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Old 08-14-2012, 03:20 PM   #41
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1978 31' Sovereign
Parkersburg , West Virginia
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We're working out the details of what will be done to the frame, for my security and his sanity. At the estimated cost, i want to be really clear about what I'm getting for my money. I'll keep you guys posted, hopefully with pics of a shiny fixed frame soon.

Side note: I've read that polishing a 2x2 area of your shell every time you need motivation to carry on is a good idea. I need to figure out what to use to strip the plasticoat and what compounds i need to gather. Any suggestions?
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Old 08-15-2012, 04:39 PM   #42
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I had a guy suggest if I wanted to polish mine, take it to a truck stop/wash and have them "brighten" it. I believe it's an acid etching of some sort they use on the truck chrome and plate, maybe that's a start on where to look for something to strip with.
I kind of like the little at a time approach, my luck I wouldn't be done when it would be time to re-polish.
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Old 08-23-2012, 10:19 PM   #43
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We just bought a '77 Sovereign 31' and today I was under it and noticed that the frame behind the steps is completely rusted apart. Digging in more it appears that the frame is in pretty bad shape. The interior is completely intact. This is our first Airstream. Now I'm sitting here wondering what the best way to repair it is. My gut says that I will be joining the full monty club very soon.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:59 AM   #44
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Sorry it's been awhile since my last post, i've been fighting with my buddy to get the frame work started. I think it was the old, "buddy's super discount project is always second to actual customer business", which owning a company, I fully understand. He picked up the frame yesterday afternoon and I expect it back this weekend.

With that said, I need to figure out my next step. I'm reusing the "trays" that house the tanks. My tanks are in good shape and since I'm using the original configuration there shouldn't be much refitting. Id like to replace the axles and wheels/tires as well. I want to continue in a fashion that puts me in the position to not be lying under the trailer fastening/attaching things.

@Kevrey50 Welcome to the forums and Welcome to the wonderful world of Airstream ownership!

If that pic you posted is of your camper you're probably right about joining the full monty club. The good news is that you have come to the right place. Everyone here has been instrumental in keeping my head above water(not getting overwhelmed by the project scope) throughout this project.
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:23 AM   #45
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1980 31' Excella II
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgriffrus View Post
I had a guy suggest if I wanted to polish mine, take it to a truck stop/wash and have them "brighten" it. I believe it's an acid etching of some sort they use on the truck chrome and plate, maybe that's a start on where to look for something to strip with.
I kind of like the little at a time approach, my luck I wouldn't be done when it would be time to re-polish.
Big problem with using the acid etching is that it gets into the joints between the panels and keeps on etching. Also the skins on an Airstream are pretty thin compared to the aluminum on the big rigs.

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Old 09-08-2012, 10:13 AM   #46
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Frame is back from the sandblasting.


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It'll be at the welders Monday morning. Getting excited now although this next phase is gonna be the "money" phase.
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Old 10-31-2012, 12:45 PM   #47
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Ugh.

It's been over 2 months and I just went to look at the finished frame...and by finished i mean it JUST GOT WELDED. It's nice to have friends, but I've learned that you can't turn a "Yes" man into a realistic one.

I'll be painting the frame this weekend if all goes well . I think my next goal is to assess/replace the axles and brakes. I'll probably end up contacting Colin Hyde. I know I need to provide measurements but Im not sure what all I need to measure. Anyone care to share stories/suggestions/tips?
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:19 PM   #48
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Here is a pretty decent axle thread.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...ead-74177.html

I got my axles from Carolina Rim and Wheel in Charleston, SC.

Dexter #11, 4400 lbs ea. with 12" electric brakes, hubs, drums, 22.5 down angle and mounting brackets.
$560 each.
They (Dexter) welded on the shock brackets for no extra cost (the assemblers in Atlanta had the pattern for the shock brackets) and the shipping was $50.
Total cost $1,200.

The only problem that I had was because the new axles were heaver than the originals, the bolts were bigger and I had to get my mechanic to bore the holes in the chassis out some.
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:22 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyMattr
It's been over 2 months and I just went to look at the finished frame...and by finished i mean it JUST GOT WELDED. It's nice to have friends, but I've learned that you can't turn a "Yes" man into a realistic one.

