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Old 01-24-2011, 12:47 PM   #1
BW
 
1973 31' Sovereign
Baton Rouge , Louisiana
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Restoring 1973 Sovereign Baton Rouge

I just purchased a 1973 Sovereign and starting to cleanup and restore. I have several questions. Any and all advice will be welcomed!!
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:10 PM   #2
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Welcome BW. I have a 73 Excella which is the same size as a Sovereign and I'm in the middle of a shell off restoration and would be glad to help with any questions you have.
Is yours rear or center bath? The rear bath models suffer from a condition known as rear end seperation. The weight of the rear bath combined with a basic design flaw in the rear bumper area which allows water to penetrate the shell and rot the floor will given enough time actually let the shell seperate from the frame.
Are you planning a full restoration or just some cosmetic changes.
The first task you do is to seal the shell to stop any water leaking in. Things like widow seals and gaskets, roof vent seals and gaskets,ventpipe seals etc. Basically any opening in the shell should be checked for leaks.
Then thoroughly inspect the floor around the perimeter where the shell meets the floor for wood rot. Pay careful attentio to area below the windows and across the front and rear of the shell.The floor is the main structural component holding the shell to the frame.
Inspect the belly pan for signs of corrosion which should give you a good indication of the condition of the frame.
Check the water system with pressurized air for leaks before watering up. That way if it is leaking no water will be spilled into the trailer.
If all is good from there test the propane system for leaks and if it is good test the appliances for proper operation.
There is lots more to inspect and test but this will get you started,
Chris.
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:32 PM   #3
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Get those questions posted as this community loves to help out.. oh and we love pictures too.

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Old 01-24-2011, 06:41 PM   #4
BW
 
1973 31' Sovereign
Baton Rouge , Louisiana
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Smile inspection/restoration

I plan on a cosmetic restoration. I have a center bath 73 sov. Someone gave me good advice when I joined forum to find center bath models because they pull better. I just got it home so I plan to start the inspection on the roof and window openings. and will strip the floor to see what the condition of the floor is around the edge of wall.
excellent advice on a check list. I will follow your advice to the letter.
Is there a particular product that you recommend sealling the roof vents. acrylic?
I am jealous about the excella. I missed getting an excella by one day. just about killed me. thank you and keep info coming this way...
Any special cleaners for cleaning the skin that you recommend. My wife and i are already talking "fix, restore, keep for a while ,,,,,then upgrade" love AS

Quote:
Originally Posted by wasagachris View Post
Welcome BW. I have a 73 Excella which is the same size as a Sovereign and I'm in the middle of a shell off restoration and would be glad to help with any questions you have.
Is yours rear or center bath? The rear bath models suffer from a condition known as rear end seperation. The weight of the rear bath combined with a basic design flaw in the rear bumper area which allows water to penetrate the shell and rot the floor will given enough time actually let the shell seperate from the frame.
Are you planning a full restoration or just some cosmetic changes.
The first task you do is to seal the shell to stop any water leaking in. Things like widow seals and gaskets, roof vent seals and gaskets,ventpipe seals etc. Basically any opening in the shell should be checked for leaks.
Then thoroughly inspect the floor around the perimeter where the shell meets the floor for wood rot. Pay careful attentio to area below the windows and across the front and rear of the shell.The floor is the main structural component holding the shell to the frame.
Inspect the belly pan for signs of corrosion which should give you a good indication of the condition of the frame.
Check the water system with pressurized air for leaks before watering up. That way if it is leaking no water will be spilled into the trailer.
If all is good from there test the propane system for leaks and if it is good test the appliances for proper operation.
There is lots more to inspect and test but this will get you started,
Chris.
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:42 PM   #5
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1973 31' Sovereign
Baton Rouge , Louisiana
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thanks will do...all advice welcome!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:05 PM   #6
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BW the sealers that you want are polyurethane not silicone. Vulkem, Parbond, Alcoa Gutter Seal, and Dicor Lap Sealant are some brand names to use. Vulkem can be bought at Fastenal, Parbond is available from a/s dealers or several resto sites on the web, Alcoa is available at big box hardware stores and Dicor can be found at most RV shops.
Here are a few links to parts and resto sites for you to look at.
Inland RV Center - The Nations Leading Expert in Airstream Innovations
Out-of-Doors Mart!, More Airstream Parts on-line than anyone!
Vintage Trailer Supply - Vintage travel trailer parts and supplies!
BestConverter - Converters, Inverters, Electrical Supplies, Electronics
http://led4rv.com/
Home
I don't know about a special cleaner for the shell just use a soft bristle brush to avoid scratching the aluminium when washing it.

