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The 1979 31' Airstream Sovereign International Adventure begins

Posted 07-05-2009 at 03:42 PM by Dakota's Mom

Well, we made it back to Kentucky with the "new" Airstream - new to us! To our knowledge, this trailer went from Texas to Arkansas, to Kansas, to Kentucky in the most recent years.

<"pick-up" locaton>

<home at last>

So, now we're beginning to assess more fully what's needed to make necessary repairs and have it camping worthy.

We knew that a tree fell on it as a result of an ice storm. It broke a window, punctured the roof, and when we saw it in person we found it punctured the interior skin, too.

The last couple of days the initial cleaning strategy started; general sweeping, windows cleaned, Mark scrubbed the one working awning - looks great, then the spring promptly sprung Fridge works, A/C works (!), electric seems to be in good working order.

Mark and I suited up biohazard-style on Saturday and started cleaning the "dooty" of whatever from under the sleeping area. Resulted in completely removing the twin beds, table and bins, then pulling up the remaining carpet along with all the critter leavings.

<biohazard preparedness>

<sleeping area - before>

<sleeping area - after>

Rained last night and we isolated a couple of leaks - one around the handle for the antenna and another from one of the punctures through the skin.

Pulled carpet staples out of the floor this afternoon. Mark took off the dislodged bumper (dislodged when crossing a creekbed when it was trailered from Arkansas to Kansas - along with some damage to the belly pan) to inspect for repair purposes; did some straightening so the lid will close. Appears to have been repaired once or twice before. He also polished a conspicuous spot - which shines beautifully - and conspicuous so as to remind us of what lies ahead - so he says!

And this is where we are as of today - got home with the trailer afternoon of 7/2/09. And the adventure continues!

Dakota's Mom/Susie
Dakota's Dad/Mark
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  1. Old Comment
    Bowmans's Avatar
    Deja Vu! We just got our 1979 31' Sovereign International home (VA) a few months ago and started just as you did. Cleaned out the inside of all material items, pulled up the carpet and all of those staples... My wife was dressed like a science experiment. From the outside, yours looks just like ours except the front (over the tongue) ours has an awning instead of a window gaurd. The rest of the windows are all in the same place and looks like the little window in the center, curbside is the bath so center bath? also. And wow, I just checked out your photos on photobucket and the bathroom wallpaper is even the same...

    We decided to start on the outside first, leave the inside for winter. We scotchbrighted all of the window frames, and I have been polishing, strip clearcoat, more polishing, strip the vinyl stripes, more polishing, strip clearcoat, etc. About 40% done now so it is coming along slowly.

    Question: When/if you strip the blue vinyl stripes (not the beltline but the pinstriping stuff) the runs along the outside, mid section, let me know what colors were on the bottom layer. I am trying to figure out what ours was originally. Ours had blue for the wide stripes red for the thin on top, 2nd layer was the same but the bottom layer actually had all blue stripes.

    Good luck with your restoration! We'll keep checking on your progress. I want to see how you get that hole fixed

    Take care,
    Posted 07-06-2009 at 05:13 PM by Bowmans Bowmans is offline
    Updated 07-06-2009 at 05:37 PM by Bowmans (Edited some of my questions after seeing your photos on photobucket)
  2. Old Comment
    Dakota's Mom's Avatar
    Thanks, Tadd! DH and I are following your posts, too! The forum and blogs are such great resources. I have to wonder what we would do without them and all of the contributors! It's so great to learn from others' experience and be able to share!

    (And we both totally identify with the dressing up like a science experiment!)

    I pulled up the rest of the staples in the sleeping area last night.

    DH surprised me today by getting the wrap-around pad and interior skin removed from the sleeping area, rear wall. Also got the B.A.L. stabilizers "unstuck" and in position, as well as got "TEXAS" off the one side.

    Received new copies of the owners and service manuals today! So, we've been enjoying the reading (sad, isn't it? we're the same way about software and hardware manuals!).

    Have some parts and tools on order, so, more to come!

    Almost forgot - yes, it's a center bath, rear twin bed. We're considering changing the sleeping arrangement as one reason we went for the 31' is because we have two Golden Retrievers, Dakota and Maggie, and, of course there must be room for all! LOL!

