RV News RVBusiness 2021 Top 10 RVs of the Year, plus 56 additional debuts and must-see units → ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-06-2012, 08:10 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
GreyMattr's Avatar
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Parkersburg , West Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 53
Images: 5
'78 Sovereign 31' Full Monty

First off, if this is not the correct location for this thread, i apologize.

Also, I'm starting this thread a couple weeks into the gutting phase:


Front of camper.


Rear of camper.

I'm planning on doing a shell off restoration. I'm a huge fan of knowing exactly what shape the 'StreamDream' is in. I'm a newbie to the airstream resto game and I'm going to need all the help I can get. The scariest part of this process is figuring out the order to do everything, so my first question is: Once i finish gutting the inside, what should be my next step? Upon completely clearing out the interior, is there an order of operations for getting to the shell removal? For what it's worth, I'm planning on lifting the shell from the top using gantry cranes.

Any and all suggestions are welcomed and appreciated!
GreyMattr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2012, 08:51 PM   #2
Moderator
 
Kevin245's Avatar

 
Vintage Kin Owner
... , ...
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 10,906
Images: 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyMattr
First off, if this is not the correct location for this thread, i apologize.
Now it is. No harm... No foul. Good luck on your project.

Kevin
__________________

"One of the best lessons I've learned is that you don't worry about criticism from people you wouldn't seek advice from."

William C. Swinney

Kevin245 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2012, 05:39 AM   #3
Rivet Monster
 
wahoonc's Avatar

 
1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,173
Images: 40
After getting the interior out I would figure out how you plan to raise the shell. But the next step is to remove the endcaps (very carefully) and the interior skins.

Aaron
__________________
....so many Airstreams....so little time...
WBCCI #XXXX AIR #2495
Why are we in this basket...and where are we going
wahoonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2012, 08:20 AM   #4
Rivet Master
 
87MH's Avatar
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,435
Images: 292
Congrats

You have started a big undertaking.

Good luck. The effort my '78 took was certainly worth it.

I lived in my finished product for the first four months of this year while the "fishing camp" was being finished at the Texas Airstream Harbor on Lake Sam Rayburn in East Texas.

Some of the things I did that have turned out to be really beneficial, in relative order of importance:

  • LP/Electric water heater
  • Dual roof AC's
  • Second electric feed for the above and an additional heater
  • Additional electric outlets around the interior
  • Additional insulation
  • Pre-wire any anticipated electrical system (sound, video, internet)
  • New china commode, remove wall adjacent to commode
Purchase an air operated rivet puller if you do not already have one.



Number everything you remove and mark the orientation with a permanent marker on the back of the piece at several places. This will help A LOT when you go to reassemble it. Keep a map of the location from which the pieces were removed. Document (photograph?) each piece as it is removed.



Anything you do keep an eye to maintenance or removal - i.e. don't make anything "permanent".


Axles, of course, are a given. Do lots of homework on axles - get what you want...smooth ride is of the utmost importance.

Search and compare bedroom layouts - everything is a compromise - pretty much everything has been tried in the '78. Right now I am giving serious consideration to going back to a North/South Queen. Might have to remove the rear driver side bulkhead to make it work properly.

See my signature line - "...do it right the first time".

It will be neither quick nor inexpensive.

Make as many rallies as you can where there will be restored vintage units. Most everyone who has done a rebuild will be glad to share what they ran into and what worked and what didn't work with you.

Good Luck
__________________
Dennis

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

WBCCI # 1113
AirForums #1737

Trailer '78 31' Sovereign

Living Large at an Airstream Park on the Largest Lake Totally Contained in Texas
Texas Airstream Harbor, Inc.
87MH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2012, 12:07 PM   #5
2 Rivet Member
 
GreyMattr's Avatar
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Parkersburg , West Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 53
Images: 5
Quote:
After getting the interior out I would figure out how you plan to raise the shell
I plan on lifting the shell from above using 2 homemade gantry cranes. I've seen a couple threads where this was used and I think i would be most comfortable using this method. My only drawback is finding a hard flat surface to lower the shell onto as i work on the frame/floor.

@87MH - I agree with your list although I do not have an A/C currently, but will probably look to install one later. I especially like the idea of prewiring for technology. I've been documenting and mapping out everything that we've removed so far, but alot of it is ruined from rodent excrement and such. We plan on keeping everything we can if only to use as templates for making new furnishings/structures.

