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Old 06-26-2013, 08:38 PM   #1
The Bed Zeppelin
 
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1975 31' Sovereign
Port Aransas , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 29
First Airstream endeavour.

Sorry for the lengthy post but I have a heck off a plan and a tight timeline so....PLEASE HELP! Just bought a 1975 31' Soveriegn in need of a facelift and some mechanical/electrical updates.

My son just graduated Highschool here in Port Aransas, Texas and were going on a three week fishing safari from South Texas to the Florida Keys on July 23.

I'm not intimidated as I have rebuilt several offshore fishing yachts,( two 46 Bertram's and one 43' Tiara Pursuit), and own a furniture manufacturing plant.......however, after reading all the great info on this site, I'm not taking anything for granted. So here's my plan. (By the way, I'll have a lot of decent shape original trim and cabinet components if someone needs them.)

New floor......Old plywood subfloor is sound.
I plan to use my factory's rough mill to resaw cherry, mahogany, or perhaps maple. I fear the fact that maple will "splat" or stain when wet and I have a lot of beatiful mahogany in stock and it holds up well in wet environments. I'm actually planing to buck the trend and glue down 1/4" solid wood directly to the existing 3/4 fir plywood deck. I'll use Franklin Tightbond II PVA glue and stainless brads. The expansion and shrinkage should be minimal and I'm starting with a VERY high ambient humidity. I'll do soak coats of thined spar varnish to seal. The weight will be no more than an engineered floor or carpet/pad because I will resaw it relatively thin.....
Ok, now fire away at the pro and cons but it will be durable and gorgeous.

New axels and shocks....Dexter's? Replace brakes?

New charger/ converter...got a new modern one headed my way

All windows are intact but have typical problems regarding film degredation and hard or missing gaskets......good links or videos on the process?

OuterSkin.....it has a few minor dings and I'm pondering if I want to tackle these repairs now as pulling the interior skin later will not be hindered by my interior plans now.

New Fridge......? because the original (Swedish) one won't run?? I love Swedish stuff as my Mom is Swedish....suggestions on repair or replace? What to replace with?

Lighting.....I'm going 99% LED lighting inside and out. I design and build a lot of restaurants and Bars so this will be fun....!

My step.....it's is missing bottom step parts and a new one is EXPENSIVE!...where can I get parts?

Bathroom....I feel it may be time to retire the original Thetford aqua magic IV toilet. Thoughts? I plan on completely redoing the "head" cabinets including shower. I will utilize the latest materials and consider minimum weight as high priority.

Otherwise I'm going to have fun designing a functional yet stylish interior. I'll keep everyone updated and try to figure out how to post pictures.

Can I do it from an iPad ?
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:43 PM   #2
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2012 27' Flying Cloud
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Welcome. You seem to really know your stuff! The only question I can answer in your note is about posting pics from the iPad (some rivet master I turned out to be!)

If your photos are on your iPad, it's easy. When you reply to this thread, you'll see a + sign near the send button. Click on that and select the right option to add photos. It will start loading then touch it and select insert inline. Then send your post and you're good to go!

As for the rest - cant wait to see the pics!!
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:17 PM   #3
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1975 31' Sovereign
Port Aransas , Texas
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Thanks for the info on posting from an iPad. I see a "submit" button but not a send button and don't see a + near it??
Wish I'd proof read my very first effort at a thread....I now see several mis-spells.

Regarding the step, I bet I can have parts made if I could get a set of drawings. Would that be a factory question on an Airstream as old as mine? Also, am I posting to the correct forum with my questions? Love this site....!
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:58 PM   #4
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What do you mean by "wet environment?" The interior space should be dry except the shower stall.

Light Maple will make the interior seem larger to the eye. I love the color and aging characteristic of Cherry and Mahogany would be a visual standout few others have encountered. Make your choice based on the color palate you want considering floor, fabrics, and counter surfaces.

As for your frig, if the plastic interior and door gaskets are fine but it does not cool properly, it is easy to replace the cooling element, electronics, or ignitor. Figuring out what is wrong takes a little time due to multiple potential causes. If you follow the diagnostic sequence from Dometic you'll soon figure if repair makes sense over replace:

http://gasrefrigeration.net/dom_techdata/AES_SM.PDF
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HerbL View Post
Sorry for the lengthy post but I have a heck off a plan and a tight timeline so....PLEASE HELP! Just bought a 1975 31' Soveriegn in need of a facelift and some mechanical/electrical updates.

