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Old 07-19-2015, 09:50 PM   #1
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1971 31' Sovereign
Shreveport/Bossier , Louisiana
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Walls or floors first?

1st post! Woo! I apologize if I'm not posting this in the correct area. Not sure how to navigate this site yet but I'm in desperate need of a lot of help! My husband and I recently bought a 71 sovereign for way too much and I'm feeling overwhelmed! Eek! No turning back now haha. We've pulled out all the cabinets,dividing walls,fridge, sinks etc. We left the bathroom for later but other than that it's an empty shell right now.

My main question right now is the floor and walls. Which do we demo first? We want to take everything out:the floors,insulation, tanks, etc to replace. I think we'll need to fix parts if not all of the frame. Or do you do them at the same time? If that's e case which to you put back first, the floors or walls?

Also a big question my husband has is the skin. I've seen online people keep it and clean it and replace it after they insulate. What other option do we have for inner skins? Any flexible woods or metals?

Thank you so much for all the info you've given on the site. Can't wait to hear from everyone!
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Old 07-19-2015, 10:12 PM   #2
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Welcom to the Forums!

So by "floors," I assume you mean the plywood subfloor, not just the floor covering. If you want to replace the subfloor, you will need to lift the shell to do it. This means that you will need to drop the bellypan, remove the banana wraps, and remove at least the interior lower-most skins. This will give you access to the tops and bottoms of the bolts that anchor your walls (shell) to the frame (with the subfloor sandwiched in between).

As for reassembly, just put it back together in reverse order to how it was disassembled, but by that time, you will have a full understanding of what goes where, and it should be obvious.

Yes, lots of people reinstall the same interior skins. Clean them up well, and it will make a world of difference. There are folks who have replaced them with wood panels, those whoe have put wood panels over the original interior skins, those who have completely replaced (much to their regret) all the skins with fresh aluminum, etc.. There are several threads concerning this topic, you can do a google serach for "Airforums interior skin" and you should get several threads.

Your project looks like a full blown "full monty," or shell-off rennovation. I would recommend building some wooden gantry frames for the lift and using them for frame repairs, bellypan reinstallation, etc., etc.,--again do a search for "Airforums ganty plans" and you should find some good threads showing what folks do with them.

good luck!
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Old 07-19-2015, 10:16 PM   #3
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Have a look at the following thread for some shots of what can be done with the shell and frame separated:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...on-115765.html
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Old 07-20-2015, 07:13 PM   #4
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Thank you so much! That was so helpful! Once I figure out how to post pictures I will!
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:21 PM   #5
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Barksdale AFB huh? Cool! I'll be blasting thru your area in the next few days (tell the local folks to fix I-20 through town...it's awful towing an Airstream across that stretch!)

If you can spend some time with the 'search' function there are TONS of threads on replacing the floor/fixing the frame. I've done partial floor replacements from inside the trailer and a couple of shell-off rebuilds. If you are gutting the interior and have room to remove the shell from the frame, that is the easiest in the long run.

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Old 07-21-2015, 12:23 PM   #6
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1984 34' Excella
GARLAND , Texas
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Airstream floor repair
I have a 34 foot 1984 Excella

The wood flooring in the bath was dark in color and a little weak. After taking the carpet out I left vents and Windows slightly open and air dried being in Texas that helped.
In the meantime I started looking for solutions to would dry rot and fungus wood rot.
I noticed that the wood is sandwiched between the upper at her outer shell and the frame so I was worried about the rot getting under the aluminum.

After searching I found a solution from one of the US government sides and wood foundation restorers in London, England, that work on 400 year old structures. Not to bore you with more details but here's the operation and formulae used.

In these portion I use 1 gallon hundred percent antifreeze as 50% of the solution and the other 50% was a one-to-one solution of Borax powder and boric acid the aunt and bug killer, mixed in a sauce pan with a little water and boiled till the solution became liquid. I poured all the solutions in a 2 gallon garden sprayer and then sprayed it around all the edges inside especially close to the walls and the entire bathroom floor basically everyplace I could get it. Let dry depending on humidity a couple of days.
In my case it stiffened some of the spongy spots and I must've had some fungus because that expose would lightened up some. I also get very few bugs and ants.
So far I haven't had any trouble and it's a inexpensive remedy.
Now going to the actual rotted places most of mine were fairly small no larger than about six or 8 inches so I used penetrating epoxy and in one place I use some wood shims that I drove under the aluminum walls happen to be under the couch. I believe you could try it in larger sections as long as the as they were supported. In the rear door where the plumbing and gray and black water controls are located that I put a scab on either side of the plywood because I could reach it and treated it along with the penetrating epoxy.
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Old 07-22-2015, 06:16 AM   #7
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1984 34' Excella
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Thumbs up "repair floor, do not replace only as last resort!"

Airstream floor repair
I have a 34 foot 1984 Excella

The wood flooring in the bath was dark in color and a little weak. After taking the carpet out I left vents and Windows slightly open and air dried being in Texas that helped.
In the meantime I started looking for solutions to would dry rot and fungus wood rot.
I noticed that the wood is sandwiched between the upper at her outer shell and the frame so I was worried about the rot getting under the aluminum.

