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Old 12-18-2011, 09:32 PM   #1
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1970 31' Sovereign
Burnsville , North Carolina
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 60
New Owner of a '70 Sovereign

Hello out there!
I am a new member who just bought a 1970 31`Sovereign that has a few issue to deal with. I bought it knowing that the plumbing doesn't work. Not sure what this really means yet and don't know if any of the tanks have any leaks. The drain plug for the freshwater tank is missing but the flooring there seems ok. My goal is to make this as livable as possible so my daughter, who is a writer, will have a place to stay when she visits. We are not intending to travel with it but I want to keep it mobile just in case. My immediate concern is the bathroom floor and under belly. Attached are some photos. The undercarriage where the bathroom is has been braced with a couple of 1X6" boards.I am looking for advice on how to proceed with repairing the floor. Also, how much of the bathroom has to be removed? I have also included other photos of the under carriage and axle. Based on the photos, how bad does this look to you experienced folks? Thanks. Bill
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Old 12-18-2011, 09:57 PM   #2
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The position of the torsion arms on the axle, indicate that the axle are history.

First real thing to do is to make the coach "waterproof".

All the exterior gaskets will need to be replaced, such as the window, entrance door, access doors and especially the sewer vent pipe cover gaskets.

You can also purchase a "service manual" which will help you with just about any questions.

Andy
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:59 PM   #3
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1974 23' Safari
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1947 25' Spartan , Manor
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Hi Bill,
There are more experienced people on here then myself, so here are a couple threads that go into floor replacement:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...n-h-73643.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...hab-71458.html

I'm in the middle of frame restoration and floor replacement and I'll tell you, it's not a simple job.

You're bound to get a lot of advice on here, and you can search and read a TON of helpful stuff, but ultimately you'll have to figure out how deep you want to get into the thing... once you take apart one thing to repair it you're bound to find three other things under that to fix. But, for example, if you just want a place to stay that doesn't have to move and don't want to sink a bunch of money into the frame and floor you may be better off leaving it alone and retrofit tanks (or cut out the old ones and put new ones in).
From looking at the pictures I would say it's safe to say that if you wanted to get it really road worthy you'd be looking at pulling the floor up, dropping the belly pan and getting to the frame to work on it and seal it. Looks like new axle(s) are needed as well.

In working on my trailer and seeing a bunch under renovation I would say that in a lot of these vintage trailers the only thing one can count on to be in decent shape is the aluminum skins and ribs, it's almost worth just assming that there will be some issue (big or small) to deal with on every other part of the trailer:-)
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Old 12-23-2011, 03:34 PM   #4
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1947 25' Spartan , Manor
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Hi Bill,
I took mine out when I took the floor up, I think you can get them out from the bottom, but I'm not quite sure. I feel like you have to pull up the floor and drop the belly pan to really restore the frame correctly. From the looks of those pictures (if it was my trailer) you'll want to get to the frame to get the rust fixed and seal it. The other option (if you're not looking to get years and years of use out of it) is to just cover it over and forget about it...but if you plan on replacing the tanks and such maybe just go for it! You're looking at a lot of hours of work regardless, but it's rewarding.
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Old 01-25-2012, 04:36 PM   #5
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1970 31' Sovereign
farmington hills , Michigan
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hi bill,i too had the same problems as you.i had to remove the toilet,tub,tub cabinet,cabinet over water heater,water heater and wood cabinet next to the white one.after removing the rear lower inside skins i removed the bolts holding the frame to the shell.I'm my case i had trailer separation already so there wasn't much there.i then removed the trim on the outside where the floor is,cut the section of floor that needed to be replaced and pulled it out the back of the trailer.in short it was allot of work.it also looks like you will need some wheel wells replaced or repaired.mine were a one piece originally and i replaced them with the two piece that is available today.i got a new black water tank from Inca plastics who is the original manufacturer and they have the tank on-line.i had a local sheet-metal shop make the pan for the tank also.before you cut the floor you will want to remove the belly pans and rear banana clips.from under the trailer drill up into the floor at the frame support beams to give you an idea where you want to make your cut.if you do decide to do the repairs save everything you can, some items are not available to buy new and it may take some time to find good used stuff.good luck.
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:43 AM   #6
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1970 31' Sovereign
Burnsville , North Carolina
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Hi manymemories,.
Your post to this thread came at a perfect time. I have been "nibbling" away on removal of the bathroom floor. Made a decision a couple of days ago that the tub and sink had to come out. I had already taken out the white cabinet, toilet and water heater. Here's some pics to show where I am now.I plan on using a composting toilet so I am not replacing the black water tank, making the repairs will be a bit easier.
I haven't taken out the two brown cabinets in the bathroom yet and may not need to. I am waiting for warmer weather to treat the frame with POR15. If you know of another product that I can apply in 40-50 deg. weather, let me know.
I have a few more questions, if you have the time to answer them:
1. What material did you use to replace the floor (plywood, chipboard, or something else?)
2. Judging from the photos, do you think I should take out the brown cabinets and cut out the floor under them? The existing floor seems OK but I will have to scab in pieces to fit the existing cut line.
4. What hot water heater did you decide on?
I appreciate any feedbacl you can give.
Thanks,
Bill
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:47 AM   #7
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1970 31' Sovereign
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The photos

