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Old 10-05-2002, 04:51 AM   #1
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1963 26' Overlander
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Newbie Overlander Towing Questions

Hello,
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Old 10-05-2002, 05:00 AM   #2
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Howdy.

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Old 10-05-2002, 05:31 AM   #3
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1963 26' Overlander
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Looks like only the greeting came through... My name is Walter and I live in Northeastern Minnesota. after waiting for over a year, I finally found the trailer I was looking for (one I could afford) on ebay. Now I own it (1963 Overlander with dual axles) and the initial euphoria of ownership is being replaced by anxiety over getting it safely home. The trailer is in a remote forest lake site some 500 plus miles away in northern Michigan. It has been sitting for at least six years and possibly many more. I want to repack the bearings and can't quite recall the procedure having last done it 35 years ago on an MGTD. What size socket do I need? Where do I locate replacement seals? I'd appreciate any tips. The tow vehicle is a 1989 Ford F150 with a straight six and four speed manual tranny. Do I absolutely need to hook up the electric brakes to get it home? I don't know the first thing about what is involved and would rather bypass this problem if I can avoid it for the time being. The trip home is flat land, if that helps, and is not on high speed highways. Mapquest projects over eleven hours driving time for a 525 mile trip, if that gives an idea. On the other hand there are likely a number sof little towns requiring an equal number of stops and goes. Last question... the owner says the wheels tires are 7:00 X 15 andare badly checked. He says the rims are six lug... would that be Ford, GM or what if I were to locate a second set? Thanks so much for anyone taking the time to help an elder Newbie with these questions you have probably heard a hundred times. Walter
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Old 10-05-2002, 05:55 AM   #4
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Congratulations on your "New" Overlander. Now the fun begins.

Bearing Packing.
http://www.airforums.com/forum...light=bearings

A large Crescent wrench will undo the bolt holding the hub/bearings on.

Tires and wheels:
Use only trailer wheels and tires. Never use automotive wheels. There is no substitute for these items, for safety reasons. Search the Forum site for some very lively discussion on this subject.

For replacement, if you do not have a jack, I suggest you roll one side, one wheel up on some blocks to raise the one wheel off the ground, chock the wheels and disassemble 1 wheel down to the spindle. Load everything(drum, bearings, seals, tire/wheel into your vehicle and take it to a Commercial Trailer parts store, (not a RV store). I promise you they will have all the parts needed to replace your running gear at very reasonable pricing.

Not recommending it, but you can tow with out brakes. It might not be legal in your state, and it sure is not very safe. But it can be done.

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Old 10-05-2002, 06:47 AM   #5
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Thank you for your kind reply. Regarding the brakes, how do these work? How are they activated? I'm guessing there is some kind of graduated switch activated hydraulicly when you apply brake pressure. Is that right? How do you set it up? Walter
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Old 10-05-2002, 08:17 AM   #6
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try this site, it has pictures. thought it would be helpful.

http://www.etrailer.com/faq/brakecontrol.asp


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Old 10-05-2002, 05:04 PM   #7
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Towing 1963 Overlander

Greetings Walter!

Welcome to the world of Vintage Overlander ownership. To give you a little additional insight into your towing question. Your recently acquired Overlander should weigh something between 4,400 and 4,750 pounds empty. My '64 Overlander is quite similar to your '63, and weighs 4,700 pounds empty and tips the scales at nearly 6,000 pounds when fully loaded for a vacation.

According to the materials that I have read over the past few years, the second axle on tandem Overlanders didn't always have brakes installed. In fact, my Overlander was not delivered with brakes on the second axle but the original owners added them a short time after purchase.

You ask about towing without the brakes. I would advise trying to have them operable if at all possible. When I towed my Overlander with a 1/2 ton Chevrolet pickup, it would have been very unpleasant to try to stop the rig with only the tow vehicle brakes - - in addition, the trailer brakes are a safety concern should the trailer begin to sway - - your tow vehicle being a six cylinder would deepen this concern - - as sway can be brought under control through application of trailer brakes and/or powering through (increasing the speed to straighten out the rig).

