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Old 02-04-2015, 07:32 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
johnnywood's Avatar
1978 31' Sovereign
1968 24' Tradewind
Salem , Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 25
Lightbulb Hi. New member, old trailer

Hi everyone. My name is johnny from Salem, OR and last friday, my wife and I bought an "as found" 1978 31' Sovereign.

We're both dedicated to the project for camping and some travel. We have been looking at travel trailers for the past 2 years but never went further than that.
We saw this one and we decided that we would spend the money a new one would cost on one with more character.

With that said, can someone point me in the right direction for a new tongue jack? The one that just failed was an Atwood 5000 lb max. I found a spec sheet for my trailer and it said that my hitch weight is only about 580 lbs. Do I really need to install such a heavy duty one?


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Old 02-04-2015, 07:48 PM   #2
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,422
Images: 5
Greeting from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. Check at Camping World on a new tongue jack. I would go with at least 2000# capacity. Make sure that you get one that cranks vertically so that it does not interfere with the LP tanks.


SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2018 Silverado 2500 (Lillian)
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:08 PM   #3
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1969 25' Tradewind
Shasta Lake , California
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 756
You'll most likely need other parts for your vintage project so take a look at Vintage Trailer Supply - parts and supplies for vintage travel trailers and campers! and Inland RV Center - The Nations Leading Expert in Airstream Innovations your also near George Sutton RV in Eugene.

Most likely you'll need new axles check with Inland RV on that.

Have fun with your build.

I've been doing our '69 Tradewind and we're in it so far around $23,000 including the purchase price. By the time I'm done I hope to be in it no more then $35,000.
Glen & Jane 1969 all electric Airstream 25' TradeWind
2014 Toyota Tundra
1998 Chevy Tahoe
2001 Casita 13' Patriot Deluxe
WBCCI #6269

My Build Thread
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:45 PM   #4
2 Rivet Member
johnnywood's Avatar
1978 31' Sovereign
1968 24' Tradewind
Salem , Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 25
Wow, that was fast.
Thanks for quick responses and the valuable suggestions.

I'm a newbie in a brand new world. goo goo gaa gaa

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Old 02-04-2015, 08:56 PM   #5
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1999 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Hillsboro , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 6,189
Images: 2
Welcome aboard! Happy 'cloudy days' as you restore your AS!
Peace and Blessings..
WBCCI# 30676
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Old 02-04-2015, 09:34 PM   #6
4 Rivet Member
1955 22' Flying Cloud
1977 23' Safari
1986 34' Limited
Idaho Falls , Idaho
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 497
Hi, and welcome to the forum and A/S ownership! Hope you enjoy your new baby!

Richard and Vivian
Caliban The Wonder Dog: gone but not forgotten
Too many vintage A/Ss...
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Old 02-05-2015, 04:03 AM   #7
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1993 34' Excella
York , South Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,686
Images: 7
Welcome Johnny.

During the hitching process it is often helpful to raise the trailer some with the tow vehicle attached, so the extra weight added by the TV might require the heavy duty jack.

Enjoy yourselves.

WBCCI #268 Palmetto State Airstream Club 22
Region 3 President....come with us, you will like it.

Go often to the house of a friend, for weeds choke the unused path........Emerson

Are you kind?
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Old 02-05-2015, 06:48 AM   #8
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,435
Images: 292
Welcome to the insanity.

Lots of threads here in the Forums covering others who have gone before you on similar projects.

Pull the belly pan and do a full inspection of the undercarriage prior to doing anything to the interior.

Most all older AS have some hidden damage (learn all you can about floor rot and the correct way to repair or replace the floor).

PM or contact those who have completed similar projects you are anticipating.

Document with pictures all existing equipment prior to removing for repair or replacement.

Good luck on your refurb. Build it the way you want it.

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

WBCCI # 1113
AirForums #1737

Trailer '78 31' Sovereign

Living Large at an Airstream Park on the Largest Lake Totally Contained in Texas
Texas Airstream Harbor, Inc.
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Old 02-05-2015, 06:50 PM   #9
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 5,019
Images: 1
Nice to meet you Johnnywood. The Sovereign was the top of the line trailer in 78. I think you're going to enjoy the extra room and comfort it will provide during your travel adventures.

A new tongue jack will be the first of many, many purchases as you renovate this old Airstream. You have probably read about rear end separation some of these old Airstreams develop as the subfloor crumbles and the rear frame supports rust away. If you're trailer has this condition, your in for some frame repair. You don't have to take the body off to fix it, but you have to take about everything else off underneath from the axles back. If your trailer has been stored indoors, then there is less likelihood of serious moisture damage.

These Air Forums are a great place to learn about exactly how your trailer was made and how to repair it if necessary. One of my favorite threads is a early 70s Sovereign rebuild called "Little Girl Refurb" by Minno. A link to it is posted below. Stay up all night reading that one. It is most excellent. Post some pictures if you like. I enjoy looking at old Airstreams and thinking about what it might take to get back on the road in good shape.

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Old 02-05-2015, 07:00 PM   #10
2 Rivet Member
johnnywood's Avatar
1978 31' Sovereign
1968 24' Tradewind
Salem , Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 25
Thanks for the helpful inspiration and the link.


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