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Old 11-28-2013, 05:01 PM   #1
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1970 31' Sovereign
Asheville , North Carolina
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1970 Mobile Office/Studio Restoration

Hey all!

I posted about a month ago on the new member forums here that I had purchased a 31' 1970 Sovereign. I couldn't be happier to get started on my new project.

I will put this disclaimer out there: I spent almost 4 years restoring a 1991 Honda CRX and documented everything possible through photos and words on the forum, so you guys will get lots of updates here. In return, I expect lots of help, as I am far from an expert on Airstreams.

A little background: I'm a 20 year old Web Developer from Asheville, NC. I know that sounds young but I've got lots of experience building and working on projects (I build a recording studio with my dad, who used to be a contractor, when I was 14). I also have tons of people that want to help and I'm not afraid to wait and be patient until I can do it right. I make enough money to work on this project and my CPA is helping me to make this a business expense. I hope that after this is done, I'll never have to rent an office space!

The end goal: a 31 foot office space that I can tow across the country to my clients (I have some local clients but also a few national clients in Raleigh, NC, California, NYC, etc) and a place that I can also use as a mobile recording studio. It needs to be very open, modular, safe, and comfortable. It needs to appear professional but also have a good amount of future/retro flair that the AS pulls off so well. I'm thinking hardwood floors, a small kitchenette, a large desk at the front and at least 2 longer but shallow desks for at least 5 others to work at. I've been thinking those desks could be on hinges so that I can get more space if I want. More on floor plans later, but I hope you guys can get the idea - I don't want a bathroom, or any "beds". A futon or some benches to convert into a sleeper would be fine, but the primary function for this guy is an office space.

If you got through all of that, thanks for reading! Here be some pictures:






Those were the ones from the Craigslist post.

I pulled it home about 2 weeks later with my friend's huge Ford Excursion - he has an '05 28' AS but said that mine pulled like a dream.

I've done lots of gutting to it so far and will post some pictures up here in a bit but I've got to go and have a grand old Thanksgiving dinner with the fam.

Happy Thanksgiving - and there are many, many more updates to come from this proud AS owner!
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:07 AM   #2
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Sounds like a great plan....go for it!!


Maggie
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Old 11-29-2013, 09:53 AM   #3
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Hmmm. Kitchenette = coffee = need for bathroom Just sayin'.

Then again, I'm in my 60s not my 20s.
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:10 AM   #4
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1970 31' Sovereign
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Here are a few pictures from when we went and got it:




And in the driveway!!!
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:18 AM   #5
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Some interior shots before we get started gutting it:
(that's my friend Xandy, who's going to help me out tons with this project - he lives close)








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Old 11-29-2013, 10:19 AM   #6
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Love it can't wait to see progress pictures! Looks like the trip home went well and hopefully the turkey and family went well! Cliff
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:19 AM   #7
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1970 31' Sovereign
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Some exterior shots:
(the dog is my little Pitbull puppy Dina, she's the best)






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Old 11-29-2013, 10:25 AM   #8
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1970 31' Sovereign
Asheville , North Carolina
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Alright, time to get some work done!




We set up my computer at the front of the AS and took pictures as we removed some things. Kind of like a time-lapse thing.

















(I'm the guy in the blue shirt who makes funny faces, the bigger guy in the last picture is my friend Jesse, you'll see more of him later)
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:29 AM   #9
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1970 31' Sovereign
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Xandy, Lewis and I did some more work Wednesday. These should bring you up to speed, but we're going to work on some more tomorrow.






RIVETS!!!





We're a pretty goofy bunch, but on the other hand, at least we're not inside wasting away playing video games all day...

And we got down to the insulation. At this point we realized masks, goggles and some gloves would be a good idea, so we took a break and got lunch and ran to Lowes. It was too cold by the time we came back to continue working...

