Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-25-2010, 11:34 AM   #1
3 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 100
'76 Sovereign Floor Replacement?

While I fully expected it, it is still just a little discouraging to find what you expected. Looks like I'm committed to replacing some or all of the floor and 'while I'm in there' will probably remove and replace the belly wrap, replace floor insulation, and do what ever preventive maintenance on the frame I can.

This is how it started. I pulled out the rear 'bedroom furniture' to get a good look at things and found this: (Was wondering where they put that circuit breaker box.)


That white power is nothing to call the SWAT team about, it is ant powder and look at the ants...



Think the PO knew something I didn't?

Naturally, who can stop digging at that point. Going a little further...



Do you think I stopped? Hardly...



The rot extends to the other side also...



Did you notice the high tech patching material AKA old aluminum siding? You can't see the soup can lid nailed to the floor to cover a hole that I found. That was a real treat!

I'm assuming that is a water pressure regulator I found. Is this where that circuit break panel is installed by the factory or is this something a PO did. I think I'm the 4th or 5th owner of this coach.

I do intend to bring this baby back to solid servicable life so I can safely take it on the road with my family so I'll document this process and ask whatever dumb questions come to mind as I'm working on this. Please feel free to offer any advice or ask any questions. I'm sure I'll need the encouragement of knowing someone is watching, along the way.

Thanks,
Pete
__________________

phoyt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2010, 11:59 AM   #2
Site Team
 
Aage's Avatar
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11,220
Images: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoyt View Post
While I fully expected it, it is still just a little discouraging to find what you expected. Looks like I'm committed to replacing some or all of the floor and 'while I'm in there' will probably remove and replace the belly wrap, replace floor insulation, and do what ever preventive maintenance on the frame I can.

This is how it started. I pulled out the rear 'bedroom furniture' to get a good look at things and found this: (Was wondering where they put that circuit breaker box.)

That white power is nothing to call the SWAT team about, it is ant powder and look at the ants...

Think the PO knew something I didn't?

Naturally, who can stop digging at that point. Going a little further...

Do you think I stopped? Hardly...

The rot extends to the other side also...

Did you notice the high tech patching material AKA old aluminum siding? You can't see the soup can lid nailed to the floor to cover a hole that I found. That was a real treat!

I'm assuming that is a water pressure regulator I found. Is this where that circuit break panel is installed by the factory or is this something a PO did. I think I'm the 4th or 5th owner of this coach.

I do intend to bring this baby back to solid servicable life so I can safely take it on the road with my family so I'll document this process and ask whatever dumb questions come to mind as I'm working on this. Please feel free to offer any advice or ask any questions. I'm sure I'll need the encouragement of knowing someone is watching, along the way.

Thanks,
Pete
Look at it this way, Pete: you found the worst of it! Everything else from here will look easy.

Good luck, and keep us informed.
__________________

__________________
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
...John Wayne...........................
Aage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2010, 12:01 PM   #3
x
 
XXXX , XXXX
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,601
Hi Pete I feel your pain. My 73 has the shell off and getting a new frame and floor done. You have quite a lot of floor rot there. More than mine. If it stops at the rear floor section that section can be replaced with the shell on. Yes that is the water pressure regulator. It is adjustable by the way. No the breaker panel box is not supposed to be mounted to the floor. It should be mounted on the wall just to the right of the pressure regulator. I suggest you open the belly and inspect the frame first to see how far you have to go. If you read my thread The fun begins under floor and frame repair you can see what and how far I have gone so far. I posted a detailed description the other day on how to remove the shell and how to repair the floor on the shell. If you need help ask me and we will go through this together. Good luck my friend and welcome to owning a 70s as.
wasagachris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2010, 12:02 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Splitrock's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,403
Blog Entries: 20
I have a 1976 31' Sovereign middle bath as well. I'll be watching your progress. Thanks for posting the pictures. My rear floor is not in bad shape but I did remove about half of the living area floor due to 11 leaks from the front of the entry door to the front of the first window seam.

I'm passing the rain test now and I'm about to put it back together after a little more seasoning.

