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Old 03-06-2016, 07:31 AM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
Niceville , Florida
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 17
'72 Sovereign Total Recall

Hi all!
Jon and Blaine here. We bought a Sovereign a couple days ago. Our intention is to totally rebuild it, eventually live in it full time, and maybe one day travel. We're young, we're both still in school (me for forestry, her for biochem), and we have two cats. I'm pretty handy and build furniture, she is brilliant and has a good eye for design. That said, we are going to need a lot of help and direction to do this right. So far I have been accepted here with open arms and have even had a couple members reach out to me, which is really encouraging. This thread will serve as a repository for all our pictures and questions, and hopefully a place to make some new friends.

Here are a few things we plan to do:

1. We are already stripping out the interior. We plan to do a completely new interior so I"m not being too precious about the plastic parts or anything.
2. The floor needs to be replaces, so I'm planning to do a shell-off, we move the belly pan, assess frame damage, fix what needs to be fixed, maybe new axles.
3. We want to have a middle bathroom, so we'll be buying a new blackwater tank. I've read that we cant just relocate the old one, its not the right size.
4. Of course new insulation, re-wiring, new plumbing, gas lines.

Today I'm going over to my dad's workshop where we parked the trailer to finish removing all the junk inside. So first major question, what is the best way to remove the rivets holding the skin on? and can that skin be reused after all the insulation and wiring is done?

Thanks everyone, hope all is well and everyone is out there exploring!

Jon & Blaine
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:35 AM   #2
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1973 31' Sovereign
Niceville , Florida
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here are some pics
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:36 AM   #3
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1973 31' Sovereign
Niceville , Florida
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Ok I can see I'm going to have a problem with the pictures being sideway. Anyone know whats going on there?
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:47 AM   #4
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Good Ol' , USA
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Welcome, and congratulations on your project!

My folks used to live in Niceville....... "nice" area! They lived there when the HWY 293 bridge was being built across the waterway.

I have had the same problem with sideways pictures. Has something to do with iPhone orientation. This link explains the "why" and "how to fix":

http://rotatemailer.com/sideways-pictures.html
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:42 AM   #5
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2009
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I can't answer picture questions, but I can answer interior skin rivet questions! Your pictures look very familiar - we've been there with our '72. (see our "Little Girl Refurb" thread). You can drill out the old rivets on your interior skins, and re-use them by using the holes when you put them back in with a slightly larger rivet. You may need to drill new holes in the ribs as things don't necessarily line up again due to flexing of the whole structure. Holes that you don't want can be riveted over with a rounded over piece of aluminum. The best way to store the interior skins is to roll them up and use straps or package sealing tape to hold them rolled. They take up little room that way and ours lasted for 2 years rolled with no damage.
We offered things to people on the forums from our interior such as refrigerator shelves, shower door, etc. for free, receiver pays shipping. Parts of our trailer are all over the country to people that needed them to restore their trailers. We also went the route you are taking: whole new interior. Literally, the only original features in our trailer are the kitchen sink, and a few outlet covers that survived.
We are now happy campers, and our fellow WBCCI members refer people to our trailer as "the one to see" at rallies. Going on 9 years, and not quite done yet, but we've been able to camp since 4 years in to the project. Of course, we could only work summers... you have an advantage there. I suspect there will always be things to do with our trailer, and we're ok with that.
There are many blogs and threads from people who have done partial and total refurbs of their trailers. We spent a lot of time reading before we started.
Good luck on your project! We will be watching for new, innovative things we can do too!

Kay
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:46 AM   #6
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Oh, and we did save some things for re-use such as the interior wall holders (not sure of name)that the wall partitions slip into, old upper cabinet side panels to use as templates, etc. Might be best to not throw some things away for awhile.

Kay
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Old 03-06-2016, 11:06 AM   #7
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Boynton Beach , Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jontemple View Post

3. We want to have a middle bathroom, so we'll be buying a new blackwater tank. I've read that we cant just relocate the old one, its not the right size.
4. Of course new insulation, re-wiring, new plumbing, gas lines.

Today I'm going over to my dad's workshop where we parked the trailer to finish removing all the junk inside. So first major question, what is the best way to remove the rivets holding the skin on? and can that skin be reused after all the insulation and wiring is done?


Jon & Blaine
I moved my bath from the back to the middle, and it's worked out great! You might consider a composting toilet, much simpler to install. Keep the old blackwater tank, and turn it into a graywater tank.

