up the process of Avion owners reaching real Avion owners.

This one had its sewer hose neatly tucked in.  The tray underneath can be made to go completely underneath the whole area.  Its just that due to the spare tire placement your access can only be from one side or another.  I do not recall if these lift lids were fastened down with latch locks or simple 90 degree angle hasp locks with pad lock but simple enough to do!  Again, this tray sits exactly between the round bumper and the trailer body.

How About Vintage Camp Coolers as Outside Permanent Storage:

Originally, we had a plan of attaching brackets to hold vintage aluminum camp coolers to the back of our rig.  (That is until we went to Cayo and Kevin saw the rig in photo above) The idea being when on the road, they could hold our water hose on one side and our sewer hose (in a plastic trash bag) in the other.  They would each sit on top of the bumper area and on either side of the spare tire.  Reminder, if you go this route, be sure to select one cooler small enough to fit underneath your original license plate holder and light bracket because I really think you want to keep that original feature intact.

I really like this idea and am still trying to convince my husband that my Ebay purchase of these two coolers was not in vain.  He is leaning more towards the inline tray concept instead.  Let’s see who wins this one!  Maybe Cayo can fabricate something inline that has the access doors opening on either end and thereby satisfying both parties!!

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This is the larger of the two that I bought on Ebay.  Sadly, during shipping it got the dent on the top.  Does not affect use, but did break my heart a bit.  Note the bottle opener built into the handle.  This cooler would be on the curbside rear making it very handy to you when under the awning enjoying a cold beer…or…whatever!

DUEL PURPOSE!!  With the vintage aluminum cooler concept (they are highly collectible so plan to pay a bit for decent shape ones) I like the idea that after you park and take out your hoses, these coolers can actually still perform a viable purpose.  I don’t know about you, but I hate  my 8 cubic foot refrig being taken up with bottles of beer (or a growler is the worst!) and any other soda cans or large pitchers of green tea, juice, etc. that could find a far more suitable home and keep deliciously cold in our vintage coolers on the “poop deck”.  Heck, one of our coolers even has its original bottle opener right on the side.  How convenient is that!!??

Here is a photo of both of them on the back.

They are not installed at this point in time.  Kevin’s plan was to drill through the bottom of each one, using a rubber gasket to block leakage (but who cares if water drips out right?) so that when we have our gear in there, a simple hasp lock with padlock could be used to prevent (or deter) access to inside and ability to undo any straps, etc. and steal the cooler.  We also do have the original hard plastic spare tire cover but it does not fit when we have the coolers in place as well.  Its do-able but the coolers would have to go a bit further to the outside edge more as the hard plastic cover is wider by at least 3 inches overall to the vinyl cover we have on there now.

ADD ON BRACKET to hold a STORAGE BOX:

While at the Silver Avion Fellowship Rally, summer 2017 in Elkhart, IN we also saw this Avion. The owners had actually had an additional mounting bracket installed beyond the rear bumper so that they could hold this lockable, hard plastic after market storage container.  We have seen these on cars, but honestly we wonder about the added weight that this box and then its contents includes.  There are many stories about not putting too much weight on the rear of Avions (or any trailers for that matter) that will skew the delicate balance between your weight distribution, tongue weight, etc.  So please be careful about any added weight (vintage cooler, generator, etc. of any weight) that you put on your rear end.

SIMPLE BUMPER AREA CAGE IDEA:

Here is another example we have seen that utilizes that area between your bumper and your rig itself.  This was on a 60’s Avion Sportsman model that we were fortunate enough to meet the owner and take a tour inside when at the Northeastern Tin Can Tourist Rally at Sampson State Park in the NY Finger Lakes, September 2017.  There were FIVE Avion’s at this awesome rally!!!  He simply used bungy cords to secure the hose while traveling o the road.  This is a basic fix but for a sewer hose and some other weather proof types of supplies (waterhose in a vinyl bag?)—it works….and is completely ventilated!

