Saturday, November 26, 2011

My first time banned

It seems that my comments about being censored hit a nerve over at AIRforums. The post referring for people to check my blog out was removed, and all subsequent comments about being censored (from myself or others). It's only a 24 hour ban, but I laughed quite a bit. The most ridiculous thing about this, is that I was contacted by another AIR member and told that my signature was erased from my profile. So AIR moderators are not allowing me to talk about my blog or promote it because I refer to their censoring. Amy and I have served for years in the military with countless others, some of which gave all for our rights to free speech. While I may not have free speech on AIR, they are disallowing me to even mention my blog.

So what led to this? You have read the posting before this, and that started the process. I asked for clarification on why it was removed. It was told to me by Kevin245 that any posting regarding another member who you did business with in a negative light will not be tolerated, and will be viewed as a vendor transaction. So let's look at a few things...

Member A sells Member B a trailer on the forums. Member B in his excitement starts a thread in his excitement, post pictures, etc. Once getting the unit home it turns out to be a TPOS (Total POS). Member B posts his displeasure about the deal and that he feels cheated. This is not allowed, and is subject to removal.

A member has a partial restoration or repair work done by another member who runs a Vintage trailer restoration company. A year later, the electrical that wasn't installed properly starts a fire, and the trailer burns down. Any posting referring to the electrical being done improperly by the "trailer restoration company" will be removed because it is a vendor dispute.

A member buys parts from a commercial vendor who is a member. The credit card is charged, but the parts are on back order for 6 weeks. The member cancels his order and orders from some other company and gets them in a week, but his money won't be returned from the Commercial vendor due to their policy not to refund money for several weeks. The purchasing member voices displeasure, and his posts are removed.

These are examples....ok one of them is true for sure, maybe all of them are.

Don't be voicing your displeasure with your new Airstream either. I was told that comments about ANY vendor will not be tolerated including Airstream. Unfortunately, complaints about the mothership are a weekly occurrence, and rarely get removed. Sound like overmoderation anyone? I know mods usually stand up for one another, but this is ridiculous.

Thanks for listening to the rant.

A long time coming

Anyone who keeps current on my Airforum, "Relapse" thread knows that this project was taken out of the hands of the person working on it. The history about it is well discussed and documented on that thread, and I am not going to rehash it here.

I am however going to post something that was deleted by an AIRforum moderator. The following is my post, completely unedited.

This is a post some may want to skip. I wanted to separate this post from the feel good post above it.

As Wasagachris stated earlier, there are MANY things to be learned on this thread on how to NOT have your Airstream restored. I broke down the receipts to find out where our $1800 went.

I have receipts for the following:

  • Harbor Freight Tools-$529.08
  • Gasoline-$145.58 (I was told $100 would be spent in transporting the trailer to Dallas.)
  • Misc. Supplies-$897.42. These receipts included 3 tanks purchased from Top's TX vintage trailer, an order from VTS, several trips to Lowes, a trip to Metals for you for 3 inch channel (unused), and $85.52 to a metal shop to custom bend a piece of 14 gauge steel into a cross member instead of using C channel like I asked (which would have cost 1/3 the price).

Back earlier in the thread, someone stated that this was the perfect project to build a "library of tools". When the project started, I authorized tools that would be required to do work as it progressed, but that tools would have to be worked off before more tools were purchased. Many of these (Harbor Freight) tools were NOT AUTHORIZED. Here is the library of tools that was built on our dime, mostly without permission.

  • Orbital polisher/waxer
  • Digital multi-meter
  • (8) Ratcheting bar clamps
  • (2) Foldable Saw Horses
  • 30" Sheet metal brake
  • Electrical receptacle tester
  • 90 Amp Flux wire welder
  • Welding helmet
  • Welding Gloves
  • Full sized Router with table
  • Digital calipers
  • 3 piece step drills

Considering the first step after tear down was to weld the frame and install the floor, what on Earth were the the polisher/waxer, multi-meter, receptacle tester, metal brake, and router/router table being purchased for? I even questioned this, but was told, "We will need it eventually."

