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Old 12-29-2019, 09:32 AM   #101
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1986 34' Limited
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Plumbing Planning

Cort has finished painting the interior and I finished painting the frame underneath. Cort thinks it is important that my painting not be visible, and I tend to agree.

We know the tanks will fit up in the old tank pan. Having the tanks positioned is job one for waste water ABS piping runs. You gotta know where the water is going.

Also important is how the fresh water plumbing will co-mingle with the cabinets inside the trailer. City water enters the trailer on the curb side at the rear. The water heater is located here too. Both spots are in cabinets so the piping has to penetrate the walls somewhere. We're thinking about running the PEX along the interior walls just above the cargo doors rear and curb side. And then on top of the wheel well covers and on top of the furnace. I don't know how hot the furnace gets while heating, but we can protect the plastic PEX with some insulation and air space. Finally we will drop down to the pump. I think this is better than having the PEX on the floor and going around cargo areas, bed frames, wheel wells, furnace ducts and the like.

So we will continue our planning until we are satisfied we haven't missed some important consideration. I carried in some of the bath plastics as I have to have an accurate location for the tub drain trap, the tub platform, and room behind the shower wall for plumbing. I hate the way Airstream buried the shower valve. The thing is impossible to work on without removing the bath plastics. It almost needs an access door on the exterior of the trailer. Slim chance, but maybe we will think of something better.

David
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Old 12-29-2019, 08:42 PM   #102
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Whining About Steps

Our step outriggers were worn out. The notch in the track wouldn't hold the step out level anymore.

So we welded on new step outriggers, both the forward and the rear one. Spacing between the outriggers is critical at 21 5/8" and they have to be parallel to each other. We got that right.

We have a broken bolt in the lower step linkage. Ordering a replacement has been a bear. I counted 5 different types of fasteners holding the steps together. I counted 4 different tools needed to work the fasteners. I think these aluminum steps are way too complex for what they do. I bet there was a good reason Airstream switched to a stout steel folding step like normal campers have.

I trial fitted the step to the outriggers and it fit. I added some washers to the bolts so they wouldn't be so loosie goosie. The step now hooks into the notch solidly. I can't fold out the lower step until we get the new bolt. Step bolts are very expensive.

Bah Humbug

David
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Old 01-05-2020, 09:37 AM   #103
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The battery cover was still flexible, I'm not sure why.
I like your wooden wheel well covers, but for future reference if you have an Airstream dealer near by, you can buy some of the large parts with no shipping. I had to replace my wheel wells, and it turned out the local dealer was dollars more than the online places, and no shipping cost. You have to wait till they get their usual parts order, but it was less than two weeks if I remember right.
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Old 01-06-2020, 07:51 PM   #104
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Step Bolt Arrived

Out Doors Mart sent the new $30 step pivot bolt. It is longer and goes in place where three links all come together at the top step. It certainly tightened up the lower step considerably. I should order another one for the other side at that one is rusted stuck. We'll see. But we are pleased the steps now work as designed and stay tight in their notch with the new outriggers.

Onto other Sovereign projects.

David
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Old 01-06-2020, 08:08 PM   #105
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Plumbing Doing

We have the fresh water PEX lines run from the city water inlet to the fresh water tank. We have shut off valves for every faucet, or say fixture. We ran the PEX along the interior wall so the lines aren't on the floor in the exterior cargo compartments in the rear or curbside.

We have also replumb the entire waste water piping in the trailer. I believe we simplified this plumbing also. We have a straight 1 1/2" pipe from the galley sink area to the grey water tank. The shower pan drain runs under the platform to the tank, and the vanity sink drain runs along the interior wall behind the shower plastic and down to the tank.

We have to mount the grey tank and mark the locations of the new drain penetrations. Airstream drained everything to the rear most end of the tank. It involved a lot of piping, see photo. We found a couple of broken joints in this piping causing floor rot behind the tub.

We prefer to drain into the forward area of the tank to let water rinse as it makes its way to the rear of the tank. We will use 1 1/2 rubber grommet seals for the new penetrations instead of spin welds.

