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Old 10-03-2021, 12:11 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member

 
1973 31' Sovereign
Poland , Maine
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 66
Hasty Mouse to Mighty Mouse

Well…I’ve gone and done it. My years of snooping around here, reading full threads on complete renovations scared the crap out of me. Many years, I’ve been back and forth not knowing whether to sell or take the reno plunge.

Back about 8 years ago, my wife and I bought our 1973 Sovereign 31’, on a whim from a PO, who bought it from his PO, never having taken her in the road. We were looking for a fun adventure in Maine, while we were visiting family, and so we decided to purchase what looked like a vintage girl all decked out with new pillows, comfy beds, and cleaning supplies my wife fell in love with. It was a match made in haste!!

When we got it to camp, we I grew up, we slept a few nights in our new AS, creaky beds, floor, no working toilet, but had to go back home for the start of school. I backed the AS into a tucked in spot behind my folks garage, and left her there for the following summer. In my next post, I’ll fill in some more detail. It’s a story you’ve probably all read about before, but maybe not, maybe this time, something new will provide the you, the Airforum reader with enough knowledge to make a wise, not a hasty decision…and I’ll also be hoping to get feedback from this amazing community I’ve learned to live from afar….
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Old 10-03-2021, 01:25 PM   #2
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1962 28' Ambassador
1961 19' Globetrotter
1962 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 5,196
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Those fluffy pillows will get you every time.

We're on our fourth vintage so we know the feeling. The sense of adventure and possibilities are the fuel that keeps you going. I had been reading on the forums for a couple of years when we got our first one. We agreed to always have this Campable even if it was an empty shell. We always did safety and driving things first and everything else comes after.
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Old 10-04-2021, 06:02 AM   #3
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1973 31' Sovereign
Poland , Maine
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 66
Yes, agreed on safety and driving as a bottom line.
In fact I need to replace both axles next summer and will be asking around for help and guidance on that soon…you’ve actually helped me out on a couple things already, so I thank you for that and thanks in advance for other questions you’ll likely help out with on the road ahead..
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Old 10-04-2021, 08:30 AM   #4
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1973 31' Sovereign
Poland , Maine
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 66
Can I change the thread name to.."Mighty Mouse renovation"?

wondering if I can change the name of my thread. I'm hoping to document my renovation, and I know i'll have many questions over the years, if having "renovation" in the thread name will help to get more input? If yes, can I change the name, or just start a new one? advice?Thank you!
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Old 10-04-2021, 09:37 AM   #5
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1973 31' Sovereign
Poland , Maine
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 66
the rest of the story..

I wanted to write up the rest of my story, before I head out today. From my first post, I left off tucking my AS into a wooded spot next to a garage, near a lake. I left back for home, with my family, and would return next summer.
(Not sure why this pic is sideways...)
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When I returned, in Maine, late in June, luckily I took no photos..
The AS was wall to wall mouse turd, pee, dark brown pee puddles, and mouse tracks through the pee puddles on almost every horizontal and vertical surface.
The winter for us was nice, but the winter for the mice was even better. When I opened the door in late June, the smell was off the charts. My kids and wife, said, "no way are we going to sleep in there!". So I shifted into high gear, scrubbing, cleaning, and mopping. Throwing away all the bounce sheets that acted as mouse beds, not mouse deterrents. Hasty Mouse, this is where I got the first part...

So after cleaning, I reached out to a guy who helped me replace the vintage '73 AC ( I wish I remembered the name of it), which still had a functioning fan, blowing out mouse poop, instead of cold air, so the Penguin ll, I hoped would help clear out the pee smell a bit.. but it really didn't. Not enough anyway for my family. So after that episode taking up a lot of my vacation time, I decided to get an AC cover for my new addition, and park it in a big camper parking lot, where there were no trees, or lakes nearby. Hoping the mice would steer clear.

Fast forward to this summer. Visited my AS for the first time in 5+ years, after Covid delays, and other earlier time constraints.

First approaching, I could see that something had stained the side a whitish color underneath the AC. Getting closer I could see my "new" AC cover had basically broken down and melted away down the sides of the AS.
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This was on both sides, and wouldn't come off with any amount of elbow grease.

I decided to sell. I decided that this was the best time to sell. The market for AS's in hot, and I didn't have the time to do the work anymore.