LAST WORD ON EXTRA STORAGE FOR LONGER ELECTRIC CORD NEEDS:

Somewhere along the way, a former owner of our rig applied rubber cup covers with adjustable and removable stainless steel bands on both ends of our tubular rear bumper.  Yes the bumpers are hollow!  So my husband, Kevin decided this would also be a great place to store a longer, spare electrical cord for our trailer besides the one that is permanently attached to the rig in the streetside compartment. Its a little tricky snaking the cord in and getting it out but thank goodness he did!  We had to use it when at the Tin Can Tourist Rally we attended last summer.  Due to some uneven ground and where we had to park in order to extend our awning we were too far a distance for our onboard cord to reach.  Wholla….out from our rear bumper appeared the extension with a double ended link to reach the electric post!

 

Well that is all I have for now, but I will continue to provide updated photos as we are on the road and see creative ways to increase your Avion’s exterior storage.

Safe travels, and remember….ONE LIFE!  LIVE IT!!!

Luisa & Kevin Sherman, The Pewter Palace, 1973 Avion LaGrande, 28′- Queensbury, NY

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.

Bathroom facelift-May 2017

I spent a few days making up new curtains and the shower curtain for our bathroom on the Pewter Palace.  Amazingly enough, the shower curtain onboard when we bought the trailer WAS the original, 43 years old and in fabulous, fully useable shape, but i wanted to do a themed approach in the bathroom too so, it went into safe storage.

When we first purchased the trailer and were doing the initial straightening and clean out we came upon a funky fun strand of decorative lights with pink flamingos and palm trees on it.  Anyone who knows us knows very well that this type of thing is really farthest from our norm of 18th c. style, period fabrics and lighting, etc.  But they were so funky cute–i took them as a great sign that this adventure on our 1973 Avion was going to be great!  So we decided they would come out of the closet and find a permanent home in our bathroom.

So pink flamingos and palm trees became the official theme of the bathroom- which surprisingly for a 28 foot rig (really only 23 feet of living space total) has great room to move around, a full shower and small tub as well as tons of storage closets, an original medicine cabinet and tons of mirror space.

I did handsew the living room and kitchen curtains- but admit with these i did resort to quick dash on my machine!

Here is before and after.  Will have to add more when the funky lights are in place and of the shower curtain.  Fun is!!

 

Avion LaGrande-Exterior Storage Compartment Weatherproofing

May 21-22, 2017:  We have had perhaps one of THE wettest Spring in memory here in the Southern Adirondacks of NYS this year.  With the tons of rain has come the realization that our curbside, exterior storage compartment (which also is a direct access to MY underbed storage area too) has leaks around the compartment door.

Fletch had done a very good job of resealing the outside flanges with Parbond, but the critical issue now was obviously the alignment and need for new gasket that worked properly.

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It seems that at some point, a former owner of the trailer replaced the foam gasket that was supposed to provide a good seal against wind and weather—however either due to time (it had gotten hard) or perhaps not being the correct gasket from the start, this black gasket weatherproofing has failed.

What has resulted is that the door of the compartment does not recess and lay flush or slightly inside the exterior skin of the trailer sidewall. So, when it rains, the rain literally runs down the side of the trailer and right into the gap and into the compartment. Not good!!

Kevin took off the door completely.  Removed and cleaned up the aluminum track area where door seats into body of trailer.  He also found a weatherstrip gasket in a light grey which worked perfectly.  It is far softer and wider and allowed for readjustment of the door so that now it sits correctly and flush to the body of the trailer.  Wholla…no more leaks….but we continue to get rain, rain, rain!  

Finished project.  Works great!

Great job Kevin!!

Sneak Peek at Interior Redecorating-May 23, 2017

We have been super busy since bringing the Palace home two weekends ago.  There were still many small projects to do including switching out the old lightbulbs with LED’s (this will be another blog post itself), cleaning the AC unit, filling the water tanks and doing final checks on that.

But by far….the BEST thing is that I have finally gotten the chance to begin in earnest my interior redecorating project.  When we bought the trailer, it had an interior color scheme of beige, blue and green.  The former owner’s grandmother had made some curtains, throw pillows and recovered the dinette cushions and did a pretty decent job of it, but honestly it really looked ’70’s and I wanted an interior that felt more homey, more personal to us…and unique.    I think we have succeeded and here is a sneak peak!

Our theme colors are predominately dark turkey red (one of my fav’s) and also tapping into my beloved German/Bavarian heritage.  Kevin also loves this German theme because it reminds him of when we was stationed in Auschaffenburg, Germany when he was in the army in the 80’s.

Here is the before….                Here is the after….