The black tank is also ready to mount. We have some insulation to install in the rear tank pan first.

I do not know of a good way to test ABS piping systems without just a water test. I do have confidence in the ABS glue joints being watertight. But it is still a concern. We will air test the PEX system, no problem.

David
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:03 AM   #106
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I'm not aware of a way to test drain lines except for filling with water and a plumbers test plug at the tank end. They do make a test plug for 1-1/4/1-1/2".

https://www.homedepot.com/p/1-1-4-in...0016/100130312

Since you don't have the tanks installed yet, (assuming all other joints are done ). Wouldn't be better to test now than wait till all the finish work is done?

I didn't even think to test. Points for your attention of detail!

Looks great, nice job.
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:13 AM   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
A month ago we welded new metal in the areas where we thought the frame was flexing and bent due to the rear end separation. We were disappointed that the frame still sagged when unsupported in the rear even with the body tightly attached to the new frame rear crossmember and body hold down plate.

My friend suggested more steel over the rear axle area of the axle plate and extending it to the next crossmember. Worth a try.

I bought the steel and cut it to fit. The welders were here and welded it in place. It is essentially a 3x2x1/4 thick angle iron 48" long that sits on top of the lower frame rail flange. We welded it to the lower flange, and to the axle plate on top. I have not yet taken a photo of this new piece.

David

My Dad and I are going to do something similar to my 75 Overlander. We are going to box the existing frame rail from the front axle back, add plate to the axle mount area and we are going to cut the L angle iron at the rear used to hold the black and gray tanks and replace it with square tube of the same dimension as the old L angle all the way from the front axle back. I will probably add some other bracing under the bath after I decide what dimension black tank I will use, or if I use a black tank at all and go to a composting toilet. I am already going to move the gray tanks to over the axles so I will have more room for a larger black tank under the bath yet still add bracing if I dont go to a composting toilet.


Keep the good ideas coming!



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Old 01-10-2020, 08:21 PM   #108
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Making Parts Progress

We switched gears while waiting for waste tank parts. I know I had trouble getting the bath plastics to fit properly when rebuilding my Overlander last winter. Getting the parts positioned correctly considering there is nothing but curves in the rear bath can be a challenge.

I knew exactly where the left side bulkhead wall was located. From there I could determine where the plastic "tray" over the water heater had to be placed. I made new wood parts for for the wall and this cabinet while using the old aluminum extrusions. We intend to paint the bath plastics as well as all new wood parts.

Getting parts level and square in the bath is a bit of a challenge for me. But I think it all is aligned well now. I trial fitted the big vanity sink plastic part and it fit in the curves of the walls as well as matched up well with the water heater cabinet. Next will be seeing if it matches up to the tub parts.

The waste water tank parts came today, so I will go back under the trailer and finish the install of the tanks. We have a bit of a challenge as I'm trying not to make cutouts in the rear subfloor for the new Valterra dump valves or drain lines. The valves will be mounted horizontal in the bumper compartment. Not real handy, but better than holes in the subfloor back there in my humble opinion.

I might add we used fiberglass to repair several cracks in the bath plastics. The fiberglass was applied to the back side of the parts. This process worked really well. The bath plastics are now feeling much stronger than their former cracked selves.

David
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Old 01-12-2020, 08:26 PM   #109
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Rear Tanks Installed

We have elected to use the existing waste water tanks and the existing tank pan. I cut new styrofoam insulation for under the tanks. I slid the tanks into the pan, balanced the tanks and pan on my floor jack, and up it went. It is a bear to get it installed. The pan is so flimsy. The pan is bolted to the lower frame rail, but the long "skid angle" is in the way. It is quite a job wrestling it into place.

More whining. It appears Airstream used a special "self tapping" bolt to hold the pan up. It is slightly smaller than 5/16-18 bolt. The is no access for nuts with these bolts. There is only maybe one thread of engagement in the thin cross member steel, and maybe 2 threads in the frame rail. Very inadequate in my view. They should have used blind nuts or a nut plate. Even rivets would have been better. But that was 45 years ago, so I forgive them for this awkward design.