When the math was done, the receipts totaled $1572.08. Subtract that from the $1800 and you have $227.92 unaccounted for. Subtracting the $897.42 in misc supplies (much of which will NOT be used by North Dallas) from the $1800 means $902.58 (tools and cash) was taken as payment for services rendered. Since these tools were being taken in lieu of cash, I was to be provided an hour breakdown. There was nothing included among the receipts indicating amount of hours worked, but it doesn't even take an Airforums n@@b to see that these tools were not worked off.

My one happy thought going through my head right now is that these tools were purchased at Harbor Freight, and will likely fail without providing long lasting service the one who owns them.


Here was the private message from AIR about the post. I have replaced the surname that was included in his posting.

"Steve,

A courtesy note letting you know the post below was removed as it is vendor dispute territory. While we empathize with the Mr. Voldemort dealing, we can't allow this post to stay.

Thanks for understanding.

Kevin"


No...I don't understand, explain it to me. So this is a VENDOR dispute? That's weird since the only VENDOR in this case is ME. The (dis)service performed on my trailer was not the work of a vendor, or even a person with a business license. So I told Kevin that if I was in violation of VENDOR rules, he could go ahead and delete my VENDOR status. I also think it is funny that people post things like this against AIRSTREAM, but they aren't deleted.

It is comical to me that since the 5th of September, the previous individual working on my trailer has not posted a single time. I was told by a good friend that this individual had told him he was forbidden from AIRforums or anything Airstream related by his wife. I am making an assumption that he received an email update when I posted on Relapse, and complained to the mods. Good thing they cannot censor here.

I think that the following PM from an avid follower of my AIRforum "Relapse" thread is about as on target as you can get. (Edited to remove personal information).

"I'd bet that Mr. Voldemort reported the post and complained about it. He is such a little girl hiding behind the skirts of his mommy (the mods). He doesn't have the balls to comment publicly or even to face the music of public comments. It's obvious that he is scared of what people will say because he has never posted a response once in this thread. If he had any valid responses to your comments he should state them publicly. His lack of responses speaks volumes."

I posted this here because it will not be censored on my personal blog. No responses here needed. Thanks to the several people for the KARMA that I received from the deleted post above....it still shows, but the thread shows N/A on the user CP.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Progress Report

This posting was updated on 11/26/11 to remove personal information of the previous individual restoring the trailer. Please refer to AIRforum thread, "Relapse-1956 Sovereign of the Road".


Well I am at one month since my last post, so here is a progress report. As some of you are aware, the second worst drought in Texas history is currently going on. With the lack of rain has been a punishing heatwave that has reached record temperatures across the state over the last month. Unfortunately, this heatwave has stunted progress for the last three weeks. Originally, we had a group of people willing to remove the shell in order to access the frame, do the welding, paint the frame, place the new floor, and replace the shell. Unfortunately, our host had other plans and work days were canceled. After the cancellation, Voldemort wanted to move the trailer to his backyard in order to have better room for working on it. He spent two weeks mixing concrete by hand, making a gate into his back yard, digging out bushes and dirt that were in the way of said gate opening, and cutting off a portion of his roof to make this happen....all in the sweltering heat.

Finally in the back yard!

Voldemort has continued progression of interior skin and floor removal. The really good thing about the frame is that besides the rear crossmember and very front of the A frame, the frame is in excellent shape. Here are some pictures from the continued removal.



Today, Voldemort removed the rear belly pan up to the axle and degreased the rear frame. Not bad looking for 50+ years old.



For the past two days, Voldemort has been prepping the new sub-floor for installation. The sheets were cut to width, and are being treated top and bottom. The first coat was a mixture of 1/2 Spar Varnish, 1/4 Denatured Alcohol, and 1/4 petroleum distillate. This was done to penetrate better into the wood and seal the pores better. Subsequent coats will be full strength spar varnish. We went with the satin finish as gloss would make adhering the future flooring more difficult. For insulation under the floor, we are going with 3/4" polyisocyanurate insulation with foil on both sides. Voldemort plans to build an air gap with strips under the floor to provide extra R value.


Before the floor goes down, the few issues with the frame need to be addressed. The rear most steel cross member needs replacement, and a stress crack on the main door step area needs fixing. After these repairs, Voldemort will apply Eastwood Rust converter to paint the entire frame. The Eastwood system is similar to POR-15, but not as expensive. Thanks to Lance (Top on AIR) for the heads up on this product. For the top coat over the rust converter, I have purchased Chassis Saver by Magnet paints. This product was suggested by Robin (Melody Ranch on AIR). He uses it on his farm trailers that are exposed to the weather all the time. Other reviews for this product from people who carry the product or have used it in the past were very good. I purchased a gallon of each, so there should be plenty for this job.

