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Old 06-02-2012, 12:51 PM   #1
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,174
Images: 40
My turn...Rear End Sag and Repair

I have finally gotten around to disassembling the rear on my 1975 rear bath Sovereign. It ain't pretty!

A couple of things I have found out: if you need spare rivets (both buck and pop), cigarette butts, short pieces of copper cable, aluminum shavings and scraps or rodent excrement, the tank box is THE place to look.

I have also found multiple examples of Airstream's stellar quality control, things like putting the pipe band for the control valves on the bottom of the box so there is no way you can get to it. They apparently spilled a fair bit of ABS solvent in the bottom of the pan and dissolved a goodly portion of the EPS board. As well finding out where a couple of structural rivets that completely missed the channel. I wonder how much that had to do with things not holding together.

The really ugly; I need to replace most of the steel back there except for the main frame rails, the rear aluminum channel is in 3 pieces and is pretty beat up, and I will have to fabricate new tank boxes. The tanks themselves are ok, I need to weld the flange back down on the black tank.

Anybody have any idea if a new aluminum channel is even available for this year of trailer? I have found the older style channel at one dealer. I can weld this one up, but feel like a new one might be better.

Pictures will be along shortly...have to downsize them first.

Aaron
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Old 06-02-2012, 02:39 PM   #2
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1977 31' Sovereign
Tampa Bay , ^
Join Date: Jun 2002
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I bought my 77 Sovereign back in August, and the first thing I started on was tearing the bottom off the trailer. I saw your pics, and I am working on the same issues. I gutted the interior of my trailer and removed all the interior skins in the bathroom. The culprit for all the water damage is the rear tail lights as well as the wonderful design of the rear bumper compartment. If I didn't know better, I would have thought there was leaky plumbing in those lights. But alas, it is need of resealing.

I too found tons of "Airstream Quality Issues." Yikes! The factory date on my trailer was the day before Thanksgiving November 1976. That could have been part of the problem.

Some shots of whats left of my rear end... on my trailer that is.

77 Sovereign
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:32 PM   #3
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,174
Images: 40
Bit of an update:

My rear aluminum channel is rough condition, looks like corroded Swiss Cheese and it is in 3 pieces. I took it to 3 different welders that I trust (2 work for me) and they all three had reservations. So we are going to spring for a new channel. The tank tray channel and the hangers for it need to be replaced as well as the two pieces on each side that act as skids, good thing is that steel is easy to get and replace.

Aaron
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