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Old 01-01-2009, 01:16 AM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
Aransas Pass , Texas
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First time Airstream owner - yea, I'm a newbie...

My wife and I have been looking for an aluminum travel trailer to put my shop into before September when I retire from the Navy and we move to Colorado. This past weekend we picked up a '73 Soverign 31' for $1500 from an ad in the paper.

The PO partially gutted it and ran a jewelry buisness inside the trailer for a few years. The furniture is all gone and there are benches all the way around most of the walls. For me, this is perfect. I was looking for one that had a solid shell and frame (oops...) that I could put benches and work tables in for my gunsmith shop. Since the PO already did that, I don't have to feel guilty about hacking up an otherwise good vintage AS.

There's some severe floor rot around the door area and the rear bath area seems to be slightly sloping down towards the rear bumper. I'll be planning to replace floor and reinforce the frame behind the axle soon. First I'll completely gut the interior, what's left of it anyway, to make room for the repairs and allow for a more thourough inspection of the frame.

This website has already given me a lot of insight on what to look for and I plan to keep referring back to it as I work through the project.

See y'all around!
Paul
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Old 01-01-2009, 07:38 AM   #2
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1978 29' Ambassador
Walnut Cove , North Carolina
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Be careful, you just might fall in love and decide to renovate her and put her on the road. We bought ours with the intention of putting her on my husbands hunting camp but it only took us a day to decide she was just too beautiful for a bunch of yahoo hunters to trash!!!Now we are planning to take some trips with our beautiful princess as soon as we can get her road worthy.
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Old 01-01-2009, 07:55 AM   #3
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1972 27' Overlander
Graham , North Carolina
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Danalee just might be right. People from NC know these type of things.
Take care and good luck with the 73
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Old 01-01-2009, 07:57 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum. Anchors Aweigh - USN -Viet Nam - 1966-1967
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoMopar440 View Post
My wife and I have been looking for an aluminum travel trailer to put my shop into before September when I retire from the Navy and we move to Colorado. This past weekend we picked up a '73 Soverign 31' for $1500 from an ad in the paper.

The PO partially gutted it and ran a jewelry buisness inside the trailer for a few years. The furniture is all gone and there are benches all the way around most of the walls. For me, this is perfect. I was looking for one that had a solid shell and frame (oops...) that I could put benches and work tables in for my gunsmith shop. Since the PO already did that, I don't have to feel guilty about hacking up an otherwise good vintage AS.

There's some severe floor rot around the door area and the rear bath area seems to be slightly sloping down towards the rear bumper. I'll be planning to replace floor and reinforce the frame behind the axle soon. First I'll completely gut the interior, what's left of it anyway, to make room for the repairs and allow for a more thourough inspection of the frame.

This website has already given me a lot of insight on what to look for and I plan to keep referring back to it as I work through the project.

See y'all around!
Paul
Make sure that the trailer has been water proofed, before you do any other repairs.

Check all the exterior gaskets, especially the sewer vent pipe cover gaskets.

Make sure the entrance door is not warped.

Check for rear end separation.

Once the water is kept out, you can then proceed to rehab at the speed that your budget and time will allow.

Beefing up the frame has zero effect, unless the frame has been damaged. A slight droop to the rear, is normal.

Andy
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Old 01-02-2009, 08:57 PM   #6
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1973 31' Sovereign
Aransas Pass , Texas
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Thanks for the warm welcomes. Today I went out to the Trailer and got some pics in the before state. I'll just post a link to my Photobucket album rather than trying to post all 48 pics here. Here's the link ---> GoMopar440/RVs/73 Airstream Sovereign - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'll be towing it home from the PO's house around the end of the month. But first, I'll need to get the collapsed stabilizer jacks unbolted from under the trailer so I can roll it out from under the house and onto the driveway. From there I'll be pulling the old tires and wheels and checking the wheel bearings before putting on four new tires and wheels. After that will be buttoning up the loose belly pan under the bath area and side trim by the front street side corner. Before I pull it out of there, anything else that looks like it may come loose during the 5 mile trip home will get strapped, tied or taped down securely. Wish me luck...
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:41 AM   #7
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Yikes! What happened UNDER that AS? How'd the stabilizers get so bent up?? Between that and the dropping bellypan, I'd really check to make sure there isn't some serious frame damage there....
Marc
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:49 AM   #8
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1973 31' Sovereign
Aransas Pass , Texas
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I couldn't say for sure about what happened to the stabilizers but I have a pretty good idea.

The PO parked it there under the house about 4 years ago and the stabilizers weren't in that condition at that time. They had to let half the air out of the tires in order to get it to fit under the house. They never filled the tires back up and the rest of the air must have leaked down over time causing the AS to settle onto the stabilizers. Those stabilizers are not designed to support the entire weight of the trailer, just stabilize it from rocking. The jewelry shop equipment that was stored inside wasn't too light either so that didn't help things any.

I'm betting the axles are probably going to be shot as well given the vintage. That's one of the first issues I'll be addressing. If they've gone positive (upward torsion arm angle) I'll see if the PO will let me swap them out there on his concrete driveway before towing it.

I PROBABLY could make it home with bad axles since it's so close and it's only slow, straight back roads to get there. But with my luck, I'd be the guy that didn't make it home and you'd never hear from again. Better safe than sorry, even if it costs me more up front or takes longer to get it home.

Andy @ Indland RV - Could you PM me a quote for a pair of new axles for a 1973 Soverign 31' Land Yacht? Shipping would be to a commercial address at zip 78336. Just in case...
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:59 AM   #9
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1973 31' Sovereign
Aransas Pass , Texas
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BTW, here's the pics 3Ms75Argosy was referring to about the stabilizers.



With the flat tires and collapsed stabilizers there's only about 8-10" ground clearance to the belly pans. The complete underside inspection will have to wait till I can get it out from under the house. At least I'll have help...
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