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Old 07-30-2006, 09:58 AM   #1
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1957 30' Sovereign of the Road
Atlanta , Georgia
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pondering my situation

Hi all,

We been lurking for quite a while and are finally coming up to surface.

After looking for a while at new Airstreams my wife and I liked the CCDs, but not being overly impressed with the fit and finsh on the new trails, especially considering the cost involved. So we decided to find and refit an older model. After much surfing we're leaning toward either a Tradewind or Overlander early 60s model, with the intent of gutting it and rebuilding to interior to suit.

As far as equipments goes, I have a compressor, pneumatic tools, drills, saws etc, and plan to buy a generator this week. Also I grew up as a shade-tree mechanic-carpenter-electrician etc, so I'm not overly worried about getting in over my head.

My problem is that i'm in the Army and live in government quarters, which means I'll have to keep the trailer on a lot about a mile away or in rental storage - either way I'll have to put tools in my truck to go work on it.

Biggest issue I see is that I can't buy a trailer that needs the floor replaced as I won't have the facilities to remove the skin -- I think this also means I have to be happy with the existing tanks.

What else do I need to consider before I go out and buy a beast? Please keep in mind I'm doing this on a civil servant's salary, and sometimes the Army asks me to go places for prolonged periods of time.

Thx, Sean (sorry so long winded)

P.S. Not in a screaming hurry to buy something NOW! Will be just fine waiting until late Fall, when I hear prices are lower as more are available.
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Old 07-30-2006, 10:12 AM   #2
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1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
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Sean,
Have you considered the classifieds on the forum? The forum also has a service where knowledgeable volunteers will check trailers out for you that are in their general area. I noticed a sweet deal on the airstreamlist 2 hours after it was posted by Hunter Hampton. I contacted the guy and he sent me pictures of the '86 25' Sovereign the next day. Hunter had already looked at the trailer and vouched for it, so off to the bank I went for a loan. I purchased it the same day and picked it up a few weeks later.

Another member on the forum was at an RV dealer when someone came in trading a 2003 22' CCD. Right place at the right time I guess. My advice is to make sure the floor is sound, the trailer has no leaks the PO is aware of and most (if not all) of the appliances work. Things like batteries and waterpumps are easy to fix. Refrigerators can be expensive unless you track down a good source (forum search).
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Old 07-30-2006, 10:20 AM   #3
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1975 31' Sovereign
1973 27' Overlander
1977 23' Safari
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asta2
...
As far as equipments goes, I have a compressor, pneumatic tools, drills, saws etc, and plan to buy a generator this week. Also I grew up as a shade-tree mechanic-carpenter-electrician etc, so I'm not overly worried about getting in over my head.

My problem is that i'm in the Army and live in government quarters, which means I'll have to keep the trailer on a lot about a mile away or in rental storage - either way I'll have to put tools in my truck to go work on it.

Biggest issue I see is that I can't buy a trailer that needs the floor replaced as I won't have the facilities to remove the skin -- I think this also means I have to be happy with the existing tanks...
You're probably correct about replacing the floor and tanks. But you can still do a lot. You could fix small sections of the floor, if necessary.

I actually replaced most of the interior of my Overlander while parked next to the wood hobby shop at Edwards AFB--and I was living in it at the time. I'm not usually a good planner, but this forced me to carefully evaluate every step to make sure I could rip something out and get the replacement back in within a specified period, usually three days over the weekend. In a lot of cases I would pre-build a cabinet so the swap could happen quickly.

I've now done 3 AS and am working on #4. If I've learned one thing, it's that if you're not restoring it back to original, it's better to gut it (maybe leave the fridge and bath in place) and start from scratch--you'll wind up doing that anyway, by the time you get done. The effort to "save" small sections of the interior have always turned out to be a bad decision. Sometimes it's not possible, if you're using the trailer now and then as you are fixing it up, but if you have the luxury of doing it all at once, that's the best way.

Good luck.
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Old 07-30-2006, 11:14 AM   #4
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2006 30' Classic
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Asta---Not having a permanent place to work on a project is really difficult. Having to haul tools and supplies back and forth, lock them up, load and unload can really be a pain. While it can be done as Zep has, this is more the exception than the rule. I think you'll find most who tackle a project of that size have a place where they can leave things lay and work on it as time allows with out the packing up thing. Many a project has been abandoned out of frustration for that very reason. My intent is not to discourage but to point out the difficiuties involved. For me a restoration project is tedious enough without the added work of off sight living. That said I would suggest you buy a good late model trailer that is usuable "now". You could more easily work on weekends doing small "fit and finish" projects on it and use it at the same time. Later when you're in a permanent location and have a permanent place to work, buy an old trailer, take as much time as needed,and make it exactly as you want. I also think having one that you use regularly and do small projects on will better equip you to take on a bigger project. Just my opinion of course.-----Pieman
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Old 07-30-2006, 01:09 PM   #5
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1975 31' Sovereign
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1977 23' Safari
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Mike, you're right. You can learn a lot from a "operable" AS, doing small projects, which gets you ready to "gut" the next one. I have to admit to not having the confidence to do that the first time, or even the second, but now it's old hat.
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Old 07-30-2006, 03:24 PM   #6
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1957 30' Sovereign of the Road
Atlanta , Georgia
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I see your point, but problem is that now the wife and I tinker around the house and sink money into the "Quarters", which belong to Uncle Sam. If I store at the lot on post it's about a mile away - I figure that once its mechanically sound I could bring it to the house on Fridays - have a big parking lot - and tinker with it all weekend.

If I get one thats useable now, I know my wife won't be happy with the interior and I will end-up slowly replacing everything. Seems to me that will raise the cost and frustration as inevitably something I've already "fixed" will have to be undone.

The floor and tanks are what really bothers me, because if I get one, work on it for a while and then find something wrong, I'll have to tear everything out again. What about using GSM Vehicles or another company to do the frame/floor work and then dragging it home to work on?

BTW you guys may get tired of me - if we do this, I intend to document the whole thing here on line.

Sean
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