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Old 07-01-2017, 09:07 AM   #1
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1978 31' Sovereign
Newport , Rhode Island
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Newb, reno '78 Sov

Hello, I'm a newly single mom of 2 very young boys and trying to tackle my airstream renovation. I have a 78 international land yacht who was in need of a full gut when I picked her up due to many animals annihilating the place. It was used as a storage place for various items to include hay.... so you can imagine more than a few issues...
My ex husband (at the time husband) re did the frame (he's a welder), the interior had to be completely gutted, the subfloor was rotten with animal _______. The electrical had to be pulled out bc the wiring had been chewed through in multiple places... it has been an ever loving nightmare and definitely in over my head. I'm stubborn. And I'm military so I'm going to figure it out and complete it. But.... I would love anyone's feedback and advice along the way bc I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. I've been researching quite a bit on this site and it seems to be a really awesome community and would love some guidance. There's a reason why we had gotten this... unfortunately that reason is now null and void due to our divorce but I want to finish it now to have something pretty awesome not only for my sons and I to take our family vacations and make as many memories as possible in, but when I separate from the Navy I'm looking at us staying in it short term while house hunting in a new location... if i can finish it by then...
glad to "meet" everyone and please, help if you can 😣😣😣
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Old 07-01-2017, 09:31 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome. Sadly my technical skills and know-how are really no-how...so I can't be of much help with your restoration. But I wanted to say there are many exceedingly talented folks here who can guide you through and there are tons of information already laid out in threads that may be of help to you.

Wishing you and your family the best here on out!
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Old 07-01-2017, 09:37 AM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Welcome to the forums!

Your Airstream experience is actually quite common--the reality is that most of these vintage trailers need a shell-off, but it can feel crushing as you come to that realization, especially if you thought you would change the drapes and paint a little and be on the road.

Anyway, sounds like you are well on your way. If you have questions, they have likely already been asked and answered. I find that doing a google search from outside the forums with your search terms plus "airforums" usually is the most effective way to find things. But, if you don't find what you need, just ask.

good luck!
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Old 07-01-2017, 09:57 AM   #4
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Morrill , Nebraska
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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
Unless you are willing to spend $20K or more in renovation costs it will be almost impossible to put your rig back to being road worthy.
IMHO you should sell what you have then look for something that is a lot less work, time and money.
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Old 07-01-2017, 10:09 AM   #5
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
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Welcome to the forum! Sorry it has turned out to be a baptism by fire.

What percentage of the restoration work would you "ball park" has been completed? If you are in the 10-30% range, I would cut bait and sell.

If 40-75% done, how many hours and dollars are you willing to spend, and within what time frame? Labor hours greater than 1,000 would be easily possible, with costs of $20k as TG Twinkie just suggested could be a bare minimum IMO. Doing the work part-time, if you are also working full time and caring for the kids, you could be talking about 2-4 years of restoration work, if not more.

If the AS is already more like 90% restored, a different logic might apply.

To get good advice here, I think you need to be more specific about the data points above.

Dreams die hard, but a stubborn denial of reality can turn a bad dream into a nightmare.

Good luck!

Peter
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Old 07-01-2017, 10:52 AM   #6
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2018 27' Globetrotter
Hanover , Pennsylvania
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I think Peter makes some really good points. It depends on how far along the project is and how much you are will to commit to finishing it.

Could you post some pictures?
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Old 07-01-2017, 11:11 AM   #7
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Some folks have posted about their rebuilds over time where they used the coach as an aluminum tent while they saved enough to build everything they want in their coach.

Guiding principle - do it yourself - make it when you can - buy it only when that is only way to get it done safely and produce a safe coach.

Guiding principle - do it safe - tools can hurt you - heavy things can too

Step 1 - get it clean
Step 2 - get it sealed and dry - windows, doors, roof/skin seal, floor
Step 3 - make it safe to tow - tires, axles, brakes, lights, hitch & tow vehicle
Step 4 - make it functional and safe to use - elect, plumb, gas, tanks & vents
Step 5 - make it yours - furniture and fluff

At some point in time, you need to measure your skills, budget and time against the tasks required. Based on that consideration decide to complete or sell. Time may be the issue as there is no reason you can't learn to do all. Can't believe a coach used for feed storage will not be improved by your efforts. Just accept that your results need not be perfect, just functional, dry and safe.

