Today in 90 degrees and 64% humidity…..we (well, ok Kevin did all the work, I did my typical go-fer job and took photos) installed 4 new tires and a spare onto our 1987 Avion 32S.
The tires that came on our 87 Avion were a mixed batch with DOT codes ranging from 2015 to 2018 (the spare). 3 were Load Star brand and 2 were Power King Tow Max STR. We were not real comfortable with the miss match and ages. So The Pewter Palace needed new shoes!
After much research Kevin made the decision to go with new 16 Inch aluminum rims and 16 inch radial tires. This effectively raised the trailer a 1/2 inch overall. Not a lot, but since these Avion’s are notoriously low to the ground, anything helps.
There is a huge debate and preferences of radials to bias ply tires. To each his own. Our feeling is we are going to be doing a lot of long distance multi day travels on highways especially as full timers. Radials can handle that 6-8 hour day of driving in high heat conditions better than bias. But this is our opinion from research and we believe everyone had their preferences and their reasons and we do not plan to get into a debate over it. If it works for you….then that is great.
Here is what we bought to complete this project:
LT225/75R16 Michelin Agilis CrossClimate M3JH02CX2220(July 2020 price in NY@ our local tire store, Warren Tire, Queensbury NY, $240.95 per)
METAL VALVE STEMS: (we strongly urge metal valve stems, why? rubber breaks down over time due to exposure to sun, etc. Also if you have tire pressure monitoring devices on the stems, they add weight and over time the rubber will flex enough that they will crack and you lose air out of the valve stem….been there…done that!)
High pressure, Bolt in Metal Valve Stems (0-131 PSI) ($3.99 each)
Wheel Bearing Check and Brake Checks will be done before our trip to the Silver Avion Fellowship Rally hopefully (leaving in 8 days), if not this will be done upon our return. We had been told by previous owner bearing and brakes are good….appear so, but we always like to create our own “new benchmark” on our trailers for our own piece of mind.
Happy and safe travels….hope this post has helped you! We LOVE COMMENTS!
Be safe, hope to meet you on the road or at a campground or rally someday!
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
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!
Bye for now, be well, stay healthy and safe!
Kevin & Luisa Sherman
Adventures with a Vintage Avion Luxury Coach Camper