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Old 07-15-2014, 09:35 PM   #21
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1972 31' Sovereign
Valparaiso , Indiana
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Man. Getting that one vista window off was a huge pain in the #^$. Any way to get the interior panels off without removing those? Any suggestions on how to get them off easier? There was so much putty. Heat gun? Solvents?

Here are my progress shots from today.

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I need encouragement. This might be more than I bargained for.


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Old 07-16-2014, 08:53 AM   #22
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Yup, it's a LOT of work! Worth it in the end! Keep your eye on the prize. Heat gun might work for some sealants. We used a lot of carb cleaner for Vulkem (the grey stuff that is usually still pliable but might be hard). Scrape off what you can with a plastic scraper, then spray with carb cleaner and keep rubbing/scraping till it's off. Others have used paint thinner with similar results. Carb cleaner sprays, though so I think easier to get it where you want.

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Old 07-16-2014, 09:52 AM   #23
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Tim,

Great work! You are really making progress. Don't be scared just get in there and get that baby gutted. My top center inner skin was the toughest for me, it binded a lot in that channel and it was my only interior skin to sustain some slight damage. I am considering replacing it though by ordering an extra sheet of aluminum when I order new belly skin. I think an aluminum center panel would give a nice look though I could hammer out the small ripples mine got in removal. Have a helper and don't let it get jammed .

My door trim had rivets I had to drill
Out from the outside. With the door open you can see them. After that a little gentle prying got mine out. Not sure if yours is the same.


Thanks for the support also, look forward to tracking your progress.


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Old 07-17-2014, 08:59 AM   #24
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I agree, it looks like you're making great progress!

I'm puzzled as to why you had to take the window out completely to remove the inner skins? Those bottom stack windows should just have a piece of trim around the inside, held in place with 6 or 8 pop rivets. Once you remove the trim, the inner skin should come off without needing to remove the window. All of the inner skins should come out without needing to remove any windows from the outer shell.

Now, if you have to remove the window for some other reason, like it leaks, you need to replace or reseal the glass, etc. then yes, they are a pain to remove. But, now that you've done it once, the future ones will be a tad easier. All the window frames are held in the same way, so you can use the experience you've gained on this window on all other windows you might need to remove.

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Old 07-17-2014, 10:11 PM   #25
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Chris

I was equally puzzled.....Apparently I MUST do everything the hard way.
Since the interior bracket wouldn't come off once I removed the interior rivets I assumed that the outside rivets were attached to the interior bracket. It seemed like a stupid design that one would have to remove a window to get the interior skin off. Apparently you don't, but it sure looked to me that the outside edge of the interior bracket was the female side of the exterior rivets. Must have just been tons of Vulkem.
Anyway I've got both streetside windows removed now. This weekend I am going to work on removing the curb side interior window- bracket only- and the door trim so I can remove the rest of the interior skins and insulation and get the floor removed so I can get a good look at the frame.

In read through your entire thread last night. I felt so overwhelmed. Then I decided to focus on just one small step at a time.

I'm so amazed you welded your own tanks.....you're my hero.

Tim.

Also, can you please explain difference between a buck rivet and a pop rivet? Is buck rivet the type with the hole in the middle and the pop rivet the mushroom top type rivet that's mostly on the exterior?


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Old 07-18-2014, 05:17 AM   #26
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I'm not sure I would take up the whole floor just to inspect the frame. If you have known bad sections of flooring, sure replace that. I dropped the belly pan and went in from the bottom and cleaned/preserved it and replaced the fiberglass with some closed cell foam board. Both methods are a lot of work, but its easier to insulate with something other than the fiberglass batts which hold water up against the frame and wood and promote rust and rot.
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Old 07-18-2014, 10:59 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swahealy View Post
In read through your entire thread last night. I felt so overwhelmed. Then I decided to focus on just one small step at a time.

I'm so amazed you welded your own tanks.....you're my hero.

Also, can you please explain difference between a buck rivet and a pop rivet? Is buck rivet the type with the hole in the middle and the pop rivet the mushroom top type rivet that's mostly on the exterior?
The only way to approach the actual work is to take it one step at a time. Otherwise, it is very overwhelming! But, when you get to the planning how to put it all back together stage, plan everything very well so you get the wiring, and to some degree the plumbing, all planned out before putting the inner skins back on.

If you decide to weld ABS, be forewarned it's a very, very stinky process!

A buck rivet is a solid rivet that requires two people. One on the inside holding the bucking tool, and the other on the outside holding the pneumatic rivet gun. The bucking tool forms the inside of the rivet while the rivet gun hammers on the outside.

