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Old 10-10-2007, 07:04 AM   #61
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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30th Birthday Posting - Interior Upgrades

The Sovereign is 30 years old - it left the Factory in JacksonCenter in the last half of 1977.

Some of the significant interior and lighting projects are outlined below:
  • Lighting. I put in fluorescent overhead lights in the bath, hall, and kitchen. LEDs were installed in the bath night light, the tail, turn, and backup lights, as well as all of the marker lights. A 90 degree 1056 LED light was installed in the step light over the door. Halogen lights are now in the brake and flood light sockets.
A Pair of 36 LED array lights are in the kitchen light.
  • Entertainment System. The Bose five speaker Surround Sound System and a flat screen television were brought over from the '87 345 MoHo. A later model Excella curio cabinet purchased as salvage from Colaw’s houses the Bose Acoustimass® Module. The roll around cabinet replaces the removed Tambour/Storage/8 Track module on the driver’s side of the living room.
Entertainment center and collapsible table shown secured for travel with flat screen TV bungeed to top.
The Entertainment Center started life as a unit similar to this one.
  • Oak Parquet Flooring. A new ¼” plywood sub-floor was added over the original ½” plywood floor to level out seams and elevator bolts. The ¼” plywood was screwed down utilizing ½” countersunk screws and then the parquet was glued over that with a “pliant” glue. The bath area parquet was not glued, but secured with countersunk screws to facilitate possible future plumbing issues. Oak wall base molding and shoe base molding were installed wherever feasible. The wall base molding was installed with Velcro when possible, the shoe base with finish nails or silicone caulk.

  • Additional Oak Overlays. Oak Cabinetry Plywood was overlaid on as many flat laminated surfaces as possible to eliminate the “plastic look” of this late ‘70’s Airstream. The Dometic inserts were replaced with the same Oak Plywood. Of all of the individual improvements made I think the Oak overlays and inserts provided the most bang for the buck.
  • New Platform Bed. The bedroom was reorganized with a single East-West Queen Sized Select Comfort Sleep Number Bed. The Queen bed was installed as far rearward as possible (the rearward corners hitting the trailer sides at the wrap-around), and the adjacent areas filled in by cutting the original foam mattresses and various thicknesses of “memory foam” mattresses to effect a single “full room bed”. This type of bed was successfully used in the '87 345 MoHo. The surface is tied together by a high density memory foam cover and a deep king size mattress pad. Sleeping surfaces are protected by full area duvet styled sheets and bed coverings. The sleep platform was constructed utilizing the original twin bed supports with light weight pine bracing installed in three longitudinal locations. The rear end frame support I initially added (see post #27) came in handy here. One excellent feature (besides the light weight) of the Select Comfort air beds is that the largest single piece is only 6” X 6” X 80” long, so you do not have to wrestle a huge mattress into position through the trailer.




This pic shows the area available for a foam bolster.
Center support under bed - similar supports on driver's and curb side. 1/4" underlayment for Oak Parquet Flooring also visible.
Close up of cut out of bed platform for sitting area.
  • Gaucho “Memory Foam” and Upholstery. I found a saddle maker in a small town just west of Houston who added 2” of memory foam to the original gaucho foam and installed new upholstery. “Silver Threads” here in the Forum finished the end and arm panels previously with the same fabric.


My total time on the rebuild (less stripping/polishing) to date is 650 hours, the total out of pocket expense is 16,000 US Dollars. Cost does not include purchase price, retrieval, or the polish job. There was no other labor involved with the rebuild – did it all myself (including the axles) with the exception of the upholstery which is included in the expense cost above. Time does not include chasing parts, which would easily double the 650 hours of actual work time.

This was therapy work - not work of necessity or an attempt at profit taking. Cheaper than some hobbies (I've owned airplanes and boats), but more expensive than most.
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Old 10-10-2007, 08:21 AM   #62
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Happy birthday to your 30 year old 'hottie', the looks would make Jackson Center green with envy.
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:40 AM   #63
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Ok, I was awake part of last night and it was you fault. How about some more detail on the re-skinning of the various faux wood interior components with the oak plywood? I saw some oak door skins at Lowes last week and they would probably wrap around the rounded edges. It looks like your rool up doors are still original.

