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Old 02-19-2009, 10:04 AM   #15
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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40+ hours on the gutting, depending on how careful you are. I have my 1975 completely gutted down to the interior walls. I did leave the furnace in place. I took my time, documented with pictures where stuff goes, made notes on things that need to be fixed prior to reinstallation and things I want to upgrade while it is apart. The service manual is a need to have for the way things are SUPPOSED to be put together. FWIW I found several places where the factory guys cut corners. those will be corrected when I put it back.


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Why are we in this basket...and where are we going
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:05 AM   #16
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1975 31' Sovereign
1973 27' Overlander
1977 23' Safari
Palmer Lake , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2005
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If the floor is in good shape, you can tackle the trailer in sections. In this Sovereign I did the back bedroom first, then the front couches, then the kitchen. I'm now doing the pantry and closets. More photos to follow:

I've done 4 Airstreams, always one piece at a time, and I swear every time that I will never do that again. Always do the full gut! But I never seem to follow my own advice.


PS--you will always find hidden rivets and screws, which is maddening.

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Old 02-19-2009, 10:30 AM   #17
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1973 Avion Travelcader 25' , ...
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
A 77 31 foot would take about 30 to 40 man hours to completely gut.

It could also have disc brakes.

Your safest bet, would be to get the 77 service manual, read it at least twice, and then attack the gutting.


Andy's correct...40 hours to gut, and a whole lot longer to put things back together....The big issue we're facing is moisture intrusion. Once the interior is removed you will likely find unseen issues that are typical to 31 year old AS's. We're dealing with rotted outriggers, soft spots in the floor, which (to me) are two of the bigger issues to deal with, and are things I definately will correct before putting any interior plans in motion.

I'm just starting the process and I am actually looking at this as a longgggggggggg term project. I'm estimating it will take me two years and $10K to take things all the way down to the frame and rebuild.


"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

Eleanor Roosevelt

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Old 02-19-2009, 01:09 PM   #18
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1976 31' Sovereign
Ore City , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2008
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I'm gutting a '76 presently. Andy is right on the numbers as far as hours to gut the whole unit. The bathroom and rear closets took longer than anything so far. I would suggest taking a lot of pictures during the tear out. I also marked each piece with a sharpie so hopefully the pieces will go back where they belong. If the frame on my unit was not so bad, I would never have needed to tear everything out. It's killing me to remove solid flooring, but the frame is so bad it has to come up. I'm doing all the work solo, and I usually work a couple of hours and quit before I get tired and frustrated. So far it's still a labor of love and I hope it stays that way.
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Old 02-19-2009, 07:46 PM   #19
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2005 30' Safari
Jeromesville , Ohio
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My wife and I complement each other well when it comes to working on stuff like this. We tackled portions of our house construction and managed to still decide to get married after all was done. I'm pretty handy with metal and woodworking tools...have a nice MIG welder in the garage, access to torches, grinders, cutters, and the like. Same for a pretty well outfitted wood shop in the basement and have turned out a few decent results. My wife is quite handy at the fabric type stuff like curtains, cushions, upholstery, etc. So I think we've got all those bases covered. Our hurdle is the balance of the desire to get camping vs. the desire & time to want to restore something and make it really nice.

We don't have a service manual yet, because we don't have a camper yet. I'm a religious service manual buyer, so I'm sure I'll drop the coin on one when we have a model in possession.

Seems like from everything in this thread that we need to find something that will allow us to get camping this year relatively locally until we feel-out the idiosyncrasies of whatever we buy and then fix those over the winter and go for the long trips next year.
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Old 02-20-2009, 09:30 AM   #20
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1978 31' Sovereign
Cincinnati , Ohio
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Posts: 83
I am also in the middle of a 78' gut job on a 31 footer. It did not take me 40+ hours to gut. I would say that I was in the 20 hour range, but I did not care about what was coming out. I trashed almost everything just to get it out. I will be rebuilding the complete interior from scratch. As far as the rest of the project, your are looking at a huge number of hours depending on what you find. I thought it would be fun to re-hab an old trailer. Gut the interior and start building the new. I was sadly mistaken. I needed new axles and brakes, 5 new outriggers, new step outriggers, 3 new cross-members, new rear floor, new front floor... I am almost to the point of starting the interior. I have had fun doing it, but it has been 3 times the work that I expected. It will be awesome when I'm done, but I'm not there yet. I would suggest scowering these forums and looking at a bunch of blogs to see what others have experienced. You can see mine at:
E-Rock's Airstream
Good luck, and you will defiantly need another camper while you are rebuilding your Airstream.
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:03 PM   #21
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1978 29' Ambassador
Martinsville , Indiana
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Hire some high school guys to do the gut. You supervise.
Hire an airstream interior decorator to design what you want.
Find some travel trailer "reburbish" specialists to do the lions share of rework. You supervise.
You do some of the simple stuff to save some money.
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Old 02-20-2009, 01:11 PM   #22
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1972 27' Overlander
Mo Hill , California
Join Date: Nov 2008
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I gutted my 27' '72 all by myself within a week. Take a look at my web site for pics of how things went. Todd Created Wood, TP drums, Custom Furniture Design, Wood Worker, Carpenter, Fine Furniture, Tables, Chairs, Cabinetry, Stave Drums, Snare Drum. I still have it all apart. The issue is not how long it will take you to gut it. Because it is certainly possible to gut it pretty quick, depending on how much you plan on saving. The issue you want to consider is; what do you think you will find when you do gut it? I have spent a lot of extra time chaising problems and making fixes to things I thought I wouldn't have to pay attention to. For instance, this week I had to remove the interior rear fiberglass end cap to get at leaks that where behind it... I hadn't thought I would be going there... Just because you gut it doesn't mean you can rebuild immediately. Look carefully for evidence of past leaks and strucural damage.

The actuall gutting in my case was pretty quick and easy. I wasn't saving anything.... There are lots of screws and rivets to take apart, that is the most labor intensive event.
Fine Woodworking, Furniture, Carpentry, Drums, and Lutherie
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Old 02-20-2009, 01:34 PM   #23
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1971 25' Caravanner
scappoose , Oregon
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Let's see now:
Chain saw. check
Axe . check
Sawsall . check

Ready to go, just kiddin,,,,,,

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