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Old 05-15-2004, 12:24 PM   #1
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Just bought '85 Sovereign

I just bought an '85 31 ft Sovereign and I need advice. The front frame has pretty bad rust and also in the exposed steel frame in the back. Just find a welder to sand/sand blast and weld on some extra steel? Who do I goto for parts like vents?
What is a source for aluminum for lower quarter panels? Are the dealers like Inland RV or Bates the best source for the proprietory parts?
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Old 05-15-2004, 01:04 PM   #2
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Could you?

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Originally Posted by jperryfly
I just bought an '85 31 ft Sovereign and I need advice. The front frame has pretty bad rust and also in the exposed steel frame in the back. Just find a welder to sand/sand blast and weld on some extra steel? Who do I goto for parts like vents?
What is a source for aluminum for lower quarter panels? Are the dealers like Inland RV or Bates the best source for the proprietory parts?
jperryfly,
Congrats on your new A/S..
Is it possible for you to post some pictures of your unit's problems?
I did the rear several years ago on mine and, it really wasn't too hard to repair..
Just dropped the rear belly skin under the storage compartment by drilling out the rivets holding it up..Then, I worked the cross member under there with a wire brush..Repainted it and, sealed it off with Vulkum, and while it was still wet re-rivet the belly back to seal it real good..
The front frame is another story all together..
Are we talking about the A frame? or something else?
like further back under the Airstream?
Depending on just how bad that part is, you might want to delay any long distance towing until it's repaired.
On the A frame..You can scrape it down real good, and use POR-15 to protect it from further rusting..
Worse case I've ever seen was at the factory when a unit came in there from FL.The factory peeled the skin back to weld a new section to it~
We should have pictures to help guide you..
For vents, inlandrv could be a good start. Any of the larger A/S repair shops might be able to help. For panels..Same thing..
If you call the factory, they can give you some phone numbers to call for parts..
ciao
53FC
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Old 05-15-2004, 04:33 PM   #3
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Smile '85 Sovereign

Thanks 53FC, I pick it up Tuesday so I'll have to wait for pix until then. It has been here in Fla including the Keys so there diffenently is some serious rust. Yes the A frame and the box that goes in between it needs repair. Same for the frame in the back. The underpanels (quarter panels?) have some corrosion but not too much. Can you just get some aluminum for that or is better to order panels from a dealer? Then I have to look at brakes, the refer might not be working and the cover that folds down over the stove has some rust on it. Everything else is supposed to work. The skin is so so. It seems to have some mildew on it but the clear coat isn't all that bad considering 20 years if Fla. I didn't find any soft spots in floor and I stepped around door and bath. Of course, the carpet, drapes and upholstery needs replacing.
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Old 05-15-2004, 07:43 PM   #4
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That's interesting to know

Twenty years is a long time to be sitting in "coastal salt air" environment..as seen by the corrosion you mention..
There's several threads on here with info about replacing panels, and include some info about where best to order from.
Check out some of 59toaster's thread..if memory serves me. He's been thru it all..as others have.
You do want the brakes checked, wheel bearing repacked if not done within the last several years. (No more than 2 yrs for laps interval, as this should really be annual)
Frig may just need cleaning out in the back (in burner)..also check the top of vent for the frig..for sure you don't want any "wasp and/or bird nest" blocking it.
drapes, upholstery..
Those are the soft replacement items, and naturally you would want your own. (You know abt Ambrose? He makes the best replacement curtains, etc)
Sounds like you examine it as well or better than most..
I'll be looking for your pictures when you're able to post..
Question..
Has this used as a full-time resident,and parked all of this time?
ciao
53FC
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Old 05-15-2004, 10:51 PM   #5
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'85 Sovereign

It was not a full time residence. Part of time in Keys, part inland at Lake Ocheechobee and probably most in the driveway in Ft Lauderdale. It looked decent, I knew there would be some repairs and it cost $5K so I thot I was in pretty good shape. I looked at some at Port O Call in Melbourne, Fl and liked this one plus it was close to home.
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Old 05-19-2004, 08:25 PM   #6
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'85 Sovereign Rusty Frame

Now I've inspected my frame better and it is worse than I thought. The front frame needs to be replaced. There is a part of the A frame rusted away. I would be afraid to tow it very far. I peeled the first 2 feet of the under panel off and the rust goes back at least that far. I mean big 3" x 1/4" thick flakes come off! I live in Ft Lauderdale does anyone know a place that would be able to fix this? The back frame is pretty bad also.
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Old 05-19-2004, 10:37 PM   #7
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Ack!
You may be looking at a shell off frame rebuild based on what I have seen in others pics.
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Old 05-20-2004, 05:45 AM   #8
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Send a message via Yahoo to ddivell
HI, the best place to take your unit is to a Truck autobody repair shop, I have built many shops and they can do wonders with frames good luck.
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Old 05-20-2004, 07:02 AM   #9
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jperryfly:

There is an Airstream dealer located near West Palm Beach (maybe Riviera Beach) at the Blue Herron exit of Interstate 95.

