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Old 03-23-2009, 10:43 PM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
Lake Havasu City , Arizona
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Towing an empty 31' shell

Hi all,

I am new to the forums and to owning an Airstream as well. We have a 31' 1976 Sovereign that we are in the process of remodeling and we are having so much fun!

I have come across the shell of the same year and model trailer and the price is sure right. The only problem is that it is about 300 miles away in another state. It has no interior walls and no floor. Just the outer skin, windows, doors and frame. The tires are in good shape. Can this be safely towed that far if we kept it at 50 or under? Would it be useful at all if we were to temporarily bolt down some plywood for a makeshift floor just to decrease air flow under and into the trailer or should we just forget about this altogether?

Thank you in advance for your time,

Lisa
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:09 PM   #2
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Lisa

After that head to the house.

Rodger & Gabby
COS
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Old 03-24-2009, 05:32 AM   #3
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1960 24' Tradewind
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With no plywood floor, how is the shell being held to the lower frame? As I recall, the plywood is the attachment point between the upper shell and the lower frame.
Seems that with no floor, 50 mph air would get inside the shell from underneath and lift the unit from the road--would be highly unstable to tow, I would think.
Good luck.
Bill
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Old 03-24-2009, 07:21 AM   #4
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I have seen this question asked before with the answer- yes, carefully. The attachment of the shell to the floor would be my main concern. I would guess something could be jury rigged. Maybe some X bracing inside the shell. Cables or 2x4s. But I'm just guessing. Have never done it.
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:39 AM   #5
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If you have any questions about the security of the shell to the frame I would get a couple of cargo straps and band the shell to the frame over the outside. If you do this place a 2x6 the width of the trailer under the frame and strap across that. This will insure the load on the straps is transferred to the frame directly. Treat the shell as a load on a trailer. Make sure the straps go over the shell frame along a rivet line so you don't crush the skin.

With the reduced weight of the trailer drop the tire pressure to reflect the weight reduction. This is most important if the axles are old and you are relying on the tires as the only compliant system under the trailer.
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:52 AM   #6
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I agree with Lumatic - Carefully.
After addressing attachment and bracing issues;
Remember your trailer will be very light-weight so check the weather conditions, I would be careful of any moderate to high wind conditions.
You might want to run the tires a little below normal pressure due to the light-weight conditions, that will cut down on bouncing (smoother ride)
Good Luck BWH
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:56 PM   #7
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Thank you for your replies! Strapping the shell to the frame sounds like an excellent idea as well as lowering the tire pressure and I am sure we can make it a very slow trip home. I think we are going to go for it. I will post back after the fact and let everyone know how it went.....or didn't :-)
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:39 PM   #8
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i would be very worried about air getting under and causing some lift...
have you considered having the shell put on a flatbed and towed to your location?
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverAvion View Post
i would be very worried about air getting under and causing some lift...
have you considered having the shell put on a flatbed and towed to your location?
I doubt that lift would be a problem. Another consideration would be dirt or water if you hit rain while traveling.

If the floor is completely out consider buying a couple sheets of 1/4 luan plywood and screw them down. If you do this I would cut 4x4 patches of the plywood and screw down through them to act as a washer just in case there is upward pressure.
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Old 03-24-2009, 06:30 PM   #10
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How much do you think just a shell weighs?
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Old 03-24-2009, 07:23 PM   #11
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I would guess 2500 with the frame
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:14 PM   #12
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1976 31' Sovereign
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We were estimating it to be closer to 4000 since it starts out at around 7200 dry but I really have no idea. Maybe wishful thinking :-)

Lisa
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:51 PM   #13
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2500 would be closer weight but you will need some sort of floor to block air from destroying the shell. you could even use some old aspinite
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:28 PM   #14
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With no floor in the trailer you need to think about the possibility of the air pressure blowing windows out of the trailer… been there, and done that in a similar situation.
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