    More TT adventure pictures on Photobucket
    Posted 07-07-2009 at 08:22 PM by Dakota's Mom Dakota's Mom is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Bowmans's Avatar
    You both sound like your making great progress. Our originally was a queen bed in the back (as the owners said). They pulled out the rear furniture a some point and made the entire back into one bed area. We like the setup since we have 2 boxers and an english bulldog that will of course, be piling on top of us at night and this will hopefully allow me to sleep in the same bed as my wife HAHAHA.

    We pulled the 'California King' mattress out though and will probably be putting in 2 twins side by side for ease or removing and flipping. I'm thinking of building 2 lifting areas (one for each mattress) to access the storage underneath since we only have one small door on one side of the camper for external access to this area.

    Our AS came with the service and owners manuals but they were well used. I scanned them both into the computer when we got it home and stored the originals away for safe keeping. I think it took 4 CD's since it was 300+ pages and I scanned them in high resolution tif files. If you have any issues with your manuals and need a few pages, let me know. I would be pretty confident they are the exact same manuals.

    I noticed you said you removed the bedroom interior panels. Are you removing all of the interior aluminum panels? Are you all doing a full restoration/renovation?

    Take care,
    Posted 07-08-2009 at 10:04 PM by Bowmans Bowmans is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Dakota's Dad's Avatar

    Well.... we weren't exactly planning a "full restoration" (although I am sure that's where we will be in the end) We removed those bottom panels so we could get to the floor bolts in the perimeter so we can replace the sub floor that is rotted all the way through under the rear window. This AS does have some serious work needed to get it fully functional, but we knew that going into it. Several we looked at had fewer overall issues, but most had running gear problems that would have needed to be fixed before towing home to tow safely, so we ruled those out.

    Thanks for the offer on the manuals, we bought reproductions straight from airstream. Learning about re-gasketing the windows today. Started with the kitchen window, will have it finished in a bit (heat/humidity has come up) but now that I have a procedure that works, should get the rest of the curb side and the rear done in the AM, then the rest the next "work" day.

    Posted 07-09-2009 at 10:55 AM by Dakota's Dad Dakota's Dad is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Bowmans's Avatar
    Ahh, floor rot. We got lucky on that. We had 2 small spots. One 3" X 3" spot right beside the curbside window next to the front cabinet and against the wall which had dried up. I will probably patch or talking about putting a small, thin cabinet there maybe with a slide mechanism for a flat screen that hides inside. Been throwing ideas around. The other spot is smaller and inside that really small cabinet next to the door where the awning rod goes but its not worth worrying about since it is so small and flooring on top will cover. It had dried up as well.

    We haven't replaced the seals on the windows/door since they aren't leaking right now but they will need it soon since they are dry-rotting. Our vist view windows also have that film peeling inside all 4 so I will also be breaking the inside panes and re-sealing once I get the new molding seals from Can-Am and get the nerve to break them. Yours have the same issue? All of our windows are double pain and one of our curved front windows ha condensation in between panes and 2 bedroom windows film is peeling as well. Not looking forward to fixing them all...

    Take care,
    Posted 07-09-2009 at 11:51 PM by Bowmans Bowmans is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Dakota's Dad's Avatar

    Ah.. the vista views.. well two of the three top ones are peeling, all the lower ones are fine. The final top one... well it probably was peeling, before the tree fell on it. I will be learning how to replace the pane in that one...

    I am pretty sure we will find a lot of floor rot up front also.. just part of the fun! The window seals are going slower then I would like, but, getting done. I really need to put AC in the garage-mahaul.

    Posted 07-13-2009 at 01:15 PM by Dakota's Dad Dakota's Dad is offline
  7. Old Comment
    Such an undertaking..
    I recently acquired a '71 Sovereign; my first AS..mostly gutted, rear bath, lots of rust and some holes in the undercarriage. I wonder how bad it will be when I remove the under pan. Mine also took a large tree limb across the front roof, shattering a vista window outer glass, and seperating the ribs from the interior and exterior sheet metal. Good thing I'm not in a hurry..
    Good luck with your restoration..I'll be following along and learning. Thank you for documenting your helps loads!
    Posted 08-03-2009 at 09:39 PM by Robin Midgett Robin Midgett is offline

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