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Old 04-17-2021, 09:47 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
1963 30' Sovereign
Alden , MI
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 50
Images: 9
How do we decide what we need in gut job redo?

We bought a gutted 1963 Sovereign. It has a redone frame and new marine floor. It only has the inside skins and a few things like light fixtures with it. We are working on figuring out floorplans and a plan of attack for the renovation and exploring what we want and need.

Great, right? It is, but as we have been watching YouTube videos, reading here, and lots of articles, and scoping out the local RV salvage store and ebay and FB Marketplace, we are realizing that we don't really know what we need in terms of systems and appliances and for some of them we aren't quite sure how to figure it out. And the electrical has us the most flummoxed.

So being a 30' and having a family of 10, (3 are married with their own homes and 2 are surly teenagers who may or may not camp) we will likely be camping with 5-7 of us and hopefully eventually grandkids will be camping with us. We kind of assume in a lot of things we need the largest of whatever. Like we have figured out that we need a 15,000 AC and we are wanting to get one with a heat pump. We are also pretty sure that we want to get one of the large double door RV fridges.

There are charts for figuring out what sizes of wire we will need. (We are planning on buying tinyshinyhome's electrical plan) but we need to figure out what we need for other things. Mostly because we want to price out items so if we come across a deal at a salvage place or secondhand that we can jump on it knowing that it will work for us and not get things that will be too small or not work.

We are mostly campground campers, but we want to have systems in place for other things. Our adult kids have moved out of state and so we plan to go to visit them which will probably involve some boon docking and some driveway camping. It is possible that we may do some short term fulltiming after retirement. We might also have it off grid when we buy some property to build our retirement home on. We plan to set things up for solar like running wires and such, even though that will be the last thing we do and we will probably put it in in phases as we can afford it.

So how do we figure out what size and type of inverter, fuse box, converter, circuit breaker, batteries, etc do we need? And how big of a solar system should we be looking at?

And on the non-electric side of that, what size black grey and fresh tanks, furnace, water pump, axles etc do we need?

HELP!
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Katherine 27 (Rohan), Christian 25 (Katee), Johannah 23 (Josh), Nicholas 18, Genevieve 16, Matthew 13, Andrew 11, Bonus baby Lillian 5, and Delia the Wonder Dog
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Old 04-17-2021, 09:54 AM   #2
Rivet Master
 
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 16,303
You might want to check the sub-forum which includes your model, and the various restoration threads there:
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f27/
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f524/
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f52...no-220916.html
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f52...ion-93365.html
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f52...ion-76755.html

Good luck.
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Let the music lift you up . . .
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Old 04-17-2021, 10:56 AM   #3
3 Rivet Member
 
1976 Argosy 24
1961 28' Ambassador
1968 26' Overlander
Lakewood , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 115
Good advice from OTRA15. Your other post also makes more sense after reading this. I have already PM'd you from the other post, contact me if you like.... Mark D
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Old 04-17-2021, 01:26 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
1969 18' Caravel
Greenville , whereEverIroam
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 1,057
Images: 20
Words of encouragement

Congrats on your new project!

You are right now at the most overwhelming stage, but you are doing the right things, lots of research, just don't fall into the paralysis-by-analysis trap.

Let me offer some words of encouragement and advise:

There is no one right way to do your trailer, which is not to say you can't get it wrong, there are lots of wrong ways that would comprise safety or weight and balance, or systems integrity or what-have-you, but if you do just a little research and use this forum to take advantage of the experienced help here, you will do just fine.

Don't worry about making it perfect, because it never will be. It will also never be "finished" because you will always find new functions or new needs to incorporate as you and yours age in and out of new situations. It's good to have an idea of what you'll need in the future, but focus on what you need now to move forward.

