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Old 06-19-2011, 06:44 PM   #57
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1976 31' Sovereign
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I actually got to spend time on the project this weekend. Still not ready to remove the shell... I'm working on the road side belly wrap. I hadn't yet removed either of the tanks... so I finally got the main water tank out Saturday. Looks in fine shape, but I didn't know it had maybe 20 gallons of water in it... I also learned the hard way to read the BFM before starting on something like pulling the tank. I had all of the perimeter bolts off of the water tank tray off before I figured out that something else was holding it in place. Dummy.... I dug out that BFM I spent $100 to order from Airstream and read the instructions. Held up the tray with a floor jack and was able to release that center bolt finally, and get it all out.

No rust throughts on the trey, but some rust on the inside. Figure I can clean it up and maybe use some of that POR15 on it to clean it up for reuse later.

Next project is to remove the black water tank... that ain't going to be fun. It contains dried "stuff" from the previous occupants... guess no one thought to empty the tank occassionally. Once that is out, I can remove the rest of the road side belly wrap and get that much closer to pulling the shell.

Found it hard to believe that there was no easy way to drain the tank other than to use the water pump (long ago removed) to empty the tank. Wonder if I dare add a manual drain of some sort so I can easily drain the tank before putting things away for the winters around here.

Hoping to spend more time flat on my mechanic's creeper later this week to work on pulling that black water tank...
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:15 PM   #58
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Found it hard to believe that there was no easy way to drain the tank
Which tank?
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:54 PM   #59
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Found it hard to believe that there was no easy way to drain the tank other than to use the water pump (long ago removed) to empty the tank. Wonder if I dare add a manual drain of some sort so I can easily drain the tank before putting things away for the winters around here.
Mine still had the pump. I just drained mine one season. Filled it and drained it sitting in the same spot. Emptying the tank with the pump was about the only easy thing I've done on this trailer so far.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:52 PM   #60
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As it turns out, it doesn't look like I've got to remove the holding tank or the black water tank... figure once I get the shell off I can easily access the tanks to pull them out of the frame. I was thinking they had to come out so I could get the belly wrap off of the road side of the AS. Once I got under there and looked around, I decided I could get off the wrap without pulling the tanks. The fresh water did have to come out and I've got it all cleaned up and set aside till needed.

Wonder if anyone has used a composting toilet in an AS... I've had one in cabin before and it worked very well. It would be nice to eliminate the black water tank later but I doubt any composter would fit in the bathroom area.

Hoping to get the rest of the road side wrap off tomorrow.
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:00 AM   #61
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Oh, by the way, wanted to report and ask about what I found. There must be three sheets of galvanized steel under the two holding tanks... from some other reading it seems that to make any repairs to the dump valves they had to cut an access panel to the pan under the tank. That is certainly what it looks like under there.

I know the black water tank is dry... meaning there is no fluid in the tank, lots of other dried matter. Just hoping that other holding tank is empty. But if not, at least I should be able to pull the frame out from under the shell once I have it off.

Anyone know if that pan can be or should be replaced when this all goes back together (notice my optimism)? :-)
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:54 PM   #62
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Wonder if anyone has used a composting toilet in an AS... I've had one in cabin before and it worked very well. It would be nice to eliminate the black water tank later but I doubt any composter would fit in the bathroom area.
I know a guy who traveled hill and dale with a five gallon pail and a bag of kitty litter. When he was done he set it by the side of the road with a $25 sign on it.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:10 PM   #63
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LMAO Too too funny! My wife would shoot me! But interesting concept. :-)
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:46 PM   #64
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Finally got some time on the AS this weekend and again tonight. Working on removing all of the rivets along the floor shell joint. Here is a question, on your AS, was the belly wrap layered on the outside or inside of the shell's skin??

I know for a fact that on the curb-side it was layered on the outside of the shell skin because I recall thinking that it would be better if it was behind the shell so water didn't tend to run down the skin and behind the belly wrap.

On the road side, I had all sorts of problems with the belly wrap. On the road side, the belly wrap was behind the shell skin and proved impossible to fully remove because I couldn't get to all of the rivets. I've removed all of the rivets along the road side and I think that side is ready for the next step. Just have to finish the curb side and then brace the shell before I start trying to remove the bolts hoding the shell to the frame.

