Buying it back...

Restoring a B190? Start a thread here so we can follow your progress!
User avatar
skater
Site Admin
Posts: 2444
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:00 am
B190 Year: 1991
WBCCI: 13270
Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: Buying it back...

Post by skater »

I've nearly finished the converter replacement in the trailer, but I needed to get some bolts from the hardware store, so I had a good excuse to put that aside and work on the B190. I got the old, rotted wood all out! Next up, making replacement wood for the ceiling.

I've attached some pictures from removing the fan and starting the work, and today.
Broken vent cover
Broken vent cover
20210313_141338_edit.jpg (1.77 MiB) Viewed 4299 times
Rot
Rot
20210313_142704.jpg (3.33 MiB) Viewed 4299 times
Wood removed from ceiling
Wood removed from ceiling
20210327_163921_edit.jpg (1.69 MiB) Viewed 4299 times
Wood from ceiling - intentionally bowed to keep ceiling bowed
Wood from ceiling - intentionally bowed to keep ceiling bowed
20210327_163950.jpg (3.86 MiB) Viewed 4299 times
Ceiling sans wood
Ceiling sans wood
20210327_163103.jpg (3.99 MiB) Viewed 4299 times
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit
User avatar
skater
Site Admin
Posts: 2444
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:00 am
B190 Year: 1991
WBCCI: 13270
Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: Buying it back...

Post by skater »

Got some more work done to the B190 this weekend.

Friday, we went to Metal Supermarkets to get some aluminum. We decided that we wanted to finish the interior ceiling in aluminum, in honor of it being an Airstream. We had two options - one is a thinner veneer with a wood backing, essentially a direct replacement for the original mouse fur, or getting aluminum that was thicker and having just aluminum as the ceiling.

Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions, they aren't allowing customers into the warehouse, and I wasn't able to adequately convey that the thickness of the aluminum wasn't critical - they matched what we had in the wood, but what was actually important was the level of flexibility. Without being able to pick up a piece and flex it a bit myself, I wasn't comfortable going the thicker-aluminum route. So, instead, we got a 4x8 sheet of 0.040 Aluminum (should have gotten two, but they only had one).

Then it was off to the lumber yard to get .25" Lauan plywood to replace the old stuff, and a batt of insulation, R-15. I used the original wood as a template and cut out the plywood, then marked up the sheet of aluminum for cutting. Unfortunately my metal snips weren't up to the task of cutting the aluminum - the aluminum had to flex too much. I just received metal-cutting blades for my jig saw today, so I'm ready to cut that.

To cover the joint between the two pieces of aluminum (and wood), we decided to overlap the second piece with the first one. I'll cut the first piece about 1.25" longer than the board, then drill holes for rivets in it. Then after we install both pieces, I'll put rivets across. This is exactly what our trailer looks like as we remove the vinyl ceiling, and I think it'll look really cool.

I plan to glue the aluminum to the plywood, then put in some pop rivets to make it look Airstreamy. I'll then glue the insulation to the top of the plywood, and it'll be ready to go in.

Sunday had better weather than I expected, so I was able to finish cleaning the caulk off the roof and clean it up, so that's nearly ready to put the fiberglass filler in (I plan to do that to fill the holes and scratches). I also cut wood to replace the pieces I had to cut out of the ceiling due to rot (I already cut the piece that goes directly under the fan a few weeks ago; these pieces support the sides and front). I started putting epoxy on them in the hopes that any water that gets in doesn't wreck the new wood. I'll let this cure then flip them over and do the other sides of all wood...then it's ready to go in...

We've decided we're going to replace the sewer vent, because the caulk on that looks like a disaster. I got one today for that job. We've also decided to just go ahead and replace the bathroom fan while we're doing all this work - the original fan is in really bad shape, and Maxxair makes one that is ~$75 and has an LED light integrated into the trim. I'm hoping neither of those involve replacing rotted wood...
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit
User avatar
Sub2RainEN
Seasoned Traveler
Posts: 153
Joined: Sun May 08, 2016 5:13 pm
B190 Year: 1990
WBCCI: 0

Re: Buying it back...