OuterSkin.....it has a few minor dings and I'm pondering if I want to tackle these repairs now as pulling the interior skin later will not be hindered by my interior plans now.
This will partly depend on how your electrical is. If you have circuits that aren't working or fuses blowing you might need to access wires between the inner and outer skins. It's also a good idea to check for mouse nests. I took the interior skins out our our '74 Sovereign, replaced all the wiring and re-insulated with 1" Dow Super Tuff-R Polyisocyanurate Rigid Foam Insulated Sheathing

Quote:
Originally Posted by HerbL View Post
My step.....it's is missing bottom step parts and a new one is EXPENSIVE!...where can I get parts?
It might never have had the lower step. I believe that was an option. Our trailer doesn't have a lower step, and we've never missed it.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HerbL
Thanks for the info on posting from an iPad. I see a "submit" button but not a send button and don't see a + near it??
In the photo I 'll post below, look at the top right of the photo. I'm replying to your message now and will use that + button to include the photo of this screen shot

Click image for larger version

Name:	image-2131831048.jpg
Views:	166
Size:	276.6 KB
ID:	189389

When I clicked on the + sign, I chose attach from photos, picked the photo I wanted, wen it was done uploading I touched the photo and selected insert inline (see next photo below).

Click image for larger version

Name:	image-2765643409.jpg
Views:	150
Size:	194.3 KB
ID:	189390

Hope that helps!!
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:33 PM   #7
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1975 31' Sovereign
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Always good to welcome another Texan to the forum.
Congrats on your purchase. We also have a 75. We are slowly doing what you describe.
There is a great video here:

on window gasket replacement.
If you search the forum many others have threads on all of what you are wanting to do.
Good luck on your timeline!
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:50 PM   #8
The Bed Zeppelin
 
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1975 31' Sovereign
Port Aransas , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeeMore View Post
What do you mean by "wet environment?" The interior space should be dry except the shower stall.

Light Maple will make the interior seem larger to the eye. I love the color and aging characteristic of Cherry and Mahogany would be a visual standout few others have encountered. Make your choice based on the color palate you want considering floor, fabrics, and counter surfaces.

As for your frig, if the plastic interior and door gaskets are fine but it does not cool properly, it is easy to replace the cooling element, electronics, or ignitor. Figuring out what is wrong takes a little time due to multiple potential causes. If you follow the diagnostic sequence from Dometic you'll soon figure if repair makes sense over replace:

http://gasrefrigeration.net/dom_techdata/AES_SM.PDF
Wow! Excellant tip on the fridge. I'm glad I slowed down and joined you guys or I'd already have it yanked and be shopping for a new one. The interior and gaskets are fine.

As far as a "wet environment" I figure water, from one source or another, is inevitable the way my son and I will use it. Plus the occasional widow leak.

I supply our local boat museum with milled mahogany and we have been getting a lot of beautifully figured deep rich mahogany lately. I can re-saw 8/4" stock and get some really nice book matching. That's a major reason for mahogany as a choice. Cherry has gotten very reasonable and it does make a gorgeous floor.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:54 PM   #9
The Bed Zeppelin
 
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1975 31' Sovereign
Port Aransas , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidsonOverlander View Post
This will partly depend on how your electrical is. If you have circuits that aren't working or fuses blowing you might need to access wires between the inner and outer skins. It's also a good idea to check for mouse nests. I took the interior skins out our our '74 Sovereign, replaced all the wiring and re-insulated with 1" Dow Super Tuff-R Polyisocyanurate Rigid Foam Insulated Sheathing


It might never have had the lower step. I believe that was an option. Our trailer doesn't have a lower step, and we've never missed it.

The holes are there where the second step swing arms were and I can see the wear. But I think your right about not needing it. However when I put new axels on that may change.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:04 PM   #10
The Bed Zeppelin
 
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1975 31' Sovereign
Port Aransas , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
In the photo I 'll post below, look at the top right of the photo. I'm replying to your message now and will use that + button to include the photo of this screen shot

Attachment 189389

When I clicked on the + sign, I chose attach from photos, picked the photo I wanted, wen it was done uploading I touched the photo and selected insert inline (see next photo below).