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This is a sneak peek at the bedroom area only (not quite finished with kitchen and living area yet)...we put down oriental wall to wall carpet, I made two twin bedspreads from one king, antique “good night and good morning” pillow covers, privacy curtains with beautiful crewel work tie backs (from local antique shop) and we painted unfinished wood corbels (from Home Depot) for accent pieces in the corners of the transition between kitchen and bedroom areas.  Just a nice touch!

I have had these antique pillow covers for many years, they as well as the red homespun striped curtains were flea market finds that my Aunt Linda gave me at least 15 years ago.  The antique curtains I have used in various of my houses…and have a deep sentimental attachment to them. I did have to cut them down to fit into the trailer windows but so much of each panel was faded from age and use, that it all worked out and I was able to use the best of the best and it was enough!  ..I just love the fact that they are in my home on wheels now!

I made this wreath and used the heart decoration that Kevin and I had purchased during our 2013 trip to the UK, Scotland and Germany.  This heart was from Rothenburg–our very favorite walled city in Bavaria. Yes, those are artificial Edelweiss flowers that I had to purchase from an Ebay seller in the UK- could not find them in the USA at all!!

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The final effect!  Love it so much!

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Over the next few days we will be working on the final touches for the kitchen and living/dining room area…..just wait till you see our Pewter Palace redo soon!

Avion ’73 Fuse Panel Upgrade and Wiring Mess Cleanup

May 7, 2017- Fletch (Bill Fletcher) has sent over this photo update today to show how they have upgraded the fuse box to a more modern system and also cleaned up and provided some safety and order to the wiring that goes to the inverter box which is under our curbside dinette bench storage.

We had previously experienced some problems with the fuse box (old glass fuses) blowing really when they should not have.  Also, the location of the fuse box was on the front wall of the interior of the rig, just to right of center.  This location was fine when the rig was new and it had a jack knife or pull out sofa covering it.  Since the front of these rigs, like Airstreams are bowed, and the manufacturers used to build a little shelf at just under front window height with under-storage and so the sofa back could be folded down and access to the fuse box was easy, but when the sofa was used on a regular basis the fuse box was safely hidden (in other words…away from little grandson’s curious hands and eyes).  Since this was no longer the case– our rig’s former owner had removed the sofa and put in a custom built dinette with two benches.  The fuse box now was completely exposed, ugly and unsafe.

We had hoped that Fletch would be able to have enough wire and a clear path between the wallboard and exterior of rig to snake all the lines to underneath the dinette bench and completely relocate a new fuse box under the bench.  Not to be.  Avion’s are so well constructed there are steel braces, sprayed in solid foam insulation and other supports that prevented him from getting a straight shot.  So we opted for retaining the same location, but a wood box cover would be made to install over the top.  (see below)

We not only wanted a more modern fuse system, but that area had to be secured and look better since now it is visible (….and remember those curious grandkids….)

So here is his carpenter, EJ’s handiwork, a great upgrade and custom made cover which we will stain to match other woodwork or paint.  I have not decided quite yet.

From Fletch on May 7, 2017:
Hi Luisa,
 Here are a few shots of the work I did yesterday and today.
 As you will recall the factory fuse panel and wiring looked like this.
old fuse box wiring set up
The first step was to unhook all the connections and remove the panel.
 Various wires had to be traced to find what and where they went.
old fuse box removed, bare wires
 [yes, he did make us a template with a mapping of what wire goes to what.]
The larger ‘hot’ wires had to be lengthened to reach the appropriate terminal on the new box.
All wires that needed extending (6 on the panel box) were soldered together.
wire extensions completed
And finally we ended up with this. Modern fuses and a compact design.
new fuse box upgrade, wires wrapped
The wiring on the converter wasn’t much better. Rather a rats nest.
Fletch was able to make some improvements here as well.
 Below is the wood cover E.J. made for the fuse box exterior.  I requested that the cabinet door be hinged on bottom so that it flips down, fully exposing the entire panel with out it being in the way when you want to work in there.  We will also doubleface tape the wiring plan and key to wires on this inside of the door (smart eh?).  Magnetic closures on the top fully secure the door (we can always put a 90 degree angle hasp and lock if need be to keep out little fingers).
Here are a few shots of the electrical box cover that Fletch sent over:

We are very pleased with how this fuse box project came out and feel much more confident and safe with our electrical work now too!

