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Old 04-10-2018, 05:46 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1966 30' Sovereign
Woodland Hills , California
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 9
1966 30ft Sovereign - Need Advice

In the process of renovating my 1966 30ft Sovereign Airstream. Like many others I learned a lot of important things after making the purchase, but in short it required a complete gut job. Everything from the interior was discarded, (including electric, lpg, plumbing, skins) pulled out and tossed aside.
Belly pan, and holding tank were in bad condition and also thrown out. I decided not to do a full shell removal, however i have it disconnected from the chassis, braced and lifted 2-4 inches above. This allowed me to fully sort out the chassis rust, etc. Yesterday I treated the metal and painted. (All done with POR15).

Iím set to move to the next step(s), but would like some advice on the order in which I should do things. In regards to things linked with the chassis, I may or may not need to replace axels & wheels. They traveled okay when I made the 2000 mile drive when moving from Minnesota to California a few months ago, however the trailer was very light (75% gutted) at that point.

From the things Iíve read and make sense to me I would do the following next.

1. Find out exactly if the axels need to be replaced (If possible would like to lift the trailer so it rides higher on rough roads)
2. Order holding tanks. What do you recommend? If somebody could give me some advice here. As you know the trailer was designed with only one tank under the subfloor. The water tank was above. I would like to have the new tanks designed to all fit under the floor. Has anyone done this before?
3. Replace belly pan
4. Plumbing & LPG
5. Electric
6. Insulate floor (what is the latest recommended matietal/method here)? The trailer will be parked in Southern California and in the mountains of Idaho)
7. Install new marine grade subfloor
8. Replace damaged C channel pieces
9. Reattach shell to chassis.
10. Make any repairs to exterior aluminum, windows, door, access doors, vents, etc. replace bullnose rivits and seal
11. Insulate (recommendations here?) and Install new interior skins.
12. Flooring
13. Etc
14. Etc.

Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

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Old 04-10-2018, 07:08 PM   #2
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 694
Sounds like you have a pretty good to do list. This will take a lot of time. The frame is the first consideration. On our 55 frame I went ahead and welded some stiffner plates on the inside of the main frame rails extending forward and aft of the axle tube. Also donít know if you want a spare tire rack underneath at the front. Depending on where the tanks are located, you may want to adjust some of the cross members to accommodate. We had to think four or five steps ahead to make sure we didnít cover up something we needed. Thereís a lot more thinking. Good luck and reach out to the ones who have been there and done that. Bubba

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Old 04-10-2018, 10:30 PM   #3
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1975 Argosy 28
Springville , Alabama
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 798
Order axles last.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:47 PM   #4
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1974 27' Overlander
Baltimore , Maryland
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 808
Vintage Trailer Supply sells tanks that will fit inside your frame. You will need to fabricate a mounting system. They can add drain and vent fittings per your specifications.

Lots of different insulation opinions. I really like rockwool for its ease of use and stability. Makes a nice, tight assembly. Many people swear by spray foam. Regardless of what you use, you don't have a ton of thickness to work with, so actual R-value will be relatively low. One thing that does help a lot is to add some sort of thermal break between the ribs and inner skins. I used foam tape and sill gasket. You just need something to help prevent heat from conducting straight through the ribs.

Good luck with your project.
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Old 04-11-2018, 10:50 AM   #5
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1966 26' Overlander
San Luis Obispo , California
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 43
By all means replace the axles. I did mine on my 66 Overlander. It raised the trailer 3 inches and rides many times smoother. Good luck!
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Old 04-11-2018, 11:49 AM   #6
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1966 30' Sovereign
Woodland Hills , California
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 9
Great info so far. Thank you!
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Old 04-11-2018, 12:15 PM   #7
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1959 24' Tradewind
Twin Falls , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 108
I highly recommend doing the "Shell Off" and pulling the frame out, sandblast and make any modifications as necessary and POR 15. Having the ability to flip the frame is huge. You can work on drain / holding system and work on the belly pan so much easier.
Your list looks pretty good. I'm currently working on the belly pan. I insulated with Reflectix (on subfloor) and Roxul. Others have their own thought on what to use.

Welcome and congrats. This can be frustrating at times, but also fun learning new stuff.
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Old 04-11-2018, 02:46 PM   #8
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1972 29' Ambassador
Boynton Beach , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 463
The angle of the shocks will tell the tale about the axles. They should be sloping upwards, from the frame to the axle. Or at least horizontal... If you need to replace them (probably), you don't need access from the inside the trailer. You can read up on the procedure here on Air Forums. I rolled my Airstream up on to blocks under one axle, and left the TV connected while underneath. I also added the spacer kit to raise the body another 2". Works well!
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Old 04-11-2018, 03:06 PM   #9
1 Rivet Member
1966 30' Sovereign
Woodland Hills , California
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 9
@Trons4u - Is that two 16gal tanks you have installed in the picture?
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:59 PM   #10
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1974 25' Tradewind
Lexington , Kentucky
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 55
Your re-do

We just finished up a 74 25 ft Tradewind...took 2.5 yrs part time.
We did:
Gutted your inside skins for patterns.
Repair, replace frame and side supports as needed and new axles/brakes.
We did not insulate the floor, nor do we have a belly pan. The insulation will get wet (smell and never dry out), rust the frame again and wet insulation weighs a bunch. Just spray undercoating on the will get wet sure but it will also dry out and is easy to keep an eye on.
Pex plumbing, typical 12 and 110 volt layout as you require.
Save your receipts...will help with insurance possibly.
Aluminum inside walls.
Build your own cabinets to save a little weight.
Michelin tires and pull with a 3/4 ton pickup.
Contact me if you need vendors names.
Don't hurry and do good work.
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Old 04-11-2018, 11:12 PM   #11
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,908
Welcome to AirForums.

Lots of good advice so far. I definitely would replace the axles and shocks. I ordered mine from Colin Hyde. He is extremely knowledgeable. This is important- no second chances. I would also install new brakes. New drum brakes are cheaper. They can be ordered with the axles. I installed disc brakes which add about $1,000 to the cost. Your choice, but then again, there are lots of decisions.

I have a 66 Tradewind and like the bathroom design. In fact I like the entire interior design. You can change the interior design but I would think long and hard before doing this. Take lots of photos.

I would spend a lot of time reading some of the renovation threads especially for the 60ís Airstreams.

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Old 04-12-2018, 12:10 PM   #12
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1959 24' Tradewind
Twin Falls , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 108
Originally Posted by Itslukeydj View Post
@Trons4u - Is that two 16gal tanks you have installed in the picture?
Yep, from VTS.
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Old 04-12-2018, 09:01 PM   #13
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,594
Images: 1
Hello and welcome to Air Forums: As you can tell there are lots of folks here that have rebuilt vintage Airstreams. You have started a big project for sure.

Your focus on a solid frame, solid subfloor, and well sealed body are the most important elements of the Airstream trailer. Holding tank size and location are major decisions that need made early in the project.

I elected to mount new holding tanks farther forward and closer to the axles. I purchased the tanks from Inca Plastics in California. They have been molding RV holding tanks for years. They have all kinds of shapes and sizes to fit most needs. I just thumbed through the catalog until I found tanks that would work for me for height, width and length. I used the rubber grommets for pipe connections.

I elected to drain the tanks on the street side, behind the rear wheel, and below the frame rail. Yep, subtracts from ground clearance. And yep, Airstream has been locating the sewer connection in this location for years.

So start a project thread, post pictures of your progress, and you will get plenty of help and advice.

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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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