Pop rivets are also called blind rivets. They're the one with the stem, and can be installed from one side using a pop rivet gun. There are manual and pneumatic pop rivets guns. Invest in a pneumatic one if you plan on doing a lot of rivets, which you probably will be doing.

Pop rivets come in several styles. The mushrooming kind with the 3 legs are called Olympic rivets. They have a stem that says captive inside the rivet, and the 3 legs form a more solid connection than a regular pop rivet, but not as good as a buck rivet. These are used for many, many outside skin and window replacements as they will not leak if installed properly. Since they leave a stem on the outside, the stem needs to be cut off and then smoothed to form a buck rivet look-alike. A rivet shaver does a good job, but is about $200. If you only have a few to do, a dremel tool works ok. Just be careful.

We used Olympic rivets on all outside skins and windows, except the belt trim as noted below, and the belly pan. Many use buck rivets since the inner skins are off. We decided not to go through the learning process to buck rivets at the time, but after seeing it done a few times, it's not a hard thing to learn.

A regular pop rivet leaves a hole in the middle after the stem breaks off. These will leak if used on the outside, but are used for all inside riveting jobs.

There are closed end pop rivets that will not leak. We used these to attached the belt trim back on our trailer.

All of the rivet types come in different sizes.

That help?

Chris
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:11 PM   #28
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Just read your thread and wow you are doing great so now would be a good time to pour a nice hot cup of something and start writing! I hope that you have been burning up some memory on your camera!!! I am talking CSI type pictures that you can refer to later because you will need them. Writing... Make a step list like shell off or better yet" interior liner out " then list what you need to do to accomplish this like buy 30 1/8" drill bits and a cheap harbor freight drill or 2 ( I threw 1) drill out every rivet on the interior if anything comes off take a picture of it and where it came from! Those stubborn clips near the roof in your picture will be the heaven sent piece when you go to reassemble cause it is your third hand on those for lack of clean words panels. Next sub on liner removal would be store panels then remove insulation then vacum then remove electrical. Plumbing should be its own category and again lots of pictures and some drawings. This may sound boring but if you are not feeling real comfortable this will help you keep focus and on tract.

The cost or bank roll or money pit will not be all that bad as long as you keep focus and don't spend until it is time and never buy on impulse. Two to three weeks for delivery so go with that and start looking for the rivets at vintage trailer supply when it's time! Out of doors mart and inland rv for frame parts or have a local welder prefab anything needed. For the down time periods where you can't work on the airstream because of weather or family time needs then look on the internet for a local hvac fabrication shop which will be your location for aluminum fabrication needs they can also make the pans for you black and grey tanks and wheel wells for a lot cheaper then you think! Also ask questions and if for no other reason than a second or third opinion! If you get really overwhelmed and need a little motivation send a pm or review your accomplishments! You have a wonderful family and if you can do that then the airstream complete redo is a walk in the park! Welcome to the forums and have some fun and yes they can all help and they probably want to!
Cliff
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:10 AM   #29
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"Paulie" getting a makeover.

The worst mistake that a person can make in a project like this is to do nothing for fear of doing something wrong.

The second biggest mistake is calling something "good enough" when it isn't.

The third biggest mistake is not accepting good enough as good enough.... (I.e. Does the paint (or lack of paint) on that frame really need to be perfect?)

Balance is the key, and consistent progress toward the goal of using the trailer for its intended use is the best motivator.


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Old 07-19-2014, 05:18 PM   #30
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We read (and continue to read) other's threads to learn and help us do stuff. Remember, it took us 6 summers to get this far. We tended to buy stuff over the winter for our upcoming summer projects. Works well, except for the times we forgot we had bought things, so re-bought..... Suggest you keep a list of what you buy! And try to keep it all in one place....

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Old 07-19-2014, 06:51 PM   #31
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Everybody has their own way of doing things and develops their own methods and "tricks" depending on skills and what seems to work well. Feeling overwhelmed is a natural reaction, especially at the beginning of the project. What works for me is to break it up into phases that make some sort of logical sense, like working on the bathroom one year and the kitchen the next. But again, I didn't gut the trailer, I kept most of the interior intact. If it's all torn apart, then you really dont have a way to do it in a piecemeal approach.

Seeing progress is what keeps most of us going, and the bigger the project, the smaller each day's progress becomes. So maybe it would be better to come up with a plan that breaks the job down into sections similar to building a house: foundation, framing, dry in, electrical, plumbing, drywall, trim and finish.

For me, making sure the shell doesnt leak is the first priority. All the windows, roof openings and seams need to be water tight. That would be a first goal.

