Just some links I’ve found useful…
Propane Lines and Quick Connects
Just some links I’ve found useful…
Every time I looked at the Airstream, I wanted to immediately take the old, rusty a/c off. I resisted doing it last fall (so there wasn’t a gaping hole all winter), but even though it’s now Spring and raining quite a bit, I just couldn’t hold myself back any longer.
Someone installed the a/c that was up there with about a million tiny screws (vs. rivets) and a WHOLE lot of goo. The installation included two aluminum “L” rails running the length of the a/c unit. I’m not sure what they were for (condensation?), but to me they were just more garbage to remove. I waited till the hottest part of the day and peeled back as much goo from where I could tell the screws were, and then unscrewed as many as I could. I think I got pretty lucky, ’cause there were only about 4 that didn’t back out. Those four I grabbed with a vice grip from below to turn, and once they were backed out enough, I grabbed them from above.
I probably should have waited and gotten some help from a friend to bring the a/c down, but I was on a rampage, so I just laid some old sleeping bags on the Airstream skin to avoid scratching anything, and then slid the unit over and down the rails of my ladder. That thing was heavy. I texted my dad a pic to show him how strong I am.
So what was left was a gaping hole and a lot of nasty goo (from the looks of it, silicone, latex, vulkem, and butyl tape). I waited till the hottest part of the next day and scraped as much off as I could with a dull chisel (to avoid scratches). Then I used Goof Off, a scotch brite sponge, a rough rag, and a brass wire brush on the end of my drill to remove a sufficient amount of what was left. I didn’t go to town getting it spic ‘n’ span because I still don’t know what I’m going to do up there to finish things off (bubble sky light? gunner’s touret? sunbathing deck?), so I’ll wait until then to make things pretty.
Once the skin was cleaned up, E and I buck riveted all the screw holes closed. I put a dab of TremPro 635 on each hole before setting the rivet, so I’m pretty confident that everything is water tight.
There were a couple screw holes that were actually “double drilled” (two holes right on top of each other, but simply putting two rivets right on top of each other seemed to do the trick (luckily you can’t really see this stuff from the ground).
Now I just have to decide what to do with the hole that’s left. There’s a tiny chance that I’ll put a new, smaller a/c back on the roof, but I really like the clean look not having the a/c on the roof, and I’m considering installing a split on the tongue. For camping this summer (in our friend’s yards), I’m actually just going to put a window unit in the access opening where the water heater used to be.
Oddly enough, the highly rated, *almost* EnergyStar (missed the mark by .1 points –so essentially EnergyStar rated without the upcharge) window unit I found is EXACTLY the same size as the hole that already existed for the old water heater. How lucky is that? I will be making a sliding system from heavy duty computer-rack sliding rails so the unit can simply slide out when we reach our destination, and then back in when we’re ready to go! I’m not sure yet if this will be just an auxiliary unit to cool the bedroom and complement a “whole trailer” unit or if it will work (in tandem with some fans and perhaps even some ducting) to cool the whole Airstream.
At first thought a dishwasher might seem like an “extreme luxury” for an Airstream, but it’s actually a smart move when considering water conservation. Study after study has shown that a dishwasher (especially high efficiency ones like the Bosch in our home kitchen) use far less water than hand washing in the sink. The models I have listed below uses around 3 1/4 gallons for a full load (6 place settings plus whatever else you can Tetris in there).
Not to mention, it stores your dirty dishes (until you’re ready to run the cycle), so you aren’t stacking dirty dishes in the sink (cluttering up your surroundings, preventing you from using the sink, attracting flies, etc.).
I first had the idea of putting a dishwasher in an Airstream when I saw a custom-ordered Fischer and Paykel unit on clearance at Lowe’s. I now really wish I had bought it; I think it was marked down from $1,000 to $200. Since it was designed for home use, it was probably too heavy and power hungry for an Airstream though (I will let these sour grapes console me).
