Spring Cleaning

Over this beautiful Memorial Day weekend, I took advantage of the opportunity to spend time with the Trade Wind to get better acquainted with her and develop my game plan for the renovation. My goals for this weekend were:

  1. To lubricate door / window hardware and rusted screws
  2. To take measurements in order to draw floor plans
  3. To take more detailed inventory of any broken or missing parts
  4. To see what things I might be able to fix myself
  5. To see what things I might need someone else to help fix
Cleaning Day

Before cleaning up a bit, I started by walking through and around the trailer to pick up on any details I’d missed before, and I made the following observations:

  • Mouse droppings in shelves. Likely to have lived in insulation (which would mean removing interior shell to replace)? How did they get in? Prevention? Wear a dust mask while cleaning!
  • Broken road side turn signal light cover.  This is a part I can take from the Safari
  • What were the original window treatments? How can you update using existing / similar hardware?
  • Areas of visible water damage. Galley front overhead compartments. Bath road side overhead compartment. Possibly Bath curb side overhead compartment.
  • Bath road side closet doors don’t close right. Feels like rear floor has “sunk”.

While lubricating the door / window hardware and some of the rusted metal parts on the hitch with WD40, I also noticed that I have a spare tire carrier (cool!) that’s been allowed to rust pretty badly. I think it’s restorable. But the hitch itself worries me a bit; it’s rusted through to the point where I wonder about its integrity and how one would be able to repair it. With the WD40 and a little extra help from a crowbar, I was also able to pull out the retractable step underneath the curbside door – and discovered it still had a little matching piece of carpet on it in good condition (not that I’m going to keep any of the carpet)!

Lubricating all of the rusted screws (which later I found out was caused by dissimilar metals touching and then getting wet) allowed me to take off vent covers so that I could clean out years of dirt, leaves and dead insects that had accumulated in the vents. Looking at how dirty they were, I figured it would be good to replace the screens on the vents, and later I realized I should do the same with the windows, since it would be better to do this work all at once.

Lubricating the window hardware, some of the parts moved more easily than others. Sometimes I needed a pair of pliers to help make something move, and one of metal pieces even broke off in my hand! Fortunately I have the Safari for a few of the spare parts that are broken or missing.

As I took off hardware, I was careful to inventory everything in plastic sandwich bags with a description of the area of the trailer the items came from and any other information I thought I’d need to jog my memory later. In addition to the vent & window screen frames, I also removed rusted screws, broken (or cheap plastic) hinges, & brackets from different areas and took a count so that they could be replaced. The cooktop & burner grates were removed for cleaning & restoration. I also took out the old foam cushions and upholstery that were torn & mildewed (but also contained wood parts that I need to save) so that I can use them as templates.

After that, with the place already smelling much cleaner, and a sweet breeze blowing through the windows, I set up my “war room” and started taking measurements so that I could draw floor plans & elevations for my project. Sitting down at the fold-out table, with nowhere to rush off to and a blank sheet of paper in front of me, for the first time the Airstream really felt like it was mine, a place that I could actually live in and enjoy. I started daydreaming a bit, but then got down to work:

Preliminary measurementsBut there are a lot of details! Turns out I already had to go back once to measure again and will have to go back again next week for a few more details I’d missed. But now I’m getting somewhere… once I have the floor plans & elevations, I’ll be able to draw technical schematics for the solar electrical system and any other renovations I have in mind.

My next step will be to continue working on the drawings and in any spare time I have, I’d also like to go to the hardware store and pick up new screws, and see what I can salvage from the Safari! Even more importantly, for me to figure out my scope and costs, I need to bring the trailer upstate to Colin Hyde Restorations for an assessment. First I’ll need to book an appointment with him, during what I imagine is starting to be his busy season.

On a related note, in order to get the trailer upstate from where it now sits about 40 minutes from where I live, I need to get it registered! Having bought the trailer with a bill of sale back in February, I’m unfortunately still working on getting a title & registration, for reasons that essentially come down to the fact that at least two or three previous owners didn’t properly transfer ownership of the title. Hopefully, I’m close to getting this resolved with the help & persistence of the guy I bought it from.

Those are my goals for this week!

Visit the Little Green Airstream’s Facebook page for additional photos of the cleaning / organizing / appraisal process!

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