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Old 05-01-2019, 10:45 AM   #241
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1969 18' Caravel
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Sub Floor

Just so you are aware, there is a composite subfloor material out there and available that is far superior to plywood called Coosa Board, that some use instead.

The key advantages are:
  • Virtually water proof -- your new floor will never ever rot, even if left under standing water!
  • Mold resistant -- no worries about illness from mold
  • Critter and varment proof -- no worries about bugs or mice
  • Just as strong and easy to work with as plywood
  • Actually 30% lighter than plywood!

Downsides:
It does not hold screws as well as plywood - the work around is to use bolts in the few places where you need to secure stuff to the floor itself, or use liquid nails to glue aluminum L channel to floor and screw into that

High Cost: whereas a 4X8 sheet of ply will run $30-$40, this stuff goes for about $300. But a few of us think that because it will last virtually forever and be impervious to the water that inevitably gets to the floor (whether from leaks, spills, condensation, plumbing issues, or intrusion around the wheel wells, rear bumper, under the toilet, etc.) the peace of mind make the material cost a good investment.

You may decide that plywood is more cost effective in your rebuild, but now at least you know about this amazing composite material. Search the forums for more info.
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:03 PM   #242
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Aerowood: Your opinion on big box stores drill bits agrees with mine. I've had lousy luck with them, even with famous tool makers names on them, DeWalt, Milwaukee, Irwin and the like. They cost less for a reason.

Good drills save time and are much more fun to use.

I have the Rotabroach drill bit you referred me to and will report out on how I got along with it soon. It looks very capable of the job. Gotta go on an Airstream adventure first.

Press on regardless wcronin4...

David
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:11 PM   #243
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Good to know for the next round of bit purchases!
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Old 05-03-2019, 04:48 PM   #244
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[QUOTE=and we Walbernized it.
Kay[/QUOTE]

Alright Kay, I have to ask what is "Walbernize."

And David what is Rotobroach drill?

Bill
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Old 05-03-2019, 05:12 PM   #245
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Hey everyone

I got word today that my frame will be finished and painted a week from now. We are leaving on a one-month trip in less than a month, and I am hoping I can get Faith's shell back on the frame before we leave. That may not happen because there are always unexpected things that arise that you haven't planned on. But that's what I am shooting for.

Arrowwood - thanks for you input on drill bits. I'm all for having something sharp to work with.

To Kay and David - my continuing appreciation for having my six. You both are always a source for helpful information.

Skyguyscott- thanks for the heads up on Coosa board. In a perfect world, where I had an unlimited budget, I would jump all over that. There is no question that that material is absolutely the right material for the job. After reading your post, my bride suggested using one sheet of it in the rear bath. That's about as far as the budget would stretch.

Jim - My3sonsdad - Was it you who just finished painting your bath FRP? I will be faced with that obstacle soon, since all the bathroom FRP is discolored and old looking. Seems like we are moving in parallel at the same stages with our projects. I'm trying to keep up, but our trip will set me back a month. But I am good with that, I need the break.

Ian - is off traveling around the country. His AS is jealous. It wants Ian home so that it can get all its body parts back together.

The next few days will be consumed with going over the shell and C and U channels, de-burring and cleaning things up in anticipation of joining the shell and frame back up.
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Old 05-03-2019, 08:40 PM   #246
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Don't press yourself. You are right, there are always things that come up slowing the Airstream project down. Who cares? Just relax and enjoy the project. You will experience great satisfaction when you take old Faith on the maiden voyage.

David
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Old 05-04-2019, 01:04 AM   #247
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1978 Sovereign Frame off

Youíre 4 months ahead of me. Iím just starting the interior removal process and The FL Keys are calling me for December. But even so, David is right...it will take whatever time it takes and all will be well in the end.
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:24 AM   #248
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Jim and David - youíre both right about taking things as they come and enjoying the process. And so much of the process is problem solving and I enjoy that element. With that, patience is important.
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Old 05-04-2019, 02:12 PM   #249
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Kay - Walbernize. Googled it. Got it. Thanks.
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Old 05-05-2019, 02:19 PM   #250
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Cold Lake , Alberta
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Greetings Bill et al!

Stumbled across your thread and Iím very excited! I also have a Ď78 Sov, and am planning a full shell off as well.

As I too am guilty of writing too much, Iíll embrace it and do it anyways to give you a short version of my airstream story so far, whilst providing context along the way.

My wife and I picked up our trailer in 2015, and to say the least, she was in exactly original configuration. Not condition. Having spent a lot of time looking for the right trailer and scouring the forums for a while, we found ďThe StingrayĒ in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. We had a 600km drive home, with may-pop tires which were replaced at the first service station when my pucker factor exceeded comfortable levels 50km outside of town.

