Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 10-09-2013, 01:55 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
1979 31' Sovereign
Huntersville , North Carolina
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 7
Total Overhaul of 1979 31' Sovereign - FEASIBLE??

Hey guys!

New to the Airstream world. Just bought this 1979 rear bdrm Sovereign and I'm gearing up to do a total shell-on reno (floor rot on both caps). You can see from my initial floor plan mock-ups below that we'd like to make some pretty extreme changes to the original layout (move bathroom to front cap, move batteries outside, add solar panels, eliminate gas heat system with mobile electric heater, eliminate black water with composting toilet, eliminate propane oven with electric toaster oven). If you've been down a similar road, I'd be thrilled if you could weigh in & advise on anything you see that may not even be feasible. Again, these are pie-in-the-sky mock-ups, so I'm sure we'll make significant changes as we learn more. Thanks!







__________________

__________________
dannyspaniel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2013, 03:57 PM   #2
2 Rivet Member
 
1984 31' Sovereign
Currently Looking...
charleton , Illinois
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 42
Images: 3
Are you starting with a rear or center bath lay-out?
Why eleminate the propane?
Without propane your electrical demand rises. Will need electrical for toilet as well as all the cooking / heating.
Will you be using for weekends or for extended traveling?
What about cool / cold weather use?
With bath to the front of the camper the drains will lengthen.
Will you remove the front window where the shower is to move?
__________________

__________________
jerry d is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2013, 04:53 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
Minno's Avatar

 
1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,323
Some considerations: weight distribution: if you're going to tow it, you will need to watch your tongue weight. How much do composting toilets weigh?
Outside storage: how do your outside hatches line up with this plan, will you lose storage (we faced that problem and ended up moving layout because of it)

Maybe you could flip flop your plan and put the bed in front and bath in rear if your tongue weight will be too heavy otherwise.

Fridges are heavy: make sure your weight on the other side is equal, more or less.
No stove?
How many people are you planning to sleep/live in the trailer? Will seating be a consideration? I think? the '79s are still the narrow body trailers? We tried to do a rear bed like yours, but found that we had far less room on the sides of it than was comfortable to move around. Also the curvature of the walls made us bend over the bed to get around the sides of the mockup of it.
As you work, you might want to make mockups of your major features out of cardboard boxes, and tape out your layout on the floor. It's much easier to move boxes and tape than figure out after you built something in that it doesn't work well. You can also play with your design with cardboard boxes to try out different configurations. We were glad we did this. We have a design we really like and works for us now. Some of our original ideas didn't pan out in the mockup faze of construction.
Good luck and we hope to see pictures as you progress.

Kay
__________________
Minno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2013, 06:02 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Lumatic's Avatar

 
1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Estancia , New Mexico
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 6,642
Images: 16
Blog Entries: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minno View Post
Maybe you could flip flop your plan and put the bed in front and bath in rear if your tongue weight will be too heavy otherwise.
Kay
I also have a rear bedroom Sovereign, although it is not yet on the road. The rear bedroom models are hard to find. One advantage to not having the bath in the rear is the tanks are amidships and not a factor for the dreaded rear end separation that 70s Sovereigns are prone to.
__________________
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
Lumatic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2013, 08:26 PM   #5
Birdie Momma
 
NJtoNC's Avatar
 
1957 26' Overlander
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Vintage Kin Owner
Rutherford Co. , North Carolina
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 904
quick question; your greywater pipe ; do you plan to run it below the trailer or within the frame? Below leaves a lot of pipes exposed - through the frame cuts into a main frame rail to exit and nearly half the crossmembers. and it appears to be exiting between the axles? or are the axles under the single bunk.?
__________________
'57 Overlander | '56 Flying Cloud | '51 Spartanette
NJtoNC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2013, 03:14 PM   #6
1 Rivet Member
 
1979 31' Sovereign
Albion , California
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6
Parallel 31 ft Universe

hey there

love your lay-out ideas... I am also doing a complete custom redo on a 1979 31footer / center bath. Mine will be a bit simpler as I am not doing a shower or really even a kitchen. My question is about the walls??? Any idea what you are going to use instead of (or over) the old plastic? I was hoping to just use an epoxy paint, but it is fairly rough and I am not doing cabinets up the walls so the seams really show. Thanks and good luck!Muffinman
__________________
Muffinman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2013, 10:56 AM   #7
3 Rivet Member
 
