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Old 11-07-2012, 09:08 PM   #1
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New Owners - '67 Sovereign

1967 Int'l Sovereign
Hi All!

I originally posted this in the new member thread but decided I might have a better response if i posted it under restorations.

My husband and I recently purchased a 1967 International Land Yacht Sovereign in what 'appears' to be excellent shape. I am in love! I believe we will call him 'Slim'. I know, I know 'he' is probably supposed to be a 'she' but since my husband says this is MY camper Slim will be a 'he'.

I would like to do a 'gentle' renovation to start, doing enough now to make it campworthy and doing a little more each year. All of the shell off, stripped to the frame images on here are making me a bit nervous. Can any of you recommend posts that approach a renovation in a less drastic 'pay as you go' way?

'Slim' has been kept under cover at a hunting camp for the last 20+ years. He is all original and most everything is still in working order. One of the PO's was even considerate enough to cut carpet to lay down on the original carpet to protect it. Although I am not planning to keep the original carpet, 45 year old carpet maintained by men in a hunting camp for the last 20 years is enough to scare any sane woman.

We plugged Slim in this weekend (with some trepidation, I really expected sparks or an explosion) and lo and behold there was light and a/c and power. Still not real sure on the refrigerator, it is the original, so will it run on electricity only or does it need gas? Hmm, needs more research. Gas appliances are unchecked because the PO detached the LP line so we will need to replace it.

The front water tank still holds water like a champ and the original water pump actually pumps, right out the really crappy copper splice about midway under one of the couches and onto the floor. Shop vac to the rescue.

After reading many posts on here I spent part of last weekend on hands and knees poking at Slim with a screw driver. Poor Slim. Prior to pulling the carpet the only soft spots thus far are at the rear end under the sink vanity and at the hinge side of the entry door. Hopefully i will know more once i pull carpet and can look at the subfloor. Which brings me to another question - Can I check and patch the floor without tearing out the kitchenette, bunks and bath? Again I just want to get road worthy this year.

I will work on attaching some photos for you.

Sorry for such a long first post but I would appreciate any advice and insight you might want to share.

Thanks so much!
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:30 PM   #2
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New Owners - '67 Sovereign

Greetings m.nolte!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by m.nolte View Post
1967 Int'l Sovereign
Hi All!

I originally posted this in the new member thread but decided I might have a better response if i posted it under restorations.

My husband and I recently purchased a 1967 International Land Yacht Sovereign in what 'appears' to be excellent shape. I am in love! I believe we will call him 'Slim'. I know, I know 'he' is probably supposed to be a 'she' but since my husband says this is MY camper Slim will be a 'he'.

I would like to do a 'gentle' renovation to start, doing enough now to make it campworthy and doing a little more each year. All of the shell off, stripped to the frame images on here are making me a bit nervous. Can any of you recommend posts that approach a renovation in a less drastic 'pay as you go' way?


What you suggest is entirely possible. When I purchased my 1964 Overlander Land Yacht Internation in 1995, that is exactly what I did. The coach was in good overall condition and only needed a few repairs to make it fully camp-ready. Prior to my first major camping trip, all that I had to do was replace the water pump and Univolt. The first seven seasons were ones of just making repairs as necessary. During that time, the air conditioner had to be replaced, the water heater failed and a new was one was installed, the previous owners compressor refrigerator was replaced with a new Dometic 3-Way RV Refrigerator, a new furnace replaced the original furnace, the brakes were complete redone, new shock absorbers installed, and new Worthington Aluminum LP tanks were installed. The biggest expense during that time was correcting rear end separation (about $3,500 at a quality Airstream Service facility).

Prior to the eighth season, I chose to have the interior and exterior refurbished to near original appearance. Fowler RV Interiors handled the interior refurbish that included refinishing the oak cabinetry, painting the interior aluminum walls, new draperies, new foam and upholstery, and new floor coverings. P and S Trailer Service handled the exterior refurbish that included a complete polish and Plasticoat to an original sheen finish. My process was more costly than many who are able to do-it-yourself, but I ended up with the Airstream that I really wanted for less than a cost of a similar sized new coach that would not have had the floorplan and features that I wanted.

The most important consideration with this process is to determine that the coach is safe for travel . . . then enjoy the coach while you make restoration projects and refurbishment projects all the while enjoying the coach.