I also used up a quart of Chassis Saver on my flat bed trailer's frame. It needed some attention and I thought I'd try in on that trailer and see how it worked out before I consider using it on my AS frame. Seems to go on well, but only time will tell and I won't wait to see how it holds up on my flat bed trailer before I need it or POR15 for the AS frame.
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:56 PM   #65
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I just did my 31' and I used a rigid metal paint scraper stuck up under the outer skin until I felt it hit a "hidden" rivet head and then tapped it with a hammer and the hidden head is sheared off. Double check around the door and the wheel wells for hidden rivets and rivets that connect the belly wrap to a rib ... found a few of those too
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:29 AM   #66
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Phoyt, I had the same reversed layering on mine. One side actually had 2 outer wall panels. The belly wrap was sandwiched between them. There were hidden rivets, just as Darkspeed had. I used the same rivet removal process.
I saw your note on the internal bracing question. I used 2x6's with 2x4 cross-bracing. It seems to be holding. Let me know if you need pictures, I need an excuse to go putter around in the yard.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:18 PM   #67
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I found most but not all of those hidden revits on the road side. Got my shell off and still have some of the belly wrap attached. Figure once the shell is futher up and a bit out of the way, I can remove that belly wrap easily.

Here are some pics of my minimal bracing and how I'll support this for a few months while it is off.







I image this is going to be a real bear to get back on once the floor has been replaced.



The back hold down plate and the skin worry me. Looks in bad shape to me...



I have four sets of two 2x4s that run from the rafters to the floor. My plan is to run a single 2x6 between each pair to hold up the shell.





Another concern is just how I'm going to rest the shell on the 2x6. I saw one image of a shell off and on supports and it looked like it was just resting on the skin. However, that can't ge right... it must at least have been resting on the base of a rib. I'm going to see if I can't run a few 2x4s along the skin to support this on several ribs at once. Obviously want to avoid any damage to the skin that I can avoid.

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 07-13-2011, 01:41 PM   #68
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Pete, I used the 2x6 length-wise. i did not want the shell to buckle in the middle. I attached some pics of how I did it.

Mike
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:41 PM   #69
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Will this EVER go back together again?

Ok, the shell is off and waiting in the barn for the frame to be fixed up. I had to let all the air out of the tires to get it out of the barn and then lower it a bit to get the barn door closed.

Took about 50 pictures of the process today and then went down to my computer to examine the pics and upload a few to share... only to find the memory card still in my computer...

So I just ran out and took a few just for this post.

Is it possible to buy replacement channel for the back end of the AS? Mine is in bad shape and split almost in two, at one point.

Hope to have the remaining channels and the old decking off tomorrow. Will save the flooring carefully so I have it on hand later to help cut the replacement pieces to the correct size. Ordering 1/2 marine grade plywood. Was going to try using 3/4 inch for added support, but figure why add the weight and 1/2 inch worked for the past 35 years...

Can't wait to get the flooring off and really see the condition of the frame...

How much trouble am I going to have trying to get the shell back on once I have the frame and floor ready? Which I don't think will be for at least 3 months given all the work it needs and the fact that I'll be away on business for another month or so at the end of the summer.

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:22 PM   #70
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Pete congats on a successful lift off.

Too bad about the memory card.

The only C channel I've seen for sale is for the sides and it is the double C. If you wanted to use that you would have to cut off the lower section and then notch the top section in several places to make the curved sections.

Mark the location of the channel on the old floor so you can use it as a guide for the install on the new floor. You did things a little bit different as I left the channel attached to the end caps both front and back. You way may work out better as you can use it to cut the new floor.

I was worried as hell that the shell wouldn't fit back on but it actually fell right back into place and fit like a glove. Well a little like O.J.'s glove as I had to guess the contour of the curve for the curbside rear section of the floor. My old floor was so rotten in that place that I had nothing to use for a template. I had to trim back the curve a little bit and then it dropped right into place. Go slow and make sure you guide the front holddown plate behind the shell first then do the same for the rear plate. Start with the front one first as it is taller than the rear.
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