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Old 04-18-2008, 09:35 PM   #1
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1982 31' International
Keokuk , Iowa
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 4
Question New Airstreamer TODAY with many ???

Hello, and soooooo glad to be here! We just jumped in up to our necks! Bought a 1982 31' International about three hours ago. It is in pretty good shape, needs a polish, etc. One question: is the Air # that number that appears on the top front of the trailer? If so, wonder why ours would be scratched off? Here is the vin # 1STTBAR29CJ500692. Got it from a guy who speaks RUMANIAN (!) who says he bought it in WYO. The guy is not the guy listed as owner on the title, but he says he never registered in his own name...??? should we worry?
Lets see, thats two ?'s... here is number three: What should we be towing this baby with? Hate to give up our Pacifica, but we KNOW that sweetie won't do the trick. Is HP what we go by to judge enough towing power? We have looked at some things and HP varies, and doesn't seem to correspond to engine size (liters) We want something with AWD or 4WD, and not a pickup. We are thinking about a 2003 Dodge Durango 4x4 that we looked at. Any suggestions? Thanks for answers!

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Old 04-18-2008, 09:44 PM   #2
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
waynesboro , Virginia
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 105
What does your trailer weigh?? I actually have an airstream moho, but have had trailers before that... never airstreams though. What size engine does the durango have?? Im sure a diesel excursion, or gas would do the job boasting a longer wheel base and possibly heavier frame. I actually never titled my 5th wheel until the day i sold it, as long as the title is clear and you were able to put your name as the buyer, and the owner before your guy signed it, i would assume your ok?? Whichever vehicle you get though it will help to have proper towing gear such as a sway bar, and leveling bars. Im sure some actual 31' owners will chime in much better than i can.

1989 345LE
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Old 04-18-2008, 09:48 PM   #3
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1982 31' International
Keokuk , Iowa
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 4
Hey thanks for a quick reply, swinginping! Specs say 6800 dry with 600# at tow bar.
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Old 04-18-2008, 09:49 PM   #4
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1982 31' International
Keokuk , Iowa
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 4
Sorry, forgot engine size. It says V8 5.9 Liter 435 HP
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Old 04-18-2008, 10:08 PM   #5
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 5,677
Hi, and welcome.

Last things first. You'll get a million pieces of advice on what is the best tow vehicle. Some of them will be from people with many many more years of towing than I have.

As a woman who started towing 3 years ago, I hold these truths to be self-evident: That all drivers and all tow vehicles are not created equal, and that the less you know, the more better equipment can do to help save your ass while you're learning on the job.
  • use the "search" feature here and search topics such as tow vehicles, brake controllers, and weight distributing hitches - all three contribute heavily to the safety of your rig, and all can help you avoid fatigue caused by "white knuckles towing".
  • Any weight distributing hitch will help, most people will agree that the Hensley is the best, but is cha-ching pricey. I personally use the Reese dual-cam, but there are several other brands so investigate before you buy
  • Assess your driving skills and your travel plans. If you're going into the big mountains, a 3/4 ton ladder frame truck is probably the best bet, if you're mainly going on flatland you could squeek by with a 1/2 ton. Remember Suburbans are a good alternative to Chevy pickup trucks if you want more passenger capability.
  • Length of the tow vehicle is important too. The longer the trailer the longer the tow vehicle should be. I have a quad cab long bed Chevy Silverado 2500 diesel... which is a bit of overkill for a 25' Safari FB SE. However if I wanted your A/S I wouldn't have to upsize.
  • The most important thing about towing is STOPPING. An undersized tow vehicle can get pushed around by it's trailer in a panic stop... and sooner or later you WILL have to stop or swerve unexpectedly.
About the red numbers - they are WBCCI numbers. If you decide to join WBCCI there is a chance you can have those numbers re-issued in your name, if you don't want them, remove them with a plastic paint scraper or plastic razor blades, assisted with your hair dryer, some WD-40 and gentle tugging will work... eventually.