So I hauled it back to the lake, to the spot of the original mouse insurrection, and parked it there to clean up once and for all.
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My family, now back home for school, I came back to Maine on my own a few weeks ago, to tackle the job of cleaning and selling. As i was cleaning near the front of the trailer, under the original squeaky, somewhat delicate, front sofa sleeper, I saw droppings under the frame. I decided to pull out the frame, and clean out any residue, and rebuild the frame a little better, after the cleaning.
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I unscrewed it from the floor, to find only three screws had held it in place, and pulled it out of the trailer for very minor repair later.
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After I moved the sleeper outside, I could see for the first time, how "easy" it was to remove something from the trailer (ha! I was to later find out otherwise). I also saw under the sleeper that the linoleum floor, which my wife and I both hated, was not attached to the floor at all. So for some reason, I decided this would be an easy replacement too, and began to lift it out.

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And out of nowhere, after I removed all the dirty stinky linoleum, and cleaned the rest of the mouse poop and pee, it struck me luck a lighting bolt. I HAD TO KEEP IT! I decided there and then, the thoughts of selling were over. I was going to renovate my AS, no matter how long it took. And I've read many renovation stories here on AF where it HAS taken years. But I was hooked. It had its claws in me good.

So here I am today. I've pulled and stored the twin beds, the sleeper sofa, and I am in the process of removing the rear bath, piece by piece....Click image for larger version

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Today is more of bathroom, screwing out rivets, and slowly watching it all happen before my eyes.

I hope to keep this thread, or an updated one with the name renovation in it, active for the next couple weeks, before I need to get back to work, and resume next summer with the change out of my two axles. Ive been reading when you need to replace them, and it seems like they have bottomed out, and need it.
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Not sure why some of the pics are sideways...will need to learn how to fix that too I guess!
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Old 10-04-2021, 10:26 AM   #6
CC
 
1972 27' Overlander
Heinsburg , AB
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 228
lol, this forum will act as a resorce and also as a support group for your condition. These trailers are addictive; believe me I know. Good luck with your reno, I hope you find as many good surprises as I have as I've worked through my '72. I look forward to following.
CC
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Old 10-04-2021, 11:52 AM   #7
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1973 29' Ambassador
Woodward , Oklahoma
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 48
I envy your obvious youth, energy and enthusiasm! I tend to just go camping in mine, and fix stuff as absolutely necessary! Looking forward to watching your progress, and am pulling for you!
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Old 10-04-2021, 04:30 PM   #8
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1997 25' Safari
Laurel , Maryland
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 36
Restore! Why crush it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Camper Crazy View Post
lol, this forum will act as a resorce and also as a support group for your condition. These trailers are addictive; believe me I know. Good luck with your reno, I hope you find as many good surprises as I have as I've worked through my '72. I look forward to following.
CC
Thank you for renovating.
Years ago, one of those TV car shows the host said something like “Why crush it, when you can restore it?”
I realize not everyone is handy. But I am very happy that many people are renovating or restoring their AS or whatever. GOOD LUCK to the OP with your Reno!
This forum has many well informed posters, so ask your questions, you will get your answer, I have.

Myself, I own a 97’ 25’ Safari I lucked into November before Covid hit. I’m the third owner. I needed to replace a few minor circuit boards, nothing major so far(I consider major as axle replacement, I don’t have the lifts)

My TV is an 05 Ram oil burner, (diesel). 340K miles. I pick up a book or hit the forums when I have questions. I can’t do the machine work on the engine, so that goes to the pros.

Last, I also have an 1985 H-D that I’m putting back together. She is my first, many happy trouble free miles. I hope to be riding her soon.

Like many, my knowledge and ownership of tooling only goes so far…. when in need, I seek professional help. Start with the small tools learn to use them well and build up from there.

As you may be able to tell, I prefer the older things in life….. better made??? I’m not sure. Reading this forum and listening to all the complaints, maybe so.

To all! Why sell? The new things are bright and shiny, but unfortunately come with problems, such is the name of the beast! Sort them out, and you will be on the road to happiness and knowledge. “You stop living when you stop learning”

To the OP again, “good things take time!”!when you complete the job, you will be able to say to those admirers, “I did this!” Another bad quote, “you will be the Jones that everyone is trying to keep up with. )
Good luck and Godspeed. Rick
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Old 10-05-2021, 06:55 AM   #9
Bob
 
1988 29' Excella
Lorena , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 90
Aluminutus. As far as I know it comes from exposure to old aluminum. No known cure. Treatment is costly and involves hours replacing toilets, plumbing, axles, rotted floors. In advanced stages you’ll find yourself awake at all hours up on scaffolding with a polisher in your hands.

