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Old 07-10-2013, 10:11 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Pluribus's Avatar
1971 31' Sovereign
Rochester , New Hampshire
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 13
New to this site and Airstreaming in general!

Hey folks,

I've never really rv'ed before in my life but have always had a secret love affair with airstream campers. Their looks, form meeting function and so on...
One day I decided to look on Craigslist for one of these baby's and stumbled upon a beautiful(to me) 1971 Sovereign International Rear bath double model. After looking into airstream campers a bit I contacted the seller to learn a bit about its condition and functionality. Certain components were missing or had been bypassed as it had been parked for five years. Black water tank was gone, the original toilet was replaced with a domestic, original plumbing including the hotwater heater was basically bypassed with pex. The camper was plugged in at the time we went out to look at it and the fridge seemed to be working but not really that well. The seller claimed that the hotwater heater still works as well as the furnace. The propane bottles were BBQ bottles and the hoses were shot. I expected most of these things as it is 42 years old. The exterior was covered in algae and only had only 2 "beauty marks"(dents) as he called them and a story to go with them. Awning fully functional without rips. The interior was in great shape and to me just really needed to be properly cleaned. The walls were a bit moldy. There was one spot inside where you just knew the floor was rotten away but all in all these things did not deter me from buying it from the guy. I told him that I was going to believe him that the talked about systems did indeed work but because other things didn't as to support dry camping, 3500$ was my offer. He ran inside to talk to the "boss" and shortly after he came back out to shake my hand. It towed home (70 miles) fine. Electric brakes worked well and running light were all operational. Was a little nervousness about the tires as they were sun beat. Got a nice parking spot outside next to my house and have already begun the restoration process on the necessary items. Pressure washing it with just water removed the algae and it already looks 10 times better. I live in New England and hope to have it fully road worthy by the end of the summer. I'm and electrician professionally and a handyman passionately so this should be fun. I've heard people talk about the challenges involved in restoring these beautiful American icons but I look forward to it. I like a challenge. Thanks for reading and any advice you may be willing to give.

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Old 07-10-2013, 11:20 AM   #2
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AirsDream's Avatar
1999 23' Safari
Perrysburg , Ann Arbor
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 914
Welcome to "Silver Central"!

Sounds like you're gonna' have a lot of fun. The bad news is that restorations always seem to grow exponentially once started. The good news is that there are still lots of parts available out there as well as folks willing to recount their own personal experiences. So - my best advice: ask lots of questions. There are a lot of folks on here with much experience with both newer and older coaches, and asking some advice here and there can save you quite a bit of grief and re-doing of just-done work.

Good luck and enjoy the trip, despite the occasional frustrations!

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Old 07-11-2013, 12:21 PM   #3
Rivet Master
RM66caravel's Avatar
1966 17' Caravel
Newport , North Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,286
Welcome to the forums and get ready for some fun! Rivets can be frustrating but since you will have to deal with them make it easy for you. Take lots of pictures and measure everything! Not like carpenter measure like 5 year old measure EVERYTHING and make lots of drawings then put them in a safe place for later use. Yes measure the couch cushions. You may find that some practical joker used 5 or 6 different size rivets. So a rivet bit may be better than the 35 drill bits I used.
Gotta get busy! Have a great day! Now where did I put those revits?
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:57 PM   #4
1 Rivet Member
Pluribus's Avatar
1971 31' Sovereign
Rochester , New Hampshire
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 13
Thank you both Rm66caravel and Airsdream for your candid welcome to the site! I'm really excited about the projects ahead. I've already had my Axels, brakes, wheel bearings and tires checked. Of which the bearings needed to be packed and tires replaced which I've had done already for a couple of weeks now.

The bath renovation is well underway. Total gut job. I'm working on getting pics uploaded but I'm limited to using my phone at the moment as my pc needs work as well. Priorities you know!? Lol. For some reason this site won't let me upload my pics because of their size. Weird. Please know I'm sort of computer illiterate even in the most basic of things. Anyways I've removed everything in the rear bath but the ceiling skin. The reason for this was the floor which was totally rotter around the entire perimeter of the bath. Pretty bad but apparently a common thing to happen to rear bath models. Huh! Currently working on cleaning up the frame that I've exposed and getting ready for paint. I also have the worlds most expensive piece of plywood ready to go in this weekend. Marine 3/4".

I've noted your tips you both gave and have everything I've taken out cataloged in the attic of my barn. Nothing goes to trash yet! I've posted a question about replacing flooring in the coinciding forum but haven't received any replies yet. Maybe I worded the question in weird way or it just doesn't make any sense and I'm out to lunch! Perhaps you might take a look at it please? Any insight will help, thanks again!
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