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Old 08-22-2014, 10:28 AM   #1
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1984 29' Sovereign
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First timer from MN -- excited to be here, but w/ a curmudgeon at home

Hello!
I've just purchased a perfect, gutted, 1984 29' Sovereign from a friend. I'm working on a place to park her while I work on her innards, and I think I have found a place at a friend's house, about an hour from where I live. This dear woman's husband is going to help me tow her to their place (he is a boat dealer and going to ask his boss if he can borrow the work truck for the journey.)

He said to his wife when she asked him: "I don't think you realize how *$%-ing long 29 feet is..."

I know if I can get her settled in a nice spot for the winter, I can take my time to work on her and find a decent used vehicle for towing next spring or summer.

Here's the deal -- my boyfriend (of almost 4 years) thinks I've absolutely LOST my mind and he's judging me quite a bit for this decision, financially. I absolutely know that I'll be investing quite a bit and that this is probably not the most frugal hobby I could have picked, BUT I have a great response:

1. I work incredibly hard (50+ hours/per week)
2. I am using my OWN money (he won't put me on the deed to our place and I already spend a lot on that house)
3. I can't handle Minnesota winters much longer, so unless he wants me to leave the state altogether, this baby will eventually be parked somewhere WARM between November and April for getaways
4. It's like having your own "up-north-cabin" on wheels
5. Happiness is worth it
6. Did I mention that I work HARD and that I'm using my OWN money?

So . . . I guess I just wanted to say all that because I am really excited and I've got a "Douggie-downer" at home. I'm looking forward to connecting with others who share this passion -- I've been dreaming about having an Airstream for a winter getaway for a LONG time.

Thanks for being here for me, everybody -- It's going to be interesting!
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Old 08-22-2014, 10:55 AM   #2
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No matter what you encounter, keep the vision in your mind of what it will look like and where you will be with it. Doubting yourself is not an option. You can figure this out.

The money and work will of course be more than you anticipate so prepare and plan for it.

Figure out the basic principles of the Airstream's systems and how things are supposed to work before you try to fix them.

Resist doing cosmetic or interior work until the structural , road gear and dry-in is sound. Then tackle electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems.

Buy proper, quality tools when you need them. Do everything right, with the right materials. Cutting corners always comes back to bite you. If you are not sure of the right way to do it ask questions and post lots of pictures. (btw where are the pictures of her? )

Dreamers always get told we are crazy - that, has always provided me extra motivation!

When you are through, you'll have gained what is invaluable in life - plus a great Airstream

ps Jennie... tell the boyfriend he won't know what he's got til its gone
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Old 08-22-2014, 10:59 AM   #3
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Hi from AZ. . . and Welcome to our cozy (mostly) and pleasant (mostly) community. This is the place for information, questions, ideas and all things Airstream. Sounds like your journey will be interesting , at the very least. Regards, Craig
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:39 AM   #4
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new visionary

I was forced into this airstream thing by my S.O. and now I know more about a/s than she does! Do not let anything keep you from doing this project! this is not just an instant cabin, it is "snowstorm, tornado comin power is out again" backup living space we all need in this state of 40 below and 100* above zero. And we use it to get out of here as needed!! 18 yrs in an earthbound spaceship...........joe in minnesnowda
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jennie456 View Post
Here's the deal -- my boyfriend (of almost 4 years) thinks I've absolutely LOST my mind and he's judging me quite a bit for this decision, financially.
People used to say that I lost my mind after I bought my Airstream, too, so I just told them, "I haven't lost my mind. I know EXACTLY where my mind is… It's parked right outside, in my Airstream."

Don't you think it's weird for someone to say you're crazy for picking up a hobby that will help keep you sane?
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Old 08-27-2014, 06:38 PM   #6
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Welcome and you sound motivated so just keep your eye on the prize and you can accomplish anything! As for his and her money well my baby told me that what is hers is hers what is mine is hers and what is ours is hers any questions? I said no and have been happy every since! Take lots of pictures and enjoy the project you will find yourself excited about packages arriving from vintage trailer supply!
Cliff
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Old 08-27-2014, 06:46 PM   #7
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Sounds like your mind is set...nothing can stop you! Go fer it!
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:39 PM   #8
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1984 29' Sovereign
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Thanks to you all! Soon, I will be arranging a tow from my friend's place to her winter home. I found an affordable winter storage space where I'll be able to get to know her intimately this winter.

I think she already has a name, but I'm gonna let it percolate for a bit.

I am already at home in this community.
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennie456 View Post
Thanks to you all! Soon, I will be arranging a tow from my friend's place to her winter home. I found an affordable winter storage space where I'll be able to get to know her intimately this winter.

I think she already has a name, but I'm gonna let it percolate for a bit.

