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Old 05-05-2007, 07:14 AM   #43
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pictures to help

I bought my 1986 last year and found the same frame issues you did. I didn't have the guts, time or talent to do the work myself so I took my trailer up to RV Restoration in Dalton, GA. Great guy and great work.

Anyway, one of the nice things about working with them is they document the progress each day on a website for your review. Hope the following link helps. Note there are links to 9 pages of pictures at the top of the frame and walk through the entire process. Airstream repair
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Old 05-05-2007, 09:03 PM   #44
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Water Tank Cracked

Thanks all for the comments. Got the water tank and pan off this pm. Dissappointing but tank was cracked at lowest probe and at drain plug at bottom - see pictures. Can this be fixed? I have my doubts, Anyone bought a new water tank for a 1978 Sovereign? How much and where?

Also the pan is very dented; guess I'll try and hammer it back into shape.

The good news is that the frame in the tank area is in very good shape although I have outrigger issues on almost all outriggers except the left rear roadside. Inside of the main frame rails except for the rear seem all O.K. The main frame rail from the front axle on up has issues. Overall I think that a welder should be able to do a good repair.

Would appreciate some comments re: repair of water tank or if not practical, replacement.

thanks,

John
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Old 05-05-2007, 09:21 PM   #45
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No big deal, you can have it welded, if you look at the pic it shows it was made that way.

Find a shop tthat does plactic welds.
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Old 07-14-2007, 08:43 PM   #46
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Help, Hello, and - Still Here,

Been awhile since I posted. Hard to get time to work on the trailer and harder to get time to post.

Almost everything off the bottom, and boy do I have some frame issues. Had one welder look at it and he said you may as well take the rest of the trailer apart as I am half way there, and put a whole new frame under it. He figured $1300.00 for metal and same for labour. Probably looking at $3000.00 and a bit more. I am tempted but do not know if I want to go there; that seems like the extreme, and $ is a bit of an issue right now. Would have to brace shell and cutoff perimeter holddown bols and elevator bolts on cross members; propbably not so hard but just think I want to go as little farther forward in the demolition as I have to right now.

Would just like to get this thing reparired and use it for a few years then think maybe about complete rebuild.

Right now, dropping black and grey tanks. Got toilet off and base flange by tapping flange with screwdriver as some have done. Have tanks almost all off - halfway lowered with floor jack - but grey water tank seems held up on front curbside corner end at inlet. How do you free this up? Is there a clamp? If so how do you get to it? There is a small piece of belly pan in front of the the tank pan - it is the only piece left - maybe I can free up the tank inlet pipe under there?

Anybody know (1978 Sovereign center bath)

John
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Old 07-14-2007, 09:33 PM   #47
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Sounds like the roof vent pipe in the front curb side?

As far as the frame without pics, no comment
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Old 07-15-2007, 04:57 PM   #48
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Bob,

You may be right. I got the rear vent off the black tank before I started dropping the tanks, and after your e mail looked at the top of my trailer and see a front vent as well. However, when I look at the drainage system schematic in the 1978 service manual, that front vent appears to be coming up from the piping ahead of the grey tank, and it only shows what I take is the intake pipe coming into the tank. In any event, that pipe into the tank must be held on by something. Is the inlet pipe accessible at all do you know, or is it a matter of removing some of the walls, e.g. the front bathroom wall or shoer stall?

john
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Old 07-15-2007, 05:06 PM   #49
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If memory serves me the shower drain goes into and is attached to the tank, and the vent is Tee inthere or another hole.

Take off the panel by the stall it is the one with a heat duct in it or where you step over to get in the shower.

When that's off you should see what you need to do.
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:04 PM   #50
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Quote:
Would just like to get this thing reparired and use it for a few years then think maybe about complete rebuild.
OUCH!

That much damage looks like the effects of salt water, where someone had it berthed near enough to the ocean that airborne dried salt and sea spray added damage every time it rained or even had a heavy dew, or a romantic run down daytona beach where they couldn't resist splashing it in the surf for a hundred yards...
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Old 07-15-2007, 08:58 PM   #51
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Bob,

I think you are right. I took some measurements and I think the connection to the grey tank is under the shower stall - that is the next thing to come apart Iguess. The demolition just seems to lead from one thing to the next! It looks like I will have this thing almost totally apart before I get done. Since this is the case, it looks like I will have to redo the bathroom. General question - should one keep it as original as you can or should I repaint those zolatone (?) flowered walls. I think I will at least repaint the abs shower stall, sink etc as it looks quite worn/dirty. I am kind of debating lightening up the dark wood interior which is a whole other project or is it now that I am this far.