Post by Sub2RainEN »

Wow, that sounds great! I can’t wait to see the aluminum ceiling.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Proud 1990 B190 newbie owner
Nautilus
Newbie
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2021 9:02 pm
B190 Year: 1991
Location: Seattle, Wa

Re: Buying it back...

Post by Nautilus »

Awesome! I am almost done gutting my van today. Looks like some of the wood that the roof rack is screwed into is rotted. Are you planning on re-fiberglassing the new pieces back in?
Ryon Downs
@Nauty4Nature on IG
The Nautilus: Roaming Land Submarine
1991 B190, 39k miles, gunmetal grey
2007 Yamaha WR250F
2008 Lifted Subaru Legacy GT
User avatar
skater
Site Admin
Posts: 2444
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:00 am
B190 Year: 1991
WBCCI: 13270
Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: Buying it back...

Post by skater »

Nautilus wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:19 am
Awesome! I am almost done gutting my van today. Looks like some of the wood that the roof rack is screwed into is rotted. Are you planning on re-fiberglassing the new pieces back in?
I'm not - I don't think the fiberglass is critical there. Others have done it, though, so opinions vary, of course. I haven't done fiberglassing and didn't particularly want to try to learn a new skill in the hardest way possible (upside down). The construction adhesive is what's holding the wood in place.

I'm working on epoxying the wood to help ensure that any water that does get in is unlikely to damage the wood.
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit
User avatar
skater
Site Admin
Posts: 2444
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:00 am
B190 Year: 1991
WBCCI: 13270
Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: Buying it back...

Post by skater »

I haven't updated this lately, but work has been (slowly) progressing.

The replacement wooden supports are glued to the ceiling inside; the new fan is installed outside. I'm now working on the interior ceiling to get that all back together. I've decided I want to get some metal reinforcement plates like this to kind of tie the roof pieces together. I got one sheet of aluminum a few weeks ago, and last weekend I was finally able to cut it - I had tried using metal shears, but that wasn't going well. My brother suggested a tool like this (in fact that's the one I bought), and WOW it's amazing. It's fast and easy.

Next up for the roof - glue the sheet of aluminum to the Luan I got a few months back. I want to think about how to do this in such a manner that I do not get waves. I may buy or rent the type of roller they use on vinyl flooring. I also need to pick up another sheet of aluminum; I'd planned to do that Friday but our truck was in the shop. But it's probably good that was delayed, because...

Now the bad news. I thought mine didn't have a rear brake light. Turns out it did, but there was a blank plate covering it. I always assumed the blank plate was sealed to the van, but it was actually just slid over the actual brake light fixture. And the light was leaking, badly. The wood underneath the medicine cabinet is completely rotted. What actually caught my attention was that the closet floor (the upper floor where we put our clothes) was a wavy mess - the damage goes at least around the corner there. So the rear of the van has to come out and be redone. Sigh. I should have known, though. I saw the signs of leakage and didn't investigate. No one's fault but my own (to be fair, it probably was leaking even when I bought it back, and most of the damage was probably already done).

But it's an opportunity to remove more mouse fur and replace it with aluminum, so it's not all bad! :)
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit
User avatar
skater
Site Admin
Posts: 2444
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:00 am
B190 Year: 1991
WBCCI: 13270
Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: Buying it back...

Post by skater »

I finally got to work on this again yesterday. I finally got the upper pieces of the shower out, only to realize I can't remove the back panel without removing the two side panels...which go forward of the bathroom. To replace it all, I'll have to remove everything above the "waistline" (between the fiberglass top and the van ceiling)...which is hard enough, but the closet walls have to come out, too, which means I'll at least have to unscrew the cabinets below the waistline. Probably need to remove the fridge and stove along the way. Most of the interior will be out of it, in other words.
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit
User avatar
skater
Site Admin
Posts: 2444
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:00 am
B190 Year: 1991
WBCCI: 13270
Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: Buying it back...

Post by skater »

Some pictures. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Sent from my SM-G991U1 using Tapatalk

1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit
User avatar
Sub2RainEN
Seasoned Traveler
Posts: 153
Joined: Sun May 08, 2016 5:13 pm
B190 Year: 1990
WBCCI: 0

Re: Buying it back...

