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Old 09-18-2006, 07:51 AM   #1
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Toms River , New Jersey
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Total interior renovation, suggestions?

Well, I've gutted the interior of my 1973 31' Sovereign right down to the plywood floor. To date I've removed over 1400 lbs of original equipment, not including the refrigerator
Removed the toilet and the floor under it. We welded 2 x 1/4" angle iron bracing to the rusting original frame and have fabricated a new sheet metal pan for the waste tank.
The rear storage portion of the bumper (read "water problem") has been eliminated.
All of the systems have been scrapped.(water heater, furnace, etc.)
I'll be replacing all of the original copper plumbing with pex, and re-routing the pvc drain and vent pipe.
I own a high end custom cabinet shop and will be building an unbelievable luxury interior. Purists please understand, this is not a restoration project. The finished product will be far superior to any original Airstream offering, old or new.
I have some thoughts, ideas and questions.
1. The original interior layout was very divided, I'll be eliminating most of the upper cabinetry and all of the full height divider walls. I'm going for a roomier "open" floorplan.
2. This particular rear bath design had frame problems associated with the waste tank and water heater so far behind the rear axle. I'm considering eliminating the waste tank entirely, in favor of a porta-pottie or cassette type of toilet.
I could then build a larger step-down shower in the recessed floor area originally dedicated to the waste tank.
3. Is there a gas fired tankless water heater available for an RV?
4. The original ducted furnace took too much space, I'll be adding a new air conditioner/heat pump on the roof. Any suggestions on make and model?
Probably a wall mounted radiant unit too. Again, any suggestions?
5. Obviously the oven's out, in favor of a built in micro/convection unit. Probably a toaster oven in a cabinet, too.
6. I'll replace the cooktop and fridge.
7. Considering an automated drop-down flat screen tv in the stereo/electronics cabinet (already removed) area in the front of the trailer.
Does anyone have any experience with this type of project?
What are the hidden pitfalls?
Are there any books or resources available?
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Old 10-07-2006, 06:41 AM   #2
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1975 27' Overlander
Charleston , South Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2006
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My Dad just gave me his old airstream. I am wanting to do exactly what you are doing (minus experience or skills; med school does not train you to do airstream renovation although, the med school mantra of "watch one, do one, teach one" seems to be embraced by you guys.) I feel very overwhelmed and confess to have only removed the curtains. How rough can I be removing stuff from the interior?
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Old 10-07-2006, 07:11 AM   #3
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1977 31' Sovereign
Riverhead , New York
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,008
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I have a '77 31' that I've been working at for about a month.

My suggestion is get rid of all the pink insullation under the floor and use Promax 1/4" foil it is R-14, paint the frame with POR.

now your punch list;

<1. The original interior layout was very divided, I'll be eliminating most of the upper cabinetry and all of the full height divider walls. I'm going for a roomier "open" floorplan.>

Have you done any diagrams of what it will look like?

<2. This particular rear bath design had frame problems associated with the waste tank and water heater so far behind the rear axle. I'm considering eliminating the waste tank entirely, in favor of a porta-pottie or cassette type of toilet. I could then build a larger step-down shower in the recessed floor area originally dedicated to the waste tank.>

I don't agree with that plan do some searching on the site for ideas!

<3. Is there a gas fired tankless water heater available for an RV?>

Why not LP?

<4. The original ducted furnace took too much space, I'll be adding a new air conditioner/heat pump on the roof. Any suggestions on make and model?> All are good and cost about the same just check out the drip pan options.

<Probably a wall mounted radiant unit too. Again, any suggestions?>

Take a look at new trailers not only A/S, get some ideas, but you will not see and wall units they eat space.

<5. Obviously the oven's out, in favor of a built in micro/convection unit. Probably a toaster oven in a cabinet, too.>

I agree

<6. I'll replace the cooktop and fridge.>

Cooktops new are about $95 on Ebay.

