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Old 10-03-2004, 07:47 PM   #1
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Newbie Has Questions

Hello All,
I just bought my first Airstream yesterday, and have a few questions. It is a 1975 Land Yachat Sovereign (also says International on the side) 31 ft.

1. I have to replace the floor in the front of the trailer at either side of the sofa, and in the rear bedroom under one of the beds in the corner. What size plywood do I need? I think I saw 5/8 listed somewhere in my copy of Airstream Life, but want to make sure.

2. The left front window of the trailer has water trapped in between the panes of glass. How did this get here? More importantly, how do I get it out?

3. A tree branch fell on the rear of the trailer (Previous owner's fault) and has left one big dent, and three little dents on the rear of the trailer. How would you reccomend getting them out? Would it be feesable to remove the inner skin in the rear of the trailer and push the dents out from the inside?

4. The trailer had the old 7 pin plug with the round pins. The PO cut the cord and rewired it to the new 7 pin plug with flat connectors the same way the old plug was wired. I know that was wrong so I cross referenced the manual with the new plug guide to straighten out the mess. I have brake lights, turn signals, and back up lights. But do not have running lights or brakes. Do you know what is wrong?

5. I am guessing that the floor rot is coming from water leaking in through the windows. If I wanted to reseal the windows around the skin without removing them, what would I need to do, or use? I already started with some clear silicone, on 3 windows, but saw in another post that I goofed. Please advise. Also, how would I be able to tell if my trailer is leaking at any seams? They look tight, but how do I check?

Thanks a lot for any advice that you may be able to give. I'm the site manager at a Classic Winnebago Motorhomes web group, so I know how helpful a group of people can be. I was previously the owner of a 1969 Winnebago D-24 motorhome. I spent a few years breathing new life into that little gem, and hope to do the same for my new toy.

Thanks Again,
Lowell Newcomer
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Old 10-03-2004, 08:10 PM   #2
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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Talking Hey! another 75 owner!

Hi Lowell,
Welcome to the forums. I am also a 1975 31' Sovereign Owner/Restorer

Quote:
Originally Posted by LowellN
1. I have to replace the floor in the front of the trailer at either side of the sofa, and in the rear bedroom under one of the beds in the corner. What size plywood do I need? I think I saw 5/8 listed somewhere in my copy of Airstream Life, but want to make sure.
Floors in mine are 3/4" ACX fir plywood.

Quote:
2. The left front window of the trailer has water trapped in between the panes of glass. How did this get here? More importantly, how do I get it out?
Got there because: a) the seals between the window and the body are bad. b) the seals between the glass and the frame are bad. c) the seals between the window glass panes itself is bad. Any combination or one of the above. Removal: if it is not to bad, live with it. Break out the inner pane ( run a search for window repair) or replace with a new unit from the factory.

Quote:
3. A tree branch fell on the rear of the trailer (Previous owner's fault) and has left one big dent, and three little dents on the rear of the trailer. How would you reccomend getting them out? Would it be feesable to remove the inner skin in the rear of the trailer and push the dents out from the inside?
Depends on exactly what you mean by "rear" of the trailer, and how bad the dents are. Aluminum stretches when bent and does not want to return to its orginal location. Interior access to the domed area is covered by a one piece plastic/fiberglass inside dome. It can be removed but will require at least partial removal if not total removal of the bathroom.

Quote:
4. The trailer had the old 7 pin plug with the round pins. The PO cut the cord and rewired it to the new 7 pin plug with flat connectors the same way the old plug was wired. I know that was wrong so I cross referenced the manual with the new plug guide to straighten out the mess. I have brake lights, turn signals, and back up lights. But do not have running lights or brakes. Do you know what is wrong?
No clue But will think about it.

Quote:
5. I am guessing that the floor rot is coming from water leaking in through the windows. If I wanted to reseal the windows around the skin without removing them, what would I need to do, or use? I already started with some clear silicone, on 3 windows, but saw in another post that I goofed. Please advise. Also, how would I be able to tell if my trailer is leaking at any seams? They look tight, but how do I check?
Run a board search for Vista Views, as far as resealing windows, the first step is to THOROUGHLY clean old caulking, dirt, etc from around the top of the window frame, I use a dremel tool, popsicle sticks, orange sticks (ask your wife) If the window seals; (gray plastic looking stuff between the glass and the frame is dried out or pulled away from the glass and frame) it will need to be cut back and resealed with caulking. Vulkem is the prefered caulk IMHO. Seam leaks occur but are the least likely place, Plumbing vents, 3 of them, need to be redone ASAP they are a good source of leaks that show up in strange places, fridge vent, and televison antenna too. If someone has already used sillycone at these points, it will have to be completely be removed, including any residue before the new caulking can be applied.

