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Old 01-12-2013, 07:09 PM   #1
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1974 31' Sovereign
Brevard , North Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 5
Blog Entries: 9
AS newbie jumps in neck deep

So I am now among the ranks of AS owners that have a long road ahead of them to finish the dream. I have wanted an Airtstream for years until a relative called about a month ago with the message "I just passed a cheap airstream for sale on the side of the road." Well, 1 month later I have a 1974 International Land Yacht 31' with two twins and a rear bath. As with many AS newbies, I thought "I will replace some plywood, refuribish some appliances, add a coat of paint on the inside, and I will be camping in no time. Now that have learned a little more about AS construction I realize I am suffering from rear end sag (at a premature age I might add) as well as several other areas where water has been winning the war. The frame is sound except for the cross members around the grey and black tanks and of course the sagging of the main frame members behind the wheelwells. I have now completely gutted the interior and removed the bottom inner skins, the belly pan, and the banana wraps. The interior has been braced with a frame of lumber and tomorrow I will attempt to jack the shell off the floor. SCARY! Thanks to AirForums, everything has gone by the book so far. I intend to have the frame repaired and reinforced, paint it with POR-15, and replace the flooring (maybe with high density polyethylene board) before replacing the shell. Oh yeah, and I probably need to replace the axles while the shell is off. Then I get to start over with plumbing, electric, and appliances before I rebuild/replace the inside furnishings. I love a good project but oh man, not what I originally intended to sign up for. Thank goodness lots of people have been through the process before me. This will obviously be a major resource as I go. Will post pics as we go!
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:36 AM   #2
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1966 26' Overlander
Frozen , Tundra
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 85
Congratulations on your find ! If you haven't found yet, search hidden rivets before you start lifting as they almost got me. Also be sure the shell is well braced, I saw a post recently where underbracing caused some avoidable damage, wood is cheap, overbraced is better than under ! I assume with the leaks your trailer might have an odor ? I couldn't get rid of the odor in mine until I removed all the interior skins, old insulation, and old floor. The odor remained on the shell and took several cleanings of the walls inside and out and replacement of the floor and all old insulation. If your trailer is odor free I'm happy for you, yet oh so jealous ! You're at an exciting stage of the process, seeing the shell off finally gives a real sense of accomplishment, have fun !
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:28 PM   #3
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1974 31' Sovereign
Brevard , North Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 5
Blog Entries: 9
Making Progress

Quote:
Originally Posted by alumascoupe View Post
Congratulations on your find ! If you haven't found yet, search hidden rivets before you start lifting as they almost got me. Also be sure the shell is well braced, I saw a post recently where underbracing caused some avoidable damage, wood is cheap, overbraced is better than under ! I assume with the leaks your trailer might have an odor ? I couldn't get rid of the odor in mine until I removed all the interior skins, old insulation, and old floor. The odor remained on the shell and took several cleanings of the walls inside and out and replacement of the floor and all old insulation. If your trailer is odor free I'm happy for you, yet oh so jealous ! You're at an exciting stage of the process, seeing the shell off finally gives a real sense of accomplishment, have fun !
Thanks alumascoupe! Oddly, no foul odors in the AS. I have started a blog since this will be a complete shell off makeover. I will post pictures of my bracing in the next few days. Hopefully I will get some member opinions on the bracing before actually lifting the shell. I do not have a building to store the shell in so I am mostly nervous about anchoring the shell and the bracing frame to the ground while the trailer frame is being repaired. Im pretty sure I will be able to lift the shell without complication with my current bracing system. Thanks for the welcome!

Here is a picture of the lifting frame early in the process. I have not downloaded the completed pics. I added cross braces across the surface of the frame in an "x" pattern to reduce torsion forces and braced the front and back endcaps with 2x4s to prevent them from bending in toward the cener of the frame. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:35 PM   #4
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1957 26' Overlander
Winston Salem , North Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Congrats on your find...looking forward to following your blog!
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Old 09-21-2013, 12:11 AM   #5
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1969 29' Ambassador
brooksville , Florida
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I just came across your post. How are things going? Is the shell off yet?
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:47 AM   #6
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1966 17' Caravel
Newport , North Carolina
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Neck deep is the only way to do it! Never jump into the shallow end! You are doing great so far would like to see the recent pictures!
Cliff
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