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Old 12-27-2006, 10:24 PM   #1
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1970 31' Sovereign
Aiken , South Carolina
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Hi everybody, just bought a 1970 Sovereign. I was told it was 30' by the person I purchased it from but I think it is 31'. Started going over everything a couple of nights ago, so far I'm pretty happy. The stove works, the fridge works on elec can't get it to go on gas yet. Oven works but I'm having trouble getting the hot water heater lit. The girl I bought this camper from knew absolutely nothing about it, so I kinda bought it sight unseen even though I was looking at it, I don' know anything about them either! I am into streetrods and have restored several cars but this is my first camper. Does anybody know where I can get some sort of owners manual or something? I don't even know where to put the stands to level it! The motor has been removed from the tongue jack, just going to replace it with a manual one if I can get one to fit. Well I am going to attempt to r&r the toilet tomorrow, from reading some of the postings it sounds like I'm in for a real treat!
Thanks, rick
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Old 12-27-2006, 10:30 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Forums. I'm sure that those with the knowledge on these Forums will answer your questions.
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Old 12-27-2006, 10:43 PM   #3
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1976 25' Tradewind
. , AZ to Maine
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Congratulations!

Ours was an impulse purchase too.
The frame was bad.
I love it!

Did you tow it home yet?
Brakes and lights, Tires and hitch,
Get a maunal, read the forums,
Post pictures, have some fun,
Before you know it, you will know it.

R
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Old 12-28-2006, 02:49 AM   #4
LoveTunnel
 
1970 31' Sovereign
Aiken , South Carolina
Join Date: Dec 2006
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thanks

fixed two flat tires and towed home first day, about 125 mi. left tail only one working at all are now
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Old 12-28-2006, 06:21 AM   #5
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1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
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Owners and service manuals show up on Ebay regularly. Usually go for about $30. You also can get data from the VAC archieve at Airstream.net. Check the unit over for major problems like weak, bent, or cracked frame (observed by tail droop, frame separation, not straight axle mounting flange, or side buldge) before you invest money alot of money in things. Also check out floor rot. These are major expense items and may make it uneconomical to repair. Investing a little money to have a qualified Airstream RV mechanic look it over might save you money in the long run. Sometimes you can get a free volunteer on this site or from your local chapter of WBCCI to look it over for free, but the advice may only be worth what you pay for it.
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Old 12-28-2006, 06:59 AM   #6
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welcome to the addiction!
if the water heater and fridge do not work on gas check for spiders. specificly spider webs. For some reason they like the smell in propane.
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Old 12-28-2006, 07:20 AM   #7
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Rick, welcome to the forums. You've got a very good AS dealer in NC. Outofdoorsmart have what you need or can get it for you. Search the forum using the blue search bar option, for Owners Manual. You'll find Sec. Services who sell reproductions of some original manuals. See you on the road.
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Old 12-28-2006, 08:50 AM   #8
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
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Just Starting

Greetings Rick!

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

Quote:
Originally Posted by rick zigler
Hi everybody, just bought a 1970 Sovereign. I was told it was 30' by the person I purchased it from but I think it is 31'. Started going over everything a couple of nights ago, so far I'm pretty happy. The stove works, the fridge works on elec can't get it to go on gas yet. Oven works but I'm having trouble getting the hot water heater lit. The girl I bought this camper from knew absolutely nothing about it, so I kinda bought it sight unseen even though I was looking at it, I don' know anything about them either! I am into streetrods and have restored several cars but this is my first camper. Does anybody know where I can get some sort of owners manual or something? I don't even know where to put the stands to level it! The motor has been removed from the tongue jack, just going to replace it with a manual one if I can get one to fit. Well I am going to attempt to r&r the toilet tomorrow, from reading some of the postings it sounds like I'm in for a real treat!
Thanks, rick
Copies of the original owners' manual are available from two sources. You can find them via the Airstream Store (at Airstream.com), or from Secretarial Services. You can follow the link below to the Airstream Store:

Airstream :: Store

The owners' manual had only been around for six years in 1970 -- 1964 was the first year for Airstream owners' manuals. I am sure that the 1970 version is many steps ahead of the one published for my '64 Overlander as it leaves many questions unanswered -- I know that there is much more information in the manual for my '78 Minuet. The service manuals didn't come about until a few years after your coach was built (1974), but there would be a fair amount of similarity in most of the systems.