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Old 11-29-2013, 10:42 AM   #10
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1970 31' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
Hmmm. Kitchenette = coffee = need for bathroom Just sayin'.
It's a good point, but I just don't know if I can fit it into the floor plan. I want to be able to keep the entire thing open, and I just feel like a BR would close it off, no matter where I put it. How much extra work is that plumbing and stuff too?
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:53 AM   #11
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Others can answer the plumbing question- but you might consider a cassette toilet. No plumbing required.
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Old 11-29-2013, 11:26 AM   #12
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1970 31' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
you might consider a cassette toilet. No plumbing required.
Smart. Never heard it it. Will keep it in mind!!!
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Old 11-29-2013, 02:03 PM   #13
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I really like the rivet bit! I had a few of those!
Cliff
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Old 11-29-2013, 02:16 PM   #14
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If you are traveling across the country to deal with clients or prospective clients why would you not want to keep a bedroom and bath in it so you never have to stay in a motel either? 31 should be plenty of room for both IMHO. You will have to add alot weight to it to make it soundproof for a recording studio which means probably upgrading axles, strengthing frame for added weight which in turn will require a heavy duty TV. I'm sure it can be done just plan ahead before you start rebuilding.
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Old 11-29-2013, 02:56 PM   #15
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1970 31' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panheaddale View Post
If you are traveling across the country to deal with clients or prospective clients why would you not want to keep a bedroom and bath in it so you never have to stay in a motel either? 31 should be plenty of room for both IMHO. You will have to add alot weight to it to make it soundproof for a recording studio which means probably upgrading axles, strengthing frame for added weight which in turn will require a heavy duty TV. I'm sure it can be done just plan ahead before you start rebuilding.
Kickass advice, honestly I'm not sure about the hotel thing or not, yes I'm sure it would be nice to have a BR but if I do a toilet then I have to do a shower etc etc. I'll still think about it for sure though and try to figure out a plan I like with and without.

I didn't think about the added weight for soundproofing however, which is a very good point. I don't see myself spending too much time on the actual soundproofing other than with some surface sound absorption foam, which is fairly light. I also had considered replacing the normal R-13 insulation with something a little more soundproof, such as rock wool or similar, which I think is heavier. Does anyone know about this? Any other insulation options you recommend when re-insulating the airstream?

Thanks!
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Old 11-30-2013, 03:10 PM   #16
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1970 31' Sovereign
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We worked on the AS a little more today. Freekin' fiberglass everywhere.

I guess it's about time to buy some bigger trash bags and start really cleaning everything out.

I'm curious about a few things now that I've gotten down to the wiring and the shell, I'll ask those questions a little later tonight if I can't find the answers with the search function.

Here are some pictures of the work after today:




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Old 11-30-2013, 04:21 PM   #17
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Hey after looking at some of this wiring it doesn't look too bad... I'm totally going to replace the electrical outlet and light wiring, but what about leaving the wiring to the exterior lights? Is there a reason why I should replace those as well?
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Old 11-30-2013, 06:26 PM   #18
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The wiring itself should be good as long as there is no aluminum wires! Only replace wires if they are brittle burnt or you are planning on a heavier load! the black stuff on the aluminum is an adhesive used to hold the pink stuff. Good replacement would be prodex or aluminum backed foam board. While you have the inner walls down seal those seams on the inside.
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Old 11-30-2013, 06:38 PM   #19
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1970 31' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM66caravel View Post
The wiring itself should be good as long as there is no aluminum wires! Only replace wires if they are brittle burnt or you are planning on a heavier load! the black stuff on the aluminum is an adhesive used to hold the pink stuff. Good replacement would be prodex or aluminum backed foam board. While you have the inner walls down seal those seams on the inside.
Cliff
Cliff,

I don't think the wiring is aluminum, but I'll double check to make sure. Thanks for the heads up! The exterior is going to be as original as possible, so I don't see any lights using any extra load, again, I'm planning on replacing all of the outlets because I'll have some more. Going to get a new breaker box for sure but I know I'll have to do some more reading on that as I'd love to have some kind of solar power option too... one thing at a time haha!

I looked into reflectix insulation stuff - and doing the pink insulation over it, but I was hoping there would be some better options. I'll look into prodex and the aluminum backed foam board as alternatives, as I'd love to *not* ever have to work with that pink stuff ever again haha.


------------------------------------------------------------

More updates to come... I did some research and it looks I have A LOT of work to do and money I'll have to spend (of course, I did see that coming).
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Old 11-30-2013, 07:40 PM   #20
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1970 31' Sovereign
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Inner walls question and I can't find the answer anywhere here - should I glue material (like a plastic backsplash kind of stuff) to the inner walls and just re-use my old ones or buy some new inner wall metal and use the old ones as a template? I love the look of the restored ASs with the shiny insides but wondering how much $$$ that will cost me. On the other hand, the inner walls I have now are kinda gross and a little beat... one of them is also somewhat damaged (sawed) by the TV antenna crank. Thanks for any advice!
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