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Old 01-29-2006, 07:00 PM   #1
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1958 26' Overlander
Lachenaie , Quebec
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Finally got one!

Hi Everybody,

I finally got my Airstream. I won an auction on Ebay last night. It's a 1964 Sovereign. Seller told everything works, skin is good and interior is teak wood. I paying $3,000.

Now I have to get it! It is located in California and I live in Montreal, Canada. My tow vehicule is a Land Rover Discovery with a class III hitch factory installed. I have no previous experience towing such a large trailer. In fact, my Rover does not even have wiring. It needs to be installed.

Any suggestion is welcome as to how I should proceed to get organized. Also, do you think it could be possible to find an Airstream enthousiast in California to pick it up and haul it half way. We could meet somewhere in Missouri. That would help me a lot.

Lookiong forward to your suggestion.


Daniel
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Old 01-29-2006, 08:41 PM   #2
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If the interior is original, it will be mahogany if it has Land Yacht trim or walnut if it has International trim. It LOOKS like teak because of the stain used. You're going to have trouble getting someone to wire your Discovery for a trailer - go directly to a dealer. Hopefully, it's nearly new, because the older ones needed a very expensive (and complicated) black box to convert the two-bulb vehicle system to the one-bulb trailer system. I don't think your hitch is stout enough. This trailer will weigh 5500 to 6000lbs with hitch weight of around 600 lbs. (I don't care what the book says!) Check the specs. on your hitch. Get a very good sway control. The short wheelbase of your Discovery will cause lots of chances for "tail wagging." I'd want at least a heavy-duty 1/2 ton pickup to tow a trailer this size, but then, in the 60's lots of these trailers were towed with big stationwagons, or large sedans, so maybe you'll be OK.
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Old 01-30-2006, 12:35 AM   #3
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1963 24' Tradewind
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here's your baby!

Wow - that's a long trailer!
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Vinta...QQcmdZViewItem

Might need axles, hard to tell from the angle. I see that you have a 1997 Disco. I'd take it easy in the mountains, and get a real good anti-sway hitch. Just from the pics, I'd also get new trailer tires before going too far.
Have fun with your new trailer!
Marc
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Old 01-30-2006, 02:20 PM   #4
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Daniel, Welcome to the forums and congratulations on your purchase. What you might want to do is a search on the forums to find someone in that area who will go and take a look at your trailer. Have them check out the brakes, axles, tires and other items you will need to have to be roadworthy. Possibly you could work out a deal to have it taken to a dealer to be be checked out before you start your journey.
Have you spoken with a Land Rover dealer about towing a 32' trailer across the mountains? I do not know much about Land Rovers but would be happier with at least a 3/4 ton truck pulling your trailer.
Once again welcome and congratulations. I am certain you will get a lot of advice and suggestions here.
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Old 01-30-2006, 06:00 PM   #5
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Finally got one!

Greetings Daniel!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of 1964 Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dan_lemire
Hi Everybody,

I finally got my Airstream. I won an auction on Ebay last night. It's a 1964 Sovereign. Seller told everything works, skin is good and interior is teak wood. I paying $3,000.

Now I have to get it! It is located in California and I live in Montreal, Canada. My tow vehicule is a Land Rover Discovery with a class III hitch factory installed. I have no previous experience towing such a large trailer. In fact, my Rover does not even have wiring. It needs to be installed.

Any suggestion is welcome as to how I should proceed to get organized. Also, do you think it could be possible to find an Airstream enthousiast in California to pick it up and haul it half way. We could meet somewhere in Missouri. That would help me a lot.

Lookiong forward to your suggestion.


Daniel
The '64 Airstreams have always been special to me, and I have received tremendous enjoyment from my Overlander -- its original owners took me on my first camping trip in it when I was five years old and the Overlander was new.

