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Old 05-27-2008, 08:21 PM   #1
Lee Dale
1974 31' Sovereign
Jackson , Georgia
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 10
Talking 1974 Shell

I just purchased a 31 Ft Stripped to the rotten floor and am starting to rebuild. I fell lucky that the shell did not blow off when towing home. Did not know about the bent bolts were all that was holding it to frame. Been doing a lot of reading on line, trying to become educated.

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Old 05-27-2008, 08:48 PM   #2
Old Paint, rolling again.
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1973 Argosy 20
Lorain County , Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 556
Images: 12
Welcome to the forums and good luck Dale That's a big project! You can read for weeks here and just start to fathom all that you need to know. Please keep us updated and try posting some pictures!

Best wishes,


Have you never questioned those who travel? Have you paid no regard to their accounts- Job 21:29
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:15 PM   #3
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2000 25' Safari
West of Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,697
Images: 8
It's great to have you here, there is a ton of info here to help you with your project. In the blue bar above, there is a search function. Using this will help you narrow down your search.
I would use the advanced search(click the "down" arrow, you'll see it) and use the titles only section. Enter some terms such as "restoration" or "shell off" and see what pops up.
Good luck, and keep us updated on your progress.
AIR #15800

"Wimpy" 1/2 ton 2002 GMC Sierra 4X4 Z-71 Gasser
2000 Safari SS 25'
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Old 05-28-2008, 06:55 AM   #4
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1973 31' Sovereign
Danielsville , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 690
Images: 197
Welcome to the club


Congrats on your purchase and safe delivery.

IMHO, there are two ways to "buy 'em right".

Either spend the $10K-$15K and find a nice restored (or maintained unit) or buy nothing but a straight shell and frame for $2K or less and start over.

At least you'll know what you have when you finish and you'll become an "expert" along the way. (Think of all the tools you'll acquire if you don't already have them!)

There is much help available here and the advice is free (but sometimes you do get what you pay for).

Hang in there, start at the beginning (remove all lower aluminum, ie belly pan, banana wrap) and shore up the frame. (First, drive it up on blocks to provide additional clearance as you'll be spending a lot of time underneath.) Add reinforcements as necessary, remove excess rust, and seal up with a good chassis paint (POR 15 or the like). Work your way to the floor (replacing as necessary ), then appliances (and associated plumbing systems), then rework your cabinetry.

Oh yeah, probably better first secure any leaks in the shell (windows, rivets, vents, taillights, etc.) to prevent moisture damage to new floor/stuff.

You'll have many enjoyable hours where you will learn to love and hate your purchase, sometimes at the same time!

Anyway, good luck!

I have a few pics of my '73 Sovereign in my members photos which you may find informative.
Ron Kaes
Psalm 112
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Old 05-28-2008, 07:16 AM   #5
Got gandkids?
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1973 27' Overlander
'Possum Holler , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 5,253
Images: 39
Greetings from just up the road. There are several of us nearby that have early '70's Airstreams if you need to see a few examples. Do I understand correctly, are your interior walls out? Sounds like a good project. We'll be watching your progress.


Air No. 6427
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Old 05-28-2008, 07:46 AM   #6
3 Rivet Member
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1975 29' Ambassador
Littleton , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 134

Welcome and congrats. Have fun with it. This is the place to go to find info. Don't hesitate to ask questions.
Master of the Tin-Can
and thats not saying much
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Old 05-28-2008, 06:32 PM   #7
Lee Dale
1974 31' Sovereign
Jackson , Georgia
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 10
Thanks all for the encouragement and advice. I have taken down some of the interior wall in the rear. Found last cross member completely rusted away. Jim, I would love to see one that has been restored. I am trying to make up my mind exactly what I want to do. WE have a 2000 Jayco Eagle at 9800 lbs. I do art and craft shows for a living and $5.00 diesel is killing me. May do a body and running gear fix and put it on the road with minimum creature comforts and do inside a bit at the time.....Lee
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Old 05-28-2008, 07:54 PM   #8
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1975 29' Ambassador
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 517
Images: 10
Lee, welcome to the restoring-a-'70's-model-AS-tribe! Take your time, enjoy, and post pictures of your journey! You're in for an adventure. A completely rusted rearward cross-member is par for the course on these models. No worries though there's lot's of encouragement, examples and help here on the AIR forums.

“Complications arose, ensued, were overcome...savvy?”
- Captain Jack Sparrow
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:27 PM   #9
Lee Dale
1974 31' Sovereign
Jackson , Georgia
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 10
Exclamation Width of floor

I have finally got all of the frame welded and am fixto instsll a floor. Does anyone know thre width to cut the floor pieces from 4 feet? I did not have a whole portion of a sheet to measure. All of the sides were rotton and crumblrd away. I wonder what kept the sides from falling in as all of my outriggers are shrteer than the floor.
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:53 AM   #10
4 Rivet Member
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1975 31' Sovereign
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 494

Lee I do not know that width. But I know many here will.
I am just glad to see you have come back to the forum to keep us up with your project.
Do not let slow response to your questions discourage you from keeping asking. Often the posts slip off the portal (as new posts and threads crowd them down and off the list).
Is your Sovereign a rear bath?
You are fortunate that you have a '74 an not a '73 or older, as you have a grey water holding tank.
Do you have a Service Manual?

Don't be a stranger, please keep the forums posted on your progress or lack of it.
____ d'drummer ____

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Old 02-14-2009, 08:35 PM   #11
Lee Dale
1974 31' Sovereign
Jackson , Georgia
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 10
Mine is a center bath,Thanks
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Old 02-15-2009, 04:37 AM   #12
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1973 27' Overlander
Loganville , Georgia
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,713

Congrats on your purchase. As Jim said there are lots of us around the area who have restored and airstream, or are in the process of restoring airstreams. I have personally met 5 to 6 in the North Georgia area and they are all wonderful people. I have learned so much from these folks.

Pizza Chop good to see you back on the forums.

Brian & Adrienne
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:53 AM   #13
4 Rivet Member
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1972 25' Tradewind
old mystic , Connecticut
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 320
Everyone here will be extremely encouraging. Suck up their knowledge and don't be shy. Heck nobody laughed at me when I first came on here aned said "nope our AS doesn't have a black water tank" They just very nicely pointed out to where it was!

We too are going the strip and re-do route. This is a link to what we are doing, also replace the floor stringer and outriggers in the front and this week we'll get the back ones done. Harold, my husband added another front floor stringer that runs front to back so that he would install the front floor in 2 pieces, he cut a template out of cardboard then transfered it to the plywood. I'll try and link a picture. The piece he added is in the upper left of the picture, It runs front the front back to the watertank.

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