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Old 11-29-2013, 06:29 PM   #1
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1978 31' Sovereign
Mineola , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 4
Help!! Where should I start?

I have a 1978 //sovereign any help on how to start remodeling?

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Old 11-29-2013, 07:06 PM   #2
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,362
Welcome to the forums.
Basically, you jack up the a/c shroud, and build a new trailer under it.

Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 11-29-2013, 07:25 PM   #3
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1978 31' Sovereign
Mineola , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 4
Help me here!
I know you guys that know what your doing know this is what you do, but for a newbie is there a manual or something I should look for?
Tks for the reply!!
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Old 11-29-2013, 07:36 PM   #4
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1986 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,778
Blog Entries: 13
Basically, you need to do what all of us did -- make extensive use of the "search" function and read until your eyes melt.

I will say that step 1 is always to get your trailer water-tight. Then check the floor, especially along the perimeter with an awl or an icepick. If the floor is solid, enjoy a cool drink. Check all systems, prioritize repairs, read some more. Go camping, determine what changes, if any, you would like to make to the layout. Read some more.

Once you have specific questions that haven't already been answered numerous times, then post them and all kinds of help will be forthcoming.

My personal opinion is that you need to make the rig useable and then actually use it before you gut it and start a renovation. Lots of folks leap right into the "tear down" phase and never get to the "finished" phase.

The bright side is that aluminum is addicting. The down side is that aluminum is addicting...


new (usually dirty) Nissan Titan XD (hardly paid for)
Old (enhanced with "male pattern baldness") Sovereign
Young, lovely bride
Goofy dog, dismissive cat
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Old 11-29-2013, 07:56 PM   #5
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1978 31' Sovereign
Mineola , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 4
Thanks sooo much, what you said makes alot of sense!
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Old 11-29-2013, 07:58 PM   #6
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2005 30' Land Yacht 30 SL
Oakland County , Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 491
Welcome to the forums, good advice from Mike.
Bob & Nancy
2005 ASLYG 30 SO
2009 Wrangler Toad
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:42 PM   #7
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1972 Argosy 20
Snoqualmie , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 435
Originally Posted by Bulldog50 View Post
I have a 1978 //sovereign any help on how to start remodeling?
This is just my opinion:
Look for rot
Fix all leaks (basically start with a couple of tubes of Trempro or Vulcam and a caulk gun)
Drop belly pan
Throw away your level and square
Go to work
Be patient and expect to learn A LOT
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Old 11-29-2013, 09:03 PM   #8
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Southwestern , Ohio
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Originally Posted by Bulldog50 View Post
I have a 1978 //sovereign any help on how to start remodeling?
Welcome to the forums!

I will tell you the same thing someone told us when we got our first Airstream,--a 1960 Pacer in rough shape--more than ten years ago.

"If it's roadworthy and habitable, get it on the road and camp in it to learn what you want and don't want."

That was good advice. We changed some things that we hadn't expected to change, and equally important, didn't change some things we had expected to change.

Join the Vintage Airstream Club Home and go to some of their rallies--you can see what others have done and they can share their experience.
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Old 11-29-2013, 09:22 PM   #9
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1978 31' Sovereign
Mineola , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 4
Thanks to everyone for the help!!
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:31 AM   #10
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1988 32' Excella
Robbinsville , New Jersey
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,017
Another good place to start is to go through the "trailer inspection checklist" if you haven't already.

While it's best to go through the checklist before you buy the trailer it can still be quite helpful afterwards to make sure you check for problems before they get worse and before you fix 1 thing to find out you have to do it again when you fix the next thing because of working in the wrong order.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:19 AM   #11
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Sioux Falls , South Dakota
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,401
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I started with doing all the deferred maintenance. I replaced all window and door gaskets, replaced sewer vent gaskets, sealed seams, replaced air conditioner, replaced and sealed all the clearance lights, and replaced all 3 roof vents. New tires, installed new wheel bearings, new break-away switch, and set up and tested brakes. Then I repaired all damage, installed new 7-way setup, and removed all of the interior furniture and fixtures except the shower and vanity top. Then I installed all new fixtures and appliances, new floor covering, new wall panels, new cabinets and countertops, and new sink and faucets.

Last I polished the outside and installed new awning fabric.
Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:38 AM   #12
1972 Travelux Princess 25
Cobourg , Ontario
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,042
First step. Get a clip board and pencil or pen. Also broom, soap, water, rubber gloves etc.

Give the trailer a thorough clean from end to end. Use the clip board to make note of things that need to be fixed or replaced. DO NOT throw away anything unless you know it is rubbish. That funny looking piece of plastic or bent metal, that could not possibly be part of a trailer, always turns out to be some irreplaceable part.

Then inspect the trailer carefully and make note of what it needs. Any leaks? Axles good? Brakes?

Inside, test the appliances plumbing etc.

When you are done go over your notes and map out a plan. In some cases you may decide to forget the whole thing, now is the time to make a decision not after you pour thousands of $$$$$ and hours of work into it.
Living in the trailer park of sense, looking out the window at a tornado of stupidity.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:20 PM   #13
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1971 27' Overlander
Jackson , Tennessee
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 164
Again, welcome to the forums.

I am 1 year ahead of you in this process, and I can just now see a tiny light at the end of a very long tunnel. I have a repaired and painted frame, new tank systems, new running gear, new rear floor…and still have a gutted trailer.

If your axles are original, they have to be replaced. At some point, the belly pan will need to be dropped to see what condition your frame is in.

And I'll throw this question out to the masses: Can any trailer of this era NOT have rear end separation?

I don't mean to sound negative - owning an Airstream and bringing it back to life is great fun. Whatever you find, remember to have fun with the process (I'm preaching to myself here!)

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Old 12-01-2013, 06:20 AM   #14
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1966 17' Caravel
Newport , North Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Al so where are the pictures? Just poking but they do help and welcome to the forums! As you have heard many times already read snap a picture then ask and you should receive?

Gotta get busy! Have a great day! Now where did I put those revits?
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