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Old 01-30-2011, 04:00 PM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
asheville , North Carolina
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Question What to do with interior paneling, etc?

JUST got our '73 airstream sovereign (covered in mold) up the driveway, ready to clean and rework...the interior is all original, including vinyl paneling. Some of it might still work and be of value to purists out there--unfortunately, we don't really like how dark and plastic-y it looks, thinking about gutting everything, cabinets, counters, sink, appliances, etc...Thoughts? Anyone willing to estimate a value range that we could ask for what we pull out? Thanks! T&G

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Old 01-30-2011, 04:17 PM   #2
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1978 28' Ambassador
Morada , California
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Some thoughts...for the most part, much of the older interior cabinet materials aren't of much use after you get em' removed - but if serviceable, you might wish to offer them to another Airstreamer' that wants to come by and pick em' up - that's what we did with our stuff - finding a new Airstream 'home' was reward enough for us...

As for the appliances, that's usually another story, if they're still in working order and haven't been 'knocked' around...then's it's a case of asking for offers, etc., however most stuff of that vintage is probably not very 'valuable' in most 'eyes'...

There may be some fixtures that you're updating that could well be of some use to other Airstreamers - vents, light fixtures, come to mind - we replaced all of ours and most of the stuff found their way to older trailers that still used the vintage parts - a bottle of wine or some good karma was usually the 'cost'...if you get my drift...

In actuality, we were just happy to see our 'vintage' treasures that we'd removed had found a new 'home'...

Have fun with your 'new' project - post some pic's for us all to see as you get into it....

Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
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Old 01-30-2011, 05:38 PM   #3
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Ottawa , ON
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Welcome to, the best spot in the world to find answers to questions that have anything to do with Airstream!

The only comment I would have about your post is that be sure you have finalized your new interior's design, since those slimy old dark plasticky panels carry the secret of the curves you will have to cut to if you make new walls (bulkheads).

C'mon, share some "before" photos of you new baby with us! Inside and out!
If it's to be, it's up to me.
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Old 01-30-2011, 05:51 PM   #4
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Morrill , Nebraska
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Be Careful not to create more work than necessary

I used "Simple Green" to clean every surface in the trailer. Spray it on full strength in areas about 3 foot square and rinse it off with clear water.
I removed all of the lower cabinets in the galley, designed and built new cabinet boxes, face frames and doors; also removed the doors from the upper cabinets, (they were the type that lifted up) I left the upper cabinet frames in place and built new face frames and doors. If you check out my blog, you will see the before and after. In the galley I simply cut panels to cover up the old plastic looking stuff on the end walls.
Haven't attacked the berthing area yet. Thought I might try painting the dark brown surfaces with some of this new paint designed for vinyl. If that doesn't come out looking the way I like, I''l either tear it out or cover it up. I'm sure it would have to be really clean before I could paint it with any success.
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:39 PM   #5
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1972 31' Sovereign
Des Moines , Washington
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I too have a 73 sovereign! And love it so, but if you are removing parts and pieces? I have looked high and low for the trambor door under the stove (don't want to buy new) would you be willing to sell it to me? It's the only one I need! And I am sure the Airstream gods will reward you with taking pity on another 73 sovereign owner!

Thanks for thinking

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Old 01-30-2011, 07:23 PM   #6
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1972 25' Tradewind
Houston , Texas
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I wasn't a big fan of the plastic woodgrain in my 72 Tradewind so I replaced the front panels with RedOak paneling and used veneer wood to overlay the plastic. It looked great and gave the whole trailer the real wood feeling. Stained it to match the original tambour panels.
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:24 PM   #7
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1972 29' Ambassador
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As to mold - mildew, I found the orange liquid spic and span cleanser diluted 1/2 & 1/2 sprayed on and nylon bristle brushed cleaned everything out of the pores & texture of the interior liner vinyl of my 73. I tried the graffitti removers, mixes of solvents and many household cleaners - and the spic'n span with some elbow grease cleaned even the remains of someones no-wax floor polish experiments and all traces of oils and grease streaks.

And... The hidden areas behind the built ins and galley, etc. are huge - if you are really trying for 'clean' most of those would have to come out and see the light of day to get those nooks cleaned - and the liners they cover cleaned. All that was proved to me after the rear bath had been removed, there was a fingerprint (from the factory?) that had a mildew fairy-ring around it eighteen inches across...

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Old 06-12-2011, 08:46 AM   #8
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1970 31' Sovereign
Tecumseh , Kansas
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We just bought our Airstream yesterday and looking to do some updates on it with keeping some of the retro style. Where do you find new cabinets and appliances to fit inside the airstream? Would be nice if we didn't have to get everything custom fit and could just buy cabinets or accessories that are in the newer Airstreams.
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:25 AM   #9
1972 Travelux Princess 25
Cobourg , Ontario
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There is no place you can buy ready made cabinets. The appliances are more or less standard sizes, new ones will fit in with a little adapting.

If you really want to see what can be done by an artist with an unlimited budget and talent, get a load of the Craig Dorsey Adirondack Airstream.

Picasa Web Albums - Craig Dorsey - The Adirondac...

Might be a little ambitious for your first restoration project but impressive nonetheless.
Living in the trailer park of sense, looking out the window at a tornado of stupidity.
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:47 AM   #10
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Menlo Park , California
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The current appliances are not necessarily standard for a 40+ year old trailer, though. Take measurements and see what's available before tearing anything out.
Our travel and renovation blog:
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:24 AM   #11
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Ringoes , New Jersey
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If you end up gutting/not using the wall lamenate I need some!!! MPJ
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:52 AM   #12
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Also remember that the new wide-body trailers have a different shape (cross section) than the old ones like yours (and mine). Even if you could just buy new cabinets and bulkheads, they wouldn't fit anyway.

I agree, the fake "walnut" on my cabinet doors and bulkheads are not my favorite. Even though mine are in good shape, I plan to swap them out eventually. My cabinets and closets are framed out of rectangular aluminum, so the doors and drawer faces are all that need replaced.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:41 PM   #13
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1970 31' Sovereign
Tecumseh , Kansas
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Thanks for the info everyone. Couple other questions from a NEW owner. One of our end walls is in pretty bad shape.
-Is there material anyone suggest at my local home improvement store I could use to replace it and then just stain it to match.
-Does anyone know where to get the metal edge on the walls? Someone has put dozens of screws in it and in order to clean it up a bit, it needs to be replaced.
-Lastly and sorry for the goofy question but what is the appropriate way to put things on the walls such as the fold down table. We would like to take it off the long shelf it was attached to(in bad shape) and just attach it directly to wall on a hinge of some sort. Not even sure how to properly attach curtain rods to wall.

Thanks all for the being there to help us fix up our Airstream in the correct manner!
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:35 PM   #14
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1972 25' Tradewind
Houston , Texas
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I replaced the wood on my endcap with 1/4" Red Oak wood bought from a Hardwoods shop used by home construction companies. The stain that matches the plastic "maple" is a Minwax Provential 215 available at Lowes. Could never find a suitable bronze metal trim to replace the piece on the endcap. Seems to be very rare and on my Tradewend (72) it was only used in 2 places. May try some black plastic trim instead. Here's a pic of the replaced panel and tambour but with a botched job on the trim.
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