I am already at home in this community.
I'm a newbie here and still don't own an AS. But whenever I felt deeply about something, it's usually turned out right. Stay the course and the doubters will come around.
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Old 08-28-2014, 04:36 AM   #10
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Then I guess and that translates to hoping that some more pictures will follow? Maybe please (life is interesting when you are an aluminum voyer) plus you should stress your camera by taking pictures of everything before and after for you reference and some for posting. I missed taking just one picture and it took 3weeks to find the info that I needed. Oh yes my babe is also a Jeannie!

Cliff


Yes I said that! Or did I?
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:20 PM   #11
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Welcome Jeanie! One advantage of living here is you have several other Streamers in the area that are willing to swing by and help or visit. Including us of course... And you have other trailers close by you can go look at for ideas.

Take lots of pictures as you tear things apart. They do become invaluable.

Good luck on your venture. It's well worth it!

Chris
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Old 08-29-2014, 02:09 PM   #12
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Welcome aboard! Keep us posted!
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Old 08-29-2014, 04:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM66caravel View Post
As for his and her money well my baby told me that what is hers is hers what is mine is hers and what is ours is hers any questions? I said no and have been happy every since!
Cliff
Well said, Cliff. Following that philosophy has eliminated all of my marital financial problems.
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:53 PM   #14
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And have your idiot BF read our thread "Little Girl Refurb" in the 1972 section. It gives motivation to read and see what others have done and are doing. We are close to you so if you want to show him a redone AS, PM us and come on up!

Kay
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:39 AM   #15
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1984 29' Sovereign
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Update!

I ditched the boyfriend and I'm diving into renovation this summer . . . Her name is Norma, and she's currently gutted. I'm going to blog about her HERE, but I'll link progress on this site, too.

I don't know if you all know this . . . but your replies to my original post were instrumental in shoring up my confidence. It's largely because of those replies that I was able to clearly see that my own gut was telling me, "everything is gonna be just fine -- you are on the right track."

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Old 06-19-2015, 03:43 PM   #16
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Way to go Jennie, I would never tell you to do what ya did but sounds like you did the right thing, LOL. As the folks said earlier, pictures are welcomed. Hoping I can post one day of a purchase like yours! Good luck.
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Old 06-19-2015, 04:14 PM   #17
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Jennie,
That is a nice looking trailer! Welcome to the forums. You will find lots of help and know how on these forums. Do not get discouraged. You have a big project, but do it a little at a time. It will be worth it. Some of my best friends, i have met at and airstream rally and we have remained friends.
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Old 06-19-2015, 07:02 PM   #18
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If you want help or advice, you are welcome to PM us and we will see what we can do. Chris started a new job this week, so no traveling this summer for us - kinda hard to ask the new boss for 2 weeks vacation right off the bat.... We are in a northern suburb so close to you.

Kay
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:26 PM   #19
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First timer from MN -- excited to be here, but w/ a curmudgeon at home

The advice above about attending first to exterior concerns -- those involving the trailer moving down the road -- are easy enough to tackle and are the proper start in that first this is mobile machinery.

Tonight was the first time I've read this thread, I'm impressed, so here's my best at how to get it underway as a controllable job:

Tires less than five years old. Conversion to 16" LT-spec is recommended, which means new wheels (it's a huge dress up change, so enjoy. Hi-Spec and Sendel brand wheels). New lug nuts. Stud inspection. Tires and wheels spin balanced, plus Centramatic balancers. Dedicated torque wrench for lug nuts and high quality tire pressure gauge plus tread depth gauge. A box for these.

LED trailer signal lamps, new 7-way harness and breakaway switch, coupler inspection/repair, hitch installation (a Blue Ox Sway Pro is a decent choice; see e-trailer). New safety chains.

Bearing repack, axle strength inspection, brake inspection/repair. Axle alignment check). These can be done by a big truck trailer service shop; ask local RV dealer where they send motor homes for alignments). If your state requires trailer inspections then also do that here. It may be needed for registration, etc.

Once back home, trailer tires parked on pressure treat 12x2 6' sections with beveled ends. Squares of same under stabilizers and tongue Jack door. Even if on concrete. Tires then inflated 10% over sidewall maximum for flat spot avoidance (change before towing). White tire covers.

Replacing/repairing roof penetration items (such as new A/C gasket among all others). TV antenna mechanism overhaul. On rivet heads: Captain Tolleys Creeping Crack Cure; all on cleaned/prepped roof. Window seal. Window operation (including emergency exit). Door seal. Door lock worn out? Etc.

Exterior compartment new gaskets. New beltline vinyl.

Threads read on rodent and vermin seal. Pesticide use in interior. Pesticide barrier around exterior ground. Etc.

Exterior-to-the-body rust repair and POR-15 paint to same. Propane tank mount, tank inspection and recertification; regulator replacement and new hoses. Black pipe inspection and leak detection inside and out. Your propane dealer can handle these or recommend who can.

