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Old 05-23-2005, 06:41 AM   #1
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1993 21' Sovereign
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A New Challenge-1963 Overlander rehab project

This is a new adventure for us, we recently acquired a 1963 Overlander, trading in our loyal (but small) Argosy 20 for it.
Our saga begins with a chat with a fellow forum member, richardt. I had been looking for a slightly larger trailer for a while now, and he thought he might have one (or two) that he would be willing to be talked out of. I made arrangements to go see the trailer, we loaded up the van, and the Argosy, and away we went.
The Argosy had new tires installed when we put a new axle in it, in October of 2003, the Overlander had last had tires when Jimmy Carter was President . I ordered two Goodyear Marathon tires to install on the Overlander after we arrived, along with the two Cooper Travel-Trac tires from the Argosy.
The fun started a few miles North of Tampa. when I had to stop for traffic congestion. I looked in the mirror, and saw the Argosy bobbling around, up and down, as well as side-to-side. Since the axle came from Henschen at the time of the recall for bearing failure, my first thought was we had lost a bearing. Not so. The belts had separated on both tires, at the same time! Fortunately, we had the two tires earmarked for the Overlander with us, and we were able to limp to a tire store, and get the Marathons installed.
After a two hour delay, we were back on the road, and headed for our overnight stop in Ocala, Florida.
The rest of the trip passed without incident, and we arrived Thursday afternoon.
Friday morning we removed the old tires and wheels to put new tires on the Overlander, and repack the wheel bearings, as well as check the brakes. This particular trailer has electric brakes on both axles, as opposed to one electric and one hydraulic, as found on other trailers of this vintage. I thought the trailer needed axles desperately because of how the wheelwell covered the entire top of the tires, and part of the wheels. It does need axles, but not as badly as I thought. The trailing arms are actually dead level, as opposed to an upturn in the arm that I expected. Something eles I noticed, this trailer has vertical shock absorbers, which was supposed to indicate the trailer came from California, but the straight wheel wells, as well as the VIN badge, say it came from Jackson Center. A mystery, right off the bat...
We got four more Marathons (Goodyear is having a good month becuase of us), and went in search of a shop to remove the 2 5/16" trailer ball the Argosy used, and install a 2" ball for the Overlander. The head we have came with the Argosy, and the ball was installed in 1972, at the time the Argosy was delivered. After trips to several different shops, one was able to finally burn off the bolt holding the ball on, and install the correct (8800#) 2" ball.
Everything was installed, and tested, and we were ready to leave the folowing morning.
The trip home was uneventful, although the first few miles were a bit nerve-wracking, since we are used to absolutely flat, straight road here in Florida, and we were hauling a 5000 pound trailer up winding, steep (5-7% grades), and the trailer was pushing us back down those same grades when we got to the top of the hills.
Now we are starting to tear out the asbestos-laced floor tiles, for replacing with vinyl flooring.
Ongoing projects are, in no particular order-
Patch two small areas of soft wood in the floor, and install vinyl flooring.
Install a dinette or gaucho in the front of the trailer.
Replace the replacement electric only refrigerator with a LP/electric unit.
Repair the old or replace with a new A/C unit.
Install a modern water heater.
Modernize the fresh water plumbing.
Install a grey water tank.
Replace the axles.
Replace the two window regulators on the upper left front window in the living area.
Replace the back bumper.
Remove the Mickey Mouse stabilizers that are on the trailer, and replace with something a little more mainstream.
Replace the skylight in the living area.
CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN!!!
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Old 05-23-2005, 06:53 AM   #2
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Hi
Terry left out a lot of the story, and I'm thinking of writing a book about the full adventure.

We have a ton of work ahead of us, but we will get it done.
Marie
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Old 05-23-2005, 07:06 AM   #3
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Excellent story

Terry,

Enjoyed the story...I have some from yesterday I will post later today, maybe during lunch from this weekend.

Rob
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Old 05-23-2005, 07:35 AM   #4
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Rivet Congratulations !

Another Airstream adventure in the books! Sounds like you had, at least a little, excitement going North

Good luck with your new project. Call if I can help.
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Old 05-23-2005, 11:03 AM   #5
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Congrats Terry.....

I only had a 5 mile trip to pick up my new to me Argosy 20', from the used car dealer. But I didn't get 5 feet before I had a blow out. It was kinda
a blessing that it blew in the parking lot instead of on the road. The used
car dealer told me that the tires were in great shape. ( I had already ordered new tires and had an appointment for brakes and bearings, thanks to the forum ).
Dare I ask......Are ya gonna miss the Argosy??????????????????
Mandolin Dave
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:25 PM   #6
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Hi Terry and Marie

CONGRATULATIONS going from a painted lady to a silver lady along with your adventures sounds pretty exciting.

