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Old 01-21-2019, 09:43 PM   #41
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The pic below shows the interior handle to lift and turn antenna. The handle inside was frozen, or so it seemed. But it certainly wasn’t operating properly.
The old antenna worked great at pulling in digital TV signals. Plus, kids ask mom and dad "Wuz dat on their roof?"
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Old 01-22-2019, 05:08 AM   #42
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“David and Ian – I notice that you both have “rivets” under your name that signifies something. What is it”

The rivets under my name relates to how many posts I’ve made (how active I am on the forum), or it means I am posting on the forum instead of actually working on my trailer. A procrastinator indicator if you will...
I think at 500 posts you become a Rivet “Master” as it were.

As for real world rivets spinning away, I be done everything from channeling my chi to channeling my rage. I’ve found that a narrow flexible tape/putty knife can be used to either get under the edge of the rivet and hold it static as I drill or just shear it off with it or a chisel via a couple taps of a small hammer. I keep a small (8 ounce I think) Eastwing hammer handy as it keeps me from doing too much damage. Drill bit sharpness and pressure can also be a factor.

Ian
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Old 01-22-2019, 05:27 AM   #43
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You can walk on the ribs on the roof if you are nimble, just stay on the rivet lines and off the end caps. A method I’ve used is 1/2” flexible backed by cardboard or a furniture blanket, that spans 2 or more ribs. Another is (for level ground only) a 10 step A frame ladder on either side and a 2x12 clamped to the ladders acting as scoffolding. If you are building gantries anyway you can adapt those to include a scoffolding type attachment. Big help in removing the AC.

A board does not need to span the length of the trailer for lift, it would be unessecarily heavy and pointless for much of the middle section anyway. I used 2x6 scraps that spanned about 3 or 4 ribs under the fore and aft vents. I raised it and set it back down as a flurry of work got in the way. I braced with 1x4’s under each lift location, and at the door. Nothing else. My AS is on a slab now and just about ready to be lifted again and set back down on the slab. I’ll only brace across the door.
However, you do what you feel comfortable with. All this advise is free and worth that much.

User “Frank” (franks trailer works or something) is worth looking at.
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:33 PM   #44
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Plumbing

Hi I know this is an old thread. Any chance you have any pictures of the tanks available? I have a 76” with the same rear bathroom configuration but can not find any sort of plumbing diagram.

Thank you!
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:38 PM   #45
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Plumbing diagram

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Originally Posted by CozyRanchita View Post
Hi I know this is an old thread. Any chance you have any pictures of the tanks available? I have a 76” with the same rear bathroom configuration but can not find any sort of plumbing diagram.

Thank you!
I don’t have a diagram but I just took out all the plumbing in mine and would be happy to help .
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:53 PM   #46
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Welcome to wcornin4's Sovereign rebuild thread. I have a 75 Overlander 27' twin bed rear bath that I have totally replumbed and installed new tanks. the trailer is similar to yours. You can create a plumbing diagram for your trailer by crawling around the interior on your hands and knees with a flashlight and identify and label every pipe in there. Hot and cold copper to the kitchen faucet, bath faucet, bath shower valve, just cold to the toilet, and cold in, hot out of the water heater. There is a water pump supplying cold fresh water to the system, and a city water inlet doing the same thing. There are also likely a couple of "low point" drain valves that help winterize the trailer by draining some of the water out. The black pipes are drains and vents. Dig around and see where all the lines go.

Here is a photo of my original black tank and the small 10 gallon grey water tank. My waste water tanks were broken and needed replaced.

Hopes this helps answer your question...

David
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Old 01-24-2019, 03:39 PM   #47
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Holding tanks

Just learned how small the holding tanks are in this AS. 20 gal black and 16 gal gray. Ugh!

My other camper, a Jayco, has 40 gals for both the gray and black. Staying 3 days at a state park without a dump can test even the capacity of the larger tanks.

With the frame separated from the body we have the opportunity to address the size of the tanks. Anyone know of larger tanks that fit in the same foot print?
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:01 PM   #48
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Taking A Short Break

Having to take a week off from working on Faith.

We have to travel to watch or grandson while mom and dad take a short trip.

I'll be using the time to research issues that have to be dealt with while the frame is separated from the shell; like increasing holding tank capacity if possible (see above), whether to retain current plumbing config, whether the floor plan will be changed, etc.

Also, axles need to be ordered and there is research that will be needed on these. I am anticipating that Dexter Axles will come up with a list of measurements they will need before they can be ordered.

Tomorrow, I want to write a short piece on what I am learned so far and what things I would have paid more attention to if I were buying another AS.

More later
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:47 PM   #49
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We enjoy watching our 20 month old grandson also. Much higher priority than a dirty old Airstream project.

Modern waste water tank capacity is important upgrade in these old Airstreams in my view.

