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Old 12-02-2013, 02:56 PM   #1
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1975 27' Overlander
East Windsor , New Jersey
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New to world of Airstream

I inherited a 1975 International Land Yacht. It's been sitting unused for over 30 years. My wife & I would like to put it to use. I have no idea what it takes to pull this kind of trailer. Will the tires be useless, at this point? Can I purchase used ones. Will a dealer steer me straight, or just rip me off? Hate to admit - I'm clueless.

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Old 12-02-2013, 03:51 PM   #2
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2012 27' Flying Cloud
Windsor , Connecticut
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Hello. First, I am sorry for your loss and glad that person thought so much of you to bequeath such a beautiful gift!

Yes, the tires are definitely no good (even if only 10 miles on them).

My first suggestion is to find an inspector here who will have a good look at everything for and with you. The tires will have to be replaced and who knows what shape the brakes and axle are in, as well as other systems having sat for 30 years.

There are lots of opinions on what you'd need to tow it. I don't know the GVWR of that year/model but would assume somewhere in the 7-10,000# range so you'd want to look for tow vehicles capable of that amount. And there are several folks who swear by CanAm who custom fabricates trailer setups that don't focus only on manufacturers numbers. Plenty of threads here in the forum on tow vehicles and CanAm so you'll have to form your own opinion after some mind numbing research (sometimes more heat than light but almost always coming from a great place and a desire to be safe). Equally fun are hitch threads (also required gear and passionate views). (I'd recommend a diesel 3/4 ton truck from any major brand and a ProPride hitch w/1400# bars but that's just me :-) ).

Last, I HIGHLY recommend finding a CDL school who can do a safe RV driving school for you. My wife and I did that over a weekend and it was money VERY well spent! We had never towed anything until this year and that weekend keeps paying dividends every time we travel.

Welcome to the forums and Good luck!!

Oh - and post LOTS of pictures here. This crowd is ravenous for them :-)
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:55 PM   #3
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1978 31' Sovereign
Tampa , Florida
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Hey there, welcome to the site. Congrats on the new to you AS! Do you have pictures of it? We love pictures.

If the trailer has truly been sitting for 30 years, you're going to need to do a lot of work to it. Tires will need to be replaced, axles will more than likely need to be as well, unless they relieved the weight somehow. As for pulling the trailer, we'd need to know what size it is. On the front, to the right of the door, there should be a plate that has a name on it, like Tradewind, Sovereign, etc. From that, we can tell you what you'd need to pull it.

Again, welcome. Do some searching in the forums. You're in good company and the questions you've asked have been asked (quite possibly literally) hundreds of times before.
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:33 PM   #4
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Cobourg , Ontario
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What do you have in mind? Do you want to know what you need to do, to transport it to your home, or a place you can sell it?

Or do you want to put it back in commission and use it?

Before it can be moved it will need new tires, either trailer tires or light truck tires. The brakes will need to be inspected and tested and the wheel bearings packed with grease.

Also the lights checked.

You will also need a tow vehicle with a good weight distributing hitch.

Or you could have it towed by a tow truck or trailer transport service. You might even have it moved on a flatbed trailer and forget about the tires, brakes, bearings and lights.

It will probably need new axles because the old ones have collapsed (they are a special rubber suspension with no springs). If the top of the wheel is flush with the top of the wheel well the axles are shot. In this state, effectively you have NO suspension. It is ok to transport a trailer this way, slowly, on good roads but too much towing will damage the trailer. By shaking it to pieces.

All the appliances and propane systems will need a going over. The propane tanks will be past their service date and need to be tested or replaced. The regulator and flexible hose as well.

In other words a complete going over and reconditioning.

The good news is, having been in storage so long it will not be all beat to death and may not have rotted floors and sagging rear body especially if it was stored inside. This makes it an excellent candidate for being put back in commission.

By the way DO NOT just bolt on a set of car or truck wheels. They are not strong enough. Eventually the wheel will split, most likely when making a tight turn.

They might be ok for a short trip home but cannot be trusted.

Tires on a trailer are under a lot of stress. It is recommended not to use tires over 5 years old because of blowouts. If you want to use the trailer buy new tires. To get it home used tires will do.
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:42 PM   #5
1972 Travelux Princess 25
 
Cobourg , Ontario
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Airstream makes a wonderful trailer with a very strong and loyal following, if you read these forums you will see lol.

It is the kind of RV people work their way up to over the years. Trailers as old as yours and older, are in regular use and are being reconditioned, repaired and put back into service all the time.

The aluminum shell never wears out but everything else does. A 1975 model is well worth putting back on the road. Most of the threads on this web site are about trailers like yours. You can find out most anything you need to know, as most everything that can go wrong, has been figured out by somebody.
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:48 PM   #6
1972 Travelux Princess 25
 
Cobourg , Ontario
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There are very few RV dealers who can be trusted to repair an Airstream properly and they all charge a fortune whether they know what they are doing or not.

If you take your Airstream to a dealer to be put back in commission it will cost a lot of money. Be sure you take it to one of the good ones, they don't charge any more and they will do a good job.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagles7talon View Post
I inherited a 1975 International Land Yacht. It's been sitting unused for over 30 years. My wife & I would like to put it to use. I have no idea what it takes to pull this kind of trailer. Will the tires be useless, at this point? Can I purchase used ones. Will a dealer steer me straight, or just rip me off? Hate to admit - I'm clueless.

Eagles7talon
What you have is a real treasure. The 70's model Airstreams are great trailers for refurbishing. But it will be a big long term project to "put it back in use". This will not be a few hundred dollar project with used tires and don't waste you time or money with a dealer. This is a DIY project. I know because I did about the same thing on my 1976 31' Sovereign when I got back in 2000. If you are handy with do it your self projects, have a place to work on it and the money to do it then research the forum on other threads for previous and current restore projects. Good luck, post some pictures inside and out from different angles and top to bottom. Doing this will let the forum members provide detailed opinions on the condition of the trailer and problem areas they see.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:30 AM   #8
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1972 27' Overlander
New Haven , Connecticut
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Here is a link to my blog where I list many of the associated costs of updating our '72 Overlander. This was mostly a DIY project.

jackpaulishen.wordpress.com
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:48 AM   #9
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Your trailer weighs only about 4600 pounds dry, with a hitch weight of 500 pounds or so. Which means you have a lot of options to tow it with. You don't need a truck, any number of SUV's will tow it just fine.

As everyone has said, you will need to replace the tires, repack the bearings and check the brakes. I haven't totally bought in to the "Over 20 years old? Buy new axles." school of thought - probably need a professional opinion.

There are many detailed threads here on restoration by skilled craftsmen. Get on your reading specs and use the Search function. And have fun!

Poppy
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