Enjoy the journey. For many of us crazies, restoring a vintage AS trailer into a vehicle that allows us to explore and visit new and old places is a source of joy, no kidding. But remember the trailer is a means, not an end. Work as much as you like on it, but take it out as soon as it is safe to do so, and as often as possible - view these first excursions as "test runs" to gather data on how the trailer is working (or not) and to gain insight into what systems are more important than others, etc.

Become an active part of this community. Camping is social. So is travel. Ask lots of questions here, start a thread on your restoration project, let us follow your progress and help (you will get lots of conflicting advise now and then, and that is a good thing because it reveals different schools of thought on how to tackle a problem and you will learn even more so you can make the decision best in your case) You can also join a local Wally Byam Caravan Club, the oldest Airstream club and see what others nearby have done or are doing. As you solve these problems one by one, you will gain the satisfaction of accomplishment and confidence to help others on their journeys down the road.

Welcome! Don't worry. Have fun! We'll see you on the road, hopefully sooner than you think!
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Old 04-17-2021, 07:43 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
Hittenstiehl's Avatar
 
1962 28' Ambassador
1961 19' Globetrotter
1962 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 4,806
Images: 9
Hang in there.

This is a stage many of us are familiar with. The excitement gets infused with a healthy dose of reality, confines of skill sets, confusion of priorities, budgetary constraints and projects paralysis.

Just keep plugging along with the best most researched decisions that work for you. It helps if you can take your time if you are undecided on certain aspects. Also remember you can campmin it before it is completed.

Road safe towability and water tight is really all you need to start with.
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Old 04-18-2021, 11:02 AM   #6
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 9,296
Hi

Things go a bit sideways when you start talking about 10 people and a tiny little 30' trailer. If you look at the "stock" layouts, AS has a tough time fitting 4 adults into 30'. Indeed, even with kids getting past 6 is very unusual.

Some of the constraints:

1) You need to sit someplace to eat. Typical seating around the table is in the 4 to 6 range.

2) You need someplace to put gear. (jackets / boots / socks ....)

3) You need to haul a lot of food.

4) Typical black, gray, and fresh water tanks are scaled for 2 to 4 people. Taking that up to 10 .... yikes. ( = you pretty much will have to have full hookups).

5) Everybody needs to get there in some sort of vehicle. Towing this size trailer behind a passenger van is another "yikes" sort of thing. I'd figure on one or two vehicles plus the TV on the trailer.

6) I'm pretty sure that if you have 10 people in my 30', they would have a pretty hard time finding a place to stand, let alone sit or relax .....

(yes this list could go on and on ...).

So what's the point of this?

If you will be camping with that big a group, they all are not going to fit in the 30' (at least not comfortably). I would not try to do a design that accommodates sleeping / feeding / gear / ... for 10 folks in that size trailer.

How could you do it?

1) TENTS !!!! Rumble out with the trailer set up for (say) 4 or 5 folks. Put the other half of the group in a tent or three. Eat at a table outdoors. Get a spot that is reasonably close to the shower / restrooms.

2) You have multiple vehicles involved, have multiple trailers.

3) Get something a *lot* bigger. This is not something I would recommend.

If you are going to sleep 4 adults in the 30', how do you feel about bunk beds? There isn't a lot of space for them, but they are the only practical way to avoid the "tear down the bed / set up the bed" daily process.

If you are going to seat 6 or 8 adults for meal time, are you willing to have that "feature" dominate one end of the trailer?

I'd work out the "number of folks" part before any Reno gets done .....

Bob
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Old 04-18-2021, 12:51 PM   #7
4 Rivet Member
 
Napa , California
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 256
Only you will know for sure what you actually need.

Start with a list of the interior basics -refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, water heater, sink(s), air conditioners, flooring, cabinets, pantry, closets, beds.

Then make scrapbook of what you like -photos from anywhere including visits to dealers (both Airstream and non-Airstream), friend's trailers, anything you can find.

