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Old 02-05-2007, 05:05 PM   #1
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And so it begins......

Well, it is official. We are in up to our eyeballs. We bought a 1972 31' Sovereign that we have affectionatey named "Ugly Betty". Her PO did not appreciate her hidden beauty or her charm. PO had inherited her from her mother 8 years ago and had just left her set and deteriorate since. Her tires had actually settled 3 inches into the sand when we went to look at her. We could not tell if her tires were flat or just buried. Her rear frame was rusted clear through on one side allowing the bumper to hang at an obscene angle. She was covered with mold, pollen and silicone. We loved her! Here she is the night we looked at her.


After we got her home, we knew the first order of business had to be the rusted frame. We are hoping to have her at least functional before the Florida State Rally. So we started tearing into her. Or more accurately my husband did. Bless his heart. Here is her poor frame.


Obviously the bathroom floor had to come out to access the frame and see what all we had hiding in there. Here is what was lurking under the carpet in the bathroom.


We became very, very scared. My husband tried to put on a brave face but I could see his knees knocking. And I swear I could see dollar signs when I looked into his eyes. But he was very brave. He started cutting, welding, sawing and cussing. After a couple of weeks he announced we had a sturdy frame. Here is how her frame looks now.




He is now in the process of replacing the bathroom floor.



Here is the new quagmire. The black tank. When he took it out to repair the frame and floor we discovered that it had been the source of the leak. There is a crack where the toilet flange attaches to the tank.



You cannot see it in this picture, but imagine a really heavy person sitting on the toilet and putting all their weight on the tank connection. That is where it is split. Luckily Betty had been sitting for 8 years and any smell that might have been associated with this issue is long gone. The question is can this be repaired or are we going to have to replace it. I have seen some posts and info about repairs, but they often refer to the type of material the tank is made of. All I know for sure is that it is not fiberglass. It is some sort of plastic, but I have no idea what kind. Does anyone know what the 72 tanks are made of and can they be repaired?
So the saga continues. I pray for patience, mostly for my poor husband, who is so good about indulging me in my pursuits. I wanted an AS and so we are trying to dumb through this project with no knowledge or experience.
To be continued....................................
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Old 02-05-2007, 05:15 PM   #2
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brave souls!

I think plastic welding is what you should search for. Some issues you may come across. I was unable to remove the toilet flange from our black tank. Yours may be welded to the tank. You might be able to cut the flange off and plastic weld a new one on, but I'd check with the new one first and visualize it out.

OR, you could order a new custom tank and be assured that it won't leak again. Here'ss one source. http://www.all-rite.com/

Nice floor job so far!
Marc
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Old 02-05-2007, 05:16 PM   #3
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Hi there, Well to start off the tank is made of ABS plastic and they can be repaired. How well is the question. Check in your local area. There might be a plastics outfit that welds plastic. If not you can get a tank made to the exact dimensions of your old tank.

FYI - The tanks were never made to be able to support any weight from the commode. Thats what the floor is for. So if you can get it welded it'll probably last a quite a while.

Those welds look good. I sure wish I could weld like that !

Good luck on your project.
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Old 02-05-2007, 07:11 PM   #4
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I See the Good

Hi and welcome to the FORUMS. Looks like you are proceeding in the right direction. You will have the comfort of knowing, that all the projects that you tackle first, will be items that will not likely have to be looked at for many years to come.
I see you have aluminum propane tanks, power tongue jack, awning, a Reese Dual Cam Sway control equalizing hitch,those are all great options in my book.
Take care, have fun, and continue documenting the progress. Love the pics
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Old 02-05-2007, 07:46 PM   #5
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Thank you for your support!

I should have taken some pics of the reinforcements he placed under the bathroom floor, but I didn't get there in time. He was concerned because there were no supports on top of the tank originally, only around the edges. So he made some center supports. He also had to add a support at the joint in the center since he didn't remove the whole floor. The portion under the shower and sink looked brand new. I will check around for someone to do plastic welding and keep you informed. I love this forum! It keeps me from feeling completely overwhelmed. At least there are people out there in cyber space that know what I am talking about and willing to help us. When I talk to anyone else about the AS, I just get that deer in the headlights look.
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1972 - 31' Sovereign International (Betty)
1964 - 24' Tradewind (Glory)
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Old 02-05-2007, 08:20 PM   #6
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The tank flange failure is common when the screws holding the flange are not attached to a solid floor because of the plywood rot away.

Now all the weight is on the tank instead of the floor.

The tank can be welded without a doubt, just need to find that shop to do it.

