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Old 05-29-2018, 10:16 PM   #1
Highflier
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Sylvia , KS
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 5
New in Kansas

It has been several weeks since we bought our 1974 31' Sovereign at an estate sale. My wife's grandparents were long time Airstream owners, I think 3 trailers and a Motorhome was their last. I had always admired them, as a pilot the aluminum and rivets hold a special place in my heart.

I believe we are the third owners of this trailer. The last owner used it as a base camp to prospect for gold in the Rockies and it has been sitting for a number of years. The sale bill for the sale said it was an '85, but I went to the day before and observed the data plate showing it is a '74. On sale day, they annonced it was not an '85, but a '72. I said, "No, it's a '74." They insisted it was a '72 and said that was that was on the title. I picked it up for what I feel is a very reasonable $1,300 inspite of the overall condition. Sure enough, the title indeed said it was a '72. However the title was for a 29' with a different VIN.

Now the fun begins! I pulled the trailer home and in the coming days began to unfold the saga. A call to the state DMV discovers there is no title for my VIN, however we did learn that the state messed up and put a 1 instead of an I and that trailer was registered to a company about 60 miles from here. I chased down the owner of the company, a company that is no longer in business. The trailer was his father's. It seems his father had 2 Airstreams, a '72 and a '74. Yes, it seems the '72 title was given to the buyer of the '74. He registered and tagged the trailer with the wrong title...by the way the '72 also had the mistake of a 1 in the VIN. So the son is applying for a lost title and will supply me with the correct one once he has it from the state!

The basics of the trailer are solid, no major dents or leaks. I have not checked the operation of any of the systems, I'm mentally prepared for nothing to work so anything that does will be a minor victory!

I have been reading the forums with interest, we have a few other projects ongoing but are anxious to start bringing the Airstream back to life. I'm glad to have this resource, I'm sure you will all be invaluable sources of knowledge in the months ahead!
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Old 05-29-2018, 11:09 PM   #2
PKI
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2015 23' FB Flying Cloud
Walnut Creek , California
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 3,030
Welcome to the forums and congratulations on the coach. Should make for a nice project. We look forward to seeing your smile. Pat
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Old 05-30-2018, 06:45 PM   #3
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,473
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Greetings from Colorado: I can see your state from a neighborhod road here in Conifer; at least I can see the horizon. They call the road "Horizon View". Good name.

Interesting story on the title mix-up. Colorado requires a "person of authority" such as a deputy sheriff to verify the VIN before you can title and register a vehicle. I had to have my VIN tag on my two Airstreams verified accurate. I might add, my 75 Overlander also has an I in the VIN. I understand the I stands for "International" which was the higher trim level. Maybe your trailer has an American flag emblem along both sides. The VIN also has the model year of the trailer in it somewhere. Do you have a "4" in the VIN somewhere?

I recently purchased this 75 Overlander 27'. It is in good shape when I bought it, but it had a good case of "rear end separation", leaky holding tanks, and old, but working appliances. So I'm doing repairs and a renovation "lite". My goal is a reliable and comfortable Airstream the who family can use.

You will have to post some pictures when you get a chance.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 05-31-2018, 07:13 AM   #4
Highflier
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Sylvia , KS
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 5
Very nice David! Yes, the VIN starts with I31-T4J. I is for International, E for Excella and L for Land Yacht. The next section is floor plan, B for center bath-double bed, A is for center bath-twin bed, T rear bath-twin bed and D is rear bath-double bed. 4 is for 1974. J is the assembly plant, J is Jackson Center and S is Santa Fe Springs or Cerritos, CA

I'll try to post a few pictures soon.
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Old 05-31-2018, 11:05 AM   #5
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1964 24' Tradewind
Lawrence , Kansas
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 246
Greetings from Lawrence Kansas! You will find this forum very helpful, and we'd love for you to join the WBCCI and the Vintage Airstream Club (VAC), which is an intra-club of the WBCCI. Region 8 covers all of Kansas and has members from the Wichita area. Many of the VAC rallies are held at the small Kansas lakes. Because of their willingness to share their knowledge and experience, I've found it very helpful to spend time with these folks. PM me if you would like more information. Airstreams are fun.
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Old 06-01-2018, 06:40 PM   #6
Highflier
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Sylvia , KS
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttbikes View Post
Greetings from Lawrence Kansas! You will find this forum very helpful, and we'd love for you to join the WBCCI and the Vintage Airstream Club (VAC), which is an intra-club of the WBCCI. Region 8 covers all of Kansas and has members from the Wichita area. Many of the VAC rallies are held at the small Kansas lakes. Because of their willingness to share their knowledge and experience, I've found it very helpful to spend time with these folks. PM me if you would like more information. Airstreams are fun.
Thanks! Right now we have a B&B so when most people are gathering and relaxing we are working lol. We have a couple of other projects ongoing so work on the AS will be slow and gradual, I'm sure both groups are in our future.
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Old 09-25-2018, 11:04 AM   #7
Highflier
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Sylvia , KS
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 5
Still new lol

This has been interesting to say the least lol. We got the trailer with only the key to the deadbolt on the door. I was able to order keys for the water and storage doors from Out Of Doors Mart.

The water door key inserts, but will not turn. I have tried different lube sprays, but still no luck turning. Any hints for that would be appreciated.

I finally have a title to the right trailer! The son of the original owner applied for a lost title and signed it over for me. Kansas does not think any titles start with an I, so they have a 1. At this point I may let it go because it is a real pain to get the paperwork done to correct it.

The AC had been removed and the hole covered. I found a used unit to install for the short term while we work on the trailer. Part of the reason I bought it was someone went to the expense of having a metal cover fabricated for the unit on top. I am hoping the holes line up to use that cover if we have to replace it.

I now have a couple of months that will be slow at our B&B until hunting season ramps up. I hope to be able to start cleaning, exploring and repairing things. I'm sure I will have more questions and pleas for help as I get into the project. I do plan to put new axles and wheels under her, clean up the skin, but have no desire to have a shiny polish finish. I has a 1950s airplane once with that finish and keeping it up was a chore. Besides, we both prefer the matte type finish.

I read the forum every day and learn a lot, appreciate the experience base here!
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:22 PM   #8
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,473
Images: 1
Hello again: Glad you got the title straightened out to the government's satisfaction. That title proves you own the trailer.

I use a small screwdriver to open the water fill compartment door. These locks are cheap. I lost the key years ago. I can feel the spring loaded tumblers in the key slot, and I just lift them up a bit, and then I turn the screw driver while lifting. I get the door open that way, and I lock it turning it the other way.

You might consider starting a "project thread" in the Airstream Knowledge Base, then Airstream Trailers, and then Sovereign and your model year. This area is at the bottom of the Forums page. The advantage is you will likely get other like minded Sovereign people to follow along and share their experiences with you. Otherwise you might be asking an axle question, then a subfloor question, then a plumbing question, and then a furnace question. Things become a bit unorganized doing that way seems to me. You might like looking at my project thread on my 75 Overlander 27'. You may be doing a lot of the same things.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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