Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-04-2007, 11:05 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 12
Post Our First Airstream Experience

Today, and after a few years of looking and thinking about it, we bought our first Airstream. It is a 31' Soverign (1974) from Jay, a really nice fellow near Ocala, Florida that we met because of his ad in the classified section.

We hooked up and headed away as we had always dreamed about. It was about 2 minutes into our excitement that the serious side of life swelled up. The engine started sputtering and coughing. I couldn't go faster than 35 mph. Cars were backing up behind us on a dark 2 lane road. There were too many curves and too few signs. It was all made more alarming when a bright flashing "Check Engine Light" alarmingly strobed. I was really stressed out hoping we would make it to town. Quite a great first impression of what it feels like to tow an Airstream.

Once in town the trailer was unhooked and we headed to an AutoZone about 6 miles away. With a "reader" connected it was decided plug 6 is not firing. I suppose it must be the distributor... The plugs, wires and coil are all new.

I suppose we'll find out tomorrow once we get sunshine on the subject.

It's great to finally own an Airstream. Kathy & I are really jazzed about it! A big thank you to within this community who have offered sugestions as we asked questions.

Best Wishes
Jerry Wills
__________________

__________________
XpeditionsTV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2007, 11:53 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
Fyrzowt's Avatar
 
2000 25' Safari
West of Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,697
Images: 8
Jerry, Good luck with your mechanical issue, and I hope it's resolved easily without too much fuss.
Don't discount the fact that whoever installed the new plugs may have cracked one. It's easy to do.
Enjoy your new baby and congrats!
Dave
__________________

__________________
Fyrzowt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2007, 12:21 AM   #3
Moderator
 
moosetags's Avatar

 
2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 10,763
Images: 5
Welcome to the Forums. Congratulations on your new baby.

Bummer problem so soon after picking up the Airstream. That sounds like my kind of luck. Let us know what it was.
__________________
SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2018 Silverado 2500 (Lillian)
moosetags is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2007, 10:43 AM   #4
Rivet Master
 
LHall's Avatar
 
1962 28' Ambassador
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 830
Images: 17
Welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by XpeditionsTV
Today, and after a few years of looking and thinking about it, we bought our first Airstream. It is a 31' Soverign (1974) from Jay, a really nice fellow near Ocala, Florida that we met because of his ad in the classified section.

We hooked up and headed away as we had always dreamed about. It was about 2 minutes into our excitement that the serious side of life swelled up. The engine started sputtering and coughing. I couldn't go faster than 35 mph. Cars were backing up behind us on a dark 2 lane road. There were too many curves and too few signs. It was all made more alarming when a bright flashing "Check Engine Light" alarmingly strobed. I was really stressed out hoping we would make it to town. Quite a great first impression of what it feels like to tow an Airstream.

Once in town the trailer was unhooked and we headed to an AutoZone about 6 miles away. With a "reader" connected it was decided plug 6 is not firing. I suppose it must be the distributor... The plugs, wires and coil are all new.

I suppose we'll find out tomorrow once we get sunshine on the subject.

It's great to finally own an Airstream. Kathy & I are really jazzed about it! A big thank you to within this community who have offered sugestions as we asked questions.

Best Wishes
Jerry Wills
Good to see another member from Phoenix. Congratulations on your AS. As for the tow vehicle issue, I had the same thing happen once right after a tune up. A chunk of carbon broke free and lodged into the spark plug annode causing a misfire. A mechanic told me that this is not uncommon after a tune up since the new plugs fire hotter. Could also be a cracked plug.

Good luck and safe travels.
__________________
Louis & Sergio

Air #22673
WBCCI# 2731
Four Corners Unit
LHall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2007, 11:22 AM   #5
Rivet Master
 
juel's Avatar

 
1976 31' Sovereign
Currently Looking...
Chandler , Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,770
Images: 24
Congratulations. We just bought a "new" 1976 31ft Sovereign. Aren't they the greatest trailers, and all that room. Does your's have the rear bedroom? We pulled ours 900+ miles home with the new 07 Ford and I can tell you when your tow vehicle is working right, they are a dream to pull. Let us know how this all turns out. If you come through Oklahoma, and need a stop-over PM me. I suppose you will be going on I-10 or I-20, back to Phoenix. My husband is currently working in Tucson. If you need help, PM me and I will have him get with you.
__________________
juel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2007, 03:18 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
2007 25' Safari FB SE
Suburbia , Sunny So Cal
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,756
Hey now that glass is half full.

When your truck broke down you had a place to stay as comfortable as a five star hotel.

