I have put this photo specifically in below to show how we use a thin bead of Parbond along the top and 1/2 to 3/4 the way down each side of ANY light, or any fixed object, plate, etc. that must be installed on the exterior of the Avion. This protects those vulnerable areas (now that have screws or rivets through the skin) from water penetration.
Kevin used 5/32 Olympic Rivets to secure the fixture in place.
So very often, as was the case with our ’73 Avion and now in our ’87, because of a lack of Parbond or similar sealant above the light fixtures, water gets in there, rusts the bulb clips and in some cases aids to corrode the wiring junctions. A few seconds of Parbond application (see our other posts or our FB page about the fill-able syringes we use to feed a nice thin bead-rather than straight from the tube!) solves water penetration issues. Parbond sets up firm, but not permanent and can be removed. We use the aluminum color on this type of project, and clear Parbond on our black rubber window trims. Clear could certainly be used on the light fixture project too. Any other things you may have to afix to the side, e.g. an aluminum patch, etc. we recommend using the aluminum colored Parbond if the area will be eye level or lower. This is what Chuck Cayo used when repositioning our awning brackets when we changed from an original Carefree system on our ’73 to a new Zipdee system in 2018. So if its good for Avion-Guru, Cayo…it works for us too!!
Last step on this project….
These marker lights come with incandescent, typical automotive bulbs. Fine enough and what is shown in the lit up photo above. However, we plan to change out EACH of these lights with LED bulbs to save energy, burn cooler and even brighter, and above all…so we get far longer life out of each bulb and should not need to do much maintenance at all with them.
We have worked with M4Products.com customer service AND the makers of the light fixtures to verify that the following small style LED bulb replacement will work in these new marker light fixtures.
What are you doing at 7 PM (EST) on Tuesday nights?
Join us for a live, virtual chat ZOOM meeting with fellow Avioner’s from all over the USA (and the world)!
If it is one thing that this Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic has taught me, it is how to connect virtually with people in meaningful ways despite not being with them in person.
For my work, I have become very proficient at hosting live ZOOM meetings (you can start a basic Zoom account for free!) and have found that these LIVE virtual in-person meetings have enabled my colleagues, friends and family members to share stories, tips, timely topics and even share documents, photos, etc. in a meaningful easy way. SO WHY NOT DO IT WITH AVION OWNERS? LET’S GET TOGETHER TO “TALK AVION!”
SO…..Kevin and I are launching “Avion Tuesday Talks” –weekly topic — live chats via ZOOM at 7 PM (EST). Each week, we will have one manageable topic and hope to attract long time Avion owners to brand new owners….and everyone in between. Even members of any of the Avion Facebook groups who are still “in the market to buy their first Avion” are welcomed.
Suggestions for future topic talks are always welcomed by shooting us an email, posting a suggestion on our facebook page or posting a comment on this blog anytime!
NOTE: These meetings are best joined by you using a laptop with built in camera and speakers. PC’s with audio and video are fine too. Cell phones are ok but a little clunky to get the best experience.
My Pewter Palace Zoom account can handle up to 95 attendees. Right now, I am also doing just the free subscription so our chat can only be 35 minutes (yup, i know i will have to put the timer on!). If this catches on, we will explore upgrading to the paid service where longer 1 hr chats can be done. But lets crawl….before we walk and see if the interest among Avioners is there first!
HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US AND HELP SPREAD THE WORD! You can find the events listed by date on ourPewter Palace facebook page under the “events” tab. This is where the topic of the week will be listed as well as the direct link info to log in and then join us at 7 PM.
Not familiar with Zoom?? It is super easy to learn and use! Here is a terrific tutorial to view before your first live Zoom meeting! Watch now!
This is a quick post based on the punch list of things we are going to prep our new to us 1987 Avion, 32S but this post applies to probably all Avions!
Under your stove you have a terrific drop down cabinet with a lot of good storage space. In our 1973 we used this for storing oversized trays, or some cast iron cookware and a plastic dish tub for stuff.
HOWEVER—this is also where LP lines typically come through on ALL AVIONS in the back corner (normally) of this cupboard which can pose a safety issue. You NEVER want these lines to be pinched, or worse, punctured by stuff that you may have stored in that storage bin.