After searching I found a solution from one of the US government sides and wood foundation restorers in London, England, that work on 400 year old structures. Not to bore you with more details but here's the operation and formulae used.

In these portion I use 1 gallon hundred percent antifreeze as 50% of the solution and the other 50% was a one-to-one solution of Borax powder and Boric acid- yes! the ant and bug killer, mixed in a sauce pan with a little water and boiled till the solution became liquid. I poured all the solutions in a 2 gallon garden sprayer and then sprayed it around all the edges inside especially close to the walls and the entire bathroom floor basically everyplace I could get it. Let dry depending on humidity a couple of days.
In my case it stiffened some of the spongy spots and I must've had some fungus because that expose would lightened up some. I also get very few bugs and ants.
So far I haven't had any trouble and it's a inexpensive remedy.
Now going to the actual rotted places most of mine were fairly small no larger than about six or 8 inches so I used penetrating epoxy and in one place I use some wood shims that I drove under the aluminum walls happen to be under the couch. I believe you could try it in larger sections as long as the as they were supported. In the rear door where the plumbing and gray and black water controls are located that I put a scab on either side of the plywood because I could reach it and treated it along with the penetrating epoxy.IT WORKED FOR MY RIG!-"REPAIR FLOOR, DO NOT REPLACE ONLY AS LAST RESORT!" [/QUOTE]
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Old 07-22-2015, 11:23 AM   #8
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1973 31' Excella 500
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So if u use 1gallon of antifreeze do u use 1 gal of water to cut how much borax and boric acid? Or is this another aluminum BB ice packs? I fell for that one too (
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Old 07-22-2015, 02:15 PM   #9
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We've removed all the flooring covering and it doesn't look rotted. But it does look a little warped. We haven't removed the bathroom yet but it feels soft so we'll probably replace that. Do you think that solution will fix the warping? I like the idea of not having to remove it.
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Old 07-22-2015, 02:19 PM   #10
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It doesn't look bad right haha
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Old 07-23-2015, 11:27 AM   #11
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I say that you have done a lot of work to get to the point you have arrived. I don't think it'll fix major warping but will penetrate the wood which seems to stiffen my floor after drying. Some places of concern and still use penetrating epoxy to make the floor stronger to you can't selectively trim out with a new section spanning the frame joist. I used tapered wood shims to help strengthen some particularly weak spots that were about the size of my hand.
Almost anything is cheaper than removing the shell.
Also after the floor is stiff it can be sanded or smoothness or I believe they are some floor leveling products can be applied with pudy tool you might investigate?
I use a floating floor to cover my sub floor I use click in laminate that already had a moisture barrier backing for every piece. I used vinyl around toilet and trimmed the whole thing out with quarter around.
The mixture Borax I used a pot and boiled a pound of Borax in large pot around 2 cups amount of water added the Borax and then added the rest of the half-gallon of water, making sure that Borax dissolved almost to a clear liquid. I did the same thing for the pound of boric acid. I use 100% full strength antifreeze the green kind poured into a garden sprayer and then after the solutions had cool sometime, I poured them into the metal garden sprayer with the antifreeze mixing. And then sprayed the floor especially areas around the edges walls.
In your case you made at the mix up 2 gallons or more to get a good penetration open the windows up let dry a few days depending on the weather.
It seems like from what I can see there's a good chance it will work for you. You can check around the edges of your shall see if you have rotting under the shell I would still try penetrating epoxy good stuff on the edges.
If it is rotted and crushed down to the frame then shut shell removal is a possibility. You're probably only be out about 50 bucks or less for the cost of Antifreeze, Borax and Boric Acid. borax was the hardest one for me to find in my I finally found that one of the grocery store some people call it borax soap, I found boric acid cheap at Big Lots of course Full strength antifreeze at the auto parts store.
Good luck on your project and happy streaming if you have any further questions let me know. Oh by the way I did have a water pump go bad and flooded my bathroom so I pulled up my laminate floor and let it dry out and put it back in so far no additional problems, I'm going my fifth year after this process no known problems.
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Old 07-23-2015, 11:35 AM   #12
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Two parts full strength antifreeze to one part borax liquefied and one for boric acid

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Originally Posted by Unclebill53 View Post
So if u use 1gallon of antifreeze do u use 1 gal of water to cut how much borax and boric acid? Or is this another aluminum BB ice packs? I fell for that one too (
The mixture Borax I used a pot and boiled a pound of Borax in large pot around 2 cups amount of water added the Borax and then added the rest of the half-gallon of water, making sure that Borax dissolved almost to a clear liquid. I did the same thing for the pound of boric acid. I use 100% full strength antifreeze the green kind poured into a garden sprayer and then after the solutions had cool sometime, I poured them into the metal garden sprayer with the antifreeze mixing. And then sprayed the floor especially areas around the edges walls.
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