But, at least for me, “the juice is worth the squeeze”.
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Old 10-18-2021, 06:17 AM   #10
2 Rivet Member

 
1973 31' Sovereign
Poland , Maine
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Camper Crazy View Post
lol, this forum will act as a resorce and also as a support group for your condition. These trailers are addictive; believe me I know. Good luck with your reno, I hope you find as many good surprises as I have as I've worked through my '72. I look forward to following.
CC
Thanks Camper Crazy. I've been going very slowly these early days and starting to read about full renos before my next move. This forum IS amazing and a leading cause of my reno!
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Old 10-18-2021, 06:21 AM   #11
2 Rivet Member

 
1973 31' Sovereign
Poland , Maine
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddhisself View Post
I envy your obvious youth, energy and enthusiasm! I tend to just go camping in mine, and fix stuff as absolutely necessary! Looking forward to watching your progress, and am pulling for you!
ddhisself- youthful in mind perhaps..my body can only take so much abuse. I'll keep posting as I progress.
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Old 10-18-2021, 06:29 AM   #12
2 Rivet Member

 
1973 31' Sovereign
Poland , Maine
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick n Mary View Post
Thank you for renovating.
Years ago, one of those TV car shows the host said something like “Why crush it, when you can restore it?”
I realize not everyone is handy. But I am very happy that many people are renovating or restoring their AS or whatever. GOOD LUCK to the OP with your Reno!
This forum has many well informed posters, so ask your questions, you will get your answer, I have.

Myself, I own a 97’ 25’ Safari I lucked into November before Covid hit. I’m the third owner. I needed to replace a few minor circuit boards, nothing major so far(I consider major as axle replacement, I don’t have the lifts)

My TV is an 05 Ram oil burner, (diesel). 340K miles. I pick up a book or hit the forums when I have questions. I can’t do the machine work on the engine, so that goes to the pros.

Last, I also have an 1985 H-D that I’m putting back together. She is my first, many happy trouble free miles. I hope to be riding her soon.

Like many, my knowledge and ownership of tooling only goes so far…. when in need, I seek professional help. Start with the small tools learn to use them well and build up from there.

As you may be able to tell, I prefer the older things in life….. better made??? I’m not sure. Reading this forum and listening to all the complaints, maybe so.

To all! Why sell? The new things are bright and shiny, but unfortunately come with problems, such is the name of the beast! Sort them out, and you will be on the road to happiness and knowledge. “You stop living when you stop learning”

To the OP again, “good things take time!”!when you complete the job, you will be able to say to those admirers, “I did this!” Another bad quote, “you will be the Jones that everyone is trying to keep up with. )
Good luck and Godspeed. Rick
Rick- That should have been the name of my thread..."Good Things Take Time". Love it! I am finding that I am not in a rush to get this job done. My timeline is hampered unfortunately by how far I live from my AS. It resides in Maine, and I live most of the year in HI. As my kids grow, and have becoming more independent, I'm finding I have more time to work on the camper. But for now, its just a couple weeks here and there, when I go back to visit family..Thank you for the support! This forum and its community are really amazing. And what is your 1985 H-D? I'm not familiar...
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Old 10-18-2021, 06:32 AM   #13
2 Rivet Member

 
1973 31' Sovereign
Poland , Maine
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by lemley View Post
Aluminutus. As far as I know it comes from exposure to old aluminum. No known cure. Treatment is costly and involves hours replacing toilets, plumbing, axles, rotted floors. In advanced stages you’ll find yourself awake at all hours up on scaffolding with a polisher in your hands.

But, at least for me, “the juice is worth the squeeze”.
Lemley, You are an obvious Dr. of Aluminum, thanks for the professional diagnosis. I was wondering what hit me, and yeah, I'm guessing now that you have described the condition so well, it's Aluminitis...amen
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Old 10-19-2021, 08:39 AM   #14
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1997 25' Safari
Laurel , Maryland
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 36
Good day, enjoy learning about your AS. You will know EVERYTHING about it and how to fix it with your renovation.
As to my 1985 HD..... Harley Davidson, Softail. Old bike as to todays standards.
I'm the original owner, and have a good knowledge of its inner workings.
Enjoy the trailer, and stay healthy! Rick
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Old 10-21-2021, 12:30 PM   #15
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1972 31' Sovereign
Tucson , AZ
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 246
"I had to keep it!"

Scott,

LOL at that revelation that you had to keep it. And you are so right. It looks like mine to a tee. Your furniture is in better shape and your bathroom is in a lot better shape. The plywood staining under that furniture, the weird residue on the interior walls, the ways the rollers stick when you try to open them...

