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Old 06-19-2014, 05:21 PM   #1
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1970 31' Sovereign
Gastonia , North Carolina
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First question of many

Hello and thanks to everyone that has been helping me as I lurked over the past year. My wife and I finally pulled the trigger and purchased a 1970 Sovereign. It's in rough shape but the price was too good to pass up. Most of the skin is good and it's only missing one curved window. It's been partially gutted and the floor is rotted all over so I'm expecting frame damage. I can do everything but weld so I'm curious how that'll work out.

We plan on using it as a pool/guest house with an occasional weekend away. I'm seriously considering going all 110v electric and using a generator when we do take it out (except for 12v running/brake lights). I'm used to tenting so I'm not too concerned about roughing it a little when we're away. We're in the early "use planning" stage so that's not too much of an issue yet. The frame is my big concern right now.

I do have a question though concerning the AC and roof vents. If I use a portable 110v AC I'll take the unit off the roof. While I'm at it I figured I'd remove all the vents and rivet some new panels across the whole roof. My reasoning would be to eliminate possible leaks and to have a very streamlined look. Has anyone done this? Are there any photos? Given my intended use am I missing anything that makes this a bad decision?

I look forward to your varied responses, even being scolded if I deserve it . You'll certainly be hearing more from me soon. Thanks!
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Old 06-19-2014, 05:57 PM   #2
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To each his own ... and perhaps you have thought this through sufficiently for your needs, but my gut reaction is that you will eventually regret going totally 110v AC, even if you plan to have a generator or have hookups all the time. There will undoubtedly be times when you will not have hookups and you will not be able to use a generator ... or the times of generator use will be restricted. Having both 100v AC and battery 12v DC affords you complete flexibility when complemented with propane for heating, hot water and cooking. A rig with no 12v will also probably be more difficult to sell should you decide to do that later.

As to the rooftop AC and vents. Portable ACs can be made to work but they can also add complications ... I also think getting rid of all the vents, while no doubt doable, is not a great idea...our experience has been that there are times when having the vents makes it possible to enjoying being in the Airstream even without AC ... air movement will be important to your comfort, and I can't imagine not having them.

Hope this helps you in making your decisions.
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:39 PM   #3
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I also think you will regret it later if you leave out a 12v system. And, when you are ready to pass it on to the next owner it will be less desirable, so the sale price will be substantially lower. I think you will get your money back when you sell it 10 years from now, so think of it as an investment!

ditto: what TBRich says about the vents! If the trailer will be in the sun, you can get 20-30 degrees (or more) of heat gain in the summer.
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:49 PM   #4
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My opinion is instead of modifying an Airstream in the manner that you described. Build or buy a a tiny house for your back yard. You then can outfit it as you desire. If building codes are an issue the tiny house can be built on a trailer frame and then it will not be classified as a fixed structure or property improvement.
On the other hand, it is your Airstream to do with as you please.
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:07 PM   #5
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An Airstream makes a cool quest house!

Regarding welding - when you get to that point; most areas have mobile welders will come to your location. try the yellow pages.


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Old 06-19-2014, 09:02 PM   #6
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I think you would be better off deciding that if you want it as a pool house, make it a permanent pool house that doesnt move. All the mods you are planning for would be fine if it never moved, but if you take it on the road, then you have to make sure all the running gear (axles, frame, tires, electricals) are all there and in good order. And if it doesnt move, then the frame isnt that important, it can essentially be braced up from underneath with cinder blocks.

But if its going on the road, then I would keep it pretty much functioning as it is and you would have to fix the frame and everything else that made it so cheap in the first place. And it may end up being quite a bit more expensive after all the work is done which isnt that unusual with really cheap trailers.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:36 PM   #7
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1970 31' Sovereign
Gastonia , North Carolina
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Yeah, you're probably all right...especially about the resale. As far as the welding goes I have someone that can do it, I just don't know what it needs yet. I've been watching it for over a year but the owner didn't want to sell. He bought it a few years ago with intentions to restore it. Don't think it's any worse than other 70's models that haven't been restored. We'll see.
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