Most importantly, the dealer works with a truck repair facility located next -door to have body work done on trailers. I think you should investigate that dealer. I visited the facility and was impressed by what I saw. If my trailer was in Florida, I would have had them work on it.

Since you are located about 30 miles south of the dealer, I suggest you drive there to get the full story. You can see the dealership and its trailers from I-95 immediately south of the Blue Herron exit of Interstate 95. Take the exit and make a right turn at the next intersection with a traffic light and make another right about one-quarter of a mile down that road to head towards I-95. You can then see the dealership or at least be able to find it in the business park type neighborhood.

Rick
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Old 05-20-2004, 09:21 PM   #10
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'85 Sovereign Rust

Thanks for the replies. I called South Fla Airstream and they were going to get back to me. Didn't really know what to say about the rust or how they would repair it, said they would call factory. I also called a trailer parts and repair shop and they referred me to mobile welder and trailer repair guy they use. He said it was worst he had seen but repairable without replacing frame. He gave me a $1,000 estimate to start with. This was after crawling around under the trailer and pecking away with his welding pick/hammer. He estimated about 25% of the metal was rusted away. I thought it was worse than that, but pleased to find someone who had a plan and was confident about the repair. $1,000 was not too bad to me . He also thought he might salvage some jacks from another trailer. Mine are too rusted to save. I hate rust. Ordered some POR-15. bought a HF buffer for $30 and a wool bonnet from them. Ordered a 3M 5705 bonnet. and found that there is a dealer for Southern Shine close by, Steeda Auto.$12.95 a bottle is that a good price?
Anybody got suggestions on gaskets, seals for door, window and vents? They have never been replaced, I figure now is the time. Brakes haven't even been used for a long time. They look like 10" drums. Are these standard trailer brakes or do you have too order AS brakes?
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Old 05-20-2004, 11:56 PM   #11
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Just a thought

Quote:
Originally Posted by jperryfly
Thanks for the replies. Anybody got suggestions on gaskets, seals for door, window and vents? They have never been replaced, I figure now is the time. Brakes haven't even been used for a long time. They look like 10" drums. Are these standard trailer brakes or do you have too order AS brakes?
jperryfly,
Sorry about your rusty problems. Look at the bright side.. At least it's fixable.
Brakes can be ordered, you'd do yourself a huge favor by ordering the complete brake hub assembly. Last time I checked, it was under 90$ per wheel, complete. Any A/S dealer should be able to help you there.
As for the seals, gaskets, etc. Try any of your local Home Depot, Lowes and/or A/S dealer. You will need to check your gasket/screen for the bathroom vent as well..www.Inlandrv.com has that for around 7$ or so..Be sure you order some Parbond and Vulkum for some resealing work as well. (It's alway great to have on hand to fix those leaks..Never use the dreaded silicone on your A/S~!)
To let you know this: www.gmccoop.com is in FL, and they do work on Airstream as well. Check em sometime.(Makes for nice afternoon reading)
ciao
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Old 05-22-2004, 06:14 PM   #12
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Talking Rust repairs

Airstream of So Fla never called back. Mr. Parrot of AS customer service didn't answer the phone for several calls and didn't return my call. Meanwhile, Germain, the French Canadian welder and trailer repairman, is grinding and welding away! Actually, he has worked a day and 1/2 and is hoping to finish soon. His work looks good and he is not fazed by rust. Did I mention I hate rust? All the under panels are now gone, or at least laying in my driveway. That will allow me access to wire brush and POR-15 every thing underneath. I was going to buy a roll of .020 aluminum to replace it with, probably 6061-0. Does that sound about right ? Do you need to have some one roll the side pieces? I'm building my second airplane so I've done a little of this, even though the airplanes are composite, you use some aluminum.

PS. Andy didn't call back either. He probably thinks I was his bowling partener. Maybe I'll get better reponse when I call with an order.
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Old 05-22-2004, 07:41 PM   #13
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I was going to buy a roll of .020 aluminum to replace it with, probably 6061-0. Does that sound about right ? Do you need to have some one roll the side pieces?
What little I have messed with on the belly pan where it comes up the side, I believe that is gently rolled. The aluminum is pretty thin, and wants to follow the outriggers anyway, but it acts like it has been rolled.

Mark
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