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Old 04-10-2008, 01:29 PM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
Mid CA , California
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Renovation, Advice needed please!

Hello! My husband and I are very glad we found this forum! We love our trailer and want to fix it up for ourselves but we have a lot of work to do, and no experience with trailers. We are hoping that ya'll can give us the advice that we need, or links to the advice we need!

We have a 1976 31' Soverign with rear bath.

Our major probems are:
1. Rear end seperation
2. Door Frame uneven by a couple of inches at the top (possible warping?)
3. Outside compartments are tweaked.

My husband bought the trailer several years ago in South Carolina, moved it to Florida and lived in it for almost two years before he married me and we moved into a house. Almost a year ago we decided to move across the nation to California and my hubby and brother gutted it out. (everything except for the bathroom and the fridge.) We packed all our things in the trailer (we are pretty sure it was not overloaded, although it was heavy.) and headed off. When we got to Arizona the rear end started to seperate and we put some sort of really big roofing tape stuff on it to keep it from falling off, well anyways, as soon as we pulled into the ranch where the trailer now is the bumper almost completely fell off. The trailer has been sitting there since and now we really want to fix it up and make it "like new". I took a lot of pictures and will try to post them here, but I think there is a limit and that they might be too big so I will probably have to put them somewhere else and post the link.

My husband has some questions he is hoping ya'll can answer.
1. What are some options to fix the rear end seperation and tweaked frame?
2. I want to replace the plywood and understand that there are two options for this. Should the frame be straightened first or is this part of the solution?


Any help is much appreciated. Thanks so much!

R&L


Update: My pictures are too big and I don't know how to resize them so I will post them somewhere else and post the link.
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Old 04-10-2008, 01:36 PM   #2
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R&l,
Start doing single word search in the SEARCH option of the forum. You will find a wealth of information here. Search for things like "sag" and "separation". There are more talented and knowledgeable people on this forum than I and I am sure they will chime in. Welcome aboard and good luck with the renovation.
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Old 04-10-2008, 01:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R&LS
Hello! My husband and I are very glad we found this forum! We love our trailer and want to fix it up for ourselves but we have a lot of work to do, and no experience with trailers. We are hoping that ya'll can give us the advice that we need, or links to the advice we need!

We have a 1976 31' Soverign with rear bath.

Our major probems are:
1. Rear end seperation
2. Door Frame uneven by a couple of inches at the top (possible warping?)
3. Outside compartments are tweaked.

My husband bought the trailer several years ago in South Carolina, moved it to Florida and lived in it for almost two years before he married me and we moved into a house. Almost a year ago we decided to move across the nation to California and my hubby and brother gutted it out. (everything except for the bathroom and the fridge.) We packed all our things in the trailer (we are pretty sure it was not overloaded, although it was heavy.) and headed off. When we got to Arizona the rear end started to seperate and we put some sort of really big roofing tape stuff on it to keep it from falling off, well anyways, as soon as we pulled into the ranch where the trailer now is the bumber almost completely feel off. The trailer has been sitting there since and now we really want to fix it up and make it "like new". I took a lot of pictures and will try to post them here, but I think there is a limit and that they might be too big so I will probably have to put them somewhere else and post the link.

My husband has some questions he is hoping ya'll can answer.
1. What are some option to fix the rear end seperation and tweaked frame?
2. I want to replace the plywood and understand that there are two options for this. Should the frame be straightened first or is this part of the solution?


Any help is much appreciated. Thanks so much!

R&L
Repairing the frame, depends on what has happened to it.

If it is not repaired correctly, it will forever be a problem.

The flooring can be replaced in many ways, depending on where it's damaged in the trailer. Then there are ways that range from proper to Mickie Mouse.

The door frame is badly warped, probably because it flew open during transit. It cannot simply be bent back it shape. It must be partly disassembled, welded, and then put back a little differently than originally, so that the new rivets are in different holes.

The rear end separation can be caused by several things. What caused the problem, must be identified and corrected at the same time.

If not, then repairing the rear end is a waste of time and money.

