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Old 04-20-2007, 07:04 PM   #29
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silver 67's Avatar
1967 30' Sovereign
Leavenworth , Kansas
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 382
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Talking Once you get started.....

Like alot of new owners, we thought we could just clean the old guy up and take him out on his first date... however...

We have replaced ALL the plumbing, most of the electric, all new outside lights, 3 inside lights (so far), the water heater, the pump, the frig (not new, but used), and right now hubby is replacing two windows....

As for replacement/modernization... the original bathroom floor was gone and the PO's vinyl tile covered up a "hack job" of plywood replacement, so all of that has been replaced. A long time leak completely ruined the wall between the bath and bed area, so it was replaced. In the process, the original formica was not able to be salvaged. However, I have been able to salvage the doors to the medicine cabinet, so the "essence of the era" will be there.

The stove top was greatly in need of work, and in the process of removing it to work on it, we realized that the plywood under the formica had water damage and was separated, so that countertop was removed. We have since decided that the original stovetop needs more work that we are willing to do, so we are getting a new stove top.The previous owner had hacked apart the other kitchen cabinet to put in an electric apartment sized refrigerator, so that entire cabinet will have to be replaced. Never mind the fact that neither gaucho was there, so we can't "restore" them either.

In other words, many of the things we have done I guess could be considered "restorations", but if a new product is available that is better than the old, we are using it, such as "pex" tubing for the water lines. We have tried to choose "visible" elements that will enhance the classic lines and image that the Airstreams on the road bring to mind. However, we want to be safe and comfortable first and foremost, so that dictates most of our decisions.

Beth and/or David

67 Sovereign, double bed, rear bath-"Moby"
2005 Dodge Ram 2500 Hemi, Quad Cab-"Ahab"
"Vintage trailer, vintage owners"
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Old 04-20-2007, 07:34 PM   #30
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1973 31' Sovereign
Bertram , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 277
Images: 21
My first mistake was not finding the forum till after I had my 73. If I knew then what I knew now
Thought I had a deal...did not do my homework and accepted the PO's "everything works!" Sure, everything except the water system, the gas, the ac, don't know about the fridge yet, heater...missing, univolt...heck have not found it yet, bathroom floor...suspect, and who knew an airstream could leak worse than my boat?
Six months later and most of the leaks have been found, some of the windows cleaned of the 24 year old tint, HVAC installed (added heat strip to the new AC as only need the occasional warm up...I hope..) Hey, the radio now works. Still working on the title...and have a monster tow vehicle...but hey, if half the fun is putting them back together well I am ready to party

This site, you folks, hey, that is what keeps us thanks o all..

Rob N Terry

"There’s not much in life we can’t over-analyze”
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Old 04-21-2007, 07:45 AM   #31
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Vintage Kin Owner
1977 31' Excella 500
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
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Rob N Terry,

You're among company here. I'm in exactly the same boat as you. I was a casual lurker for awhile on these forums before buying my Excella, but had I known then what I know now....I'd have paid WAY less!

How did you clean the old tint from your windows? I've seen some guys on here do it with varying degrees of success. Just wondering what method you used.

- Jim
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Old 04-21-2007, 06:58 PM   #32
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1973 31' Sovereign
Bertram , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 277
Images: 21
Still in progress, but for the hinged windows, I removed, seperated the plexi inside frame from the glass, and used the black plastic and amonia method. Then a god old razor scraper seems to do the trick...what a differance. Think I put pictures in an earlier post
"There’s not much in life we can’t over-analyze”
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Old 04-21-2007, 08:44 PM   #33
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2000 25' Safari
West of Fort Worth , Texas
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Rob N Terry,
Off topic, but - Got any photos of your tow vehicle? I was just on your profile checking it out...
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Old 04-21-2007, 09:53 PM   #34
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1973 31' Sovereign
Bertram , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 277
Images: 21
Do you think any self respecting Sirstreamer with a tow vehicle like mine would actually want others to see it? Fortunatly or me, I was unable to find them...but I will get some shortly while it still has its colors. Right now it still has the ambulance paint and insignea. I am ordering amber replacement lenses for the forward red lights this week. The red stripe will become temporarily silver (hey, it is an Airstrem tow vehicle. I pulled the light rack today and have yet to decide if I can legally install amber light bar or not. My wife wants the beast painted desert tan with TV COMMAND POST or some other strange logo. She figures if your going to get noticed, atleast lets not let people think we have come to pick up the wounded
Hey, taint hyjacking if we mention it is a diesel right Too bad the AIR stickers did not come supersized