1975 Argosy 26
1974 29' Ambassador
1968 20' Globetrotter
Whiterock , British Columbia
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 146
What are your thoughts on leaving the mid bath? That will save you huge both in terms of time and money. The front is the nicest living area, and using it for a bath seems odd to me.
__________________
I am the '68 Globetrotter...
redthies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2013, 06:11 AM   #8
1 Rivet Member
 
1979 31' Sovereign
Huntersville , North Carolina
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 7
Thanks for the input, everybody! Let me try to answer a few things as best I can...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jerry d View Post
Are you starting with a rear or center bath lay-out?
Why eleminate the propane?
Without propane your electrical demand rises. Will need electrical for toilet as well as all the cooking / heating.
Will you be using for weekends or for extended traveling?
What about cool / cold weather use?
With bath to the front of the camper the drains will lengthen.
Will you remove the front window where the shower is to move?
This was a center bath model. I don't know now if eliminating propane is going to be an option, due to the refrigerator. I'm just wanting to simplify the systems as much as possible, and it seemed like it could be possible since we're killing the oven AND the propane heater. For now, we'll likely be using this for weekend getaways only…but we've got an eye towards the future of maybe a little more part-time living in it. Just gotta brainstorm a way to make money on the road! Cold weather use is definitely on the radar. Anything to consider here other than a good space heater and fortified insulation? I hear you on the drain lengths. If we move forward with the front bath option, what's the feasibility of having 2 smaller gray water tanks? One right under the bath, and one right under the kitchen sink? We'll likely keep the front windows & just make sure they're frosted well

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minno View Post
Some considerations: weight distribution: if you're going to tow it, you will need to watch your tongue weight. How much do composting toilets weigh?
Outside storage: how do your outside hatches line up with this plan, will you lose storage (we faced that problem and ended up moving layout because of it)

Maybe you could flip flop your plan and put the bed in front and bath in rear if your tongue weight will be too heavy otherwise.

Fridges are heavy: make sure your weight on the other side is equal, more or less.
No stove?
How many people are you planning to sleep/live in the trailer? Will seating be a consideration? I think? the '79s are still the narrow body trailers? We tried to do a rear bed like yours, but found that we had far less room on the sides of it than was comfortable to move around. Also the curvature of the walls made us bend over the bed to get around the sides of the mockup of it.
As you work, you might want to make mockups of your major features out of cardboard boxes, and tape out your layout on the floor. It's much easier to move boxes and tape than figure out after you built something in that it doesn't work well. You can also play with your design with cardboard boxes to try out different configurations. We were glad we did this. We have a design we really like and works for us now. Some of our original ideas didn't pan out in the mockup faze of construction.
Good luck and we hope to see pictures as you progress.

Kay
Didn't think about the tongue weight implications of having the bath up front. What's makes the bathroom such a heavy component? The water tanks? We won't have a black water tank, and it looks like most composting toilets are decently lightweight. The hatches should be too weird with this layout. Bedroom hatch will be fine, fridge hatch still lines up, water heater hatch still lines up... front battery hatch will need some tweaking, but we'd have to do that anyways if we plan to move the batteries outside. It'll just be my wife, my 2-yr-old son, and I living in this for now. Good call with the cardboard. We may mess around and see what other layout options we could do. We saw one remodel that split the back cap into 1/3 bathroom, 2/3 bedroom (flush to the walls). Looked pretty efficient, and allows more room up front. May play with that idea...