OOPS,
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CeloNC View Post
Hi manymemories,.
Your post to this thread came at a perfect time. I have been "nibbling" away on removal of the bathroom floor. Made a decision a couple of days ago that the tub and sink had to come out. I had already taken out the white cabinet, toilet and water heater. Here's some pics to show where I am now.I plan on using a composting toilet so I am not replacing the black water tank, making the repairs will be a bit easier.
I haven't taken out the two brown cabinets in the bathroom yet and may not need to. I am waiting for warmer weather to treat the frame with POR15. If you know of another product that I can apply in 40-50 deg. weather, let me know.
I have a few more questions, if you have the time to answer them:
1. What material did you use to replace the floor (plywood, chipboard, or something else?)
2. Judging from the photos, do you think I should take out the brown cabinets and cut out the floor under them? The existing floor seems OK but I will have to scab in pieces to fit the existing cut line.
4. What hot water heater did you decide on?
I appreciate any feedbacl you can give.
Thanks,
Bill
Bill.

The floor is part of the "monocoque" design.

Scabbing in pieces of floor, weakens that structure.

Andy
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:17 PM   #9
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1970 31' Sovereign
farmington hills , Michigan
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i used 3/4 plywood and after cutting out and fitting it i took it back out and put three coats of resin normally used for fiberglass on both sides and all ends.i made sure to saturate the ends really good.i wasn't able to find an exact thickness as the original floor so i also had to use a floor leveler about a foot from the seam to make it blend.Andy is spot on about the structure so i would try to use one piece for the repair.after looking at your photos the cut that you made is the same location as mine.luckily that is the location of an original seam and will not take away from the strength of the deck.to add to the overall structure i added some custom L-brackets at the rear of the trailer and tied the frame of the trailer to the vertical ribs inside the shell.this will ensure that there will never be separation of frame and body again.the only reason i removed the wood cabinets was to make it easy to install the finished flooring.the sub floor was good under my cabinets also so i didn't need to replace it.the water heater i went with was an atwater LP-electric 6 gallon unit.i still have to get a larger breaker panel so i can add a circuit for the water heater.i like this heater because it can run on both LP and electric at the same time so there is plenty of hot water,also if you have a site with elec. hookup you don't have to burn any LP and just run it on elec..another word of advice is when you are ready to bolt the body back onto the frame make sure that the body is positioned on the frame in the same location it came off.after centering mine i found that my rear banana clips wouldn't fit right and had to bolt it together according to there fit.it was off center about 1/4 inch from the factory.i will try to get out there tomorrow and take some pics,unfortunately Ive already covered the brackets with the inside skin but you get the idea.for the frame i took off the majority of the rust with a wire Wheel and use a brush-on rust stopper before painting it.i did this in the summer time and am not sure about the application temp. range.please feel free with any more questions you may have.