The reason for my question about order of operations is that I'm trying to eliminate extra work by getting the general idea of what order to approach this beast of a task. Currently, I plan on removing the interior skin after everything is taken out. I'd like to strip the vinyl of the upper panels but leave the vinyl in place on the lower panels and just paint them. Any recommendations on chemical to use to remove the vinyl from the interior skins?

As an aside, (and because I know airforums users like pictures) Here's a pic of my horrible bumper situation:



I know there will be extensive welding needed, but has anyone experienced this situation? If so, any alternatives?

Thanks in advanced, it's greatly appreciated.
GreyMattr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2012, 07:00 PM   #6
2 Rivet Member
 
GreyMattr's Avatar
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Parkersburg , West Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 53
Images: 5
Progress:



Removed the exposed copper and avb drain/vent pipes. Saw a wicked hole in the floor that was previously covered with plywood by the PO. See below:


After removing the rear walls, i noticed something interesting about one of the rear windows. Apparently the PO replaced the screens but didnt reinstall the windows properly:

Yup, thats light you're seeing between the wall and the window trim.

Anyone use Pex (sp?) instead of copper for the water lines? I'd like to replace the copper.

All in all, not a bad birthday.
GreyMattr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2012, 07:38 PM   #7
Rivet Monster
 
wahoonc's Avatar

 
1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,173
Images: 40
Funny you should mention pex.... I was sitting in my gutted 75 Sovereign today trying to figure out what I was going to need to swap out the copper for the Pex. I am going to buy the Pex in the straight 10'/20' sticks in red and blue then cut and fit. Still trying to puzzle out the valve configuration that AS used and what to use to replace them. I am going to my local plumbing supply house later in the week and wander the aisles and see what looks like it will work. I also need to pick up a bunch of LP shut off valves. Every one of my original ones are corroded into the on position. I was at Lowe's over the weekend and they had the valve on the display but no shelf hanger for them. No sticks of Pex either.

Plan on moving the water inlet up higher on the side of the trailer to get it away from the sewer dump area. Plan on using this one.

Aaron
__________________
....so many Airstreams....so little time...
WBCCI #XXXX AIR #2495
Why are we in this basket...and where are we going
wahoonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2012, 11:49 PM   #8
2 Rivet Member
 
kos221's Avatar
 
1975 31' Sovereign
little rock , Arkansas
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 26
Try some penetrating lube on your LP shutoffs. I was able to salvage all of mine after soaking them for a day or so.
kos221 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2012, 09:39 AM   #9
2 Rivet Member
 
GreyMattr's Avatar
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Parkersburg , West Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 53
Images: 5
@Aaron: You've peaked my curiosity about moving the water inlet. If that is something you end up doing, I'd be interested to hear/read about it. So far, I've only seen one shutoff valve and that was for the toilet.

As far as the LP goes, I would love to switch to all electric as I would rather run new circuits than new gas lines. If I do stick with gas, I'll be looking for alternatives to copper.

I've decided to do interior skin removal next. From there i'll be looking to fully weatherproof from the top down. There's no reason to even look at the floor until the leaks are fixed.
GreyMattr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2012, 04:31 PM   #10
Rivet Monster
 
wahoonc's Avatar

 
1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,173
Images: 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyMattr View Post
@Aaron: You've peaked my curiosity about moving the water inlet. If that is something you end up doing, I'd be interested to hear/read about it. So far, I've only seen one shutoff valve and that was for the toilet.

As far as the LP goes, I would love to switch to all electric as I would rather run new circuits than new gas lines. If I do stick with gas, I'll be looking for alternatives to copper.

I've decided to do interior skin removal next. From there i'll be looking to fully weatherproof from the top down. There's no reason to even look at the floor until the leaks are fixed.
I am going to move it up near the belt line just ahead of the vertical panel break where the side sheets join the rear end sheets. From there it will tie back into the water system. Everything else will stay where it is now, just going to replace the copper with pex. My trailer has 7 or 8 valves in the water system, they are for isolating various things like toilet or water heater and to allow the system to be drained down in the winter time.

My copper LP lines all look to be fine, I will pressure test the system and some of the individual lines just to be safe. I tried to free up a couple of the valves and don't feel comfortable with them at 37 years of age. So new valves are going to go in.

Aaron
__________________
....so many Airstreams....so little time...
WBCCI #XXXX AIR #2495
Why are we in this basket...and where are we going
wahoonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2012, 03:21 PM   #11
2 Rivet Member
 
GreyMattr's Avatar
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Parkersburg , West Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 53
Images: 5
Update: Interior Skin Removal

This has been a busy weekend. All the interior skins have been removed (the photos show the endcaps but they've been removed as well).