Sometimes RV shops will have that equipment, doesn't need to be an Airstream dealer any RV place.
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Old 02-05-2007, 08:36 PM   #7
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Old 02-05-2007, 09:20 PM   #8
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Hang in there, you're at the worst of it. Take lots of pictures (for the memories) as well as for re-assembly. (been there, done that)

You'll want to refinish all your bathroom stuff with a 2-part epoxy paint as it really improves things. Put a new Sealand china toilet in there and you'll feel uptown.

The good part about all this, is when you're done you'll know what you have. As long as you don't count your own labor, you'll be $$$$ ahead. (If you keep track of your hours involved, you'll probably wish you'd sprung $10K-$12K for a refurbished unit.) But oh, the adventure!!

When you get tired and discouraged, take a break! It'll still be there next week (and the week after, and the week after, and the.....)
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Old 02-05-2007, 09:42 PM   #9
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I appreciate the encouragement. I have seen posts about the two part epoxy, and it really does change the whole look of the bathroom. Right now it is a matter or priorities. Where to start!? I was to be road ready for the Rally, so we can't tear too much apart. He has been working in the bathroom and I have been tackling little jobs also. First came the bleach! Then I thought I would try tackling the vista views. All three of them are a mess. Apparently when they started getting nasty the PO's solution was to glob (and I mean GLOB) the silicone on them. So I started on the one on the curbside. I got most of the silicone off fairly easily. Then I just had the little patches left. And they have beaten me. I have tried everything. I have scoured this forum for solutions. First I tried looking for that Hoppes #9 solvent that I saw recommended. I looked everywhere. Got blank stares. So I bought some mineral spirits. I might have well just spit on it. So back to the forum. Found a suggestion for a pin stripe removing wheel, and I actually found one! Was so excited! Brought it home hooked it up to the drill and started removing. Or so I thought. Pieces were flying and progress was looking good. Until I wiped away the pieces of eraser looking stuff. The silicone was still there just like it was when I started. Sooooo. I went inside. Maybe I will try something else. I did manage to get the inside plexiglass out of one of the other vista views and cleaned it off from the inside. But there is so much silicone on the outside that it still looks like the surface of the moon when you look out. I am totally at a stand still with this stinking silicone! Don't know what to try next. Then there is the whole wing window subject. That was going to be my next project. Since I have not had much success with the vista views, I am afraid to think what the wings will bring!
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Debbie & Lewis Adkins
WBCCI #15754 --- AIR #18873
1972 - 31' Sovereign International (Betty)
1964 - 24' Tradewind (Glory)
2002 Ford F250 Super Duty
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Old 02-05-2007, 09:56 PM   #10
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Nice job! I don't exactly envy your predicament(S)-- I felt like I'd never finish all the prep- work-- the stuff no one sees! But worry not, it will be done and you'll be so happy you put so much work into her! My only advice... don't skimp, do it right the first time, and by all means, do something small but cosmetic durring all this "foundation work"-- it keeps the love alive!!!

BTW... I love your signature quote!!!
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:10 PM   #11
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You can try My Dads paint remover, it won't take off right away, wash it off in 20 minutes then it should peal off.
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:15 PM   #12
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1972 31' Sovereign
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I will try anything at this point. Do you have any idea where I can get it? I read on here that the Hoppes #9 solvent was available at Wally World. But I have checked 2 local stores and came up empty.
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WBCCI #15754 --- AIR #18873
1972 - 31' Sovereign International (Betty)
1964 - 24' Tradewind (Glory)
2002 Ford F250 Super Duty
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:35 PM   #13
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removing silicone

Debbie, If you can't find anything to dissolve the silicone sealant at a Lowes or Home Depot near you fear not! Just seek out a local hardware store and talk to the guys there about what you are trying to do. You know the commercial about "Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man"? Believe it or not the workers at homegrown hardware stores are very knowledgeable when it comes to stuff like this. Also try Auto parts place or a local glass shop... they may be able to sell you the stuff that they use to remove old automotive glass window sealants or steer you to where you can get it. See if they will let you have a small amount to test if it will remove your mess. Make sure to tell them what you have already tried. Keep up the good work and don't get discouraged. Sooner than you think you'll be enjoying your new baby and telling the repair tales around the campfire! Remember it doesn't have to be 100 percent to camp out in. Happy Trails... Ed
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Old 02-05-2007, 11:32 PM   #14
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Don't ya just wanna....

shoot the guy who put that silicone on there ?

Try this, Amtex Silicone Remover I have used this product, um , I mean am currently using this product. Because I too want to shoot the @#$& person that smeared silicone over 50% of my trailer.

I also have used Dads Easy Spray I think you can get it at Home Depot.

With both of these products patience is the key.

Some others have also had some luck with the 3M silicone remover.

My advice is to do the important repairs first then tackle the silicone a little at a time. It'll take a while to get it all off the outside.

Good Luck on the Silicone removal.
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