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Old 04-25-2009, 06:02 PM   #1
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mansfield , Ohio
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Posts: 17
looking for comments on a '76 Overlander please

This is my first post, but I have been reading so much I feel as if I know some of you J

Iím thinking about getting this 76 Overlander, here is the link. I understand the 76ís were built by a food company and they were cutting some corners making things weaker than some of the earlier models at that time to bring prophet to the bottom line. But there still a good unit arenít they? Or should I be looking for a 69? Anyway here is the link czxmkg&localeid=en_US

If anyone has any time to look at the picís and care to comment please do so. I spoke with the owner, he said there was a coffee can size soft spot by the commode, and went on to say he thinks it was caused by a freeze plug at the pressure regulator?? Is anyone failure with this sort of problem, and do you think there might be some sort of frame damage because of this? There is a roof vent missing, and thatís about all I now. This AS is about 5 hrís away and Id just like to know if anyone sees anything that I may have over looked.

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Old 04-25-2009, 09:23 PM   #2
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1963 26' Overlander
Austin , Texas
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Hi snowpig, welcome to the Forums!

I wouldn't worry too much about the ownership of the company over the years and how it affected quality, there are plenty of happy and satisfied mid-70s owners on the Forum.

The soft spot could be a big problem, or it could only be a small one. If you go to take as look at this unit, be sure to inspect the floor all the way around the edges. Take an ice pick or a punch awl, and try to dig at the floor around the perimeter. If you find soft spots, that's more floor rot, and it could indicate much bigger problems.

From the pictures, this looks to be a clean unit in good shape for its age. The skin looks decent, as does the interior. For more information on what might be a reasonable price for this unit, be sure to read this page on RJ Dial's vintage Airstream website.

Price vs. Condition - Airstream Values

Good luck!


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Old 04-25-2009, 11:06 PM   #3
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1974 31' Sovereign
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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Since you asked, I see something that needs correcting right away, and have a question.
The thing I saw, is the white wall tires. Those are almost certainly passenger car tires, and are not adequate at all for a trailer. they only can be inflated to 35 psi, rather than 65, and have a load rating roughly half what is specified.
My question: Is that Astroturf on the floor, or a green rough shag carpet?
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:41 AM   #4
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1977 27' Overlander
1973 27' Overlander
1963 19' Globetrotter
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I have a 73 & a 77 Overlander,1 has the dual twins,the other has the double midship,I like them both.I would look at the axle swing arm,it should be pointing down a few degrees,looks like the axles may be shot,with the arm level or in the upward position.Around $2000. for 2 axles.Overall it`s a nice looking trailer.Good luck.Dave
P.S.remember the 69 does not have gray tank.
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Old 04-27-2009, 06:07 AM   #5
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mansfield , Ohio
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Thanks for taking the time to comment,,
UTee94; Thanks for the tip on inspecting soft spots. Do you know of a way to find out if it might be a big problem, like Frame rot, other than maybe beating on the bottom of the belly pan and listing for loose sounding rust?

Overlander 63; good call on the tire rating, I didn’t even think about that, I was too caught up in the AutoZone hubcaps. The owner did say the he had the tires replaced with used ones Because of dry rot. Oh, I was told it is the factory shag carpet.

Easyride; Thanks for the axle tip. In you mind is the midship double bed large enough for two adults? From what I have found out is AS didn’t come out with the gray water holding tank till 74 ish, which leads me to a question. Is the Black tank large enough to run the sink and bath water into, or is that out of the question?
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Old 04-27-2009, 06:45 AM   #6
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which one?

I had a 76 and it was nice. If yours is anything like the pics suggest its a consideration. Open up and look inside all the outside compartment doors...that shows a problem or condition unseen from above. The bed set up is great for two folks....big folks at that. I 69 won't have a gray tank and the black tank does not collect gray water and you really don't want it to. The 76 has one. Learn how to live with either one. Parts for the 69 are unique in many instances...prepare for that. Ylour at the best site here for info and most of it is right under the "search" tab the blue banner. Good always, send pictures.
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:49 AM   #7
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1974 29' Ambassador
1966 20' Globetrotter
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Welcome to the forums. We have a rear bath '74, similar but not identical to the '76. The soft spot on the floor could be due to a few different things, which side of the commode is it on? Towards the back? Next to the water heater?

When you go to physically inspect the trailer, I suggest that you take a flashlight and a small hand mirror and look in two areas in particular. Open the rear access hatch and carefully inspect the condition of the plywood all along the perimeter, for as far as you can see and feel. Look along the walls for any signs of water having traveled down the walls towards the floor.

