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Old 10-09-2008, 05:19 PM   #827
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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"It's not like we're taking it across the country"...

Here are some photos of the rotted frame. It's worse than it looks, and looks like about the front 14 feet of frame will have to be rebuilt or replaced. Atthis point, when you walk through the trailer, it feels like you're walking downhill after you get past the kitchen sink. The good news is, there is a donor frame here, we may be performing the largest frame repair I've attempted so far...
I'm currently weighing whether it would be more cost effective to repair the frame, or find a comparable unit, and install the bits and pieces we've already replaced in the "new" unit.
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Old 10-09-2008, 05:42 PM   #828
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Here are some photos of the rotted frame. It's worse than it looks, and looks like about the front 14 feet of frame will have to be rebuilt or replaced.
Wholly mackerel! Something rotten in Denmark, huh?

That looks like a somplete swap-out is the quickest way to go, providing you can find a donor frame.
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Old 10-09-2008, 05:49 PM   #829
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How lucky are you that you made it to California? Everything looked fine when I saw you last week. I wonder if it was just the floor and belly pan holding everything in place then. Best of luck with whatever repair plan you come up with.
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Old 10-09-2008, 06:15 PM   #830
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14 FEET? Wow! Is this only on one side or both? What does the trailer look like underneath with the belly pan on? Does the belly pan look protrude downward toward the ground?

I had some rust damage just forward of the door on the main frame rail on the bottom of the rail (curbside). We took ours out for the first time a couple of weekends ago and I have a slight "downhill" feeling near that area. I've been debating on whether to remove that center-forward piece of the belly pan to check it again. But, we changed several other things (new tires, the way it is parked in the backyard) just before we took it out, so maybe it's nothing. I guess the best idea is to drop that part of the pan again before cold weather sets in.

Great that y'all made it there in one piece. I got a little concerned about you all when we went a couple days without an update here on the thread.

The really good news is that you're in the best place on the planet to take care of a problem like this one. Would make for a great "how to" thread.

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Old 10-09-2008, 10:00 PM   #831
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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At this point, no matter what we decide (unless it is a radiator-cap-jack repair), it will have to wait until we no longer occupy Bertha.
We have a complete frame from a 1986 32' Excella sitting in the back lot, there is about 25 feet of 5" frame stock on the shelf, along with outriggers and braces, and I have a lead on a cool Argosy trailer. So, there are several options, depending on how we want to proceed. The Argosy is a 28' or 30' rear twin model (late 1970's). Decisions, decisions. The frame repair would be least excpensive, followed by front frame replacement, followed by complete trailer replacement, followed by full-frame replacement. I wonder who else has done a Monty on a Sovereign...
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:04 AM   #832
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Oh my!

It is a miracle you made it out west without even worse happening on the road. I'm so glad you're in California with Inland and some options rather than stranded out in the desert.
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:25 AM   #833
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Goodness, Makes me terrified to look under mine to figure out the rear end sag. On the upside, you are located at the right spot in terms of parts. Here is hopping you qualify for massive employee discounts
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Old 10-10-2008, 03:48 PM   #834
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Oh my!

It is a miracle you made it out west without even worse happening on the road. I'm so glad you're in California with Inland and some options rather than stranded out in the desert.
It's either a testament to the engineering of Airstream, or "God protects fools and drunks", depending on your perspective.
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:00 PM   #835
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I'm covering those squares. Plenty of room for compatible souls, too.

Glad you landed well, Terry. Looking forward to news of how you overcome this newest challenge.

Pat
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:51 PM   #836
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1993 21' Sovereign
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I'm covering those squares. Plenty of room for compatible souls, too.

Glad you landed well, Terry. Looking forward to news of how you overcome this newest challenge.

Pat
At this point, unless someone drops a 29 foot or longer trailer in my lap, I'm leaning heavily toward using the donor frame half to perform the repair. We'll be supporting the front, removing the lower interior panels, disconnecting the outriggers and crossmembers from the floor, removing the bannana wrap, LP lines, LP tanks, remains of the belly pan, and taking a sawzall to the front part of the frame, just forward of the water tank mounts. I don't think this would be possible with us living in the trailer, so it looks like Bertha has made her last trip for a while, probably at least several months. We'l continue living aboard Bertha until we find more permanent quarters, so we'll at least keep up this thread until then. There were several updates and upgrades I was planning, but I think they should be put on hold until the frame issue is sorted out. For example, I won't bother repairing the blanket locker until we are ready to tow again, as it is fine for stationary use. The same for the none-too-good tambours that I haven't replaced yet. Obviously, if something breaks I'm going to fix it, but I won't be continuing replacement of the clearance lights with LEDs, it's pointless on a trailer that can't move.
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Old 10-11-2008, 09:53 PM   #837
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Ignorance is bliss

It looks to me that you need...
Some POR 15...
Some belly pan rivits...
and a short memory...

Super glad ya'll made it to the new 'home' with a minimal amount of issues.

Sad that we didn't have the chance to meet before ya'll left our neighborhood...
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:26 PM   #838
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Sorry to hear about the condition of your trailer. It may be better to search for a comparable unit.

Once you get into repairs you may find yourself way over your head as other issues come up. I know, it happened to me once! It became a money pit. By the time I was finished I could have bought a comparable unit for much less.

There are a lot of nice units on the West Coast. In So Cal we don't have the issues so much with frame rot.
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:14 PM   #839
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4- When driving down the street, and you see a sign stating "caution: 11% grade" ahead, it would be a good idea to at least take your foot off the gas. That wasn't thunder y'all heard last night, that was the sonic boom from us going downhill...
I hope you got at least 1 good YEE-HAW!! in.... and then changed your shorts.

Tim
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Old 10-25-2008, 11:47 PM   #840
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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Training Day

No, not the Denzel Washington movie, but our spending most of the day at the Orange Empire Railroad Museum. Many of you know I have more than a passing interest in railroads, and railroad history, and have worked for a railroad museum, as well as being a director for another one. In fact, the proceeds from the sale of most of my toy trains financed the purchase of Bertha, 17 months ago.
We had nothing scheduled for this weekend, so decided to drive over to the museum, located in Perris, California. While traveling to that museum, we passed an air museum near Perris, and will go back there another weekend.
I won't bore you with the majority of the trip, as things like that may not interest you, but we enjoyed ourselves running around and over the equipment, and I got to ride in (and briefly run) a string of locomotives being moved for repair. Normally visitors are not allowed on the equipment, but they made an exception for us. I didn't have much trouble with my hip boarding and detraining, but next time we are going to wear hats, and sunscreen. I was wearing a red shirt, and my head is nearly as red as the shirt. Here's a picture of Frank, one of the diesel repair people on the property, driving our string of engines and cars:
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