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Old 08-24-2012, 11:55 AM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
Lakeway , Texas
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The pitch of my voice creeps higher with each new discovery...

We picked her up on 8-21-12 (3 days ago) and I'm not gonna lie. It feels like we've had her for a couple of weeks. Probably because I'm freaking out. There is SO much that's wrong with her. Last night I stood in the toasty trailer (toasty because the shop vac put out a lotta heat while I was vacuuming the mice excrement that blankets every nook, cranny and corner. Hubs pulled out the cookware from the oven (we aren't sure if the oven works yet) and the pots and pans were nested in the downy fluff of the insulation nests the rodents had carefully configured. Yeah, they crap where they eat and sleep. The morning after we got her here, hubs was messing with the back bumper and a mouse that had been perfectly sliced in half fell out. UGH! But I digress. I'm freaking out because when hubs climbed under "Velma," to remove the expanding foam insulation that a PO had covered the stairs in, he found a ton of rust and issue with the underside. He started talking about taking the shell off (I'm envisioning this frightening playout of a crane lifting the aluminum shell - revealing the rotten plywood (with mouse poo) and a heck of a lot of expensive problems. But I love her. And after looking at a NEW A/S at Camper Clinic 2 and seeing that similar ones with similar upgrades go for 100K, all I can say is... well, nothing. I just kinda want to go crawl in bed and kick the A/C down to 65 - hibernate for a bit until it's all figured out. Good advice came yesterday - blessings of people on this board. I can't believe I didn't find you sooner...
I am to bring a composition book while cleaning, listing all broken items. After Velma is clean, I am to sit down and relist in chronological order which items will be repaired first. This is supposed to help extinguish this frightful feeling and I kid you not, this advice WILL go into practice TODAY!
I wish I knew someone local with beater A/S love/experience that would come out and hold my hand - just for a while.
But knowing me, this fright will go away as I'm gliding my fingers across new Formica and my gumption will be re-invigorated. It's the small things, right?
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:07 PM   #2
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If you are vacuuming rodent droppings, you should be aware of the hazards of exposure to hantavirus. Not sure if this disease is common in Texas, but there have been numerous cases reported in Arizona in the past few years. See link below for details:

CDC - Hantavirus

Did you purchase this Airstream as a DIY refurb project? If not, perhaps professional restoration should be considered. However, I have absolutely no experience with either; and will wait for others to respond. -- Just curious...

Good luck and welcome to the forums!
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:12 PM   #3
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[Cue theme song: Hotel California by the Eagles]

Time to get a bucket of water with a round stick across it, add a freely-spinning sleeve centered over the water and bait with peanut butter... drape a rag or prop a ladder piece for mice to climb up.. Plop-plop, fizz-fizz until those fancy imported mice have been 'bathed'..

Check the hitch frame tubes just behind the coupler, stuff with coarse stainless steel potscrubber wool, get it blocked nicely & glue the barrier in place with some caulk around the box-tube walls.... That is the major entry point on every AS - now methodically inspect the rear 'trunk', wheel wells, spare tire compartment and pop-rivet/screw/glue metal add-ins to block anything the size of a dime or larger.

Now may be a good time to suggest 'detailing' the trailer and reselling it. There are better candidates out there unless you have some semiMENTAL, err sentimental attachment to it Can you tell I'm wishing someone would've got me thinking that way on the third day?
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:54 PM   #4
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Thanks! I'd forgotten about the virus. I'm sure glad we're not allowing the kids inside - we've been using disposable rubber gloves, but I'm thinking we'll up the ante with respirator masks (since we've already got 'em!)
I don't think there are any mice left inside. I imagine the trek from Corpus to Austin on IH35... hahahah - in my mind's eye I'm seeing live mice just flying out the back of the A/S waving arms, squealing... lol! It was intense last night.
Kevin seems confident. He thinks the insulation up against the frame is responsible for collecting and holding moisture - she was sitting uncovered on raw land for a couple of years before we got it. He says "worst case scenario, we weld a new frame together, use a more appropriate insulation (closed-cell spray foam to repel water), new subfloor, new laminite flooring, etc. I'm freaked - but only when I forget that we bought a two story foreclosure with mold, re-habbed and flipped it. (And it brought a honey bee hive in the sub-floor, electrical issues, new decking/roof - and we kicked butt and had a blast - it was a field education.) I'm not ready to throw in the towel... even if we picked up something a little newer, the frame would be in similar condition a few years down the road given the absorbing properties of the cotton-candy insulation. Maybe my biggest gripe is the poo. I'm a total girl. I run from bees and flail and all. And mouse poo... ech!!!!!! Maybe gumption will restore with the absence of poop? We shall see...
The rust isn't too pretty, but K seems so sure and to date, there hasn't been anything dude couldn't do when he's interested and motivated. I'm still gonna do the peanut butter deal - uninvited mice can take a hike! And if worse comes to worst - we are in ATX where restaurants are foaming at the mouth to grab vintage A/S to turn into mobile kitchens LOL!
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:47 PM   #5
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Okay, then... DO NOT RUN THE FURNACE FAN until you've removed and pressure-washed the duct work. My '73 had actual dung dunes almost reaching the tops of the duct on the edges and after the curves. I can recommend flattening the ancient & absolutely irreplaceable ducts under the wheels of your tow vehicle, it was quite satisfying when I did it.

Mouse urine will glow under black light, and they are quite incontinent thus mark their paths religiously - if you want to prove your cleaning is >good< shine a $7 black light fluorescent tube w/ reflector around in complete darkness... (Now run, arms flailing, into your house kitchen & bath and do the same; just kidding but same principle just different animals, its a trick hotels use to fight grime).

Andy R here once said you'll never be rid of the mousey smell until the liners are pulled and the shell interior cavity 'sides' washed and the insulation replaced. Barring complete gutting, it'd be the same goes for the huge hidden areas inside the furniture and bathroom built-ins depending on how sensitive your sniffer is, and if you've gone that far then dropping the liners.. slippery slope stuff for sure. (Guess how I know)

Since you have flipped a repo house makes you nearly qualified... it'll be the research, legwork, compromising, pre-positioning supplies and the fetch-it errands that make or break your project... Be of good cheer!
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:39 PM   #6
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I'm so impressed with this forum!!! The tips you guys share are top-notch! I cracked up when I read "dung dunes" - what a visual pic! I think we probably need to just take her back to bare bones and do exactly what you've mentioned. Kevin wants to fix the door and then hit the frame. On the land that the A/S sat on is a crossing point for transients - they look for water and tried to pry the door off at the bottom right corner so when we secure it, we're using ratchet straps.
Your advice is precious!
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:34 PM   #7
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Jessica,

Fear not!! Once it is clean you will have a whole different perspective. There are lots of people in your area that would probably come over and go through your trailer with you to formulate a plan of attack. One is Scorpiontimo here on the forums. PM him. He has a repair shop in Johnson City and when he is in Austin getting parts he might just go over it with you. I would do it myself except that I have absolutely no free weekends for the next month.

I invite you and hubs to come by our Rally at Miller Creek RV park(right at the junction of 281N and 290W) on the 28-30 of Sept. Ask questions of the forum and PM me with any questions as well. We are all here to help.
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:28 AM   #8
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Related news article on hantavirus -- See link below:

2nd Yosemite visitor dies of rodent-borne illness

--Associated Press, Aug. 28, 2012, 2:00 AM EDT)
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