From your post, I am assuming that your pickup probably does not have a 7-post trailer connector since you don't have an electronic trailer brake controller. My suggestion would be to consider an electronic brake controller as it would not require tapping into your tow vehicle's hydraulic system which could cause problems with your anti-lock braking system. There are a number of good quality controlers out there - - I have a Tekonsha Controler on my Suburban and on my Cadillac a Hayes-Lemmerz Micro Controler (#81750) with a manual remote panic button (81751). I feel much more secure with my Hayes-Lemmerz as its remote panic button rests on the driver's seat next to me so there is no need to reach to the bottom of the dash to apply the trailer brakes in the emergency - - all I need to do is grab the remote button and push - - a second advantage is that in an emergenyc, the copilot could operate the button allowing the driver to keep his/her hands on the wheel.

When you wire in the trailer connector on the truck, I would suggest getting the matching trailer end. It is entirely possible that you will find the trailer end on the coach to be either incompatible with your truck unit - - or as I did with my '78 Argosy that there was an internal problem with the coach end. It is not difficult to replace the trailer end - - you will need a fine screw driver (like used to tighten hinge screws on eye glasses) as well as an assortment of normal philips and standard screw drivers depending upon the manufacturer of the trailer end. In addition, you might want to carry enough extra wire to make a patch cable in the event that the trailer cable is too short - - the cable on my Argosy was within an inch of being too short and I really was wishing for some additional cable to make a temporary package for towing. I also found that having a fully charged garden tractor battery with alligator clips on 36" wires made testing the trailer connector wiring to be almost invaluable.

Your question regarding tires and wheels is quite important. If your Overlander has its original rims, they may very well be split-rims which can be very difficult to have serviced today. Your best bet for new rims is a quality full-line tire dealer - - my local Goodyear retailer was able to have a set of new RV rated wheels (2,600 pouinds each) ordered for me (3-day delivery) and they fitted a set of new Marathon ST radials to these wheels as well the total cost for a set of four was about $500.00. I towed my Overlander for a period of time with appropriately rated LT tires, but they did not provide the excellent performance that I have gotten with the Marathons - - absolutely no tendency to sway and smooth towing as well. ST rated tire will provide tires with special compounding in the rubber utilized as well as in the structure of the sidewalls.

Good luck with your Overlander!

Kevin
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1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
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Old 10-06-2002, 02:56 PM   #8
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1963 26' Overlander
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John and Kevin,
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Old 10-06-2002, 02:58 PM   #9
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1963 26' Overlander
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Let's try this again... Thanks to John and Kevin for your consideration in passing along all of the information. Now I have a lot to think about before asking anything more. What a great site and what fine members! Thanks again, Walter
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Old 10-11-2002, 02:22 AM   #10
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1963 26' Overlander
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A few more questions: For this 63 Overlander is the ball size 2" or 2 5/8"? The owner says the trailer weighs in empty at 4,100 lbs. Any idea what the tongue weight might be? I have located a brake controler, as you have convinced me that it would be pretty unwise to tow without the electric brakes hooked up. The trailer has been sitting in the same spot for at least seven years and possibly a good many more than that. How likely is it that they will function after all this time? What might I do in a remote setting without 110 volt power to optimize their chances of working? Is a battery required in the trailer in order to use the electric brakes? If so, is a marine type 12 volt adequate? Thank you in advance. I leave for Michigan to pick it up on the 24th of this month, which I understand is just right for catching the fall colors. Leaves are just about gone here in northeastern Minnesota, so I'll catch a second fall. Can hardly wait for the adventure to begin...
Walter
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Old 10-11-2002, 02:01 PM   #11
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Newbie Overlander Towing Questions

Assuming that the hitch on the trailer that you are purchasing hasn't been modified, it would be equipped with a Marvel 2" coupler. The one thing to keep in mind when shopping for a ball is to check the weight carrying rating. The 2" balls found at most of the mass merchandisers do not have sufficient rating. By shopping around a little, I found a 2" ball with a rating in excess of 6,000 pounds.

