Project Vintage Thunder

The latest on Project Vintage Thunder, by Airstream Life magazine. Sponsored by George M Sutton RV, Reese hitch, Dometic USA, PPG Paint, Axis Products, GSM Vehicles, and Zip-Dee. Vintage Thunder is an "honest" RV refurbishment and travelogue. We tell you what really happens ...

Friday, May 06, 2005

Hitch Jack

Lots of comments on the hitch jack issue. The consensus has been to get one of the jacks that has a vertical handle (on front). Colin researched them and found them from $44 to $75. If the bolt pattern lines up, it should be an easy install. We might do that prior to Homecoming, but I might also elect to leave the propane tank cover off for now and look for a power hitch jack instead. It would be nice .... especially if a sponsor came forward with one.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

PPG Paint Joins As New Sponsor!

I am pleased to announce that PPG Paint has agreed to sponsor Project Vintage Thunder, by supplying paint and related materials!

The distributor has informed me that a truck shipment of our paint will be on its way today or tomorrow. I expect it to arrive sometime next week. Meanwhile, Colin's guys at GSM Vehicles will get started on prepping the body soon. Right now they are working to get a backlog of trailers out of the way. The shop is too crowded to get Vintage Thunder under roof for a few days.

We are counting the days. Vintage Thunder MUST be on the road to Airstream Homecoming by May 25. I don't want to tip our hand on all the plans just yet, but there are several other things we need to do on the trailer and if we don't meet that deadline all the other plans are going to be screwed. So the guys at GSM Vehicles are sweating it, and so am I (again).

Today's minor annoyance is the propane tank cover. We had salvaged a propane tank cover from an Excella with the idea of painting it the body color, but unfortunately we can't get it mounted rearward enough to clear the tongue jack handle. The combination of the Reese hitch and the tank cover creates a conflict. So, we either need to dump the idea of a tank cover, create a custom tank cover which somehow allows for the Reese hitch parts, find a plastic cover that will fit, or install a power hitch head. I'm considering the options now.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Last week, the guys at GSM Vehicles removed the battery box as planned, and a section of floor. It was a bit more floor than I expected. The plan was to replace the floor under the battery box, since it would probably be a bit decayed from years of battery fumes, and also smelly. I could have encapsulated the smell with shellac, but what the heck, let's put in new wood.

At the same time, we didn't like the look of a bit toward the wheelwell. The wood was punky there from an old leak, and it seemed best to replace it too. And then of course they took out a bit extra just to be sure... the resulting hole was a rectangle about 2 feet square -- most of the closet floor!

With that section of floor out, we found a small hole in part of the frame. You can see it near the center of the picture. A plate will be welded to it. The rest of the frame looked very good, which is what we expected. We'll take the opportunity to paint it with POR-15 and replace insulation, before the replacement floor goes in.

As I mentioned, the battery box has been fiberglassed. You can see it here in the paint shop. Now it is rigid (unlike the thin floppy original box) and much stronger. This will all go back together early this week.

One of our "punch list" items from March was a broken hinge on the entry door. The door works just fine, so the problem is largely cosmetic, but we want to resolve it before painting. The catch is that to replace the hinge requires us to remove the interior skin of the door as well as part of the trailer's interior wall near the refrigerator. It's surgery, and fairly difficult considering the small amount of benefit we will get from it. But it's now or never, so you can expect some posts on this process later this week.