What did you skin and what is original?
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Old 11-08-2007, 08:41 AM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV
...I was awake part of last night and it was your fault... . It looks like your rool up doors are still original....What did you skin and what is original?
Only reskinned the forward shower wall and the refrigerator and the forward wall of the refrigerator. The blend of light and dark woods is appealing to me. A PO installed the oak overhead and spice cabinets in the kitchen area.

I did purchase new door latches from an older dealer here in Houston (he had about a dozen in stock) and rehung the three closet doors with piano hinges. The original doors are very heavy, and may well be replaced with real wood in the future.

A favorite modification of the Significant Other is the wine rack:
Shown ready for travel on left,

Ready for use on right.


Here are some of the upgrades I did in the bath.


Repainted some of the plastic parts:




Installed a new shower head:
and several towel hangers:
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Old 11-13-2007, 10:08 AM   #65
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Fridge Removal

Double click on thumb print for a full size image.




Anyone with a mid 70's AS will need to remove the front wall in order to get the fridge out.

Note the wall support bracket towards the top rear of the unit that attaches to the wall.
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Old 12-02-2007, 06:13 PM   #66
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We Be Streamin'

Now that the '78 is "on the road" - been putting LOTS of miles on it - it's time that the tow vehicle has an appropriate license plate - here it is.

Just got back from TAHI - got some quality time in with the Grandaughter on the lake.




Alabama only allows 6 letters on this type of plate - anyone who goes "Airstreaming" instead of "Camping" will understand.
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Old 02-23-2008, 09:30 PM   #67
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Great job on the 78. We also rebuilt a 78 sovereign, international. I need to repair a leak in the toilet, work on the brakes, and she'll be ready for the beach as well. Spring break '08- San Carlos, Sonora, MX - Margaritaville!!

Video during and after interior renovation: 1978 Airstream Sovereign International
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Old 10-19-2008, 06:39 PM   #68
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Summer and Fall 2008 Updates

I completed a few more updates recently to the Sovereign.

I installed a 50' 6 Gauge ELectrical Hookup Wire.



Insulated the Dometic Vent behind and above the Wine Rack Area.





Updated the 12 volt system below is a shot of the new 8 lb Xantrex 60 amp 3 stage unit next to the 38 lb "Hummer", the original 60 amp Univolt. I saved 30 lbs there, but lost some when I changed out the type 24 battery for a Lifeline type 27 AGM battery.

Here is the Xantrex installed and hooked up.


Finally, a shot of the new Lifeline AGM type 27 battery with the 500 amp shunt for a Trimetric DC Monitor installed on the negative side of the battery.



I still have a few more things I want to do this year.

I am pleased to post the '78 Sovereign won the "Peoples Choice" and the "Best Polished" award at the 2008 Texas Vintage Rally. We've spent a lot of time at TAHI this year, and plan to do the Disney "Not So Scarey Halloween Party" in 2008 - Fort Wilderness is a blast.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:43 AM   #69
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I sure enjoy the confidence of some of the renovators on this board, here's another prime example. It seems obvious that you knew what you wanted, knew what you were doing, and only had to make some "small" changes to get it right, relatively. This thread was a pleasure to read, and I especially enjoyed the way you linked the pics with the editorial content, some magazines ought to get with it this well!

If I "86" the blue jeans and go for the "overhauls" to work in, will it help? Is there a yogic relation between hanging ones thumbs from the suspenders and thought-clarity? Deep thinking versus my usual, "uh oh"?

With some others I've read about, hope to meet you and see your trailer someday!
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Old 12-28-2008, 08:50 PM   #70
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Trimetric Battery Monitor Istallation

Along with the 500 Amp Shunt (in the previous post #68), the Lifeline AGM battery, and the Xantrex charger, I installed a Trimetric Battery Monitor. The hookup was very straight forward. The Trimetric and the Xantrex were purchased from the Forum's 68 Overlander (http://www.airforums.com/forums/memb...ander-910.html). Randy supplied the entire kit as promised.

I deviated from the instructions somewhat, as I wanted to shut off ALL of the electrical parasitic draws, no matter how small, from one place. I hooked up the "positive" for the Trimetric at the Perko electrical switch instead of the + battery terminal.




