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Old 05-06-2015, 08:26 PM   #1
New Member
Beavercreek , Ohio
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 1
Newbie needs advice

Today we looked at a 69 sovereign 29 feet. It's priced at $750. It appears to be original and in pretty good shape except for the back where the bumper attaches. It's pretty rusty and the bathroom floor is a bit spongey. What should I look for if I go back to look at it again? What is best way to evaluate rust damage? Can frame be saved?!?

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Old 05-06-2015, 09:06 PM   #2
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arktos55343's Avatar
1972 25' Tradewind
Hopkins , Minnesota
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 436
Would be best if the owner will agree to let you drop part of the belly pan, so you can look at the frame condition with a flashlight. Frames can be repaired if you have the skills and/or the funds. You already suspect bathroom floor rot. Check out the rest of the floor with a screwdriver or pick...check for soft spots. But really, if the bathroom is can probably assume there are other rotted areas....and you are looking at a complete floor replacement, at which time you can address any frame issues.

You might also search this sight using the Portal tab, for an inspector in your area. They will go along with you to do an inspection. But hey, for $750, you can't beat the price....unless you are NOT planning on doing a complete overhaul $$$$. Good Luck...and post pictures!

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Old 05-07-2015, 08:07 AM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,900
Welcome to the Forums!

By design, '69 and later trailers are particularly prone to rear floor rot, and a condition known as (the dreaded) rear-end separation. This happens when the wooden subfloor (which is sandwiched between the shell and the frame) rots completely away, allowing the shell and frame to move semi-independently of one another.

An easy way to check for rear end separation is to step up on the rear bumper and bounce lightly up and down while watching the rear of the trailer where the shell and frame meet. The two should move together--if you see them separating, then you are looking at replacing at least the rear most sheet of subfloor, probably doing repairs to the rear portion of the frame that is rotting away, and after you say to yourself a few times "well, as long as I am here..." you will be three years into a shell-off restoration. By the way, in order to replace that rear-most sheet of plywood, you will have to remove the entire bathroom, which is made of 46 year old plastic that will crumble as you try to take it apart.

So manage your expectations. The trailer is 46 years old, and you already know it has floor rot. It is very likely a candidate for a full rebuild. The $750 they are asking for the trailer (which is pretty cheap) will be long forgotten as you start replacing axles, appliances, etc..

Go to the "Portal" tab, and look for the buyer's inspection checklist. This will help you to identify all of the possible issues, and there will be a lot of them. This isn't about chewing the seller down on the price, as it is already little more than scrap value, it is about understanding how far gone the trailer is, and deciding if you are ready for that much of a project. Also have a look at some of the "full monty" rennovation threads. Most of these started out with a trailer that someone thought they would be camping in right away, only to discover rotting floors.

Good luck!
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