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Old 11-27-2007, 04:09 PM   #1
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A trailer with little miles - A good thing???

Going to look at a mid 80's Sovereign 31. After talking to the owner it sounds like it has been a "parked" trailer nearly all its life. He said it has a new A/C unit and is otherwise in original condition except for a few issues
1. A household fridge in the original cabinet space and
2. A floor "issue" under the queen bed in the rear from a previous leak.
3. The plastic insert on the outside trim is coming out in places.


Haven't seen it yet. Anything special to look for considering it's been parked a lot and rarely moved?? What are my options to replace the fridge? I want to travel and have an RV fridge in it.

TIA for comments.
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:48 PM   #2
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Welcome!

Use the "Search" funtion on the task bar and here are some things to look for here on the forums,

Axle
Rear end seperation

My trailer also saw very little use and the axle seemd to be ok, but after 2 years it is now in need of replacement.

You will get more information than is possible to review.
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:11 PM   #3
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don't buy a unit with jam between her toes!

hi fiveo'

swammy says,

skip on this one.

lots of 80s 31s out there ready to travel.

and without the need to have 'park model' stuff undone like the fridge issue (which could cost 1500$+ 2getback2norma)...

even should the price b great, if you plan to travel look for one that is road worthy, now.

long time in one spot not good.

this unit could have tire, brake, bearing, axle, plumbing, electrical, holding tank, battery and so on issues...

along with window and shell leaks.

with a/s trailers it's like zz top says....

and she knows how to use them

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
hi fiveo'

swammy says,

skip on this one.

lots of 80s 31s out there ready to travel.

and without the need to have 'park model' stuff undone like the fridge issue (which could cost 1500$+ 2getback2norma)...

even should the price b great, if you plan to travel look for one that is road worthy, now.

long time in one spot not good.

this unit could have tire, brake, bearing, axle, plumbing, electrical, holding tank, battery and so on issues...

along with window and shell leaks.

with a/s trailers it's like zz top says....

and she knows how to use them

cheers
2air'
Exactly the things I'm leary of. He's asking $7000 OBO and I think that's a great price, But I'm guessing a few thousand to make it right???
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FiveOJoe
Exactly the things I'm leary of. He's asking $7000 OBO and I think that's a great price, But I'm guessing a few thousand to make it right???
Well, lesssseee....
  • Tires - dry rotted side walls, new $60+ each
  • Wheels - too rusted to mount new tires on?
  • Wheel bearings - bet they haven't been lubed in 10 years
  • Axles - Even if jacked up on the axle plate the rubber torsion arms could have set (oxidized and hardened) - zero suspension, replacement $600-$1200 per axle depending on brand chosen
  • Shocks - gotta be bad by now, $30 each - buy only from Airstream
  • Rear end separation, sag - check the "search" function on this, it's fixable but not cheap at all! Also search for "full monte" - you could be doing it!
  • Rusted frame, broken outriggers - see "full monte" above... in a word, cha-ching $$$$
  • RV propane/electric fridge - $800 to $1200
  • Water heater/furnace - these are not made as durably as home appliances, I say replace after a max 10 years on general purposes (purpose you don't want to die of carbon monoxide poisoning or a trailer fire!).
  • Potable water tank & Pump, Black & Gray tanks - um.... could be ok? I'd bet the pump is toast...
  • Plumbing pipes - somewhere this sucker froze and probably leaks like a sieve.
  • Exterior - the clearcoat will look like sh.... so polishing and re-polishing will become a way of life.
  • Vermin: Mice love to live between the inside and outside shells. UCK. And if it's been sitting occupied... gonna be ugly!
  • Dings, bad panels, bad previous repairs - work, work work to fix
  • Previous Repairs? Silicone, mismatched parts, .... half of a samsonite overnight case used in lieu of a vent cover is a bad sign... ! Badly done repairs may take more money and effort to fix than stuff that has just been left undone.
  • Overall how has it been maintained? If the stovetop is crusty and rusty I presume the whole thing has been misused and trashed.
Tell us where it is, and post many many pictures OR ask someone here to do a volunteer inspection with you. In "good to excellent" condition this price might be right, but if it's as bad as we suspect, $3000 or even less is the right answer.