Black & Grey Tank Bayonet and Seal Fix

May 11, 2017-  We have had our rig at Fletcher’s Trailer Sales & Repair in Trumansburg NY (Finger Lakes Region) for the past three weeks.  We are calling this time her “Spa treatment”.  Fletch (Bill Fletcher) has been methodically going through the punch list we left with him and yesterday he repaired leaking bayonet system to drain black & grey water tanks and in the process also found some of the seals where the two systems come into needed repairs.  Also he needed to replace the thermostat on our hot water heater because, while it worked, it would not shut off…well, so i guess that means it really did not work!  LOL

We are fortunate to have someone working on our Avion who is an Avion owner himself and respects and knows the rigs.  On the online forums and YouTube with folks we follow (both Avion and Airstream owners) some folks have horror stories about RV repair folks (more from some of the dealers who just sell cheaper modern camp trailers) who have done some real cob jobs down to downright $1,000’s of dollars of damage to new and vintage all aluminum rigs.

Here is Fletch’s latest update. These updates are great and he sends them at least a few times each week describing and providing photos of work done that day.

Here are some pictures from yesterday:
The grey and black water drains.
waste water bayonets needed work
 Started by testing the integrity of the existing drains  by flushing the system.  Well….not so great was the prognosis by Fletch.
It not only leaked past the seals, but it also leaked at the slide handle. These were shot.
worn out bayonet valve
An access panel needed to be cut. Here he has cut it out.  It will have overlap flanges attached to the edges and then be sealed and riveted back in place should it need to be removed again.
access panel created to get to blk wtr drain area
 Most of the bolts and screws that hold this section of plumbing in place were so worn out it was hard to even get a vice grip around them or get them out.  Hey, 40+ years they have provided service….they deserved a decent burial.
screws worn out from age, rust
A spreader bar is inserted to gently push the fittings apart.  And out come the valves.
One of the valves showing the bad gasket. Note the flange hole on the bottom left. Rust will expand and push apart the surrounding plastic. When this happens to the corresponding flange that’s glued to the trailer, we have to make a reinforcement. (see later pictures)
new flange holder had to be created
Showing the cracked flange where the reinforcement needs to be made.
broken valve sealFirst a pattern is traced onto a piece of steel.
The piece is cut to length and put into our mill to have the radius cut.
What it looks like with new valves in place.
new valves and supports installed
Forgot to mention that the water heater gas valve was bad. So we replaced with a new hot water heater thermostat.  Here is picture of old one.
old hot water heater valve, needed new one

Phase Two- Spring 2017 Refurb projects, 5-1-17: Rear lights, Eternabonded roof

Updates are streaming in from Fletch of Fletcher’s Trailer Sales in Trumansburg NY on how our Pewter Palace is coming along.  There were some parts we needed to source out and thank goodness for the awesome fellow Avion owners who monitor the numerous Facebook and yahoo sites for newbies like us who are looking for sources for parts and input on how to’s.  It is not always easy finding current parts that work in a 44 year old trailer, but we did great and our window glazing bead material and non-electric reflectors for the lower sides are enroute to Fletch for installation this week and next.

Found out that our license plate lamp socket was none existent.  Explains why it did not light (duh!) and we joke that it must have fell out somewhere between here and one of her two trips (that we know of) to Alaska over the past 44 years.   Fletch had to replace the socket by drilling out the holder from the bracket first, then install new wiring and socket–but she is all set now.  Gotta love our license plate huh!!

Next there was the resealing of the major lateral roof seams (Fletch said others looked fine) that run the front to rear length of the rig and across the front and rear noses.  The fix of choice among vintage Avion and Airstream owners is called Eternabond.  This is a high performance, long lasting tape-that may look like common duct tape, but is not.  This tape adheres like cement and prevents any water penetration at all.  No leaks happenin’ in our Palace!

We also replaced a few cracked and non-functioning vent caps with nice looking retro styled vent caps.  Fletch applied Dycor lap seal to ensure a good weathertight seal around these.

We also have had work done on our inside roof vents but that is going to be chronicled in its own separate blog post.

All for now.  If all goes according to plan, we will be headed out over Mother’s Day weekend to pick her up.  Can’t wait…but I really have to get cracking on making the interior curtains!  yikes!

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.