About the title. It's either no big deal or it's a very big deal. Did he also give you a bill of sale from the previous owner? If not, you might want to try to locate the previous owner and find out if and when he sold it. Alternately you could call the police in the state where it was formerly titled and see if it was ever reported sold, wrecked or stolen. If it was sold, you're golden... just go get a title in your name. If it was stolen, I hope you know how to find the Rumanian man again and can send the police after him, big time.

Best of luck, Paula
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 04-18-2008, 10:15 PM   #6
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1963 16' Bambi
Yreka , California
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,870
Welcome headinout to the forums,

You have questions.... likely will have lots more! The numbers that likely used to appear on the top of the front of the trailer... in large type.... those numbers are member numbers for those owners who belong to the Wally Byam Club (referred to as WBCCI). Wally was the "originator" of the Airstream and did amazing travels with groups to far and wonderful places in the 1950's. The club is still active. In fact there are seperate forum postings you can find at the portal, I believe. Being a member of the WBCCI is totally a personal choice. I am sure if you google WBCCI or search here in the forum you will find more information.

Here on the forum if you go to your personal information page you will find a Air #. that is your number as being a member of the forum.

If you use the search feature and key in your year and model of your Airstream you will likely find threads that have some information you will enjoy reading. The search function on this software is a bit overzealous, however, and will return everything to you that has the search word in it.

As far as your title. You will have to check at your Dept. of Motor Vehicles in your state. I can tell you without proper title in California it is a big hassle. But, if the title papers are signed by the former owner... your DMV will likely be able to track it and fix you up if originally registered in your state.... if it is from out of state... you'll have to ask them. Your DMV may have a website that lists requirements.

Post some pics of your airstream! We love pics here. Welcome and good luck with your new Airstream.

Mrs. NorCal Bambi traveling in S Tardis ~ from the Great State of Jefferson
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Old 04-18-2008, 10:23 PM   #7
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2006 30' Classic
st louis , Missouri
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 63
Tow vechicle

Welcome to the forum and to becoming an Airstreamer. My eyes lit up when I saw Keokuk, Iowa. That's home to me. I haven't lived there since 1967 but it is still home.

We tow with a Dodge Ram 2500 pickup. It's a diesel and is a 2 wheel drive. Just traded in a 2005 Dodge 2500 and had been getting over 16 mpg towing our 30' trailer. We are still breaking in the new one (less than 1500 miles) and we got 12.0 mpg on a trip to Branson 2 weeks ago.

There is another couple from near St. Louis going with us on the 29th to Pella for the Tulip festival. We are also going to Morraine View Rally in June. It is near Bloomington IL. If you are interested, look under forum rallies for the Morraine View rally. This is a great group to get involved with. Private message to mme if you want anymore details.

Again welcome.

Dan and Marty (DeJong) Sorth ((Dirk DeJong's sister))
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Old 04-19-2008, 12:17 AM   #8
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1982 31' International
Keokuk , Iowa
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 4
Talking Great advice & info!

Thanks, Paula, Mrs NorCal Bambi, & Dan & Marty! Wow, you have given us some important info here and we sure do appreciate it. We are only 2 years new to Keokuk, but love that sweet little town. Opened LOCK 19 Gallery at 7th & Main last year.
We would love to do some rallying in the MidWest, but for now, our new SilverBullet is parked at my Father-in-law's in Mapleton Utah until we locate a suitable TV.
Well I can tell we are going to LOVE being Airstreamers!
Cheers, Happy Trails and "press forward with a perfect brightness of hope..." Rebecca & Dennis
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Old 04-19-2008, 04:04 AM   #9
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1975 27' Overlander
Eugene , Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 21
Hi Rebecca & Dennis,

I'm also an AS novice, bought mine 10 days ago & am heading out next week to pick it up in NC.

In the 'Our Community' forum, within 'Member Intros'; I opened a thread titled "Tow Vehicle Gas Mileage". Response #9, from 2airishuman, references numerous prior threads.

Some reading time there should give you insights to what the vets are driving w/ AS comparable to yours. It's a gold mine of TV info. Sure helped me make a well-informed decision. Good luck! Dennis

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