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Old 08-27-2014, 04:26 PM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
Huntsville , Texas
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In Over My Head on 1977 31' Airstream Sovereign

Got some estimates back on my '77 Airstream 31 foot Sovereign from RV Masters in Houston and my head is spinning. Need some guidance. I gutted it down to the frame and shell b/c of the stank from insulation/rot. Here are the figures:

Frame Repair $6600 (labor and parts, +50 ft. of beams)
Subfloor replacement (total replacement) $2900 (labor and parts)
Plumbing (total replacement) $4,300 (labor and parts)
Paid $1500 for trailer and put about $1200 into tires, title, tax, new dump valve.

Is this typical? Technician says the frame isn't hardly 1/10 inch thick in a lot of place on frame and that it looks like frame was sitting on a beach. I could see at least 10 outriggers that needed to be replaced but I must have missed the major rust/rot. I have some pics on my profile. Now contemplating getting out. I could use some wisdom.
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:39 PM   #2
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1976 31' Sovereign
Missouri City , Texas
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2nd Opinion from longtime Airstream Service Shop would help. You are in luck, Bob Jones RV in Houston has been servicing and repairing Airstreams for a long long time. Call and ask for Chris Jones.

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Don Hardman
1976 31' Sovereign
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:16 PM   #3
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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Originally Posted by adonh View Post
.... Call and ask for Chris Jones.
Double in Spades what Don said.

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

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Trailer '78 31' Sovereign

Living Large at an Airstream Park on the Largest Lake Totally Contained in Texas
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:33 PM   #4
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Im curious about what Jones had to say. have you been able to drag your slab up to them to get there quote/opinion on the matter?
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Old 09-03-2014, 07:09 PM   #5
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I hope you can get a better estimate. Unfortunately, those major repairs you listed just aren't economical if you don't have the time to do it yourself. After all that work you'll have nearly 17k in the trailer and you still have to do the interior and probably replace the axles too pushing it up over 20k. Would it be worth 20k to you to have a nicely restored 31 ft AS? If not, sell it and consider your losses a tuition payment toward your doctorate in Airstream ownership.
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Old 09-03-2014, 07:11 PM   #6
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1983 31' Airstream310
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As a person who has replaced a large portion of my 310 MH sub floor, currently replacing most of the cabinetry and interior vinyl. I have seen a show on Extreme RV where someone spent $54,000.00 getting someone else to do what I'm doing on my 310. I don't have $54,000.00 and from the sounds of it, neither do you. My advice for you is quite simple.

If you are complaining of the cost to restore an Airstream and unwilling to do the work yourself, you need to sell the trailer, keeping the parts you want to and buy a trailer that needs NO work done to it. Seriously, you will not get out of the trailer what you're planning on investing, as you haven't even factored in the replacment interior yet.

Think of the 1,200.00 as money well spent educating yourself on the perils of buying a cheap trailer.

I'm sorry if I'm being blunt.

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Old 09-03-2014, 07:46 PM   #7
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In Over My Head on 1977 31' Airstream Sovereign

Check this thread out.

The work your trailer needs isn't that hard, but it is labor intensive.

Time is money, and paying full shop rates is not cheap.

The only one of those estimates that looks WAY out of line to me is the plumbing. PEX makes the job much easier than the estimate implies.
The fact that I am opinionated does not presuppose that I am wrong......

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Old 09-03-2014, 09:41 PM   #8
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The estimate sounds a bit high to me. You could most definitely get the costs down by piecing it out and acting as a general contractor, rather than taking it to a single RV place and letting them take on that role.

But...if you have someone else do the work, no matter who it is, it is going to be costly compared to doing it yourself. So reconsider why you went vintage in the first place. If it is because you thought with a relatively low investment, you could be camping in a short time, then perhaps your expectations just got calibrated in a hard way. I know the feeling--I spent a lot of time finding The Trailer, thinking it would be a fix-up job, but it is now three years later, I've repaired the frame, replaced the floor, axle, insulation, and interior skins. Finally to the point that I am rebuilding the interior after three years.

Good luck with your decision!
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:13 PM   #9
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1977 31' Sovereign
Huntsville , Texas
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ia2k I spoke to Chris Jones from Bob Jones over the phone and without looking at the frame, he said he wasn't too surprised at the figure. However, he never actually saw it. Attached are a few pics - if you zoom in, you can see where the rust/rot are (mostly the outriggers) and some on the driverside (right side in pic) perimeter beam.

I'm pretty handy, but one skill I haven't dabbled in is welding and electrical. I could wire brush off rust and make cuts, but not weld. Also, the bend for the subfloor would be tricky, not to mention lifting the shell and storing belly pan (I live in an apartment, and keep the trailer at a good buddy's VERY generous parent's place).
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:22 PM   #10
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1977 31' Sovereign
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If pic this doesn't work, just check my images.
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