Post by Sub2RainEN »

Wow! That’s a big project.

We definitely ended up with the right rigs. I don’t have the resources, tools, knowledge, or space to do the work you have done on your new old B.

I’ve had my share of problems, and the cost has delayed my plans to go FT. However, other than a little leaking around the fan one particularly rainy winter (which I already planned to replace), I haven’t seen any evidence of water damage. Someone looked under mine recently and asked if it was always a West Coast van. Always Southern California, as far as I know.

Now, if my RV systems could work again, that would be great…

Do you think you will rebuild similar to the original plan or use this as an opportunity to personalize/update the rig? I remember you said the shower was too low for you — maybe a shower pan or outdoor shower? I actually like the closet. Other than adding shelves to the upper part, I find it very useful. Is there anything you would change?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Proud 1990 B190 newbie owner
User avatar
skater
Site Admin
Posts: 2444
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:00 am
B190 Year: 1991
WBCCI: 13270
Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: Buying it back...

Post by skater »

Sub2RainEN wrote:
Mon Aug 16, 2021 5:47 pm
We definitely ended up with the right rigs. I don’t have the resources, tools, knowledge, or space to do the work you have done on your new old B.
Thanks. I'm running up against my limits, though, as I don't have an interior place to work on it, and this next step will likely require things like removing the air conditioner and windows. I guess a long tarp would work, though.
Do you think you will rebuild similar to the original plan or use this as an opportunity to personalize/update the rig? I remember you said the shower was too low for you — maybe a shower pan or outdoor shower? I actually like the closet. Other than adding shelves to the upper part, I find it very useful. Is there anything you would change?
Someone posted a picture on the group a few weeks back where they used a shower pan from a certain model of trailer to replace the bath tub, which makes the shower a LOT more usable. I might do that, but I haven't decided. Probably should. Shamelessly stolen from that post:
b190_shower_conversion.jpg
b190_shower_conversion.jpg (53.09 KiB) Viewed 3444 times
Also, quoting his comment on it, so we have it for future reference:
it is one that they currently use in new rockwood travel trailers. It wasn't meant to be a wet bath, but worked well.
My wife hates the mouse fur, so she'd be happy to see that go (from our trailer, too, which has even more of it...). So I would definitely remove that. Fortunately it's only on the walls on the fiberglass top, and the ceiling. I'm thinking I'd just redo those walls and ceiling in bare aluminum. Originally I was planning to glue an aluminum sheet to Luan over the bunk, but part of me is thinking I might be better off just using the aluminum itself and perhaps pop riveting it in place. And I think that would work even better on the sides. I might have to put the aluminum ceiling piece I've already cut in place temporarily and see how it goes.

The shelf in the closet is wrecked. I don't think I took a picture, but it's completely warped and separated at the end at the back of the camper, which is what caught my attention for how bad the issue had gotten. So I clearly need to remake that. I'm thinking a piece of wood, with aluminum glued to the top of it. Another shelf might be a good idea, but it might be a situation where it's only a half-shelf above the back half of the closet, with some sort of retention system for stuff. I haven't really fleshed this out (and it can be done any time, after things are reassembled, so it's a lower priority). I'm afraid a full shelf would provide lots of places for things to get lost, but maybe I'm wrong about that.

If the shower pan is coming out (which it probably has to, because that wall in front has to come out), I'm definitely taking the time to upgrade the electrical connection. I'm going to put in one of those 30 amp Smartplugs. I've never liked the current setup, it's kind of annoying, and it's an obvious air leak. One thing about that shower setup - I think I'd lose the storage under the tub, so I'd want to think about where to store the cord (and I used to store the sewer hose in there, too). I guess it could go in the closet somehow, maybe coiled on a strong hook.

I'll replace the phone jack wiring with 12 volt wiring, the thinking being that I'll (eventually) put a USB port in its place outside. I could use the spot where the phone jack is inside for USB ports as well. I know it's funny now, but I love that Airstream put that phone wiring in place. They were trying to think ahead about how people would use their B190s and guessed wrong on that one, but I can't blame them for that - instead, I'm glad they tried it.

