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Old 03-18-2018, 07:16 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1971 31' Sovereign
White Pigeon , Michigan
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 44
1971 Airstream Sovereign Subfloor

I just purchased a Sovereign this weekend! I'm so excited but I am wondering what to do about replacing the subfloor. There are at least two spots that need to be replaced and I would like to see the condition of the frame while doing this project, but from the first panel pulled at the front it looks like the plywood sits under the C channel. What is the best way to do this type of repair work with the shell on? Thanks!

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Old 03-19-2018, 08:52 PM   #2
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,584
Images: 1
Hello from Colorado: Welcome to the vintage Airstream hobby.

Our seventies Airstreams are prone to subfloor rot, rear end separation, rusty frames, and cracked and buckled frames, especially the longer trailers. Other than that, they are pretty good trailers. All of this can be repaired.

I have a 75 Overlander. It had a classic case of rear end separation due to the rear subfloor rotting away, due to a poor seal between body and frame. I repaired this problem this winter. My rear end ain't separated any more. I also patched two places where the subfloor rotted through.

Then there is the "while I'm at it" project list. My black tank was broken, my gray tank woefully small (and your trailer doesn't have a gray tank I believe), my water heater and fridge were shot, and on and on.

It is possible to replace a large section of subfloor with the body on the trailer. I've not done it, but I've seen threads on the subject. I read about one fellow who loosened the body from the frame and elevated it ever so gently to clear the thickness of the subfloor and push it in from the outside. But my trailer has the upside down "F" under the "C" floor channel where the plywood edges are in the F.

You really should drop the belly pan to inspect the frame, clean out dead varmints, replace icky insulation, and see what the subfloor needs.

Take a look at the attached project thread on my 75 Overlander to see what I've been up to. It ain't pretty.


WBCCI #8607
VAC Region 11

Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 03-20-2018, 01:59 AM   #3
3 Rivet Member
1980 24' Caravelle
vallejo , California
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 107
hello emilyweave, if the rot is not to bad, you can replace pieces without taking the shell off. on my 80 caravelle i had o small[8''by8'']piece by the dorr , a much bigger piece at the rear . take all screws out off the c channel, cut out rotted pieces and clesn out the c channel. you may hve to cut aroud the main bolts[2 of them]. use cut out pieces as paterns. notch out new pieces for the bolts and add new wood screws. a little"persausion'' may be needed the get the new pieces to seat in the c channel. it's not rea[ly that bad to do. ggod luck. kurt
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