Good luck in your search. Paula
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:40 PM   #6
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Maybe my first post was misleading a little. It is, and has been used during the summers on a permanent spot. I was told it was in great shape except for those things mentioned. It may or may not be moved twice a year but not very far. It is a two owner trailer and was unused for a while before the present owner. It had the AC replaced two years agoand has a new toilet. I am told it has no present leaks. BUT, from what I'm told, it hardly ever left the state and was used as a shore home.

I will look at it and go over it thoroughly. I have bought tons of used cars but never a trailer,hence the questions. Thanks for the responses. You have my eyes open wide now.
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:46 PM   #7
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The best thing you can do for the axles is to hitch it up and travel. If it has set too long, the rubber may have set. In the mid 70's they went to a better rubber, so you may be ok. It is good to know what to look for when you get there.

Good luck!
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:56 PM   #8
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I think no matter how it was used, you still just need to look for the same issues, and it already sounds like this one has some big ones - the apartment fridge, the soft spot in the floor, and possibly 'set' axels. Those can be some expensive things to fix, and you're already into body, floor, appliance, and axel repair, and you know it up front before you've brought it home.

I agree with 2Air, lots of big trailers are available in better condition to start with. Many trailers are put away for the season right now, and people will pull them out and put them up for sale in the spring. I would hold out and do my shopping then when there's more available to choose from. I'm guessing at that price, that one might still be available in the spring as well.
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:20 PM   #9
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hi five0'

perhaps it's a primo find, i hope so for both the buyer and seller.

i am a fan of buying the best available unit...

that we can afford.

now, if your goal is a workshop hobby, buying tools and locating parts...

and spending months (or years) rebuilding a special unit, fine go for a fixeruper project.

otoh IF the goal is to go camping soon, then get a road worthy unit...

that perhaps needs the tacky textiles replaced and maybe a set of tires and a bearing repack.

it's really hard to determine how ready a unit is for travel, if it's not moving much.

unless you've done this (inspecting, buying, owning stuff) a bunch,

it really takes hooking up the unit and going somewhere to find many of the issues that might dry dock the unit.

with old cars it's not that complicated to inspect everything and take a test spin, do some basic testing or have a mechanic do a complete physical.

with a trailer it's like peeling back the layers, and with each layer asking...

"do i wanna look deeper?" or "ok, let's just replace the carpet, yikes look at that sub floor!" and so on ...

like stef suggests many units are headed for hibernation right now, so look for one that 'just came back from a season of travel'...

regular use usually includes regular maintenance...

we hope.

i see you've been looking for a year or so now, and even put together an nice list of items 2 check.

how much travel and what is it you expect from the unit ?

it's easy to get wrapped up in bagging the prey, but it is helpful to sort out what you r gonna do with this thing.

after the purchase.

i mean besides pour money in to it

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-28-2007, 12:53 PM   #10
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Thank you all. I will continue looking for the right buy. I wanted to spend less (6-10k) and do some fixing up as I am relatively handy( installed my own baths and kitchen at home etc.) . I though an 84 at that money was a pretty good buy, seeing the prices in the classified ads. I guess knowing what to look for really helps.

I have been looking for a year, mosting last fall (looking for a winter project), and I nearly bought an 88 Excella in original condition for 12K, but changed my mind (and kind of regret it). I got real busy with a new house this year and just started looking again. I just put up a 30 X 50 pole barn and it is aching for a project!!

Joe
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Old 11-28-2007, 01:56 PM   #11
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Although it may be in great shape now, as soon as you start towing it around, you could work loose seams that previously hadn't leaked, and you will be busier than the little Dutch boy plugging them.
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