I like to use rubber sealing grommets in waste water tanks for location flexibility. Spin welds are nice, but not possible with what I have in my shop. We are draining the galley and bath wash water into the grey tank under the tub platform. It simplifies the plumbing. So I got that done too.

And I installed an additional tank pan support between the frame rails as I don't trust those bolts very much.

Lastly, I threaded in a new toilet floor flange into the tank. It is a plastic pipe thread design which I'm not a fan of. I got it as tight as I dare considering the spin weld on the tank. My Overlander spin weld was broken. Maybe someone got it too tight.

We are almost ready to glue up the waste water ABS piping.

David
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Old 01-13-2020, 06:05 AM   #110
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David, just wondering what tricks you use to tighten the rubber gasket-ed ports in the waste tank. Can you reach your hand all the way in from the big exit port?

I used one of those fittings as well in a grey tank and ended up building a "wrench" out of wood to hold the back side (in the tank) to tighten the fitting enough to get a good seal. That was after cutting a large port on the top so I could get my hand in there. Worked fine but next time I might invest in a spin weld fixture. - Mark
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:46 PM   #111
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Hi Mark: The last factory I worked in made water, fuel, oil, chemical and hydraulic tanks out of various plastics. It was a rotomold factory. We used rubber grommets in many applications, usually 1" pipe or less. We did a lot of spin weld fittings also as customers wanted. I developed an appreciation for the "press fit" rubber grommets, and a dislike for plastic pipe threads in spin weld fittings. We had leak problems with them.

My Overlander was purchased by me with a broken spin weld pipe thread fitting for the toilet flange. I replaced the tank and used a 3" rubber grommet for the toilet flange seal. This 76 Sovereign has the same pipe thread spin weld fitting. Just today I tightened a new toilet flange into the existing black tank. Watch the torque applied as you don't want to break the spin weld.

I installed the rubber grommet into the tank while the tank is on the bench. I install the 1 1/2" ABS pipe "connector" into the grommet while the tank is on the bench. Then I position the tank under the trailer and the connectors stick into the holes I drilled in the subfloor. I can now apply ABS glue to the elbows and plumb from there. I don't need any special tools.

I hope this helps explain why I like the rubber grommets.

David
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:11 AM   #112
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David, I think I see my confusion. The kind of fitting I installed looked like this.

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It was installed in the top and bottom of a grey tank, so the lower will always have liquid in contact. To tighten it required tightening the nut on the interior. This is the tank.
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Notice the large access hole I had to cut in the top.

I am thinking your fittings don't require you to thread anything to make the seal. Two questions, where do you find them ? And would you trust it in a situation like my lower fitting? - Thanks Mark
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:31 PM   #113
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That almost looks like a bulkhead fitting where you clamp two gaskets between the tank wall with a nut on the inside.

Here is a photo of a rubber grommet. For the 1 1/2 ABS pipe, you locate where you want the pipe to enter the tank, drill a 2 1/4" hole in the tank with a hole saw, then push and cuse to get the grommet in the tank. It has a rubber flange on both sides of the tank wall. But the seal is the press fit around the 2 1/4" hole, and then locked in position when the pipe is installed in the grommet. It is tight.

I've not used one on the bottom of a RV tank. We did use them on the bottom of fuel and hydraulic tanks. Those fittings were supplied by an outfit called Dapco (if I remember correctly.) They were like 1" diameter. We pushed hose barb fittings into the rubber grommet. They worked under more pressure and heat compared to a waste water tank. I wouldn't hesitate to use one as long as the piping was well supported.

David

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Old 01-15-2020, 08:18 PM   #114
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Drain Manifold

We have the waste water tanks (black and grey) up under the trailer. We have the original pan bolted up and tight. We have the drain piping plumbed to the tanks. Now is the time to install the new dump valves and new 3" ABS drain manifold.

This project is a bit tricky as you have to be rather accurate to get the valves in the right position and the sanitary elbows in the right position so it all lines up after you glue it up. It will be easier the next time I do it.