After searching “Airstream Dishwasher” I first learned about the Koldfront PDW60EB via this post:
It’s around $211 in white, another ten bucks in black, and $240-$260 depending on which “brand” in silver (I wonder how close to “stainless” it really looks).
Koldfront, EdgeStar, Midea, SPT (the actual manufacturer?), Sunpentown (old name for SPT, I assume), Danby: judging by the item descriptions on Rakuten (they are pretty much word-for-word), I am assuming these are all “rebranded” versions of the same unit. There are some slight variations in the controls (knobs vs. buttons, number of buttons, digital readout, etc.), but the functionality/specs seem to be the same. The models are things like PDW60W, PDW61W (newer), DDW611WLED, SD-2201W, SD-2202W (newer); the W stands for white in these models; other models use B for black and S for silver. It looks to me like the PDWW61 and SD-2202 are second generation models and they added the ability to delay the start time for up to 8 hours.
The descriptions state that an internal water heater gets the water temperature to 149 degrees Fahrenheit (not very high compared to the Bosch in my house, but still much hotter than hand washing). I am a big fan of the stainless interior (and not just because it matches the Airstream!). The unit also has an automatic rinse agent dispenser, which is nice for keeping your glassware spotless (I plan on serving quite a few cocktails!). These units also have an internal pump for waste water, so you don’t have to rely on gravity.
They are made to simply attach to your kitchen sink faucet and can be removed when not in use, but I plan on “hard wiring” mine to a water and drain line.
Water consumption (normal wash): 3.5 gallons • Input voltage: 120 V/60 Hz • Power: 1160 W/10.7 A • Weight: 48.5 lbs • Dimensions: 17-3/16″ H x 21-11/16″ W x 19-11/16″ D” • Noise level: 55±3dB • Six (6) standard place setting capacity • Includes dish rack, cup shelf, and cutlery basket • Holds plates up to 10.5″ in diameter • Six (6) wash cycles: heavy, normal, light, glass, speed and soak (I’m assuming I would only ever use the “heavy” cycle, but still…)
User reviews state that the heaviest wash takes around an hour and forty five minutes and the “soak” setting is around 10 minutes (the other settings are just variations on time). It’s best to make sure the water is running hot from the tap before starting the unit (so you get the hottest water possible and put less stress on the unit’s internal heater). The biggest complaint seems to be the unit does not dry your dishes, but that seems to be expecting a bit much (the unit won’t do your laundry either). Some people have mentioned just opening the unit’s door slightly right when the cycle is finished and the retained heat of the things being washed will allow everything to dry (though you’ll be venting steam into your living space).
Finally, a little humor from the Airstream forums. This is what GeocamperAS posted regarding Airstream dishwashers:
I have been searching high and low for a RV dishwasher.
Not just any RV dishwasher, but one that meets my criteria.
I finally found one.
It is small so it doesn’t take up much space.
It also uses very little water.
It can be used on electric mode when you have hook-ups.
I can be used on non-electric mode when boondocking.
And even though it is small it can clean the largest pot you have.
This “Master To Do List” might be a stupid idea (depressing to look at in a couple of years, when I still haven’t installed a sink!), but it’ll help me keep track of ideas and maybe link to the posts covering these topics.
This is some of the fun stuff we’ll need to buy (not necessarily a “to do” list, just some of the things that will make this Airstream extra cool).
I plugged it into a power outlet and… it works!
Evidently the original owner, an older guy, had actually returned the day before to bring in some additional things for the fridge that he hadn’t been able to find when he dropped it off (original receipt, schematics, operating manual, etc.), so I’m guessing it was well taken care of.
My dad just paid $1,000 for a new Dometic fridge for his camper-van, so $25 for mine seems pretty darn good! Yahoo!
It even has a groovy, padded, off-white vinyl front, which I think we may keep!
With my extreme love of cooking, I was originally planning for a larger fridge and will still likely end up with one in the future, but this is a great way to at least start out with a solid, propane powered RV fridge for almost no money.
Boondocking here we come!