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Old 01-02-2012, 09:02 AM   #1
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1978 31' Sovereign
Flesherton , Ontario
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'78 sovereign floor rot, window leaks

This trailer (31' sovereign, 1978) is going to be fun, but first the challenge.
At least one vista view window plus the front large window have leaked down the wall and rotted parts of the plywood floor along the walls.
How do I remove the plywood from the frame and get new wood under the walls and refasten it? Also, how do I remove the small rivets that hold the wall material on and then refasten the walls?

Any help would be hugely appreciated.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:13 AM   #2
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1973 25' Tradewind
Ringoes , New Jersey
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Welcome to the forums and...

Hi, welcome aboard!
The first thing to do is seal the windows with Vulcum or equal. The Vista is probably leaking from the outside edge where the glass meets the frame, or where the frame meets the trailer. The front window check the gasket (available new) and use Vulcum again as needed on the frame edge. To remove the walls you drill out the rivets, someone will chime in with the right size. You remove the lower interior walls to access the edge of the floor. There are many threads on floor repacement/repair. Use the search feature, or there is a sub-forum on it. Good luck with your trailer and keep us posted on progress. We love pics!! MPJ
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:32 AM   #3
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Welcome from West Grey

Hi Jim and welcome to the forums. I am right around the corner from you over in Durham. I'm glad to see someone else so close doing an Airstream.

The question you have asked involves quite a lengthy repair. To do it properly you will need to drill out rivets holding the interior skins(walls) from the shell. The floor has an aluminum channel around the edge of the floor. This channel is inside the shell of the trailer. it is what the exterior shell and interior skins are riveted to. The C channel is then bolted down through the floor into the frame outriggers.
The belly pan will also have to be dropped for access to these bolts.

Start by removing all furnishings in the area you are working on. Then drill out the rivets holding the interior skins again in the area you are working on. Then remove the skins and insulation from the shell.
Then you need to go to the outside and first remove the lower beltline trim by again drilling out the pop rivets holding it on. Once the molding is removed you will have access to the pop rivets holding the side wraps and banana wraps of the belly pan. These rivets will need to be drilled out to drop the wraps for acces to the bolts holding the channel through the floor into the outriggers.
Now you can remove the bolts holding the floor and channel to the frame.
There are also several floor screws holding the floor to the frame crossmembers. They will have to be removed.
Once all the fasteners are removed the section of floor will now be free to be removed. The front section of floor can be slid forward and out of the shell for replacement. The same goes for the rear section of floor. The rest of the sections will require cutting for removal and replacement. that is unless you want to remove the entire shell form the frame then they floor can be replace in full sheets.
I know this is a lot to digest at once but i can explain further as you get into it.
PS. I sent you a private message with contact info so you can call me directly for advice.
Good luck as you are now opening a can of worms. I suspect there is a lot more damage than you are aware of at this point.
Leaks of this magnitude are good indicators of more serious frame damage. Ask me how I know. LOL.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:56 AM   #4
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1971 25' Tradewind
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First of all, stop the leaks and get things dry.

Second, smaller sections of floor that are water damaged but are strong enough to resist a screw driver can be repaired with several applications of solvent-thinned epoxy. I used xylene - make sure you have proper ventilation. I've now applied epoxy over the most of the floor; as we incrementally disassemble and renovate the rest of the trailer we'll catch the missing bits.

Note that smaller rotted areas don't require removal of the shell, but if you're missing large chunks of floor at the edges it's really the best way. We were able to piece in the sections required for the Tin Pickle. You'll definitely need to remove the interior wall panels to be able to reach any fasteners holding the C channel down. Dropping the belly pan in the affected sections may also be needed. The trick with doing part of the floor is making sure that the new section(s) are "one piece" with the original floor; this means the joints need to not be on top of frame members so that large 3/4" plywood butt blocks can be used underneath to tie the floor sections together; several inches of overlap is needed. I used gorilla glue and laminating screws, epoxy or carpenter's glue works too. Fill any seams with thickened epoxy and it's one piece.