Quote:
Originally Posted by m.nolte View Post
'Slim' has been kept under cover at a hunting camp for the last 20+ years. He is all original and most everything is still in working order. One of the PO's was even considerate enough to cut carpet to lay down on the original carpet to protect it. Although I am not planning to keep the original carpet, 45 year old carpet maintained by men in a hunting camp for the last 20 years is enough to scare any sane woman.
My Overlander and Minuet both had some or most of their original carpeting, and while it was still in usable condition, age takes it toll in numerous ways. In the Minuet it was fading . . . burnt orange shag just doesn't hold its color well. The Overlander had white sculptured carpet . . . even though it had been carefully cared for its entire life, it was impossible to fully clean even with the best of moder steam cleaning technology. Both coaches now have modern hard flooring products for easy living . . . Minuet has Armstrong Laminate floor covering while the Overlander has Congoleum Commercial Sheet Vinyl floor covering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by m.nolte View Post
We plugged Slim in this weekend (with some trepidation, I really expected sparks or an explosion) and lo and behold there was light and a/c and power. Still not real sure on the refrigerator, it is the original, so will it run on electricity only or does it need gas? Hmm, needs more research. Gas appliances are unchecked because the PO detached the LP line so we will need to replace it.
One caution. When you mention plugging in your coach finding all to be functioning without major incident there is one thing to be aware of, and that is your Bay Breeze Air Conditioner. These air conditioners require a minimum of 20-AMPS to function properly, and the best polich is to never run the air conditioner unless you are plugged into a 30-AMP electrical outlet. I ruined my Overlander's original Bay Breeze Air Conditioner by plugging the coach into a regular outled (30-AMP to 15-AMP adapter), and within eight hours my compressor had burned out. The Bay Breeze units are miles ahead of modern units in terms of their cooling IMHO . . . and compared to my Coleman, they are so much quieter.

If the coach has its original Dometic RV Refrigerator, it should be capable of running on either 120-Volt AC or LP Gas. These refrigerators are more durable than one might expect, but a soon to be 50 year old refrigerator is beyond its life expectancy. If the refrigerator compartment itself is in good condition, it is possible to replace the absorbtion cooling unit . . . a process that can be beneficial as nearly all modern replacement refrigerators will require at least some modification of your coach's refrigerator cabinet . . . in the case of my Overlander, I lost the cutlery drawer above the refrigerator as the new refrigerator was nearly 3" taller than the original.

Quote:
Originally Posted by m.nolte View Post
The front water tank still holds water like a champ and the original water pump actually pumps, right out the really crappy copper splice about midway under one of the couches and onto the floor. Shop vac to the rescue.
Most Vintage Airstream owners find multiple plumbing leaks when trying to add water to a recently acquired coach. Often, it is almost easier to replace the original copper with new supply lines as repairing freeze damagec copper can become very time consuming. The water tank also needs watching until you can determine that there aren't any hairline cracks. My Overlander's tank made it through nine seasons folllowing my purchase before hairline cracks became so numerous that it couldn't be repaired. New tanks that will fit in the available room are fairly easy to find.

Quote:
Originally Posted by m.nolte View Post
After reading many posts on here I spent part of last weekend on hands and knees poking at Slim with a screw driver. Poor Slim. Prior to pulling the carpet the only soft spots thus far are at the rear end under the sink vanity and at the hinge side of the entry door. Hopefully i will know more once i pull carpet and can look at the subfloor. Which brings me to another question - Can I check and patch the floor without tearing out the kitchenette, bunks and bath? Again I just want to get road worthy this year.
Unless you are determined to do a total restoration with full floor replacement, there isn't any reasons that small areas cannot be patched. In my case, the rearmost two feet of my Overlander's floor was replaced when the rear end separation was corected. In the not too distant future, I will likely need to have a patch installed under the jalousie window in my Overlander (will by trying wood consolidant first) . . . other than those two areas, my Overlander has all of its original subfloor that continues to be rot free with the exception of that area near the door that seems to be a problem for every era Airstream product.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:50 PM   #3
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Sounds like you found a good one. The late 60's airstreams are the best ones period. I am biased though since I have a 66 Tradewind. I bought it 3 years ago and I have been camping in it and upgrading it all at the same time.

Unless the plastic in the fridge is in great shape, I would not recommend just replacing the cooling part of the fridge. I would replace the entire fridge.

Overlander64 covered pretty much everything quite well.

Welcome to the forums and enjoy your Airstream.

Dan
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:09 AM   #4
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Kevin and Dan,

Thank you for your responses. The amount of knowledge and info on this site is astonishing but it can also get to be a little overwhelming. Your responses make me feel much better about our decision to bring Slim home!

Thanks again.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:52 AM   #5
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'67 Sovereign - Some Photos

Morning,

A couple of photos from of Slim for you.

I will be working on him this weekend and will post some more photos as I go along. My daughter is ready to camp so this weekend will most likely also include some lawn chairs out front, a fire pit and some s'mores. Everything is better with s'mores!
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:55 PM   #6
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Carpet = EEEUUUWWW!

Two Layers = Double EEEUUUWWW!

