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Old 01-03-2018, 03:13 AM   #1
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1957 22' Caravanner
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I'm new, I think I want a '72. Info appreciated!!

I've been trying to find out as much info on Airstreams in general and 1972 31' Sovereign International specifically. (cause I have my eye on a nice one) I have been fortunate to receive the kindness of a fellow redditor to give me the basics and lead me here.

My plan is to live in one that is parked and setup with utilities, which I will have access to. I'm going for the tiny and cheap this year.

I now know that they almost always leak and have damage at that age. I found one that has been renovated with new flooring, new axles and a restored bathroom. It is still located at the place that has done the renovations because the out-of-state owner was never to move forward with their initial plans and now just wants to sell.

What should I ask the mechanic? Especially about sub-floor rot and proof of its condition? I'm told that it lived a good deal of its life in Cali, and water shouldn't have had a major impact on it. I currently live in the NW so water is definitely going to have an impact now. If this AS is frame rust free, how can I keep it from pooling water in the sub-floor?

All info is greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
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Old 01-03-2018, 05:48 AM   #2
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Does it have a gray water tank?
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Old 01-03-2018, 06:14 AM   #3
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May not matter

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Originally Posted by avionstream View Post
Does it have a gray water tank?
If he plans to keep it parked in one place with utility connections there may be no need for a gray tank.
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Old 01-03-2018, 06:41 AM   #4
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Good luck on your decision and welcome to Airstreaming.

I'm guessing the mechanic did the work on the floor and axles. You may want to see any photos they took of the frame. The frame is difficult to assess on most vintage Airstreams because the belly pan covers most of it. Especially the rear area. The longer models sometimes suffer an issue with frame separation, where the body and frame begin to pull apart back by the bumper. An easy test is to push (jump) up and down on the bumper to see if the gap between frame and body opens up. If you plan to use it in a single location, this is not an immediate issue, but can be when you start towing it later (or when the next owners does).

You may also want to ask if all the copper plumbing was replaced and, if so, with what. The two choices are PEX (a very durable plastic with brass fittings) or copper. If PVC was used, you may be repairing or replacing it later as well. It would be good to know the condition of each appliance - water heater, furnace, refrigerator, converter (electric) and the lights and electrical system. If the mechanic removed the inside skins, did they inspect and replace any wiring. If the skins were off, did they seal the seams from inside or replace insulation?

In reality, none of these things are a deal killer, but can affect fair value. For example, appliances are expensive (check prices online with any RV part supplier to get a feel.) The value should reflect what it will take to make the trailer safe and livable. You can sometimes find someone local with experience to take a look and give you their opinion with respect to condition.

We've done two restorations, both pre-1969 models and enjoyed the restoration projects as well as traveling. If interested, our most recent project is documented here, https://www.airforums.com/forums/f39...er-155180.html

Enjoy!

Roy and Marie
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Old 01-03-2018, 08:02 AM   #5
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Travel Trailers aren't the best to use as park models

I need an economy car….looking at a Rolls Royce.

Think it through as far as comfort and cost.

Travel Trailers are kinda terrible to live in over the winter. ( condensation, freezing hookups, heating bills, etc ) They are designed and optimized for travel, not being a stationary house. Looks cool in the movies when it's 70 degrees out.

An apartment might end up being cheaper and more comfortable.
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Old 01-03-2018, 09:11 AM   #6
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The best $deals out there are on coaches where someone has started the work and wants out.

If it has not been done yet plan on replacing the furnace, probably the water heater and maybe the fridge. The original fridge in my 71 is still working fine. If the original Armstrong AC works it is a keeper.

The belly pans are designed to allow moisture to dissipate. Never heard of water pooling.

If you are looking for a 4 season trailer think Arctic Fox not Airstream,
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Old 01-03-2018, 09:15 AM   #7
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It sounds like the major things have been done, you might have a real gem on your hands! Since the bathroom has been replaced, and there's new flooring, I would assume that the sub-floor was replaced. When the floor goes, it really goes! Going to that much expense, an extra few $$ for some sheets of 3/4" ply seems like a no-brainer. However, my optimistic views have been proven wrong in the past...

I would plan on a full awning, as the rain comes right in when the door is opened.
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Old 01-03-2018, 01:42 PM   #8
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If you are looking for a 4 season trailer think Lance or Arctic Fox not Airstream.
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Old 01-03-2018, 03:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BambiTex View Post
If he plans to keep it parked in one place with utility connections there may be no need for a gray tank.
True, but if the remodeler redid the bathroom as he said then usually a gray tank is added during the work. One way to tell how Complete of a job it was.
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:52 PM   #10
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From my understanding, there is a problem with the older ones where water can get under the pans and into the fiberglass flooring and rust the frame.
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Old 01-04-2018, 06:12 PM   #11
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get under the pans and into the fiberglass flooring and rust the frame.
I think what happens, and what you are referring to, is water, after saturating the wood sub-floor, migrates on down below where the metal trailer frame is, along with tanks and a few other items. This area is insulated with fiberglass insulation and that fiberglass insulation tends to hold the moisture there-by keeping the metal trailer frame damp and causing extensive rust. Your redditor friend.
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:18 PM   #12
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Hi tomifost and welcome to the Airstreams Forums. I'm working on a 75 Overlander 27' now. These 70s trailers are prone to rear end plywood floor rot due to a poor rear body sealing method. When the floor rots, the rear of the body becomes detached from the frame rails. Airstreamers call this "rear end separation". My trailer has it in spades.

So when you look at this old Sovereign, do the bumper bounce test. Stand on the rear bumper directly over the right side frame rail. Bounce up and down like you're on a diving board. Observe the intersection of the body to the frame rail. If you see any gap open up between the body and the frame rail, you know it has rear end separation. Do the left side too. It is a rather major but necessary repair to fix the rear end separation.

And with that begins an entire renovation process. Why not?

David
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