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Old 07-05-2022, 12:12 PM   #1
Airstream Newbie
 
1970 31' Sovereign
Vancouver , British Columbia
Join Date: Jul 2022
Posts: 3
What did I get myself into? 😂

Hello Airstream friends
Brand new to this forum and to Airstreams in general.
Bought my first trailer - a 1970 Sovereign in February and am just getting around to working on it now with my partner. Her name is Pegasus, due to finding her on a horse farm and my obsession with mythical creatures.

She only had a few bits of original kit left in her, so our plan is to fully demo her and do a body-on remodel. She will be our temporary home while we build our house on the family farm on Vancouver Island, and eventually a guest house or Airbnb for farmstay visitors. I would love to start an artist/musician retreat eventually (I'm a folk rock musician who currently moonlights in tech).

Heres a few photos of the exterior and our progress with demo so far.

Looking forward to conversing and making some new friends here!

bex
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Old 07-05-2022, 12:35 PM   #2
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
2022 Interstate 24X
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 14,241
Hi

Looking at this and that in the pictures ... it appears you have roof leaks and floor rot. It is not at all uncommon to pull the shell off the frame to get the floor fully fixed. Also the frame itself may well be rusted out. Again a bit of a chore to fix.

Before you get to deep in this, do a "survey" of what's likely involved. Cost is one thing, time is another, working space out of the rain is also part of it. It is not uncommon for these things to run into a couple of years done on a DIY / part time basis.

Even with a best checkout with everything still in place, you only will really know what's what after you dig deep into this and that. "Surprises" are very much of the deal.

Bob
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Old 07-05-2022, 01:51 PM   #3
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1970 31' Sovereign
Vancouver , British Columbia
Join Date: Jul 2022
Posts: 3
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Looking at this and that in the pictures ... it appears you have roof leaks and floor rot. It is not at all uncommon to pull the shell off the frame to get the floor fully fixed. Also the frame itself may well be rusted out. Again a bit of a chore to fix.

Bob
hi bob! yep - plan is to do a full check for leaky exterior panels once the wall panels come off. I have a few suspicions based on where the floor is rotted. mostly under the rear bath and a few spots along the mid ribs. I anticipate being able to spot patch without doing a full shell off, or atleast that's the plan for now

appreciate your tips! What vintage models have you restored?
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Old 07-05-2022, 02:54 PM   #4
3 Rivet Member
 
1970 23' Safari
Marion , New York
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 165
Welcome to the Forum and congratulations on getting your Airstream. I asked myself the same question when I brought home my '70 Safari, "What did I get myself into?" The Airstream had the usual vintage trailer issues of leaks, floor rot, frame damage, and worn axle, all of which can be overwhelming at first. By breaking the work down into smaller projects you can avoid that overwhelming feeling. I've made good progress on my restoration but still have a ways to go.

I look forward to following your project. Good Luck and have fun with it.
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Old 07-05-2022, 05:30 PM   #5
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1969 25' Tradewind
Shasta Lake , California
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 985
Welcome to the rebuilds club .

Plan on 2+ year’s of fun depending on how many hours a week you can put into it , and how many $$$ it takes .
Start a build thread in the 70 Sovereign forum .

Take a look at my build thread it will give you some idea of what you’re in for . Just click the link in my signature .
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Old 07-05-2022, 05:57 PM   #6
3 Rivet Member
 
1979 31' Excella 500
Mojave , California
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 162
Welcome!


Your trailer is not that bad, it could be worse! This was mine when I started.
As someone said, do an assessment of the frame etc... before starting that will be helpful to see how much work you'll have to do on it.

If you want to be sure look at everything before you start. Otherwise, don't look too close so you don't get scared lol I don't know if I would have started or even bought my trailer if I had looked at everything beforehand. Yes, I spent more time and more money but I don't regret it It is a fun, interesting, and rewarding project even if I am nowhere near done yet.
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Old 07-06-2022, 07:14 PM   #7
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7,702
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Welcome to the vintage Airstream hobby and these Airstream Forums. We're live in the Colorado foothills and have been Airstream traveling since 2006. And we like the vintage trailers. I've renovated 4 of them, including a 76 Sovereign 31'. It is a lot of fun, and keeps a guy out of the bars so to speak. I figure about 1000 hours of labor for one of my projects. Taking the shell off adds many hours to that.

I did not remove the body, or shell as we call it, on any of my projects. But I certainly replaced axles, repaired a rusty and bent frame, replaced the rotted subfloor where needed, new plumbing, upgraded electrical, built new cabinets where needed, new appliances, sealed leaks, etc, etc. Just lots of fun.

Since your trailer's "mission" will be more of a full time living rig instead of a travel trailer. Thus you may want to design your new interior with that in mind. For example a bigger wardrobe, better beds (twin beds are more comfortable for us), bigger bath, bigger food pantry, bigger fridge, and comfortable eating and relaxing areas. Added weight will be less of a consideration. But make sure your new axles are big enough to handle some extra weight.

Here are a few photos of my friend's 76 Sovereign we renovated 3 years ago. They travel around Colorado and other destinations quite a bit. It is working well for them.

David
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Old 07-07-2022, 12:52 PM   #8
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1970 31' Sovereign
Vancouver , British Columbia
Join Date: Jul 2022
Posts: 3
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Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post

Since your trailer's "mission" will be more of a full time living rig instead of a travel trailer. Thus you may want to design your new interior with that in mind. For example a bigger wardrobe, better beds (twin beds are more comfortable for us), bigger bath, bigger food pantry, bigger fridge, and comfortable eating and relaxing areas.

David
Thank you so much David (and all the other commenters in the thread). Such a wealth of knowledge here that I'm feeling more and more confident with each new thread. You make a great point about designing purposefully for the trailer's future life. It's eventually going to be a short-term rental so I def agree prioritizing some of the amenities that might seem "luxurious" for roadtripping will be high on our list, including high capacity hot water heater and big bathroom, larger beds & overall high level of finish.

I'm stoked 👍
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Old 07-08-2022, 06:27 PM   #9
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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Many, many years ago Airstream used to make what they called a "park" model. It was designed for "extended stays" instead of traveling to central America and back. I think the main difference is the electrics were more attuned to 120v power and not 12v. Same with the fridge.

I've seen some rental Airstreams in campgrounds. I think what people like is privacy and some outdoor space with shade from the sun and cover from the rain.

David
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