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Old 03-19-2009, 06:11 PM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
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New - 73 International

Hello Everyone I am new to this wonderful message board. My husband and I just bought a 1973 31' International Airstream. We will be working on restoring it. My hopes are that we get it out this year for camping but I am not sure if that is going to happen. I have come here to research how to restore this wonderful airstream.
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Old 03-19-2009, 06:14 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, glad to see another 31footer saved.
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Old 03-19-2009, 06:30 PM   #3
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Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

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Old 03-19-2009, 07:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damerritt View Post
Hello Everyone I am new to this wonderful message board. My husband and I just bought a 1973 31' International Airstream. We will be working on restoring it. My hopes are that we get it out this year for camping but I am not sure if that is going to happen. I have come here to research how to restore this wonderful airstream.
The first thing you should do is prepare a list of what needs to be replaced or repaired, and the costs, so that you will have some sort of idea what the bottom line might be.

Other than body damage, one of the larger expenses can be the axles. The following will teach you how to check them out in about 30 seconds.


Check all the exterior gaskets, for the windows, access compartments and the entrance door. If they are all original, they should be replaced. There is an improved window gasket available that is far superior to the original.

Check the sewer vent pipe cover gaskets. They only last 2 to 3 years or so. If bad, they let rain water into the wall and then on to the floor, where you cannot see it.

Andy
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:00 PM   #5
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Andy -

Thank you so much for leading us in the right direction. I sure was hoping to clean it up and get it out there to be camped in this year. But after see it and talking with my husband about it. I don't think that is going to happen this year. I really wish that I had somewhere I could store it indoors that was cheap enough so that I could work on it during the winter and when it is raining. I guess we are going to have to shoot for next year to get it out there. I can't wait to travel with it. My husband and I are very excited about our purchase and find.
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:08 PM   #6
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damerritt...
As a bonus treat, why not consider hardshell tenting with your A/S??..No one else will know the differences and, you get to try it out in your driveway or, at a local campground..
ciao
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Old 04-04-2009, 04:40 PM   #7
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Well that is a very interesting way to think about it. We just might have to think about that one.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:29 PM   #8
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Hello from Florida and welcome to the forum. Best of success.
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Old 04-04-2009, 10:45 PM   #9
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Welcome to the forums! This is the place to learn all things Airstream! Not to mention meeting great folks! I would highly suggest you check out the rally calendar and find the first one you can near you and go... even without your trailer! You will get to talk to other Airstream owners, get lots of good first hand information and how-to's as well as see all the cool things everyone does! The forum rallies are great and you don't have to be "formal" members. The WBCCI rallies are good as well, but much more structured ~ but still nice to see the trailers and get great info from folks.

Post some pics of your trailer, in process! We love pics here!

Welcome!
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Old 04-04-2009, 10:54 PM   #10
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Greetings from Manitoba, and congratulations on your purchase.
If it's looking like you are not going to be on the road this summer by all means try it out in the driveway or close to home as someone has already suggested. There is no better way to find out what you have to add to your to do list.
We purchased a 1974 '31 Sovereign (rear bed) in October 2007 and have not had it on the road yet. Did have it on the road once - 6 hrs towing it home. Couldn't believe how easy it was to tow. Getting close now on ours though with just a few more things to do.
What things do you have to work on B4 hitting the road?
Anyways, have fun!!
Bob
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:28 AM   #11
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What work needs to be done?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nairnchyz View Post
Greetings from Manitoba, and congratulations on your purchase.
If it's looking like you are not going to be on the road this summer by all means try it out in the driveway or close to home as someone has already suggested. There is no better way to find out what you have to add to your to do list.
We purchased a 1974 '31 Sovereign (rear bed) in October 2007 and have not had it on the road yet. Did have it on the road once - 6 hrs towing it home. Couldn't believe how easy it was to tow. Getting close now on ours though with just a few more things to do.
What things do you have to work on B4 hitting the road?
Anyways, have fun!!
Bob
We have to work on everything. We have to clean it up first. I was looking at it the other day and saw a lot of bees nests everywhere on the outside of it. I think just cleaning it up will do alot. My husband and I have been reading and researching here and online alot about what to do. We have both kind of decided that we want to gut the whole thing and start by checking out the frame and everything. Ours has been sitting for 10 years. We have no flooring in it just the plywood. It looks like there is water damage to some of it. The cabinets all need to come out and be fixed and cleaned up. We have no front couch in it. We are thinking about putting a bunk above the rear bed for our son. My husband and I don't really like the idea of him being at the front of the camper and us at the back. The interior of the trailer had mice in it so it needs lots of TLC. I will post pictures later on today.
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:13 PM   #12
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Pictures