Good luck with your project. Pat
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Old 07-01-2017, 11:35 AM   #8
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Being stubborn can be a great trait; it can also be your worst trait.

I would if I were you, I'd find an Airstream "expert" near your area that you could contact to appraise the project, your DIY skill sets and finacial ability to complete the project. Be prepared to hear them out as they will honestly appraise your ability to complete this monumental task; on top of the monumental task of being a single Mom to two young boys; all the while serving your country.

These projects tend to take three times longer than expected and end up costing three times the budget.

IMHO It soulds like you have too much on your plate to begin with.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 07-01-2017, 11:43 AM   #9
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champaign , Illinois
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Originally Posted by Isuzusweet View Post
Being stubborn can be a great trait; it can also be your worst trait.

I would if I were you, I'd find an Airstream "expert" near your area that you could contact to appraise the project, your DYI skill sets and finacial ability to complete the project. Be prepared to hear them out as they will honestly appraise your ability to complete this monumental task; on top of the monumental task of being a single Mom to two young boys; all the while serving your country.

IMHO It soulds like you have too much on your plate to begin with.

Cheers
Tony
Sometimes the best advice isn't what you want to hear. Tony nails it here. You'll be sooo much better off in the long run, financially, mentally, and actual "use time" if you were to sell your rig then buy one in useable condition but needs some work. You've got a great deal on your plate already! Sure appreciate your tenacity but for those that have been through these rigs top to bottom, it's a HUGE undertaking. Especially while trying to raise the boys and serve your country. Thank you for your service!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hang in there, tough times right now for you.

Mike
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Old 07-01-2017, 12:17 PM   #10
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I agree with the idea that this is an enormous undertaking for you, and that selling may be your best option.

Not all dreams are realizable at the moment, some simply must be delayed while dealing with other priorities.

As a young and working single mom of two once upon a time, myself, I know that this is a huge and labor intensive job.

I wouldn't add renovating an old motor home to your to-do list right now, honey, especially since you yourself do not have the skills to do this.

Focus on creating a stable life for yourself and those kids, and look for something more useable after you are thru the first year or two.

Good luck to you, and thank you for your service.

Maggie
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:19 PM   #11
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2017 27' International
SoCal , California
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You can do it if you put your mind to it. Everything you need to know is right here to do the restoration. Skills can be researched and learned on youtube. One eats an elephant 1 bite at a time. As said before : Clean it up, get it sealed, Make it towable. The rest is just time and money. One thing's for sure; if you DO decide to move forward on this restoration, you will soon be one of the EXPERTS on this forum teaching others like an old pro!!!

Go for it!
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Old 07-08-2017, 05:44 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by sandollars View Post
You can do it if you put your mind to it. Everything you need to know is right here to do the restoration. Skills can be researched and learned on youtube. One eats an elephant 1 bite at a time. As said before : Clean it up, get it sealed, Make it towable. The rest is just time and money. One thing's for sure; if you DO decide to move forward on this restoration, you will soon be one of the EXPERTS on this forum teaching others like an old pro!!!

Go for it!
Well said!

Please let us know how you plan to proceed!
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Old 07-08-2017, 06:25 AM   #13
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1967 17' Caravel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
Unless you are willing to spend $20K or more in renovation costs it will be almost impossible to put your rig back to being road worthy.
IMHO you should sell what you have then look for something that is a lot less work, time and money.
$20k is about right. I am over that figure with my Caravel and almost done. I could have done it cheaper, but elected to go high end with finishes and fixtures. Also includes new major components such as ac, axles, toilet, appliances, fixtures, electrical, lighting, etc.

good luck
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:19 AM   #14
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1972 23' Safari
Camas , Washington
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Pam and I took on fixing up a 72 23' Safari. We had no prior knowledge of what or how to go about what it would take to fix it up. We had a limited budget and time. This forum was my resource for everything we did plus a few trial and error and believe me lot of errors. We now have a very comfortable camping trailer. It might not be the prettiest but it is very comfortable.

A couple things if you decide to take it on. For me if I reached a frustration point I would walk away for the day. The next day I had a new fresh outlook. Another very important thing is to focus, focus, focus. If you are working on lets say windows for example, just work on windows don't be distracted by the 100 other thing you need to do, just windows! Make a list of the days plan and stick to it! Eventually you can make a bigger list and things will come together.
One more thing Research, Research, Research. Get as many pointers from the forum and you will find what works best. Good luck!
Here is a link to our restoration.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f420...ted-98384.html
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