Sorry for wandering off the track
"There’s not much in life we can’t over-analyze”
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Old 04-22-2007, 05:08 AM   #35
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Vintage Kin Owner
colorado springs , Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 149
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Our '63 Avion didnt have enough origional stuff to do a restoration when we bought it. We like the origional look with the birch cabinets and colorfull appliances. And Im a little eccentric in that I think the old systems are kinda neet. The floor was in good shape, therefore we where not inclined to gut her down to the bare aluminum.
So the the choice to modernize was made easy for us: fix the available pieces and modernize the missing pieces.

What I replaced/modernized:
Replaced the rusted out Bargman 99s with LED truck lights.
Replaced the rotted out pigtail with a new 7way plug and wired it to current standards for tow vehicles.
All of the clearance lights where toasted, so they where replaced with new, teardrop lights like you can get at Vintage Trailer Supply.

Their was an empty, and charred cabinet where the water heater used to be, so that was filled with a used 10 Gallon atwood DSI.

The head wasnt origional the plastic was cracking and the P/O used a wax seal when it was installed (ew.) That was replaced with a vintage Sealand from Ebay. They still use the same rebuild kits for all of valves and seals.

The dump valve was shot, so that was replaced with a Valtera valve and bayonet fitting. I couldnt find a Y fitting that lined up right for running the gray water into the black water outlet. So I made that a seperate system and used 4" pipe with its own 3" dump valve. which gives me about 3 gallons of gray water storage so we can wash our hands and brush teeth on the road.

Installed a 30Amp ss Marinco inlet and updated the 110V breaker box with a 30amp GFCI breaker.
Ran a new 20 Amp curcuit to the middle roof vent for rooftop A/C.
Origional converter was missing, so replaced it with a used 50 amp that needed a new cooling fan, and ran 6ga wire from it to the battery.
Added a new 12V fuse block that uses the same plastic spade fuses as my tow vehicle.

Replaced the missing bathroom vent and 110V fan with a 12V Ventline vent.
The middle vent was not origional, so I replaced it with an older Coleman AC unit.

The under cabinet Norcold Fridge and cabinet where gone, so built new cabinet and installed a 1968 Dometic fridge for 2 reasons.
1: I found it for $75 bucks and it fit.
2: I like the 3 foot long flint striker used to light it.
My cabinetry skills are no match to the origional Avion cabinet makers, but I hope that by covering it up with enough spice racks and the like, no one will see it
Replace the compressor for the water system with a cheap $10 one. (the old one was long gone) I figured for $10 I could replace it every year if it dies from to much use.

Added a box in the closet to house the swithces for the DSI HW heater and water pressure pump.

What I was able to "keep origional":

Aside from the fridge cabinet, all of the rest of the cabinetry and furniture is in good shape. Some of its been painted and will need to be stripped.

I kept all of the origional lights that are 110V on the right side and 12V on the left. The plastic shades for them where long gone, but I was able to make new shades from gold anodized aluminum fret, and they almost look origional.
Redid all of the supply water pipes. I stuck with the copper tubing so I could re-use the flare fittings. Also had to run new gas lines for the fridge and HW heater as they had been capped off.

I found an old streamway faucet witht a shower diverter to replace the plastic POS that was in the batroom. It only needed new washers & O rings.

Re-lubed the bushings on the 110V Hehr fan motor in the front, so I was able to salvage that.
the original LP lamp was mostly intact and I was able to order the missing parts from the current part catalog. In fact, Its amazing how many appliances and parts have not changed in the last 40 years.

The Coleman furnace is in fine working order.
The Magic Chef oven is in good shape up top, but was missing the pilot assembly for the oven. I found a NOS pilot, but still need to find a source for the 1/8" aluminum tubing that runs from the safety valve to the pilot.