sam
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:49 AM   #10
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1970 31' Sovereign
Burnsville , North Carolina
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Manymemories,
Great advice. I appreciate you taking the time and look forward to your pics. I am going to go ahead and remove the two brown cabinets for the same reason you did. It should make sliding the new floor in easier. Tying the frame into the vertical supports is also a good idea. I am just going to have to wait for warmer weather to treat the frame.In the meantime, there is a lot to do prepping the floor. Thanks again. I'll keep you updated!
Bill
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:11 AM   #11
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We gutted our rear bath on our '71 Tradewind. Instead of putting it all back in, we put in a composting toilet and rebuilt the bathroom from scratch in order to have a separate shower instead of a "wet bath."

With a 31 foot trailer, you already have a separate bath. But rebuilding a bathroom is a possible option. There's a bit about it in our blog here:

Tin Pickle Adventures: Shower Pan and Vanity
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:58 PM   #12
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1970 31' Sovereign
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Thanks for the pictures. You've done a great job. I am also going to put in a new bathroom and a composting toilet. My trailer is going to be parked and turned into a writer's studio for my daughter. Am waiting for warmer weather here so treat the steel frame with POR15. I am also seriously considering the Nature's Head toilet as I have read very good reviews about it on this site and others.
Bill
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:32 PM   #13
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1970 31' Sovereign
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webspinner that is a very nice job.i too will be building a custom cabinet but will be using the original tub.i noticed on your blog that you use the aluminum track.was this the same material you used to hang the vanity top to the exterior wall?every time i go out there and look at the wall i get a headache trying to come up with a way to tie the vanity and the top into the rear wall.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:33 PM   #14
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I used aluminum angle stock to attach the vanity to the wall. The wall behind the vertical supports is at a slant, but is mostly straight, enough that I could get three evenly spaced rivets to support each vertical piece. Since the vanity is made of nothing thicker than 1/4" birch, these rivets were enough to hold the vanity in place, even with the sink and faucet.

The counter top was supported by aluminum angle riveted to the top of each vertical piece. I also riveted a couple of short pieces of angle to the wall to support the edge of the counter where there is no cabinet underneath. The counter itself is glued to the supporting angle stock so that no rivets show on the top. At some point, I may caulk the very small gap at the back edge of the counter, but it doesn't get drenched, so it hasn't seemed necessary.

On of the hardest parts was locating and scribing each piece, since nothing rests in the floor and the only right angles are in mid air (at the top and bottom of the vanity front) before construction starts. I clamped support pieces to the wall at the left edge and clamped the rough cut verticals to the carpentry square to hold them in position for final scribing.

I'll try to get some closeup details of the vanity on the blog post this week. I'll post here when I get them up.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:53 PM   #15
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I just checked the blog post for the vanity and shower pan enty. There are pictures there of the supports for the vanity, if you know what to look for. The pictures captioned June 25 and June 28 show the aluminum angle that supports the dinette. The left side of the dinette does rest on the shower pan, so that also adds some support.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:12 PM   #16
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"Dinette"???? I meant "vanity" - I'm losing track of my woodworking projects.

The vanity is supported by the original aluminum angle at the underside of the bottom shelf. It is also supported by the attachment of the vertical divider segments to the wall. There isn't much directly attaching the vanity counter to the wall, except for a couple of angle brackets where it extends beyond the side of the vanity on the right.

Basically, I started with the vertical divider pieces and worked outward, upward and downward from there.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:49 PM   #17
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If the trailer will be parked for an extended period of time without moving it. I wouldn't spend money on axles. Without being exercised, new axles will become rigid. If and when you decide to travel with the trailer. That would be the time to install new axles with new brakes.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:26 PM   #18
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Glad to hear that there are others out in the world working on their '70 sovereign. I am personally at the bathroom/rear end separation/new tank/welding/etc-rebuild. And I'm glad to have a place to talk about it. My family and friends (And local rv parts dealer) are getting sick of hearing about it...Godspeed fellow renovators
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