I just bought a 6 Cube fridge in Middletown for $600 no shipping you can pick it up he has 2 or 3 left. ( I see you're in NJ)


How about some pic's
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Old 10-07-2006, 08:30 AM   #4
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1976 25' Tradewind
. , AZ to Maine
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 545
This is the Place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dovetail
I own a high end custom cabinet shop and will be building an unbelievable luxury interior. Purists please understand, this is not a restoration project. The finished product will be far superior to any original Airstream offering, old or new.
I have some thoughts, ideas and questions.
1. The original interior layout was very divided, I'll be eliminating most of the upper cabinetry and all of the full height divider walls. I'm going for a roomier "open" floorplan.
2. This particular rear bath design had frame problems associated with the waste tank and water heater so far behind the rear axle. I'm considering eliminating the waste tank entirely, in favor of a porta-pottie or cassette type of toilet.
I could then build a larger step-down shower in the recessed floor area originally dedicated to the waste tank.
3. Is there a gas fired tankless water heater available for an RV?
4. The original ducted furnace took too much space, I'll be adding a new air conditioner/heat pump on the roof. Any suggestions on make and model?
Probably a wall mounted radiant unit too. Again, any suggestions?
5. Obviously the oven's out, in favor of a built in micro/convection unit. Probably a toaster oven in a cabinet, too.
6. I'll replace the cooktop and fridge.
7. Considering an automated drop-down flat screen tv in the stereo/electronics cabinet (already removed) area in the front of the trailer.
Does anyone have any experience with this type of project?
What are the hidden pitfalls?
Are there any books or resources available?
How does the frame look?
Are the axles good?
There are tankless water heaters available.
The a/c-heater for the roof will probably not be enough for Jersey. The newer heaters are much lighter.
The existing cabinetry is a study in lightweight construction, at the very least take lots of pictures for future reference.
Pitfalls? Of course many. This forum will help you avoid them if you pay your dues reading and using the "Search" option.
Hollywood types can spend $hundreds of thousands on a lot trailer to impress their freinds while shooting the latest, greatest epic.
I get impressed with average guys on a budget that use, improve and abuse the Airstream with the family.
There are both types on this forum.
Good luck,
R
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Old 10-07-2006, 03:32 PM   #5
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1973 31' Sovereign
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,245
Images: 22
I also am working on a 31' restoration...

I have a 1973 31' unit that I am gradually redoing essentially from scratch like you are intending to do. Mine had a side bath and rear bedroom however. Here are some answers to your questions and some suggestions:

You don't have to elimnate holding tanks to fix the rear bath weight problem. If you move them somewhere further forward you just need to have a mascerating toiled and possibly a pump for the shower drain. Check out the following marine supply for some ideas:

Shower pump example:
http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?...6832&id=121239

Toilets (head in marine terms):
http://www.defender.com/category.jsp?path=-1|51&id=806
Look for ones with built in mascerator pump. They can pump the waste to a remote holding tank.

There are various types of stand alone heating units. Check out some of the following:

Propane fireplaces and hot water heat transfer units:
http://www.dickinsonmarine.com/shop5...es-heaters.asp

Tiny wood burning stove/heater for marine or RV use:
http://www.marinestove.com/index.htm

Wall mounted catalytic propane heaters for RV's:
http://www.uscatalytic.com/uscatalytic/Heaters.cfm

There are tankless propane water heaters available that will work for RVs:

RV specific tankless hot water heater:
http://www.precisiontemp.com/

One type of propane tankless water heater:
http://www.excelamerica.com/calentadores_eng.htm

I am intending to install hot water heating in my floor using a tankless hot water heater. I have not yet decided what model to use. There is a lot of discussion here in the forums about that. I have also replaced my sub-floor with a product called Polyboard that is completely water proof and rot proof. Search for Polyboard in the forums to find information. I am using reflective foil insulation in the walls and under my hotwater radiant heating. If you can not find the details let me know and I will find the pointers that I have. I would also be happy to discuss any of my decisions in more detail.

Malcolm
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Old 04-25-2010, 03:58 PM   #6
Silver Dreams
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1976 31' Sovereign
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 8
Send a message via Skype™ to bob_cashman
since its been a few years since this posting, I'd love to see some "after" pictures
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:20 AM   #7
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1959 24' Tradewind
The Grass Capital of the World , Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 174
Images: 6
Go to the links under his name and profile, and click on the Images link.
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