AIRSTREAM RENOVATION: Removing the Interior Skins

Now it's time to remove the interior skins, or walls.

The interior walls of an Airstream are also made of thin aluminum sheets. Ours just happened to be covered with some pretty nasty 80's vinyl. We've heard from several people that trying to remove it is a huge pain in the you-know-what, and with a good amount of it being water damaged, we decided that we are probably going to get new walls and start fresh. Yeah, don't want to take a chance on their being mold under the vinyl. Aluminum sheeting isn't too expensive, the tricky part is going to be installing it and cutting and drilling in the right places. But that's why we are keeping the old walls so we can use them as templates when that time comes.

So removing the skins is a pretty straightforward process, you need a drill and a drill bit. The interior rivet size is 1/8" so make sure you use a 1/8" bit to drill them out. You don't want to make your holes bigger than they are. The walls overlap each other with the last one to be installed on top. They started from the bottom and ended with the ceiling strip being put on last, So I took that off first. than the next one down and so on.

I inevitably missed a couple rivets on most every panel, they can be hard to see, so i'd have to drill them out while keeping the panel from falling on my head. I saved the old plastic end caps for last. We decided early on that we didn't like these and wouldn't be keeping them and they were cracking and falling apart anyway. But if you get some that are in good condition and you want to keep that authentic vintage Airstream look, go ahead and keep them! A lot of people do it and it looks great. just slap a fresh coat of paint on and call it good. For ours though, we are not going to have to do a segmented aluminum end cap. Keep an eye out for that blog post because it's sure to be an informative and...interesting one. ha!

So now the walls are out and we got all this pink stuff to deal with. Which, let me tell you, is NO FUN! If you get it on your skin and can be pretty itchy and irritating. So we made sure to wear long sleeves, and definitely a mask and eye protection.

Last thing we needed to get out was the electrical. I was hoping to be able to salvage some the wiring but because the PO used spray foam in random places in the wall, a lot of the wiring was all glued together with foam and it would have been a nightmare to try to reuse any of it. So we just scrapped it all and we will rewire to exactly what we need.

And that is how you take the walls (and more) out. Unfortunately, we've discovered some bad news. Now that we can see inside the walls, we realize that there has been some more extensive repairs than we previously thought. it looks as thought the rear exterior has been replaced or repaired, and of course not very well... so we are going to need to do a bit more work than expected on this. But that's just part of the process!!

 Join us next episode as we remove the Subfloor to get the the frame and see what else we find lurking beneath! Will their be frame damage too???

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Ben Figueiredo

I make a living as a filmmaker & Website Designer, Telling Stories, creating content for businesses, entrepreneurs and even couples getting married. As a Five on the Enneagram, I love learning. Absorbing as much knowledge I can. I am into Biohacking, holistic wellness, and Rewilding so that I can be the best version of me to enjoy life with my family connecting with nature, our community, and God.

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