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Old 07-31-2013, 06:30 PM   #1
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1968 30' Sovereign
Madisonville , Texas
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1968 Sovereign restoration / where to begin?

I have a 31ft 1968 sovereign international that I recently purchased. I have gutted the interior and I am now ready to begin restoration. I am new to this type of work so I do not know where I should start the restoration. The list of things that I am going to need to do is as follows:

*repair frame at back of airstream (rust)
*remove interior skins and possibly replace?(they have been painted and seem to have some type of vinyl?? over the aluminum. I don't know what the material is)
*rewire
*remove floor pans
*replace plywood floor

I don't know what I should do first??? I was thinking of taking off the interior skins first, but I don't know if this is correct. I would appreciate any help that anyone can give me.

I have read many of the threads and I have learned a great deal about how to do the projects, but I am not sure where to begin.

Thanks for the help!

Heath
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:25 PM   #2
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Welcome Heath!
You will need to remove the lower interior skins to replace your plywood floor anyway, so I would advise removing them all. Make sure you label them as you remove them. They may have been painted over, but what you are also seeing is vinyl "wallpaper" Airstream used. If it's in good condition and well adhered, you could leave it in place and paint it after cleaning it really really well.
There are a lot of us on the forums that are doing reno's or refurbishing or restoring, depending on taste. There are many threads and blogs to read. I would advise you to do some quality reading to answer many of your questions. There's even a thread that lists all those threads for you. Good luck!

Kay
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:54 PM   #3
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Well, it sounds like you are going "full monty." In this case, I would go in the following order:

1) Remove all interior skins--you can decide whether to reuse or replce them as you go along.

2) Get access to the underside of the bolts that go through the outriggers and U-channel, and remove them.

3) Build gantry frames and lift the shell off the frame, place the shell back on the ground.

4) Use the gantries to flip the frame over so that you can remove the bellypan from above, rather than from below on you r back.

5) Repair the rusted frame.

6) Install new subfloor.

7) Flip the frame and install the waste and water tanks from below, and reinstall the bellypan.

8) Install new axles

9) Flip the chassis back over, and use the gantries to set the shell back in place.

10) Reattach the shell to the frame, reinstall banana wraps, etc.

11) Redo insulation and wiring.

12) Now you need to make a decision on reusing the old interior walls. This depends to some extent upon how bad you hate the old vinyl, how worn down you are, and whether you intend to change the layout dramatically.

13) Complete refurbishment of the interior.

Good luck!
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:49 AM   #4
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1968 30' Sovereign
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Kay,

Thank you for the reply! I appreciate the help and I will make sure and continue to read in the forums.
Heath
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:52 AM   #5
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1968 30' Sovereign
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Belegedhel,

Thank you for the in-depth reply. I will begin taking off the inside skins first and then follow your advice on the rest. I appreciate the help!
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:45 PM   #6
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1968 30' Sovereign
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Interior Skins

I have been working on gutting the inside of my sovereign and have recently completed most of the work. I have now began to remove the inside skins. I am starting at the bottom and going to work my way up. The skins are coming off easy up to this point, but I do not know what is going to have to be done to remove the end caps? If anyone can help me with that I would appreciate it and I will continue to read hear on the forums. I will post pics of my progress soon.

Heath
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Old 08-15-2013, 07:09 AM   #7
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Endcaps, as I recall, can be removed last. They are just held in place by pop rivets like the rest of the interior skins. they are fairly fragile, and likely to be brittle with age, so this is definitely a task that you will want an able-bodied assistant for, so that one person can support the cap while the other drills out the rivets. Handle them carefully, as they are practically impossible to replace, short of building new ones from scratch or finding used ones.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentheath View Post
I have a 31ft 1968 sovereign international that I recently purchased. I have gutted the interior and I am now ready to begin restoration. I am new to this type of work so I do not know where I should start the restoration. The list of things that I am going to need to do is as follows:

*repair frame at back of airstream (rust)
*remove interior skins and possibly replace?(they have been painted and seem to have some type of vinyl?? over the aluminum. I don't know what the material is)
*rewire
*remove floor pans
*replace plywood floor

I don't know what I should do first??? I was thinking of taking off the interior skins first, but I don't know if this is correct. I would appreciate any help that anyone can give me.

I have read many of the threads and I have learned a great deal about how to do the projects, but I am not sure where to begin.

Thanks for the help!

Heath
If the trailer is outside, the most important beginning point is to make the inside waterproof.

Replace the window, entrance door and access door gaskets.

Also, you do not have a 31 foot 1968 model, but you do have a 30 foot Soverign.

You should also, before starting any part of the rebuild, make a list with costs of everything that will need to be done. Add to that list, the estimated time it will take.

Some parts, such as axles, if they are the originals, can be replaced at a later time, but should be included in youe budget.

The following article will help you check the axles out.

The Dura-Torque Axle

Andy
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Old 08-01-2014, 06:51 PM   #9
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1968 30' Sovereign
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New windows

Thank you for the suggestion about waterproofing the interior. I have now completely gutted the interior and need to start replacing windows. My '68 has 3 29x10 windows that need to be replaced and several of the larger 29x20 windows that open. I would like to begin with the smaller windows. I have a few questions and appreciate any help that anyone can give me. I have never replaced a window in an airstream.

1) should I use tempered flat glass for the smaller windows? ( I believe that I can)

2) how do I install the flat window. It appears that the window slides into the frame at the bottom and may be held on also by two strips of aluminum that are riveted to the sides of the frame? What is the process to install the window? (tape, sealer, gasket???)

Thanks for the help! I am going to try and add pictures also.

H. Brown
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Old 08-01-2014, 07:56 PM   #10
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The small flat windows under the curved glass windows on a 68 are held in place by the vinyl stop. Do not drill out any rivets. If there is plexiglass there now, just break it and pull out the pieces. Go to a glass shop and order flat tempered, around here it had to come from Memphis but I got it over night and they were not expensive. You can look up the exact dimensions from on line sellers. You can purchase the gasket/stop vinyl material at most any local place that does glass window pane replacement. I found what I needed at my local ACE hardware. They had several styles but I found one that was an exact match for what was in the Airstream. Installing the glass into the stop vinyl is a pain. A thin putty knife helps. Also you will need sealant around the gasket/stop and the frame. I tried butyl tape but wound up just using a thin bead of vulkem. I did 3 windows on my 68. By the third one I had it figured out but the first two took a while. Take your time. Also, make sure when you miter the stop vinyl you do a good job and get the corners exactly 45 degrees so it will be less likely to leak.
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Old 08-02-2014, 08:29 PM   #11
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1968 30' Sovereign
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windows

Thanks for the help "Twind". I appreciate it and I am going to get started on the windows. I'll let you know how they turn out!
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Old 08-02-2014, 09:15 PM   #12
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If you order tempered glass, be aware that it always comes with a " tempered stamp" You may want to ask them to omit it!
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Old 08-09-2014, 11:24 PM   #13
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1968 30' Sovereign
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fixed windows

I have ordered my tempered glass to replace the fixed windows in my airstream. I will begin work this coming week to get these put in and sealed properly. My question is can I use Acryl-R to seal between the glass and the frame or is the glass just held in place by the plastic strips on the inside and the sealant just used to seal the outside of the window where it meets the frame? I appreciate the help.
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