The tongue weight of your '63 Overlander should fall somewhere between 450 and 500 pounds. My '64 Overlander has an empty tongue weight of about 475 pounds - - it is a bit heavier empty at 4,700 pounds. If you are looking for specifications to help in hitch selection, I would suggest looking for minimum ratings of 6,000 pounds and 600 pounds tongue weight (both of these would give you a margin beyond the likely actual loaded weight of your trailer). The hitch bars on my Overlander are rated at 750 pounds - - I use the Reese Dual Cam Sway Control system and am absolutely pleased after about 70,000 miles of towing.

I suspect that you have about a 50% chance of finding the electric brakes functional. My suspicion is that the chance would be even less if the trailer has been parked on dirt rather than on a gravel or concrete pad. While it wouldn't necessarily be the cheapest route, the simplest insurance policy might be to have a set of "fully loaded backing plates" ready. Fully loaded backing plates have all of the braking parts that are subject to wear - - you reuse the existing drums - - the cost for the plates that were installed on my Overlander was $75.00 each plus labor, and $25.00 each for truing and matching the brake shoes to the drums.

Your electric trailer brakes will function without a house battery, but the emergency break-away switch (if the trailer actually has one) will not be functional. I don't know when break-away switches became standard, but I believe that it was at a later time. My Overlander has a round (NOS Replacement) break-away switch that is identical to the one that I suspect was added when the original owners (1964 to 1983) had the electric brakes installed on the second axle.

One suggestion, and this you did not ask about. I have transported two trailers and a number of vintage cars and have found that purchasing a set of temporary trailer tail lights can save the day when the existing lights on the vehicle refuse to cooperate. The set I have were purchased at Wal Mart just prior to my trip to tow home my '78 Argosy Minuet. The cost for the temporary lights was less than $50.00, and I believe it was more like $40.00 - - they are available with magnetic or clamp-on mounting devices and are usually sold for flat towing cars.

Good luck with your project!
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1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 10-14-2002, 03:13 AM   #12
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1963 26' Overlander
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Another question: I am purchasing a new set of tires as the old ones are reportedly badly checked. I have seen references to the likelihood that these rims are probably split rims. I have also seen references to warnings about split rims and people replacing them. I'm trying to keep costs down at this time and would rather avoid the additional expense of a new set of rims. What is the problem with split rims and what kind of place is likely to be able to change tires on them and know what they are doing? Thanks again.
Walter
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Old 10-14-2002, 05:58 AM   #13
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split rims have a removable ring that allows the tire to be slid off the rim vs. standard rims that the tire is placed over the rim. this is used with bias ply tires because they can be very stiff.

the danger with split rims is with the ring. if it is not properly seated the ring can fly off when inflated usually killing or maiming the person inflating the tire. that is why they always need to be inflated remotely sitting inside a cage.

most tire places will not even consider rolling them into their shop.

if you do decide to keep them you'll need to find a farm store (farm&fleet may still work on them) or a heavy duty truck shop.

you'll just have to call around and find out... don't be suprised if everyone tells you to get lost!

you may want to consider getting rid of them now to save your self a lot of headaches down the road. like being in the middle of nowhere with a flat that no one will fix.

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Old 10-15-2002, 05:36 AM   #14
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1963 26' Overlander
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I just learned from the seller of the trailer I'm buying that when he told me the tire size (700X15) and lug pattern (six lug) he had just looked at a 1973 Argosy and just assumed they were the same. The trailer he's selling is at another location. I don't want to assume anything, especially since I'm buying the tires ahead of time if possible. Is there someplace to check what the tire size should be and the lug pattern for a 1963 Overlander? Thanks,
Walter
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