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Old 09-27-2013, 09:45 PM   #1
land yacht living
 
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1973 31' Sovereign
Winter Park , Colorado
Join Date: May 2013
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Let the 1973 games begin

My husband and I are starting our renovation project on our newly acquired land yacht - 31' sovereign international. We have high hopes and a whole lot of questions. We just finished up with the easy work - general interior and exterior cleaning and carpet removal.



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Our next immediate steps are: 1. carefully document and remove all interior infrastructures (we want to reuse as much as we can) 2. strip the vinyl off the interior walls to bare aluminum. Any helpful hints and tips on removing the interior (kitchen, rear bath, closets, ect..) and stripping the inside are beyond welcome. We would love to hear from folks who have been there and done that! More pics and questions as we proceed!
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:12 PM   #2
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Welcome to Airstream renovation, a love story.
Start to remove the vinyl behind the refrigerator first, you may change your mind. This is not an easy job and the aluminum is not the quality of the aluminum that is used on the new Airstreams. Check the treads on removing the vinyl wallcovering.
Have Fun!
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Old 09-28-2013, 04:10 AM   #3
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1973 27' Overlander
Portsmouth , Virginia
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Welcome aboard and good luck. Get plenty of 1/8 and 3/16 inch drill bits to drill rivets. Take lots of pictures along the way. I'd go easy on the pressure washer, it can drive water in where it normally doesnt go and these trailers have enough problems with leaks already. You can check my blog for work I've done. If the axles havent been replaced, factor that in. At 40 years old, they are long overdue.
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Old 09-28-2013, 11:33 PM   #4
land yacht living
 
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1973 31' Sovereign
Winter Park , Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Pearl View Post
Welcome to Airstream renovation, a love story.
Start to remove the vinyl behind the refrigerator first, you may change your mind. This is not an easy job and the aluminum is not the quality of the aluminum that is used on the new Airstreams. Check the treads on removing the vinyl wallcovering.
Have Fun!
Thanks Blue Pearl - I have a good idea thanks to the other threads for stripping the vinyl. I am really committed to the process as leaving it as would not be the most exciting option to me. Welcome to the airstream labor of love story indeed!!
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Old 09-28-2013, 11:39 PM   #5
land yacht living
 
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1973 31' Sovereign
Winter Park , Colorado
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Originally Posted by aquinob View Post
Welcome aboard and good luck. Get plenty of 1/8 and 3/16 inch drill bits to drill rivets. Take lots of pictures along the way. I'd go easy on the pressure washer, it can drive water in where it normally doesnt go and these trailers have enough problems with leaks already. You can check my blog for work I've done. If the axles havent been replaced, factor that in. At 40 years old, they are long overdue.
Thanks!! We've already got extra bits in hand. We used the pressure washer knowingly as we are going to tear this while thing apart - we will not use it in the future moving forward to avoid the water leaking issue. The axles haven't been replaced but I know the trailer mostly sat in one spot, when the local mechanic put new tires on it, the breaks were in fantastic condition and so were the bearings... Now that being said - how do I determine if the axels
Need replacing? Is that something that you do because of age or actual non-working condition of the axle?

Also - where can I find your blog at?
Thanks!
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Old 09-29-2013, 06:23 AM   #6
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1966 17' Caravel
Newport , North Carolina
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Because your axles are torc flex (rubber core) they only last 10 to 15 years with frequent use 10 years if little to no use. When it comes to drill bits plenty for your trailer would be about thirty or so! We have a caravel and used over 17 bits taking it apart. Good luck we will be following your progress.
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:52 AM   #7
land yacht living
 
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1973 31' Sovereign
Winter Park , Colorado
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Because your axles are torc flex (rubber core) they only last 10 to 15 years with frequent use 10 years if little to no use. When it comes to drill bits plenty for your trailer would be about thirty or so! We have a caravel and used over 17 bits taking it apart. Good luck we will be following your progress.
Cliff
Thanks Cliff, we will look into replacing the axels and load up on a couple more bits - I think we have about 10 to get us started but I'll order some more so we don't run out.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:11 PM   #8
land yacht living
 
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1973 31' Sovereign
Winter Park , Colorado
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We got the inside cleaned up as best we could before we started taking the inside apart. We used a product called krud kutter and it was like the magic cleaning fairy came to visit. The only spot that it didn't work very well on was the bath tub. We aren't planning on reusing the tub so I didn't spend much time trying to deep clean it with the product. It's crazy how dirty it still is after all the cleaning we did. The work continues but so does our excitement!!

