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Old 02-21-2009, 08:47 AM   #15
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Atabols,
Don't forget to exercise the awnings. Make sure they work and the material isn't about to disintegrate. Plug in a tow vehicle and make sure the running / brake / turn signal lights work.

Since it has been a "party shack" it will probably need batteries.

Take a look at the copper plumbing and look for bulges, breaks, and patches.

Something else I though of is if you are going to be towing you are going to want to invest in a rock guard for those precious front windows.

Take a look at this thread for a purchase inspection checklist...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f138/trailer-inspection-checklist-43294.html

Don't get caught up in the moment. Be sure to take into consideration what it will cost to make all the repairs and deduct it from your offer and explain to the owner why you are making the lowered offer.

Don't get disgruntled if you don't get this one. There are a lot of Airstream out there and another one will be along shortly.
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Old 02-21-2009, 10:11 AM   #16
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Arrow Buy or get off the Pot

Buy the damn thing.
Heck it'll be good for the economy. And it will make all of us with similar trailers think there is hope for that value range when we decide to part with ours.
A bit odd that the owner claims no knowledge of the trailer's past since his parents owned it..
Doesn't every owner of anything for sale embellish the facts?

I think it will still be available after the auction look. So I would wait til I saw the other. I sure hope you still go look at and get the result of the auction if for no other reason, so you can report to those of us who have involved ourselves with those threads.
You seem from what I have read on all your threads in somewhat of a rush to camp. The '77 is IMHO at least a year (likely longer) away from that usage barring a real stroke of good luck.
The 70's (1969-1980 inclusive) era is my fav of the Airstreams, however the '74 and up are the prime of these. Grey tanks, better axle rubber, and less plastic after 76 or 77 in the cabinets. (i.e. at least partial goodbye tambour issues). Small but gradual improvements most every year.

It is my experience that there are two types of people, those that are very private in their bathroom comfort and those that could not care less about same.
The 31' rear bath offers the most privacy that you will find in any trailer Airstream has ever made. Maybe in any trailer of any brand ever made.
After eating some of that pot-luck rally fare or "dump (everyone's together*) chili"
You'll want all the bathroom privacy you can find.

*Probably a Colorado thing
where everyone makes their version of homemade or canned chili and it is all dumped together into one pot before serving to the brave. Ugh.
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Old 02-21-2009, 11:05 AM   #17
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As always...good info from all. Thanks again.

The Tambour doors (or accordian doors as my unexperienced wife and I refer to them as) in the '71 are about 50%. Some work perfectly, some move about 2 inches and that's it. We really dislike them, so likely I would be invoking my woodworking skills and making open-up doors with strong spring hinges for any 100% not working Tambour doors.

The '71 seems to be in very original condition (can't find anything to-date that isn't OEM). I'm sure the '77 is original considering that it's been sitting for the alst 25 years of it's 32 year life.

How big of an issue is the gray water tank, really. This is another issue that I have not considered because I really don't care if my "black" and "gray" water end up together...not like I'm drinking either one. I guess the two tanks would give some additional capacity but honestly I can't envision being more than 2-3 days without being able to hook up at a campground or at least to reach a dump station at a camper-friendly travel stop or rest area. I really think that the 21 gallon black tank should be sufficient. Am I wrong in basically discounting that the '77 would have the addition of a gray water tank?
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Old 02-21-2009, 11:35 AM   #18
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The gray water (kitchen sink drain, bathroom sink drain, shower drain) are most likely NOT plumbed into the 1971's black tank. They will be designed to run out onto the ground (which was largely permissible in 1971 but is not allowed at most campgrounds these days), or you can run that drain outlet into a portable tank (often blue in color and therefore referred to as a "blueboy") that sits underneath your trailer. Many people do this and are just fine with it. That portable blueboy tank usually has wheels and is generally hauled over to the dump station whenever it fills.

Some people change the plumbing and route their gray water into the black tank. But that wil fill your black tank pretty quickly, and dumping the black tank requires moving the trailer and not just a portable tote.

You can also always add a gray tank, there are many ways to do that documented on this Forum, and some of those methods don't even require gaining access to the bottom of the trailer frame, but rather they use above-floor tanks and sump pumps to move the water around.

Good luck!
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Old 02-21-2009, 11:38 AM   #19
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Atabols,
In the case of the '71 there will be no gray water tank, as you have found, and the gray water on the '71 does not go into the black water tank. The gray water outlet is on the downstream side of the black water tank valve. In years gone by the gray water was allowed to simply fall to the ground to evaporate or soak into the ground. Some people leave the cap on the outlet with the black tank valve open and let the gray water "back up" into the black tank.

In the '71 you would either have to have a blue waste water tote to gather your gray water or have a hook up to sewer to let it drain.

You would be surprised how quickly the gray water tanks ,on trailers that have them, fill up.
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Old 02-21-2009, 12:28 PM   #20
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My previous Airstream was a 1969 27 foot rear bath. Great trailer, sorry I let it go in my younger years (40's). I never had a problem not having a gray tank. As mentioned in another post the gray drains downstream of the black tank. But as I remember the black tank had a shut=off valve that connected prior to the gray inlet to the main drain. So while camping with sewer hookups I closed the black drain valve and left the main drain open. The gray water simply ran in out into the main sewer line. Now if you boon dock, you may need a blue boy.

