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Old 06-20-2011, 11:00 PM   #61
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Oh, by the way, wanted to report and ask about what I found. There must be three sheets of galvanized steel under the two holding tanks... from some other reading it seems that to make any repairs to the dump valves they had to cut an access panel to the pan under the tank. That is certainly what it looks like under there.

I know the black water tank is dry... meaning there is no fluid in the tank, lots of other dried matter. Just hoping that other holding tank is empty. But if not, at least I should be able to pull the frame out from under the shell once I have it off.

Anyone know if that pan can be or should be replaced when this all goes back together (notice my optimism)? :-)
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:54 PM   #62
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Wonder if anyone has used a composting toilet in an AS... I've had one in cabin before and it worked very well. It would be nice to eliminate the black water tank later but I doubt any composter would fit in the bathroom area.
I know a guy who traveled hill and dale with a five gallon pail and a bag of kitty litter. When he was done he set it by the side of the road with a $25 sign on it.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:10 AM   #63
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LMAO Too too funny! My wife would shoot me! But interesting concept. :-)
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:46 PM   #64
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Finally got some time on the AS this weekend and again tonight. Working on removing all of the rivets along the floor shell joint. Here is a question, on your AS, was the belly wrap layered on the outside or inside of the shell's skin??

I know for a fact that on the curb-side it was layered on the outside of the shell skin because I recall thinking that it would be better if it was behind the shell so water didn't tend to run down the skin and behind the belly wrap.

On the road side, I had all sorts of problems with the belly wrap. On the road side, the belly wrap was behind the shell skin and proved impossible to fully remove because I couldn't get to all of the rivets. I've removed all of the rivets along the road side and I think that side is ready for the next step. Just have to finish the curb side and then brace the shell before I start trying to remove the bolts hoding the shell to the frame.

I also used up a quart of Chassis Saver on my flat bed trailer's frame. It needed some attention and I thought I'd try in on that trailer and see how it worked out before I consider using it on my AS frame. Seems to go on well, but only time will tell and I won't wait to see how it holds up on my flat bed trailer before I need it or POR15 for the AS frame.
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:56 PM   #65
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I just did my 31' and I used a rigid metal paint scraper stuck up under the outer skin until I felt it hit a "hidden" rivet head and then tapped it with a hammer and the hidden head is sheared off. Double check around the door and the wheel wells for hidden rivets and rivets that connect the belly wrap to a rib ... found a few of those too
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Old 07-12-2011, 05:29 AM   #66
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Phoyt, I had the same reversed layering on mine. One side actually had 2 outer wall panels. The belly wrap was sandwiched between them. There were hidden rivets, just as Darkspeed had. I used the same rivet removal process.
I saw your note on the internal bracing question. I used 2x6's with 2x4 cross-bracing. It seems to be holding. Let me know if you need pictures, I need an excuse to go putter around in the yard.
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:18 AM   #67
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I found most but not all of those hidden revits on the road side. Got my shell off and still have some of the belly wrap attached. Figure once the shell is futher up and a bit out of the way, I can remove that belly wrap easily.

Here are some pics of my minimal bracing and how I'll support this for a few months while it is off.







I image this is going to be a real bear to get back on once the floor has been replaced.



The back hold down plate and the skin worry me. Looks in bad shape to me...



I have four sets of two 2x4s that run from the rafters to the floor. My plan is to run a single 2x6 between each pair to hold up the shell.





Another concern is just how I'm going to rest the shell on the 2x6. I saw one image of a shell off and on supports and it looked like it was just resting on the skin. However, that can't ge right... it must at least have been resting on the base of a rib. I'm going to see if I can't run a few 2x4s along the skin to support this on several ribs at once. Obviously want to avoid any damage to the skin that I can avoid.

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:41 PM   #68
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Pete, I used the 2x6 length-wise. i did not want the shell to buckle in the middle. I attached some pics of how I did it.

Mike
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:41 PM   #69
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Will this EVER go back together again?

Ok, the shell is off and waiting in the barn for the frame to be fixed up. I had to let all the air out of the tires to get it out of the barn and then lower it a bit to get the barn door closed.

Took about 50 pictures of the process today and then went down to my computer to examine the pics and upload a few to share... only to find the memory card still in my computer...