Gary
__________________
Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
https://visitsiouxfalls.com/assets/i...uxfalls-og.jpg
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
Splitrock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2010, 12:19 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
Wabbiteer's Avatar
 
1973 27' Overlander
1972 29' Ambassador
St. Paul , Minnesota
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,043
Images: 2
Blog Entries: 2
My first purchase for my '73 rehab was... some nearly free flooring identical to the top layer of your demolition I dragged in from a garage sale. What was found made it get sold at another yard sale.. Oh, and have you had your tetanus shots lately? Some of the stuff found in mine made rabid bats look soft & fuzzy. Clean as you go, keep the momentum up! Thanks for sharing!
__________________
The days are short and the night is long and the stars go tumbling by.. . ~Airstream~
Wabbiteer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2010, 09:00 PM   #6
3 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 100
Thanks everyone. I'll continue to post descriptions and pictures as this moves forward. My focus at the moment is getting the barn ready to work in over the winter. In another few weeks it will be too cold and rainy outside to work. So everything is moving into the barn. Naturally, the barn lacks power so I have to remedy that situation asap. I suspect I'll need some heat in there this winter! :-)

wasagachris, I just read your entire thread. Wow... you lead and I'll follow... :-)

Are you using air driven tools or electric? Just curious... I suspect I'll need a few tools I don't have yet.

Thanks,
Pete
phoyt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2010, 09:16 PM   #7
x
 
XXXX , XXXX
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,601
Pete I am using a couple of electric drills to remove rivets and an electric grinder to grind off bolts, screws etc. All the floor screws were removed by hand as the were rusted in and power tools would tear up phillips screws. P.S. USA up here in the Great White North we use a little invention by a Canadian callled the Robertson screw. They do not strip out easily like Phillips. I am also ordering a air powered buck riveting kit from Vintage Trailer Supply once they are not out of stock. Have you found out how far the floor rot goes. If its anything like mine the most damage will be at the rear and fairly good until under the front C channel. I really hope your frame is O.K. Were both in uncharted waters here. I have never done this before either. Talk about on the job training. You are lucky to have a barn, my workshop is 3 inches to small to get the as inside and close the door besides it is full of the interior right now. My campers need the shop in a month for a dance and then 2 weeks later for a Thanksgiving dinner. I am really under pressure to get the shell back on. Talk with you soon. Chris
wasagachris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2010, 09:57 AM   #8
3 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 100
Hi Chris,

I'll look around for a "Robertson Screw" because I know what you mean about chewing up the heads on those ancient screws.

I'm thinking air driven tools because it will be easier and safer to run an air line to the barn over the snow etc. this Fall.

I've been working on barn prep work so I can work in there so I haven't dug further. But I'm prepared mentally for the worse.

Question: did you remove the roof mounted A/C unit before you took off the shell? That might seem silly to ask... I'm assuming you have/had an A/C unit in the first place.

I'm mentally picturing a wooden gantry in my barn so I can get access to the roof without having to step on it. That thought came to mind last weekend when I was scrubbing the roof and blowing off the accumlated pine needles, before I discovered the floor rot.

Pete
phoyt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2010, 11:52 AM   #9
Rivet Master
 
Currently Looking...
asbury park , New Jersey
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 904
pete -

YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!!
WE KNOW YOU CAN!
and we will hold you accountable!

NJtoNC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2010, 12:03 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
Wabbiteer's Avatar
 
1973 27' Overlander
1972 29' Ambassador
St. Paul , Minnesota
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,043
Images: 2
Blog Entries: 2
Quote:
I'm thinking air driven tools because it will be easier and safer to run an air line to the barn over the snow etc. this Fall.
Here in Minnesota I did my frame with pancake discs in a 1/4" shaft die-grinder tool in October and had pretty severe condensation problems - hot compressed air cooled by the airline laying on the cold ground will fill the airline with condensation water (and in cold weather freeze) so a good filter-drier is required even if you purge the sump regularly.
__________________
The days are short and the night is long and the stars go tumbling by.. . ~Airstream~
Wabbiteer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2010, 03:03 PM   #11
x
 
XXXX , XXXX
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,601
Hi Pete Yes I have an a/c and I did not remove before lifting the shell off.
To lift the shell I just braced the frame from the ground and used two bottle jacks between the cribbing built to hold the shell square and the floor. I lifted the front 4 inches with the two jacks and then the back until I could slip the 4x4's on top of the sawhorses. I had to add a 2x4 shim under the front and rear C channel because the outer skins overlap below the channel . The 4x4's are them attached to the cribbing with 2x6's and bolted together. The sawhorses are attached to the 4x4's as well.
Wabbiteer good call on the condensation and freezing in the airline.You know what winter is like so I guess that makes you an honarary Canuck. P.S. CANADA is spelled C eh N eh D eh! lol
wasagachris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2010, 10:09 PM   #12
3 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 100
Hello everyone... time for an update. I spent today working on the front end of the coach. Before I get stated... thanks for the advice on the airline. I haven't used air tools under those conditions before. I did buy an air drill and love it. I can get it in places where I couldn't get my electric drill.