Up until now, we have done some significant work to get her in useable shape. I had the fresh water tank custom built, as the old one was completely shot. Samantha made all new curtains as the ones in there were disintegrating. New vulkem on all the windows. New furnace. Miscellaneous plumbing and electrical repairs. Replaced so many light bulbs (like, so many). And so much cleaning!

We used the trailer for about 3 years, and every time we went out, something went wrong. But thatís ok, it was how I got to know the old girl before we tear her apart.

Ok, hereís the context part:

Andy got me set up with 3500lb axles and 12Ē brakes which I couldnít be happier with. The install was seamless, and the ride quality improved dramatically. Additionally, it gives us some expansion room for the reno.

Water tanks... you donít know how inadequate that grey tank size is until youíve tried it! Iím struggling in the design phase as well, so Iím looking forward to what you come up with.

Any rough ideas of layout yet? My wife and I are in our early 30s, and Iíve been told we are having 2 children. I have some ideas, but curious what you are thinking as well.

Iím currently serving a hardship posting in Spain for the next year or so (military), and The Stingray is hanging out with the in-laws back home. Im using this time to research, plan, and obsess over our future project! Iím so glad I found your story, Iím looking forward to seeing the progress, especially since we have the same model year!

Thatís enough babbling from me - Iíll be around here watching and helping when I can. Very best of luck!

~Mike
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:25 PM   #251
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Hey Mike

Thanks for your intro to you AS project. Glad to help any way I can.

Is your Sovereign a rear or center bath?

What are your goals for doing a shell-off?
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Old 05-06-2019, 03:39 AM   #252
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Mine is a rear bath, with 2 beds in the middle.

We bought a large trailer because our plan is to make this the future family "thing", and then spend a part of our retirement travelling with it. Having used it for quite a few trips so far, I know there are some floor rot issues at the back that need to be addressed. The state of the frame is pending... That being said, the engineer in me decided that I'm going to make it robust and reliable until well beyond the grave.

First goal is going to be repairing/replacing and strengthening the frame, and modifying it to accommodate the solution to holding tanks. Then coating it in anti-rust sealant, installing a new floor and sealing that up as well. Planning a modernization of the trailer as a whole as well (new converter, AC, appliances, etc).

Finally, in general terms, figuring out a layout that works for us. Samantha is really set on a queen bed that you can get out of on either side, a permanent bed for kids (not something that has to be set up every night), and an indoor dining area for 4.

Tossing around the idea of converting to a centre bath with queen bed at the rear, bunk bed on the side, and u-shaped dining area at the front. I've heard many people talk about this but can't find anybody who has actually accomplished it. The other option is to steal a bit of Minno's design as I like their bathroom set up with the step tub; keep the rear bath (for sake of plumbing and patching) with an L-shaped dining area on one side, bunk beds on the other, and queen bed up front.

Everything is on paper right now, but this is the cheapest place to make mistakes at this point!
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:06 AM   #253
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Having the master bed in the front is a challenge with the front entry door. I think the mid bath is a better layout than the rear bath because the water tanks can be closer to the axles for better balance. I hear you on not wanting to make up a bed every day. Our 86 Limited has a couch in front and a dinette across from the galley. Our teen aged boys slept there, one on each. We would just roll out the sleeping bags and a pillow and say good night. This allows "double use" of the space.

The vintage 70s trailers had a "light weight" frame that is problematic. Your renovation plans are very similar to my Overlander project, except for the big bed and bunks.

David
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:41 PM   #254
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Mike - I like your visioning of what your AS will look like when your finished. Iím excited for you as you begin the process of taking it apart.

Love to help any way I can.
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Old 05-14-2019, 02:57 PM   #255
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It's Official

Hey Everyone
Itís Official. I have begun the process of putting Faith back together. Wah hoo! Went and picked up the trailer from T3 Custom Fabrications in Tavares, Florida. Josh Turner and crew did a great job at a reasonable price. The project took two months, but a lot of that time was waiting on the axles and a trial and error process of locating the new tanks and how to configure them.

One of the things that I dreaded is laying on my back underneath the frame trying to reinstall the main belly pan and the fresh water tank. T3 solved that problem. After dry fitting the new axles, they flipped the frame bottom side up using two forklifts and set it to the side, which gave me easy access to the pan and tank. Problem solved. I will still have a lot of work to do underneath (side pans, stabilizers, LP lines, etc. But these will be much easier than the water tank and main pan.

Here are pics of the completed frame.
Josh is the guy with his hat turned around.
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Front view
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Rear view
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We leave on a one-month camping trip with our daughter and her family in two weeks. I was hoping on getting the shell back on to the frame before we left. Donít know that that is realistic, but Iíll give it a whirl.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:06 PM   #256
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Congrats! I noticed there a few extra supports in the center rear ... what are these for?
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:40 PM   #257
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Very, very good. You have reached the turning point from teardown to rebuild. The new frame looks great from the photos, and it will add significant value to Faith the trailer.