In an ideal world, I'd run heavier wires for a solar system, and I'd run some wires for things like a Wifi antenna and a cellular antenna. With adding a bunch of aluminum, signal quality will go down. Of course, these wires run down the lower walls that I wasn't planning to tackle. Maybe if I can just get them to the speaker cutout on the driver's side for now, that sort of thing.

I might disconnect the roof TV antenna wire entirely because, let's face it, it never worked that well (and we don't really watch TV while camping anyway). Hey, that might be a better spot to run the wifi and cellular antenna wiring...keep the coax available, too, because some things do use that, like the Wifiranger we have on the trailer. That would free up the spot where the cable tv/antenna selector is, potentially for something more useful.

Of course I still need to redo the rear brake light (mine's all cracked and broken). I also plan to run power and video cables for a rearview camera. I haven't decided which camera setup I'm going to buy, but I'll run both the four-pin cable some cameras use, as well as the standard video cable other cameras use, and power. That way when the camera I buy decides to fail and I have to replace everything, at least the wires I need are already present regardless of what I buy. (Actually, being prepared for failure will probably mean it'll work perfectly forever.)
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit
User avatar
skater
Site Admin
Posts: 2444
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:00 am
B190 Year: 1991
WBCCI: 13270
Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: Buying it back...

Post by skater »

Might as well redo the plumbing while it's all apart. Something I've wanted to do anyway.

I'm not sure what to do about the water heater. New insulation and cover at a minimum, if such things are even available - I might have to engineer something. Spray foam insulation, maybe? The gas valve in it is leaking verrrrrry slightly and will be $150ish to replace, but otherwise the water heater is in good shape. Pull it, install the bypass kit, reinstall it and recaulk it... Replacing it would cost more, but there's always a risk I'll put a bunch of effort into this one only to have it fail before long anyway.

Lighting - good time to install some LED ceiling lighting, I suppose.
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit
User avatar
Sub2RainEN
Seasoned Traveler
Posts: 153
Joined: Sun May 08, 2016 5:13 pm
B190 Year: 1990
WBCCI: 0

Re: Buying it back...

Post by Sub2RainEN »

Wow! That’s a lot of planned renovations/upgrades. I admire your vision. The shower pan does seem useful. I’ve thought of that or just converting the tub to storage. Right now, it holds my Yeti tanks and the Yeti itself. Last trip, I had a cooler back there as well.

I think one of the good things about the closet is it’s fairly spacious. I have a flat shoe organizer on the door, have a hanging one to put into the closet, have a kitchen-sized step to open trash can for a laundry hamper, plus supplies for lending projects, snd some clothes from my last trip. I added some wire sweater shelves to the top shelf to increase storage there. Still haven’t used all the vertical space. You can always keep the closet space fairly open and use closet organization products.

I made my B all-electric, but that was a bit of a fail, especially since the extra battery tanks for my Yeti seem to drain the Yeti, while not storing any power themselves. I also ran the solar wires through the back door for the Yeti, which may have affected performance. Never got much more than 30 Watts out of my 320W of panels. Ended up charging it using the household charger plugged into my inverter while driving. Could also be installation error. Found the friend who did a lot of the work for me made a lot of mistakes or didn’t do things he said he had (closet door seemed to have just been put back with screws resting in holes they had whittled out of, he didn’t add the child safety latch, and it flew off while driving…fortunately, didn’t hit the Yeti or anything fragile). Frustrating not being physically able to do things myself, so I know how it’s done and can fix on the fly.

As for your back up camera, why not a wireless one? I think the only downsides to not having it hard-wired is that I have to plug it in when driving and it’s not automatically activated when reversing. Since I mainly use it to back out of or into the driveway at home, that hasn’t been a big issue. I’ll occasionally pull it out to back into or out of a parking space, but usually park going forward and pull through when I can, so I can leave going forward.

If it fails, it’s easy and fairly inexpensive to replace. I liked it so much, I bought a smaller version for my car. It’s a Type S brand and I think they were $140 and $100 on sale at Costco. Maybe not robust enough for you, but on the other hand…one less project.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Proud 1990 B190 newbie owner
User avatar
skater
Site Admin
Posts: 2444
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:00 am
B190 Year: 1991
WBCCI: 13270
Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: Buying it back...

