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Old 04-25-2015, 06:11 PM   #1
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
1977 31' Sovereign
Johnston , Iowa
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Advice on 1976 Sovereign Restoration

I own a 2012 25' FC. Last fall, some folks that live near me put their 1976 30' Sovereign up for sale. Quite impulsively, I bought it (price very reasonable, trailer looked in good shape for its age (see photos)). So, now I need to figure out what to do with it! I like my 2012 FC, but something about this vintage AS has grabbed me. I'm considering tackling the rehab myself as a hobby (after all, we still have the 2012 that we can use in the interim so there is no time pressure).

I've never done anything like this, although I'm reasonably handy. The innards (like electrical, plumbing, etc) don't scare me too much. However, the exterior does (exterior repairs, windows, polishing, etc.). I'm looking for advice on how to start something like this, resources, shops in and around Iowa that may be able to assist, etc. If someone had a checklist of things look for/to do, that would be a big help.

My wife thinks I'm crazy for wanting to take this on, but I can't help myself. Like an itch I just need to scratch!

Thanks in advance for any advice and pointers!


Mad Hungarian
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Old 04-25-2015, 06:59 PM   #2
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
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Well start inspecting it and make a do/problem list and take lots of photos if you want our help. I would start with the floor especially the 4 corners and the rear end. Pending that, you will have some idea if you have serious leak problems. I would remove some of the belly skin in the rear and get a read on what the frame looks like under there. I assume it is a rear bath? Start checking all the appliances and systems and see what works and what does not. I think I have a repair manual for one about that age. I know someone is going to chime in and say you need a new axle before doing anything else. When you get the trailer like you want it, then put in new axles.

Take it step by step. Access the condition and then make a plan. Fix leaks before doing any repairs that might be degraded by water or the gut and repair process.

Perry
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Old 04-25-2015, 10:00 PM   #3
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
1977 31' Sovereign
Johnston , Iowa
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Thanks, Perry. Great advice. As suggested,here are some more photos. Leak-wise, seems to be relatively tight (I had the opportunity to go in it during some heavy rains last fall). The leaks I saw were around windows near the front and the door. You are also correct - rear bath. The previous owner found the service manual and gave it to me, so I am good there. Main damage I saw was a skin tear on the street side toward the front (see photos). I checked rivets, and I only found one missing on the exterior (again, see photos).

Yeah, I kind of figured that the axles will need to be replaced (I have done a little bit of research). However, the previous owners just took it on a camping trip last summer, so it's not like it hasn't been on the road.

Thanks again for the response. I'd be interested in your feedback after looking at the photos.


Mad Hungarian
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Old 04-25-2015, 10:12 PM   #4
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1981 31' Excella II
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I have seen much worse. Keep digging into it.

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Old 04-25-2015, 10:26 PM   #5
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1972 31' Sovereign
1975 31' Excella 500
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Imo that is a great looking trailer for its age, it will make a great project....

I am coveting your trailer...


1/2 Ton 4WD Truck, 72 Sovereign Hensley Arrow
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:43 AM   #6
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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First Step.....

Having "been there and done that"...my advice is to pull the belly pan first.

The condition of the floor, the frame, and the suspension will tell you a lot about the overall condition and, more importantly, the extent of the required repairs.

One other bit of advice, finish the undercarriage, floor repair, and all upper repairs prior to tackling any interior work - on the interior - number and mark line-up scribes in multiple locations on each interior panel - this will make life a bunch easier when you are in the reassemble stage.

Give into the "might as well" temptation when you reassemble - an extra 20 amp connection will allow for a second AC and an electric water heater.
Use patches for tear repairs - no one will see the patch unless they are specifically looking for them.

Study the postings of those who have gone before you.
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:46 AM   #7
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1976 31' Sovereign
Apache Junction , Arizona
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Check the nose and rear floors for water damage. That is where I found most of my water damage. Check the tail lights and ensure that they are caulked and tight against the body. Water pours in through there.

Pete
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Old 04-29-2015, 07:33 AM   #8
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1981 31' Excella II
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Leaks on these trailers are not real apparent. Most leaks end up in the floor and you won't see them until they get there. Water leaks between the inner and outer skin and comes out in place no where near the actual leak. Also there is a delay as the insulation soaks up the water then it eventually drains out.

Perry
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Old 04-29-2015, 07:47 PM   #9
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1976 31' Sovereign
Ball Ground , Georgia
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I inherited my 1976 from my family and did not know anything about an Airstream and got it by letting my mouth overload my tail. mine was much much worse. It takes time ,money, and lots of patience. Keep going and some day you will look back and be glad you did.
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