I believe that you will find that your Class III hitch will not be up to the task of handling the weight of the '64 Sovereign. According to my information, the Class III hitches have a 500 pound hitch weight limit with a 5,000 pound trailer weight limit -- both of these are likely to be met or exceeded by even a near empty '64 Sovereign. According to the factory data, the '64 Sovereign has a tongue weight of 400 pounds with an empty weight for the coach of 4,500 pounds (without options and no fluids). Realistically, with a normal compliment of options and accessories installed, I would expect the coach's weight to be 5.000 to 5,200 pounds with a hitch weight of about 550 pounds. See the link below for factory weights and measures:

http://www.airstream.com/airstream/p.../weights-1.pdf

As a comparison, my '64 Overlander has a factory hitch weight of 405 pounds with an empty weight of 3,900 pounds -- when in actuality its empty weights are 525 pounds hitch weight (this is with both aluminum 40 lb. LP tanks full), and 4,450 pounds empty weight (no fluids other than the full LP tanks or possessions just installed options and accessories). When the coach is loaded for a vacation, it tips the scales at between 6,000 and 6,200 pounds with a hitch weight of nearly 750 pounds.

I have always towed my Overlander with a Reese Strait-Line hitch, but is has always been with a vehicle that was of comparable weight to the Overlander. With the weight bias likely favoring the Sovereign, I would definitely suggest that you consider the best sway control that you can afford when setting up your hitch. You will also need to be prepared for the likelihood that the coach's trailer connector end will need to be changed to match your tow vehicle -- and it may even have back-up lights to contend with as well. You can find the schematic that will likely be what you'll find on the Sovereign at:

http://www.airstream.com/airstream/p...lug1964-65.pdf

I know that the color coding matched on my '64 Overlander, but the connector had another variation of the terminal call-outs shown in the diagram. With a 12-volt battery, it isn't too difficult to determine the function of each of the wires -- I confirmed that the wires performed their indicated function before connecting them to the terminals on my new connector. You can find the standard wiring diagram for the 7-pole Bargman-style connector at:

http://www.marksrv.com/wiring.htm

You will also need to be sure that you have an electric brake controller installed as part of your weight distributing hitch package -- a forums search for brake controllers will find several discussions of this topic. You may also want to investigate a transmission fluid cooler if your Discovery has automatic transmission and didn't come equipped with a heavy duty external cooler.

Good luck with your Sovereign!

Kevin
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Old 01-31-2006, 12:36 AM   #6
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Hi Dan,
Welcome to the world of Airstream ! )
Quickly, your Range Rover WILL NOT handle the trip. You'll probably end up blowing the rear end or transmission. As mentioned above, the "tail will be wagg'n the dog"!..... Very dangerous.

I have a 25 ft Safari which is shorter then your trailer and tow it was a 2005 Dakota 285 cu in. (4-7L) V8. It's hot rod'ed up. Going up a 6% grade, you're talk'n 40 mph with my truck.

Your hitch is not legal to tow that much weight in California. You need a Class IV hitch. Need at least a electric brake system too.

Didn't mean to be the bearrer of less then positive news, but better to be safe then lose your life. If you have a friend who has a vehicle and set up, see if you can borrow it. Or rent one.

Keep us posted as to your quest to bring it home!

Take care,
Peace brother !

R/
Safari-Rick
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Old 01-31-2006, 06:42 AM   #7
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Hey Dan

Be sure to contact Colin at GSM Vehicles, in Platsburgh, NY just across the border. He's in Montreal all the time. He is restoring my 1958 Sovereign of the Road . Even though the owner says it is in good shape, it will need something. Be careful if you do it with the Discoverer.....and take the southern route - less hills. Those older trailers are a lot lighter than everyone with newer trailers, probably only ways 4500 lbs. Oh yeah, if this doesn't work out for you, I know where there is a 1968 Sovereign that you could score for $2....but it needs floor work. All there, basically the same layout.

Rob
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Old 02-01-2006, 03:24 PM   #8
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2002 31' Land Yacht 30
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Exclamation Trailer is too heavy

Hello Daniel,

According to my towing guide in Camping Caravaning Magazine of march 2001 of the FQCC, the towing capacity of your Land Rover would be only 5 500 lb. Also a 32 ft trailer is not a good match for the short wheelbase of the R/Rover. A 25 ft trailer would be a better match.