My number one question is: How is the subfloor in the rear? i.e., do you have rear end separation? In almost all cases the answer is yes, but if not, then you are very, very lucky.

I was originally going to suggest removing the belly pan now, because I assumed you are going to end up having to replace some or all of the subfloor but that might not be the case, and removing the belly pan will expose the subfloor to the weather.

When are you leaving it for the winter? What's your timeline and budget? Are you wanting to restore it to its original condition? When you get new axles on it are you going to tow it to a place where you can work on it all year?
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Old 10-22-2021, 07:18 AM   #16
2 Rivet Member

 
1973 31' Sovereign
Poland , Maine
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaryno View Post
Scott,

LOL at that revelation that you had to keep it. And you are so right. It looks like mine to a tee. Your furniture is in better shape and your bathroom is in a lot better shape. The plywood staining under that furniture, the weird residue on the interior walls, the ways the rollers stick when you try to open them...

My number one question is: How is the subfloor in the rear? i.e., do you have rear end separation? In almost all cases the answer is yes, but if not, then you are very, very lucky.

I was originally going to suggest removing the belly pan now, because I assumed you are going to end up having to replace some or all of the subfloor but that might not be the case, and removing the belly pan will expose the subfloor to the weather.

When are you leaving it for the winter? What's your timeline and budget? Are you wanting to restore it to its original condition? When you get new axles on it are you going to tow it to a place where you can work on it all year?
I'd like to test for rear end separation. I haven't researched a ton on how to do a test, except for the jump up and down on the rear hatch and see if the shell separates, but that seems a bit "non-scientific" for me..but maybe its that easy..

As for all the other questions, I've got preliminary answers, but nothing specific. My time line, is how ever long it takes, based on my living in Hawaii right now, and the trailer in Maine...so limited time to work on it. I leave for the winter next week. As far as finding some solid ground, that's something I need. I have plenty of outdoor space, without a pad or cover, but that won't work for this project. I need to locate a garage or barn somewhere that I can store it, and work on it...

Right now my #1 and #2 concern before I leave is #1, getting the KT lock rebuilt that I took apart yesterday. After I removed it, I found there's a missing teeny tiny spring and set screw that I need to replace to be able to lock it up before I go. This little teeny tiny piece, controls the lock/unlock arm which is inside the trailer. It allows the aarm to engage in lock, or unlock position. Without it, the arm is in the locked position, and I cant get in or out of the trailer, unless I climb through a hatch..which I might end up using...

#2, I also need to get correct measurements for the axle replacement. I'm having a little difficulty with that. Understanding, can I do this myself, or do I need another set of hands? Do I need to take the wheels off to measure? How precise do the measurements have to be? to the 1/4" or 1/16"? Maybe you have some advice here?

Have lots of other things to do as well, but that comes later..belly pan removal, before the axle replacement? My belly pan is rough. I decided to rip out the rear bath. I have all but the toilet and shower out right now. The pics did not show all the mouse residue that is somehow imbedded into the plastic. I'm saving all the pieces at any rate, hoping to pass on or use some.

The reno will likely not be full vintage restoration. My hope is to keep as many working parts as possible, and mix and mingle present and past worlds. The plastic is not that appealing to either me or my wife....the look and feel though, is....

Looking very forward to the journey! Thanks for your interest.
Scott
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Old 10-22-2021, 08:05 AM   #17
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 2,299
Scott, you’ll figure things out as we all have. On the axles, give Colin Hyde a call down in Peru, NY. He normally knows which axles belong there without measuring. But, measure to confirm. One bite at a time and that elephant will eventually be eaten. Good luck
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Old 10-22-2021, 09:13 AM   #18
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1962 28' Ambassador
1961 19' Globetrotter
1962 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Yes Colin is fantastic. Just did our 4th set thru him. Plattsburgh NY. And I'll send you a PM.
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Old 10-23-2021, 07:43 AM   #19
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1973 31' Sovereign
Poland , Maine
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubba L View Post
Scott, you’ll figure things out as we all have. On the axles, give Colin Hyde a call down in Peru, NY. He normally knows which axles belong there without measuring. But, measure to confirm. One bite at a time and that elephant will eventually be eaten. Good luck
Spoke to Colin. TY. He assured me he knows what axles will fit. I am good with that. I will measure this week just for my records
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Old 10-23-2021, 07:43 AM   #20
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1973 31' Sovereign
Poland , Maine
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittenstiehl View Post
yes colin is fantastic. Just did our 4th set thru him. Plattsburgh ny. And i'll send you a pm.
ty!!
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