Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-21-2009, 02:14 PM   #1
Rivet Master
Sugarfoot's Avatar
1960 24' Tradewind
1956 30' Sovereign of the Road
1963 16' Bambi
Southeastern Area , Tennessee
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,115
Restos - If You Had It To Do Over . . .

If you could go back and do your restoration over again, what would you do differently? It could be something major or as minor as electrical outlet locations. Or maybe you got it right the first time and are really thankful you added or did something in particular. Do tell!

The structural rebuild of my '56 SOTR, AKA ELvis, is in good hands. But I'm at the point of making some final decisions on systems, appliances, form, finishes, function, etc. and want to get it right. For Pete's sake, this is as stressful as building a house.

Sometimes design flaws aren't apparent until we actually start living with it. Conveniences are often overlooked until they are needed. It's all in the details. Some learned words from the wisened ones that have gone before me would really be helpful.

Traveling With Elvis
life with a 1956 Sovereign of the Road

Sugarfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009, 02:23 PM   #2
Rivet Master
soldiermedic's Avatar
Currently Looking...
Florissant , USA
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 5,083
There isn't enough web space to list mine out here. I'll just have Amy talk your ear off for a few hours next week about this.


Streaming Soldiers Blog
soldiermedic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009, 02:30 PM   #3
Rivet Master
Ken J's Avatar
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Durango , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: 1975 25' Tradewind
Posts: 3,332
Images: 14
I would have used 3/4 in floor rather than 5/8

Ken J
1956 Flying Cloud
Founder :
Four Corners Unit
Albuquerque National Balloon Fiesta
Vintage Trailer Academy - Formerly the original
restoration rally
Ken J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009, 02:31 PM   #4
1953 Flying Cloud
1953 Flying's Avatar
1953 21' Flying Cloud
West Sacramento , California
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,033
Images: 8
I wish we would of added grey and black tanks when we were redoing the floor and underbelly.
Custom driver license Pet ID's.
1953 Flying is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009, 03:41 PM   #5
wmarsha's Avatar
2000 30' Limited
battle ground, , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 510
oh yeah? take this

well, i bought a ready to use far i have replaced the frig (honey wanted a new, "cleaner: one) toilet (higher) Air cond (too old); faucets; tv; rmvd old antenna; put fan in frig vent; modified shelves to accomodate m/w and conv/toaster oven; cleaned the heck out of it; too tired to even think about it. So why respond here? I would rather have completely rebuilt one, than to mod the one I got. I know I would never have done the first rebuild perfectly, but I wouldn;t be working over 25 year old stuff.
So there is my two cents-sure everyone that has done has some regrets-only thing I would suggest: if it is a big ticket item, or cannot be easily changed later, then really research the heck out of it.
ol bill the newbie idiot.
wmarsha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009, 03:56 PM   #6
Site Team
, Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 6,485
Images: 59
Things I really liked about my restoration ('59 Tradewind) is that I used top of the line appliances, fittings, pumps, 50 amp electic, cork floors, built-in macerator pump, oversized gray tank, new feshwater tank, tons of electrical outlets, cork floors. Go best quality you can get for everything and you'll never have regrets.

The only thing I would do different is I would go over to a dual axle. I ugraded to a single 5200# axle and I think I'm at about 90% of GAWR, wet and fully loaded.
markdoane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009, 04:59 PM   #7
4 Rivet Member
FLYNCLD's Avatar
1962 22' Flying Cloud
Bend , Oregon
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 370
Blog Entries: 6
If I could do it all over again, I would kill myself FIRST, then do it over!

Just kidding...

I would have replaced ALL the plumbing instead of trying to save some. What I saved eventually failed anyway!
FLYNCLD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009, 05:08 PM   #8
Rivet Master
Foiled Again's Avatar

2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 5,678
This is going to be useful.... AND funny

I think I'm about ready to come over to the vintage side. I really like the CCD interior's but the quality leaves something to be desired.

So if I were looking for a dual axle vintage unit circa 27 ft. with a skin that can be polished, what year and model would you recommend?

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
Foiled Again is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009, 06:30 PM   #9
Rivet Master
SteSpot's Avatar
1968 28' Ambassador
1982 24' Airstream 240
Venice , California
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,637
Images: 17
We love our 68 Ambassador

Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
I think I'm about ready to come over to the vintage side. I really like the CCD interior's but the quality leaves something to be desired.

So if I were looking for a dual axle vintage unit circa 27 ft. with a skin that can be polished, what year and model would you recommend?

You can see the total rebuild on Uwe's website click on blog and go to the Grand Reveal.

So far we are happy with all of our choices.....