Andy
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Old 04-10-2008, 02:05 PM   #4
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Thank you for your help Deitz and Andy,

I posted pictures Here
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Old 04-10-2008, 02:06 PM   #5
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I did a restor and you can too

I did a restore and if you are not in a hurry, you can do it. Take small steps, and lissen to Andy at Inlandrv.com. Call him, he is very accessable. Have fun.
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Old 04-10-2008, 02:10 PM   #6
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Congrats on your purchase and welcome to the forum! You have come to the right place for advice and information about how to restore your trailer.

Nice pictures, btw!
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Old 04-10-2008, 02:29 PM   #7
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1976 31' Sovereign
Mid CA , California
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One of our reasons for asking advice in this way is because we are not sure if restoring the trailer would be best in the condition it is. We don't have a lot of money, but we are willing to take our time and restore it properly, if it can be done in our budget. If the damage is worse than we thought, (costs more to repair) we may have to sell it to someone who is will to take it as is, or take it to the scrapyard. Which we really don't want to do either.

Quote:
Repairing the frame, depends on what has happened to it.

If it is not repaired correctly, it will forever be a problem.
Andy, do you know of any way that we can tell how the damage to the frame happened? We have read at a airstream history site, that the rear bath trailers have been known to warp because of the rear bath. The only other reason that I can think of is because of all our stuff that we moved with. My husband should be able to get on at a later point and he might know more.

Quote:
The flooring can be replaced in many ways, depending on where it's damaged in the trailer. Then there are ways that range from proper to Mickie Mouse.
My husband says that the whole floor needs to be replaced. We definatly want to do it properly, but I believe he is hoping that it can be done properly without lifting the top off.

When he first bought the trailer he wanted to replace the front plywood, but he couldn't figure out how to remove it and so he just put more plywood in on top of the old, and now that top layer is starting to mold and when you walk on it it bounces.

Quote:
The door frame is badly warped, probably because it flew open during transit. It cannot simply be bent back it shape. It must be partly disassembled, welded, and then put back a little differently than originally, so that the new rivets are in different holes.
The first problem we noticed with the door was that it would not lock, something was broken in the handle. While we were going through Mississippi my brother tried to weld the lock back together, and it only held for a few hours (I guess the metal the handle is made out of is really hard to work with) Because the door lock wouldn't hold, the door did fly open in transit. Now it barely shuts and we have to use a bungee cord through the window to keep it shut.

Quote:
The rear end separation can be caused by several things. What caused the problem, must be identified and corrected at the same time.
Again, we are newbies at this and I am wondering if you can list some common causes?

I hate to be such a bother, but we don't know much about this yet, and we don't have internet access so a few hours here and there at the library is all we have for hopefully just a short time!
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Old 04-10-2008, 02:42 PM   #8
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Oh Something else I forgot to mention is that we would like to take the bathroom out of the back and make that into a bedroom. I saw pictures of a couples trailer in which they did the same thing and all they said was that it cost a couple months delay. Is it worth it? Or is it better to try and make a bedroom in the middle?
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Old 04-10-2008, 02:54 PM   #9
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hi r&l and welcome to the forums!

what is the budget?

answer this question honestly and the next step/s will be much clearer.

what is the purpose of the project?

are u planning to LIVE in it, go rv camping, is this gonna be a guest house, storage barn or do you plan to sell it after the repairs?

again developing the repair process for this unit really should come AFTER...

deciding these primary issues... budget, time commitment, purpose.

many folks are emotionally attached to old stuff (broken cars, applicances, clothes) which can cloud the decision making process...

or serve as the primary motivation for restoration.

the frame/floor/axles/running gear/plumbing and basic mechanical systems could easily cost up to 10,000 $

depending on labor and tools and skills.

then consider appliances, furnishings and so on, along with cosmetic exterior issues...

also the timeline could be 2 years easily for a do-it-yourself-project like this...

taking on a project like this can be fun, frustration, adventure and a money pit.

sort out the 'why and how much' first.

cheers
2air'
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