I like drilling the rivets out, then using an old scratch awl with a broken tip that turned out to be just the right size to pop out the middle part. Keep some pliers in your pocket, as the flange part of the rivet likes to become stuck on the end of the drill bit. Buy a pneumatic rivet gun sooner, rather than later.

I didn't take my inner skin off, but be sure to number all of the parts so you know where they go. Personally, I'd use the existing panels as templates and replace them with some exotic sheet metal (copper?) or very thin plywood. Or glowing LED plastic panels!

Stuff that bad boy with as much insulation as you can! I wish that I had, as these trailers get very hot out in the sun. Some sages have suggested making a thermal break between the inner and outer skins with a rubber strip on the ribs, sounds good to me!

BTW: We'll be at The Spirit of the Suwannee campground (near Live Oak, FL) Sep. 8-11 for a paddling trip. You should drag your beast over, and we can compare notes (over suitable beverages, of course).
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Old 03-06-2016, 11:11 AM   #8
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Welcome aboard. A 1/8" drill bit will go through most of the pop rivets used to hold the inner skins on. Make sure you mark them for position so you can put them back in. Even if you decide to upgrade the interior, they have a part to play in keeping the superstructure rigid. I would also advise you to keep your bulkhead walls, at least till you are at the point where you may fabricate new ones. They make for a good template for the curve of the inside walls.
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Old 03-06-2016, 02:58 PM   #9
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1973 31' Sovereign
Niceville , Florida
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SuzyHomakr, I appreciate the insulation tip, and I'm going to look more into putting rubber between ribs and skin, sounds like a really cool idea. I'll tell you what, if its in camping condition by then, we might just see you out there in september.

Kay, thanks for the storage tips. Lots of good info. Where can I post things I'd like to give away off my trailer?
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Old 03-07-2016, 10:37 PM   #10
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Silverton , Oregon
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How's your Tambour? want to part with it?
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:02 PM   #11
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Learn a bit more about Clecos, these nifty devices are used to put the interior sheets back in place before you start riveting.

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Old 03-08-2016, 08:15 AM   #12
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We started off posting what we had that we thought would be interesting to people on our thread, but then put some stuff on the classifieds here so more people would see it. We also had inquiries about specific things too. We ended up with a few odds and ends that we took to the Vintage Trailer Academy a couple years ago, and came home empty handed. Most of the interior wood look laminate ended up going off to a recycler.
People were happy to get things and pay shipping, so it was no cost to us to recycle, just some time to ship.
We did a shell-on Refurb, but if we had it to do again, we would go shell-off to make it easier. Laying on my back in the dirt under the trailer shooting rivets into the belly pan is not exactly my idea of fun... worth it, but not fun.
We spent a lot of time once the trailer was empty and floor replaced, with cardboard box mockups and blue tape planning out the interior. It was worth the time. We had been going for a switch from rear bath to mid-bath but changed when we realized we would lose almost all our outside storage, of which there's not much to start with. Some people are ok with that, we were not. We found our current layout in the vintage trailer section reviewing '70's trailers layouts, and tweaked it to what we wanted.
Everyone has their own needs and wants. Make it yours, and you will never regret it.

Kay
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Old 03-08-2016, 08:57 AM   #13
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1973 31' Sovereign
Niceville , Florida
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Kay, I think for us a center bath is a necessity because we need the living room/kitchen to be as big as possible for us to work out of, and just going over it in my head it makes the most sense to put the bath in the middle, versus in the back, which would move the bedroom forward toward the kitchen and scrunch the living room. I didn't know there were floor plan son here! I've been combing the web trying to find some kind of plan to reference.

So today I'm going to do one of two things, depending on the replies I get. If I intend to do a shell-off, should I remove the skins first, or should I leave them on and have my girlfriend remove them while the shell is sitting on the ground and I work on the frame? It seems that I can't get the furnace out without taking the skin at least most of the way off. Same goes for some other stuff towards the back that seems to be attached to the frame. Can't get to any of it without the skin off. But I'm ITCHING to get at that frame. Pictures to come a little later in the day.
Jon
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Old 03-08-2016, 09:05 AM   #14
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Can of beans View Post
How's your Tambour? want to part with it?
You're gonna have to fill me in on what a tambour is, if I still have it and I'm not using it, it's yours.
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