I'll be painting the frame this weekend if all goes well . I think my next goal is to assess/replace the axles and brakes. I'll probably end up contacting Colin Hyde. I know I need to provide measurements but Im not sure what all I need to measure. Anyone care to share stories/suggestions/tips?
Iwent with Colin he is great to work with. Very friendly and generous with his time. Only problem was it took forever t get the axles, not his fault it was axis. But when they showed up they were fully assembled. I went with the kodiac disk brakes. I have a 30' trailer and I don't trust electric brakes on an 8% down hill grade.
What you going to paint with?
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:30 PM   #50
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Thanks for the axle suggestions. I'm just starting to dig around when it comes to brakes so I have a lot of research to do.

@marzboy - I was originally going to paint with por15, but I think now I'm going to go with mp172 epoxy type paint due to weather/scheduling. Should I be concerned?
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:58 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyMattr
Thanks for the axle suggestions. I'm just starting to dig around when it comes to brakes so I have a lot of research to do.

@marzboy - I was originally going to paint with por15, but I think now I'm going to go with mp172 epoxy type paint due to weather/scheduling. Should I be concerned?
I used por 15 never heard of the the stuff you are useing. But hey that's what these forums are for learning new stuff. The por 15 is moisture cured so a little humidity is good. Contact Colin he is fair honest and informitive
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:44 PM   #52
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1978 31' Sovereign
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@Daniel B - Thanks for linking that thread!

I've read the aforementioned thread and page after page my confidence began growing until the last two pages. Someone mentioned axle alignment and I'm a bit nervous now. With an error margin of 1/8" causing roughly 3 inches of dog leg when towing, I'm not feeling so great about it now.

ugh.
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:02 PM   #53
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[QUOTE=GreyMattr;1223432... Someone mentioned axle alignment and I'm a bit nervous now. With an error margin of 1/8" causing roughly 3 inches of dog leg when towing, I'm not feeling so great about it now.
[/QUOTE]


On the Dexter axles I purchased for the '78 the predrilled axle holes were a half bolt width farther apart than the original holes in the trailer frame.
Line up the rear two bolt holes on the front axle (original frame hole and new axle hole), and the front two bolt holes (original frame hole) on the rear axle....this will assure that the axles will be aligned at least as good as the original.

Maximize the space betwen the axles (as long as there is clearance for the tires) so you can put a jack or stabilizer between the tires if you need to.

No problems in doing this when I did the '78 sovereign - I am now using 225-75-15 tires after having no less than three ST tires fail - the last doing considerable damage to the area just behind the rear curbside tire.

I will never run another ST tire.
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:29 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyMattr View Post
@Daniel B - Thanks for linking that thread!

I've read the aforementioned thread and page after page my confidence began growing until the last two pages. Someone mentioned axle alignment and I'm a bit nervous now. With an error margin of 1/8" causing roughly 3 inches of dog leg when towing, I'm not feeling so great about it now.

ugh.
That part was best done for me by a mechanic shop.
I put the axles on with the old (smaller) bolts and drug it down to the local shop.
The mechanic got them aligned right, drilled out the holes, put the new bolts in, and tightened up with the air tool. Cost me $100.
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:46 PM   #55
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Thanks guys for the good info!

@87MH - You read my mind with the tire info. I've been looking at axles and tires all day long.

I'd like to find classic white walled tires if possible but finding them with the appropriate load rating and size has been a bit difficult. Sometimes there's just so many options it gets harder and harder to make a decision on these things.

Lining the axles up using the rear bolt holes sounds like a good idea. I'll probably drag it to a shop just to be extra sure. I just know I would like to get this axle stuff taken care of while the frame has no shell or subfloor on it.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:11 PM   #56
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Took my girlfriend to the Jackson center airstream factory for her birthday. Having never been to a rally yet, we probably got a little too excited about being around more than one airstream at a time



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Old 11-05-2012, 07:40 PM   #57
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Took my girlfriend to the Jackson center airstream factory for her birthday. Having never been to a rally yet, we probably got a little too excited about being around more than one airstream at a time
Uh... for her birthday? I tried a move like that on my wife, didn't work...
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:58 PM   #58
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My girlfriend loves airstream more than I do. She's the reason we have one lol.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:42 PM   #59
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My girlfriend loves airstream more than I do. She's the reason we have one lol.
Haha glad you guys had fun. I did actually teach my wife to help me buck rivets.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:44 AM   #60
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Here's a few shots of the frame.


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There's a couple small problems that I need to fix. This whole frame experience has been horrible. At least it's back in my hands and I can affect its progress now.
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