Next open the door to the storage compartment behind the rear bumper. If there is stuff stored in there, you'll need to get it all out. About 2 to 3 inches forward of the piano hinge for the door, you should see some pieces of galvanized sheet metal that form the front side of the storage box. Look very closely at the metal channel at the top of the sheet metal pieces, that's a very important structural member, the hand mirror can help here.

Also look at the condition of the framing members at the bottom of those pieces, they keep the black and grey water tanks in place. If you see any rust, I would ask the owner to remove those pieces (it should take drilling out a couple rivets, which can easily be replaced) and let you see the condition of the framing.

Another potential problem area is at the other end of the trailer. Remove the gaucho cushions and look to see if leaks from the front windows have created any soft spots in the floor

If everything looks good and sound, you most likely have a trailer that will need some minor projects, but should be a source of fun and enjoyment. Best of luck.

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Old 04-27-2009, 07:58 AM   #8
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1974 29' Ambassador
1966 20' Globetrotter
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One other option to consider is the inspector search function on the "Portal" page. You can find members willing to inspect in the state where the Overlander is in now. Just a thought.

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Old 04-27-2009, 12:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by snowpig32 View Post
I understand the 76’s were built by a food company and they were cutting some corners making things weaker than some

coffee can size soft spot by the commode
Maybe there was bottom line factor but another factor is the Beatrice years Airstreams were meant to be lighter. Lighter can be good. It wasn't a bunch of chefs on the production line. Beatrice just owned the Airstream business.

If the soft spot is not too big it can be patched. More serious is if the soft spot is where the floor meets the wall, especially in the rear end. The 70s models are more prone to rear end sag/ separation. If this is a problem I would probably pass on this one. From the photos the coach looks pretty straight.

Anticipate replacing at least some of the appliances and maybe axles. The trailer seems to sit high enough that the axles may be OK.
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:21 PM   #10
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1983 34' Excella
1967 24' Tradewind
Little Rock , Arkansas
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I think it is a nice looking trailer! Terry is spot on about the tires, I was distracted by the wheel covers myself.

If you get it, after the tires one of the first things I would do is ad a rockguard like this to protect the front glass. My center one (My 1983 Excella has a 3 piece system) has a small hole near the top street side corner. It was that way when I bought the Excella and I plan to replace it. The window is fine though, it did its job.

Let us know what you decide.
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Old 04-27-2009, 02:49 PM   #11
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1975 27' Overlander
High River , Alberta
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Originally Posted by easyride View Post
I would look at the axle swing arm,it should be pointing down a few degrees,looks like the axles may be shot,with the arm level or in the upward position.Around $2000. for 2 axles.Overall it`s a nice looking trailer.

Based on ride height (the aluminum moulding is higher than the tops of wheel rims) the axles are probably just fine. Henschen changed the torsion material about 1974, and later axles don't seem to have the sagging problem.

The interior of that trailer (notwithstanding the carpet) appears all-original and in outstanding condition for the year. Clear coat is typical.

Yes, floor rot is your major concern, but at that age there are two types of trailers - those that have had the problems fixed and those that have not.
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Old 04-27-2009, 06:43 PM   #12
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Below is a link to some other pictures the owner was nice enough to take. I had asked for some of the axles, and the spot where the floor is soft and one of the trunk areas. Problem is my eye is not trained enough for the pictures to reveal much of anything to me.
Again, all comments pertaining to this overlander search welcome Slideshow
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Old 04-27-2009, 06:52 PM   #13
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mansfield , Ohio
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Lumatic; You spoke of rear end sag / separation. This is one of my biggest fears, well next to my family getting the SWINE flu. Seriously though I have been looking but have yet to find a way to check for this issue. Unless it is an obvious sag, dimpled alum panels, floor heaving how do you nonchalantly tell be sides distracting the owner to look the other why while you are jumping up and down on the bumper looking for separation every time you land back on the bumper??? Yeah, it may be foolish but I’m serious.
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Old 04-28-2009, 06:27 AM   #14
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1972 25' Tradewind
old mystic , Connecticut
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Don't try and hide the fact you are checking for rear end separation. Jump on the bumper. I see nothing wrong with that. Make a check list and just tell the owner that you are a total newbie and you have some friends that have given you a ckeck list of things to look for and just do it.

If he is serious about selling he won't mind, of course he probably wouldn't let you drop the belly pan, but the other stuff should be a problem.


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