- Bart
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim78 View Post
This trailer (31' sovereign, 1978) is going to be fun, but first the challenge.
At least one vista view window plus the front large window have leaked down the wall and rotted parts of the plywood floor along the walls.
How do I remove the plywood from the frame and get new wood under the walls and refasten it? Also, how do I remove the small rivets that hold the wall material on and then refasten the walls?

Any help would be hugely appreciated.
The giant first step rehabing an Airstream, is to make it "waterproof".

Replace "ALL" the gaskets on the windows, access doors, entrance door and especially the sewer vent pipe cover gaskets, which only last 2 to 3 years anyways.

Then, seal all the windows by applying a sealer to the edge of the riveted frame, and then to the glass/metal frame area of the vista view, wing or wrap windows, and the stack windows, by covering the gray gasket.

Then, as your time and budget permits, all the other things are next.

Best way is to make a list, and then decide the priorities.

Andy
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Old 01-06-2012, 03:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
The giant first step rehabing an Airstream, is to make it "waterproof".

Replace "ALL" the gaskets on the windows, access doors, entrance door and especially the sewer vent pipe cover gaskets, which only last 2 to 3 years anyways.

Then, seal all the windows by applying a sealer to the edge of the riveted frame, and then to the glass/metal frame area of the vista view, wing or wrap windows, and the stack windows, by covering the gray gasket.

Then, as your time and budget permits, all the other things are next.

Best way is to make a list, and then decide the priorities.

Andy
Uh yeah what Andy said.
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:42 AM   #7
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1978 31' Sovereign
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more rot

Thanks for your replies. I would never have guessed that such knowledge would be so freely shared!

The trailer is in a place where no heat or power is available, and I can't easily move it - making this all very difficult. And it's cold.

I'm hoping to replace smaller pieces of the floor, but after removing the bed in the back, yikes, there's more... rot, about 6"- 1' most of the way across the end. And I suppose window sealant will not work in freezing temperatures.
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim78
Thanks for your replies. I would never have guessed that such knowledge would be so freely shared!

The trailer is in a place where no heat or power is available, and I can't easily move it - making this all very difficult. And it's cold.

I'm hoping to replace smaller pieces of the floor, but after removing the bed in the back, yikes, there's more... rot, about 6"- 1' most of the way across the end. And I suppose window sealant will not work in freezing temperatures.

I too hoped to replace smaller sections until I found extensive rot in the back end and decided the lot might as well come out since I had to take everything out to replace what had to be replaced.
I consequently have no floor in my '68 sovereign right now, and even in a supernaturally warm Manitoba winter it's a struggle. Fortunately I have the luxury of space in my in-laws pole shed which, though open at one side provides shelter from the worst of the weather and I have power as long as I don't draw too much (electric heaters are out) because a load of heated drinkers for the cows are on the same breaker. Even with my good fortune shelter wise it's a challenge some days..

I haven't been able to address the leaks yet either for the same reason as you, the temperatures are prohibitive. The only thing I know of that goes off when it's stupid cold is 100% silicone, but you'll probably have gleaned from these forums that silicone on aluminum is a big no-no. I have a previous owners efforts to clear up before I start..
I'm taking the view that as long as it stays cold, the snow (which blows into the shed) stays as snow and she will not leak until spring. By the time it does it'll be warm enough to use the proper sealant. Any leakage in spring will also be reduced by brushing the snow off before it gets to melt. That's my theory anyway....
I know this isn't the ideal way or order to do things, but you just have to do what you have to do...

If it's any encouragement, it can be done, it just isn't so much fun and you have to do things differently because of the cold..
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:57 PM   #9
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1978 31' Sovereign
Parkersburg , West Virginia
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I see it's been awhile since you've posted. Your photos are similar to what i found in my 78 sovereign and I'm currently waist deep in a full restore so I figured I'd link my thread here for you in case you decide to come back to posting your progress.

sovereign-31-full-monty
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