I know that trailer it is the mobile prison unit (Peter and I nicked named it because of the aluminum screen guards on all the windows.)

We came real close to buying it from Richard (along with the one I think Princess 63 bought from Oklahoma -but I think it was in MO to begin with). Both units had their issues like they all do - but we just had our heart set on getting a 61 and could not get around it - something just said don't do it.

Good think we did not - as not 2 weeks later we got the call offering the 61 that we wanted 8 months earlier.

Well I must say the Overlanders are a very popular unit these last 5 months - lots of forum members have just bought them.....maybe we should set up a working ASOverAS Rally this winter in your neck of the woods - since us northern and eastern seaboard members will need a warm driveway to work on our new toys!

Terry Trust me your list of things to do - is too short it will be at least 4 times that size by the time you finish and where is Marie's list???. Our Globe Trotter was in unbelievably good shape when we got it and the list still keeps going could it be we have become AS perfectionists.

Have fun with your new toy - but remember to get some camping they make a great tin tent during renos - but get the axles done first!

We took your approach as well and it almost cost us our rig - we found out the torsion arms can petrify in a postive % so do not go by the position of the torsion arm - load her up with people and then get under your trailer to have a look at the arms - then call up to them to jump up and down over the axles. You will soon see if the axles are working. We lost a window, and sheared a ton of rivets and all the screws inside came loose - we are lucky the whole interior did not fall apart with the vibration - but being small we did not feel a thing when travelling the I95!
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:41 PM   #7
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It was a pleasure meeting the both of you and I am glad to hear your trip home was uneventfull. I am sure the things that went wrong on your adventure will soon be forgotten and be overpowered by new good times with the Overlander!
I am glad to have been able to help get you into what you desired and the little Argosy is starting to really grow on me.
I wish you both the best and hope that you get alot of enjoyment from your new to you 1963.
Richardt in Bat Cave NC

PS What are you gonna name it?
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Old 05-23-2005, 02:03 PM   #8
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Richard

Thank you and Linda. My nephews loved the shirts I bought them in the store, and I enjoyed my time up there. (Well most of it).

As for my list, read Terry's again. he's outside washing it now, then I start scraping up floor tiles, (Norm i hope to save 4 or 5 for you).

Then I start with the purple stuff, Brillo and elbow grease.

I want all to know, Richard was very nice and true to his word with us.
(he has a couple more A/S's, and the store is a wonderful place to wander in)
We were talking about naming it the silver bat cave, but I kept calling it our silver wagon on the way home, and yes I miss the Argosy, but I think it's upward and onward from here.
Marie
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Old 05-23-2005, 02:04 PM   #9
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Looks like a cool early 60s trailer! Good thing to start with peeling off the flooring--we found that's a great structural barometer. I'd be concerned about the two soft spots--you probably have a detective job ahead to find the causing leaks. Good luck with that.

By the way, the stabilizers are not uncommon in early 60s models. We have it on ours--we love the ease that the stabilizers give to getting an accurate level quickly at camp. It looks like your has an odd, thin tubing replacing the original heavy steel pipe (hence what appears to be "mickey mouse."n hjn If you are interested, I'll try to find pics of my stabilizers, so you can repair instead of removing the ones you have.

Any idea why two tires went out at the same time? That's just wierd, unless it was due to something in the road (nails, etc).

Mary
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Old 05-23-2005, 02:45 PM   #10
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did someone say Bat Cave, NC???

Richard, are you really in North Carolina? And have/had a '63 for sale? Wow. WISH I knew of this forum and of the '63 in NC last month, but, it's all well and good. YES, the '63 princess purchased the Oklahoma trailer (I don't think it was ever in Montana-- Carmen, the owner, said it was originally bought in Texas and they've had it in OK ever since). BUT, ya neeeeever know...
Carmen and her husband are bring it to Griffith RV Services in Oakland (which is very cool of them) where a man named Tom (part owner) has been working on Airstream trailers for 28 years.

Hopefully, all he will NEED to do for me at this point is pack the wheel bearings and fix the brakes up. (BTW, it's one electic and one hydraulic brake on the '63s, correct?) Maybe I should have him put on some new Goodyear Marathon tires too.?. Although I plan on it sitting at my place for awhile for remodeling. So maybe it should sit on old tires. HEY, what is the best surface for these trailers to sit on? I was thinking of making a spot with sand and brick, any suggestions?

