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Old 03-05-2018, 12:44 PM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: Feb 2017
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'77 Sovereign 31' Restoration

Hey folks using FB to host a page for the restoration.

The page is here:

https://www.facebook.com/AIRSTREAMRENO/
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Old 03-05-2018, 02:06 PM   #2
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1977 31' Sovereign
Vintage Kin Owner
Vintage Kin Owner
Sunset Valley , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 336
Personally I wish you’d do it here as I’m not on the Facebook. Also, this site is a fantastic storehouse of information that could benefit from your thread. Surely you’ve used this forum for inspiration and troubleshooting or will soon, perhaps think about returning the favor...

My .02˘ for what it is worth... which by my calculation is approximately 0.02˘

Ian
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Old 03-05-2018, 10:04 PM   #3
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1977 31' Sovereign
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 65
19 Feb 2018

This weekend we started the removal of all of the interior. This process is hard to manage - we need some things for templates (the exterior walls are not square), some things we are keeping (less than 20%) and other things are garbage. So keeping track is very important and storing the removed equipment and carpentry is also very important. It is all going into our basement which is a 20 min drive and at least one staircase away from the trailer. It was a great first start and got us into it in a big way. Here's to you kid . . .

PS: Did I mention there is no power at the site? We are managing this on a good DC Marine battery, a 400W inverter (for lights) and a 2000W Honda Gen for heat plus a 35W panel to recharge the battery during the week.
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Old 03-05-2018, 10:09 PM   #4
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1977 31' Sovereign
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 65
24 Feb 2018

Today was a great day at Lucy.

I really admire the way the dining area and the entertainment and socialization area of this Airstream was designed. The key to this is the wonderful table that has several different lengths and also folds into the wall. So today I took it off the wall and carefully put it away. The focus here is that I want to use the hardware to recreate the table - using real wood. This trailer was built in the height of the 70's "covering all wood with something else" phase of the century. So the table - as well as it is designed - is made of fake wood - plywood covered in a vinyl wood fake covering! Sad but with the right tools and some patience I should be able to create a new version that in my mind is the centerpiece of this area - because it allows you to do so much. We also have come to loath trailers with the dinettes as they are hard to get in and out of and leave very little room to move around. This setup involves free standing 70's comfy chairs - which with some new fabric and springs add a touch of ease and grace of living to the idea of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner.

We also started to take down the kitchen area. We really like the layout - in the new design it will essentially stay the same - but the cabinetry is vinyl covered wood and plastic - as well the counter tops and under cabinetry is old, peeling vinyl covered wood and must go. That said we need to get everything down and apart without destroying the major pieces - again we need accurate templates for the rebuild. It was interesting how everything was secured onto the Aluminum sheets which are the walls. The inside of the trailer is thinner aluminum sheets (covered in vinyl of course) which makes a fairly easy substance to screw into and hold things off the floor. The technique was to pop rivet brass strips into the aluminum in the shape of the trailer and then secure various thicknesses of plywood or wood board into the brass strips using screws mostly, sometimes rivets and other sometimes screws. It seems like the end of every rivet line ended up in a screw - probably to fasten the strip at each end tightly while leaving it movable during construction to allow for some measure of error.

The sink is something from a modern kitchen - filtered water and a single handle style water control and is a non ceramic lined steel sink which is extremely light. We like the sink and may refurbish it and keep it. The counter tops will be wood - I love finished hardwood counters as I think a real counter top is also a bread board and a meat/vegetable cutting area. If you look at the design of the cabinets and the stove with the furnace and the water pump on a shelf - my impression was so positive I intend to keep the design as it is. The exceptions are that I have found a perfect apartment sized stainless steel gas stove and oven that will fit perfectly into this space - solving many problems all in one install. Also the forced air furnace will go as we are not using forced air to heat the new trailer - it will be a hot water system that combines hot water heating with heating the trailer. So the space the furnace is in now will become new storage. (and will be 0.5 amp/hr versus 7 amp/hr).

It was a cold day, we ran the generator dry at least once and had to charge the battery later in the day to keep the lights on. Our Pickup truck died yesterday and is on the shop so we are leaving much more material at the trailer than we normally would. Hopefully Max will return this week and bring it all home.

We do not expect to get back to Lucy for more work in the next few weeks. Until then, semper fi.

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Old 03-05-2018, 10:14 PM   #5
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1977 31' Sovereign
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 65
05 Mar 2018

Well today was another great day at Lucy.

The weather made the real difference today. It was at least 8 cel and rising when we left with the sun shining through the windows - meaning we did not need to use the heater. Later in the day we also had enough light to turn off the artificial fluorescence.

Last week we did a lot of work but had to leave the stuff we dismantled at the site. This meant that before we started today we had to load the pickup with the previous weekend's junk. Once we had completed that we divvy'd up the chores for today: finishing the main kitchen dismantle and removing the standing cabinet in the main area.

Today was an eye opener for me as I found that AS had built in a "wet wall" between the stove and bathroom. There is the sewage vent as well as the main drainage to the grey water tank. Under the kitchen is the fresh water tank and after we removed the counters and stove etc, you can easily see the entry points to the tank. There is copper fresh water lines everywhere and I am thinking this must have added weight like crazy to the trailer. One piece of really salient advice I have had so far on AS forums was to weigh everything you take off as the replacements need to be equal to or less than. In the case of the cabinetry I may have difficulty "staying inbounds" as the originals had a lot of plastic involved. That said the main structures of the cabinets are made from finished brass - something pine may be able to compete with. We are storing almost all of the stuff we remove in our basement at home so we can use a scale and ensure the differences are recorded. I ordered 3800 pound axles vice the 3200 pound axles Lucy had new. This will give me 1200 pounds of leeway and some extra storage I hope. The issue there will be tongue weight and balance - something my revised design has been taking into consideration. Solar and extra batteries will take up some of that room as well.

