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Old 10-18-2011, 07:36 AM   #1
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Overwhelmed-74 Sovereign.

My wife aquired a 74 Sovereign. The parts of the frame I can see look pretty bad and the floor needs replaced. The insulation under the floor is wet also. As far as I can tell, there is no rear end separaion.

I've been looking throught this site for a few days and I'm really overwhelmed. Do I need to remove the shell to repair the frame or should I gut the interior, cut out the floor and assess the frame that way? Are there any really good how-to threads for floor replacement and shell removal? I've found a bunch of them, but I didn't see any that cover the whole process.

Thanks for the help. I know this is probably a basic question and I should just use the search function, but like I said there is so much info here I don't know where to start.

Brian
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:42 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slou92 View Post
My wife aquired a 74 Sovereign. The parts of the frame I can see look pretty bad and the floor needs replaced. The insulation under the floor is wet also. As far as I can tell, there is no rear end separaion.

I've been looking throught this site for a few days and I'm really overwhelmed. Do I need to remove the shell to repair the frame or should I gut the interior, cut out the floor and assess the frame that way? Are there any really good how-to threads for floor replacement and shell removal? I've found a bunch of them, but I didn't see any that cover the whole process.

Thanks for the help. I know this is probably a basic question and I should just use the search function, but like I said there is so much info here I don't know where to start.

Brian
Brian.


Pictures and more pictures.

Andy
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:50 AM   #3
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ok, I'll take photos and upload them tonight.

Thanks!
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:21 AM   #4
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Welcome to the wonderful world of vintage Airstreams...Most travel trailers at that age no longer exist....I have done several ( retired / hobby ) I would drop the rear of the belly pan and work my way forward as conditions dictate. Its easier to assess the frame etc condition from below, repair from below or from above as needed. The belly pan is probably loose anyway and the insulation is probably bad and been a home to many pests thru the years. Once the repairs are completed from above or below...re-insulate with styrofoam glued to the plywood floor or foam sprayed to floor bottom, re-install the belly pan, seal it up tight and your "basement" should be in great shape for years to come. Think about the amount of water flying around the bottom of a Airstream driving in a modest amount of rain....The leaks are unavoidable....I have even installed drain holes in an attempt to let invading water run out vs: being trapped in insulation. Best to you.......ENJOY
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:39 AM   #5
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Brian welcome to the forums first of all. I have a 73 Excella which is essentially a Sovereign dressed up. I am in the middle of a shell off restoration of it. You can read my thread here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f261...ins-67532.html

I agree with Jim remove the belly pan and inspect the frame from below. From what you describe I suspect you may be facing the same shell off restoration. The work can be done shell on but in my opinion it's more work and actually harder to do shell on than off. I was overwhelmed and intimidated by the thought of pulling the shell. Now that I've done it I wouldn't hesitate to do it that way again.
The shell actually sits on the floor so trying to just remove the floor for access will require leaving some of the floor in place to hold up the shell.
If your trailer needs as much work as you describe then tear it all down, lift the shell and rebuild it the order it was built by Airstream in the first place.
If and when you get into it don't hesitate to ask for tips or pointers on how to go throught the various steps.
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:45 AM   #6
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Congratulations, you have placed a good down payment on a potentially great piece of recreational equipment. The next question is how handy are you and how much money are you willing to spend to complete the project?

If you have lots of money and little time or construction talent, be prepared to spend $80/hr. for a pro to fix it.

If you are retired and want to eat up a lot of your free time, do it yourself, but parts are not cheap.

If you really like camping, rather than fixing, just do the minimum to get it usable and go traveling. It will still cost you at least $1,000 to get it back to a reliable state. (tires, batteries, brakes, good hitch, furnace update, water heater update, converter/charger update, etc ...
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Old 10-18-2011, 11:00 AM   #7
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Don't think $1K will come close to getting it ready. What I have learned in the 2 1/2 years of working on my Trade Wind is that you can double the amount of money you think you will spend and quadruple the time it takes to do it. Understanding that on the front end will eliminate a lot of frustration as the project moves along. I don't want to sound negative I just want to let you know my experience. Bottom line, it will cost a lot more than you think and will take a lot longer to finish. That being said, I would not take anything for the experience of redoing my Trade Wind. Actually, I have been out there working on a couple of little things this morning getting ready for a camping trip.
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:04 AM   #8
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Slou92 what you are feeling is the Full Monty jitters. Trust me we all go thru it. Wasagachris is right I also believe that shell off is easier than shell on. I rebuilt a lot of the frame myself no easy task but not impossible. Pace yourself and ask lots of questions. Don't look at how big the task is break it up into smaller tasks. If something is out of your comfort zone (welding) get someone to come out to you. If you can maybe there is an expert near you that can come out to you to give you a plan of attack. Andy @ Inland RV, Uwe @ Area63, Lance @ Texas Trailers, Frank @Frank Yensen Trailers Colin hyde@ Colin Hyde Trailers and alot of members (including Chris) have given me lots of free great advice. Suck it up measure everything, and post lots of pics!
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