Tom of Griffith R.V. also provides a service in which he inspects the entire trailer, everything, and makes a "to do" list. It takes about 3-4 hours and he runs $80 an hour. I'm thinking it would be money well spent. Anyone have some thoughts or experience with this type of inspection? In my case, (not an enjoyer of poking around dirty/old wiring and plumbing) it may be worth it. Once I have that list I can begin mine... ordering parts and what not.

We '63-ers need to stay together. I understand parts need to be custom made for us, that they are no longer manufactured. : (

Richard; I'm in Durham NC!!!
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Old 05-23-2005, 04:59 PM   #11
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireflyinva
Looks like a cool early 60s trailer! Good thing to start with peeling off the flooring--we found that's a great structural barometer. I'd be concerned about the two soft spots--you probably have a detective job ahead to find the causing leaks. Good luck with that.

By the way, the stabilizers are not uncommon in early 60s models. We have it on ours--we love the ease that the stabilizers give to getting an accurate level quickly at camp. It looks like your has an odd, thin tubing replacing the original heavy steel pipe (hence what appears to be "mickey mouse."n hjn If you are interested, I'll try to find pics of my stabilizers, so you can repair instead of removing the ones you have.

Any idea why two tires went out at the same time? That's just wierd, unless it was due to something in the road (nails, etc).

Mary
Mary, it looks like the tires were just defective, the belts separated in the tread, causing a massive jump and shimmy while towing. Another mile towing the trailer, and we would have had pieces of tire coming through the wheelwells.
The soft spots in the floor were almost certainly caused by the fact the skylight was missing, allowing tons of water inside right over where the soft spots are (the water would drain to the corners, and that is where the floor is soft).
The solid steel pipes were still on the trailer when we got it, but they look absolutely strange on there, so I chucked them, and am going to use a more normal looking BAL set for it.
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Old 05-23-2005, 05:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandolindave
Dare I ask......Are ya gonna miss the Argosy??????????????????
Mandolin Dave
Only when we want to go somewhere that only allows trailers under 25' !
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Old 05-23-2005, 05:04 PM   #13
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GT6921
Hi Terry and Marie

CONGRATULATIONS going from a painted lady to a silver lady along with your adventures sounds pretty exciting.

I know that trailer it is the mobile prison unit (Peter and I nicked named it because of the aluminum screen guards on all the windows.)

Have fun with your new toy - but remember to get some camping they make a great tin tent during renos - but get the axles done first!

We took your approach as well and it almost cost us our rig - we found out the torsion arms can petrify in a postive % so do not go by the position of the torsion arm - load her up with people and then get under your trailer to have a look at the arms - then call up to them to jump up and down over the axles. You will soon see if the axles are working. We lost a window, and sheared a ton of rivets and all the screws inside came loose - we are lucky the whole interior did not fall apart with the vibration - but being small we did not feel a thing when travelling the I95!
Screen guards have already been removed.
One of the axles moves like it is supposed to, the other one is very stiff, and did not drop at all when I jacked it up to install the tires and pack the bearings, so we are not going to put many miles on it before calling Axis or Henschen.
As far as getting a bunch of people to jump up and down in the trailer, I don't personally have enough trailer clearance to be able to use that axle chacking method The trailer may be a "narrow body", but I am still a "wide body".
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Old 05-23-2005, 05:14 PM   #14
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Talking Things I learned today

I thought I would put together a post of things I learned about our new toy today, along the lines of "what I did on my summer vacation." I am sure we all had to do that when we went back to school in the fall.
1- The galvanized steel tank makes a mess in the trailer when it leaks water.
2-The trailer is much larger than the Argosy 20.
3-The dump valve on the black tank needs to be rebuilt, and I need to find an adapter for a slinky for it.
4-I washed the trailer today, and found out it is much larger than the Argosy 20.
5-The previous owner (not Richard) installed 120v lights where the 12v lights go.
6-The trailer is much larger, and takes more time and work to wash than the Argosy 20.
7-I DON'T have every brass fitting ever made.
8-The trailer is a lot larger than the argosy 20, and takes a lot more time and effort to wash it.
9-The bumper on the Overlander is the same bumper that was used on Argosies up through at least 1975.
10-The Overlander is a large trailer, and takes a lot of elbow grease to wash...
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