1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

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1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby zool [OP] » August 14th 2018, 5:49am

Hello all:

I just recently bought an 87 aerolite RV, mechanically, its fairly sound, I was able to drive it home.....so thats a plus!.

The cab and body are in average overall condition with little panel rust, but there is some surface rust underneath, but not rotted.

The sixer under the hood starts and runs ok, but it feels restricted, and some loss of power was noticed, Im betting the Cat is clogged, causing the cel to go off....I plan on a full tuneup and exhaust change.

As for the camper rear body, the fiberglass is ok, but the sandwiched ply is all compromised by leaks, so its a complete gut rebuild.

Its going to take a while, cuz I got a few boat projects im into, but I want to document it, and I felt it may be of interest to astro enthusiasts,

Not sure the the pic protocol here, but as soon as I figure it out, ill post plenty ;)

Zool
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby zzimmer3 » August 14th 2018, 12:34pm

I'm anxious to see some pics. The only protocol is post a bunch of them!!!? Lol. Good luck!
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby 90safari » August 14th 2018, 6:54pm

Agreed. I'd like to see some pics of this.
Start a gallery, and put your pics there. Then you can easily move them into your posts.
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby zool [OP] » August 15th 2018, 1:21am

Thanks for the replies guys, Heres a few pics to start, the inside was mostly gutted by the previous owner. He removed all the cabinetry and appliances and electronics, leaving me with a bunch of wires, not labeled, and going to nowhere!.. :banghead:

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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby zool [OP] » August 15th 2018, 5:40am

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Original Poster [OP]
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby 90safari » August 16th 2018, 7:02pm

That looks like a great place to start building it as you want it. I like that the camper manufacturer re-used the stock Astro tail lights.
You'll have to look at what Astro Will has done with his Tigers for inspiration. ;) 8-)
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby zool [OP] » August 16th 2018, 7:34pm

Yea safari, being 30+ years old, i was gonna gut it no mater how intact it was...Ive since removed all the windows, all the mechanicals, except the genset, and started removing the outer skins...Im taking it down to just the metal cage and floor frames, and building it back up from there...Ill post some progress pics soon.

Its moslty all Astro underneath, with an extended frame and supports...still has the composite leafs, but has adjustable air suspension too.

At a purchase price of $450, I have plenty of room ;)
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby AstroWill » August 16th 2018, 9:28pm

Nice project and can't beat the buy in price. I hope that you keep us thoroughly updated with tons of pictures. I love watching RV rebuilds.

I would definitely be interested to see how they did the frame extension/supports.

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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby 90safari » August 16th 2018, 9:34pm

Same here on the frame extension/supports. I really like seeing bare framework.
Your buy in price was good too. 8-)
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby WoodButcher » August 17th 2018, 12:01am

Cool Zool! I'm watching.
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby BadByte » August 21st 2018, 2:49pm

Looks really good for the year, what's the mileage on it?

From the pics it looks like the normal extended length frame... I'd like to see some pics of the frame in the back to confirm...please and thank you.
Should be a great project, best of all, with it partially gutted you can now build it exactly how you want it.
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby zool [OP] » August 22nd 2018, 10:56pm

Ok, got the remaining skins off, the roof was a pain because it was covered with years of slop ppl painted on to stop leaks..lol. I guess not many fix things the right way anymore.

Yep Will, its an Onan 3.0

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Original Poster [OP]
zool
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby BadByte » August 23rd 2018, 4:15am

Poor van...she looks so naked without her skin on...

Great work skinning the van, so easy to see what you have to work with.
Have you tried starting the generator yet?

Keep up the great work.
Visualize your eventual demise!
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby zool [OP] » August 26th 2018, 6:22pm

Hey Safari, we started removing the floor and found that its fastened not only from the top, but screwed in from the bottom too, and under some systems, so we removed the 2 waste holding tanks and pump out, and all the wires and lp lines are screwed into the bottom with c-clamps and rusted screws....so its been challenging at best...but its almost ready to cut out.
Original Poster [OP]
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby zool [OP] » August 26th 2018, 6:26pm

chr-sei'

The glass has been painted already from tan to white, not the jambs, under the hood, ect, plus, there many gouges, unused screw holes, and new hols im making by relocating vents, ect, and the fairing ill be doing to the epoxy glassed seams on the roof, so paint is the best option.

Ill either use an acrylic urethane or a linear poly, which ever the budget allows....I paint cars, trucks, and boats regularly, so its not a big deal, exept it barely fits in the booth, so it may have to be done out in the weather :(
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby BadByte » August 28th 2018, 2:56am

A lot of work to fiberglass and epoxy the roof seams, but it's the best way to make sure it never leaks again.
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby nonhog » August 28th 2018, 4:36am

Cool stuff. Can't wait to see more.
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby zool [OP] » August 31st 2018, 9:27pm

Heres some pics of the frame exposed.

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Looks like they sleeved in full length rails inside cut out and relocated sections of the original astro frame, mainly the leaf spring brackets were moved back on the new rail and welded in. The leaf turned out to be metal, not composite like i thought, was just coated with undercoat.
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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby AstroWill » September 1st 2018, 1:54am

Thanks for the pictures of how they did the frame! Never seen one of the Aerolite RVs torn down so far. Love it!

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Re: 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite RV custom restoration.

Postby 90safari » September 1st 2018, 6:31pm

Agreed. Thanks for the frame shots. Looks almost like they used some 3 by 5 rectangular tubing to replace the Astro frame rails.
Very cool pics though. Is that an air bag I see on the axle on 1 side?
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