Good looking trailer and rare to find one like this in original condition. This means that any changes or upgrades can be done by you. With the help of the Airstream knowledge base here on the forum you can make sure it done right. That is important, nothing worse than trying to go back and fix something that a PO did that was done wrong.

For sure do go look at the 77 model up for auction if for no other reason than to end the thread and bring all of us up to date.

On the question of axles, yes you need to replace them as your 1st project. Do as I say not as I did. I waited for a few years making myself believe that they were still OK on my 1976 Sovereign. Popped rivets, rough ride and cabinets pulling out from the wall finally convinced me that they were bad. This is a project that you can do yourself in one day. It took me 2 hours to drop and install the new Henschen axles. Order them loaded with the new brake assembly and then all you will need to do is re-connect the wiring that ran to the old brakes then put on new tires and shocks. With your running gear up to spec you you can start on any other projects that need attention and enjoy you Airstream knowing that it will be safe to tow. Have fun you will enjoy seeing this old Airstrem come back to life.

Don
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:12 PM   #21
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It's over. No more valuation required

Well, it's not any one of the Sovereign models that we were looking at. We were scouring the 'net for Airstreams close to us and we happened upon one that we'd never seen before. We figured sure it was sold, but nevertheless we emailed about it. After some correspondence, we had an address and were on our way. It is an Overlander rather than a Sovereign, but we can deal with the slightly smaller layout. Within minutes of seeing the trailer, we knew. It felt right, the price was insanely low, all was good. New tires, perfect awning, window awnings, interior upgrades that were already in line with what we were discussing about doing to whatever trailer we bought. After looking around in and out and having a thorough tour by the owner, we were hooked. Down payment came out, camper is bought. We still have to go back and tow it home, but the deed is done. Just gotta find time to take 1/2 a day off of work. I even got a weight distribution and sway control hitch with the camper! Life is great. We can start camping right away. Only thing that I could find bad is that PERHAPS the axles will need replaced. But, the brakes are new so if we need axles then it's only the cost of bare axles and shipping. I guess it's time to find the local chapter of the WBCCI. Airstreamers...look out...you got a new family in the group.

Attachment 75870
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:20 PM   #22
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CONGRATS~!!
I just looked your photo over and, I agree with your assessment..
The axles, they don't look that bad..Give em a couple more years..
Sweet looking gear..Enjoy~
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:07 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atobols View Post
Well, it's not any one of the Sovereign models that we were looking at. We were scouring the 'net for Airstreams close to us and we happened upon one that we'd never seen before. We figured sure it was sold, but nevertheless we emailed about it. After some correspondence, we had an address and were on our way. It is an Overlander rather than a Sovereign, but we can deal with the slightly smaller layout. Within minutes of seeing the trailer, we knew. It felt right, the price was insanely low, all was good. New tires, perfect awning, window awnings, interior upgrades that were already in line with what we were discussing about doing to whatever trailer we bought. After looking around in and out and having a thorough tour by the owner, we were hooked. Down payment came out, camper is bought. We still have to go back and tow it home, but the deed is done. Just gotta find time to take 1/2 a day off of work. I even got a weight distribution and sway control hitch with the camper! Life is great. We can start camping right away. Only thing that I could find bad is that PERHAPS the axles will need replaced. But, the brakes are new so if we need axles then it's only the cost of bare axles and shipping. I guess it's time to find the local chapter of the WBCCI. Airstreamers...look out...you got a new family in the group.

Attachment 75870

Another test is to jack up one side of the trailer. The tires should drop about 3 inches. If not, then the rubber rods have solidified, which creates a harsch ride for the trailer.

Andy
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:47 AM   #24
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K guys...I have a 'rear bath' in my '74 Sovereign....I have been over so many ideas and floorplans as I really wanted to have a bedroom in the rear...I just don't think I can do it...I have so many other big expenses to consider such as a heater, a water heater, an air conditioner, a stove, possibly 'new' black and grey water tanks as well as trying to refurbish my whole interior---uugghhhh----Now I am terrified about my axles!! I will be posting pics hopefully by this week.....Just to let you know what might be a hinderence---our hospital has gone bankrupt so I may be out of a job!!! Terrible to think about it, but I will survive....I plan on trying to scrunge for every bit of old lumber, ect, that I can find to refurbish my beloved AS.....I will post pics as soon as possible...
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:04 PM   #25
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This looks like a decent unit. I have a 72 Overlander, and it's very similar. As was stated before, make sure all the appliances work and this includes the heater. There was a heater recall, but I can't remember the years. It's worth checking.

If it's been in storage in a barn for a while check for mouse infestation (under sink and bath areas and side storage and behind reefer) and treat it carefully if you find evidence of this. This is not trivial, and it's not a deal breaker - but it is a good negotiation point. A REALLY good cleaning and disinfection is always in order, you just have to be a bit more careful.
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:26 PM   #26
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did you go to vinatageairstream.com and ck on values.
If you have a dealer do the work $$$$$$$$$$$$$
good luck!
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