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Old 04-12-2009, 12:30 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1973 31' Sovereign
alameda , California
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 29
Greetings all.

Hi folks. I recently acquired a 1973 31' Sovereign. This is my first trailer, and it needs a LOT of work. The price was right, so I jumped on it, realizing that the opportunity to own one of these slick campers will likely not come again for some time, especially on my budget.
Not surprisingly, a bead broke loose from a wheel as I made the initial pull from where it had been sitting for the past 20 years. I continued to pull it out to to a clear spot and pulled said wheel, then managed to get the bead reseated and slowly inflated the four tires. The wheel bearings all seamed to spin freely without play (although the brakes where quite nasty sounding), so I pulled it a few miles down the road and took another look - the tires where a bit warm, but everything seemed OK.
As you can see, it has been neglected for some time. The interior is absolutely disgusting, I'll post some pics of that soon. I'll likely gut the interior (saving most of the cabinets and panels to later use as templates to make measuring for the new ones easier) all together and start over with a custom layout.
I've been perusing the forums all morning and late last night, and discovered that the rotted rear bath floor might not be so simple as laying down some new 5/8" plywood. I didn't notice frame separation, but haven't looked closely enough, either. The trailer had been sitting since '86 in a park 100 miles away, and I'm hoping that the limited road use may have spared the rear frame to some degree. Nonetheless, I'm sure some welding and fabrication will be in order. Thanks to the many posters of pics and how-to's on how to properly make this repair.
I'm not quite sure where to proceed after cleaning up the inside. I'm tempted for two reasons to start polishing. First reason is that I think the neighbors will be more tolerant if the exterior looks nicer, second reason, I'll enjoy looking at it and perhaps work at a more motivated pace!
I'll go take a few more pics of existing damage, which, now that I mention it should be addressed right away, post the interior clean-out. Encouraging advice will be most appreciated.
Nice meeting you all. Talk soon.

ps~ the attached pic is of the Airstream before I pulled it home.
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Old 04-12-2009, 02:18 PM   #2
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1993 34' Limited
Melbourne Florida , Springfield Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 759
Images: 5
Hello and welcome to the forum. Best of success in your venture.
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Old 04-12-2009, 02:31 PM   #3
3 Rivet Member
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1975 31' Sovereign
Biloxi , Mississippi
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 155
Images: 28

Hello and welcome! I was in your situation not too long ago and wish you luck with your restore. Sounds like you'll be doing about the same that I did. I'm just awaiting to pull my shell of the frame to work on frame.

I'll be awaiting to see some pictures. I'd recommend a face mask and gloves . I found quite a mess in mine. Check out my blog to see the things that I found.
Brian Schmock

'75 31ft Airstream Sovereign

Come check out my restoration progress:
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Old 04-12-2009, 03:46 PM   #4
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,352
Images: 5
Welcome from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

It looks like you've got a big job ahead of you, but it's not undoable.

You've found the right place for the best Airstream information available.
SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2020 Silverado 2500 (Vivian)
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Old 04-12-2009, 07:33 PM   #5
2 Rivet Member
1973 31' Sovereign
alameda , California
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 29
a quick turn south

I'm suddenly quite discouraged with this acquisition, despite it being a freebie. I checked with the local traffic division to help me decide whether or not taking the AS would be a good idea. They said having a detached trailer this size on the street would be no problem, but I'd have to move it every couple of days. No big thing. However today, one of my neighbors told me her trailer was towed for being on the street, to the tune of $1400.
What's more is everything is shot - the plumbing, the bathroom, the electrical. I think I'd be wiser to spend a couple of grand on something in better shape, and improve upon it instead. This fun project just turned into a potential nightmare. I could check into renting a parking space at a storage place, but that's money out of the AS budget.
I'm afraid I might have to let it go to the yard. Pretty bummed about it.
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:06 PM   #6
2 Rivet Member
1973 31' Sovereign
alameda , California
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 29
No Way

Yes, I'm feeling a bit manic-depressive....but forget it. There's no way I'm letting her go that easy. I'll figure something out. I was about to sit down at my piano when I looked out the window and saw little girl snapping photos of my AS. My first reaction was "great, someone's going to call the police", but it turns out it was Pinkflamingoes and her daughter, who evidently live a few blocks away and are amid an off-the-frame restoration themselves. I'll take that as a good omen. The Airstream stays.
I think it's time to take this to a different forum. Talk you all soon!
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