When you roll down the road, it has been recorded that your interior stuff sustains essentially an earthquake (cannot remember the degree magnitude right now, but is significant) so it behooves you to batten down the hatches, and to be sure that anything you have in this convenient under stove storage area cannot shift and pinch, poke or puncture those precious LP lines!
Today, on our 1987 Kevin created a wooden “safety cage” that created a safe space for those LP lines. This project took a few minutes to do, a board, a power drill with screw driver bit and a few screws. Safety is the word of the day.
Please check out this storage cabinet, and protect those LP lines! (yes, that is the original 33 year old linoleum!)
Be well, hope to meet you on the road or at a Silver Avion Fellowship Rally soon!
Kevin & Luisa Sherman
1987 Avion, 32S (our forever Avion) & a 1973 Avion, 28′ LaGrande (currently for sale)
On our project list for our new to us ’87 Avion was to remove the original 1987 humongous microwave. In truth–the edges of interior box were rusty and surely this behemoth sucks a huge amount of juice when “fired up” and running. Plus…do we really want to trust the safety of a 33-year-old Microwave?
As an aside, in case you don’t know…Kevin and I have over 30+ years of 18th century living history reenacting at historic sites, museums, national and state historic parks from Nova Scotia to Colonial Williamsburg. Yes…we are THOSE people who make and wear clothing and live the life of our forefathers and mothers in 1757-1781. As a result of the immersion into this hobby, Kevin and I have long ago learned how to cook, clean and survive without a microwave for days on end.
Yes, at home I do use a microwave, but camping life and its pace and fresh air seems to shrug microwaving for us.
When we bought our ’73 Avion right off the bat we began looking to see what cabinet we could retrofit to install a small microwave thinking we needed one in an Rv. Doesn’t every RV have one after all? (our Class A did). But our common sense took hold and I asked discerningly- “what do we really use it for??”. Perhaps heating a left over cup of coffee (can be done in a sauce pan), or reheating a left over (we rarely have leftovers and if so, tin foil can do the trick on the grill, in a covered pot on the stove or in our Avion oven). So did we REALLY need a microwave and to hack into the pristine, original cabinetry that Avion’s were/are known for? We decided to wait a year of using our 73 before we hacked. A year turned into three and there was no doubt, no microwave was needed for us. We are resourceful camping souls from the 1700’s after all- having logged literally 1000’s of hours in reproduction canvas tents, hauling water and cooking over an open fire even in 95 degree summers (with 3-4 layers of wool and linen clothing to boot)! Running water and a toilet are high style for us!
So fast forward to our newly purchased ’87 Avion. The 32S has a front kitchen. It’s one of the big reasons we love this floor plan. Here is a photo of the behemoth microwave that came with her off the assembly line in Michigan 33 years ago this past February. Yeah, the # buttons were like the size of a postage stamp!
Here below are some photos after the microwave was removed, and the cabinet interior cleaned up, a floor created over the framing and wiring for the stove exhaust hood safely wrapped, encased and secured. Kevin did a super job on this and WOW!! Look at all this space I have now! More than enough for some modern convenience contraptions I really do use like…my air fryer, small InstaPot, my crockpot and metal stock pot (for the occasional Lobsta’ dinners now and then or the rally chili cook-off contest!) Plus maybe even some oversized boxes perhaps of dry cereals, oatmeal, etc.
I had the brainstorm one night that instead of trying to salvage some original Avion cabinet doors to put in here, how about a corkboard? In 225 Sq Ft of living space you always want to err on the side of versatility and each thing, full timers will tell you, should have at least 2 purposes! So onto Amazon I went and found this beauty–a wood framed, magnetic chalkboard! I have the link for it in our page that features our Favorite things/resources. (no, we do not have an Amazon store, we do not get any residuals from anything you order, its just us helping you to find things we love, use and have tried before)
I love the way the black chalkboard matches the look of the black front refrigerator and oven. Really looks like it belongs!
So let us know?? what cha’ think? We simply love it! We used the same hardware as we had replaced in the kitchen (seen on right photo above) and so here is the big reveal below side by side….you decide!! BTW…this board is chalkboard and magnetized so i am thinking a fun place to put grandsons current photos and some little magnets from special places we go to around the USA!!