The 66, 67, 68 all have the curved square windows...69 has rounded windows and unique to that year wing windows in the front....then 70, I think, started the vinyl cabinets with tamboor.. The early 60's trailers are pretty nice (door within a door)....but I would expect to replace the floor and the axles to begin with. All of these can be polished to a mirror finish--but expect to get a sunburn if you stand close to your trailer outside in the full sun. paula
Paula & Ed
Suite Spot
Bandit our Boxer
WBCCI # 8252 Air#13593
1968 28'Ambassador
2011 GMC Yukon Denali
1982 24'Motorhome (82Ste P)
SteSpot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009, 08:07 PM   #10
Rivet Master
Happycampers's Avatar
1979 30' Argosy
Havelock , where we park it
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,651
Hello Dacia... Well ... I am here at work trying to think of things we would have done differently....
1. Bigger grey and black tanks
2. Marvin would have put flood lights low and at all four corners.
3. Probably would have put in LED lites down the center.
4. Put in a new hot water heater...ours was newer and had never been used.
That is all I can think of right now.. overall we are very pleased with Costalotta... very comfortable trailer for any length of trip.
Marvin & Annie
Niki (fur baby)
1979 Argosy 30 (Costalotta)
WBCCI 10103
"Happiness is a warm Puppy" Charles Schulz
Happycampers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009, 09:18 PM   #11
Moderator Emeritus
overlander64's Avatar
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,389
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
Resto's - If You Had It To Do Over . . .

My Overlander would probably be classed more of a refurbish than restoration as it was in very good original condition when purchased in 1995. In fact, during the first five years, I just basically replaced only those items that failed. When the more major work was needed, I was a little better prepared to identify what I wanted.

The things that I would have changed incude:
  • Remote electronic ignition for the water heater -- the fight with the manual pilot light is the most objectional part of my camp setup.
  • Would have held out for a repairman willing to repair my original Armstrong Bay Breeze Air Conditioner -- I am not happy with the performance or noise level in either of the new units in the Overlander or Minuet (the Minuet didn't have air conditioning so a new air conditioner was required).
  • Would have gone with a Marinco "twist-lock" power entrance rather than the modern plastic door entrance.
  • Would have immediately replaced the A & E Travel Awn 5000 with a ZipDee rather than spending hundreds of dollars trying to restore the obsolete awning.
  • Would have immediately replaced the manual tongue jack with a modern power jack. Had I known how much the electric jack simplified hitching it would have been number one on my "must replace" list.
The things that I would definitely keep as they were done include:
  • New three-way Dometic Refrigerator. Without question, this was one of the best changes for peace of mind -- now I can travel with LP valves turned off and all stays cool on 12-volt DC.
  • 150 Watt Solar System. While I rarely ever dry camp, it increases peace of mind when I do, and it has more than quadrupled my coach's battery life (granted the new batteries were twice the cost of the ones that I used when the coach had a Univolt).
  • New suburban furnace with automatic piezo ignition. I had forgotten how difficult RV furnaces were to light until I purchased my Minuet -- it made me appreciate the simplicity of the Overlander's new furnace.
  • Twin 40-pound LP tanks. Since getting LP tanks filled in my area is a grand headache, having the large tanks means that I only have to endure the headache on the average of once each season. The minor drawback is that the tanks limit the opening of the front window, but since I use air conditioning during most of my expeditions it isn't a significant problem.
  • Fowler Interior. It was obvious by 2002 that the interior had gone around 20 years with minimal attention beyond cleaning (the curtains were harvest gold and avacado green), the bedspreads were coppertone, and the particle board subtrate on the original dining table was beginning to disintegrate. Arlene and her husband, Henry, did a wonderful job that included:
    • New upholstery on the sofa, bedroom comfort panels, and living room ottoman.
    • Freshening of the finish on the original oak veneer cabinetry.
    • New pinch-pleated, black-out lined, draperies at all windows.
    • New quilted bedspreads with matching pillow shams.
    • Contrasting coordinated throw pillows for sofa.
    • New oak top for dining table with restored legs and drop-leaf mechanism.
    • New oak veneer cabinet end panel for refrigerator cabinet to replace one that was less than professionally done when the new refrigerator had been installed a year earlier.
    • New Congoleum sheet vinyl floor covering throughout.
    • New sponge-painted walls and ceiling to coordinate with new upholstery and floor coverings.
  • P & S Trailer Service Polish and Plasticoat. I knew that I would never be able to maintain an un-sealed polished unit, so I went with an "original sheen" refinish. This process was completed nearly seven years ago and was worth every penny that it cost. I will probably have to take the coach in to have the front and rear domes re-processed in the not too distant future, but it has been worth the small issue to have a coach that looked just as I remembered it from 1964.
  • Professional refinish of bathroom fixtures. The original fixtures were in excellent condition, but the avacado green finish was badly faded and stained -- the refinish turned out beautifully, and the antique pewter color was an excellent compliment to the balance of my interior cholor scheme.
The only significant issue that lies ahead in my refurbishment is the replacement of the original axles. They are worn out and have very little resiliency left. New shocks were a stop-gap to provide a little smoothing of the ride.

New alloy wheels and Carlisle tires were on my list of improvements this year as was a new black tank to replace the one that was ruined when the coach was high-centered on the county highway at my driveway entrance several years ago.