Congrats on getting a center bath,they are harder to find than rear baths.
BTW your 73 does not have a grey tank to hold the water from the sinks and shower. They did not start installing them until 74 with the exception of the Excellas which started in 73. Your gray water will just drain out the waste outlet so if camping without a sewer hookup site you will either just empty on the ground(not usually allowed in most campgrounds) or you will have to buy a blue tote tank to capture your grey water and transport it to a dump station.
Once you get into things if you have any questions or problems just ask.
Chris.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:11 PM   #7
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Welcome to the forums neighbor! Everytime I start to say 'just look around in here...it's all be covered'...somebody posts something NEW!

This place is a wealth of info...and if you don't find what you are looking for by using the Search feature...just ask...
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:35 PM   #8
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Welcome BW........glad to see another 73 coming back to life.
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Old 01-28-2011, 04:57 PM   #9
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1973 31' Sovereign
Baton Rouge , Louisiana
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HiHo
Will have to come see those "Silvers" sometime. I was born and raised in Jackson, went to Central High School finished 1962. Although I live in Baton Rouge, my wife and I own land/camp west of Brookhaven near Union Church. Wife is from Union Church. How do you like that 26'.
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Old 01-28-2011, 05:05 PM   #10
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1973 31' Sovereign
Baton Rouge , Louisiana
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Chris...quick update
Cleaning, cleaning!!
AC runs (owner had bought it in an estate sale and he didnt know if it worked or not)
I need to replace the AC cover. Too many dents.

Looks like I have a major window gasket project. All window gaskets need to be replaced. Any sources for gaskets you recommend or go to Airstream? Is there a different sealant I should use on the windows?
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:41 PM   #11
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BW. The cleaning seems like it will never end and it won't. It's like painting the Golden Gate Bridge as soon as you get to one end it's time to start over.
I'm glad the a/c works. These old armstrong units are great air cons. The shroud can be purchased from INLAND RV. The replacement one is fiberglass unlike the original plastic one. I painted mine to match the skin of the trailer. It took quite a bit of time to get the fiberglass perfectly smooth to paint. You may not want to spend so much time as nobody really sees it that closely. Be careful removing the bolts holding the fan guard on. After 38 yrs they will be rusted solid. If you break them it will take some sourcing to get new ones as parts are not available. The bolts,nuts and washers I used are stainless steel. I got them from Fastenal. The hard part was finding the rubber vibration isolaters for the fan motor. I ended up ordering bushings for a different brand Air con. They are a little smaller but work.
When you talk about window gaskets do you mean the ones around the window frame or the ones between the frame and the glass. The frame gaskets are also available from Inland RV. The glass gaskets are not available.
Where exactly do you want to use sealant on the windows. I suspect that Parbond or Alcoa Gutter seal will be what you need.
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWMorgan225 View Post
HiHo
Will have to come see those "Silvers" sometime. I was born and raised in Jackson, went to Central High School finished 1962. Although I live in Baton Rouge, my wife and I own land/camp west of Brookhaven near Union Church. Wife is from Union Church. How do you like that 26'.
The 26' is doing a GREAT job of
1) killing the grass in the parking area and
2) keeping the Garage full of stuff!

It's gonna be a hobby resoration and so far it has been taking back seat to camping in the 34'...

I've never been in the part of the state south of Natchez/west of I-55...I need to get down that way and play!
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A honkin' long 34' named AlumaTherapy https://www.airforums.com/forums/f20...num-54749.html
and a 26' '63 Overlander, Dolly https://www.airforums.com/forums/f10...ome-71609.html
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:28 PM   #13
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1974 31' Sovereign
Jay , Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWMorgan225 View Post
I just purchased a 1973 Sovereign and starting to cleanup and restore. I have several questions. Any and all advice will be welcomed!!
Welcome to the club. I have a 74 sovering 31Ft that was built in 73. SO If I can help I will be glad to return the favor for all the wisdom Ive gotten on here
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:45 PM   #14
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Welcome fellow 73 sovereign! Ours is the twin bunk rear bath! Very versatile!

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Old 01-31-2011, 10:49 AM   #15
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1973 31' Sovereign
Baton Rouge , Louisiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wasagachris View Post
BW. The cleaning seems like it will never end and it won't. It's like painting the Golden Gate Bridge as soon as you get to one end it's time to start over.
I'm glad the a/c works. These old armstrong units are great air cons. The shroud can be purchased from INLAND RV. The replacement one is fiberglass unlike the original plastic one. I painted mine to match the skin of the trailer. It took quite a bit of time to get the fiberglass perfectly smooth to paint. You may not want to spend so much time as nobody really sees it that closely. Be careful removing the bolts holding the fan guard on. After 38 yrs they will be rusted solid. If you break them it will take some sourcing to get new ones as parts are not available. The bolts,nuts and washers I used are stainless steel. I got them from Fastenal. The hard part was finding the rubber vibration isolaters for the fan motor. I ended up ordering bushings for a different brand Air con. They are a little smaller but work.
When you talk about window gaskets do you mean the ones around the window frame or the ones between the frame and the glass. The frame gaskets are also available from Inland RV. The glass gaskets are not available.
Where exactly do you want to use sealant on the windows. I suspect that Parbond or Alcoa Gutter seal will be what you need.
Chris
thanks for the advice on the AC. The AC cover is in bad shape.

