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Old 09-03-2015, 01:47 PM   #1
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New Orleans , Louisiana
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Is this '77 Sovereign worth restoring?

There's a 31' 1977 Sovereign for sale near me and it's completely gutted. I'd love to know if you think we could tackle the repairs and hire someone to replace the floor and still have a decent resale value. The question is - is this worth restoring and making road-worthy?

Goal: Go full-time in the Airstream starting in May or June 2016 for 12+ months. We want a bed in the back of the trailer and a bed on the sides which seems to be uncommon for the 1977's.

Budget: $10-12k, including acquisition of the trailer. The trailer is "OBO" so I can make an offer.

Album: 1977 Airstream - Album on Imgur

Stats:
+ Look like original tires, needing replacement
+ Missing window immediately across from door (drivers side)
+ No A/C shroud
+ Zero inside
+ Floor is rotted and needs to be 100% replaced
+ No salvageable piping or electric lines
+ No key for the side hatches. Will have to drill out and replace.
+ Cantaloupe-sized dent on rear roof, looks like damage from backing up
+ Gel coat on roof which is covering 2 spots that are soft, look to be duct tape below. Probably a hole.
+ Front step is busted, needs to be rebuilt
+ A few rust spots on the bottom of the exterior skin


The rust and my inability to check out the frame gives me worry. I live close enough to a company that could pop the frame off the chassis and could fix any structural issues.

Is this Sovereign worth restoring? If so, what is the MAX you would pay for it in this shape?

Thank you for your help! Excited to join the family soon...
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:24 PM   #2
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I'd offer to haul it away for $500.
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Old 09-03-2015, 10:01 PM   #3
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1974 31' Sovereign
1979 23' Safari
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Is it worth restoring, yes.

For 10-12k, not even close. Probably closer to 20k. In the condition it is in it will surely need a full Monty.

By next year. Only if you have 100% of your time free to work on it. Even them I'd say summer '17 if you're lucky.

What would I pay for it. Not much!
It'll probably take a lot to just move the thing.
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Old 09-03-2015, 10:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiJoeSilver View Post
Is it worth restoring, yes.

For 10-12k, not even close. Probably closer to 20k. In the condition it is in it will surely need a full Monty.

By next year. Only if you have 100% of your time free to work on it. Even them I'd say summer '17 if you're lucky.

What would I pay for it. Not much!
It'll probably take a lot to just move the thing.
20k "if" you do it all yourself. 2.5 times that if you have to pay the man.
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Old 09-03-2015, 10:13 PM   #5
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1973 27' Overlander
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiJoeSilver View Post
Is it worth restoring, yes.

For 10-12k, not even close. Probably closer to 20k. In the condition it is in it will surely need a full Monty.

By next year. Only if you have 100% of your time free to work on it. Even them I'd say summer '17 if you're lucky.

What would I pay for it. Not much!
It'll probably take a lot to just move the thing.
Yup. I'd say the cost may be even higher because he wants to hire out some of the work. I'd pass on this one. Look in the classifieds here. Much better campers for sale. Keep looking, the right one will come along.

Jim
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Old 09-04-2015, 11:44 AM   #6
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If you were to park it and use it as a back yard studio, build out conventionally with 110ac, IKEA furniture, etc...it might be worth it. If you were wanting to travel with it, I wouldn't consider it as others have said.
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Old 09-04-2015, 11:47 AM   #7
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1986 31' Sovereign
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If you are looking for a sovereian for sale, i have one. She is a 1986, full bed in back with pull couch.( or jack knife) she is 29ft. She is also in great shape in and out. If you are intersted please let me know. If you question please give us a # or give us a call. 540-862-4035, bobby and michelle angle. Thank you.
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Old 09-04-2015, 11:57 AM   #8
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I agree with all the comments. I bought a 1953 16' Clipper that looked like it was in decent shape inside but I wanted it redone. How much could it cost to redo such a little thing?... About 20K, not including the initial purchase price. Everything had to go down to the frame and axles. But, it is just about completed and I am very happy with it. I will be using it mostly as a workroom/darkroom but fully roadworthy and ready to roll. I really had no concept of how much work and $$ is involved in redoing an older Airstream, especially since I don't have the time, skills and tools to do it myself. All in all, a happy ending but I did go into it a bit naive. I'll post pictures when I get it home.
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Old 09-04-2015, 12:03 PM   #9
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$10 to $12 K Budget

New Airstreams are outrageously expensive.

GENTLY used Airstreams are still expensive.

Older than that, the best bargains are:
  • untouched barn finds - untouched so that you don't have to undo someone else's mistakes
  • barn finds - so that corrosion and leak damage is not too severe
  • one owner who knows sh** from shinola when it comes to doing maintenance work.
  • from a dry climate - Arizona/New Mexico, etc. again less water damage, but you might get hanta virus.

The expense of maintaining any RV only starts with the purchase price. They all require very frequent maintenance... anything that vibrates going downthe road will leak sooner or later.
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Old 09-04-2015, 12:09 PM   #10
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BayouCampers.

You didn't mention replacing the axles, which would be a must, if the trailer would be on the road again.

Also, all the exterior gaskets would need replacing. Not expensive, but a must.

Andy
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Old 09-04-2015, 12:41 PM   #11
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Very helpful, thanks y'all. I'll pass on this one... I woke up feeling the amount of work needed to get this road-ready and it's just not worth it. As many have said, a better one will come along.

My thoughts are that now camping season is over, more should spring up for sale. Is this an accurate trend to look for?

Regarding the axles, I didn't realize they would have to be replaced. That's a great point and something I'll look out for.
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Old 09-04-2015, 02:54 PM   #12
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Hot Springs , Arkansas
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I would extend a hand with $1200 in it. No more. That looks like a big undertaking (no pun intended). If you have the patience and ambition, it looks like a great place to start. Make sure you have a clear title too.
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Old 09-04-2015, 05:04 PM   #13
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Looks like it would be quite a challenge, and a real test of your patience and skills. You could probably find another trailer that would be an easier project.

We recently purchased a '71 Sovereign for $4000. All of the interior is intact and the only floor rot is at the very rear under the tub/shower. It has brand new tires and minimal frame rust. All I had to do was just hook it up and tow it home. It towed very well. All of the windows and the associated hardware are in good shape. It even has a fairly new (2010) hot water heater. Everything works except the air conditioner. I plan on replacing the AC, the power converter, LP gas lines, and a few other odds and ends. We also plan on doing some cosmetic upgrades. I have pretty extensive building skills. I built a Sonex airplane from scratch, and have built 5 teardrop trailers, including welding the frames. I honestly feel that if I invest about $5000 I'll end up with a pretty nice Airstream.

The point of my rambling is to hopefully encourage you that you can find a trailer that suits your needs. They're out there.
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Old 09-04-2015, 05:22 PM   #14
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Sovereigns are plentiful and can be bought at a fair price in much better shape. I'd spend 4 to 6000 on a better one and use the rest for what it needs.
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