Another project checked off the list! This one took about a total of about 3-4 hours total including refit of interior cupboard, staining of frame, going to store to get hinges and the intallation this evening
May 2020….one month into ownership of our 1987 32S Avion. When we bought this Avion the former owner had been using it as his mobile residence while on construction jobs. Some of those jobs entailed camping over winter months. Understandably he had chosen to install winter RV skirting around the bottom of the rig to the ground to lessen wind and weather intrusion.
In the photo below…You can see all the (we figure over 100) plastic black “clips” that were glued on about every 6″ onto the aluminum skin perimeter of the Avion. In truth it was an initial turn off to see all of them because we had a genuine concern that they might leave a “forever mar or mark” on the skin–or quite honestly not come off. The owner assured us the “glue” used was safe for aluminum and that with some good ol fashioned elbow grease they would “pop” off. He was right!
Finally our Adirondack spring 2020 began to settle in and it has been comfortable enough to work outdoors in our RV storage garage, Kevin went to work coming up with the perfect recipe and steps to remove these little buggers. (LOL…although this Avion has additional upgrades like specially installed heated pads around its tanks, etc. we really plan to chase 70 degrees once we retire…no need for winter skirting for us–anyone need about 150 winter skirt clips?? let us know!)
Kevin’s tools to remove!
WD 40 (we used pourable from container, not spray on)
Bone Tool (find on our Links page in our Amazon item guide link
GoJo brand textured disposable wipes
Heat gun (a hairdryer could be used in a pinch too)
Small plastic tray or bowl and foam 1-2″ brush
Steps to removal (video also posted at bottom)
Break/snap off all clips using a plastic scraper. (do not use metal scrapers on an Avion! You will cut into the anodized finish and also possibly cut into the aluminum skin)
Apply WD40 using a foam brush to any remaining glue on Avion skin. Let sit overnight.
Work on section by section may be easier.
Use textured wipe and bone tool to remove glue.
Use heat gun if glue is not coming off with wipe or bone tool. Shoot heat for about 10 seconds. Adjust accordingly- might need a second time with heat gun.
Wipe area down once glue spot is removed. Continue on to the next one!
Finished!! NO sign they were ever there! (note, yes, we know she needs a bath) This project took Kevin about 2 days (about 8 hours total, taking his time)
Kevin does a video of steps to remove the clip glue spots- click here
Hope this post helps anyone who needs to remove winter skirt clips like we had!
Be well, hope to meet you on the road or at a rally!
Yes, We have sold our beloved 1973 Avion, 28′ LaGrande! This hard decision only came because we have just recently purchased a 1987 32S model that has a little more space for grandkids and visiting family/friends from out of state when we go full time living and will be traveling around the USA and Canada in our Avion beginning in 2023. Ironically, we have found out that the 28′ actually has more storage capacity than our “new” to us 32′!-more downsizing is on the “to do list”!
So our 28 footer has found a new home and new owners Val and Michael. Ironically we bought this trailer from someone on VT in 2016 and now 4 yrs later she is moving back to VT to a lovely active family who no doubt will enjoy her like we have and make many great memories!
You may have seen our sneak peak where we unveiled that we just purchased a new to us 1987 Avion 32S. We have dove right in getting to our punch list. The weather here in upstate NY still is not great (3rd wk in April and still in the 40s-50s). Thankfully for us (but not on the pocketbook) we have secured an additional RV garage bay 3 doors down from our 1973 (which is coming on for sale soon!)
The biggest “change” we have done so far in the last 12 days is the total switch out of the original cabinet hardware throughout the trailer which was a combination of off white porcelain and brass tone pulls and updating it with a new look that to us seems to go with the quintessential look of our all aluminum trailer. Before doing this switch out, I wiped down every cabinet inside and out applied Howard’s Restor-A-Finish to every piece of woodwork, doors, cabinet and closet fronts, then followed up with Howard’s Feed N’ Wax which not only makes the wood “pop” but also protects it with a non sticky wax finish. (I have placed a video from the Howard company in some additional details below)
See what you think!
You will notice that we found we HAD to re-purpose the original oval ended backplates because there was no way we could circumvent the fade and marks that they made. So Kevin had the awesome idea of spray painting them the hammered pewter finish we have used before. Below is after Kevin had by hand soaking in paint stripper, then stripper neutralizer, then green scrubbied them and finished with a steel toothbrush, then sprayed on primer. Here is our parking lot “clothes line”!