The axle is the origional Leaf spring with no shocks. The 15" rims have been updated, the brakes are origional, but once again it looks like the parts havent changed for those

One of the reasons we chose this particular trailer was because I figured I could get back to being a vaible family camper with comparably little capital investment.
And so far it looks like I was right.
If I compared it to buying a 2007 Bambi.
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Old 04-22-2007, 10:53 AM   #36
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1973 31' Sovereign
Bertram , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 277
Images: 21
Oh I know so well! I got my old girl and from the fog of "I want it" overpowering actual thought it looked like it would be an easy ride to bring her back to original. AS I move along though I realize how much more comfortable some of the living area refits are (rap around living area for example). WHat works stays, what does not make me happy, well it goes, and ya know, it is nice to have a better resale value by keeping it original...but heck, we rebuild these because we want to use them! If you can get everything in safe, usable condition and you can get it to the point where being aboard is rewarding...and you can do it without going broke..well then you've met the most important objective

rob n terry
"There’s not much in life we can’t over-analyze”
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:33 PM   #37
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1967 22' Safari
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 67
Mel, Your '67

Mel, I've been everywhere on the forum and you are the guru of '67's. I see where you replaced your W/H and I'm hoping your furnace. Which model of each did you use. Also, I found the picture of your cook top. I had that in mind and may go that way. Toaster/mikey seems more usable even though my oven seems pristine. By the way, I worked my step over with spay, cleaned out the slit in the metal and presto, working steps! Thanks!
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:39 PM   #38
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1965 17' Caravel
west hills , California
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 94
Speaking of modernizing the old girls...does anyone have a good source for a better looking shower fixture? Mine in my 65 Caravel works great but is fugly -with the clear acrylic knobs, etc. Looking for something a bit more maudern for Maude
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:47 PM   #39
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1967 22' Safari
1960 Caravel
Edmonds , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,445
Originally Posted by 10brink
I see where you replaced your W/H and I'm hoping your furnace.
Hi! Unfortunately, we have not replaced our furnace (although it's on our "wish we woulda" list). It lets us know it's still there by shaking loose some soot each time we go down bumpy roads. We currently heat our Safari with a small electric heater. One of these days, we may take apart the kitchen area enough to remove the furnace, but I'm not sure if we would replace it with new or just remove it entirely. At any rate, I would definitely recommend replacing yours before re-assembling your trailer!

We do love our cooktop, though, and the micro/convection/toaster is wonderful, although not useful if we're boondocking. We just plan our menus accordingly.

Glad to hear your step is working! Those little victories add up in the course of a restoration.
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Old 08-24-2007, 02:29 PM   #40
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2005 30' Classic
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Besides all the obvious (all new electrical systems, plumbing, appliances, and Propane systems), how about:

1) Audio and video wires going to places through-out (including outside access?)
1B) Outside connections for external source for Cable and Phone
2) Onboard generator or solar system
3) Control wires to the on/off switch for the generator and new gas/electric water heater.
3B) Don’t forget to run the wiring needed for the carbon and propane alarms.
4) DC switch to turn access to the batteries on/off - include a battery meter
5) New upgraded cabinet latches (after all, you now have the opportunity to custom design the interior, and hardware plays a big roll in that).
6) New marker lights and wiring
8) Utility lights in the not-easy-to-see places; one out in front by the propane tanks is nice . . . and if you still have the rear bath/closet thing, put one back around the corner to the side of the toilet
9) New in-cabinet/under-cabinet lighting?
10) Plumbing and electrical for an air conditioner (which didn’t priory exist in Spiffy)
11) Satellite control wire, power source wire, and video cable – I don’t plan on using it, but that’s something that doesn’t cost much to install while you have things apart, but will kick yourself if you want it some day – knowing that you were right there during the renovation.
12) A separate breaker circuit for the Microwave
13) If you plan on using a catalytic heater – and it’s by the door, put it on a swivel arm so you can point it in different directions (you may want it pointing down the hall)
14) Try to relocate things (i.e. batteries) that have a lot of weight from the tail end of the coach to as close to the axle as possible. This will help keep excessive stress from taking its toll on the shell.

And by experience, before you foul around with the fridge scoop, pick the new fridge out and get the manufacturer specs so you can custom the scoop to its dimensions.

And that ends my core-dump for now . ..

BTW, most all of this can be done without taking away from the vintageness . . .

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