Aside from the work Voldemort is doing, I have been going crazy purchasing everything I can think of that will be needed. Robin sent me a great seller on Ebay that has incredible prices on items. I have purchased my new LP tank rack, 7 way wire pigtail, LP regulator with hose pigtails, and tank monitor panel panel from this seller...all for about $45 not including shipping. Other purchases were two Optima blue batteries, a KIB monitor panel, grey tank probes, 600 sq ft of Prodex insulation, Kitchen sink from Ikea, progressive dynamics power center, and two orders from Vintage Trailer Supply.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

We are go for launch

This posting was updated on 11/26/11 to remove personal information of the previous individual restoring the trailer. Please refer to AIRforum thread, "Relapse-1956 Sovereign of the Road".


Today Collin and I made the trip up to see the SOTR at Voldemort's house in Round Rock. It's a nice 90 or so minute drive up there, and the traffic through Austin wasn't too horrific. We pulled up to the house to find Voldemort washing the exterior down and sweating profusely in the 96 degree heat (No shade).

We discussed several options for the layout, and how he will proceed from here on out. There are several oddities with this trailer that I am no familiar with. Take for instance this little cone on the curbside roof. There is a hole in the interior skin near here, but it is unknown what it is for.


I had a good look at the A frame, and the metal is pretty worn on it. I don't know what they were thinking when they welded the extra metal to it, but it isn't doing us any favors. This area is a complete mess as you can see. I told Voldemort to cut off the LP tank rack since it is damaged, and remove the LP lines and wires. Once the shell if off, I am thinking that welding a new A frame with coupler will be a good idea.



While looking the trailer over, I decided that we will replace the roof panel that had the stack going through it. We are also going to replace the rear street side panel, and overlay a small portion of the panel just forward of the door since it is torn up from someone screwing the door shut. The stack is uglier in person, and I have taken a better shot of it. Lot's of tar.


On the trailer there are three exterior outlets with the old school plugs. We are going to keep the outlets on the port and starboard sides, but taking out the one in the rear corner. I will also be upgrading these to current code exterior outlets instead of the old plug covers. Here is a picture of one to be replaced. Wonder what the oval is from?


The interior piece for the range vent is missing, and now I need to either locate an interior piece or purchase a new unit from VTS. The bathroom hehr vent is missing and the trailer was exposed to WA rain for who knows how long. The floor is pretty much gone in that area, but we were able to get back to get some pictures. The tub is unique as I personally have not seen other trailers with this type of shower head. To me, this shower hear would spray all over the back wall and get over the floor. We are still planning to remove the tub in favor of t pedestal toilet on the curbside rear corner, and a shower directly next to it.




Another priority for me was to see the metal endcap condition. Voldemort thinks he can bank everything out other than the point of impact. We will try it and see what happens, but we can always replace them. I hope it works, yesterday I had to pass on a storm destroyed 57 Caravanner that I wanted to use for endcaps and the door latch, but the guy had others in the state who wanted it and I wasn't prepared to drive up to Indiana the next day to get it. Kip asked for a picture of the bead so I have a pic that I hope works for him. I'm not as optimistic of the dent coming out, but we can redo them if the lead shot and mallet doesn't get the job done.



Of course in closing I had to include the obligatory dead mouse shot. Voldemort saved it especially for me.

I am about to place a nice big order to Steve at Vintage Trailer Supply to get Voldemort started. I know he is planning tear down beginning tomorrow. Once gutted, I believe we are going to round us up a Texas streamer posse and do the shell lifting with as many people as possible, and prepare the frame for new metal/paint.

I was thinking about plumbing and Voldemort lifted up the street side mattress to reveal the electric water heater. I don't think Airstream had any loyalty back in the day as I have seen three different brands of these in three different 50's trailers. My 53 had a "Lectro" brand. This trailer's water heater was by Payne. Voldemort is going to test to see if it works, and if anyone wants it then they can let me know.