I added a 30 gal black tank and a 27 gallon grey tank to my 75 Overlander. The rear bath and a rear sewer connection makes things more challenging. Airstream used, and so did I, the 5" frame channel height and the 2" skid rails there in the back of the trailer for their tanks. A 6 or 7" high tank is pretty small. The next frame bay forward is a 24" wide one with only 5" in height.

So I bought a tank that fit in the rear frame bay, and then bought a tank that would fit in the next frame bay forward. I'm draining the toilet and the vanity sink into the black tank, and the shower and the galley sink into the grey tank. We don't use the shower that much, so I think I'll be okay with this arrangement.

Photos of my new tanks with SeeLevel senders attached, and photos of the new tanks installed under the trailer. Food for your thoughts.

David
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Old 01-25-2019, 01:46 PM   #50
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What I've learned so far

January 25, 2019

I’ve had Faith (the name given to my 78 Sovereign) for nearly a month and I thought it might be helpful to recap what I’ve learned so far for those reading this thread who are contemplating buying an Airstream to redo it. None of what I share here would have changed my mind about my purchase. I am enjoying the experience.

Things that I have learned so far:

1. The Frame - The most costly part of the renovation of an Airstream is the foundation, the frame and axles. The frames that sit under many of the 70s vintage trailers are constructed of light-weight steel (to reduce weight), corrode easily and in longer trailers tend to fail behind the axles causing the frames to sag or separate from the body. The difficulty in buying an older AS is that the framework is covered by the belly pan, and only the front A frame and the rear frame under the storage tray, the frame where the axles are connected are visible. If you’re considering purchasing an older AS, you must do so with the knowledge that there may be hidden frame damage you can’t see. And if there is damage, you may have to remove significant parts of the interior to gain access to repair. In the case of my AS, the damage is so extensive that the whole body has to be removed. I purchased mine knowing that this would be the case. But I saw it as an opportunity. I plan to do extensive work on my AS most of which will be costly. My attitude was, “Why would I want to invest money in something with a suspect frame?” The worst case for my AS is a brand new frame with an estimated cost of $3000 plus. If it can be repaired, given the damage I can see it will be $700 minimum and more likely between $1500 to $2000. Many of the people restoring these older units have taught themselves to weld, done the work themselves and saved money in the process. For a variety of reason this is not an option for me.
2. The Torkflex axles installed in this era are now 40 or more years old. The internal rubber used in the construction of these axles has hardened rendering many of these axles ineffective. Our axles fall into this category. This may not be an issue for those whose intent is to park them and not use them on the road. For us, we travel all over the US and Canada. Replacing the axles is a given. Estimated cost of replacement axles is $600 to $750 per axle. They can be ordered direct from Dexter. I called Airstream and they were able to send me the specs on the axles that were originally installed on Faith. This is information Dexter will need to build the replacement axles. Again, I saw this as an opportunity to replace the hubs and brakes with more modern self-adjusting technology. So that’s two new axles at $1500 not counting shipping.
3. So the cost of the “new” foundation (frame and axles) could run between $2200 and $4500. If a new foundation is needed, there is all the work and time to pull the body off and put it back together.
4. I discovered the other day how small Faith’s holding tanks are. They are a 1/3rd to a ½ the size of contemporary campers. To increase the size of the tanks in their current foot print not only requires custom-made tank work, but also modify the pan structure underneath and perhaps putting a lift of some kind on the axles to compensate for the larger tanks hanging lower. Alternatively, it may require additional tanks tied into existing tanks. Either way, I’m estimating that the cost to reconfigure the tanks will be a minimum of $500, perhaps significantly more if everything is custom made. Again, for someone who plans to remain stationary with full hook ups, the existing tanks – if they are not cracked or leaking – may be adequate.
5. I was surprised to learn that the 40 year old roof top air and the fridge still worked. The inside of the fridge was badly discolored and the back was heavily rusted. The roof top air, the shroud is gone, the inside metal work is badly rusted and I would not feel comfortable on a long trip to AZ in the summer with a 40 year old unit. Ditto a corroded furnace, and totally destroyed hot water heater. All need to be replaced. Fridge = $1500. Air = $700 to $1000 depending upon features. Furnace = $750. Hot Water Heater = $500 to $700.

The point of the above is fairly straightforward. When examining an older AS to purchase, consider these potential costs and negotiate accordingly. If you buy one for $4K, you could have $9K tied up after just the frame and axles are addressed.

My own view is that all of these are “opportunities” to build an AS that is made the way I want it. When I get finished, my goal is to be able to take Faith anywhere with the assurance that everything in it has been designed to last another 40 years and it has been updated to compare favorably with other campers being built today. But for someone else, when confronted with what it costs to redo one of these the right way, it may give someone pause to consider whether they want to spend that much.

I had this romantic notion that AS’s were built so well that they didn’t leak like other conventional campers, or that their construction was superior enough that many of the frame problems other older campers suffer from would be mitigated. WRONG. AS’s have issues, too. But their unique design, and the classic beauty of their construction put them in a category by themselves.