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Old 11-15-2013, 07:56 PM   #9
land yacht living
 
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1973 31' Sovereign
Winter Park , Colorado
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So after a long vaca from our renovations we are back in full force. We are almost done with the removal of all the interior walls, dividers, and appliances. It's amazing how carefully thought out the designers were when they put this beauty together back in 1973. We just found the sliding board under the stove that gives your more work space in the kitchen - genius!!

We will hopefully finish up taking apart the rear bath and dealing with getting the kitchen area disconnected from all the pipes and hoses. Only one really good photo from today, hopefully more tomorrow.



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Old 11-26-2013, 05:48 PM   #10
land yacht living
 
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1973 31' Sovereign
Winter Park , Colorado
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Just got back from a cold and somewhat slow night At the airstream. It was 18 degrees outside and we attempted to strip the vinyl of the interior walls. What we thought was turning out to be an epic fail ended up being a small victory resulting in hope! We painted on the jasco paint and epoxy remover only to find that nothing was happening. Then we layered it on really thick in one spot and waited a bit longer and while we didn't see any bubbling take place we were able to begin to scrape off some larger sections and make some progress. Can anyone tell me if the cold temperature was the main culprit in slowing the stripping down or was it the thickness of the stripper? Here is a pic of the small start of our big project.


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Old 11-26-2013, 06:37 PM   #11
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1969 31' Sovereign
middleboro , Massachusetts
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I have used Jasco and it does seem to not work as well in the cold. From all that I have read about it, people seem to have mixed results. Sometimes its a cake walk and sometimes it is a battle to the very end. For me, it was not a quick task. It took a lot of work and several rounds of Jasco. Best of luck on finishing yours.
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Old 11-26-2013, 07:11 PM   #12
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1957 30' Sovereign of the Road
1959 28' Ambassador
1949 24' Limited
Peru , New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drach123 View Post
Just got back from a cold and somewhat slow night At the airstream. It was 18 degrees outside and we attempted to strip the vinyl of the interior walls. What we thought was turning out to be an epic fail ended up being a small victory resulting in hope! We painted on the jasco paint and epoxy remover only to find that nothing was happening. Then we layered it on really thick in one spot and waited a bit longer and while we didn't see any bubbling take place we were able to begin to scrape off some larger sections and make some progress. Can anyone tell me if the cold temperature was the main culprit in slowing the stripping down or was it the thickness of the stripper? Here is a pic of the small start of our big project.


Attachment 200739
Why don't you just remove the interior skins, it'll be much easier, plus you'll get the opportunity to replace the insulation, upgrade wiring, seam seal the interior of the exterior skin. Or better yet, use the original skins as patterns & just fab new ones.
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:08 PM   #13
land yacht living
 
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1973 31' Sovereign
Winter Park , Colorado
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Why don't you just remove the interior skins, it'll be much easier, plus you'll get the opportunity to replace the insulation, upgrade wiring, seam seal the interior of the exterior skin. Or better yet, use the original skins as patterns & just fab new ones.
Colin
So we came to the same conclusion over dinner tonight. We are going to move forward to insulation and wiring by taking the interior walls out and storing them to use later. We will still have to decide if we will try and strip them after they are out or if we will use them as templates for new aluminum inside. What kind if experience do you need and/or special tools to fabricate new interior walls out of aluminum? It seems like a pretty intimidating task!!?? Any thoughts?
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Old 11-27-2013, 05:48 AM   #14
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1957 30' Sovereign of the Road
1959 28' Ambassador
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So we came to the same conclusion over dinner tonight. We are going to move forward to insulation and wiring by taking the interior walls out and storing them to use later. We will still have to decide if we will try and strip them after they are out or if we will use them as templates for new aluminum inside. What kind if experience do you need and/or special tools to fabricate new interior walls out of aluminum? It seems like a pretty intimidating task!!?? Any thoughts?
Great to hear, you won't regret this decision.
You'll need lots of 1/8" drill bits (I use "double end" bits available at Fastenal), clecos & cleco pliers (available from Vintage Trailer Supply), tin snips & an electric shear (you can get a cheap one at Harbor Freight for about $28). It might appear daunting, but it's really not that tough.
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