We also discovered proof of the efforts so far - a weeping floor under the old forced air furnace. I literally could put my finger straight through the floor. This made me feel better as we are planning a full restoration including frame strengthening - something many that have gone before us have not done - and suffered accordingly.

Now that we are in the routine of the back and forth we have discovered that the biggest effort is at the end of the day - having to put a full pickup of junk away in the basement. We are really, really missing the garage in our old house. Also hauling tools back and forth is a pain in the ass so we have created a little pack up kit with essentials. Finally the battery system and small solar panel are not managing very well with a weekly recharge, mostly because I left the inverter on all week. I disconnected today and am going to look at at least a 100W panel to replace the 35W which is struggling. Thank the universe for the Honda Generator which is doing Yeoman's service. This will all come to a head however when I try and weld this summer. More to follow on that one.

We have two more weekends before our HUGE camping trip down the west coast to San Diego. That will be 4 weekends off from Lucy but the weather should be great mid April and we may be able to get more time in her. Looking towards the next couple visits we are hoping to get the fridge out and the bathroom dismantled.

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Old 03-06-2018, 04:06 AM   #6
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
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We used basswood for hidden wood structure in our redo, and red alder for the finished cabinet fronts, etc. (looks like cherry but doesn't darken). Both are lighter than other conventional woods. Birch is another light weight wood that's often used. Looks like you are taking lots of pictures - I'd advise continuing to do that as you finish gutting, and when you are rebuilding. It's amazing how often you'll refer to those pictures! Our trailer was dark wood look formica cabinetry. Very dark inside. Now it's light and airy with light wood.
Good luck!

Kay
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Old 03-06-2018, 06:53 AM   #7
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1977 31' Sovereign
Vintage Kin Owner
Vintage Kin Owner
Sunset Valley , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 336
Great documentation and descriptions of what you’re doing, thank you.
I’m curious about your new heating system, could you elaborate on that?
Also, not sure what welding set up you have but this Miller runs fine on my pair of Honda 2000s... I think you said you have a 3000?

Ian
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Old 03-06-2018, 06:54 AM   #8
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1977 31' Sovereign
Vintage Kin Owner
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Sunset Valley , Texas
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Posts: 336
Oops.... link to the welding rig:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B013H...17AM4G55&psc=1
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Old 03-06-2018, 08:56 AM   #9
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1977 31' Sovereign
Victoria , British Columbia
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It is an ALDE system. Made in Sweden. Does the hot water as well. ALDE 3010 system.
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Old 03-06-2018, 08:58 AM   #10
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1977 31' Sovereign
Victoria , British Columbia
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I have a MIG welder - The issue will the amp draw on the generator or the battery. I have another trailer with a 1500W inverter and two good batteries on it. I may have to bring it along just for that.
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Old 03-07-2018, 09:54 AM   #11
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1976 25' Caravanner
Kent , Washington
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We threw most of the stuff away when we gutted our caravaner and the disposal place charges by the pound, it was 600+ lbs of junk. Like you mentioned we kept one of the bulk heads to use as a template and also kept all the channel fastening aluminum and fixtures but that was about it. The majority of the stuff isn't reusable and/or you wouldn't want to reuse it.
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Old 03-07-2018, 04:10 PM   #12
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1977 31' Sovereign
Victoria , British Columbia
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What is Junk?

The question I have is that there are many pieces that are unique like the control panel face and switches and gauges plus other things which may retain value to other folks.
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Old 03-07-2018, 04:50 PM   #13
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
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We got takers for some of our stuff we didn't want to reuse, like shower door, shelves from frig, etc by advertising it for free on the classifieds here. People were willing to pay for shipping, all we did was take it to a place to be packed and shipped. Didn't cost us any money, and we made a lot of people happy!
We literally only used channel fasteners for wall panels, a few electric switch covers, and the kitchen sink. Everything else went somewhere else (mostly to recycling or trash).

Kay
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:23 PM   #14
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1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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I'm glad you decided to use Air Forums for your project thread. I'm not good at faceboo at all.

I looked at a 79 Ambassador some time ago. I really liked the street side couch, under the front window folding table and the curbside recliner in this trailer. It was a twin bed, rear bath model.

But I was shocked and disappointed at the amount of plastic delamination I found in the trailer. The delamination was on the bulkhead walls. The overhead cabinets were warped and falling apart. And it had rear end separation bad. So I passed on it.

I now have a 75 Overlander. I've been impressed with how this trailer is made. There is much less plastic wood grain laminated pieces. It does have one of those wood grain formica covered folding tables. Most of the paneling is real veneer plywood and in pretty good shape. The cabinetry framing is aluminum extrusions like the newer Airstreams. Light and strong.

So I'd like to follow along with your 77 Sovereign project. I think you are on at least a two year, 1500 hour project. By the way, I met a fellow Airstreamer here in Colorado with a Caravanner 25'. He is an expert cabinet maker. The inside of his trailer is very, very nice. Like your plan, he made real wood cabinets. Minno did the same thing with their Minnesota Sovereign. His Caravanner is the nicest one I've seen.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f17...ml#post2053792
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