Next step would be blocking out your trailer floorplan to see what will actually fit. This will also help with how these things attach to the stuff you can't see -the black tank needs to open under the toilet and moving that toilet across the trailer might also require moving or replacing the black tank. Once you have an idea of what you want (big refrigerator) you can also hunt down the installation instructions to discover the space and attachments necessary. And, that will also give you the price and other specifics -right door? left door? drawer? Gas, electric, battery? What clearance do you need to open and access the inside?

Plan in hand, you are ready to go. Some folks work around a particular feature or piece (a big sink, a king sized bed...) so start with whatever is more important and leave the stuff you don't care as much about after you've got your most desired stuff purchased.

It is a bit more time consuming at the start, but you won't wind up with a bunch of purchased items that can't be used or have to settle for something you really don't want.
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Old 04-20-2021, 01:39 AM   #8
2 Rivet Member
 
1963 30' Sovereign
Alden , MI
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 50
Images: 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Things go a bit sideways when you start talking about 10 people and a tiny little 30' trailer. If you look at the "stock" layouts, AS has a tough time fitting 4 adults into 30'. Indeed, even with kids getting past 6 is very unusual.

Some of the constraints:

1) You need to sit someplace to eat. Typical seating around the table is in the 4 to 6 range.

2) You need someplace to put gear. (jackets / boots / socks ....)

3) You need to haul a lot of food.

4) Typical black, gray, and fresh water tanks are scaled for 2 to 4 people. Taking that up to 10 .... yikes. ( = you pretty much will have to have full hookups).

5) Everybody needs to get there in some sort of vehicle. Towing this size trailer behind a passenger van is another "yikes" sort of thing. I'd figure on one or two vehicles plus the TV on the trailer.

6) I'm pretty sure that if you have 10 people in my 30', they would have a pretty hard time finding a place to stand, let alone sit or relax .....

(yes this list could go on and on ...).

So what's the point of this?

If you will be camping with that big a group, they all are not going to fit in the 30' (at least not comfortably). I would not try to do a design that accommodates sleeping / feeding / gear / ... for 10 folks in that size trailer.

How could you do it?

1) TENTS !!!! Rumble out with the trailer set up for (say) 4 or 5 folks. Put the other half of the group in a tent or three. Eat at a table outdoors. Get a spot that is reasonably close to the shower / restrooms.

2) You have multiple vehicles involved, have multiple trailers.

3) Get something a *lot* bigger. This is not something I would recommend.

If you are going to sleep 4 adults in the 30', how do you feel about bunk beds? There isn't a lot of space for them, but they are the only practical way to avoid the "tear down the bed / set up the bed" daily process.

If you are going to seat 6 or 8 adults for meal time, are you willing to have that "feature" dominate one end of the trailer?

I'd work out the "number of folks" part before any Reno gets done .....

Bob
I explained a lot of this in my master thread. Even though we are a family of 10, 3 of my 20something kids are married and have flown the coop and live on their own. (their spouses names are the ones in parenthesis.) If they stay in it, it will be more of a guestroom situation in our driveway at our house. 2 of my kids are teenagers who may or may not camp with us. So the reality is we will probably be camping with 5-6 of us. That being said, we camped with 8-10 of us on a regular basis in our old 30' non-Airstream camper, when the big kids were younger, no problem. No tents needed. Though it did get snug if we had a rainy day, but we usually took off and did something fun and indoors like a movie. We also had an outdoor picnic table under the awning, so we were out there in non lightning and non windy rain, too. We pulled that camper with a 2500 15 passenger Chevy Express, no problem. And quadbunks are definitely part of the plan, because even when our kids don't camp with us, we hope to bring grandkids camping. We are considering Shinytinyhome's bunkbed version where the tops fold down to make couches and are noodling putting a version of the fold down vintage AS long narrow table to pull out in the middle as dinette/game table space and when a bedroom it would fold away. We plan on of the biggest double door fridges as one of the things. We also usually have a dorm fridge and coolers for beverages and overflow. The u-shaped dinette vs a queen or king masterbedroom vs a queen sized gaucho in the front with the quad bunks in the back is part of the design debate currently. So yeah, we have thought those things through (or are debating options for a few things).