Well a little progress tonight before it got too dark to see. There are some working lights in there but they are not nearly bright enough for me to stick my hands in those corners. I really don't want a tetanus booster. First layer of carpet came out alright, although I am pretty sure the nails holding the shoe mold down and the tack strips had become part of the trailer's structure. Now I am down to the factory original carpet, did I mention EEEUUUWWW. It is nasty and coming up in crunchy pieces by the door. Further back I think it is glued to the plywood. I'm not sure if that is a factory detail or just 45 years of nastiness. Any suggestions for getting it out of there?

On the subject of lighting, do any of you have any recommendations for replacements for the ceiling lights? Some work, some don't and some throw sparks when you use the three way knob.

Oh, and I ordered my first AS parts - sealant and POR-15!

I posted some more photos, enjoy!
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:22 PM   #7
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Yes. Ancient carpet tack strips resemble herds of rabid bats.

Glue? umnn, nawsiree thats not factory, lets hope it *is* glue .

There are dozens of different opinions on what works best on getting the mastic adhesive residues up, some say heat gun and a spackle knife scraper, some say dry ice to make it brittle and scrape it... If the carpet is bonded in it might be the place for a 4" angled razor blade scraper and cut it loose.

You're using a respirator, please?
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:31 PM   #8
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Respi-what?

J/K - today i just used a dust mask, but when I start the original carpet removal I'm really thinking one of those bio-hazard suits is probably most appropriate!
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:03 PM   #9
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And the work continues...more pics

Okay, so I am thinking I may need to move this thread. I originally moved it to interior restoration because I was planning to update the interiors of Slim and make sure the systems were working. Maybe some exterior polishing but mostly make it livable.
Soooo now that we have:
removed the original Dometic fridge (for sale if anyone needs one), removed the front couches, table and trim and the beds,
scrubbed walls and ceilings with a combination of Bleach White, Clorox and Tuff Stuff (the Tuff Stuff and Bleach White really work great),
stripped out two layers of extra nasty carpet,
cut out a 2'x6' area of rotten subfloor at the front door,
found a severely rusted out frame at the front door that will be patched and welded tomorrow,
fixed the toilet,
removed lights with bad switches (I am on the hunt for replacement switches if anyone has a source),
determined we need to remove and replace the hot water heater,
decided to replace the rigged water supply from a PO with Pex,
and still need to remove the bath fixtures to replace the floor at the rear and fix the black tank and based on the front door most likely fix the frame there also...
I am not sure what to post this under, is there an everything tab?!

sorry for the picture order/rotation but at least I got them on here
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:38 PM   #10
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Welcome to the forum. A "gentle restoration" works for me also. I now have more $$ in it than I paid, and am still "gently" making my Argosy "camp ready". Another $2000, maybe. LOL
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:32 PM   #11
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Fix your old fridge, you will wish you had! I did a ton of work on mine & it works quite nicely now.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:57 PM   #12
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Airstream Bathrooms aka Worlds Biggest Jigsaw Puzzle

Well the work continues, not as quickly as I originally planned but we are moving forward.
So since my last post we have:
Fixed the rusted out frame at the front door (thank goodness the hubby is a welder), coated everything I could get to with POR-15, I really l like that stuff and will continue to apply it as we expose more frame, spar varnished and installed the new subfloor. Yay! nice solid floor!
We have dropped the front and rear end of the belly pans, they are draped over the axles at the moment - more dead rats, euw!
We have also removed the cord wrap at the box at the back (not sure what you call that) so we could get to the bath cabinets, yanked out the water heater so we could get to the bath cabinets, stood on our heads and folded ourselves into figure eights all to remove bath cabinets. But we got the bath cabinets (at least the lower ones). And we didnt break anything.
We also began cutting out the PO's craptastic plumbing job. I didn't know they made fitting in that many shapes and when the PO couldn't find a shape he/she made their own with short length of copper. Seems like it would have been easier to fix the original, also all still in place.
A couple of questions:
1) Can anyone recommend posts for removal of the black tank, a procedure would be nice?
2) Is it possible to remove the closets in the bedroom area without removing the upper cabinets?
Any other helpful bathroom hints would be appreciated!

thanks!
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:02 PM   #13
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A couple photos

frame fix
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:46 AM   #14
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Another VTS Order and the Same Questions

Another VTS Order

That place is BAD for my pocketbook - but we have replacement light switches and all new window and door gaskets in route Yay! Next on the list - resealing vents and replacing the solardome. The PO screwed and siliconed a piece of plexi over the glass. And then installed shower curtain above the screen to keep the light out. Strange PO's.

Okay I still have a couple of questions from my previous post:

1) Can anyone recommend posts for removal of the black tank, a procedure would be nice?
2) Is it possible to remove the closets in the bedroom area without removing the upper cabinets?
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