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Old 03-06-2015, 07:34 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1973 31' Sovereign
Macon , Georgia
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 6
New at This

Just got a 1973 Sovereign 31 to rebuild and use. Any suggestions before I start?
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:42 AM   #2
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1975 31' Sovereign
Northwest , Ohio
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 10
Check tires, Axles and frame and work your way up.......
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:57 AM   #3
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,223
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

The first step is to make your Airstream roadworthy. Check and replace tires, brakes, axles as necessary. Remember even tires that look as new but are over six years old need to be replaced.

Once you are ready for the road, try the Airstream out at a nearby campground.

You didn't say whether this Airstream is even usable as you found it. We need more information before we can make any suggestions.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2020 Silverado 2500 (Vivian)
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:19 AM   #4
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2013 30' International
lubbock , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 266
And pictures ... If we don't see pictures, it could not have happened.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:20 AM   #5
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2013 30' International
lubbock , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 266
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:55 AM   #6
1 Rivet Member
1973 31' Sovereign
Macon , Georgia
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 6
Will be a total restoration from ground up. It is a center restroom and sat for 20 years. Checked axles, put on four new tires and brought home. In process of cleaning out and in. Know floor has issues from leaks. Once clean I will start inspections.
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Old 03-06-2015, 03:24 PM   #7
1 Rivet Member
1973 31' Sovereign
Macon , Georgia
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 6
This one has a roll up awning (told it is old style). Does anyone know how to get it to release and unroll? Seems to have some sort of locking mechanism.
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Old 03-06-2015, 03:54 PM   #8
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,835
"Old style" could mean A&E or Carefree. Either way, they work similarly. There is usually some kind of clamping mechanism or screw that keeps the telescoping arms together for travel, so these need to be released first. Next, there will be a small lever typically on the end of the awning tube, which converts from deploy to retract mode. Flip this lever, and then look for the webbing strap that should be visibile in about the middle of the awning roll. If you find the strap, you should be able to just pull it out and down, and the roll should start deploying. If the strap is lost in the roll or gone altogether, then you will have to get up on a ladder and physically grab hold of the roller and unroll it. Be careful, as the spring in the roller can get away from you and make a mess of you.

As to other advice, read all of the "full monty" restoration threads, and listen to all of hte back episode of The VAP podcast, and you will be ready to tackle anything.

good luck!
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:28 PM   #9
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1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
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I would not replace the axles if the trailer will be sitting for a few years while restoring. Axles age even when parked
. The way to keep axles in good shape is to tow the trailer. Kind of like us. We need exercise to stay in shape.
Replace the axles when ready for travel.

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Old 03-07-2015, 07:44 AM   #10
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 6,447
Images: 1
Hello landscox from Georgia. Welcome to all things Airstream. These old trailers are fun to work on and then fun to travel in. They usually draw some interest in any campground.

You are in exactly the right spot to learn all about your Sovereign. The Knowledge Base is where folks focus on specific models and years.

The Sovereign was the top of the line trailer in 73, like my 86 Limited was in 86. Yours is the "new" body style, and has the "re-engineered" frame under it. The frame tends to rust, especially at the rear of the trailer where the seal between body and subfloor was woefully inadequate. The body "holds up" the frame to some degree, and the frame holds up the body. It is semi-monocoque construction where each member carries some of the load. The frame is flimsy by itself, the subfloor is flimsy by itself, and the body is flimsy by itself. But all together the structure is strong and light.

You will want to test to see if your trailer has "rear end separation". Stand on the back bumper and jump up and down while looking at the joint between body and frame. If you see a gap opening up, then you know the rear of the body has separated from its frame anchors. Read in Air Forums how to make this repair. It will involve quite a bit of work.

I've enjoyed renovating an old 66 Trade Wind. I did not do a "full monte" body off rebuild like many folks have. Mine is getting close to being travel ready, maybe this summer. I figure I've got close to 1000 hours of my time in the thing. Plan to spend a lot of time. Hey, it's a hobby, right?

You might enjoy Tim Sheppard's book "Restoring a Dream". It's a fun read and helps you learn about all the systems in the Airstream. It's available on line.

And here is one of my favorite threads. Chris and Kay describe all their adventures renovating their 72 Sovereign. Stay up all night reading this thread. You will enjoy it.


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Old 03-07-2015, 08:52 AM   #11
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1964 22' Safari
1968 26' Overlander
Beaver County , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 620
We, too, welcome you to the forums. Enjoy your project and keep reading and searching with the forum's search button. As you move through the discovery phase of pulling your A/S apart, you'll find someone here has been there and shared their experience. If not, just ask.

You should be warned, however, that this can become addictive. Many here have multiple trailers. We're working on our second restoration and enjoying every challenge. We hope you do too.

By the way, "there's always one more fastener." When you think a cabinet is ready to be removed and it doesn't come out easily, look around, you missed one.

Good luck and have fun,

Roy and Marie
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:13 PM   #12
1 Rivet Member
1973 31' Sovereign
Macon , Georgia
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 6
I am about ready to start removing the interior. Can someone give me advice on layouts I shown use when I go back with it? What works well or should I just measure what I've got, rear bedroom shower restroom combination, and put it back original?
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Old 03-11-2015, 11:07 PM   #13
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1999 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Hillsboro , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Images: 2
Your AS. If you like layout take pics.. Lots of angles and document how things are and how they come apart. Then just replace.
Peace and Blessings..
WBCCI# 30676
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:20 AM   #14
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1973 31' Sovereign
Macon , Georgia
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 6
Well the cleaning is done and starting the tare down. Thank y'all for the information you offer on this site.
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