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Old 04-07-2019, 02:51 PM   #1
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1974 31' Sovereign
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What did I just buy?

I've marveled at Airstream for over 10 years... Now we finally bought an old one in terrible shape with dreams of restoring to travel the US with our kiddos but before we can get started we need help figuring out what exactly we have! Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 04-07-2019, 03:09 PM   #2
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The VIN is under the words Land Yacht look here for a translation: http://vintageairstream.com/photo-archives/


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Old 04-07-2019, 03:22 PM   #3
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You bought a BOAT on wheels......BOAT means, break out another thousand.

If you think this project is going to be cheap or quick, think again; take your budget and double, if not triple it; and do the same thing for your hours.

Before you start doing anything, assess your strengths and weaknesses; if you can't weld, do plumbing, electrical, fabricate metal, or be a skilled cabinetmaker, you need to walk, (no, RUN) away from this project. Paying someone else to do any part of this project will cost large money.

Just to be sure you know what kind of money I'm talking about here......I know someone who spent the equivalent of a Ferrari 512 on an 20' Argosy motorhome. Once you start, it's difficult to know when to quit. That's why there are so many ads for dreamers like you with trailers just like this one.

Next, assess the trailer properly; have one of the trailer people that inspect trailers to come by and truly assess the scope of work needed.

Do you know how many realize their dreams of a completely renovated/restored Airstream?............... Maybe 1%, if that.

Cheers
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Old 04-07-2019, 03:47 PM   #4
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For some perspective on the daunting task which awaits you, you might want to read The Love Shack thread:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f227...ck-183431.html

The author has posted great photos, and his thought process, as he digs deeper — all with a great sense of humor.

Welcome to the forum!

Good luck,

Peter

PS — Do you have a title for the trailer?
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Old 04-07-2019, 03:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isuzusweet View Post

Do you know how many realize their dreams of a completely renovated/restored Airstream?............... Maybe 1%, if that.

Cheers
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Do you happen to a source for that figure?
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Old 04-07-2019, 05:40 PM   #6
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It appears to be a mid 70's 31 foot Airstream. Most likely the bath is in the rear and the bed(s) are in the middle. The VIN will give you more info. The longer (31') 70s had issues with rear end separation which you can search the forums here and find out more. To see if you have this problem you can jump on the rear bumper and see if the bumper moves away from the shell. If so, that will be your first project.
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Old 04-07-2019, 06:19 PM   #7
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The photos suggest that rear end problem IMO.

Peter
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Old 04-07-2019, 06:41 PM   #8
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Hi and welcome to these Airstream Forums. I can't make out the serial number from the photos you posted. But it is a Sovereign 31'. It appears in pretty rough shape, but dirt and stains will likely wash off making it look better.

As stated, and like my 75 Overlander, the 70s Airstreams were built light weight and had subfloor rot issues in the rear of the trailer. Then the frame disconnects from the body and the frame starts to sag. But that is just one of many, many areas that will need work.

Knowing nothing about this trailer except two photos, I would estimate it will be something like $20,000 in parts and about 1500 hours in your labor to get this Airstream road ready for family vacations.

You bought a big project trailer.

David
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Old 04-07-2019, 07:05 PM   #9
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As you might have gathered from some of the posts you have a lot to consider.

The question is: do you want a project or do you want to travel. It might be hard to do both the way you imagine.

You are contemplating a project that will possibly take years - regardless of cost.

If you really want to travel - then you need a road worthy RV now - A S, SOB or other.

Projects are great for your spare time, travel now while you can and while the family is willing.
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Old 04-07-2019, 07:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
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The photos suggest that rear end problem IMO.

Peter
Not necessarily. The tires are flat causing the rear end to be lower which can give the appearance of rear end sag,
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Old 04-07-2019, 07:30 PM   #11
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Gotta say, this is one of my favorite Airstream rebuild threads of all time: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f7/i...lp-122767.html

Best wishes for a successful project, please do share your progress as you go - assuming you decide to go for it.
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Do you happen to a source for that figure?
No, that's why I stated "maybe". I do have gut, (no pun intended), evidence though based on ads I see on a number of sites, selling "interior gutted; ready for your dream interior; all the hard work done", versus fully renovated trailers for sale.

Now if you're just looking on this site you'd think a larger proportion of trailers are completed; but I surmise that a very large proportion of new posters with trailers in this condition, like this OP, are never heard of again once the reality sets in.

If you found my post to be tough love, it was meant to be; as realizing a dream is a lot tougher than people know.

I didn't even get into my "renovating a trailer is more science than design" speal.

Cheers
Sidekick Tony
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:01 PM   #13
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Begin listening to http://thevap.com/ and buy Tim Shepard's book. Also consider buying the CD set of past episodes.
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:32 PM   #14
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I'd get some tires that aren't flat on one side, wash it down, get the brakes working (those might be disc, where you'll have to get a hydraulic activator since you probably don't have a vacuum port on your tow vehicle), evict all the little critters and go use it. Ignore all these folk that can't be seen without a pristine as new machine, go use it like maybe you owned it. Fix the systems as you need them. Heck, some people go camping in tents, you have a wonderful tent there already. With glass to keep the wind down.
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