The wire from the front end of the trailer (battery/switch) was routed to the overhead cabinet over the stove, where I had previously mounted a large 4" X 4" Electrical box next to the stove vent control.




I had "just" enough wire to hook up to the Trimetric read out panel.



Here's a shot of the overhead with the original information panel and the stove vent control.

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Old 01-02-2009, 08:57 PM   #71
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Granite Counter Top and Deep Stainless Steel Sink

Since it's apparent that I will keep the Sovereign, I installed a granite counter-top and centered a new deep Stainless Steel sink in the work area. The Granite, called "Red Dragon" is primarily red, with black, burgundy, and rust secondary colors laced with black and white veins. I came across a 10" deep single sink at the stone yard for a reasonable price.



I believe the sink and counter-top redo added about 75 lbs to the total weight. Trim is all oak, the front lean board is a floor transition piece, and the side trim is 4" crown molding. As with the rest of the wood work, I sealed the wood, followed by a golden oak stain, and covered with 2 or 3 coats of polyurethane.

The original counter-top was surprisingly concave, so I fit a doubler plate installed from the underside, fit three 2" X 4" strong-backs, and filled anything unlevel with urethane levelling cement, then thin set the 12" X 12" 1/2" granite tiles with practically no grout area at all. Everything on the top side was sealed, grouted, and finished with black silicone caulking.




We picked up a Price Pfister single control high rise faucet at Lowes....Mary was a great help to me in this project - she picked out most of the colors and and actually helped in any way she could. Her encouragement pushed me to finish the project in an extremely reasonable time.

I did encounter some problems with the plumbing...I know the copper tubing had been frozen some time in the trailer's history, but I did not anticipate the problems I would have making a transition from the old to the new. I was able to take the old sweat fittings off with no trouble, but, for the life of me, was unable to locate combination sweat fittings on the west side of Houston. I tried a couple of premium compression fittings, even to the point of sanding the OD of the expanded tubing to ensure a good fit - two pairs were fitted, both ending up leakers - I ended up flaring the tubing (should have done that to start with), and made a good connection.




Below is a top side shot of the granite, sink (with cutting board cover), and the new faucet. The cutting board is held in place by a 5/8" piece of plywood on the bottom side carefully cut and beveled to just fit into the sink.




The sink drainage was also somewhat problematic...I did discover that the "new" mobile home type "trailer" sink plumbing is about 1/16" larger OD than what Airstream used in Ohio in 1978...the P trap would not make up at all. I ended up using most of the plumbing from the original doube sink, but haveing to do a Hillary Clinton on the adapter between the drain and the P trap entrance.




This is a shot of the finished product - I think I would have to make the kitchen re-do a priority if (when) I take on another Airstream project.







Quite an improvement over the original Avacado/Yellow shallow double sink...

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Old 05-08-2009, 08:10 AM   #72
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10,000th view to thread

Interior shots by Charles McFarland of the "finished" '78 Sovereign:

Kitchen




Living/Dining Room




Bedroom




Bathroom



Not shown is the new Thetford China Commode.
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:49 AM   #73
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That is impressive. I love the wood.
Who says '70's models are all plastic and shag?
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:06 PM   #74
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wow! That is CRAZY nice! Thanks again for the inspiration. I have read all your progress and have learned a lot!
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Old 05-08-2009, 06:08 PM   #75
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Super nice job!

Man... You did a great job on this girl.. Congrats ...inspirational
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Old 07-22-2009, 11:20 AM   #76
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New China Bowl Commode - Removed the Toilet/Hallway Wall

Replaced the 30+ year old plastic toilet with a Thetford China Bowl model - took out the wall between the commode and the hallway, but left a "finish" board as an endcap for the medicine cabinet. The porcelin commode just "seems" so much nicer.



Mary made a "bathroom curtain" - sort of a privacy curtain if required - more for looks than utility (it DOES look good, though). I removed the slide door that usually rides on the shower/hallway wall - never did use it - that saved 30 pounds, or so. I also removed the accordion door between the bedroom and the hallway - never did ever use that door either.

We did leave in place the accordion door between the kitchen and the hallway in case someone would require a bit of privacy with the new toilet setup.