We are looking at 2 gray tanks, a black and a fresh. When we camp in campgrounds, we tend to use the campground toilets and showers during the day and only use that toilet for nighttime emergencies. Again, we camped with 8-10 people for a week at a time without emptying tanks or we would pull out midweek and empty once if we did a lot of dishes.

Where we may run into issues is the use of tech. We are going to need a LOT of outlets for charging phone, tablets and laptops. I'm wondering if we are going to need more than 1 battery. Eventually (probably last because of the cost, but we will run the wire for it now...) we plan to put in solar and Lithium batteries, but until then, we will only be boondocking a night at a time, though we do have a small generator we can run to charge the battery if needed.
__________________
Scott & Katie
Katherine 27 (Rohan), Christian 25 (Katee), Johannah 23 (Josh), Nicholas 18, Genevieve 16, Matthew 13, Andrew 11, Bonus baby Lillian 5, and Delia the Wonder Dog
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Old 04-20-2021, 01:54 AM   #9
2 Rivet Member
 
1963 30' Sovereign
Alden , MI
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 50
Images: 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atwebs View Post
Only you will know for sure what you actually need.

Start with a list of the interior basics -refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, water heater, sink(s), air conditioners, flooring, cabinets, pantry, closets, beds.

Then make scrapbook of what you like -photos from anywhere including visits to dealers (both Airstream and non-Airstream), friend's trailers, anything you can find.

Next step would be blocking out your trailer floorplan to see what will actually fit. This will also help with how these things attach to the stuff you can't see -the black tank needs to open under the toilet and moving that toilet across the trailer might also require moving or replacing the black tank. Once you have an idea of what you want (big refrigerator) you can also hunt down the installation instructions to discover the space and attachments necessary. And, that will also give you the price and other specifics -right door? left door? drawer? Gas, electric, battery? What clearance do you need to open and access the inside?

Plan in hand, you are ready to go. Some folks work around a particular feature or piece (a big sink, a king sized bed...) so start with whatever is more important and leave the stuff you don't care as much about after you've got your most desired stuff purchased.

It is a bit more time consuming at the start, but you won't wind up with a bunch of purchased items that can't be used or have to settle for something you really don't want.
This is pretty much our plan of attack and what we are working on. We currently have no tanks, so figuring out the bathroom and toilet location is high on the list. Quad bunks are a must. Hubby has picked out the stove and double door fridge from the RV surplus store. (We haven't bought them yet, but we go and admire them...) Fridge is going inside the door as that is where it was originally and the vent and access doors are there. Sink is going to go near the original sink vent. Stove is going near the original cool vintage stove vent that we have. Bath is going somewhere in the middle, (was originally a rear bath) but we are struggling with the wheelwells, so it may be on two sides or we may go back to a smaller rear bath and put the quad bunks over the wheelwells. Right now we are noodling and trying to look at as many vintage and modern and redone floorplans to look at all the options. We have done a little measuring, but the truth will be told when we masking tape and cardboard template the floor plan. We like the idea of a master bedroom, but we also like the idea of a u shaped dinette or at least a gaucho of some sort so it is nice to have people in during the day. Unfortunately we are going to have to choose which is more important to us at some point, because we can't figure out how to make both work. But what we will probably do is get the bunks, bathroom, & kitchen done first and just sleep on a mattress on a bed frame in that space and live in it a little to see what will work better for us.
__________________
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Katherine 27 (Rohan), Christian 25 (Katee), Johannah 23 (Josh), Nicholas 18, Genevieve 16, Matthew 13, Andrew 11, Bonus baby Lillian 5, and Delia the Wonder Dog
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Old 04-20-2021, 02:07 AM   #10
2 Rivet Member
 
1963 30' Sovereign
Alden , MI
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 50
Images: 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by skyguyscott View Post
Congrats on your new project!