Next would be the integrity of the floor and frame. Whether you remove the whole floor or drop the bellypan, the goal is to make sure the frame is solid and preserved and the floor is solid. Insulation below the floor would be part of this section.

After that I would look at plumbing, both fresh and sewage. Most folks seem to go with Pex, I like it and it is fairly DIY friendly. You could do all the rough in for the bath and kitchen as well as the plumbing for the drains and the vents.

Electrical would be next, probably most of the original wiring could be reused. Any new circuits or switches, lights or appliances would be wired in. Do the interior insulation and then remount all the aluminum.

Last would be all the fun stuff, the woodworking of the new interior and fitting it out with appliances.

Whichever approach you take, give yourself plenty of time and expect delays and mistakes. My old rule of thumb is that any job I estimate usually takes about 3x as long when its finally done. It will never be perfect, it may look like it to everybody else, but you will know where all the flaws are. Thats fine, its all part of the character of the trailer and your signature on its history.
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:30 PM   #32
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The worst hinderance of workflow of first timers is stopping because of the fear of making a mistake....

Well mistakes are going to happen, but short of a person getting hurt all mistakes on a project like this can be fixed .

Keep moving forward. When a mistake is made fix it and try not to do it again.

Sometimes a mistake just means a change of plans or a new direction ....


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Old 07-19-2014, 09:23 PM   #33
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Now if advice like that can't get you motivated then sir you need to check your pulse because I do believe we have either a failure to communicate or (pardon the grammar ) your missin a beat! In the old days we called a delay in getting something done as "I am making a plan the I will prioritize and call you when it's done" i do love a plan! Just wish I would stick to it!
Cliff


Yes I said that! Or did I?
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:10 AM   #34
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Thanks so much for the encouragement from each of you. Spent Saturday evening with Molly and two of our children gutting her some more. Got all the skins out and insulation. Like suggested I am only focused on this phase - demo and belly skin removal and frame inspection. We actually had a nice night and I'm amazed my soon to be junior in HS son was willing to hang with us and do tough, hot work. Click image for larger version

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More pictures later this week.


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Old 07-21-2014, 07:40 AM   #35
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You sure you weren't ghost busting as well? All you need is a proton pack.

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Old 07-25-2014, 07:36 PM   #36
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Perry.
I wish I could exorcize all the demons from Paulie. Was very glad to have a mask on. All sorts of goodies have we found.
Too funny. I


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Old 07-25-2014, 07:50 PM   #37
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I've got most of the interior skins and insulation removed. All but the two end caps.
I'm having a real hard time getting the belt pan removed. Not sure if the following photos will show very well but here they are:
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Do I have to remove the axles to get the belly pan off ?
I have her jacked up which makes access a lot easier and I bought a creeper. Love my creeper!
The drop down area that holds the fresh tank. I've got the bracket removed but how to I get that part of the belly pan free?

Also the bolts that hold the spare tire rack to the belly won't budge. Do I need to torch them off?

I'm really stuck. Goal this weekend was to get the pan and floor removed so I could start on the frame. Not sure where to go next.

Any suggestions. ?


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Old 07-25-2014, 08:29 PM   #38
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The belly pan should slide over the axle once all of the rivets are out and I never thought of the mud dauber nest decoration I like that! As for the bolts on the spare tire rack a cheater bar and a little caution are in order! Had to use that with my axle bolts. Loads of progress! (Water world quote love that movie) you reusing the belly pan?
Cliff
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:31 PM   #39
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The lower section of pan is actually covering the plywood that holds in the fresh water tank. Take a looksee here for what is involved: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...er-116478.html

As Cliff says, the belly pan should slide out on top of the axles, though there may be rivets hanging it up from pulling out. Mine didnt come out all that cleanly, the metal is corroded and brittle after 40 years. You can still reinstall it, but will probably have to patch up any tears or larger holes.

I had no problems with dropping the spare tire carrier and removing the front belly pan. You do have to remove all the copper gas piping on the bottom for it to all come down. I would try and salvage as much of that intact as I could. If nothing else it will help to put it back together down the road. That whole front section was documented here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f46/...on-115482.html


Quote:
Originally Posted by Swahealy View Post
I'm really stuck. Goal this weekend was to get the pan and floor removed so I could start on the frame. Not sure where to go next.

Everything will take 3x as long as you originally plan for...
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Old 07-25-2014, 10:38 PM   #40
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"Paulie" getting a makeover.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aquinob View Post


Everything will take 3x as long as you originally plan for...


This may be true but all of us men in the arena just want our timelines to proceed as scheduled darn it!

Get er' done! I am liking the progress


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