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Old 01-15-2016, 11:23 PM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
Talkeetna , Alaska
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I just acquired a 1976 Airstream Sovereign 31'. It is going to require a tremendous amount of work, it has been partially gutted by prior owner. Here are a few pictures of the work I have ahead of me!
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Old 01-16-2016, 12:37 AM   #2
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Wuf! you do have your work cut out. Noticed you cropped the rear top right segment pretty much out of the picture. How bad IS it?

You've got to be tough to survive in Alaska - and you've taken on a project that will allow you to exercise a LOT of that toughness.

For a cold weather Airstream - read up on Prodex insulation, and on alternatives to use under the floors. Some have glued 2 to 4 inch styrofoam to the bottom of the floor between the joists. You might also want to consider a little marine propane fireplace (safer than a catalytic heater, draws air from the outside). You've got to circulate SOME fresh air, but be aware of every little source - such as the slots for the window operators. An overnight experiment using my pink duct tape convinced me that mine are WAY leaky. I don't want zero fresh air, but tonight I hang fleece over the insides of the windows using six little clear Command hooks with small slots for the window operators to fit through and still allow the fleece window coverings to lie flat on the wall.

And Tank Warmers - a frozen tank can burst - bad with white water, awful with black.

I have a bare aluminum interior. OK in Virginia - BAD idea in Alaska - check out "mouse fur" and vinyl alternatives, or line it in reindeer fur if you want a rustic look (reindeer hair is hollow making the fur lightweight AND warm).

Paula's brain is a hoarder's attic. Never know what little sniglet of information will pop out at 1:00 AM.

G'night all.
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Old 01-16-2016, 07:39 AM   #3
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I am not suggesting this and I refused to go look at it but I met a fellow in Vermont who had lined the inside of his AS with two thicknesses of carpet on the walls. He said it was very comfortable in the winter. Uugh.
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Old 01-16-2016, 09:04 AM   #4
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Congrats on the new2U trailer, but know that getting a good deal on a gutted trailer is sometimes a very bad deal. IMHO I would prefer to have the interior in place just so I could decide what to keep, what to rejuvenate, and what to throw away.

My tidbit of advice that I always give to people that buy partially or totally gutted trailers, is be careful to weigh items that you put back in and where you in the trailer you put them. For example, if your trailer had a rear bath and you ceramic tiled the entire bathroom, shower, and removed the front gaucho to create an open concept; you would have an untowable trailer as most of the trailer weight would be behind the axles. Don't laugh as this has been done.
The cabinets that I made for my 310 were face frame pine with pine doors with no backs, bottoms, and the smallest gables to mount slides. The top of the cabinets was the counter top. I was religious about weight savings, but I have a motorhome, which is not as critical as a trailer.
If you need a new subfloor, look at Coosa marine board. Low weight, high strength, waterproof, mold and mildew proof, and easy to work with.

Goodluck
Tony
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Old 01-16-2016, 09:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isuzusweet View Post
Congrats on the new2U trailer, but know that getting a good deal on a gutted trailer is sometimes a very bad deal. IMHO I would prefer to have the interior in place just so I could decide what to keep, what to rejuvenate, and what to throw away.

My tidbit of advice that I always give to people that buy partially or totally gutted trailers, is be careful to weigh items that you put back in and where you in the trailer you put them. For example, if your trailer had a rear bath and you ceramic tiled the entire bathroom, shower, and removed the front gaucho to create an open concept; you would have an untowable trailer as most of the trailer weight would be behind the axles. Don't laugh as this has been done.
The cabinets that I made for my 310 were face frame pine with pine doors with no backs, bottoms, and the smallest gables to mount slides. The top of the cabinets was the counter top. I was religious about weight savings, but I have a motorhome, which is not as critical as a trailer.
If you need a new subfloor, look at Coosa marine board. Low weight, high strength, waterproof, mold and mildew proof, and easy to work with.

Goodluck
Tony
Completely agree!

Watch your weight distribution when planning. When you think its time to start chalking the layout, stop, sleep on it some more and make da*n sure every aspect is taken into consideration before committing. IMO this is the MOST critical part of a gutted reno build. You can really screw yourself down the road if not well thought of. Outriggers and cross members can bend. When adding weight consider going low. The low center of gravity is always better. Consider using a scale to monitor the tongue weight during the build. Keep items that are heavy near the wheel wells of the trailer (towards the middle of the trailer). I like setting the fresh water tank in the front portion of the trailer below the front window to use a ballast tank for weight. the difference between a full and empty 42 gal tank is substantial. 8.34 lbs. x 42 gal = 350 lbs.

Good luck and stay positive. Patience is a virtue. Just remember "its like eating an elephant..... one bit at a time"......
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Old 01-16-2016, 10:57 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forums and vintage Airstreams! Maybe you'll be on the next season of "Building Alaska".

Kay
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Old 01-16-2016, 10:59 AM   #7
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Congratulations! I love a good project too. You will have a blast when you get it finished and a classic unit to boot!
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Old 01-16-2016, 11:22 AM   #8
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Hi from AZ. . . welcome to our world, that's a serious project ! We had the pleasure of visiting AK this past Summer, and we'll probably go again. . . Good Luck, Craig
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Old 01-16-2016, 03:08 PM   #9
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1976 31' Sovereign
Talkeetna , Alaska
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Thank you all for the advice. My first goal is going to be to finish removing what's left of interior, get down to just the shell. I will post pictures of progress.
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:33 PM   #10
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Sorry, I forgot to add one more item.....

Remember when adding cabinets into your layout for your new interior, to be mindful that these cabinets will be full when on the road when remembering weight. For example, if you by chance built the kitchen and bathroom behind the axles, and were very mindful of weight and everything was great when unloaded....but when loaded, the rear of the trailer could be 500 lbs heavier with dishes, food, can goods, drinks, clothing and cleaning items; which would be a bad thing for towing.

If you can, make a pile of everything hardgoods you will carry in the Airstream excluding food and clothing; divide the pile into front, centre, back of the trailer and weigh it. Add aproximately 100 lbs for food and the same for clothing in whatever section of the trailer you want them to be in. Trust me, it can add up fast.

Airstream had this down to a science when laying out trailers.

Cheers
Tony
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