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJtoNC View Post
quick question; your greywater pipe ; do you plan to run it below the trailer or within the frame? Below leaves a lot of pipes exposed - through the frame cuts into a main frame rail to exit and nearly half the crossmembers. and it appears to be exiting between the axles? or are the axles under the single bunk.?
I initially planned to have it go through the frame crossbars. I'd seen pictures of a gutted AS that showed the crossbars were 'hollow' and would potentially have enough room to thread about a 1.5" pipe through. Is that possible? If this method doesn't work, maybe I could have two separate tanks/drains, under each source? I think the axles are just behind the proposed sink placement, so that shouldn't be an issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffinman View Post
hey there

love your lay-out ideas... I am also doing a complete custom redo on a 1979 31footer / center bath. Mine will be a bit simpler as I am not doing a shower or really even a kitchen. My question is about the walls??? Any idea what you are going to use instead of (or over) the old plastic? I was hoping to just use an epoxy paint, but it is fairly rough and I am not doing cabinets up the walls so the seams really show. Thanks and good luck!Muffinman
Nice year/model! We've talked a lot about the walls too, but no definite plan yet. I've looked at some different paneling options, but I'm not sure what other factors to consider when choosing. Need to dig around on this site a little more Agree with the seams issue, but it'd be so convenient to just put all those pre-cut pieces back up there!

Quote:
Originally Posted by redthies View Post
What are your thoughts on leaving the mid bath? That will save you huge both in terms of time and money. The front is the nicest living area, and using it for a bath seems odd to me.
We may still do a center-ish bath after all, although it'll likely not be in the same location as the original. I've already ripped everything out down to the plywood, so I'd pretty much be starting from scratch on it anyways (except maybe the gray water tank). The cabin area felt so dark before we removed everything, so I don't like the idea of wasting one of the 2 natural light windows in the midsection again on a little tiny bathroom. I'd much rather put the bath on the no-window side and leave a nicely-lit open countertop & hallway area. I hear you on the front living area, though. I think I'll try to mix things up on another layout option and see how it looks...
__________________
dannyspaniel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2013, 07:21 AM   #9
Always dreaming
 
1963 26' Overlander
Lake Zurich , Illinois
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 36
What a wonderfully fun project you have! Good luck, and I do hope you will post photos of your progress and finished product. I would, however, like to make a suggestion for your lighting plan. If it were me, I'd perhaps consider adding an overhead light in the middle of the bathroom area. The upper shelves over the vanity will limit the light given off by the light you have indicated over the vanity. I'm assuming this would be a light installed underneath the shelving? If so, that will be great for task lighting when using the sink. The overhead light in the shower would also be considered task lighting. Adding an additional overhead fixture in the main bathroom area will provide comfortable general lighting and eliminate shadows. You may also want to consider additional lighting in the living/dining area. Perhaps some wall sconces near the door and bathroom partition wall? I hope you are considering energy efficient LED lighting as well. Good luck to you!
Mary
__________________
Everonica is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2013, 07:42 AM   #10
1 Rivet Member
 
1979 31' Sovereign
Huntersville , North Carolina
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 7
Great thoughts on the lighting, Mary...thank you!!
__________________
dannyspaniel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2013, 10:47 AM   #11
Rivet Master
 
Minno's Avatar

 
1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,323
I was just speculating on weight: I truly don't know what composting toilets weigh! In regards to grey water up front under the front bath, I would think it's too close to the tongue of the trailer weight wise, even if you were going to dump before travel (sometimes ain't happening!). Our grey tanks are amidships over the axles. Not that we know anything special, it just seemed the best place for the weight. Water is heavy: about 8lb per gallon. A center bath trailer is what we would have preferred to start out with, but it's not what we found. We ended up with a rear bath, and a middle bedroom area, which works well for us (just 2 people). Our front area is very light and open (probably because we haven't built the dinette yet!). New Airstreams have middle baths split onto both sides of a central hallway to the rear bedroom, or front bedroom. You might want to look at new ones for ideas, and at older ones at the vintage Airstreams site for more styles. Our journey is on our "Little Girl Refurb" thread here in the forums. There are many others also to look at that can help you.
I agree with Mary on lighting: seems we keep adding as we go!
There are no wrong ideas and you have many good ones.
For cold weather living, I would consider some significant under floor insulation! You might want to consider electric mattress pads or blankets and plan some plugins for those (ours is under the bed thru a hole in the corner of the platform).
Good luck and keep planning!

Kay
__________________

__________________
Minno is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
sovereign


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




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:40 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

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