So I just ran out and took a few just for this post.

Is it possible to buy replacement channel for the back end of the AS? Mine is in bad shape and split almost in two, at one point.

Hope to have the remaining channels and the old decking off tomorrow. Will save the flooring carefully so I have it on hand later to help cut the replacement pieces to the correct size. Ordering 1/2 marine grade plywood. Was going to try using 3/4 inch for added support, but figure why add the weight and 1/2 inch worked for the past 35 years...

Can't wait to get the flooring off and really see the condition of the frame...

How much trouble am I going to have trying to get the shell back on once I have the frame and floor ready? Which I don't think will be for at least 3 months given all the work it needs and the fact that I'll be away on business for another month or so at the end of the summer.

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:22 PM   #70
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Pete congats on a successful lift off.

Too bad about the memory card.

The only C channel I've seen for sale is for the sides and it is the double C. If you wanted to use that you would have to cut off the lower section and then notch the top section in several places to make the curved sections.

Mark the location of the channel on the old floor so you can use it as a guide for the install on the new floor. You did things a little bit different as I left the channel attached to the end caps both front and back. You way may work out better as you can use it to cut the new floor.

I was worried as hell that the shell wouldn't fit back on but it actually fell right back into place and fit like a glove. Well a little like O.J.'s glove as I had to guess the contour of the curve for the curbside rear section of the floor. My old floor was so rotten in that place that I had nothing to use for a template. I had to trim back the curve a little bit and then it dropped right into place. Go slow and make sure you guide the front holddown plate behind the shell first then do the same for the rear plate. Start with the front one first as it is taller than the rear.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:21 PM   #71
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Just recently put my shell back on the new frame. Now I'm in the process of puting in bolts and rivets and fenders...Upgraded hold down plates to stainless after seeing condition of originals. Also used Nyloboard decking for entire floor, no more rot, ever. Was going to get a new outer fender trim ordered, but the shipping was realy high. So if anyone is going south past OODM let me know, I'm in SC.
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:07 PM   #72
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Just recently put my shell back on the new frame. Now I'm in the process of puting in bolts and rivets and fenders...Upgraded hold down plates to stainless after seeing condition of originals. Also used Nyloboard decking for entire floor, no more rot, ever. Was going to get a new outer fender trim ordered, but the shipping was realy high. So if anyone is going south past OODM let me know, I'm in SC.

Musicmaster.. did you use Nylosheet G4?

NyloSheet Styles & Sizes
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:17 PM   #73
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Frame Cleanup

This was a busy weekend. I've got the frame out and cleaned up, almost ready for sandblasting. Removed all of the tanks from the frame, and all but one piece of the underframe belly wrap. Which brings me to my question. How in the world are you supposed to remove the sheathing under the main water tank?

I've attached a photo of the area in question. The sheet of metal is sandwiched between the frame and the axle bracket. I can't see anyway to remove it without loosening the back axel brackets.

The good news is that all of the crossmembers of the frame look in good shape. I have at least 3 outriggers that need to be replaced. Also, the frame along the last 3 or 4 feet near the back of the frame are fairly heavily rusted. Clearly the water leakage at the back of the AS has been a long term problem. Now I have to figure out how to identify the outriggers that need to be replaced by some sort of part number.

Removed the customary number of dead and dedaying mice along with a pile of fairly fresh looking rat poison. Starting to wonder if they aren't part of the factory installation process. Spent a lot of time under the frame removing things. Had to force the sheathing down under the main fresh water tank to get it out. That is when I ran into the current problem of how to remove that sheathing. Decided after about 5 hours of working on the frame, and a face full of dirt from the latest repair patch that I removed, to call it a day.

I was surprised by the size of the gray water tank. Seems rather thin but very broad. All the rest of the plumbing came apart easily. Found several places where the plumbing had to be fixed. They just cut into the pan under the dump valves and then patched with another piece of screwed on metal. Guess I'll be having a new pan fabricated somewhere to replace the one removed.

I thought it would be easy to remove the tanks once the plywood flooring was removed. However, I have two additional frame pieces running the length of the frame that prevent any upward removals.

Tomorrow I'll order the marine grade plywood and spend some more time cleaning up the frame by removing a few remaining electrical wires, bits of rivets still present and the spare tire holder so it is ready to go to sandblasting after I get that last piece of underbelly sheathing removed.

