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Old 05-13-2007, 08:47 PM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
Newport News , Virginia
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Question Replacing wall skin???

OK here goes...we just bought a 1972 31' Soveriegn, we were thinking of stripping it down to the 'ribs'...how hard is it to get the new 'skin' in if you do so...where do you get the skin and how much does it cost....I'd really like to hear from some folks who have done this before....also is it possible to reuse the skin? maybe flip it over so it would be aluminum side out?...we're newbies so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:24 PM   #2
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1963 16' Bambi
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Are you talking about the inside "skin" or outside "skin"? The end caps are difficult to come by. Why are you thinking of new "skin"? Are yours dented, etc.?

If you just want shiny skin on the inside, you can strip the paint or wall covering [whatever you have] and shine it up... Some of the Airstreams have fiberglass endcaps on the inside, I do not know what yours may be. We have a 1963 Bambi [California made] and our endcaps on the inside are fiberglass. So... they wouldn't be shiny if we took the paint off! I have seen some folks replace portions of the inside to give it the high tech aluminum look on the inside. Pretty labor intensive, I think.

If you want shiny on the outside, it is a polish job you want. Fairly spendy if you have someone else do it. Many many hours if you do it yourself and special equipment, compounds, etc. needed as well. If this is the case do a search for polishing... you should get lots of info.

A little more info on your part will likely give you more answers! Post pics of what you want to replace.

Good luck.

Mrs. NorCal Bambi traveling in S Tardis
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Old 05-14-2007, 06:00 AM   #3
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monkeyboy,
welcome. Flipping is not an option as the rivet holes and cutouts will not line up with anything. While I've not had all of the interior skins out at on time, I've had large sections out. You can replace them with new sheet aluminum cut out based on the old sheets.

Sounds like you want to either modernize your interior or "vintage-ize" with the shiney interior walls. If so then consider what CaddyGrn mentioned about stripping the interior panels instead of replacement.

Either is a huge job, but replacement requires far more cash to by replacement aluminum.
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Old 05-14-2007, 09:33 AM   #4
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1972 31' Sovereign
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I'm looking at 'modernizing'....it has the rear bath and we are looking at moving to a 'mid-bath'.... I got the trailer for cheap so I've got more cash but lot more work...LOL... I'd like to rewire and update most if not all...I know I will need to relocate the blackwater tank, plumbing and make calculations for weight distibution....I saw in another thread where someone was saying most of the wiring runs down the center and branches off from there...I was thinkig I may be able to re-run that way and leave the side skins in place.??...fishing the wires down to where I need them??? Possible?? I know this may upset some people but I don't really have a desire to keep it vintage...We want practical and cost effective....

Modernizing is what we are looking at....it's pretty good shape on the exterior a few dents to work out but I'm not that worried about them...biggest thing is to get it usable ASAP...so the interior is goint to get the attention...I'm a carpenter by trade (so cabnets and repairs aren't a problem) and a general contractor so I can do a fair job at plumbing and electrical and have friends that can help me if I hit a wall on those issues...biggest thing is I've not worked w/ sheetmetal on this kind of scale...
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Old 05-14-2007, 09:47 AM   #5
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Here are some pictures.. of the outside...
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Old 05-15-2007, 11:58 PM   #6
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1973 31' Sovereign
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I have a 1973 31' unit that I am rebuilding. I took out all of my inner skins and installed new foil insulation. I scrubbed up all the skins while they were out by laying them on the lawn and using a small scrubber/buffer. After putting them back in I was able to prime them with two coats of shelac based primer (BIN or KILZ) and two coats of a quality latex interiro paint. I looks pretty much brand new except for a hole or two that will typically be covered up with cabinetry.

The main trunk line of the wiring does run down the middle of the ceiling. I found that all of my wiring was in such good shape that I am not replacing it. I will just make some minor modifications to hook things up in different places is all. If you intend to remove the existing wiring you will find it to be a bit dificult without removing the inner skins mostly because it is attached to the outer skin here and there with wire ties. Also it sometime bends around horizontal ribs or goes through holes in the frame. Fishing new wires down into the wall is a little problematic, again because of the horizontal ribs and because it would be hard to avoid scraping the wire insulation on sharp edges here and there. It is not actually all that hard to take the skins out and put them back in. I highly recommend carefully labeling all the pieces and taking photos of things as you take them out. All of the interior skin is held in place with standard 1/8" aluminum pop-rivets of the type you can buy most anywhere.

If you decide to take the skins out I can make some more suggestions about how to remove rivets and how to re-assemble when the time comes. Feel free to send me a Private Message or aks more questions here on the forum. I have not been checking the posting very regularly lately though so a PM might be a good idea.

Malcolm
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Old 05-16-2007, 09:40 PM   #7
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Thanks...I may do that...that would save some big bucks....I'm also going to check w/ my bro who works for Reynolds and see if he can get a deal on new...hmmmm...
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Old 06-16-2007, 03:43 PM   #8
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1986 34' Limited
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For those of you planning on painting the interior bare aluminum skin; you will need to remove all prior paint or glue and then etch it first or the paint will not stick well. There are several etching solutions available from most hardware stores. This same approach must be used on the exterior before appling clear coat or it will peal. The new finish needs to go on very soon after etching. And wash the etching solution off before applying the new paint or wallpaper. Hope this helps, Ernie
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Old 06-23-2007, 05:22 PM   #9
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What would you use to strip the interior aluminum walls? And, how would you know if you have all aluminum walls or if there is fiberglass? I have a 71 Ambassador International.
Thanks,
Sharon
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Old 06-25-2007, 12:19 AM   #10
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Sharon,

If it is like my 1973 you should find that the only parts of the interior skins that are not aluminum are the upper end caps at each end. On my unit both of these are one-piece molded plastic units that are either fiberglass or possibly something else like ABS.

Malcolm
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyboy
Here are some pictures.. of the outside...
Looks like you have a damaged entrance door frame and bad axles, amoung other things.

Andy
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malconium
If you decide to take the skins out I can make some more suggestions about how to remove rivets and how to re-assemble when the time comes. Feel free to send me a Private Message or aks more questions here on the forum. I have not been checking the posting very regularly lately though so a PM might be a good idea.

Malcolm
The interior metal is an important part of the shell strength.

DO NOT remove the interior metal, without first placing some stabilizing jacks on the frame.

When you remove the interior, the shell will "sag," unless it is properly held in it's original position, with the jacks.

Andy
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Old 08-08-2016, 06:01 AM   #13
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1972 29' Ambassador
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Looks like you have a damaged entrance door frame and bad axles, amoung other things.

Andy
Nice catch! That looks as bad as my old axles used to look. Wow were they toast!
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Old 09-08-2016, 09:52 PM   #14
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I just stuck sticking metal tiles all over interior walls. No prepping was needed on mine. I just pulled off the carpet and replaced it with the tiles .. Looks amazing Click image for larger version

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