You may want to ask Andy Thompson of Can-Am RV in London for his opinion...

Rémi Guertin
Technical writer - Camping Caravaning Magazine
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Old 02-09-2006, 11:30 PM   #9
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1958 26' Overlander
Lachenaie , Quebec
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Thank you all for your help!

Ok Guys, back to this thread after a few nights of overtime at work and a few night without sleep because of baby Louis teething (the 3rd of the family).

I was surprised at all the replies I got from you all but also shocked by all the stuff I don't know!!!

Here's what happened with my new purchase... It turned out it was a '67 instead of a '64. The owner said EVERYTHING IS WORKING but that was 5 years ago when he last used the trailer. Since then, he notice both a water leak and gas leak. Four of the rounded glass were broken, and the tires were damaged by all these years sitting in the Nevada desert sun. Since the posting on EBay was different that the real thing, we agreed (the seller and me) not to go through with this transaction. OUT goes the Sovereign!!!

But from your posting, it seems to be good news... Here is what I understood from your replies:
  • My 1997 Land Rover Discovery is not suited to tow such a long trailer, mainly due to its short wheelbase. I'll take your word for it but I have a friend who tow a 36 feet Bayliner boat with a similar vehicule with no problem. Maybe the short distance he travels is no big deal compared to the trip across America I want to do with the family.
  • Moreover, The towing capacity of my Disco is 5500 lbs according to Camping Caravaning Magazine. In my owner's manual, it is written that a V8i SE vehicule (like mine) can to 4000kg (8800lbs), support a tongue weight of 150kg (330lbs) with its factory installed class III hitch and a total rear axle weight of 1650kg (3630lbs). The GVW of the disco is 2720kg (5984 lbs). Who should I believe???
  • Seems like I should have a class IV hitch installed with an ajustable hitch head in order to be better safe than sorry. What do you all think on that. Could I do it with my class III which is supposed to be able to tow 8800lbs??? Safety is a concern here for the wife and kids.
  • Finally, I should look for a 26 feet trailer in order to have a better trailer-tow vehicule combinaison, right? I am not considering changing my disco soon and could not buy a pickup truck for a family of 5. Also, I am a marketing executive and do not see myself commuting downtown with a Dodge RAM trying to find a parking space :-)
The hunt is open again!!! Awaiting your replies. Thanks guys.

Daniel
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Old 02-10-2006, 01:10 AM   #10
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67' Sovereign

Dan, I have to say that... you have had an "Ebay experience" from what I read in your posts. I would however say that a 1967 trailer vs. a 1964 trailer is at least 3 years newer and if it is in Nevada a little closer to you than was originally listed in the item description on the auction.
Having said that, You may want to consider these things before you completely abandon the 67'. First you would in all likelihood have had to replace the tires anyway before pulling the trailer all the way home to Canada. Next broken windows would not be as hard to replace now that Vintage Trailer Supply is now stocking them for 66', 67', and 68', model year trailers. Also, the fact that it has spent time in a dry desert climate appears to have helped keep the interior in good condition. The fact that it has now shown to have a LP gas leak and water leak is minor as long as no floor rot has been caused. That issue (floor rot) really should be looked at (but if found) is not that hard to repair if in only a small area. Then there is the price you got it for...a very good price ($3,000.00) for a large trailer.
Perhaps you could contact one of the members here on the forums that volunteer to inspect trailers for prospective buyers, and have it inspected for you before you just dismiss it. It very well could be a diamond in the ruff. We all have heard every so often about someone who has found a great trailer for a great price and then goes that extra mile to make it their own. I know as I am one of them. I really think you need more information before you throw this opportunity away.
Please be aware that you have many here on the forums that can and will help you in the future whatever your final decision is on this trailer and many more who can help with questions and advice. Many times since I first joined the forums i have been given great advice and have made new friends here.
From the pictures it does appear that they are of a 1967 model so I would venture to guess what you are seeing is the actual trailer that was to be sold although they listed it as a 1964 year. It has the same color scheme as mine (AQUA) and appears that most of the interior is original.
Just my two cents worth....however you decide...Welcome to the Forums and good luck with your search. Just remember that all used trailer need a good home and some TLC to bring them back from the brink and this one could be the one that brings you and your family many years of great memories and the enjoyent of being together for the adventure you will find on the road. Ed
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Old 02-10-2006, 01:50 AM   #11
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Welcome

Dan, seems I forgot to say...Welcome to the forums... Ed
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Old 02-10-2006, 03:43 AM   #12
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Why are you buying thousands of miles away?

