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Old 12-09-2014, 09:58 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1966 30' Sovereign
Albuquerque , New Mexico
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 16
Help Requested!

New to Airstreams, and heck, new to trailer camping altogether!

My partner and I recently rescued a very neglected 1966 Sovereign International from a dusty mountain soon to be grave. Unknown PO's chopped up the rear bath area and turned the living area into a makeshift office. The rear Gaucho was also modified into a permanent double bed. My partner is 6'3" so that was not going to work for us. After closer inspection, I discovered evidence of multiple rodents of various sizes, based on the sizes of "pellets" throughout the trailer. With the fear of possible infectious permeated dry rotting wood, we decided a full gut and rebuild to be the best course of action.

Two weeks ago we finished pulling everything out saving all hardware, light fixtures, appliances as possible. My partner and I went to our local AS dealer to get ideas but we're still scratching out heads. However, we did agree we like the bare aluminum walls rather than the Zolatone, so I have started the arduous task of removing this stubborn wall covering. It's been a week and I'm only 1/3 done! I'm now looking at where I can cheat by hiding it with a cabinet or shower but without a final layout I'm nearly stumped.

A question to you seasoned AS owners is this. If you had a 30' blank slate, how would you fill it? I have to do a frame off restoration as the frame is rusted in the rear and the plywood is rotted around the perimeter. New fresh water, gray water and black tanks will be installed in the belly too. Another question is does the clean out have to be on the street side?

We are looking to live in the AS for 6+ months out of the year while we explore our wonderful nation. Also, we are a handy couple having remodeled several houses but due to the compactness, 210 sqft. vs 2100 is challenging at best!

Any input will be greatly appreciated.

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Old 12-09-2014, 11:00 PM   #2
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batman's Avatar

1964 22' Safari
modesto , California
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 509
Welcome , you have come to the right place to get started. Congratulations on your rescue. You should search the forum for information that will help you from folks who have done just what you are about to do. Not sure where you are located but if it were me, I might contact a local referb shop for advise on you floor plan, cabinet style and locations, etc. If you are in or near SoCal I would call Uve Salwender at . They are very professional, helpful and terrific people. I could not/would not have done mine without them. After you figure out what you want to do with your find, they will be able to give you a ball park figure on what you can expect to spend to get it up to your expectations. Many $$$$ will be needed even if you do most of the work.
To answere your specific question about the clean out. It can be any where you want it. However in general they are placed on the street side because almost every campground with hook ups has the sewer on the street side, because every manufacturer places the clean out/dump valve connection on the street side, it has become a standard. So if you plan to travel, that is where it should be placed.
We love photo's here so take plenty.

Good luck,

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Old 12-11-2014, 05:28 AM   #3
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,520
Welcome bwchant. We both have old 1966 Airstreams, yours the top of the line Sovereign 30 footer, mine the smaller base model Trade Wind 24 footer.

These Air Forums are a great place to garner ideas for your renovation project. I'd like to lead you to the Airstream Knowledge base and then Travel Trailers toward the bottom of the home page. Here you click on Sovereign, and then click on the 1966 year range. You will meet folks that have restored and renovated their trailers. You will likely find some pretty novel interior layouts that might work for you.

One of my favorite refurbishment threads is "little girl refurb". These folks did a great job doing what you want to do. They completely redesigned the interior of their trailer after it was rebuilt and made sound. Take a look...

BUT... It sounds like your old Airstream has been neglected and abused through the years like many of them. Maybe you have tried to assess it's "bones" and determine what is needed. Most old trailers need axles and brakes, most old trailers need subfloor replacement or repair, most old trailers need new plumbing and electrical systems, most old trailers leak rain water like a sieve, and most old trailers need new appliances like furnaces, water heaters, fridge, etc. These need addressed before you need to start on the interior design and rebuild or polishing the exterior skins.

I remodeled the rear bath area in my 66 Trade Wind after replacing the subfloor back there. It was my first attempt at "Airstream interior design". I admire how Airstream designers make so much stuff work in such a small place. It took me several tries before I got vanity, toilet, shower stall, closet, medicine cabinet, drain lines, electrical outlets to fit and work together. I found the design phase challenging and creative and fun, but not easy for a novice like me. Building it was even more of a challenge. My new bath works, but it ain't gonna win any awards!

Again, welcome, ask questions, learn to use this excellent website, post some pictures, and have fun!

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