New trailer exterior electrical power cord and inlet. Buy the best, here. A. Are for this.

Same for heavy duty electrical work cords. If pulling power from a distance be prepared to spend on that cord. And a multi outlet. Contractor quality. You can always resell these on CL later.

Fresh water hose with, first, a multi outlet hose manifold. Then a vacuum breaker second, pressure regulator third and any cheap disposable water filter in line followed by 45-degree attachment at far end to let hose follow line of trailer wall from ground. Caps for any unused outlets. Plumbers Teflon tape or grease at each connection. A plumbing gear and supply box.

Probably will need to replace waste tank outlets. A Blue Boy tank is recommended, now, early on.

Smoke, propane and CO detectors installed even if temporary locations. Fire extinguisher inside door and maybe another.

LED lamp installation for interior fixtures to be retained.

Stove fan, light and vent repair. Furnace bug screen on exterior.

Six volt deep cycle batteries. A 45A Progressive Dynamics converter with Charge Wizard. New circuit breakers installed. New Blue Sea or equivalent fuse panel. A dedicated electrical supply/gear box. Multimeter.

LED work lamps on stands for interior work. Butyl backed painters drop cloths as some basic gear for interior work. A great folding chair and chair table. A 5' tall roll of Reflectix to cut to fit interior windows to control heat. A box fan for floor.

Maxx-Fans for ceiling vents early on for interior work. If A/C needed, Coleman Mach 8 low profile. With heat strip and condensate pump.

The selection on the Sealant Summary thread read and acquired. How to store those.

This would, for me, constitute what I'd want done for the trailer first. I can safely tow and store the trailer with some confidence. And, I can go camping in my aluminum tent should I choose. My work is now to the trailer interior.

I'm on my third trailer in about ten years, (one was interim) and have a good way to go on the present one. Some projects have been put off, and some problems appear only after a heavy rainstorm, for example. Let's have that last not be a heart-break. It usually is. Same for vermin. Same most of all for unnecessary tire failure.

Now, extensive photos of interior and exterior for insurance. I use a zippered three ring binder for these (three, actually), for truck and trailer records, manuals, copies of sales brochures, electrical and plumbing schematics and service provider business cards. Don't depend entirely on electronic storage.

Starting with the exterior in the above feels as though it has taken up a lot of money. Yes, but the interior will take more. Folks put off the above often till last.

I am not at all alone in recommending this course as it all has the power to turn everything else upside down. The items listed aren't complete (the classic black and grey tank roof gasket replacement wasn't mentioned as well that those stacks are firmly IN the tanks as well as attached to walls inside. Same for A/C drain line in wall), but as a list of what to do first, it's close.

I hope this post gives an idea that reading on each before tackling them will save a great deal of mental anguish. It all comes back to emotional roiling. Detachment of those feelings from a specific task and keeping those otherwise to the big picture as advised in an above post or three. One learns how long to go before switching jobs. Etc. It can be daunting.

While the exterior work goes along, have some threads to read on what may be most enjoyable to you in the future. As you work on the trailer I guarantee that your eye for things will improve. It will become easier to do the interior based on familiarity with the exterior and road going items out of the way.

No surprises at the far end of things. Confidence

The interior sort of never ends anyway. Always something.

Best of luck.

(Boy, I've written some long posts over the years, but this may be the longest).
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Old 06-19-2015, 09:05 PM   #20
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First timer from MN -- excited to be here, but w/ a curmudgeon at home

Of course I forgot one of the most important items, but I don't own an Airstream and it doesn't apply to mine:

A good trailer jack and absolute mastery of WHERE jacks can be used to raise the trailer.

DO NOT allow your trailer to be raised by any but an Airstream dealer without insisting you be present. Or that those points are very well marked if you leave it for service.

That the service manager be made aware of this concern, not just garage or office personnel. Put this in writing on the estimate paperwork that those points are marked and MUST be used. No exceptions. If he's at lunch, wait for him. Or go back to meet him. Best that he is impressed by you in person. After all, it may be a long term relationship.

Also, as to tires, decent ones would be Maxxis UE-168 (not 8008), Firestone Transforce H, or BFGoodrich Commercial T/A in Liad Range D or E. I'm recommending these as yours may be sitting quite a while. Cheaper than this is NOT recommended any more than are ST tires. Too many problems with gigantic heartache potential. It isn't the flat, it's the thousands in damages caused by blowouts.

Best tires should be installed once you're traveling a few years hence. And then the tire name should be either Bridgestone or Michelin. (Same for your tow vehicle. And that you don't need for a good while. A tire pressure monitoring system for both vehicles at a that point, plus TUSON electronic anti sway trailer brake control. And DIRECLINK brake controller, probably).

Again, best of luck.
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