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Old 10-28-2010, 06:12 PM   #1
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1975 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 11
High tech complete rebuild -- or maybe just in way over my head. :)

Hi Guys. First post from a lurker here.

First I just want to say thanks to all the people who make this place so rich in information. There is just too much of it.

I'm about a month into restoring a 75' Land Yacht 31'. (I think that's what it is.)

I've been trying to look up as much as I can in the forums but there is just SO MUCH HERE.

First off, I have some photos and some questions.

1) Is this a 74 or a 75? I bought a "74" but I think according to VIN it's a '75.

2) What do I do about the pitting on the cross members? I have two photos attached of cross braces I've hit with the wire wheel. One is rusted and pitted very badly the other still in great shape.

3) Sandblasting? Required for POR15 or not? It seems a lot of guys do it, but you don't really need to? Will I be just fine if I just wire wheel it all and POR15?

4) The damage to the main frame where it has rusted nearly completely through the main channel iron - any threads on best ways to fix this? I'm leaning towards cutting it out completely and welding in a replacement section or angle iron + grinding + cutting + cleaning up + welding. But I don't want to make a huge newbie mistake here.

5) Top off vs No Top off. I could take the top off - but do I really need to? I was planning to repair the frame with the top on, POR15, and slide sheets of marine plywood in underneath. Anyone have a favorite thread of a well done Top On rebuild?

6) Motivation. Any recommended threads on people who've tried to make solar powered Airstreams or otherwise high tech updates?

7) Out of curiosity how much is an Airstream like this worth? The roof is pristine, the only leak is where some rivets have pulled a bit in the front right corner. I have all the original insides but there were significant issues with the pluming, gas and electrical. How much does it usually take to get from here to a polished Airstream?

Thanks!
- Solarstream
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:45 PM   #2
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1969 18' Caravel
portland , Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 23
Hi Solarstream,
My guess is that you are not in over your head.
I bought my first Airstream last year. There was a significant amount of rot in the sub-floor so I ended up down to a shell, a frame, and parts of the old floor. I wire wheeled the frame and then POR 15. The wheel took the frame down to the bare metal and I can't imagine needing more than that. I wasn't in a position to take the top off so I used the old floor as a template, cut new pieces and put them in with the top on. It was certainly a challenge because the top had to flex enough to allow the new pieces to fit but it came out very well.
If I was to do it again (and I had the space to take the shell off) I think taking the shell off would be a lot easier. I took out the floor one piece at a time as I replaced it with new sheets. Because you have taken the entire floor out, My guess is that it would be much easier to take off before replacing the floor.
As for the frame questions - cutting and welding sounds like the solution. This is however just a guess.
Good luck.
SCott
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:31 PM   #3
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1975 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 11
Thanks Scott.

Is yours finished now?
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:28 AM   #4
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1969 18' Caravel
portland , Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 23
Not ot finished but enjoying the project and making progress.

Hi again,

Sorry for the late response. Nope, I'm not finished. I am however into the much more fun part of this project.

I am using all of the old parts and pieces as templates and kind of making my interpretation of the original 1969 Caravel that I purchased. I got mine from its original owner and everything was intact but really kind of falling apart.

Here are some photos of the progress. The new floor is Marmoleum, The walls and bathroom doors are a combination of plywood and aluminum, and the frame at the front of the picture is the skeleton of the new fridge cabinet (which is now actually much further along). I think you really need to enjoy this because it certainly does take quite a bit of time).

The walk of a thousand miles begins with a simple footstep.

Good luck Solarstream.
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:41 AM   #5
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Corona , California
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solarstream View Post
Hi Guys. First post from a lurker here.

First I just want to say thanks to all the people who make this place so rich in information. There is just too much of it.

I'm about a month into restoring a 75' Land Yacht 31'. (I think that's what it is.)

I've been trying to look up as much as I can in the forums but there is just SO MUCH HERE.

First off, I have some photos and some questions.

1) Is this a 74 or a 75? I bought a "74" but I think according to VIN it's a '75.

2) What do I do about the pitting on the cross members? I have two photos attached of cross braces I've hit with the wire wheel. One is rusted and pitted very badly the other still in great shape.

3) Sandblasting? Required for POR15 or not? It seems a lot of guys do it, but you don't really need to? Will I be just fine if I just wire wheel it all and POR15?

4) The damage to the main frame where it has rusted nearly completely through the main channel iron - any threads on best ways to fix this? I'm leaning towards cutting it out completely and welding in a replacement section or angle iron + grinding + cutting + cleaning up + welding. But I don't want to make a huge newbie mistake here.

5) Top off vs No Top off. I could take the top off - but do I really need to? I was planning to repair the frame with the top on, POR15, and slide sheets of marine plywood in underneath. Anyone have a favorite thread of a well done Top On rebuild?

6) Motivation. Any recommended threads on people who've tried to make solar powered Airstreams or otherwise high tech updates?

7) Out of curiosity how much is an Airstream like this worth? The roof is pristine, the only leak is where some rivets have pulled a bit in the front right corner. I have all the original insides but there were significant issues with the pluming, gas and electrical. How much does it usually take to get from here to a polished Airstream?

Thanks!
- Solarstream
You have a 1975 31 foot Airstream made in Ohio.

That chassis, needs some very serious attention, so that it does not fall apart in the future, after your hard work restoring the rest of it.

Parts are still available to correct the chassis.

Solar power is great, but don't plan on running any appliances with it. That would take way to many batteries to accomplish.

Removing the shell, in your case, is probably a good idea, since the chassis needs tons of work.

Andy
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Old 10-30-2010, 03:02 PM   #6
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1975 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 11
Thanks Andy.

When you said "There are still parts available." you mean that I can and should get cross members from Airstream direct?

Is there a catalog I can get that lists all the parts they still sell with prices? I've looked over airstream.com and all I see is the manual (which I'm ordering right now).

What would you recommend for fixing the damage to the main frame channel? Cut and replace seems to be the best idea so far.

Thanks!
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Old 10-30-2010, 03:47 PM   #7
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1997 34' Limited
1970 27' Overlander
South of Atlanta , Georgia
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Solarstream, Airstream only sells through deals (and occasionally bits and pieces on EBay). Since you are in Idaho, Andy at Inland would probably be your best bet especially when thinking about shipping costs. From reading other posts of folks restorations, it looks like ribs, outriggers, and anything else you might need are available. Good luck. I bet it will look fantastic when you are finished. You will also have the added knowledge that it is better than new, and you will never have to worry about it again. (so long as you keep up normal maintenance.
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Old 10-30-2010, 04:03 PM   #8
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Solarstream crossmembers and ouriggers are available from any Airstream dealer. I recommend Inland RV. The only part of the frame you can't get is the main frame rails. I just built a whole new frame for my 73. I had a friend make me the main frame rails but any metal shop can fabricate the rails for you. The crossmembers I got were too short so I had to box in the frame to use them. I also had some crossmembers made for me locally. As to patching the main rails you would have to decide how much needs replacing. Mine was so bad that it made sense to make a new frame instead of patching. The best way to repair or replace the frame is to lift the shell off. I was hesitant to do it as well but it turned out easier than I thought. I was especially nervous about the reinstall of the shell but that too went very easy. While your down there check the tanks(black/grey/fresh water) for leaks and repair now while it's easy to get at. I also replaced dump valves and brake wiring for the same reason. Basically as long as it's open fix everything you can.
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