Now that you have a lifetime of work in front of you.... Let's get started...read all you can from the board, and if you need to PM or email me. Chances are I have done it or am doing it.

Aaron
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Old 10-04-2004, 08:04 PM   #3
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Aaron,

Thanks a lot for all the info. I will definately do a search on vista windows, since I think that they may be the source of the problem in the front of the rig.

The main dent is on the left rear of the trailer tword the top of the "dome", this on envolves a seam. It doesn't seem to have seperated the seam (probably a poor choice of wording), but is about the sixe of a basket ball. The other 3 dents are straight, about 8 inches long, and are fairly superficial. I think I may be able to pull them out with a suction cup dent puller.
If you think of anything on my little wiring problem, I'll be more than happy to listen.
Where can I get Vulkem? Do I have to order it from an Airstream dealer?

Thanks Again,
Lowell
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Old 10-04-2004, 09:06 PM   #4
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1984 31' Excella
Abernathy , Texas
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I had leaks in numerous places.
TV antenna, vents in roof, awning attachments, water tank fill housing, AC in roof, plumbing vents, and also the flood light housing, and the sides where the Excella badges were affixed to the trailer...had to remove and re-rivet using ParBond on the new rivets, also leaking at the front window shield where it was attached to the trailer.
Use Vulkem for large seams, and on top side of windows and vents...use ParBond on less then 1/8" seams and cracks.
Good luck finding all of them....it is time consuming...I still look after every rain to see if I still have them all sealed.
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Old 10-05-2004, 07:00 PM   #5
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Smile

Thanks for the advice. I'm taking it all in.

I was looking for materials so I called Inland RV today and talked to a very helpful lady in parts. They are probably goegraphically the farthest Airstream dealer from me, but I read about them in Airstream Life, and figured I should order the parts from them. I ordered 85 ft. of all new seals for the windows (between the window, and the window frame), some sikaflex, three tubes of Parbond, 29 ft. of vista window trim, some walbernize, and three tubes of 3M glue to attach the window seals. She told me to use the ParBond at the tops of the windows, and to use the sikaflex for larger jobs like panel attachments. I hope I don't have to do any of that, but thought that I should have some handy... just in case.

You mentioned the seals around the roof vents, plumbing vents, and the a/c. I had thought about them also, but am unsure how to go about replacing them. How do you do work on the roof without denting the skin? Can you kneel or stand on the roof?

I am also curious as to what type of special tools I need to work on one of these things. Any reason to buy a new tool is OK with me. What type of rivet tool do I need? What type/size rivets do I buy?

Thanks again for all the help.
Lowell
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Old 10-07-2004, 06:37 PM   #6
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Replacing window seals

I was just working on replacing the window/door/compartment seals on our 73 Overlander this afternoon. The prior owner used what appeared to be contact cement to adhere the seals. After removing as much as I could with a safety razor, I tried to soften the residue with mineral spirits, which did not work well. However, I used a small wire brush attachment on my cordless drill and it did a great job. By working carefully and slowly, I went around the area where the old seal was and essentially buffed it off, going in foward and reverse on the drill as needed. You have to be careful not to work too fast as the soft aluminum frame will scratch, but it worked great on my unit. All you have to do is wipe the area off with mineral spirts or some type of cleaner and apply the new seals. This looks like its going to save a bundle of time, and do a great job too! Hope this helps.

Scott
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Old 10-07-2004, 07:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
4. The trailer had the old 7 pin plug with the round pins. The PO cut the cord and rewired it to the new 7 pin plug with flat connectors the same way the old plug was wired. I know that was wrong so I cross referenced the manual with the new plug guide to straighten out the mess. I have brake lights, turn signals, and back up lights. But do not have running lights or brakes. Do you know what is wrong? end quote.

Part of the problem with the brakes could be the breakaway switch. That would be the piece that looks like a small can, with two wires and a piece of thin cable mounted on the tongue. If you are getting power through terminal #2, (the blue wire) when the brake controller is activated, and a good ground on terminal #1 (white), make sure the wires are good going into and out of the breakaway switch. Also, it is possible the connectors are loose/corroded/broken where they connect to the brake drums.

I recently had to replace the trailer plug because it had contact problems for the running lights (terminal #3 green). After I did this, my electrical gremlins went away. You SHOULD be able to connect a jumper wire from the battery charge wire terminal #4 (black) to terminal #3, and the running lights should come on if you have a good battery in your coach. If this works, your problem is in the plug on the tow vehicle.
Hopefully this will help you track down your lighting and braking issues.
Terry
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