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Old 09-14-2005, 08:44 PM   #1
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Sovereign Restoration Update

I went up to South Jersey RV today (on 2 1/2 hrs sleep) and met with Ron, my resto guy, to go over what's been done so far; I am impressed with what I saw.

To begin with, the upholstery guy, Bob I believe was his name, was fitting the new sofa material for the L-shaped couch. The front portion was a smidge big, so he's going to cut and refit....better it be too big than too small The fabric, by the way, is way cool...it has a touch of retro and still manages to keep the interior from looking dark. The new mattresses are also in as well.

I got a one-word answer as to why it took almost 7 hours to remove the original vents...VULKEM...it had turned to concrete and had to be chiseled away, little by little to avoid messing up the skin. The new Fantastic Fans were installed, and all I can say is WOW! (Can you tell I like using that word in my posts?) I've never seen a fan that can draw out the warm air like that. The nametag was still dangling from the crank knob (I opted to get the manual vents...too many electric parts is just one more thing to go wrong, imo), and when Ron turned the fan on, it sucked the nametag to the screen...insane!

The new wood has been installed in the rear deck, and Harry (one of the resto guys) was in the process of fitting the new galvanized pan, which holds the black tank....it's 1/4 in too tall, so it has to go back to the metal fabricator to be fixed...I think it was supposed to be 7 1/2 inches tall and the new pan is 7 3/4 inches. The new black tank is being fabricated and will actually be slightly larger than the original tank.

The tires were mounted on the original aluminum mags I found in Washington State...they're gorgeous. The only problem is that the wheels didn't come with lugnuts, so a new set of lugnuts from NAPA was decided upon.

The new Iota DLS-45 12-volt converter was installed, and it works beautifully. The nine position fuse block is also in. The IQ-4 Charge controller is in as well. It has a telephone jack, which monitors the battery charge...interesting feature I had never seen before, but the whole setup looks clean and is new, so I'm happy....Bye Bye Univolt!

The city water inlet was relocated to just above the bumper, on the road-side, and it looks 100% better than the original inlet. The Bravura toilet is listed as a direct replacement for the Starlite/Galaxy toilet, however upon initial fitting, Ron found that there really wasn't any room to get the alcove to service the unit, so I upgraded the toilet to the Aqua Magic Style Lite...the pedestal is narrower, allowing easier access for service. All the new faucets are in for the kitchen, bathroom and shower...we went with a two-knob feature for the shower; easier for the kids to use.

The new ZipDee 20'9" awning has been ordered...I'm staying with the same color scheme, which came with the trailer when it was new. The new Dometic Classic RM2820 fridge will be ordered this week.

The new coupler and safety chains are also in...the coupler that is on there now is awkward and unsafe, in my opinion. The new coupler is actually identical to the one that was on my Sunline.

Now on to the innovative part of the resto The taillights were shot...buckets were rusted beyond repair, and replacements, as we know, are nearly impossible to get....South Jersey RV to the rescue. I don't know which one of the guys came up with this idea, but a new bucket was found, which was identical in diameter to the original...only problem was that it also had a pedestal. Easy fix, grind off the pedestal! A new hole was drilled in the center of the bucket, and the fiber optic cable was reattached. End result is I get to keep my taillights, and you'd never know the difference, SWEET!

I'm sure there are things I forgot to include here, but the end result is that 99% of the parts are in, the trailer is coming together little by little and I'm happy

I initially gave SJRV $10,000 and today I gave them another $4000. It will probably take another $3000 to finish completely....So the grand total is $17,000 to restore a 1971 Sovereign International. Given the purchase price of $5500, that will bring the total to $22,500. Is it worth it? You betcha! My trailer will be brand new, when it's done. I still couldn't come close to buying a new Airstream for that price, and the best part (for me, anyway) is that it's a 70's vintage trailer...my favorite body style.

The trailer will be finished by the end of the month, hopefully, but I'm in no hurry...I would rather it be done properly than quickly. If it's finished next month, I'll still be happy.

Frederic
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Old 09-14-2005, 09:02 PM   #2
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Hey Frederick,

When do we get to see pictures? The whole restoration sounds very exciting!
Wish I could drag mine down there! Diane
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Old 09-14-2005, 09:06 PM   #3
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Ron has been keeping a photographic diary, which he will give me, once the restoration is finished. I also gave him permission to post the pictures on his website, but I don't know when those will be posted. As soon as I get the pics, I will post them for all to see.


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Old 09-15-2005, 02:55 AM   #4
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Give Up Pizzas?

Fred,
Wow, $17K for restoration. Maybe I need to look into this line of work! Pizzas keep getting in the way of my true passion.

I agree...the 70's body style appeal to me as well!
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Old 09-15-2005, 03:18 AM   #5
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Ron,
We could use a decent AS repair shop in the Southeast...I have been looking around for someone to take care of my rear end sag...I am very short on time and momma wants the AS to use but so far I have not found anyone that I would trust with my silver...

Aaron
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Old 09-15-2005, 04:00 AM   #6
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Aaron,

How bad is your sag?

I've still got work to do under the front end of the Sovereign (fresh water removed for plumbing repairs and frame reinforcement is next on my list) but once I've finished it and sold the Overlander, we might be able to work something out.

Hey, I can coach you over the phone!!
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Old 09-15-2005, 04:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PizzaChop
Aaron,

How bad is your sag?

I've still got work to do under the front end of the Sovereign (fresh water removed for plumbing repairs and frame reinforcement is next on my list) but once I've finished it and sold the Overlander, we might be able to work something out.