So we used the Rustoleum Hammered Aluminum (light version) to give it “the Pewter Palace look” and then installed the new brushed stainless modern handles for a clean updated look (Thanks to daughter Sarah for her #1 vote on the handles!). The handles were found at Lowes in stock, in store just under $7 each- great quality!
Below you can see why we could not go with just the handles, but needed the backing plate. By the way, this is also before I applied the Feed N’ Wax.
After, but plate ghost remains!
The finished job in the kitchen! We are so very thrilled with the way it looks and functions! We like the traditional “hammered pewter” with the modern sleek brushed aluminum handles- a melding of old world…and new!
IN CASE YOU ARE INTERESTED IN READING MORE….
Other things we have finished on our punch list between April 14 (delivery day) to 26th, 2020.
All draperies, pillow covers removed and dry cleaned. Although they were not really dirty and former owner thankfully was a non-smoker- we just figured easier to start with a fresh baseline. The curtains had been custom made just 2 years ago. There is a lot of curtaining and I am not sure I will keep it all. In fact, I know i will be moving the beige kitchen curtains to the rear bedroom because of the pattern and color schemes of our current bedding and German decor. Plus some of the curtain valances really needed pressing too to just look perfect! 40LBS of curtains, bedding, pillow covers came with our trailer…yikes that is a lot of weight!
All cabinetry doors and wood walls have been treated and fed with Howard’s Restor-A-Finish (cherry in kitchen, Maple-Pine elsewhere). Wow…what a difference- the woodwork quality in Avion’s is second to none! Then everything was treated with a coating of Howard’s Feed N’ Wax. Check out their video!
Mattresses refreshed: the mattresses have been Febreez’d, and set out in the sunshine during 4 sunny days (not every day was warm…but they were sunny! The zippered mattress covers machine washed and came out great! The mattresses had been custom made. Due to the rear twin bed configuration, the twin beds are curved at the foot on one side to align with the curve of the rear of the Avion (Airstreams do the same thing). The mattresses are an excellent coil quality, soft pillow top and only 2 yrs old from MattressInsider.com (tags still on) -so we are keeping them.
Mirrors all cleaned. Some of the mirrors are glass, others (living room and bathroom) are highly polished stainless steel which is great because they are much lighter and will not break…ever!
Breathable Beds are important: Kevin drilled some additional vent holes in the tops of the bed’s wooden platform/storage covers. We also took the fiber vent pads from our old Avion (also from MattressInsider.com) and trimmed them to fit the “new curve”!
Dining table rehab: we took off the hardware for drop down to bed dinette table. Used same hammered aluminum spray paint to cover over rusty areas, and reinstalled table. Looks great now!
Wiped down and cleaned all interior walls and ceiling: For this cleaning I have found the best results are from either using a Mr. Clean Eraser sponge with (green) Fabuloso cleaner, diluted per their instructions or for stubborn areas I use GoJo textured hand cleaning wipes. These things are truly amazing and we use them on a lot of projects-besides being great hand cleaner wipes when working with grease, paint, etc. etc.
Window projects to date: Kevin has lubricated all the window cranks, removed interior window screens and ewe have begun repainting frames with black satin Rustoleum spray paint. Washed all the interiors of windows.
The wonderful hallway double cedar closet wardrobe has been refreshed with Colton’s Cedar Spray (all natural and not a strong scent) to bring back its great qualities to repel moths and keep clothing fresh. Neat thing we found was that Avion was so quality in their thinking that there are tabs that pull down a wooden cover with rubber gasket that goes over each clothing bar when traveling, thereby preventing the proverbial clothing hangers landing on the floor and clothes in a jumbled mess!
Original 1987 pull down shades get a bath: I have decided to retain the original pull down fabric shades that are in the kitchen/dinette area, over the sofa and in the bedroom. I HAVE removed the chic “mauve and pink” woven decorative trim though! Ha ha! I will need to replace some trim with something more to my decor in the kitchen and living room though because when these were originally made the trim was sewn and glued in place and the glue is so embedded and aged golden that it must be covered over. The bedroom ones were far easier, those I was able to just cut off the original fabric scalloped tier to leave simply just a very decent off-white linen woven-look shade which will look just fine. All of them got the “hot tub” treatment in our apartment bath tub with a hefty amount of Oxi-wash and Tide. Check out that dirty water! In defense of former owner, he had heavy black out curtains made and I suspect never really used these in the past 8 years he owned the trailer.