During the replacement I was able to unscrew the top flange assembly that secures the flange to the top of the holding tank. I then cut a circular hole into an approximately 12" X 14" piece of 5/8" plywood, and reinstalled the screw-in flange into the black water tank using the new piece of plywood as a strongback on top of the original 1/2" flooring. I ended up with a much stronger and secure toilet mount.

I clocked the commode 15 degrees or so towards the hallway - leaves MUCH more room for the necessary paperwork - guess that is why they are installing toilets this way on many new units.




One of the problems I ran into was that after the initial install of the new commode I found out that I did not have a full travel on the flush pedal due to the interference of the oak parquet flooring I had installed previously. The 12" X 14" plywood solved that problem nicely, plus added a lot of strength for the potty base. The transition area of the plywood to parquet flooring is so small that I think I will permanently solve the problem by carrying several "toilet rugs" cut out to just fit into the area around the toilet, the water heater cover, and the back wall under the medicine cabinet.
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Old 08-08-2009, 02:57 PM   #77
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Installed an almost new Dometic 2862

A tech at a local RV repair shop replaced an almost new Domeic with a side-by-side model - he made me a "deal I could not refuse" for this like new 2862.




It was a few inches taller than the model it replaced, so I had to "customize" the street side shelves a bit, cut and stained a new floor to ceiling end panel, and finished everything off with new Oak trim. One of the advantages of having to do a custom install was that it afforded an opportunity to install much better insulation around the new fridge, and construct new air baffles behind the refrigerator to enhance cooling air flow.

Another shot of the new install:



BTW, I am looking for a replacement Tambour for teh microwave cover shown in the above picture - the replacement would have to be about 23" wide by 17" tall. PM me if anyone might have one.
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Old 08-09-2009, 03:06 PM   #78
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Good for you!

That is a beauty! Good for you!
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Old 01-06-2010, 05:28 PM   #79
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12,000 views. Close to 2,000 posts for me.

Many thanks to all who have commented here - hope to see EVERYONE at the Texas Vintage Rally mid February of 2010.

I hope this thread has inspired some to "git'er done".

Whatever you decide to do - -

GO CAMPING!!!!

It's incredible how much we have used and enjoyed the trailer.

Went camping the entire New Years weekend, off again this weekend.

Good luck, good health, and good Airstreaming to all.
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Old 06-16-2010, 08:56 PM   #80
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On going maintenance - Check the Brakes

Blew another two year old ST tire (#3 in about 10,000 miles) - a friend has had about 5 Marathon ST failures in the same time period, and another lost a Carlisle this past weekend -

I have sworn off ST tires of any make and have gone to Pmetric/LT tires. Found a General 235/75/15 tire rated for close to 2,300 lbs. 4 each times 2300 is 9,200 lbs, and the Sovereign carries only about 6,000 lbs on the two axles combined. The Generals sure couldn't do much worse that the ST tires.

Took the trailer to the Dublin, Texas Dr. Pepper rally last weekend - all 4 hubs were running hotter than usual (first time). The curb side front was running hotter than the other 3 - but I could still hold my hand on all 4 hubs and wheels.

I talked to Dexter and they reminded me of their recommendation of inspecting the brakes every year - it's been almost 3 years and 10,000 miles since I installed the axles, so the hubs came off today -

Was I surprised at what I found - all of the brake shoes had great thickness, but check out the vertical center line crack in the curbside front shoe (the one that was running warmer than the others) below:





A further surprise on the curb side rear brake assembly interior - note the wire that has been worn in two - the hubs have never been off of these axles before.

Since the rear curb side hub was the location of both of the catastrophic blowouts I suspect the damage was done during one or the other of the blowout events.





Glad I pulled them for inspection - the dust cap covers were a pain to get off - could not get a tool into the hub/dust cover interface to start to pry the cover off. The recommended torque for the spindle nut is 150 lbs ft - the amount of pressure needed to break the nut sure seemed tighter than that, but did not break them with a torque wrench.

After getting the spindle nut off the hubs just slid off - and no grease to mess with due to the Nev-R-Lube bearing assemblies.

Lots of maintenance to do - a couple of tambours in the interior have decided to self destruct - the AC crapped out - suspect a capacitor on the blower motor, oh, yeah, drug off the drivers side rear stabilizer - driver error - failure to use a check list.

Time and Money.

Rapidly running out of both.
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