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Old 11-23-2013, 06:26 AM   #1
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brevard , North Carolina
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1975 31ft - where to begin?

Ohhhh I've got the bug

Hey there. Great forum. Tons of info! Lots of people all sharing the same passion!

I purchased a 75 31ft sovereign to do a full renovation on. I will be living in this for a couple of years while I work on building a farm and house. Already have property just no where to live, so this fixes that problem. After I'm done with the airstream, it will become part of the farm and probably wont ever leave, so I'm not concerned with re-sale value, nor will it ever be moving except on the ride over, on a flat bed. I'm thinking about not even wiring it for electricity or plumbing - ill have an external water/propane tanks, and an outhouse or something. I'd rather **** in a hole than deal with the tanks...

My question is where do I go from here?

I've already gutted it and removed some of the lower panels to get to the floor. I started researching more and realized I should probably go ahead and jack it up to get the weight off the axels before I remove any more paneling.. is this correct? Will be shell warp if I try to do a "shell-on" floor replacement without jacking the frame?

Next is how to properly jack? I've seen tons of opinions on this but cant figure out the best way. my stabilizing jacks dont work either. concrete block, holes up, with board on top, then jackstand under axels? Where on the back?

What to do with belly pan? Mine is rusted through in back and will need to be patched, but do I need to drop it to replace the floor?

Also, I plan on cleaning the frame and coating it with rust converter/reinforcing the broken piece in the rear while the floor is off.

Thanks for the help guys! Oh yeah, I know how we all love pics











They are a little old. Inside has been gutted completely. Will try and get some new pics soon. Thanks guys!
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Old 11-23-2013, 07:56 AM   #2
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Greetings,
First of all, your trailer is a 69. You can tell be the square corner on the front wing windows. This was a "one year only" feature. As far as the floor goes, you'll have to remove the belly pan in order to access the bolts holding the body to the chassis. You will also have to remove the interior lower wall sections for the same reason. Level the trailer with jack stands to maintain the chassis "straightness". Yeah, you'll need axles too, but not until you plan on using it as a travel trailer.
Have fun with it,
Colin
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:55 AM   #3
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brevard , North Carolina
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Greetings,
First of all, your trailer is a 69. You can tell be the square corner on the front wing windows. This was a "one year only" feature. As far as the floor goes, you'll have to remove the belly pan in order to access the bolts holding the body to the chassis. You will also have to remove the interior lower wall sections for the same reason. Level the trailer with jack stands to maintain the chassis "straightness". Yeah, you'll need axles too, but not until you plan on using it as a travel trailer.
Have fun with it,
Colin
a 69 eh? Wow thanks. I was just going off what the PO had told me.

Thanks for the sound advice. Can I not get to the bolts from the top if I were to cut out sections of the plywood and do it piece by piece?

Also, if I jack it up with the belly pan still on, wont this make it hard to take off later, since it will be resting on the jacks?

Should I take the belly pan off, jack it up, then start removing the floor?
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:43 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ParkCity View Post
a 69 eh? Wow thanks. I was just going off what the PO had told me.

Thanks for the sound advice. Can I not get to the bolts from the top if I were to cut out sections of the plywood and do it piece by piece?

Also, if I jack it up with the belly pan still on, wont this make it hard to take off later, since it will be resting on the jacks?

Should I take the belly pan off, jack it up, then start removing the floor?
You purchased a 1969 31 foot Airstream.

It's basically a good trailer, but does have several problems, that with some time and money can all be corrected and/or updated.

A good starting point is to obtain a service manual, that has about all the answers to what ever questions you may have. The very first service manual however, is for a 1974 Airstream, but the 69 to 73 models are almost identical.

Next, I would suggect that you gut the trailer, and then remove the shell.

You will find some issues with the frame that you can easily see and correct.

Another issue is the rear end separation problem. That can easily be corrected since the shell would be off the chassis.

After the frame has been taken care of, you can then replace the axles. You can increase the weight rating of the axles as well as alter the starting angle. You could, if you wished, add disc brakes to the setup.

Before you start on anything, you should prepare a game plan of attack, for both your time and money.

List everything that you wish to do, along with the costs. That will help you decide in what order you would beging the projects.

Many things are still available through an Airstream dealer for your 1969.

One of the very first things that you should address, after the chassis and floor issues are out of the way, is to completely waterproof the trailer.

Replace all the window, access door, entrance door and sewer vent pipe cover gaskets, as well as the ceiling vent cover gaskets. Then address the waterproofing by checking for any leaks in the shell. Could be missing rivets, loose seams and the like.

Welcome to Airstreaming and the way it "WILL" change your life.

Andy
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:10 PM   #5
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I also agree that it is a 1969. For what you are going to do I would get a couple of jack stands under the axle mounting plates, a couple at the A frame and a couple more at the rear frame where it comes out from under the belly pan. Use a level to get is as close to level and straight as you can. Pulling the belly pan is probably not a bad idea as the insulation under there is going to probably be pretty nasty. I have a 1975 which is very similar to yours, mine is gutted and I am working on the rear tank area at the moment. I also have a 1981 that is going to end up as a guest cottage. The frame on my 81 is pretty rough, not worth trying to rework. It will get stabilized on a jacks under a cover and should be good to go for years to come.

Aaron
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:36 PM   #6
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Although Colin and Andy may not always agree they have both been there and have done that. I know that you want to stay as cheap as possible you must realize that you have something special there in that airstream so I would just suggest for your benefit and for those after you (family) do it right. Doing it yourself will save you tons of cash and will pay out better dividends later. IMHO if your looking for a disposable crash pad till the castle is built then a box trailer would be cheaper and easier to dispose of (backhoe) later.
Cliff
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Old 11-28-2013, 10:15 AM   #7
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Hi Parkcity. You will find the 69 manual pdf here. Cheers!
Airstream Trailer Information
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:21 AM   #8
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brevard , North Carolina
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Thank you all for the great replies!

Sorry for the delay. Thanksgiving Break and finals at school have put the airstream on the back burner for another week or so. The first snow of the season messed me up too. Oh well, she can wait.

Plan so far...

Remove belly pan and insulation
Jack up, level, put on stands
repair frame, clean rust, rust converter
repair missing plywood, not entire floor
fix leaks, replace windows
go from there...

I will check this thread periodically and update as I can!

Great community! Visiting a fellow enthusiast in a few weekends to chat about our projects

See y'all
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:26 AM   #9
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I have done a lot of the waiting thing then I just get impatient and do it anyway! Keep us up on the project please and enjoy it because the work is the fun part! To me anyway.
Cliff
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