Pete
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:58 PM   #74
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This was a busy weekend. I've got the frame out and cleaned up, almost ready for sandblasting. Removed all of the tanks from the frame, and all but one piece of the underframe belly wrap. Which brings me to my question. How in the world are you supposed to remove the sheathing under the main water tank?
Pete if you look at the front of the fresh water tank you will see a piece of angle iron. That piece is bolted on either side to two more pieces of angle iron running front to back. Remove those bolts and the forward piece of angle iron will come out. The fresh water tank is sitting on a 1" thick piece of plywood with a sheet of belly pan on the bottom. Spend some time cleaning away the sealant holding that plywood and the shhet of belly from the two side and the rear piece of angle iron. The plywood should slide forward and come out of the side angle iron. Once it is out far enough support the fresh water tank until the plywood is completely out. Then remove the water tank. I got lucky and mine slipped right out but some others have had to use a block and tackle arrange ment to pull the plywood free.

I've attached a photo of the area in question. The sheet of metal is sandwiched between the frame and the axle bracket. I can't see anyway to remove it without loosening the back axel brackets.
The piece of belly that is sandwiched between the axle brackets and the main frame rails will not come out until the axles are unbolted and dropped down. I just cut around the axle brackets as I was replacing the entire belly pan anyway. For the reinstall I needed to drop the axles to get the new belly pan in place.

The good news is that all of the crossmembers of the frame look in good shape. I have at least 3 outriggers that need to be replaced. Also, the frame along the last 3 or 4 feet near the back of the frame are fairly heavily rusted. Clearly the water leakage at the back of the AS has been a long term problem. Now I have to figure out how to identify the outriggers that need to be replaced by some sort of part number.
Crossmembers are either curbside or roadside, solid or slotted and there are two special crossmembers for the steps. You can use either slotted or solid it doesn't matter. The slotted ones are a weight saving measure. Solid ones are needed at the wheel wells. So curbside ones for the curbside and roadside for the roadside. Each wheel well uses one each of the roadside and curbside solid outriggers. IIRC curbside is curbside in front and roadside in the rear and roadside is roadside in front and curbside in the rear. The only difference is which direction the flange faces. The flange should face away from the wheels so the solid face is against the wheels.

Removed the customary number of dead and dedaying mice along with a pile of fairly fresh looking rat poison. Starting to wonder if they aren't part of the factory installation process. Spent a lot of time under the frame removing things. Had to force the sheathing down under the main fresh water tank to get it out. That is when I ran into the current problem of how to remove that sheathing. Decided after about 5 hours of working on the frame, and a face full of dirt from the latest repair patch that I removed, to call it a day.

I was surprised by the size of the gray water tank. Seems rather thin but very broad. All the rest of the plumbing came apart easily. Found several places where the plumbing had to be fixed. They just cut into the pan under the dump valves and then patched with another piece of screwed on metal. Guess I'll be having a new pan fabricated somewhere to replace the one removed.
If you're talking about the belly pan it is a straight sheet of aluminium which is 65" wide and can be ordered in any length you need. It is available in that special width from any Airstream dealer. I got mine from Inland RV. Using the special width makes for a one piece seamless belly pan just like factory. Aluminium bought anywhere else is only 48" wide so mulitple seams across the trailer must be made every 48" which doesn't always coincide with the crossmembers and more cuts and seams must be made. The wide roll is more expensive but in my opinion better off in the long run, less work for the install and looks better and is also seamless and more watertight.

I thought it would be easy to remove the tanks once the plywood flooring was removed. However, I have two additional frame pieces running the length of the frame that prevent any upward removals.

Tomorrow I'll order the marine grade plywood and spend some more time cleaning up the frame by removing a few remaining electrical wires, bits of rivets still present and the spare tire holder so it is ready to go to sandblasting after I get that last piece of underbelly sheathing removed.
If you pull out the wires going up through the A frame to the tongue jack and break away switch use the old wiring to pull through a rope so that when you are ready you can easily pull new wires back through.