Post by skater »

Sub2RainEN wrote:
Tue Aug 17, 2021 2:09 pm
As for your back up camera, why not a wireless one? I think the only downsides to not having it hard-wired is that I have to plug it in when driving and it’s not automatically activated when reversing. Since I mainly use it to back out of or into the driveway at home, that hasn’t been a big issue. I’ll occasionally pull it out to back into or out of a parking space, but usually park going forward and pull through when I can, so I can leave going forward.

If it fails, it’s easy and fairly inexpensive to replace. I liked it so much, I bought a smaller version for my car. It’s a Type S brand and I think they were $140 and $100 on sale at Costco. Maybe not robust enough for you, but on the other hand…one less project.
I'm sure wireless is fine, but ... I have trust issues, I guess. I'd always worry about the signal dropping or something. Since I'd have it open anyway, why not run wires, though? Then I don't have to worry. And running 12 volt power back there means a wireless camera would have what it needs, too.

I don't know how much of that list will get done. I was eyeing up LED lighting for the ceiling this afternoon on Amazon, along with switches and dimmers. Might as well do it if I have the ceiling off anyway, right?

The frustrating part is that I have yet to spend a night in it since I bought it back. I really just want to use it...but short-changing the repair from the leak just means I'll have to do it later, and we'll always know there might be mold growing in it... (I considered bleaching the heck out of it, but I can't get to all of the spots, so...)
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit
User avatar
Sub2RainEN
Seasoned Traveler
Posts: 153
Joined: Sun May 08, 2016 5:13 pm
B190 Year: 1990
WBCCI: 0

Re: Buying it back...

Post by Sub2RainEN »

I guess. I originally bought a wired one on Amazon. I took it to a local place that installs stereos, speakers, and back up cameras. The guy told me mine wasn’t good enough, tried to upsell an expensive off brand and then quoted me a couple hundred for repairs. He insisted a wireless one wouldn’t work because of the size of the rig and because it’s metal.

Installed the wireless one myself, always has power because the van is always outside (car camera sometimes dies because it’s kept in the garage). Haven’t had any issues with it. Think I bought it about 18 months ago.

I will say another downside is it has its own monitor and you might prefer one that goes into a head unit. Doesn’t bother me. I permanently attached the mount to the dash and attach the monitor as needed. I keep it in the bottom drawer of the dog house.

I did end up updating my stereo in March, although it needed new speakers and with other repairs snd the tanks getting broken the day I was supposed to get the speakers, they weren’t done until July 3. Sound is fantastic! Had Bluetooth and I got one that will play CDs. Only sad to lose the cassette player, as the van came with a bunch of ‘80s cassettes of music I like. So happy with the new stereo.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Proud 1990 B190 newbie owner
User avatar
skater
Site Admin
Posts: 2444
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:00 am
B190 Year: 1991
WBCCI: 13270
Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: Buying it back...

Post by skater »

Sub2RainEN wrote:
Tue Aug 17, 2021 7:12 pm
I will say another downside is it has its own monitor and you might prefer one that goes into a head unit. Doesn’t bother me. I permanently attached the mount to the dash and attach the monitor as needed. I keep it in the bottom drawer of the dog house.
Yeah, I keep going back and forth on that - do I want one display that does everything, or do I want a separate display for backup camera versus navigation? Maybe I'll just use my phone for navigation. I'm looking at the backup camera/car cameras that replace the rearview mirror...I dunno. Of course part of the issue with our vans is that the dashboard design doesn't allow a double DIN stereo to fit, so things get weird.
I did end up updating my stereo in March, although it needed new speakers and with other repairs snd the tanks getting broken the day I was supposed to get the speakers, they weren’t done until July 3. Sound is fantastic! Had Bluetooth and I got one that will play CDs. Only sad to lose the cassette player, as the van came with a bunch of ‘80s cassettes of music I like. So happy with the new stereo.
Yeah, I still have the radio I put in in ~2006. I'll update to a bluetooth model at some point. I might get a better one for my car and move that one to the B190.

Same thing with the tire pressure monitor - we'll get the newer version (with COLOR display, ooooooooh) for the trailer, and move the old one to the B190.
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit
Post Reply