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Old 12-09-2014, 10:48 PM   #1
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1966 30' Sovereign
Albuquerque , New Mexico
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Help requested!

New to Airstreams, and heck, new to trailer camping altogether!

My partner and I recently rescued a very neglected 1966 Sovereign International from a dusty mountain soon to be grave. Unknown PO's chopped up the rear bath area and turned the living area into a makeshift office. The rear Gaucho was also modified into a permanent double bed. My partner is 6'3" and I'm 5'11" so that was not going to work for us. After closer inspection, I discovered evidence of multiple rodents of various sizes, based on the sizes of "pellets" throughout the trailer. With the fear of possible infectious permeated dry rotting wood, we decided a full gut and rebuild to be the best course of action.
Two weeks ago I finished pulling everything out saving all hardware, light fixtures, appliances as possible. My partner and I went to our local AS dealer to get ideas but we're still scratching out heads. However, we did agree we like the bare aluminum walls rather than the Zolatone, so I have started the arduous task of removing this stubborn wall covering. It's been a week and I'm only 1/3 done! I'm now looking at where I can cheat by hiding it with a cabinet or shower but without a final layout I'm nearly stumped.
A question to you seasoned AS owners is this. If you had a 30' blank slate, how would you fill it? I have to do a frame off restoration as the frame is rusted in the rear and the plywood is rotted around the perimeter. New fresh water, gray water and black tanks will be installed in the belly too. Another question is does the clean out have to be on the street side?
We are looking to live in the AS for 6+ months out of the year while we explore our wonderful nation. Also, we are a handy couple having remodeled several houses but due to the compactness, 210 sqft. vs 2100 is challenging at best!
Any input will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Bryce & Tk
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Old 12-10-2014, 03:17 AM   #2
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I would grab brochures from AS dealers and look at other units for sale online. This could give you ideas for your design layout.
That's about all the advice I can provide. We bought a 2014 Bambi 16' Sport. So we have not undertaken any remodeling.
Good luck!!!

Bud & Nate


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Old 12-10-2014, 05:11 AM   #3
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Looks like you have some research to do!
I hope that as you progress, you document the process here so we can all live vicariously.

As for ideas, you might look at Custom Airstream, luxury trailers, retail & marketing vehicles for some inspiration.

I am always nervous about jumping in and modifying things before I become familiar with their use (although that nervousness frequently does not stop me).
I wonder if it would be useful to find a "temporary" useable Airstream to play with while you work on the project simply to further immerse yourselves in the lifestyle? Then you could see why the tank dumps are located on the street side and decide if a change is worth the effort. My guess is that you will want some time off from a project of this magnitude sometimes and hey camping/traveling in an Airstream is fun! It is good for the soul...

Just my 2 cents worth,
Bruce
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:49 AM   #4
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It depends where you live but there may be members that have done similar projects in your area. We have a good friend who bought a shell and redid the whole interior and it looks fantastic. If you want PM me and I'll put you in touch with him.
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Old 12-11-2014, 07:36 AM   #5
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You need to look at the work being done at Hoffman. Their website is Travel Trailer Renovations by Hofmann Architecture. Just really quite amazing and will inspire you. We (revise, I as other half does not deal well with renovation) are just getting ready to dive into our 1973 Overlander. Total gut job. We are also stripping the aluminum interior. You need to spend lots of time on figuring out logistics. Tank location and plumbing are in my opinion the most important. Electrical is easy to reroute when you have the interior panels off, but dealing with how to get water to drain is a whole different issue. You also need to look at the weight of the tanks when full. Hoffman also has a YouTube channel that is great to watch.
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Old 12-11-2014, 07:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwchant View Post

Another question is does the clean out have to be on the street side?


Thanks,
Bryce & Tk


When you say the "Clean out" do you mean the sewer hose connection?

If so, then I do think you would want it on the street side. I believe all trailers are set up this way.

Likewise all campsites are set up with their connections installed that way and dump stations are the same.

As well, if you were to put it on the other side, (where your door, awning etc are located,) then it would be more likely to be the source of unpleasant odors in your outdoor living area.

Also, most people leave the sewer hose connected all the time and leave the grey tank slide valve open (not the the black tank valve) so that sink shower water etc. continually drain. I don't think you would want that in your outdoor living area.

(Normal practice is to close the grey valve a day or so before you are ready to break camp. That allows some water to accumulate in the grey tank. Then, after you dump the black, you have grey water available to flush out the hose.)


