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Old 01-21-2016, 05:56 PM   #1
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Our new Silver Pickle

Hello all,

Me and my wife have just purchased a '71 Sovereign 31 and are in the process of nailing down a 2500 Diesel to tow her. My grandfather is a career welder, and our plan is to get ole faithful from her current resting place in KY down to his property in FL, then removing the Fuselage and reworking her from the ground up. So, first order of business is getting her some new shoes(tires) and figuring out a tail light solution for the trip down (I would describe myself as electrically inept).

I've heard that 7-ply tires are the way to go if we are planning on traveling with her much. The current tail-lights are broken and the hookup wire for the tail lights is missing and I'm assuming will need an adapter of sorts to work with the 2009ish truck we're trying to get. SO! Any suggestions on a place to find inexpensive tail lights, wires, or tires? Suggestions for a tail light solution (even if it's temporary)? Any and all advice/info is welcome!

Thanks!
Chad and Jamie
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Old 01-21-2016, 06:18 PM   #2
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Welcome !

Good luck with your new project. It looks very straight on the outside ... I hope it is in good condition inside.

I would say to only use load rated "E" tires .

Vintage trailer works is a Google source for parts. This forum is an excellent source for information.

Airstream supply also may be a source.

I'm sure you'll have a lot more comments on this thread.

Good luck
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:48 PM   #3
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Get a set of tow lights from u-haul they have a magnetic base and long wires but you'll have to extend the wires for your long trailer . The lights should mount on the bumper then run the wires though the rear window and out the front window.

Plan on new axles with brakes, shocks , tires and wheels .
Have fun with your build.
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Old 01-22-2016, 11:51 AM   #4
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Atlanta , Georgia
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Thanks guys!

Jump, is it the A&P Vintage Trailer Works the site you're referring to? Do they sell parts? All I can find are the services they offer. Airstream supply is awesome!

Glen/Rita, perfect! I've found a 30' magnetic tail light system (4 way) and a 10' wire extension to get it to the truck (7 way). Any suggestion on where to start looking for the brakes, shocks, tires, and wheels?

Thanks!
Chad
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Old 01-23-2016, 11:35 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by chadvocate View Post
Thanks guys!

Jump, is it the A&P Vintage Trailer Works the site you're referring to? Do they sell parts? All I can find are the services they offer. Airstream supply is awesome!

Glen/Rita, perfect! I've found a 30' magnetic tail light system (4 way) and a 10' wire extension to get it to the truck (7 way). Any suggestion on where to start looking for the brakes, shocks, tires, and wheels?

Thanks!
Chad
I believe that you want Vintage Trailer Supply - parts and supplies for vintage travel trailers and campers! Lots of great parts for your trailer there.

If you use that 4-way temporary rig, it won't control your brakes. In addition to the extra wire for that, you would need to get a brake controller installed in your tow vehicle (A "TV" on this Forum).

I tow my trailer with a Dodge RAM 2500 diesel, it works fantastic, it's a good choice.

Finding a good trailer or RV shop nearby where the trailer currently is could solve many of your problems, and make for a safe trip down to Florida. Your grandfather live anywhere near Boynton Beach?
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Old 01-23-2016, 12:02 PM   #6
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Welcome to our gang. . . the forum classifieds also has a 'parts & pieces' section that has 'stuff' other ASers are getting rid of, but Vintage Trailer Supply has good inventory, (as others have said). New AS dealer in Buford,GA, but have not seen a report on whether they're worthy or not (not all dealers are !). . . enjoy, Craig (former Atlantan)
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Old 01-23-2016, 05:23 PM   #7
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Looks like a lot of fun! Enjoy the experience and welcome to the Airstream family!
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:06 PM   #8
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Ditto on what Glenritas suggested. BTW, never heard of the AS referred to as a silver pickle, silver twinkie, yes.
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Old 01-24-2016, 08:55 AM   #9
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Congratulations on your new purchase. My wife and I are about 2/3 finished renovating the 71 Sovereign we bought last September. Its been a fun project.

