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Old 03-27-2013, 08:16 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1979 31' Sovereign
Charlotte , North Carolina
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 6
Frame Construction Question

Hi all,

I have a 1979 Sovereign that is in decent shape but still needs some work and personal changes. I was wondering if anyone has suggestions for books/blogs/threads/etc that detail the construction and design of 1979 Sovereigns or really all Airstreams in general. I have experience with home construction but I am really in the dark when it comes to the Airstream. I'm quickly realizing they have more in common with boats and cars than they do with buildings...

Primarily, I'm curious what I'd find if I were to totally gut the interior down to the aluminum shell? Insulation? A metal frame? Plywood? I'm curious how the flooring system is built and how weight is distributed (I'm getting scared reading all about "rear separation"??). Any insight or suggestions of other resources are greatly appreciated. I'm just trying to get a good understanding of the structure before I start drilling holes in vital areas.

Overall, I'm really impressed with the breadth of information I've been able to read on this site already! It's really encouraging to see the projects everyone tackles and shares.

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Old 03-27-2013, 08:26 PM   #2
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2012 16' International
Jamestown , Rhode Island
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,271
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There are lots of pictures within posts here in the forum but you may find hat YouTube has some information for you too. Search for "Airstream Factory" in YouTube and watch a few of the old (and new) promotional videos were Airstreams are being assembled and you will learn a lot.

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Old 03-27-2013, 11:11 PM   #3
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1973 25' Tradewind
Beautiful , Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 547
Check this out for grins and giggles as well as information.

The Vintage Airstream Podcast | Vintage Trailer Resotration

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Old 03-28-2013, 05:48 AM   #4
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1972 29' Ambassador
1962 19' Globetrotter
1951 21' Flying Cloud
Central , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Don't be scared. Many people have done the work and documented it all right here for you to read. I would suggest you go to the "Repairing/Replacing floor &/or frame forum and sort the threads by clicking on the "views" column. This will give you threads with the most views on top. Then look for threads that are from 70's trailers. There are many with lots of pictures and drawings of the basics of Airstream construction.
Good luck!

Work is never done, so take time to play!
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:14 AM   #5
1 Rivet Member
1979 31' Sovereign
Charlotte , North Carolina
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 6
Thanks! All great suggestions. Bruce and Tony, I am definitely checking out Youtube and the podcasts. It's usually easier to understand with a video anyway.

Lance, thanks for the suggestion on how to sort through the forums. I've tried the search feature but a lot of what I find seems to be midway through projects so looking at the most popular threads is a great idea.
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