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Old 03-01-2016, 10:33 PM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
Niceville , Florida
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 17
Gimme your best stuff

Hi everybody,
My girlfriend and I just bought our first airstream, a 72 sovereign twin, with the intention of fixing it up and living in it in order to avoid paying rent and to allow more freedom, you know the usual stuff. My question is, aside from these forums, which I'm sure will be indispensable, what resources would you suggest to help me along the way? Any books, blogs, or YouTube video series I should know about? Ideally, I would like to find something that goes step by step. For instance, I think I may need to do a shell off, but I need to determine at what point in the restoration I need to plan to do it. Basically I need to nail down an order of operations and I imagine reading someone else's experience would help me make a plan. I'm new to this place and I've never really posted in any kind of forum before, so forgive me if its right in front of my face. Also, last thing, is there any kind of resource to help me with the vocabulary of the airstream? Just reading a few posts I'm confused by c-channel, skins, outriggers, etc. I will post some picks soon and I look forward to learning and contributing.
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:51 PM   #2
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1972 31' Sovereign
1975 31' Excella 500
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Benton , Arkansas
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Welcome!

I have a 72 Sovereign also, i was able to get by without having to do a shell off as the vast majority of my frame was in good shape and most of my plywood flooring was good.

Outriggers are the outer frame crossmembers that run from the frame rail to the outside edge of the trailer wall.

The C channel is the piece of aluminum that the outside walls of the trailer rests on. The outside of the wall is riveted onto the C channel, and the C channel is bolted onto the plywood floor. Some of these bolts also pass through the outriggers.

Skins usually means the inside aluminum walls, although sometimes people will call the outside sheets of aluminum skins too.


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Old 03-01-2016, 11:03 PM   #3
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1972 31' Sovereign
1975 31' Excella 500
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Benton , Arkansas
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How fast do you need to be into your trailer?

What kind of shape is it in?

We were able to turn our 75 into a clean habitable and functional home in 14 days and not much money, the 72 took about 120 days and more money...




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Old 03-01-2016, 11:06 PM   #4
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1972 31' Sovereign
1975 31' Excella 500
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Benton , Arkansas
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1975

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Old 03-01-2016, 11:10 PM   #5
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1972 31' Sovereign
1975 31' Excella 500
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Old 03-02-2016, 08:35 AM   #6
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1973 31' Sovereign
Niceville , Florida
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Thanks for the reply Mr. Morgan. The goal is about three months of full time work. And it's a hard deadline because that's when our lease is up. It's entirely stripped, and I'll definitely need to replace the floors. But besides that all it needs is a good cleaning and then I can start building inside. I took out a loan for $7000, which should be more than enough to outfit it to our standards. But really what would be most helpful is any kind of handy guide I could read to get a better handle on what exactly needs to be done. Also, right off the bat I'm learning that this site REALLY need a search function.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:09 AM   #7
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1962 28' Ambassador
1961 19' Globetrotter
Mesa , Arizona
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Jon you are at the right place. Just read read read and it will start to make sense.

Best way to search is NOT inside the Airforums app.

Use your regular computer search engine, firefox, Google etc and type in something like:

"Airforums full monte"
"Airforums shell off restoration"
"Airforums Sovereign"

The results of that search will direct you to the related Airforums threads where those items are discussed.

Then also go to the make model thread to see trailers most like yours. You can also go to a members info and look up all their posts.

Patience and navigating this site is half of it.

Enjoy your new treasure.
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Old 03-02-2016, 10:58 AM   #8
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1973 31' Sovereign
Niceville , Florida
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Thank you, this helped a lot
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Old 03-02-2016, 11:54 AM   #9
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2004 28' International CCD
Cocoa , Florida
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Welcome to the family of streamers!! If you asked me I would tell you that although there are a thousand websites out there, this is the place to start!!. I have found a ton of info right here at this site. There are a LOT of guys and gals here that can answer just about any question that you might have, if not point you in the right direction. I find myself reading this forum "just because " I might have the same problem in the future.
And dat's all I got to say bout dat!!
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:10 PM   #10
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St. Paul , Minnesota
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Use Goggles site command ----> term being searched for Site:airforums.com (no www. prefix) and it works with any web-crawled site address...

You, Jontemple, need to start a build thread and have ample photos inside and out to get an efficient work flow timeline charted out...
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:17 PM   #11
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At the risk of bursting your bubble I just had a reno done on a 10 meter (35 ft) Avion. It took about $12K in materials alone, and that was without a frame off - just a few rotted spots to be replaced. Now this trailer is bigger than yours, but still

You CAN probably get to an "Aluma-Tent" and then some but completed? Here's what you're probably not thinking about. In order:
  1. waterproof the outside which will include sealing every seam, probably replacing stuff like the bathroom vent and fans, using Capt. Tolleys on every roof rivet tiny leaks that add up, resealing the awning mounts, & poles, replacing gaskets around all doors and windows, etc, etc. etc
  2. inspect the frame - and pray it's not so far gone that it has to be replaced. Pay a welder to replace bent or broken outriggers, cross members, possibly beef up the tail, possibly redo the tongue
  3. check integrity of basic systems and replace/repair as needed - electrical water propane, white water tank & pump - gray and black tanks and plumbing to drain them
  4. replace floor, wheel wells, axles brakes, tires
  5. what if you have to replace window glass or even the door - or if any of the outside access doors need to be replaced you start blowing through that budget fairly fast.
You CAN go without a furnace or fireplace or catalytic heater in nice weather - or a plain old electric heater if you have hookups. And of course then you start working on the inside - plumbing fixtures, refrigerator, propane appliances, etc. Cabinetry isn't cheap, and with the curved walls you pretty much make most of it from scratch. Some people have modified IKEA stuff - but you have to work consciously to reduce weight. Most off the shelf stuff is made with 5/8 or 3/4 plywood/particle board, and most Airstream stuff needs to be made with 3/8 ply.

The search function on this forum - except for the "google" one is pretty lame, but spend a LOT of time researching, and look up the podcasts for restorations too.

As I said you can live in an Aluminum tent and finish it from there - a card table and chairs, inflatable bed, toaster oven or microwave, good cooler, porta potty and someone else's shower is something you can live with for quite a while you finish.

Good luck! And before you go too deep in debt, check on where you CAN camp. Lots of folks think they can do it in someone's back yard, but the zoning folks intervene.

Paula
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:34 PM   #12
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Marietta , Georgia
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Youtube has a lot of DIY clips on various topics; enough to keep watching for a week:

http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...oration+repair
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Old 03-02-2016, 02:08 PM   #13
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1975 Argosy 22
Eugene , Oregon
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Try the escapee.com site and go to the forum. Lots of experience and info, on most topics you will need to find info on. Many AS owners as well as every kind and type of RV. Also an excellent RV club to belong to as well as the Airstream club.
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Old 03-02-2016, 03:18 PM   #14
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I see a big ole Sonic cup on the counter in the '75.
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