Keep in mind the rebuild takes much longer than the teardown. Don't get discouraged.

David
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Old 05-17-2019, 06:16 PM   #258
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Looks great!

What was the final solution on tanks (size, location, and interior plumbing configuration)?
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Old 05-18-2019, 04:19 PM   #259
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Hey Everyone
Mickey asked about progress on the holding tanks and the modifications that were made to Faith.
Here are some pics to start the discussion:
The tanks and plumbing
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Rear plumbing
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Tank sensors installed
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Tank supports
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To answer Mickeyís question, I decided to use (2) Inca 435 tanks. They are 30 inches wide. The space between the two main beams is 57 1/2Ē so there wasnít enough room to place them side by side. So we staggered the tanks as shown in the pics above. Because we had the shell off, and had a new frame built, we had the option of moving one of the cross-members to make room for the more forward tank.
The other thing apparent in the pics is that the gate valves will fall outside the shell but inside the storage tray and rear bumper. Youíll also notice that the way I have the valves arranged that order to empty the gray tank that you have to empty the black. When we camp, we always empty the black tank first then the gray. The main reason for doing it this way is that I did not want the valves inside the shell. While someone might have found a better way, this was the solution I chose given all the issues.
With the tanks split, and catty-corner from one another, the large pan that held the original tanks would no longer work. In redesigning the enclosure of the tanks, I did not care for the tanks in the original free-floating inside the pan. Also with the additional weight of 30 gal tanks, something more substantial was needed to support the them.
Another factor was that I did not want to have to lay on my back and install a new pan with the tanks inside. We opted for enclosures, an upside down box if you will, so that each tank could be put in the box, and metal cross-members could be installed to support the weight of the heavier tank. (See pic above.) When the tanks are tested for leaks in the later stages of the project, these boxes will be insulated and covered with .025 sheet aluminum. This will also make for easy access in case of leaks and required repairs. The weight of the boxed in compartments was comparable to the weight of the original galvanized pan that held the original tanks in place.
Why did we decided to stay with the rear bath? My wife and I had an Award travel trailer years ago and we liked the twin design. Our FRP components in the bath are in relatively good condition. There are a couple of cracks in the bath end cap that are repairable. They will need to be painted and I will need the help of others who have painted their bathroom plastics.
Another reason for staying with the general design of this Sovereign, as I have mentioned before, with every modification there is something else that is impacted. And every one of these consequences runs up the cost of the project. Like the tanks in the original, that were woefully small, there are other things like electronics and improved cabinetry that must be changed to please us. Since we are on a budget, I would rather spend $5,000 on a new frame and running gear, than on a new solar system. I want our project to retain some of the look and feel of the original, but make custom improvements that track with our style of camping.
Other than the modifications to the frame to create compartments for the tanks, we stuck very close to the original frame design, except for the following: 1. The main frame rails are boxed steel instead of the C type frame used in the original. 2. Floor supports in the front living area were horrible, so we extended the center floor supports that run from to back into the front all the way into the living area. 3. We added small outriggers to support the bath floors better. 4. We added steel to the A-frame in front to give us the option of putting a battery behind the propane tanks. Thatís it.
We figured that these modifications added 400-500 lbs. We ordered axles that had an additional 600 lbs of carrying capacity to compensate for the additional frame weight. The frame is definitely stronger and I feel comfortable that rear end separation will not be an issue going forward.
One other change. The original skid plate on the rear of the frame was three inches tall and when attached to the five-inch main frame made that part of the frame 8Ē tall. To accommodate the deeper tanks, we modified the skid plate to 4Ē giving us 9Ē in rear section of the frame. We ordered Dexter axles with 30 degree down angle instead of the 22.5 degrees that came with the original. That raised the chassis up 1 to 1 1/2Ē which compensates for the larger tanks.
Finally, I want to give recognition to Josh Turner with T3 Custom Fabrications in
Tavares, Florida. He and his staff built the frame in the pics above. When I got the frame home, I decided that before I spent any more money, I wanted to do a quality check and confirm that I had a good foundation. I spent the better part of a day, measuring the frame to ensure it was square, and that the axes were aligned. Every measure was spot on, and the welding done was a work of art, demonstrating outstanding workmanship. I did find that one of the wheels was out of alignment by and 1/8th of an inch. But the problem was with the axle not the frame. I would highly recommend Turnerís work. His prices were reasonable, and the quality of work worth every penny I spent.

Onward and Upward
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Old 05-18-2019, 08:37 PM   #260
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I think your new frame, tanks, and drain plumbing look superb. Your Faith will be better than new. I'm happy for you. You have a great foundation for your total renovation now.

David
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