Attachment 189390

Hope that helps!!
I'm feeling very technologically challenged.....are you using an Airforums app? My iPad screen doesn't look at all like that. I am going to have to have my office manager/tech consultant help with this in the morning. Thank you so much for your help.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:17 PM   #11
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1975 31' Sovereign
1973 31' Sovereign
Manlius , New York
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Step question

This is the step assembly pic from the '75 Manual. hopefully this helps. and i will post pics tomorrow if you need them.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:19 PM   #12
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1975 31' Sovereign
1973 31' Sovereign
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you might need his too...

This is the additional info
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Old 06-27-2013, 12:43 AM   #13
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I build replica early American furniture, Queen Anne through Federal period, and am quite partial to beautifully grained Mahogany. If you can get choice pieces for a reasonable price tag, use it and be sure to post pictures for all of us to enjoy.

If you repair the window gaskets, another easy fix, you won't have drips for years unless you're prone to leaving them open in storms. Once you track down the leaks they can be kept at bay and only footprints will be an issue. Cherry floors, cut thinly, will not add to much weight and stand up to a lot of abuse. Avoid carpet and the dust in your state can be tamed, as well as boot tracks when hunting :-)
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Old 06-27-2013, 07:41 PM   #14
The Bed Zeppelin
 
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1975 31' Sovereign
Port Aransas , Texas
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Great to meet another "woodbutcher". Im paying around $5 a board foot for higher grade mahogany. I calculate it will take only 50 board feet of 8/4" stock if resawn into net 5/16" pieces. Maybe net just over 1/4".
Big thumbs up on the hunting!
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:22 PM   #15
The Bed Zeppelin
 
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1975 31' Sovereign
Port Aransas , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post

In the photo I 'll post below, look at the top right of the photo. I'm replying to your message now and will use that + button to include the photo of this screen shot

When I clicked on the + sign, I chose attach from photos, picked the photo I wanted, wen it was done uploading I touched the photo and selected insert inline (see next photo below).

Hope that helps!!
I got the App!!
Love it but still not sure how to follow along with the thread. I'm going to try and post a photo of my dog and I taking a break from ripping up carpet.

Click image for larger version

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Old 06-30-2013, 03:17 PM   #16
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The Victrola Dog - "His master's voice"
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:45 PM   #17
The Bed Zeppelin
 
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My travel buddy has a bit of Victrola in him....

Notice the critter in the background.
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:41 AM   #18
The Bed Zeppelin
 
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1975 31' Sovereign
Port Aransas , Texas
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I have all the cabinets, fridge etc...out and the mahogany floor is almost down. I have laid out the new cabinets and bunks and have decided to go with select white ask for all vertical surfaces. I'll stay with solid mahogany for the countertops and vanity. I'm also going with hammered copper sinks.

I need help with suggestions on placement of a 4k to 5k propane generator. I'm doing away with the original Dometic 3 way fridge and going with a newer dual voltage or straight 110 volt AC unit. I'm thinking near the 30 amp AC distribution panel under the left rear bunk. There is already an external access door there and the wiring in would be straight forward. Noise and heat are somewhat of a concern. Also I'll be EXTREMELY careful regarding carbon monoxide risk.
Am I better off just hauling a loose generator around when I'm using trailer?
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:44 AM   #19
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Hit wrong button when I was proof reading and sent this....I meant to saw I'm using select white ash! I'm using several coats of the same marine grade varnish as I'm putting on the mahogany floor. The varnish's "ambering" will give the ash a nice tone.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:02 AM   #20
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I did a it of work on my 72 Tradewind. After new axels I definitely needed the lower step. Believe Vintage Trailer Supply has all parts. I would gets propane electric fridge another Dometic is good. PPL here in Houston has great prices and usually in stock. Also Minwax Provential 715 stain is a very close match to the original maple color of the fake wood if you need to match anything to the old trim. You can buy the tambour for overhead bins as well if you keep any of that old Airstream cabinets .
Don't think putting your genny in side coach a good idea partly due to weight and possible Co2 leaks into the coach. You'll probably get some thoughts from others on this though.

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