See dirt and mold spots
getting the HOT TUB treatment
Well, that should do it for our aching backs, but so worth it for the first 12 days of ownership. We are really pleased with how things are going. Now that it stays light longer we have been able to get over the RV “carriage barn” after I finish working each day (remotely of course due to Covid-19 Pandemic) and the past two weekends.
Our goal is to have the interior completely knocked out and finished by end of next weekend so we can move all of our gear out of the 1973 and get her up for sale! Then we will start on our 32S exterior punch list so stay tuned!
We thought it would not happen, but since our plans are really congealing to go full time in 2023 (and it seems like not such a far off time anymore)…we started really looking at our needs for full timing. A slightly bigger rig with more defined “living space” areas and above all…a rear twin bedroom with panoramic window views to enjoy sunrises and awesome views as we camp at beautiful places like this below…once we start our “new chapter”.
Here is a shot of the Badlands of South Dakota- a dispersed camping area that we will definitely be visiting in 2023. The second photo is by Mark of “AvionAwesome” who owns a vintage Avion and this shot he took is on the Utah/AZ border. His photograpy is fabulous so check him out on YouTube or Instagram.
And…..Drum Roll Please!!!!
Here she is! Being delivered to our RV carriage barn in NY last week! Click here for VIDEO
So why change from our 1973 ’28 foot LaGrande? We love our ’28 foot LaGrande model but after some hard consideration, we had recently decided IF a 32S Avion floor plan trailer came up for sale in really good condition we would pounce on it. It was the only change we would accept over our beloved ’73. AND we DID find one! In early March( before all the pandemic restrictions-whew!) , a fellow member of the Avion facebook pages posted his 1987 32S Avion for sale. He had bought a pristine ’34 foot Avion. We contacted him within 2 hours of the posting. Kevin and I hopped into our car at 4 AM the next day and drove to eastern PA to take a look. It was perfect for us. Many of the upgrades we knew we were going to want to make before we began our full time journey had already been done-saving us a lot of sweat and time. Plus it reaffirmed our decision that the 32 S with its front kitchen, separate rear twin bedroom, and its huge picture window in mid coach living room was just what we needed to complete our full time reality. So we jumped and bought it!
YES, we will need to sell our lovingly maintained 1973, 28 ‘ LaGrande model travel trailer-so if you are interested watch for our posting soon!! You can see plenty of videos and photos of it here on this blog or on our YouTube channel, search for The Pewter Palace
Here is a shot of the rear twin bedroom. Plenty of storage, windows on all three sides and …a TV!
Then the front kitchen makes it feel more “homey” versus a galley kitchen, plus we love having the stationary dinette and the storage underneath it is awesome. Once we retire we hope to do way more camping with the grand kids and now each of them have have their own bed (the sofa folds down to a double bed and dinette a single). The dinette seats are on springs so they are super comfortable for sitting on and make a super comfy single bed versus on a normal dinette plywood base.
On our project list so far….
Interior Punch List so far:
Apply Restor-A-Finish “Maple Pine” to all wood cabinetry, doors and closets as it is really dry.
Change out all original cabinet hardware with more contemporary look (my daughter was the final judge on which we would go with so watch for a dedicated post on the cabinet refurb soon!)
Clean all drapery and original pull down fabric blinds (yes, still with the “Mauve” original motif trim!) and assess what we will keep and what windows will have a different window treatment to ensure we have light and panoramic views. Since our full timing will include “chasing 70’s (degrees) there is no super need for heavy lined drapery, etc. but the drapery in the rig is very good and nearly new.
Do a once over clean and then the interior will be done! Very little needed as it was very well maintained. We are the fourth owner.
Install Lithium Ion Battleborn battery system.
Convert remaining copper plumbing to PEX
Find new convention/microwave oven. Currently the original 1987 model is just a microwave.