Brian.
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Old 12-11-2014, 09:23 AM   #7
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Nothing beats seeing what other's have done. For that reason, I think you guys ought to go to a couple of rally events and see first hand what options are out there, and there are many. Alumaflamingo or Alumapalooza come to mind, but a regional WBCCI rally might be easier. You will not believe how open people are to share lessons learned. Almost all of us (even with new trailers) can share insights that will greatly help you figure out not just WHAT you want to do, but also HOW to do it. With a blank canvas in front of you, you've got a lot of terrific options -- and also some just basic limitations that you'll want to consider. (These could include everything from gray/black/water tank placement....furnace, WH, fridge, etc.) Congrats and welcome to the family!
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Old 12-11-2014, 09:40 AM   #8
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Tin Can Tourists

You might also check out the Tin Can Tourists website. They're on Facebook too. They are a club that restores old trailers, and probably at least half have been customized to what the owner wanted. Lots of neat ideas on there.

We want to turn our 34' into a Tiki Shack

Best of luck,
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Old 12-14-2014, 01:03 PM   #9
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Check out Flytcamp in Oregon for ideas. They're a high-end restoration company of vintage trailers and you might get some ideas from their projects. The also have a program on cable called "Flipping RVs". Cool stuff.


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Old 12-14-2014, 01:35 PM   #10
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First, we need pictures.

Second, before you even worry about the interior skins you have a lot of other more important issues. Is the frame sound? Some are so bad they have to be replaced, next how's the floor? Some only need to be patched, with others it's a complete replacement which is very hard to do without lifting the body off of the frame... That one involves removing most or all of the inner skins. Then you've got to take care of leaks in the shell. Any other work will just have to be done again if your shell leaks.

If you choose to complete your profile with your location, it's likely you'll be have a chance to meet people who've already done "the full monte" on a basket case like yours.

Some units have issues so severe that it's better to use them as "donor" trailers than try to restore them. Detailed pictures and perhaps a visit from a member who has done restoratons could help you develop a plan for rebuilding your Airstream... or help you focus on finding a better candidate for restoration. A couple of our members are also vendors who do major rebuilds - you can look at their blogs and/or threads to see why some trailers are beyond help. (One general consensus is that a unit which has NOT been "improved" two or three times in the past may be easier and less expensive to re-do than one that requires six or seven UN-do's before renovation can even start.

One VERY special redo - Smokeless Joe's - go to SEARCH, go down to Google and enter "contemporizing" to find that thread. Oh, and get a drool bucket!

Good Luck

Paula
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:23 PM   #11
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1966 30' Sovereign
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Help requested!

Trying to post some pics. Here are the two I have on the day we found it.Click image for larger version

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Old 12-16-2014, 12:41 AM   #12
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1966 30' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwchant View Post
Trying to post some pics. Here are the two I have on the day we found it.Attachment 228690Attachment 228691

A few "entrances" for the assorted rodents living within. Click image for larger version

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A couple of nests and pellets. The amount under the bathtub filled 3 hepa filter vacuum bags. Didn't think to take photo of that.
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Old 12-16-2014, 01:21 AM   #13
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1966 30' Sovereign
Albuquerque , New Mexico
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A PO chopped up the rear bath enough that I couldn't see how to replicate to match the rest.

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So started the demo. As I began removing the wood cabinetry, I noticed an overwhelming urine odor along with staining. Decided a full gut was in order.

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I do have a few original pieces, oven, fridge and stove top, that I was told work but haven't verified. Original Univolt does work . I will be replacing all of these with new so if anyone wants these you can have them.

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I decided, and I'm glad I did, to remove the Zolatone vinyl prior to taking the interior panels down, so I could re-wire and insulate. Had they been un-affixed, I'm certain they would have been bent while pulling the material off.

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Next I plan on removing the belly skin to assess the frame condition. If I can avoid taking the shell off I'd be very pleased. I have also decided to copy some of the improvements I've found here: http://byams55flyingcloud.blogspot.com. I like the idea of fresh, gray and black tanks being located in the belly and not hanging below or taking valuable storage space inside.
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Old 12-16-2014, 09:17 AM   #14
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1966 30' Sovereign
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I think I overwhelmed the web site with my post as my last paragraph was omitted.

To recap: I was sent an email from Hofarc.com, showing their latest creation called Wanda. I really like the bath set up and have decided to try my best to replicate it myself.
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From what I can gather through web photos, It is very similar to the center bath setup of the 70's AS's, only modern with cleaner lines.
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