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Old 06-23-2009, 03:49 PM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Rivet Greenhorn '76 Sovereign Renovation

Seems everyone loves pics around here (us included) and to see progress on the current renovations. After the day we had today, I believe it will provide some kind of therapy for us to share the step-by-step progress. It was one of those days where nothing is working the way it should be, you run out of time, and then the final straw, you're packing up your mess, all hot and sweaty, not looking where you're going and CRACK you slam the crown of your head into the half-open garage door.

We are so thankful for this forum and everyone's shared experiences, photos, and advice. If it wasn't for you guys, we certainly wouldn't be as far as we are yet. We may never have started . . .

Maryw164 has been a great encouragement!


Here's the Sovereign when we bought her:

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Old 06-23-2009, 04:04 PM   #2
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1976 31' Sovereign
San Antonio , Texas
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Progress?

Progress has been slower than we hoped. We have her parked on a storage lot and have been working without electricity so far. Our kids come with us - it's family work time - and help us when they can.

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Mostly, they play with each other or need help with something of course. We have to keep reminding ourselves that these are valuable family memories, and the "interruptions" won't be there forever. We have been pleasantly surprised at how well they are getting along and making fun for themselves. Our oldest learned to ride his bike without training wheels, and could not be more pleased with himself.

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Here's our mascot (we found him when we were taking apart the converter compartment):

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Here's where we ended up today (irritated that all our attempts to remove the floor bolts without cutting them have been pointless so far) :

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To end on a positive note, here is a 2005 AS dinette in great condition that a craigslister from Austin, TX, gave us for FREE!

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Remodel Madness

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Old 06-23-2009, 05:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdturn2 View Post
Progress has been slower than we hoped. We have her parked on a storage lot and have been working without electricity so far. Our kids come with us - it's family work time - and help us when they can.

Attachment 82832 Attachment 82833

Mostly, they play with each other or need help with something of course. We have to keep reminding ourselves that these are valuable family memories, and the "interruptions" won't be there forever. We have been pleasantly surprised at how well they are getting along and making fun for themselves. Our oldest learned to ride his bike without training wheels, and could not be more pleased with himself.

Attachment 82834 Attachment 82836

Attachment 82835

Here's our mascot (we found him when we were taking apart the converter compartment):

Attachment 82839

Here's where we ended up today (irritated that all our attempts to remove the floor bolts without cutting them have been pointless so far) :

Attachment 82837

To end on a positive note, here is a 2005 AS dinette in great condition that a craigslister from Austin, TX, gave us for FREE!

Attachment 82838
Since your into a major restoration, you should waterproof the trailer before you go very far.

Window, entrance door, access door and sewer vent pipe cover gasketsall more than likely are hardened and cracked, which will leak from rain.

Andy
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:03 PM   #4
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1976 27' Overlander
Scarborough , Ontario
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Since I've never cut a floor bolt off, I'm only speculating based on the Airstream construction video I saw. When they bolt the floor to the frame, they bend the bolt so that it won't rattle off.

So cutting them off may be your only option.
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:58 PM   #5
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Easiest way for me on the floor bolts was to use a 1" hole saw without the pilot bit. It's big enough to cut through the plywood around the head of the bolt. I used a circular saw set to just less than plywood depth and cut around the perimeter of the floor by the C channel. After that, the floor pieces should lift right out.

You will need to remove the lower interior skins to access the C channel. You'll also need to have a plan to support the shell with the floor removed, but that can be done simply by strips of 3/4" plywood on the tops of the outriggers extending under the C channel.

I work in a storage lot on mine as well. If you'll have to stay there for your work, consider getting a generator for power. Cordless stuff works for much of it, but it's nice to have some power.

Hope that helps.

cheers,
steve
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Old 06-24-2009, 04:54 PM   #6
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1976 31' Sovereign
San Antonio , Texas
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Question Rear Sag, New Floor, New Axles: order of importance?

We've been researching the forums like crazy, but I'm giving up and asking a question for now. My eyes are crossing!

Today, we removed one rear interior panel and found those crazy upside down bent bolts in the c-channel.

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From there, I went outside just to look around and try to make sense of it all. Here's what I found under the opening where the water heater (?) used to be.

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Then I thought, oh boy, what else does this mean? I walked around to the other side and found this:

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We got concerned and stopped. What we are wondering is:

1. Can we go ahead with the floor replacement now, or do we need to fix the rear sag first?

2. Do we need to replace the axles before we attempt the rear sag?

3. Do they affect each other?

4. I suppose this means we HAVE TO remove the belly skin now? We won't be able to bolt the new plywood floor back on properly if we don't, right?

This is feeling scarily complicated.

5. Are we seriously compromising the rigidity of the trailer if we begin fixing these things without removing the shell?

Here are a few things to keep in mind if anyone is going to tell us a shell-off is the way to go:

A. We are on an rv storage lot.

B. We don't have a lot of cool tools. We MAY be able to borrow a few.

C. We are trying to do most of the work ourselves - for the shared family experience and to keep cost down.

D. We want it to last a wonderfully long time.

E. We're planning to build our own furnishings and really will not want to rip them out anytime soon.

F. We're planning to live in her full-time with our children for at least a year, maybe even two. Our first move-in date was July 31st. Ha, ha, what a joke!

Well, there you have it. Heeeellllpppp! Especially any advice from people like Andy from Inland RV. (I tried calling in response to your email, but you were busy. I bet your phone is ringing off the hook constantly. I consoled myself by imagining that you had been so busy giving advice to all of us forum folks that you hadn't even stopped to eat yet, and you were about to faint dead away.)
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Old 06-24-2009, 05:24 PM   #7
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I've put the re-inforcement plates (sometimes called fish plates) over the axle mounting area of two 70s Sovereigns in order to fix rear end sag. I think they all need it at some point. The easy way to do this would be to incorporate it with a change of the axles and shocks (something else they all need). That would make installation of the plates a cinch. In order to fasten the plates, you either need access to a rivnut tool. Or, if you have the pan off, you can get access to the other side of the frame rail and just use regular bolts. I suppose everything gets easier (so to speak) by more you take apart...the more you can fix and then not have to worry about for another 35+ years! Like you said, you're willing to take the time. Do it right the first time and save yourself problems down the road.
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