You are right now at the most overwhelming stage, but you are doing the right things, lots of research, just don't fall into the paralysis-by-analysis trap.

Let me offer some words of encouragement and advise:

There is no one right way to do your trailer, which is not to say you can't get it wrong, there are lots of wrong ways that would comprise safety or weight and balance, or systems integrity or what-have-you, but if you do just a little research and use this forum to take advantage of the experienced help here, you will do just fine.

Don't worry about making it perfect, because it never will be. It will also never be "finished" because you will always find new functions or new needs to incorporate as you and yours age in and out of new situations. It's good to have an idea of what you'll need in the future, but focus on what you need now to move forward.

Enjoy the journey. For many of us crazies, restoring a vintage AS trailer into a vehicle that allows us to explore and visit new and old places is a source of joy, no kidding. But remember the trailer is a means, not an end. Work as much as you like on it, but take it out as soon as it is safe to do so, and as often as possible - view these first excursions as "test runs" to gather data on how the trailer is working (or not) and to gain insight into what systems are more important than others, etc.

Become an active part of this community. Camping is social. So is travel. Ask lots of questions here, start a thread on your restoration project, let us follow your progress and help (you will get lots of conflicting advise now and then, and that is a good thing because it reveals different schools of thought on how to tackle a problem and you will learn even more so you can make the decision best in your case) You can also join a local Wally Byam Caravan Club, the oldest Airstream club and see what others nearby have done or are doing. As you solve these problems one by one, you will gain the satisfaction of accomplishment and confidence to help others on their journeys down the road.

Welcome! Don't worry. Have fun! We'll see you on the road, hopefully sooner than you think!
I am really enjoying the forum and I am doing sooooooooo much reading and post diving! I appreciate the friendly feeling and the wealth of hard won advice. Joining the WBCCI is also on our agenda. I posted over there hoping to find out the history of our numbers.

We are all about the journey. We figure this is a 3-5 year project. For us, a lot of the fun is redoing and fixing up the camper. This is our 5th camper redo (we moved up the food chain from an old popup to larger and newer travel trailers. Our long term goal has always been to redo a vintage Airstream or or of the sister aluminum trailers. I (Katie) restore vintage Sewing machines (I have 30ish) and for me, I get as much enjoyment restoring the VSMs as I do sewing with them. We are also cashflowing this, so as our money tree is not producing and we haven't won the lottery and our kids seem to thing the should eat 5x a day every day, this is not going to get done overnight and we can't just throw money at it, we need to put in the sweat equity both in DIYing and searching out reasonably priced parts or making needed parts. So we are definitely on a journey...that being said, I have champagne taste on a tap water budget to we try to be creative and smart and research things to death to make happen the things that are important to us.

Thanks for the encouragement and wisdom.
__________________
Scott & Katie
Katherine 27 (Rohan), Christian 25 (Katee), Johannah 23 (Josh), Nicholas 18, Genevieve 16, Matthew 13, Andrew 11, Bonus baby Lillian 5, and Delia the Wonder Dog
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Old 04-20-2021, 02:23 AM   #11
Rivet Master
 
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 16,303
Thumbs up

Excellent feedback from everyone . . . joining the chorus . . . you are doing an amazing job of diving in . . .



Quote:
Originally Posted by wagvan View Post
I explained a lot of this in my master thread.
. . .
For continuity . . . here 'tis:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f52...no-220916.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by wagvan View Post
. . .
. . . We are all about the journey.
. . .
Words of wisdom from John Steinbeck . . .
_________________________________________________

“Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
_________________________________________________
John Steinbeck
Travels with Charley: In Search of America

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/776...put-in-process

" . . . a trip takes us . . ."



Happy Trails,

Peter
__________________
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Let the music lift you up . . .
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