The coach did require the repair of rear end separation that while not severe, was reason for concern. A small section of rotted floor was also replaced in the rear streetside corner, but other than that, the subfloor is all original 1964. The coach was babied by its original owners from 1964 through 1980. The second owners shedded the coach when it wasn't in use from 1980 through 1995. I have tried to keep up with seam sealing and leak repair and so far have been successful -- an RV port is in my future as I would like the peace of mind that the finish would receive better protection and leaks while in storage would be far less of a concern.

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2009, 12:19 AM   #12
Well Preserved

1974 31' Sovereign
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 19,580
I would have replaced the front couch with a more modern one to begin with. Ours had too low a back, too long leg cushion area, and was very uncomfortable to sit on. I would have put Fantastic Fans in from the beginning as well.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
overlander63 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2009, 06:04 AM   #13
Rivet Master
Sugarfoot's Avatar
1960 24' Tradewind
1956 30' Sovereign of the Road
1963 16' Bambi
Southeastern Area , Tennessee
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,115
Thumbs up Impressive List

SteSpot, your trailer is magnificent, breathtaking! I've also chosen the Princess cooktop and separate oven, so I'm glad to see how nice they look installed. Glad to hear about the Twin Temp Jr. I hope it will heat a 30 footer as well as a 28 footer. I'll be referring to the Grand Reveal for inspiration often.

Uwe, that is an ultrafine piece of work. It is simply gorgeous. You are a master craftsman.

OK, to sum it up so far:
  1. 3/4 inch ply for floor (yes, that's what Trailer Buff uses)
  2. holding tanks big and before floor installed (will do)
  3. research the big ticket items and do it NOW (doing this now)
  4. install top of the line stuff, best quality you can afford (agreed)
  5. lots of power outlets (just got to decide where I want them)
  6. 50 amp (Uhhh, do I need 50 amp? Help, Mark?)
  7. build-in macerator pump (considering this or at least a Sewer Solution)
  8. cork floors (I've already decided on cork, YES! Just need to find the best source)
  9. replace ALL the plumbing (will do)
  10. flood lights low at all four corners (Happycampers, do you mean on the belly or near the rub rail?)
  11. LED lites down the center (seen this and like it)
  12. new water heater (planning on a Twin Temp Jr.)
  13. remote electronic ignition for the water heater (definitely)
  14. repair original Armstrong Bay Breeze A/C (wish I could, mine is beyond DOA and apparently not even an Armstrong)
  15. Marinco "twist-lock" power entrance (will check on this)
  16. replace A & E awning with a ZipDee (A&E is already off, ZipDee coming up)
  17. install modern power jack (will do)
  18. three-way Dometic Refrigerator (yes, or a Norcold, is one brand better than the other?)
  19. Solar System (at least pre wiring if not panels right away)
  20. suburban furnace with automatic piezo ignition (hopefully Twin Temp Jr will fill the bill)
  21. twin 40-pound LP tanks (already purchased)
  22. Fowler Interior - new, new, new (Elvis's interior WILL be new, new, new)
  23. Congoleum sheet vinyl floor covering throughout (another alternative)
  24. newly painted walls (choosing Zolatone colors soon but toying with the idea of at least some bare polished aluminum)
  25. P & S Trailer Service Polish and Plasticoat (good thought)
  26. professional refinish of bathroom fixtures (will consider but will probably go with new)
  27. Fantastic fans (yes, I'll have three of them)
  28. New couch (planning to recover the original divan in leather, maybe I need to sit on it more first )
Wow, that's quite a list! Lots of good info here.

Markdoane, you are a wise man with good advice that has helped me tremendously in the past. The current plan is to wire three 20 amp circuits but only a 30 amp power entrance. The biggest power draw item would be a 15K BTU A/C. Do I need 50 amp?

Happycampers, I've already seen some cool things in Costalotta, like your eyebrow lights under the cabinet toe kick for instance. Please explain the flood light thing. I'm confused.

For those who went with entirely new casework, what influenced your choice of wood? I'm considering teak with a tung oil finish, but my concern is buying a shipment sight unseen and finding too much color variation. I love the warmth of a honey gold teak but some teak can look muddy.
Traveling With Elvis
life with a 1956 Sovereign of the Road

Sugarfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2009, 07:23 AM   #14
Site Team
, Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 6,485
Images: 59
Originally Posted by Sugarfoot View Post
. . . . The current plan is to wire three 20 amp circuits but only a 30 amp power entrance. The biggest power draw item would be a 15K BTU A/C. Do I need 50 amp?
Certainly you can make do with only a 30 amp power entrance.

My camping companion (and spouse of 30 years) likes to use the electric skillet, toaster, coffee pot and microwave all at once, usually while the A/C is running. She can whip up bacon, eggs, toast and coffee in a hurry. We have three separate 20a circuits in the kitchen.

And if you have a 2-way water heater, you need more than 30 amps to run the A/C and water heater. I like the fast recovery time, and I usually just run the water heater on electric to save my propane.

Do you need 50 amps? Absolutely not.
It's just a nice to have.

And I can use my stick welder to light the campfire.

markdoane is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:08 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.