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Old 07-20-2004, 08:28 PM   #1
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Thoughts on modifying original floorplan on '72 Sovereign

Hi all,
For those who've seen them, the rear bathroom fixtures and layout in the 70s vintage trailers is the most bizzare thing I've ever seen in an RV. Having a large window doesn't enhance the layout, either.

Has anybody ever changed the layout, moving the bedroom to the rear and the bathroom to the middle? I was thinking about placing the shower on one side and the toilet and sink on the other.

Thoughts? Potential pitfalls or problems?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-20-2004, 09:33 PM   #2
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Thoughts only...

only because I haven't tried any of this. There are plenty of newer coaches that have mid baths. First thing you might want to do is examine the floor plans from 90's models. I know that forum member Norbert has one like this. From an inside the shell and floor perspective, moving stuff around would be easy if you have some skill with woodworking and metal working, bending aluminum channel. Several things that I think need to be really thought through are:

1. Position of the black tank. Would probably have to be moved, it looks like they need to be under the toilet. I'm guessing that puts it around the axle if you use a mid bath. Again, see how they do it on the newer coaches.

2. Venting. Currently you probably have vent pipes near the bath. Will the toilet/black tank vent have to be moved, or can you use the existing pipe? You probably don't want to cut new holes and cover old ones.

3. Grey water drainage. You probably want to put the sink and shower on the same side as your kitchen sink and tie them together.

Water supply lines and drain pipes all ride above the floor so rerouting should be easy. You'll also have side windows to contend with.

Just thoughts. If you come up with something, make sure and post it!

john
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Old 07-20-2004, 09:38 PM   #3
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I think it would work...

I have a 1973 31' mid-bath model. The inside was pretty much gutted so I have decided to take whatever liberties I want to with re-doing the interior. In the process of taking apart the floor for replacement and removing all the various appliances, fixtures, i nner skins and etc. I have come to the conlusion that there are many aspects of the frame and body that seem to have been generic for my length unit. I think pretty much anything you might want to do would be possible providing you think through all the issues carefully. I suggest some things to think about are:

1.) Where are the various electrical items now (Lights, outlets, etc.)? Decide what you would have to move and how much. Also decide if you might have to remove the inner skin to do it. In general it seems that most of the wiring travels back and forth down the center of the roof in my rig and then drops down the wall to the final destination. I think you could make a lot of changes by just taking off the top center panel and working the wiring from there.

2.) Where are you planning to move the various plumbing items? You probably will have to relocate the black water tank, gray water tank if there is one and maybe thnigs like your water heater. One of the aspects that could be a bit tricky is the plumbing vents and their locations.

3.) Where are the various openings in the inner skin? You may end up with holes in your inner skin in places where you might not want them. Of course you might also have to cut some new ones but that is easier than filling old ones.

I be interested to see what conclusions you come to. I hope the above has helped at least some.

Malcolm
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Old 07-20-2004, 09:45 PM   #4
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Bath on one side kitchen sink on the other...

In my 1973 center bath the kitchen sink is on the curb side and the bath fixtures are all on the street side. The trick is to figure out where to make the crossover relative to the gray water. My unit has a gray water tank that was added rather poorly by a PO. The kitchen sink drain runs along beside the curbside wheel well above floor in the bottom of the wardrobe and dives through the floor past the rear axle. Also note that the wheel well on the street side is an obstacle that the bathroom sink drain avoids by diving through the floor behind the wheel well. I guess in general the fact that the wheel wells are in the way is maybe one of the more frustrating things about doing a mid bath. Othewise the body curves are easier to deal with since they do not have the compound curves like you find in the back.

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Old 07-20-2004, 09:46 PM   #5
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Holy cats!

Do you have any idea of the time and money needed for such a renovation?
I am sorry but I have to say get real. The side baths are still available, two have sold in my area within the past year, each for less than 6k.
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Old 07-20-2004, 09:47 PM   #6
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I have a 75 Sovereign rear bath and agree that if I were doing the design I would have the bedroom in the rear. I had some floor plans I copied from somewhere on my computer, but I can't seem to find them right now.

I haven't had the chance to even go over mine yet as I have been waiting for some dry weather to go and pull it home. (Just bought it a few weeks back)

Tomorrow is the Day!

We plan on going to get it tomorrow and will have it home tomorrow night if the ground is dry enough to get it out.

Once I get it home and inspect it for frame seperation in the rear I will decide what to do from there. I have also thought about moving the bedroom back, and towlet and shower to mid section.

It's a like project so if we both decide to do it since we have almost the same trailer we can email back and forth to help eah other with any problems we see and also discuss possible solutions.

Sound good Malcolm
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Old 07-20-2004, 10:41 PM   #7
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It would not be unforgivable to empty the bath sink into the black water tank if that eases the plumbing installation. I would try to leave the water heater in place, if it can be worked around. On our rear bath coach the water heater is under our bed.