Chris, thanks. I suspect it will be a while before I try to lift the shell but I'll come back and review your advice and your thread.

This morning I ripped up the fake flooring in the front of the coach and took it to the dump. Naturally I found a lot of water stains and just a hint of rot along the very front edge of the curb side front corner.



The road side wasn't too bad...



I don't like the look of all the water stains on the floor. It suggests past water leaks. I'm 100% sure I don't have water leaks while it is in the barn.



So, on to the next step. I dropped the curbside front banana wrap. Now I know why they are called banana wrap. Things seem to look well enough. The frame doesn't looked rotted, just rusted a bit.



The road side didn't look any different.




Wouldn't it be interesting if we could tell exactly where those stones came from.

Once I cleaned out the insulation, the cross member looked ok.



Backto the interior.



I think that the next time I see a new pergo floor in something like this, I'll automatically suspect floor problems. :-) That spongy feeling wasn't the pergo padding, it was the floor!

I managed to remove the two damaged levelling jacks on the front and the storage compartment that hangs behind the spare tire. Tomorrow, wife permitting, I'll drop more of the belly pan and probably the back banana wraps. So, hopefully, I'll have more pictures to show tomorrow night.

Anyone see a problem yet with the few images of the frame shown above?

Thanks,
Pete
phoyt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2010, 07:20 AM   #13
x
 
XXXX , XXXX
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,601
Hi Pete everything I'm seeing in your pics is atypical to what I found on my A/S. The rear floor rot was the worst coming from the bumper cover. In the front the floor rot will be a lot less and it will be mostly under the C channel across the front and around the curves. FYI post #12 pic #7 that is an outrigger. Outriggers are mounted outside of the main frame rails and crossmembers are in between the rails. The most damage you will find to both crossmember and outriggers will be to the to the lowermost edge wher the belly pan and wraps sit against. On mine the main rails were damaged on the curbside about 1ft either side of the steps and on the roadside right where the fresh water tank is mounted. The rails were also rusted out in the rear from the black tank all the way to the rear bumper. Pull the front belly pan from the fresh water tank all the way forward and the side pans to see how bad your frame is. i hope yours is not as bad as mine.
wasagachris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2010, 02:23 PM   #14
3 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 100
Hi Chris,

Thanks for correcting me on outrigger vs. a cross member. Makes perfect sense. I'd much rather be corrected and have it right. Seriously. :-)

Meanwhile, I've been working today on the curb side belly wrap. I've removed the portion from the front corner back to the battery box. I had to remove the batter box door because it was barely hanging on anyway. The outriggers I've exposed today don't look to bad. I'll have pictures to post this evening.

I'm afraid to go further without one bit of information. I think it is the fresh water tank that is the first tank that I encounter as I work from the front towards the rear of the coach. It seems to have a shell of its own with its own set of larger bolts. It appears that those bolts hold the tank shell and the belly wrap at that point.

Is that correct and can I remove those bolts without causing major problems?

I've ordered but not yet received a service manual from AS, which I would normally expect to tell me the answer to this question.

Meanwhile, I'm going to switch to removing the banana wraps on the rear and see what I find.

Thanks,
Pete
phoyt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2010, 04:48 PM   #15
x
 
XXXX , XXXX
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,601
Pete the fresh water tank is sitting on a large 1 inch thick piece of plywood and has a sheet of aluminum below to protect the plywood from the elements. The plywood is resting on Z shaped bars. On either side of the front bar you will see a bolt. Remove or cut off these bolts to remove the front bar. I just ground them off with a grinder and did not bother to try and undo them. Once the front bar is out, the plywood will slide forward and come out of the two side Z bars. The plywood was sealed to the bars with Vulkem and if it is still good you will have to free it up first. I removed the sheet of aluminum first. Once you have the plywood about halfway forward support the water tank so it will not fall. After it is all the way out you can drop the water tank but make sure all water and electrical connections are removed first.
wasagachris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2010, 06:47 PM   #16
3 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 100
Thanks Chris. I'll take a close look at this next time I get back to working on the project.

I spent several more hours today removing banana wrap and belly wrap. When I pulled the wrap from the area around the stairs it looked reasonably ok.





Wish it all looked as good. I dug into the roadside rear banana wrap.



This is where I ran into trouble... as I was warned to expect, I found some serious rust in the outriggers back here. (By the way, whats with that big piece of shell that was cut out over the water connection?)



You can't see it in this pic but I can see that the next outrigger, forward of this one, is in almost as bad shape. I'll be removing the rest of the belly wrap along both sides to do a complete inventory of the damage.

