Saturday, May 29, 2010

Renovation Going Slowly

Having removed the carpet and much of the "mouse fur" from the walls in the dining/living area, I fried a few brain cells removing the glue backing with a solvent. Then, I began polishing the interior aluminum with mixed results. Have to get some more aggressive Nuvite polishing cream to work on the roughest areas but getting there slowly. Here's a progress photo.

I took a break from polishing and worked on tapping into the propane system and connecting up a catalytic heater to use when we are boondocking. My brother Barry had advised me on fittings and a general scheme and with patience and some "measure twice/cut once" technique, I got it installed on the front of the gas stove with a swinging door so that we can aim it rearward as well. Leak checks with soapy water and we're good to go.

The couch has been delivered to an upholsterer for recovering and should be ready by late June. Camping season is here -- time to get these projects buttoned up.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Running light wiring problem identified

Yesterday we did some trouble-shooting on the Airstream problems -- focusing on why we did not have running lights. With the couch removed and the wiring exposed, it made life a lot simpler -- and having my knowledgeable brother leading the effort was the key.

We had known that the power off the tow vehicle was fine and that we had power to the running lights inside the trailer. However, as Barry had suspected back in Texas, the circuit seemed to die in a little black box under the trailer. Sure enough, when he bypassed the box, there was power to the lights -- and in fact, all the lights were working! So now it is a process of finding a replacement for the fried box. (I fried a lead on the box at some point with all the problems of loose leads in the 7-pin connector).

So here's what I've posted and sent to a couple of potential suppliers:
I have a 1999 Safari and have had trouble with the running lights. I just found out that I fried a breaker or relay that is between the battery and the lights. It is a small black box with four paddle connections -- one for a hot wire, one for ground, and two for the blue trailer light wiring. It says SC-906 on it and is 12v, 30 amp. The connection points are marked 85, 86, 87, and 30.
It's nice to get an answer to this nagging problem -- now to find the part. And here's the answer I just got from the Airstream Forum:
It's a generic auto relay, should be able to find one at any auto parts store. You can see that one of the pins is burnt, with all the black plastic around it. Curious why it would fail but I would get a new one and see what happens.
What a resource the Internet can be. Off to Advance Auto Parts.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mouse Fur Be Gone

Having removed the Airstream couch, I've started a project to remove the carpet and replace it with some sort of wood laminate flooring. Of course, the more you open things up, the more "projects" reveal themselves.

The cream-colored covering on the Airstream walls, affectionately called "mouse fur" because of its fuzzy nature, is pretty dingy. A dozen or more years of wear and tear shows -- and I'm thinking seriously of removing it in the front half of the trailer and getting down to the aluminum walls. We'll see how that additionally work feels in the next few days.

Meanwhile, I've started ripping out the old carpet (which looks better than it is in the photos). It's grubby work and I'm going through razor knife blades fast. From the debris I'm finding underneath it, I think this trailer was built on a Friday afternoon. Loose nails, aluminum scraps from drilling, you name it. The staples holding the padding in place are hard to pull and all in all, it's slow going.

One bright spot was the uncovering of a channel through which many wires pass. Hopefully, that will allow us to identify the problem circuit for the trailer running lights which still are out of service.

My brother Barry is coming by in the next day or two to give some guidance on floor materials and the wiring. Next week, we hope to get a line on some fabric to recover the couch.

I've got half a trailer floor of exposed plywood so I guess I'm committed. Stay tuned.