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Old 10-13-2014, 05:49 PM   #1
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Tempe , Arizona
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Posts: 3
Need help assessing a restoration project in Phoenix, AZ

Hi folks! I'd like some advice in figuring out the feasibility of restoring an old Sovereign I found a couple days ago. Looks to be a 31', year unknown (though some of you can probably make an educated guess), set up for a rear bath, mid kitchen layout. I took some pictures while I was there:

The interior is clearly gutted, doubtful I'd be able to use any of the fixtures. The outside looks okay... lots of minor dents and scratches on the aluminum body, and the rear bumper falling off is probably an indicator of some kind of structural damage. Wheels and axles most likely will have to be replaced. I should have taken a look at the underside, but it didn't occur to me to do so until after I got back home, oh well.

If you guys have any further thoughts I'd love to hear them. Additionally, if anybody lives in the Phoenix area and wouldn't mind taking a trip with me to check it out in person and assess the damage, I'd be eternally grateful. Thanks!

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Old 10-13-2014, 08:58 PM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Welcome to the Forums.

Your pictures are tiny--it is really hard to assess much of anything but the grossest details by looking at them. The trailer looks like something from the early to mid 60's.

Soooo....It all depends on what you mean by "feasibility." Anything is possible with time and money. What is the asking price? What kind of budget do you have in mind for the project? What is your goal? There is a huge difference between making something inhabitable vs. turning it into a work of art. That being said any trailer this age is likely to have lots of needs--rotting floors, disintegrating frame, missing appliances, etc., etc.,

When you buy an old trailer like this, you are essentially just buying the shell. Most of the balance ends up in the landfill. You are lucky if you have a solid frame. This isn't to say it is not a dandidate--just that it may be more work/expense than you want to sign up for.

good luck!

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Old 10-13-2014, 10:19 PM   #3
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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It looks really rough to me. I blew up the photos as much as I could and the ripples in the rear side metal on the second photo as well as the rear droop would indicate very very serious structural damage. i am guessing mid to late '60's is the year based on what I can see of the cast metal taillights.

If it were a rare or historic trailer, maybe it would be worth considering, but I doubt that it is either. Restoration costs would be in the $15 k range probably to make it decent. And that is with your own labor.

Pick or pass? I would pass, even if it were only $1000
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Old 10-13-2014, 10:28 PM   #4
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Tempe , Arizona
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Grabbed the thumbnail links by mistake, sorry about that. These should be the full size images.

The goal of this project is to have a livable trailer that my parents can use to tour the US. I'm not aiming for art-level quality, but would like to put in some features like gray water recycling and rooftop solar. Total budget is going to be on the order of $20-25k. Don't know how much the owner is asking for yet, but I'm expecting $500-700 based on similar offers; also, I know he's trying to get rid of a lot of the stuff on his property he no longer has plans for. This trailer jumped out at me because it's the size my parents were looking at getting.
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Old 10-13-2014, 11:00 PM   #5
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1972 31' Sovereign
Johnson City , on the road
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I would pass, really there are much better one's out there, I build them all the time at my shop and I would say a big no no for any of my customers that considered this trailer
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Old 10-14-2014, 02:31 AM   #6
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Keep looking.....too much to rehab.
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Old 10-14-2014, 06:29 AM   #7
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Chelsea , Michigan
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I would pass on this one. Too much skin damage and possible structural issues. There are fine candidates for shell-off restorations out there for much less than it would cost you to just address the skin issues on this unit.
Bob Martel
WBCCI# 5766
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Old 10-14-2014, 07:13 AM   #8
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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This is a parts-donor trailer at the best. The challenge would be to figure out what parts are worth salvaging. As mentioned earlier, when you buy a trailer this old, you are really buying a shell. This shell is wrecked. The street side looks as though the entire trailer was folded like a fortune cookie and then flattened out again. Makes me curious how the damage was accomplished. It's not worth the time, expense, and effort required.
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Old 10-14-2014, 07:42 AM   #9
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1999 34' Excella
Davidson County, NC , Highlands County, FL
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RUN - don't look back!
It will cost far more to repair the trailer in the photos than to buy one that is ready to use.
2014 Silverado 1500 5.3L maximum trailering package (yes, I'm towing the 34')
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Old 10-14-2014, 09:58 AM   #10
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Tempe , Arizona
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The verdict is in! I'll keep looking. Thanks for the advice, all.
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Old 10-14-2014, 09:58 PM   #11
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1987 32' Excella
Nepean , Ontario
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David, for under $20K you should be able to come up with a mid 1980's in good condition. For one thing, the early trailers did not have as strong a frame as the 1983+.

From the last issue of the Blue Beret:

1983 – AIRSTREAM 31’ EXCELLA, non-
smoker, double bed, center bath & wardrobe,
NEW A/C, water heater and elec. frig, Zip
Dee awnings all around. Asking $10,000.
Excellent condition. Ph. 609-883-4781. Can
be seen at Jersey Shore Haven Airstream
Campground (Seaville, NJ)

1999 – AIRSTREAM 31’ EXCELLA 1000
CLASSIC, queen bed, furnace, fridge, micro-
wave, awnings, anti-sway bars, gravel guards
and more. Very good condition. $24,900. Ph.
770-331-5575 (Smyrna, GA)

The 1983 would probably need new axles (figure $3K, installed at JC). I'm sure these would be nice and very livable for your parents.

AIR 12148
1987 Excella 32-foot
1999 Dodge Ram 2500HD Diesel
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