I found a similiar part cut out of the shell material on the road side rear, show here:



Now, the question is, can replacements be purchased? I'm a long way from needing them but it would be nice to know I can still get them.

It also occurred to me today that I really don't know the status of the black and gray water tanks. I haven't owned a camper before so I don't know a safe way to determine if they contain material that needs to be dumped before I go further or not. The PO had this hooked up to a septic system so I'm hoping the tanks are empty.

Thanks,
Pete
phoyt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2010, 07:18 PM   #17
x
 
XXXX , XXXX
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,601
Pete I am not sure why the outer skins were cut out like that. I found similar strangeness back there as well. On both sides of my shell at the lower curved sections I have double skins, the outer ones were cut too short and a longer one was placed behind it to reach the bottom the c channel. Maybe it has to do with how airstream moves the shell around in the factory before dropping it on the floor. They might need access to inside for mounting jigs and once removed and the shell is on the floor they patch the openings. So far it looks like your frame, outrigger and crossmember damage is contained to the rear only. You lucky dog. Outriggers and crossmembers are available from Out Of Doors Mart or Inland RV ( Andy). Andy is closer to you. The main frame rails are not available but you can get a metal shop to bend you some sections to patch in. My replacements are 11 guage which matches the original thickness.
If you still have power in the trailer check the monitor panel and see what the levels show. You can hook up the sewer drain hose and put it in a 5 gallon pail pulll the valves one at a time and see if anything comes out. Fill the pail and close the valves and dump down toilet of house. How long has the trailer been sitting unused. Most of it may evaporate with enough time.
wasagachris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2010, 07:58 PM   #18
3 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 100
Chris, I am hoping your expectation about the damage being limited to rear is correct. But we will know once I get the rest of the belly wrap off. The tank level meters say they are empty... but given everything else, I don't trust them. They also say a freashly charged batter is only "fair" in condition.

Oddly, I'm far from being discouraged with this project. I like the idea of ripping it down to the bare frame and building it back up again. That is the only way to know for sure the condition of everything and I plan to keep this coach for a long time.

I noticed that the tank releast handles are held in place by a bracked riveted to the belly wrap. Can I drill out those rivets and remove that belly wrap without accidently opening the valves? I have no clue how much resistance exists or should exist in those valve controls. Thinking about filling the tanks here at the house and driving over to the local dumps station to dump everything at once so I'll know for certain. Of course, if I'm going to do that, I need to do so soon, before I take something apart that would make it impossible to safely make that drive. It is about 7 miles from here.

Thanks,
Pete
phoyt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2010, 08:32 PM   #19
x
 
XXXX , XXXX
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,601
Pete your dump valves are mounted dfiierent than mine I have a center bath and mine are mounted directly to the frame rails. There is virtually no play in these valves. as soon as you move them the valve starts to open. Probably a good idea to fill them and go to the dump station. Then you know for sure the tanks are empty. Happy flushing.
wasagachris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2010, 10:51 PM   #20
3 Rivet Member
 
1976 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 100
I've spent most of the past few evenings removing the interior. I now have all of the road side cleared out and tomorrow I'll tackle the curb side. That means the kitchen and bath. I've been reviewing the service manual that finally came from AC. It isn't really too helpful in the written instruction area but the diagrams might be helpful. I was looking at how to remove the toilet which naturally leads me to think about the tanks. I haven't removed the belly wrap yet because haven't been brave enough to drive to the dump station. When I used a flashlight to look down the open toilet it looked bone dry and it certainly didn't look clean. I hesitate to introduce water to that mess because if it is dry, and I add water, I'll likely make just a wet tank full of sludge that won't dump. But if it is dry, it might be easier to handle. I'll have to deal with cleaning it out later anyway... thinking I could just put it in the bed of my pickup truck, fill it with water and drive just the tank to the dump station. Sounds good hear on the couch. We will see how I feel about that idea once I can put my eyes on it!

Wondering where I can purchase replacement tanks... just in case.

Wifie is working all weekend (happens when you own the shop) so I'll be free to work on my AS all weekend. I'll post an update and plenty of pics before the weekend is over... and sooner if I run into a problem and need some advice.

Pete
__________________

phoyt 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


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
'74 sovereign entry door question stickandtin Exterior Storage Compartments & Access Doors 2 04-26-2011 07:57 PM
A handy schematic snapshot from my furnace - 1970 Sovereign ranger_rick Furnaces, Heaters, Fireplaces & Air Conditioning 1 02-18-2011 10:34 PM
Introductions - 1970 Sovereign Owner ranger_rick Member Introductions 5 02-07-2011 08:11 PM


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 06:13 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.