We elected to have "sidewinder" dump valves as I didn't want to drill holes in the most rear subfloor. The more you open up plywood, the better the chance it will absorb moisture and rot out. Penetrations in the subfloor also weakens it a bit in a rather critical area. The valves will be operated with the bumper compartment door open.

We will make an aluminum barrier now that the drain manifold is in position. The barrier will keep the heat in and maybe a mouse out.

The next step is installing the fresh water tank with new fill hose, vent hose and suction hose. Mounting the water pump in the small area under the stove will be a challenge.

David
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Old 01-17-2020, 08:40 PM   #115
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Fresh Water Tank Installed

We have reinstalled the big fresh water tank under the Sovereign. We first repaired some minor rust spots in the tank pan. Then we replaced all the plastic hose barb fittings into the spin weld fittings on the tank. This tank is obviously used on other trailers. It has plugged spin welds not being used in our application. Plastic pipe threads in spin weld fittings are not my favorite thing. I doped them good and hope they won't leak.

Then the styrofoam insulation under the tank, the tank itself, and up, up it went on my floor jack. We positioned the tank and ran the new tubing in the molded channels of the tank. There are almost 40 bolts holding the pan up in position between the frame rails and cross members.

We have to hook up the 12v water pump and that will mostly complete the re-plumbing of this old Sovereign. The plumbing we took out was a hot mess with many silly repairs made to the original copper likely due to inadequate winterizing. There were rubber hoses and clamps everywhere. It has all been replaced with new.

David
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Old 01-17-2020, 09:47 PM   #116
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Looking pretty sweet! Really like the access to the dump valves. That will make gasket/seal changes a snap. Piece by piece itís coming back together.
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Old 01-20-2020, 08:28 PM   #117
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Oh My What Have We Done

We started this Sovereign the first week in October. What have we done for nearly 4 months of work? I'd thought I'd list the major items:

1. Disassembly takes some time. Axles, belly pan, old insulation, tanks, cabinets, plumbing and heating. We made a big pile of mess.
2. Clean and clean and clean some more
3. Cut out rusty frame members and then wire brush entire frame
4. Repair rear end separation by making new rear crossmember, body mount, and repair rear subfloor rot.
5. Weld in new supports. Weld in 9 new outriggers.
6. Repair other areas of subfloor rot.
7. Weld in new floor supports under bath, entry area, and front of trailer.
8. Repair end cap plastics and paint
9. Repair bath plastics and paint.
10. Clean and paint interior walls and overheads
12. Relocate city water and shore power utility inlets from bumper to side of trailer.
13. Apply epoxy to old subfloor. Lay down new wood underlayment over subfloor.
14. Build new battery cover box and wheel well covers.
15. Install new PEX plumbing for freshwater and pressure test.
16. Install new ABS piping for drain water
17. Repair aluminum Airstream folding steps with new outriggers and fasteners.
18. Install new ABS piping and Valterra dump valves to empty holding tanks.
19. Install new vinyl floor covering
20. Build new water heater cabinet in bath.
21. Order new Dexter #11 3500 pound axles.
22. Order and receive new toilet
23. Order and receive new Suburban furnace
24. Order and receive new bath faucets.

Geez, we have a lot more to do. We are ready to start rebuilding the bath and wardrobe closets. I guess we are starting from the rear of the trailer like Airstream does when they build one.

David
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Old 01-21-2020, 12:42 AM   #118
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Nice job coming along quickly .
Dang , I could have saved you a few bucks on a new NT30 furnace that I decided not to install and a powered tongue Jack also .

I used pre finished panels for the partitions so I wouldn't have to finish them myself . I had to order them but it saved a bunch of time . I used the old panels as templets to make the new panels.

I finally added more pics and explanations to my build thread . More to come as time permits .
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Old 01-21-2020, 12:37 PM   #119
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Might be interested in the tongue jack.... If you still have it.
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:50 PM   #120
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Might be interested in the tongue jack.... If you still have it.
P.M. sent Tuesday night .
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My Build Thread https://www.airforums.com/forums/f11...ml#post1997059
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