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Old 06-16-2021, 06:50 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Grant Young's Avatar
1977 31' Sovereign
Oshawa , ON
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 7
Half restoration

Hello all,

Has anyone done an interior restoration in stages? I would like to do a shell off subfloor replacement and spray foam then put a bed, tv, couch, bottom sheet of wall aluminum and run an extension cord into my trailer so I can enjoy it while I do wiring, plumbing, etc. and not have to stress about doing it all at once. It is parked at my parents cottage so I would like to use it as a place to get away as-well. The reason for not doing it in a big rush is I have a 4 year old son I want to spend time with as-well.

I am the proud owner of a 1975 31' Sovereign, I pulled it out of a friends back yard where it sat for 10 years and was trashed, damaged and neglected. I have gutted the trailer and I am building gantries this weekend and beginning the rebuilding process.

Let me know if there are any issues with this idea, one that comes to mind immediately is the tanks should probably be intalled before the subfloor but I would love some experienced input to save me some frustration and mistakes.


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Old 06-16-2021, 07:18 PM   #2
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 6,972
Images: 1
And hello to you again. I read your 77 is gone and you kept the 75. We say on these Forums it's your trailer and your rules. There is no set process for renovations. Do what is best for you. I certainly understand family and work priorities.

Lots of folks spend years renovating their trailers. Lots of folks never really get it done. It is pretty easy to find a gutted vintage Airstream for sale where someone said enough already.

Others have "aluminum tents" so to speak and do what you are planning. Make sure the frame is good, repair or replace the subfloor, and then clean up the trailer and pull it to a park and sleep on air mattresses. It is drier than a tent, and bears are less of a threat.

Your plan sounds nice to me. Maybe your 4 year old can help. : ) We spent two days with our 4 year old grandson this week. Super fun.

WBCCI #8607 VAC Region 11
KnowledgeBase trailer renovation threads: 69 Globetrotter, 76 Sovereign, 75 Overlander, 66 Trade Wind Such fun !
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Old 06-16-2021, 07:37 PM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,903
I was adding up receipts recently, as I needed to document the "value" of my trailer to increase the insurance coverage on it, when I realized that it had been 10 years, almost to the day, since I bought it, thinking I just had some sprucing up to do, and I would be on my way... And I am still not finished with it!

Anyway, similar story, worked on it daily until my son was born, and then things slowed down A LOT for the next 5 years (he is 5 now). But yes, your plan can work. I removed my shell, fixed the frame, replaced the subfloor, installed the tanks, added new bellypan and axles with the frame upside down, and then put it all back together again.

I then went camping in it with no insulation in the walls and no interior skins (but the wiring was functional, as was the new AC. It was freakin' hot. Camped in it a second time later in the fall, this time was much more pleasant. After that, I insulated it and put the interior skins in place. Got my bathroom components all fixed up, and that is about the time the little bundle of joy arrived.

We took a good long trip with completely temporary interior (fancy port-o-let, inflatable sofa that turns into a queen sized bed, cooler, propane stove, folding chairs, etc.)... So yep, I was preparing to install my bathroom components the other day, when my AC compressor kept shutting down, giving my that dread-in-the-pit-of-the-stomach feeling that I would soon be replacing a 10 year old AC unit which really doesn't have much mileage on it though it is getting OLD...

Anyway--go for it!
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Old 06-16-2021, 11:06 PM   #4
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1962 28' Ambassador
1961 19' Globetrotter
1962 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 4,945
Images: 9
Similar but different.

We bought an empty shell that had already been partially well done by a restorer for a client. It had new floor, insulation, tanks underneath and freshly run wiring hanging from the ceiling. We intended to finish it.

Life, aging parents, work and project paralysis set in. We joyfully camped in it for 6 plus years. We used our camping gear and slept on a comfy Ikea futon. We used a small garden table with chairs and a clothes rack. We mostly boondocked, used a cooler and solar lights. On occasion on a rally with electric we would run an extension cord in thru the fan vent.

We sold it recently and hope it will get further but we have such fond memories of our years camping in it.

As we have multiple vintage trailers our deal is to always have one in roadworthy camping condition (aluminum tent counts) so we can go.

I say work on it while you use it.

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Old 06-16-2021, 11:22 PM   #5
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1958 26' Overlander
Battle Ground , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 706
Images: 22
There are no rules that you have to satisfy, other than your own needs. Same applies to schedule, it happens as time and circumstances allow. Once you complete frame, tanks, basic electrical and its road worthly, go for it.

Our first camping experience involved going to a airstream rally in 2017. We had twin beds, one light, a box fan and an ice chest. It was 2019 before we got to 90% done and everything functioned.
Harold & Rebecca

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Old 06-17-2021, 11:40 AM   #6
2 Rivet Member
1955 26' Cruiser/Overlander
harrisburg , Missouri
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 32
Do everything you can to the under side of the frame while it is out and upside down. Tanks, insulation, new belly pan, axles, if you decide to replace them. I spent what seemed like weeks crawling around under mine doing those things and kicking myself for not being smart enough to do them while it was out and frame was upside down. Don't be in a rush to get to the next step without thinking through everything you need for this step. If your foaming the walls, probably should have wiring done first. Take lots of pictures and label everything. When I finally got my interior walls on I had trouble remembering how the wiring went. Luckily I had labeled most of the ends of the wires telling me where the other end went.
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