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mello mike 10-22-2004 09:59 PM

Removing Interior Aluminum Trim
Hi all,
I'll soon be renovating the interior of my Sovereign to lighten up the dark, 70s look. I'm planning on either refacing (coating) or painting my cabinets, closets, and interior walls to achieve this. In order to have a nice finished look, I'd like to remove the trim before starting work. What's the best way to remove the trim without damaging it too much? Is that even possible? Has anybody tried doing this. What were the results?


malconium 10-24-2004 01:50 AM

It holds things together...
If you are referring to the aluminum trim that I think you are then it is actually holding the cabinets and wall panels together. In other words it is more than just trim. I am assuming that your 72 could not be that much different than what was in my 73. If you can get a look at the service manual for your year you will see that AS developed a rather neat way of combining structural with trim. You can only take out the trim by first taking out the panels that are in the trim. That actually might not be as hard to do as you might think since everything seems to have been made to be replaced. My service manual lists a part number for every piece of aluminum. Evidently at one time you could actually buy replacement parts for it all (not any more unfortunately). If you are going to take things apart then you could consider replacing the panels with something in a diferent color or wood type. You could use the existing panels as paterns. You could also just take them out a few at a time, paint them, and put them back in. If you do not want to do that much work then you might find that using a lot masking tape to cover the metal might be easier.

Hope this helps some,


Jalina 10-24-2004 07:02 AM


We have a 73 like yours but the manual we have is for a 72. Looking at your pics you replaced the floor about how long did it take you to do all of it? Not looking forward to that job yet. The only other thing we have to replace is the door under the kitchen sink and the spice rack door. It looks like all we have to do to get to it is remove the rivets on the side trim that are upright. Is this correct or what?

mello mike 10-24-2004 09:39 PM

Thanks, Malcom, for the tips. I'll take another look at my maintenance manual.

malconium 10-29-2004 07:22 PM

Floor work, etc...
I did not keep records as to how long the various parts of the floor work took but I can hazard a guess based on what I can remember. I did most of the work all by myself and it would help to have two people for some of it.

1.) Install bracing per my approach - maybe 2 hours
2.) Carefully measuing and documenting holes and cutouts in the floor and making templates for the front and back curves - probably 2 hours
3.) Cut out middle parts of floor panels with a skill saw - maybe 3 or 4 hours
4.) Remove the rest of the floor material, cutting out screws and bolts as needed - probably a solid 8 hour day. This task does depend on just how rusted the screws and bolts are and wether or not any of the floor around the edges is rotted. The non-rotted parts were the hardest to get out.
5.) Reparing, cleaning and painting of the frame depends on what you find. I had to have a new rear cross member welded in for me (I don't weld). I found a couple of other places later that could have been welded that I repaired instead by adding angle iron brakets and bolts. I did not scrape everything down to clean bare metal. I wanted to sand blast the frame but the attachement that I bought from Harbor Freight seemed to need more air power than my portable compressor could put out. So I wire brushed and did a little sanding on the worst spots. I used Hamerite paint that supposedly bonds with the rust. I would guess that I might have put in as many as two days on these various parts.
6.) Cutting and attaching the shims on top of the shorter cross-members - maybe 2 hours.
7.) Cutting and installing the new floor panels including putting in a lot of screws and bolts - probably 2 days. This step is the main one where help is the most usefull for bringing in the panels but I was able to do it myself with a lot of grunting and sweating.
8.) Remove the rest of the bracing - about 1 hour

Keep in mind that I did not do all the steps in exactly the order I listed here. For example I installed the bracing as I needed it and added the shims and floor as I worked my way from the back to the front of the trailer. It occurs to me that there are a few other steps too. I had to take out my outer wheel wells and do some patching. They had to be re-installed before the floor went in. It also takes a while to remove all the various plumibing that goes through the floor and to remove at least the lower level of the inner skin so as to be able to access the screws and bolts.

I hope this helps give you a general idea of time spent. Feel free to ask for more detail if I have forgotten some part of the process that you would like to know more about.

I believe you are correct about removing the rivits on the side trim. I did not have a lot of my interior intact but the part of the kitchen cabinet that was intact was held together mostly with rivits but also a few screws here and there. I did notice by the way that the various wall panels and cabinet panels that connect to the inside of the inner skin are not attached in very many places. The curved aluminum channel is rivited to the inner skin but the panels are slid into place and held typically one place at the top and somewhere along the bottom. I think the idea was that the panels could slide around a bit as things flexed.


Over59 10-30-2004 11:23 AM

Malcolm. Didn't you also remove the lower interior panels? To your list I would add cleaning out the belly pan and patching. Once you get the floor off you will what to take care of the otherwise hard to get to spots. After taking off the lower panels you will likly find mice have been using the insulation for a privy and want to replace it. I will be adding an extra layer of aluminum on the edges of the outriggers, between the outrigger and belly pan.
The floor replacement is a dirty job and having the right tools makes a big difference. You will find that the trailer smells great when you clean it out like this, which was our major reason. I found a small 4" grinder great for removing the elevator bolts by just cutting the heads off and hitting them with a hammer after pulling up the floor. Using it to grind off the heads where the floor was too solid and on the front plate helped as well. Welder comes Friday so maybe I'll make the April Rally's.

malconium 11-01-2004 01:54 PM

I removed all the interior panels.
Actually I removed all the interior walls and took out all of the old fiberglass insulation. The inside of my AS looks a bit like a science fiction movie right now with bare metal and exposed wiring all over the place. One nice thing about taking out all the walls is that it is pretty easy to look for where the leaks are. I found places where I could see daylight from inside. For example there were some 1/4" diameter holes that were supposed to have screws holding the awning frame on that were entirely open to the sky. Not coincidentally there was significant floor rot at the base of the walls below where these holes were located.


Over59 11-01-2004 04:03 PM

It sure will smell good when you hit the road. I think every mouse in NC was living in the trailer. But it will be mouse proof when done.

dmadam 11-02-2004 09:33 PM

I have removed all the inside trim and basically have gutted the entire trailer except for the bath and hall area. Its not hard, just a lot of rivets and screws to remove. Just when you think you have finished you find another. Unles you are putting something else over the area leave them in place. I have filled all the holes with a metal bond and then sand them down and preparing to paint the walls.

Jalina 11-03-2004 05:36 AM


Thanks for advice. Not looking forward to it. Really don't have to do right now. The floor by the front door is a little soft and the rear of the trailer needs to be done but will have to wait untill I can talk Mac into it. Have to fix the leaks around all the vents first. We went out this last weekend and man did we find the leaks. I think we got about 4" of rain in 2 days. But still had a good time. Did alot of fishing that was the best part about the whole weekend. And plus spent some time with hubby. Our 15th year of wedding bliss.

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