Exterior Punch list (so far):
ALL windows need to be redone with new glass bead and trim. Time consuming and tough on the fingers but we had to do the glass bead on our ’73 front window so we know how to do it. Now we just have the whole rig to do!
Install the EasyStart system in the AC unit (Kevin had just installed that last October in our ’73 and it works great when running on a generator.
Remove blue midline sticker, and replace with a 3M Chrome insert (see below)
Apply Eternabond to the seams where zipdee awnings meet the roofline. Apply Parbond first, then Eternabond tape.
Repaint hitch and front frame area
Give her a super good bath
Possibly replace some of the nose and rear orange running lights or seal better
Begin planning for solar panel installation (probably not till 2022)
With all the goings on with the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, it is questionable how many of our RV trips we planned for this summer to rallies, etc. will actually happen. This is sad for sure and we will really miss seeing everyone and going camping. But the silver lining is that it does give us dedicated time to work on the projects above so for the 2021 season our NEW Pewter Palace will be all ready to roll and we look forward to showing her off…she is a beauty! Watch for more interior photo shots soon!
Hope this post finds you all well, healthy, staying home…to protect your family and save lives! If you are like us you are hunkered down on a government imposed “stay at home” order. BTW- we totally agree with this order- we must stay away from others!
Here in NY State (thankfully we are 3 hours north of NYC) we are hunkered down with some adjusted work at home schedules for Luisa and adjusted go into work schedule for Kevin.
So we have taken this time, as we see many are commenting on with facebook that it is a great time to plan and DO projects on your Avion’s!We are doing that too!
You know…that one that has taken forever to get to…the one that you have to take stuff apart and have been fearful you cannot get it back in time for your next camping trip in a week….that hinge that needs re-tightening.
Kevin and I created a great “to do” project list template, broke it up into exterior and interior, then by area…for instance: on the exterior (front, curbside, rear, streetside, underbelly, front) and on interior (kitchen/dining, salon/living room, bath, bedroom).
Here is the template we designed. Feel free to print out, customize for your needs.
OR-below is a JPG image which you should be able to click and download.
Sometimes its just really nice to be able to see the visual of check marks noting accomplishments! It helps to not make everything feel so overwhelming especially if you are working with a “field find” total gut job! (thankfully we are not!)
HAPPY PROJECTS, HAPPY EASTER!
Stay home (work on your Avion) stay healthy and safe! We are ALL going to have tip top shape Avion’s for the 2021 camping season for sure!
From time to time we all need to access the roof of our beloved Avions. Unlike more modern “box” rubber roof trailers, our Avions have special needs (but of course–we know that right!!)
It is important to note on ANY aluminum trailers you need to be sure you use a flat board to kneel or stand on to deflect your weight out so it is not concentrated in one area.
Also NEVER put any weight on the front or rear “fan” slices on your Avion (or Airstream for that matter) because from what we have read those nose and rear areas do not have the structural support to handle weight.
Whether it involves replacing the roof vents, installing a new AC or its gasket, or to the install of the venerable Eterna-bond Tape that helps us all keep our rigs water-leak free…we all need to access our rooftops at some point. Getting up level or above and safely being able to work is critical to safely working on and maintaining your Avion.
Kevin was lucky to find this MetalTech 4 in 1 scaffolding system at Home Depot on a terrific sale as it was the only one left in stock. LINK But fear not, they, or similar are available still from big box home improvement stores or elsewhere!
This scaffold system was quite simple for us to put together one morning at our RV storage garage. The directions were excellent and it required minimal tools as outlined. Even I, who is not thrilled with climbing ladders per say felt totally fine getting up on “the deck” and peering over onto our rooftop to size up future projects!
You will note, Kevin did also purchase the side“outriggers” that we feel are very important to have for safety especially since you will want to position your scaffold close to your trailer side wall and the stabilizer will help…well…stabilize you!
Be sure to follow all safety protocols outlined in the directions for assembly and use of any scaffolding.
Ours also as you can see is a 4 in 1 which also has a shelf, work surface and jig set up for a chop saw that you may wish to use. We have found this to be a great piece of maintenance equipment and well worth the about the $300 we paid for it!
Be well, Be safe…Hope to meet you on the road!
Kevin & Luisa Sherman
Adventures with a Vintage Avion Luxury Coach Camper