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Old 04-19-2014, 01:39 PM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
Coweta , Oklahoma
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Airstream Newbie - 1977 Soverign

Hello All,

I am new to the Airstream way. My wife and I, son, and son on the way, recently purchased an Airstream. It is a 31' 1977 Airstream Soverign. It is in somewhat rough shape but I feel like I got a really good deal on it. Even after a two day long ordeal of gettig it home due to some dry rotted tires.

I am looking for some general advice in regards to restoration. What should I check first? Additioally, I have some specific questions that I need to get answered and I am hoping you guys can point me in the right direction. Can anyone take a picture of the plumbig compartment for a rear full bath? I believe that my main tank has been completely removed and the waste was going directly to sewer. I also need some general hookup information and how to's. I have found the 110 hookup in the back but have not gotten an adapter to plug it in to 110 yet to see what works.

Also, the trailer had been sittig on some vacant land and had a mouse infestation. I have pulled all of the carpet out due to this.

Any suggestions I appreciate it.

Thanks for all of the future help.

Joshua
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:45 PM   #2
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1973 23' Safari
Reese , Michigan
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Welcome

I would have loved to have known about the forums in 1999 when we bought the enterprize. Instead we learned the hard way about everything that is contained in old and new threads here, which I do not even know how to access yet. I learned most importantly that even though I was a lifelong diesel truck mechanic there is still a lot of STUFF that will not come to mind that will need to be tended to. My new axles will be here any day now, which should solve some of the failing rivets situation that has been an ongoing perplexing problem, till I found the thread about 40 year old axles have to be replaced because they are not providing ANY cushion to the trailer from road shock. In addition to axles, make sure you read up on these VERY IMPORTANT SAFE TOWING ISSUES -- SIZE OF TOW RIG --type of tow hitch --TIRES -- frame rust and or failures -- electrical converters -- lists for hooking-unhooking -- of what to have in the trailer and tow vehicle (tv for short) -- and much more that you can find here. And, most importantly, the CONFIDENCE to go and do!!! Your mechanical skills will be important, but your common sense may do more to keep you out of trouble and having great trips out in your new adventuremobile, which you will HAVE to find a name for (its just fun to). Hope you enjoy--
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Old 04-19-2014, 05:01 PM   #3
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1966 17' Caravel
Newport , North Carolina
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Josh welcome! And you are starting off right! The forums have a lot of help available and if you go to the forums tab and find your year and make and you may just answer half of your questions! Pictures are an awesome start and use up some memory taking pictures of everything! As weird as it may sound it will help when you have questions or when you are putting it back together! Now find a harbor freight and invest in some 1/8 and 3/16 drill bits and a cheap (you may throw it) drill. Take some paper and a writing stick and take some notes. You need to do a walk through and write down what you find so that you can ask or research what you find! Take a flashlight and a cross tip screw driver to check the floor for soft spots. Keep us posted and again welcome
Cliff
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Old 04-19-2014, 06:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by RM66caravel View Post
Josh welcome! And you are starting off right! The forums have a lot of help available and if you go to the forums tab and find your year and make and you may just answer half of your questions! Pictures are an awesome start and use up some memory taking pictures of everything! As weird as it may sound it will help when you have questions or when you are putting it back together! Now find a harbor freight and invest in some 1/8 and 3/16 drill bits and a cheap (you may throw it) drill. Take some paper and a writing stick and take some notes. You need to do a walk through and write down what you find so that you can ask or research what you find! Take a flashlight and a cross tip screw driver to check the floor for soft spots. Keep us posted and again welcome
Cliff
The correct drill bit sizes for all Airstream sheet metal work, is # 30, # 21 and # 11.

Andy
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:49 PM   #5
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1978 25' Tradewind
Metro Phoenix , Arizona
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With a rear bath, one of your first checks should be for rear end separation. Under the right circumstances, which seem to be alarmingly common, the rear of the frame sags away from the body.

Search for it here.
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Old 05-03-2014, 02:56 PM   #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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What should I check first?

Check out the undercarriage first. Pull the belly pan and get a good estimate on the cost to fix everything on the bottomside. That cost and time commitment will determine if you want to do anything to the shell, interior, or axles. The axles will have to be replaced to put any sort of a suspension back in service, but that can be done at a later date.


Below is a recent thread on starting out.


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...rt-116833.html



The real strength of the Airstream monocoque type of construction lies in the junction of the frame and the shell. Unfortunately for you, the interface of that junction is the wood floor - and it sounds as if you have no wood left to tie the frame and the shell together in the rear bath area.To do a proper job of replacing the floor you have to remove ALL of the fasteners holding the floor to the frame (many of these are at the shell perimeter). The shell needs to be removed in order to install side to side new plywood as seamlessly as possible, and then refasten the shell to the new floor via the "C" channel and the outriggers.PM frequent posters here who have "been there and done that" for some honest opinions.Good luck with whatever you do - help is available at any Forum meet up or WBCCI event.

I am extremely happy with my '78 31' Sovereign (thread below), and use it frequently both for camping and as a work related habitat. The end result is well worth the effort I put into the rebuild.
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:26 AM   #7
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1972 27' Overlander
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Listen to the VAP. Ping me I am doing the rear in a 72 Overlander. I have been taking pics during the entire process, but have not started a blog yet.
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