Windows. Looks like someone has run sealant on the outside of the window along the bottom. not sure it needs sealant there. On the gaskets, its the window gaskets that are around the inside of the window. Once the window is open, its the gasket that you can see underneath the window. when the window closes it presses against the window frame. also looks like mold has gotten into the window between the two pieces of glass. not sure how to deal with that unless you can put the glass from the frame.
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:54 AM   #16
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV View Post
The 26' is doing a GREAT job of
1) killing the grass in the parking area and
2) keeping the Garage full of stuff!

It's gonna be a hobby resoration and so far it has been taking back seat to camping in the 34'...

I've never been in the part of the state south of Natchez/west of I-55...I need to get down that way and play!
What MS state parks have you stayed at north of Jackson? Have you stayed in the very north east along the Tenn border?
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:39 PM   #17
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BW Inland also sells the D gsaket you need for your windows. Just tell them what year and model of trailer and they will know how much you need. It is the same gasket for all the compartments as well. You should also get a door gasket, screen door gasket and vent pipe gaskets for the roof.
Sometimes with age the gasket holding the window glass in the window frame will crack and fail. That`s probably why the PO applied sealant there. It is suggested to seal it properly there you cut back the gasket and apply sealer in the gap left from the removed edge of the old gasket.
When you say mold got in between the two panes of glass does it look like rusty brown crystals. If so it is the desicant put in at the factory to absorb any moisture that gets in there. Open up a window and look at the edge of the frame between the two panes, if you can see several screws all the way around the frame the inner pane is easily removable. Remove the screws and gently pry apart the two panes of glass. The inner pane(plexiglass) will have it`s own frame. Once removed you can scrape off the old factory tint from the inside of the outer pane. Then reapply new tint and install a new gasket between the two panes and reassemble. My 73 has this type of double pane windows but not many others are like this. most other windows have the two panes sealed in one gasket and you have to split the frame apart to remove the glass. It involves drilling out rivets holding the right and left side of the frame together. The big problem is that gasket is aslo made from what we call unobtainium(can`t be found anywhere).
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:02 PM   #18
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Keys just came in for compartment openings and water opening. Still waiting on owners manual.

Issues:
Water opening key doesnt open water port ...adding liquid wrench to see if it is just
rusted shut.

Refrigerator
Looks like it done..looking for substitute.

Furnace
Have not tested yet

No Battery yet. Does the connection from vehicle charge the battery when moving? Has anyone setup a charger to charge when using 110v?

Where is the sewage dump line? Havent fully investigated underneath yet.

Bummer with the owner manual.
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:14 PM   #19
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BW Why are you condemning the fridge. It posssibly can be repaired even if the cooling unit has failed it can be rebuilt.I can elaborate more once you let me know exactly what it is doing.
yes the TV(tow vehicle) umbilical(connection) will charge the battery when in tow. The trailer has a built in battery charger. It's called a converter(original brand name UNIVOLT) When plugged into shore power(110VAC) it will convert the electricity in 12VDC(battery power) to operate all the 12VDC systems in the trailer and charge the battery.
The sewage dump line(the flexible 3" hose) used to connect the sewage outlet of the trailer to the campground sewer is usually stored in the back bumper storage compartment. The outlet on the trailer will be road(street)side behind the rear wheels on a center bath model and in a rear bath model the outlet will be right at the streetside rear bumper and the valve handle will be in the rear storage compartment.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:17 PM   #20
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Welcome, BW. Inland RV, Vintage Trailer, and Out of Doors Mart are great places to find gaskets, sealant, and other things you will need or want for your trailer. We're in the middle of a full re-do on our "72. Plan on about 4 hours per window to scrape off the old gasket, replace the window gasket, shine up the parts on a wheel, and readjust the window to seal properly when you put it back in. Of course, you can work on multiple windows at once... . It's well worth the time to get them sealed again. You will also want to look for and seal any leaks you have, and you will definitely have some. Wasagachris and we both have threads going as well as many others on the forums, so just search for what you want in the search function or in the forum listings. There are many threads worth following and reading! Makes for good winter evening reading while we cold northerners wait for spring!

Kay
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