Here is a picture of the outside and the inside of the airstream. As you can see we have some work to do.
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:42 PM   #13
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Ann and Douglas, until you mentioned gutting it, I was going to say make what repairs you can now, and get in it and go! You'll learn more about your AS by using it. Be sure to get the correct weight distribution/anti-sway package for it and your TV.
You don't say how old your son is...As a father of two girls, and grandfather of two girls (we're taking the grandkids out in our AS this July for a week), the last thing I wanted when camping or trailering was my kids next to me and my wife while out in the woods! LOLOL The nice thing about an AS is that your child sleeping up front is like him being in his bedroom at home. But, different strokes for different folks... good luck and welcome to the forum!!
Steven
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:44 PM   #14
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Ann & Douglas,
Good to see your pictures, the shell on the curbside look mint, and the front corner windows appear to be clear and not all fogged up which is common.
I side with Steven - if at all possible get in it and go, life's too short. A strong cleaning solution will do wonders for cleaning up after the furry friends, some throw rugs will cover the plywood for now, a fouton would be a temporary fix for the missing couch until you decide what you want to do with the front end.
Ann mentioned earlier on about finding shelter to work on it in the winter. You could look around this summer for a place and with any luck have all of next winter to do a major refurbish on your A/S.
One of the things I did to our '74 was relocate the water inlet from the streetside back bumper to curbside under the hot water heater (mid bath). When I cut into the belly under the hot water heater I discovered a wasp nest which filled that whole space between the outriggers. So you will find suprises like this as you get working on your A/S. I believe this is all part and parcel of refurbishing these classic coaches and if nothing else it does provide one with lots of tales to swap with other owners.
Let us know how you are making out. The pictures tell me you have a diamond in the rough.
Bob
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:38 AM   #15
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Ann & Douglas,
One of the things I did to our '74 was relocate the water inlet from the streetside back bumper to curbside under the hot water heater (mid bath). Bob
Hi Bob,
Just curious as to why you chose that spot. We don't often get hookups, but don't most camp sites with water have it located on the street side?
Thanks,
Grant
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:58 PM   #16
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Hi Grant,

I believe you are right about streetside services at campgrounds. Any pictures I see on the forum of A/S hooked up at campgrounds show it that way.

Why did I choose that spot? We purchased our Sovereign in October 2007. It was located on a seasonal lot at Westhawk Lake near the Ontario border. We pulled it home Thanksgiving weekend in 2007. It was getting cold and didn't do much with it at that time. The following spring I hooked it up to water to discover the PO had let it freeze up. It was leaking water like a sieve. Water was even coming out of the belly ahead of the front axle. You probably know this already having a Sovereign, but the water line goes up from the back bumper, through the bedroom, through the closets and then about where the fridge is located it goes down into the belly and across to curbside and surfaces once again under the oven where the water pump is located. I just figured at the time that running all that copper was just asking for trouble in the future and I didn't relish the idea of opening the belly up to repair the burst copper. Also the lines running from the water pump back to the mid bath were bust up bad as well.
So I ripped all the copper out and replaced everything with pex. When I was hooking up the connections by the water heater in the bathroom I had the brainstorm idea that this was the location to bring the city water into the A/S. I had a local welding shop here fabricate an aluminum "box" and put the connection in that. I then got carried away and plumbed outside shower fittings with pex into that same aluminum "box". May never use that feature but it's there now. I still have to remove the copper from the bedroom and closets. The welding shop still has to make up a door for the "box". It's pretty well protected behind the mud flap. I also want to put some of that expandable foam in around the box to fill the belly cavity where I removed insulation as well as a wasp's nest.
If we ever get the A/S on the road I will have to keep in mind that I will need to have approximately another extra 10 - 12' of water hose because of the curside hookup.
Would I do it a second time? Who knows!! I do know that installing pex is not just a Saturday afternoon affair! It is a good feeling to know that I won't have to contend with copper anytime soon.
So that's why the spot is where it is.
Send me a PM and tell me about your Sovereign.
Bob
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:58 AM   #17
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You will love your Sovereign when you're able to get him on the road. Dry camping for a try-out is a good idea. We didn't do any major rennovations to ours and have been camping in it from almost the first week. These are great old trailers with lots of room. I have no covered storage for either of my Airstreams and have worked on them in all kinds of weather. When it's nice out you work outside, when it's cold or rainy you work inside. Check out the electrical, gas and wheel bearings and then go to a local campground. Oh yes, hook up the shore water to check for leaks. If the plumbing is good to go....take off for a week-end. Have fun with your rennovation.
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