The last thing we discussed before heading to Rudy's for lunch was the running gear. Voldemort feels that the trailer would benefit greatly from new axles. The current axles are extremely heavy duty looking, and ride very rough up and down. On both my 53 and 56 in the past I kept the springs and had no problems. I wonder if this trailer was ordered with a beefier set of axles and gear because of the size. Would like to keep them springs if they will be okay, but it is undeniable that Torsions would make the ride nice. Also I didn't see any shocks or mounts for them, so those would require fabrication.

All for now.

Steve

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Relapse....and a new look.

This posting was updated on 11/26/11 to remove personal information of the previous individual restoring the trailer. Please refer to AIRforum thread, "Relapse-1956 Sovereign of the Road".


re·lapse
(r-lps)intr.v. re·lapsed, re·laps·ing, re·laps·es

1.
To fall or slide back into a former state.

Almost a year ago, I stopped posting on this blog. "Why bother, " I thought. We had to sell both Airstreams to fund getting Amy a new car and house in Texas, and it rubbed us raw. Over the months that followed, we fell out of touch with our camping souls. I was in nursing school full time, and Amy had taken Collin to San Antonio with her. In December 2010, I reevaluated our situation, and we agreed that we wanted to pursue our Dream Stream. We have owned many trailers, and only camped in half of them due to their poor condition. We vowed that this would not happen again.

Since January, I have scoured craigslist, Ebay, and any other website that could hold our Dream Stream. Our terms wouldn't be easy to find. The trailer had to be a 13 panel...nothing looks as beautiful as a 13 panel. We also agreed that 26 feet was as short as we would go. We plan to full time in our Dream Stream some day, and want the space. After hosting an Airstream rally in a rented SOB a few weeks ago, we had to get back into streaming ASAP. Here and there since the rally some trailers fitting criteria presented themselves, but always far too expensive or in worse shape than we would want. That is until almost two weeks ago.

I had just returned from the FCU Restoration rally in ABQ, NM when my search turned up a 1956 Sovereign of the Road. "Wow," I thought, I only know of three other 56 SotR's out there, it's the size we want, and 13 panel! The price wasn't bad either, but it was all the way up in Seattle, WA. I called the number and spoke with a man who I could barely understand at points in the conversation. He was Russian, and had a thick accent. We spoke for a few minutes and he told me about the trailer. I hung up the phone skeptical. Thick Russian accent, no title, cheap price, 2,200 miles away, and the craigslist I found it on was Portland...not Seattle. I contacted Marc from Airforums and asked if he could check it out for me. I gave him the seller's info, and the seller wanted Marc to see it that night! Marc is a great guy. He went out that night, and took a bunch more pictures for me to base my decision on. Check them out!




Marc called me later on informing me that the trailer indeed was legit, and that this man had several other trailers he was working on. Knowing the legitimacy, I wired Marc the money, and asked him if he could help me get it out of the guy's yard until I could arrange transport. After a few back and forth conversations with the seller, we finally agreed that his daughter could accept the money and give Marc the bill of sale. I was at Sea World on Father's day when I received the word...the transaction was complete.


Unfortunately, the seller for a set of new RV rims for the trailer stood Marc up earlier in the week. Marc had to tow it away on the old split rims. About 5 miles down the road, the first tire gave out. The spare was without a valve stem, so Marc ended up dropping the trailer off at a tire shop around 11PM for the evening. Poor Marc, all that work and his daughter's sweet 16th birthday was the next day.

Last night while on the Riverwalk, Marc texted me to let me know he was finally able to meet up with the rims guy from Craigslist, and got 4 new ST tires mounted. He estimated that there has been around 70 pounds overall of rotational weight dropped, and that the trailer tows FAR BETTER with the new wheels and tires. These are temporary until further down the road of course, but a necessity for a 2,200 mile return trip.




So what is the plan? This trailer will be a well appointed living space away from home. With school in session soon, I will be having most of the work completed by a 3rd party. I will help when I can, but living 1000 miles away, it will not be often. Current layout plans for the trailer include a revamped rear bath with street side shower and toilet, his and her closets forward of the bath, twins in the middle, a well equipped kitchen with lots of storage, and a huge wrap around dinette that converts to a bed.

I wish a safe journey towing 2,200 miles home with only safety chains and his white knuckles.

It's good to be back,

Steve