For a first time purchase, why are you buying an Airstream thousands of miles away from where you live?

A Land Rover Discovery is not a very dependable vehicle to carry passengers, let alone tow with. Sorry, but that comes both from personal experience and independent vehicle evaluations. What you almost bought could not be towed with what you own.....don't buy what you can't tow.

Can you afford to really take a week or 10 days or two weeks to go get something thousands of miles away in another country?

If you calculate what the true cost of what you almost bought on ebay, to actually have it in your driveway, the cost would have easily doubled.
Don't be in such a hurry. There are Airstreams in Canada. You just have to take the time to look.
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Old 02-10-2006, 10:59 AM   #13
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Disco...

ok Dan, rather than diss the Disco...(it is what it is, and you have it), here's some suggestions.

For the Disco - if you have the non-air ride suspension, I think you want to upgrade to the lower profile rims that come on the higher end models. This will help keep tire squirm to a minimum, helping to reduce sway. I'd also get firmer shocks (but NOT air shocks) to keep that high CG at bay.

Make sure you have a high (class 4) rating hitch. Hitch weight on my older 26ft Argosy is about 500 pounds (that's about 227 KG). You also need a good sway control device. With 1/2 full fresh water (but no belongings) we are at 4,800 or so pounds.

Your 8,800 lbs tow rating is for the Disco in Low Range (if I remember right from reading a brouchure on two years ago). In high range, it is about 5000 lbs.

I'd limit myself to a 26ft trailer Max! A 24ft'r would be about premium. Towing boats vs. AS's are a bit different. The boat doesn't have the same tongue weight, and while an AS is a bit slippier than your average box, it does have more wind resistance than a typical boat.

I don't subscribe to the bigger is neccessarly better mantra (gotta be huge!), but I do have to say that towing my 26ft'r got considerably less stressful after I sold my Chevy Astro for a 1 ton van. That said, the Astro did tow fine for short (1 hr trips on the flat) ok. I did take my van to the San Juan islands with my 3500 lb boat... the brakes were smoking from all the small ups and downs and braking for curves. That was enough for me!
We wanted to cruise the west coast (hwy 1) for a trip, and I couldn't see myself doing that with the Astro.
Good luck with your hunting! You did say you have three kids, right? It's amazing how much stuff (i.e. weight) one packs in one of these trailers - keep it down, and go for the shorter end of the trailer scale.
Good luck!
Marc
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Old 02-10-2006, 07:29 PM   #14
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The main reason I want to keep the disco is that the family loves it and I've invested this fall and upgraded the suspension with Old Man EMU air shocks and polyurethane bushings all around. As for the wheel, the truck is setup with original 16'' mag wheels and Vredenstein high performance tires. My truck handles like a sport sedan!!!

OK for the class IV hitch. I guess I'll upgrade and make sure I'm better safe than sorry! I am now looking for a 26 overlander (I like the side gaucho layout). It's the shortest I'll tolerate since I am a big guy (6'4'' and 260 lbs) and need space. I'll make sure I setup my hitch with antisway bars also.

I am investigating one in Michigan (an 20 hours drive for me, compared to 7o to get to California!) that seems original and complete for $4,000. I'll keep you all posted.

For those of you who find Land Rovers to be unreliable vehicules, there is a simple answer. You're right. But with preventive maintenance and a AAA subscription, I feel quite safe :-) Jokes apart, the Disco is a capable vehicule and I have a great deal of confidence in mine. It's up to 150,000km and has barely never let me down.

Talk to you all.

Daniel
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