Pete
Pete read what I have inserted into your quote. I had to add these sentences so I could post the inserted information.
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:34 PM   #75
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Short night tonight. Got the axles dropped on the curbside and was just moving around to the road side when my neighbor came over and offered to weld the last piece of my flat-bed trailer to wrap up that job... so off I went.

Playing phone tag with Greg at Inland RV. Want to ask him about replacement "U" channel for the very back of the floor. The piece I took out is split in two and is badly corroded by contact with the steel hold down plate on the back.

Thanks for the info Chris. Especially the reminder about the wiring thru the frame... timing was good too. :-)

Axle question: why shouldn't I just buy the axle replacement and re-furbish the electric brakes and drum?

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 07-22-2011, 02:46 PM   #76
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Some time very soon (I hope) I'm going to be putting everything back together again. At least as far as the frame and floor is concerned. This brings to mind a number of issues:

1. I think my gray and black water tanks are leak free. I did what I could to clean them out the other day and now they are drying out. The black water tank seems very solid and could probably go back into service. However, the gray water tank seems very flimsy. It was a lot thinner than I thought it would be and it feels more like some sort of bladder than a tank, however, it is clearly meant to be a tank. I'm wondering if that "flimsy" feeling might indicated some sort of degridation in the material?

2. Sensors. I removed everything and will be rewiring everything from scratch. I saw some newer sensors to indicated water levels. Got any recommendations for those?

3. Heating the tanks... or at least keeping them warm. I had a 2.5 inch diameter air flexible air pipe running into the tank areas which I assume was meant as a way to keep things from freezing. Is that still the recommended way to do this? Or has someone come up with a better way that might use electricty to keep things from freezing?

4. I want to be able to drain the fresh water tank dry during the winter. By design, you can't do that. Anyone else done anything to enable the tank to be drained? I'm guessing I can easliy drain the grey and black water tanks... after all they are designed to be drained on a regular basis. (wish the PO had done so! the grey water thank was MUCH worse than the black water tank to clean out).

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:06 PM   #77
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Por15?

Been watching my stripped frame dry off from the rain we just had. How am I going to apply POR15 to the inside of the boxed in part of the frame at the front of the frame? Or should I just ignore that part? Same question about the part of the frame just aft of the boxed in portion where they have cut out circles to reduce weight... that is going to be a bear to get to also.

Anyone tried to thin por15 and spray it in these areas? I could try that... but I'd likely want to buy a cheap sprayer that would be discarded when the job is done, can't imagine being able to clean up the equipment after spraying with por15.

Thoughts?

Pete
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:19 PM   #78
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Pete my whole frame was sprayed and the shop did dilute the POR with the solvent from POR. It worked fine and as long as you don't let the POR dry the equipment will clean up fine.
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Old 07-22-2011, 04:16 PM   #79
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Is it possible to buy replacement channel for the back end of the AS? Mine is in bad shape and split almost in two, at one point.
Pete - is your AS a narrow body? A 76 should be, right? Then Out of Doors Mart sells the c-channels for the front and rear: Floor Channel Bow - Narrow Body104463 [104463] - $58.95 : Out-of-Doors Mart!, More Airstream Parts on-line than anyone!

Although, actully, your c-channel looks to be in better condition than ours was. Ous was actually borken in two, so I fabracated a patch out of angle aluminum, and just bolted it all all back together. If you check out our thread here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f185...b-50967-3.html Post 42 shows what I did.

Chris
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Old 07-23-2011, 06:08 AM   #80
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Hello gentlemen...

Guess I'll need to buy some thinner today also cause I want to try and spray that POR15 into every possible spot on that frame.

I checked out that floor channel bow at Out of Doors Mart and it looks like the wrong one. I only say that because it seems to include the double 'c' portion to capture the plywood on both sides. The piece I took off only sat on top of the plywood and was bolted to the frame. I wonder what I'll get when the part shows up!? Either way, I'll make it work.

What is wrong with me? I was awake two hours early today (it is now 0500) thinking about a trip to Spokane (90 miles) today, to pick up the marine grade plywood, the POR15 and a visit to Harbor Frieght to see what they might have that I can't live without... must be that darn aluminitis disease... Spent most of that time trying to figure out how I can flip the frame over so I can sandblast and POR15 the underside easier... :-) Hope the wifie doesn't figure out what I was thinking about...

Thanks,
Pete
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