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Old 11-13-2007, 08:05 PM   #1
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1971 29' Ambassador
Cape Coral , Florida
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Question 1971 'Lucy' Sovereign

Thank everyone in advance for any assistance that you can be. I am the proud new owner of 'Lucy', a 1971 31' Airstream Landyacht Sovereign. We don't even have her home yet, but we are very anxious to get started on her transformation back to the Grand Dame that she once was. We are not sure where to begin, but obviously with safety. So what are the first steps that we should take when we get to spend our first weekend with her? The used dealership could only tell us that she had been a 'park' model for the last nine years. He did not know if the appliances work, so where do I turn for pointers on how to check these appliances correctly?

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Old 11-13-2007, 08:19 PM   #2
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First things?

It's a good move to think about basic safety. Here is what I would be concerned about (which by no means are exhaustive) before towing or spending a night in Lucy.

If the tires are also at least 9 years old (and probably a lot older) they are probably shot even if they look good. Do the trailer brakes work? Are the bearings greased?

There are more likely than not problems with the furnace. Watch out for propane and CO leaks. Maybe get a propane and CO detector.

Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
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Old 11-13-2007, 08:22 PM   #3
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1971 29' Ambassador
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1971 'Lucy' Sovereign

The dealer is going to transport her to our storage. I considered doing it myself, but it has been a long time since I pulled a trailer, and they are insured in case something happens on the road. New tires are going to be high on our list of first things on our first weekend with her.
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Old 11-14-2007, 05:45 AM   #4
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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What to do first -

First off, welcome to the forums and congratulations on your new to you trailer.

Originally Posted by w_burns
.... So what are the first steps that we should take when we get to spend our first weekend with her?.......
Give some serious thought to "camping out" in the driveway....there are sure to be issues and what better place to have as a backup than your own home?

A 15 amp extension cord will run everything except the AC (if you are careful and watch the load), and you will be able to take your time to go over each system without rushing.

Be cautious of any gas system that was original to the trailer - it may be more cost efficient to replace rather than attempt repairs if any internal control damage is detected.

I would recommend to have a Propane dealer check the main regulator as a first check - there are many types of replacement regulators available - the cheapest regulator is not necessarily the best choice - compare construction, materials, and workmanship prior to purchase.

A trailer of this size really should have a combination sway control and weight equalizing draw bar assembly - there are several available in a wide range of prices....absolutely necessary with anything less than a one ton tow vehicle. Brakes, tires, bearings, and lights are the things that must be checked prior to pulling out of your driveway.

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

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Old 11-14-2007, 06:33 AM   #5
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1977 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
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When we got "Ethyl" our 31/1977 one of the first things I did was to replace the tires wheels and brakes {electric/hydraulic) which means new bearings also. What a difference from the drums! Have fun and good luck!
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Old 11-14-2007, 06:34 AM   #6
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Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

Our '05 Safari is also named Lucy.

The first order of business is tires, brakes, axles, and wheel bearings. All of these must be in oreder before you can start using Lucy.

Good luck with her.
SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 11-14-2007, 09:30 AM   #7
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1971 29' Ambassador
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'Lucy' is being stored at a campground, and this is where we will camp while we are working on her. Dad will be there in his RV, but has already assigned himself to tires, wheels and bearings. My sister and brother-in-law have decided to tackle the bathroom. I want to start in my kitchen. Are there any good sites that I could go to to get the proper ways in which to check the system? The maintinance man at the campground says that we can call on the propane guy to check the gas system. What do I need to be checking for, outside of the gas lines?
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Old 11-14-2007, 10:06 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by w_burns
... The maintinance man at the campground says that we can call on the propane guy to check the gas system. What do I need to be checking for, outside of the gas lines?
Since she has sat for so long, bugs have probably clogged up the burner in the fridge. If you have compressed air, open the wind shield around the burner and blow it off thoroughly. Same goes for the heater, but my experience is that the fridge usually works, but the heater will be badly corroded and won't work, or if it does, it's probably dangerous.

The water heater is pretty straightforward. Make sure you have water in it, then light the pilot and see if the main flame comes on.

Checking the stove is pretty easy for the burners--you may have one that has a burner pilot, so just crank them all up normally. The oven is a little more complicated. You need to make sure the temperature control shuts off the main burner. I had one that never shut off once it got going--I had to turn the oven control completely off (pilot off) and even then it took a minute or so to shut down. Not good.

The propane regulator may leak and there is no fix--get a new one. I've had good luck with mine--two out of three original regulators are still working and I hate to replace them because they are well designed and look right. The new ones are gaudy with unnecessarily big levers...

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Old 12-29-2007, 09:20 AM   #9
1970 31' Sovereign
Hillsboro , North Dakota
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 12
lucky sovereign

I have a sovereign 31', have the propane lines and appliances checked for leaks etc. This should be done by a professional. Also check your plumbing for leaks and water pump pressure. If you have an Airstream owners manual it will show you how to check for your water tank, filling and cleaning of same.
Then check the toilet and waste tank and procedure for using, this info will also be in your manual. Are your batteries fully charged? what kind of battery? is your converter working? and finally wheel bearings and axel.
Good luck, this is a good way to get to know your airstream...

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