The expense in time and effort is going to be considerable: all new plumbing, shower pan, sink, grey and black tanks, r&r the belly pan, bed(s), cabinets, wardrobes. And if it is not done right the end result will be worth LESS than what you started with.

Which is not to say it might not be worth it.

Mark
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Old 07-21-2004, 09:23 AM   #8
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Go for it. Only word of caution is watch where your weight ends up. A rear bath had a given weight out past the axle that the coach was desgned to handle. It would be realy easy to start loading al ot of weight under a bed and exceed the weight the coach was designed to handle. As long as you keep that in mind I see no problem.

Going through the floor with the drains is not a problem but will require droppign the belly pan to do so. Most of the cross members in the newer coaches have opening to alow for routing these drains. My only caution would be to not add holes in the main frame rails if at all possible. Under a vanity you could route the drin up to the toe board and get between the frame rails before droppign through the floor.

Weight side to side is just as important.

Personnaly I think a rear bedroom, especialy for families, gives the parrents some oprotunity for a little privacy at night from the kids. I'm surpised by how few of the coaches have this feature.
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Old 07-21-2004, 10:28 AM   #9
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Mello Mike.

The greatest and most important area to figure out is "how are you going to change the tongue weight?"

That is the # 1 reason the tongue weight is not enough, or, way too much.

Proper, "prior" planning is the key to success.

Andy
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Old 07-21-2004, 10:48 AM   #10
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Talking Thoughts on Modifying

Use the six P's approach....... Proper Planing Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
It always works. Seriously.. I just bought a 1976 31' center bath..,I was almost ready to buy a smaller rear bath model, but to be honest, I'm glad that I didn't. One of the main reasons was because I just couldn't see having to pass through the sleeping area to get to the bath. This seems like an awkward arrangement.
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Old 07-21-2004, 01:56 PM   #11
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I agree with ROG0525. Sell your rear bath and go buy a center bath. Renovate it if you must, but leave your current rear bath alone. Virtually everything will have to be changed.

The rear bath configuration has no side windows for cross ventilation so that any bedroom placed there will be entirely dependent upon the air conditioner at all times unless you also put in windows. The plumbing, the tanks, the shower pan, vanity sink and toilet bowl will all have to be replaced. A new shower pan will cost you in the neighborhood of $500 just for the part. You'll still have to build the remaining two thirds of the shower stall. Electrical and plumbing will need to be rerouted. Tanks will need to be relocated, refabricated, braced and engineered. In an Airstream you can't just "pull" wiring to new locations. As Andy pointed out, the balance of the trailer must be maintained which will be very difficult to maintain. All of the above, just deals with relocating the bath. Then there is the construction of new bedroom furninshings, or your willingness to give up valuable underbed storage.

I've owned both configurations. Both have their good points and their bad points. The rear bath does require folks to enter the bedroom area to use the facilities, but the rear bath has so much more room than center baths. There is the issue with rear end sag in the rear bath models, but that is an issue of a weak rear frame design and the weight of all that water and waste located so far aft. If it isn't sagging now, then it won't if you don't try going down the road with full tanks. Changing the floor plan around isn't going to get rid of the poor frame design in the 70's rear bath models.

My advice is to just sell your present unit if you aren't satisfied with its floor plan and then go find you another with a floor plan that better meets your needs.
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Old 07-21-2004, 07:48 PM   #12
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Great advice from everyone, thanks. One of my concerns was rear sag. I don't have it now, but I like to boondock which means less than ideal roads sometimes. Should I just go ahead and install Airstream's Frame Strengthening Kit to avoid potential problems with the frame in the future?

I guess the main thing that bugs me about the rear bathroom are the fixtures. The idea of the sink/vanity encroaching on the shower/bath is bizzare. I'd like to have just a separate shower but I don't think anybody has made a shower for the rear corner (if I'm wrong let me know).

As for the floorplan, I've decided to just leave it alone.

As you know the '72 models don't have a gray tank. Has anybody added one to their '72 and earlier models? Was it above the floor or below? Wouldn't it be easier to add a tank above the floor than under?
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Old 07-21-2004, 08:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mello mike
Should I just go ahead and have the improvement made to the frame to avoid potential problems in the future?
I'm with Andy on this one - particularly with a 31' - you need to balance the running gear and keep it balanced. I may not be easy to find anyone to do it, but it needs to be done.

As for "improvements", I can only assume you are speaking about the frame strengthing kit put out by Airstream? I would get it done if it was mine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mello mike
As you know the '72 models don't have a gray tank. Has anybody added one to their '72 and earlier models? Was it above the floor or below? Wouldn't it be easier to add a tank above the floor than under?
The grey tank must be below the shower drain - so that means below the floor. This has been done and I think there may be a thread on it somewhere in the archives. If you are doing the frame work you will have the belly pan off anyway, and that would be the time to get on it.

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Old 05-06-2007, 10:24 PM   #14
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Greetings!

This thread is the first (and only time) I have heard about a "Airstream Frame Strengthening Kit" for a rear bath trailer.

Where can I purchase one and what does the installation involve?
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