Also removed the banana wraps/side wraps in preparation for the underbelly removal. Looking at the outriggers, I'm scared to see what the rest of the frame looks like. The hardest part is continuing to drill through each giant wave of panic as each piece comes off and the "scope" of the project just seems to blow up.




It rained today and I've found about 4 small areas leaking, two of which are the rear tail light housings(may as well been two holes in the back of the coach). Planning on having the underbelly removed and most of the leaks spotted/repaired by next weekend.

Still trying to line up someone with a welder and the skill/knowledge to use it.
GreyMattr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2012, 08:00 AM   #12
2 Rivet Member
 
GreyMattr's Avatar
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Parkersburg , West Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 53
Images: 5
So its been an interesting week or so. I've begun work on removing the underbelly and I'm half way through. I read a thread that talked about not using a drill and just chiseling the rivets out and I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with that.

I'll post pics of the progress soon while I hunt down alternatives to the current vents used for the water vent pipes.
GreyMattr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2012, 08:45 PM   #13
2 Rivet Member
 
GreyMattr's Avatar
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Parkersburg , West Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 53
Images: 5
Crazy weekend. The belly is off and although I felt comfortable with my plan of attack, there is alot of doubt and mystery now. The frame needs extensive work so the shell is definitely coming off. I felt confident about building the gantry cranes and the actual lift process until i got a good look at the profile of the c-channel:

I was hoping to leave the c-channel attached to the shell when lifting off so i can then attach 2x4's along the channel to allow me to set the shell on the ground. With the lower c-channel lip, it would appear that i have to leave the channel on the floor. If I'm wrong (i hope i am) please feel free to chime in.
GreyMattr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2012, 08:50 PM   #14
2 Rivet Member
 
GreyMattr's Avatar
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Parkersburg , West Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 53
Images: 5
Side Note: Check out this horror show.

GreyMattr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2012, 09:33 PM   #15
3 Rivet Member
 
surfpod's Avatar
 
1976 23' Safari
1962 22' Safari
1961 16' Bambi
Philly burbs , PA
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 184
Ah yes, the "full monte"...

You have embarked on a sizable task. And I wish you the best of luck on keeping your eye on the prize. I, too, have taken on a 70's "full monte" and I'm a little over a year into it. Mine is a 23' Safari and I'm at a point where I will be able to enjoy the surfPod as an aluminum tent until the next phase. My interior was so bad that I decided to do a complete makeover. I worked my way up from the bottom. I gutted the trailer. Made a jig to lift the shell as one unit. Once the surfPod was up on saw horses, I pulled the steel trailer out, sandblasted, welded and POR-15'd it. With a good base, the plywood floor was next. 3/4" exterior plywood with 2 coats of West Marine epoxy and 2 coats exterior oil urethane. I think coating the plywood is critical to a successful "full monte". All Airstreams will leak and with a sealed floor, the AS will survive. After the shell was back on the floor/chassis, I removed the upper interior skins and removed the insulation and wiring. Almost all the wiring will run through the interior, not in the walls. That is reserved for the insulation. I filled in as many holes as possible. I may reuse some in the future, but probably not. Less chance of vermin infiltration. Plus I will be using as much "new technology", including on demand hot water heater, solar and LED's. My goal is to keep it simple and not overspend on this project. I think it's important to start by giving your project a good, solid, level base. Then fix the chassis. Then the floor. Then the rest. I also, highly recommend reading as much on these forums, specifically, the reno blogs. And very important, download and listen to the podcasts from The Vintage Airstream Podcast | Vintage Trailer Resotration. These are invaluable to your success. You will learn a lot and it helps as the project goes on. I had the 100+ episodes (at the time) on my ipod and listened to every podcast. Some a few times. I have tried to organize my project in pictures and posted it at www.surfershack.com. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. At least to the point of taking the surfPod out and enjoy my surfPod! Good Luck!
surfpod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2012, 11:36 PM   #16
3 Rivet Member
 
195Pilot's Avatar
 
1975 31' Sovereign
Pierre , South Dakota
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 133
Hello Gary
I see your rust and I raise 100%!!
Mine was so bad Nothing was salvageable. Take it in steps and try not to look at the whole picture. Get a good frame and build from there. After Airstream ownership for a couple of months I tell everyone that inquires
" YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TILL YOU DROP THE BELLY PAN AND INSPECT THE FRAME ".
195Pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2012, 09:07 AM   #17
2 Rivet Member
 
GreyMattr's Avatar
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Parkersburg , West Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 53
Images: 5
@195Pilot - The center sections of the frame aren't too bad, but the sides and the rear are just awful. I don't think I'll need to get an entirely new frame, but I'm trying to figure out what size steel to get to reinforce the parts that need it.