Hey, I can coach you over the phone!!
Ron,
From the outside is doesn't look too bad, but the unit spent too much time near the coast, so I am expecting a bad tank pan and some frame/outrigger welding repairs. I can do the work but just don't have the time. I only get home a couple weekends a month and half the time I don't get a chance to set foot in it. I will stay in touch with you...I may be dragging it in it's half finished condtion down to AL to use while working...no motels in Mobile until after December...DUH! BTW I AM going to be home this weekend, the front interior panels are going back in and the kitchen is coming out for cleaning and putting new vinyl flooring down.

Aaron
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Old 09-15-2005, 05:22 AM   #8
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Speaking of removing galley, check out my new kitchen counter in the Overlander (with new Suburban stovetop). I ordered new laminate for the Sovereign and will do the same thing in it (except I'm going to let the countertop people do it this time, as I had to remove the sov countertop to make another one anyway). I found a sweet deal on a stainless steel front Suburban oven/stove that I'll be putting into the new countertop in the Sov.

Be careful of the strips of laminate in the front vertical trim channels as you remove the galley because mine always seem to slide out and break!
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Old 09-15-2005, 06:33 AM   #9
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Ron looks great to me! I might need to hide those pictures from my wife...she saw your bathroom pics and wonders why ours doesn't look that good Yet Other than the color the formica in mine is fine, might make that a project down the road aways...

I have a cabinet making metal working historic renovations sports car rebuilding background so there is not much I won't tackle and I am usually pretty happy with the end results...

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Old 09-15-2005, 06:39 AM   #10
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My Sovereign of the Road Restoration

I've started a Blog on the restoration of our 1958 30' Sovereign of the Road... the one I got from RichardT from Bat Cave. We will be keeping it up to date as we do the project.

Rob

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Old 09-21-2005, 01:00 PM   #11
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I spoke to Ron yesterday, and we decided to add some things and change some things:

One of the things that has been weighing on my mind, thanks to the many wonderful insights I've gotten from the board, was whether or not to carpet the bathroom. The pro is that you're not going to have cold feet, when you get up in the morning. The con is that when you take a shower, the possibility exists that water will inevitably get on the carpet, which will eventually lead to moldy carpet and rotted floor...an extreme I know, but like I said, it's a possibility. So after much consideration, we're going to lay down the flax-colored marmoleum. I can always put bath mats down over top to prevent the cold feet .

The next thing we decided to do was add a front curb-side awning, as well as an awning over the rear window....hey, it's an International! Why not option it out?

I don't necessarily have to have a TV, when I'm on a trip, but I love music too much to do without it, so Ron is going to install a stereo system...so I'm going to do my homework on something with both cassette and CD player.

The final thing I decided on was to have all the trim repainted to new condition. Since my 2500HD Ram is Atlantic Blue Pearl, Ron is going to redo all of the blue trim in that Dodge color. It's going to look damn sharp. The International trim will also be refinished.

That's about all for now. With the extra work I've decided to have done, the Sovereign definitely won't be finished until October now. I hope that I will still be able to take her out with the kids at least once, before it gets too cold. I'll keep you posted.

Frederic
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Old 10-23-2005, 08:11 AM   #12
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Wow, it's already been a month, since my last update.....time flies. I went up to South Jersey RV, yesterday, to take a look at the progress on the Sovereign. What I saw was breathtaking. The trailer is really coming together nicely. What first caught my eye were those shiny aluminum mag wheels....Damn they look nice! The brakes have been adjusted, and new shocks were added.

I got to meet the flooring guy...he was doing linoleum in another trailer, but he took the time to talk to me about what he was going to do....it will turn out nicely. The upholstery looks FABULOUS! The upholstery guy even made a set of wall pads for the bedroom to match the sofa. The TV stand has been relocated back to its original location and has been reinforced with a block of wood, so it's not going anywhere. The extra magazine rack was added underneath it and was also reinforced with wood. The original flimsy wood underneath the sofa was shot, so SJRV is cutting new pieces, made from 1/4" plywood...more than enough to support a bunch of people.

The stereo has been ordered...a Sony, I believe, with Boss (not Bose) speakers. The good news is that the Sovereign was pre-wired at the factory for speakers, so I'll have sound throughout the rig! SJRV will mount a flexible rubber antenna, like the new Safari's have, on the top front. The new TV antenna is on and looks nice, as is the cable outlet on the side of the trailer. The bathroom is back together...just waiting for the marmoleum to be laid down, before the toilet goes in. The windows are being rescreened and they look nice. The front window, which I found out was leaking, has been repaired....the front floor has a soft spot, but it is salvageable with epoxy. The new awning is on, but not tensioned yet...the work benches next to the trailer won't allow the arms to extend out, so that'll be the last thing done. The curb-side and rear awnings will be in this week.

The taillights turned out to be rusted, so SJRV came up with an ingenious solution to fix them and maintain their originality...they look great! The fiber optic line to the right taillight was also repaired. The entire trailer's water system has been redone with PEX. The new Suburban NT-30 is in, as is the new Shur-Flo Whisper King. The new mattresses for the beds are in as well.

The trailer is scheduled to be finished by next weekend, so stand by for lots and lots of pictures.

Frederic
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Old 04-03-2006, 03:44 PM   #13
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Did the Aqua Magic Style Lite fit in the original toilet spot without removing any of the surrounding plastic? Also, did you keep the fold down cover that was original to the bathroom?
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