The second source of manuals can be accessed via the contact information below (as quoted from the Vintage Airstream Club website):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage Airstream Club
Manuals

Q: I need an owners and service manual for my Airstream. Where can I get one?
A: The first owners manuals were published in 1964. Prior to that, the owner received a brown envelope containing parts lists and other helpful information on the accessories in his trailer. The VAC has started making these available in the Members Archive section. A service manual with instructions for performing service operations did not exist until 1972.
You can get photocopies of owners manual (1964+) and service manuals (1972-1986) from:

Helen Davis Secretarial Services
PO Box 484 Sidney, OH 45365
(937)492-8885

Prices are about $33 and $70 respectively. After 1986 the Owners Manuals included available service information.
Something else that might help if you are new to RVing, is a generic RV repair and operations manual published by Trailer Life by Bob Livingston. You can learn more about this book through the link below:

Amazon.com: RV Repair and Maintenance Manual 4 Ed: Books: Bob Livingston

When you mention leveling, it is slightly different with Airstream than with some of the other coaches. The stabilizing jacks are not used for leveling, just for support and stabilization. Side-to-side leveling is accomplished with boards or leveling devices like Lynx Levelers placed under the tires on the low side of the coach, and front-to-rear level is attained through ajustment of the tongue jack. Once the coach has been leveled through these adjustements, then stabilizers are snugged up under the frame rails. Leveling with stabilizers only can cause damage to the coach and/or frame on an Airstream product -- my first coach was a Nomad, and this is one of the first lessons that I had to learn after buying my Overlander in 1995.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 12-28-2006, 10:54 AM   #9
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1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick zigler
Hi everybody, just bought a 1970 Sovereign. I was told it was 30' by the person I purchased it from but I think it is 31'. Started going over everything a couple of nights ago, so far I'm pretty happy. The stove works, the fridge works on elec can't get it to go on gas yet. Oven works but I'm having trouble getting the hot water heater lit. The girl I bought this camper from knew absolutely nothing about it, so I kinda bought it sight unseen even though I was looking at it, I don' know anything about them either! I am into streetrods and have restored several cars but this is my first camper. Does anybody know where I can get some sort of owners manual or something? I don't even know where to put the stands to level it! The motor has been removed from the tongue jack, just going to replace it with a manual one if I can get one to fit. Well I am going to attempt to r&r the toilet tomorrow, from reading some of the postings it sounds like I'm in for a real treat!
Thanks, rick
Rick, good to have you on the forum. I had a '77 Excella 500 31' so I will make a few comments. Buy the service manual for a '74 and that should help. As mentioned earlier, one source is Helen Davis of Secretarial Services. I would look on ebay first for an original service manual and if one is not available there is also an individual who is reproducing those and sells them on ebay. That should get you started.

You do not use jack stands to level your Airstream. That is for other style campers. You use either plastic block levels or do what I do and use 2X8 pieces of treated wood about 10"-12" long. It is much cheaper. Just place them behind each wheel on the side that needs to be raised and drive back onto the wood. You might also have stabilizers under your trailer but they are only run down enough to prevent the trailer from rocking back and forth when moving inside. Do not attempt to level the trailer using these because it will torque the frame which might even prevent you from closing your door.

Your water heater gas orifice may be clogged with spider webs and may need to be cleaned out. The service manual will help you there. The fridge may just have a rusted burner which should be cleaned. If it is an old Dometic, it had a manual piazo type starter inside and at the bottom of the fridge. Make sure you have no air in the system by running the gas stove for a minute or two then shut it off. You then set the knob to gas, set the other knob to 4, pull out the gas knob and push the red starter button numerous times. Keep doing this until you are sure there is no air in the line. My manual said that you can see the flame from inside the trailer but I was never able to do so. I had to go outside, open the coompartment hatch and look at the burner. You have to remove a plate to clean the burner anyway so I would leave it off to visually see if the burner is lit. My fridge was a Dometic RM100 so I am assuming yours is close to that in function unless it has been replaced with a newer unit.

Tongue jack--I would spend the money on another electric tongue jack rather than going with a manual. Shop around. The tongue weight on my Excella 500 exceeded 1000 lbs. so it was no lightweight.

Length--I didn't see a 30' listed for '70, only a 31'. Measure from the ball to the bumper for an approximate length.
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:19 AM   #10
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1975 31' Sovereign
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Rick,

Welcome. I'm redoing a 75 Sovereign, mid-bath unit and don't know what to do with all the room! I'd like to make the same comment here that I made to another new member this morning--photos are always appreciated and if you're into hot rods, putting one in the picture as a tow vehicle would be very attractive. You could compete with the other new member's tractor as a TV!

Zep
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:49 AM   #11
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Hi rick, welcome aboard. You'll find more information hear then you ever wanted to know. I have a 76 31' Sovereign as well as a 2007 25' Classic. There are things on the 76 that I like better than the 07. The framed windows being one. The newer airstreams windows are just flat glass, no frame. The older airstreams are also a bit more rounded on the ends.When it comes to manuals , try and buy an original. The manuals sold by Helen Davis are expensive and not very good. I bought one for a 94 25' airstream at $75.00 and I wasn't happy with the quality at all. Hope you have a lot of fun both working and using your new Airstream.
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Old 12-29-2006, 12:57 AM   #12
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1962 24' Tradewind
Chester , Nebraska
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Welcome to the forums.....I am new here, but have learned tons in just the past couple of weeks. Be careful....these Airstreams are addictive....I caught the buzz real fast.....sure is a lot of fun. Lots of great folks here and an endless knowledge base. Have fun and once again, WELCOME!
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Old 12-29-2006, 07:08 AM   #13
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I bought my trailer from Out-of-doors mart. They are great!
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