@surfpod - Holy crap, bless you and your photo blog. A lot of questions I had have been answered or at least made a little more clear. I was planning on coating the new subfloor but had not yet researched what to use. Your photos are worth a thousand words, too bad none of them are brand names/rivet sizes lol.

One question I do have is you mention all of your wiring would be inside the coach, not in the walls. I'm curious how you're planning to run the considerable amount of wiring to outlets/fixtures/appliances and keep it hidden.


Thank you both for your input!
GreyMattr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2012, 04:52 PM   #18
1 Rivet Member
 
Springville , New York
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 9
We, too, have a 31' sovereign international. We have a leak in one of the pipes just after the water pump. Do you have a plumbing diagram - we would like to bypass the water tank (we only need to hook up to city water) and go right to the plumbing fixtures, which are on the other side of the trailer from the intake valve. Do you know where the supply line crosses over? Is it near the bathroom, kitchen, ? (I only want to cut into the floor boards where necessary)
cegath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2012, 07:20 AM   #19
3 Rivet Member
 
surfpod's Avatar
 
1976 23' Safari
1962 22' Safari
1961 16' Bambi
Philly burbs , PA
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 184
@surfpod - Holy crap, bless you and your photo blog. A lot of questions I had have been answered or at least made a little more clear. I was planning on coating the new subfloor but had not yet researched what to use. Your photos are worth a thousand words, too bad none of them are brand names/rivet sizes lol.

One question I do have is you mention all of your wiring would be inside the coach, not in the walls. I'm curious how you're planning to run the considerable amount of wiring to outlets/fixtures/appliances and keep it hidden.


Thank you both for your input![/QUOTE]


Hi GreyMattr,

On the electric. I don't plan on having a lot of electrical. I won't have the dual systems of voltages for lights. More LED's. I didn't want any breaks in the insulation in the walls. I've noticed that has helped. It's slightly cooler. I've run 12v wiring for my circuits in the center of the ceiling. And threaded wire from the center down to holes left to previously drilled holes. The foil insulation guides the wire, as I push, even on the curves. I will have 120v outlets mounted in my wooden interior structure. I won't have as many outlets. I'll have a charging station for my 3G iPad. I'll use a French press style of coffee maker. I'm probably going to be 50/50 on boondocking vs. hookup. I'm trying to keep it simple.
Rivets- I've been using stainless steel. 1/8" interior. Various lengths. Exterior- 1/8" SS. 5/32" Olympic. And 3/16" for belly pan.

Sources include:
Out-of-Doors Mart!, More Airstream Parts on-line than anyone!
Inland RV Center Inc.
Vintage Trailer Supply - parts and supplies for vintage travel trailers and campers!
Aircraft supplies aluminum sheet 2024T3 4130 steel tubing Airparts inc - Aircraft construction supplies

Sorry for lack of detail. Gotta go to work!
surfpod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2012, 08:34 AM   #20
2 Rivet Member
 
GreyMattr's Avatar
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Parkersburg , West Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 53
Images: 5
Quote:
We, too, have a 31' sovereign international. We have a leak in one of the pipes just after the water pump. Do you have a plumbing diagram - we would like to bypass the water tank (we only need to hook up to city water) and go right to the plumbing fixtures, which are on the other side of the trailer from the intake valve. Do you know where the supply line crosses over? Is it near the bathroom, kitchen, ? (I only want to cut into the floor boards where necessary)
When i purchased our sovereign, the PO had completely brutalized the plumbing setup as far as the pump and pressure regulator hookups and what pipes went where. We've had no power for the past few days due to the insane wind storm on the east coast so I've literally dropped the bellypan/tanks and have not yet explored the underside yet. I'll look today to see where exactly the supply line crosses over. I also have the repair manual so I can scan in the plumbing diagrams and post them for you.


@surfpod - I figured you were going with a super simple/clean setup. I'm a pretty big fan of the furniture you're crafting, shaping the plywood is going to make all the difference. Thank you for posting up your resources. I've been working with all of them except the airparts, will look into that today.

Side Note: I'm looking for something to remove the adhesive used on the inside of the outer skin to attach the pink insulation. I've tried goof-off and krud kutter. Goof-off did nothing and krud kutter is going to take forever. Any suggestions?
GreyMattr is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
sovereign


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:27 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.