From Kentucky to Florida is a pretty long trip. Just in case you haven't thought of this...a weight distribution hitch such as this one will make the tow less "dramatic".
Reese Pro Series Weight Distribution System Sway Control and Ball..
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Old 01-25-2016, 07:46 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the great info! I've been perusing the "Restoring a Dream" book and we're doing our best to get a handle on our situation, so bare with my laggard pace

Suzy, I just skimmed the Classifieds, and I'm sure I'll be heading back in there once we get the ole pickle parked and delivered. Would it be unsafe to try to get to FL (Driving min speed) without the brakes on the trailer? I came to the same conclusion about a nearby tire shop while reading this book and it was a bit of a eureka moment, because I think that the tires she currently has should atleast make at that far whereas before I was trying to figure out how to install tires on site whether by myself or a professional. (Did I mention I can be a bit slow?) My grandfather is actually closer to the Gainesville area which is quite a ways from Boynton I think.

Craig, thanks for the welcome! I'll aim to be a useful gang member minus any violence and hat/bandana wearing requirements

Kdickinson, thanks for the welcome!

BanderaBob, a twinkie makes waaay to much sense, my wife dubbed her the silver pickle though, and we both felt like it stuck, with the current state of her it is probably more befitting seeing as twinkies have a sweet interior whilst pickles are sour on the inside

TxDave, congrats on all the progress! I'd love to see pics or info you've posted if you'd point me in the right direction. Do you have this weight distribution hitch? Did you install yourself? What tires do you use? Are you happy with them?

After doing my best to dig through the tires and wheels section, it would seem to me that the general consensus (At risk of starting an impassioned argument), is that switching from 15" to 16" wheels and michelin tires is the way to go. (and consult manufacturer inflation charts) This leads me to my biggest question currently. Assuming that I know nothing about this subject (which would be an accurate assumption) What type of wheels and tires do I need? We are actually planning to make a trip from FL to CA around the end of the year, so I really want to make sure I get this part right. (Brakes and axles to be replaced before CA trip) I'm attaching an image of one of the tires from each side of our silver pickle. Any info much appreciated!

Cheers!
-Chad
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Old 01-26-2016, 08:43 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by chadvocate View Post
Suzy, I just skimmed the Classifieds, and I'm sure I'll be heading back in there once we get the ole pickle parked and delivered. Would it be unsafe to try to get to FL (Driving min speed) without the brakes on the trailer? I came to the same conclusion about a nearby tire shop while reading this book and it was a bit of a eureka moment, because I think that the tires she currently has should atleast make at that far whereas before I was trying to figure out how to install tires on site whether by myself or a professional. (Did I mention I can be a bit slow?) My grandfather is actually closer to the Gainesville area which is quite a ways from Boynton I think.
I've never driven that big of a trailer without any brakes, so can't say what that would be like. I agree with Txdave, in that a weight distributing hitch would be a, IMHO, a necessary thing before a long journey. At least you would have equal weight on all your TV's tires, making for more efficient braking. I have a Reese distro hitch, and use it every time.

I'm sporting some Carlisle Radial Trail 225/R15 tires on my Airstream that the PO had just put on before I purchased it. Seems to work fine, but then I have nothing to compare it to. Maybe just get new tires for the existing wheels? I would just jack up a side, remove the two wheels, and take them to the tire store. Repeat as needed!

Obviously having a perfect trailer would be best for the journey, but since that is unlikely, I would use the following method for triage: divide tasks into things that can be done in a day (new tires, distro hitch, good lights, lockable door, etc) by an application of $$$ and professional expertise. The remaining tasks can sometimes be made into day-long tasks (trailer leaks? Duct tape! fridge not working? Ice chest!).

Make sure that you're AAA membership is up to date, and that you have the RV option paid for. Finding some trailer mechs along the route, campgrounds, as well as RV/Truck Stops would be a good idea. Trying to squeeze into your basic gas station is to be avoided!

Gainesville is wonderful town, lots of good eats and craft beer there, great paddling close by!
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Old 01-27-2016, 09:40 PM   #12
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OK, so after much deliberation and gnashing of teeth, we're getting (5) SenDel T03 wheels and (5) Michelin 225/75E16 LTX M/S 2s (a step down from the Ribs), as that seems to be the most popular solution for the owners who tow the most.. Now regarding this Reese Distro Hitch, this is something that I'll ideally install into the truck that I will be getting soon, but as a temp solution to get the ole pickle down to FL I was considering using a rental 3/4 ton truck. I'm assuming the distro hitch isn't exactly plug n play, but actually has to be installed on a truck right? no question is a dumb question right?