Wabbiteer - yes the frame has issues. I will post some photos. I think it has alot to do with the way they lapped theo bannana skin on top of the side; the water just entered the belly pan and pooled there over time and rotted more than a few outriggers and the bottom section of the front rear main frame rails. My mechanic thinks he can repair it; I hope to post proposed appraoch once I get to that point. The plan is to get the frame exposed as much as possible then haul the trailer to his shop for the frame repair.
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:01 PM   #52
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Found it!

Bob,

You were right; it was under the shower pan and is accessed by removing the panel at the bottom. To do this you have to remove the shower curtain frame moldings on top bottom and sides. Picture shows drain pipe with hose clamp on grey tank under shower pan behind the access panel (removed).

Thanks.

John
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Old 01-21-2008, 07:15 PM   #53
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Update

An overdue update. This must be the one of the slowest rebuilds yet.

1) Frame Repair - Got my trailer to my mechanic who did some reinforcing that I feel lucky to have gotten. The frame was worse than he (and I) anticipated. He took some 1/4x3x4 angle iron and reinforced the main frame rails ffrom the front to the rear axle plates. He used an angle iron to cut clots into the outriggers where they join the main frame rail, then slid the 3x4 inch angle into the slot flush with the existing (and in places highly rotted) fram rail. It is somewhat of a "rebuild the Bismarck" type repair and I will have added weight but I think it was the only way to go at reasonable cost to get some confidence in the frame integrity.

After welding in the reinforcement on the main frame, he welded in some 1/8 inch wedges he had cut to order and reinforced the outriggers in most places from the wheels toward the front. A few are missing or will be reinforced later including the step support/ slides. That did the front.

For the back, he cut the rotted steel out and welded in some new stuff.

I am attaching a few pictures; the new steel looks a little rusted but a few coats of Tremclad rust paint (not shown for the most part) made it look a lot better.

2) I will post floor repair (in progress) update next.
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Old 01-21-2008, 08:03 PM   #54
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1) Frame Repair - Got my trailer to my mechanic who did some reinforcing that I feel lucky to have gotten. The frame was worse than he (and I) anticipated. He took some 1/4x3x4 angle iron and reinforced the main frame rails ffrom the front to the rear axle plates. He used an angle iron to cut clots into the outriggers where they join the main frame rail, then slid the 3x4 inch angle into the slot flush with the existing (and in places highly rotted) fram rail. It is somewhat of a "rebuild the Bismarck" type repair and I will have added weight but I think it was the only way to go at reasonable cost to get some confidence in the frame integrity.

After welding in the reinforcement on the main frame, he welded in some 1/8 inch wedges he had cut to order and reinforced the outriggers in most places from the wheels toward the front. A few are missing or will be reinforced later including the step support/ slides. That did the front.

For the back, he cut the rotted steel out and welded in some new stuff.

I am attaching a few pictures; the new steel looks a little rusted but a few coats of Tremclad rust paint (not shown for the most part) made it look a lot better.

2) I will post floor repair (in progress) update next.[/QUOTE]

It appears from your last photo, that the trailer has rear end separation.

Andy
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:45 PM   #55
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Andy,

What constitutes rear end separation, and what is it on the photo that identifies that? I thought from what I have read that it was more typical of the rear bath models. I do have a gap between the frame and the shell and it is probably more than the half inch plywood fllor that a removed and plan to put in once spring comes. I suppose now that you mention it I have more than a 1/2 gap where the floor would slide in; I was thinking once I bolted up the floor to the frame it would close up. I will have to take a measurement. If it doesn't close up would a spacer do between the bottomof the floor and the rear cross member? When I bought the trailer it had a 2 x 6 plank bolted between the rear frame rails. When I removed the belly pan in the rear I thought this may have been to reinforce the rear cross beam which was pretty much rotted and seemed to be slightly concave down what was left of it.

What is the cure if it is rear end separation?
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:50 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by toga
An overdue update. This must be the one of the slowest rebuilds yet.
Don't feel bad about how long your rebuild is taking. My remodel is taking me so long that I have not even tried to post everthing in a single thread. I just post parts of the job when I get too them.

Malcolm
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