Yes, they’re costly to redo. But when they are done well, it is worth every penny.
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Old 01-25-2019, 01:58 PM   #51
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Tanks

David

When you replaced your tanks, did you buy off the shelf, or did you have them made? In my Sovereign all the drain pluming runs to the very back wall and then down into 3 openings into the grey tank. Were you able to retain this set up or did you have to reconfigure everything?
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Old 01-25-2019, 08:29 PM   #52
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Hello from snowy Colorado: Your assessment of the vintage Airstream hobby is spot on. It is an expensive hobby that keeps a retired guy busy for a year or two. A nicely renovated Sovereign 31' that is travel ready and tastefully done is likely worth more than $30k. These trailers have new axles, repaired frames, solid subfloors, new appliances, new plumbing, no leaks and are ready to go. The cheaper ones have new paint and new curtains and maybe polished. The big trailers make good long distance travelers and maybe for those who are "full timers" who want a "tiny house". New Airstreams of the same length are over $90k. So a guy buys a project trailer for $10k and puts $15k into it can maybe recover the out of pocket costs. Many vintage trailers sorta look like new ones. Retired people's labor isn't worth much, so don't plan on recovering your hours. The Airstream market can change in the future of course and we all lose money.

You will make your "Faith" into a better Airstream, enjoy it for many years, and then when the time comes maybe not get hurt too bad. Document your project and keep receipts on all the major items (over $100).

I purchased my wastewater tanks from Inca Plastics in California. They have a BIG catalog of all kinds of RV tanks. I went through the catalog until I found a tank that fit the dimensions I had under the trailer. Once I had the tanks, I completely reconfigured the drain plumbing to suit the tanks. ABS drain plumbing is not hard or expensive to do. I paid about $270 a tank and about $150 shipping. Here is a photo of the new gray tank drain connections for the galley sink and bath shower through the subfloor under the twin bed, curb side.

Vintage Airstream hobbyists sometimes have custom made tanks from flat ABS or polyethylene sheet welded up. It can be done.

You have some decisions to make, like why a rear bath? A mid bath layout does make the drain plumbing easier. My wife's 86 Limited 34' has a mid bath, tanks under the bath, and drains from behind the rear most wheel street side. See photo. Most new Airstreams have this configuration. You have to develop your interior plan before you order tanks to fit or replumb the trailer. I elected to stay with a rear bath and stay with the rear drain manifold.

Hope this helps a bit.

David
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:27 AM   #53
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Holding Tanks

1973 Sovereign, rear bath

Gray (forward- 27 gal)
Black (rear-24 gal)


Wish I had gone bigger on the gray
I used the original fresh water tank
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Old 01-26-2019, 07:30 PM   #54
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I need to clarify the freight cost of my polastic tanks was about $150 for both tanks. Inca slaps a shipping lable on them and UPS delivers. The cost is high due to the volume space of the tanks, not due to weight. So I have about $700 in the two tanks I selected for my Overlander.

David
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Old 01-27-2019, 06:53 AM   #55
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Holding Tanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauxter View Post
1973 Sovereign, rear bath

Gray (forward- 27 gal)
Black (rear-24 gal)


Wish I had gone bigger on the gray
I used the original fresh water tank
B- where did you get your tanks? Cost? Do you have pics of how you plumbed the drain lines?

Bill
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Old 01-27-2019, 06:58 AM   #56
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Part Number

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
I need to clarify the freight cost of my polastic tanks was about $150 for both tanks. Inca slaps a shipping lable on them and UPS delivers. The cost is high due to the volume space of the tanks, not due to weight. So I have about $700 in the two tanks I selected for my Overlander.

David
David - Do you have the part numbers on your tanks?
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:12 AM   #57
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Shower

David - in another thread you posted a hand drawn diagram of a rear bath. Where you show the shower, will a residential stand up shower fit into that space? Will it fit through the door?
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:23 AM   #58
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Shower

David - in another thread you posted a hand drawn diagram of a rear bath. Where you show the shower, will a residential stand up shower fit into that space? Will it fit through the door?
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:52 AM   #59
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Bill, It was a company called RV Surplus, which closed and reopened under a new name, I think the link below is them. I live in Ohio, so I shopped a lot of parts from Surplus stores in Indiana and Michigan.


I attached an early Sunday morning back-of-the-napkin drawing of my tanks.
*Note, I sold my trailer last year, and am working from memory.


The Tee is on the street side, just forward of the hot water tank (rear bath). The valves are not shown.


By the way, I spent Jan of 2017 in New Smyrna, in my Airstream, at the Sugar Plantation...loved the area


Regards
Mike



https://www.rvandvansurplus.com/Holding-Tanks_c_16.html
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:07 AM   #60
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I studied this and you can find shower bases and enclosures separate. You will ave to trim the top of the enclosure to fit the curve of ceiling. Need to design first befor you cut any floor holes and have your tank made for the design . We were going this way but the boss decided she wanted the original. Have fun . And the pieces will fit through the door .
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