Also, does anyone have experience towing (cautiously) a trailer around this size without brakes? I know it won't be ideal, but I just want to make sure it's doable just to get it from the seller in KY home.
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Old 01-28-2016, 08:19 AM   #13
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The distro hitch is plug-and-play, at least in relationship to the truck. It just goes right in the receiver. The install part is on the trailer.

Be sure to check into insurance on that rental truck! I had a similar bright idea oh-so-many years ago, and then found out that U-Haul would void out the insurance if you hauled something other than one of their trailers. Maybe times have changed, but if you've tried to use the U-Haul online reservation system, you'll see that they're fully mired in the past.

As a complete fall-back position, you could always find some trucking company to put the Airstream on a flatbed and haul it down that way...
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Old 01-28-2016, 09:30 AM   #14
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BTW, never heard of the AS referred to as a silver pickle, silver twinkie, yes.
I like silver pickle chadvocate. Welcome to the Air forum, we treat friends like family here. Like others have posted, make sure trailer brakes are working. Safety first... We want you to live to camp another day. Congrats on your new addition to the family.
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:14 PM   #15
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Oh Big Bertha

This weekend we'll be making the trip up to drag the ole pickle home. My wife was able to find a great deal on a '05 F250 Lariat Diesel Truck with only 90k miles on it, so I traded in my '10 Honda Accord (It's been a bit of a driving adjustment to say the least.) Another piece of the puzzle falls into place

I'll probably make a few more posts here to document the prep and trip to FL, but was thinking I'd start a new thread in Restoration section to keep things topical. The SenDel T03 wheels aren't going to be in in time for the trip, so the Discount Tire Rep is providing us with some temp wheels to take her to FL and hold us over till the good wheels are in.

Spent this morning at the DMV only to find that the title needed to be notarized when it was signed over for us to get the tag, so that'll be another hoop to jump through. I guess if we get pulled over on the way down to FL we'll just show them the title O_O.

We've started a blog to document the process if anybody wants to keep track moving forward: www.silverpickle.wordpress.com

I will of course be posting here as well, thanks so much for all of the info so far! Don't know what I'd have done had I not found this forum.

Cheers!
Chad
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Old 02-02-2016, 10:07 PM   #16
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New TV

Here's a photo of our new TV
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Old 02-10-2016, 05:37 PM   #17
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Successful Maiden voyage, one door casualty

Trip to Florida was a big success, although driving through Atlanta was much more "exciting" then I would've liked. Here are some photos of the process. We swapped the 15" tires and wheels out for 16" Michelins and some temp wheels that Discount Tire was kind enough to loan while the wait for the overdue SenDel wheels to come in.

Came up with a makeshift 7-way trailer connector with materials from Lowes. Installed a Husky Weight Distribution system and was able to get the brake lights/turn signals working intermittantly. I blew through about 15 of the 20 amp fuses for those on the way down, as I was swapping them out at every rest area. Found some functioning temp tail light caps at a Pilot for $2.99 apiece, wasn't a huge fan of the gem in the middle, but I'd prefer it over an exposed bulb.

One casualty of the trip was this little door on the rear of the trailer that must not have been attached very well... Anyone know where I'd look to find one?
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Old 02-17-2016, 10:01 AM   #18
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1971 31' Sovereign
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My 71 doesn't have that access door. You might try that RV salvage place in Missouri or post here in the classified.
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Old 02-17-2016, 11:47 PM   #19
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Hey Craig,

Thanks for chiming in! I skimmed the Colaw Salvage website last night, I think I'm gonna give em a jingle tomorrow to see if they have (or even know) this part. It's a 12 hour drive from ATL, so that'd be a tough pill to swallow if they don't offer shipping...

Is your '71 a Sovereign? Did some of them not have this?

Thanks!
-Chad
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Old 02-19-2016, 12:21 AM   #20
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It is. Mine was built in California. Was yours Ohio or California? I read sometimes there were differences in the two locations. My friend has a '71 Excella and I think he has that door.
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