Happily it sounds like the truck problem will be easily solved.
__________________
I'd rather be boon docking in the desert.

WBCCI 6731 FCU
AIR# 13896
CA 4
Goin camping is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2007, 11:21 PM   #7
1 Rivet Member
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 12
Ok... Day 2

After installing a new electric brake system, replacing all the tires, repacking each wheel and getting all the lights working, we finally decided it was time to head out. It was really an exhausting day for us. I have to tell you about the folks who helped us. The company is called Collins Tire in Umatilla Florida (352 669 3847). Bruce Collins is the owner and helped us with the tires. He's quite a neat person and says he's been in the tire business for 35 years. He knows his business.

The greatest part was meeting one of the most honest mechanics I've ever encountered. John Wayne... He patiently stopped what he was doing to see that we were well taken care of and helped.

Now about that ignition issue... It's still an issue. I suppose we'll have to take the Suburban to a Chevy dealership. It has very poor power when needed. On the straightaway it runs pretty smoothly, as without the AS. However, when power is needed it studders and shakes the whole vehicle like you have a flat or something worse.

We just drove 230 miles to Tallahassee this way. It was not as big a problem as we were destined to encounter though.

Somewhere along the backroads of Florida we crossed a slight dip as we moved thru an intersection. Well, it would normally be slight at the speed we were traveling, which was not all that fast considering the engine issues we're having.

Suddenly we heard a God awful sound of scraping. Looking behind to see if I could determine what the noise might be, I saw debris scattered down the road. A long black umbilical cord trailed behind us. I quickly pulled over and dashed out of the Suburban and ran to the back of the trailer.

What I saw stunned me. I was speechless...

From just behind the rear tire a flap of metal had come loose. I soon discovered this "flap"actually goes all the way to the front of the trailer! Holy cow!!!!!! Wet insulation, really really rusted braces and rotten wood. All I could think was, "How in the hell do you fix this on the side of the road???"

I just sat there on the ground on the side of the road and honestly couldn't think of a thing a person could do to "fix" this issue. 31 feet or more away, the Suburban sputtered and shook. Normally, because we spend alot of time in the Amazon and Andes, we have to be very ingenious without resources. However at that moment - with the sun about to set - I was at a total loss of ideas. I felt numb and bewildered.

Then, a fellow stopped by. Dave Redman in a big black Ford saw we were in trouble and pulled up behind our big mess.

Within 20 minutes he had made thin ropes (4 of them) and created supports through the now "too big" holes where rivet once rested.

Dave drove off laughing about how handy Duck Tape is... We drove off wondering what in the world do you do when all the braces are gone... completely rusted away. Kathy thinks we should remove the entire "pan" from beneath the trailer and inspect the whole thing. I'm not so sure, but hey what do I know... Ok, I can answer that. Nothing, really.

It's certain the wood will need to be replaced in the back. Braces will somehow need to be replaced, too.

Gosh... We've had all this excitement and it's only day 2! I can't wait for tomorrow : (( I'm sure the Tallahassee Chevy dealership will smile as we drive away. For now, our Airstream is parked at the hotel we're staying at for the next week. I hope we can get this thing fixed before we continue on.

Best Wishes Folks
Jerry Wills
__________________
XpeditionsTV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2007, 08:05 AM   #8
Rivet Master
 
Bob Thompson's Avatar
 
Corpus Christi , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 936
Images: 67
As for the weak and sputtering Suburban, if you haven't replaced the fuel filter recently, it could be the cause. What you describe happend to my GMC pickup and a fresh fuel filter was the cure. As soon as you need power, it's starved for fuel and caughs and sputters. Safe travels. Bob T.
__________________
So Long!
Bob Thompson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2007, 08:37 AM   #9
LJH
Rivet Master
 
LJH's Avatar
 
1985 27' Sovereign
Defiance , Ohio
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 3,254
You got The Duke to work on your Burb, I am impressed! This is a great story, I can't wait for day 3. Good Luck Jerry!
__________________
LJH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2007, 08:57 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
TBRich's Avatar

 
2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,483
Images: 64
You're sure having your trials and tribulations, for sure...I feel for ya! However, I must say that you are better-humored about it than I'd be...hang in there and it's bound to get straightened out and get better...

Good luck, and "keep the faith!"

TB
__________________
TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
AirForums #21900 . Membership Chair, 4C
Unit #3954
Travel Log: AZBambi...On the Road Again
TBRich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2007, 11:52 PM   #11
1 Rivet Member
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 12
Day 3...

Opening the door to the room we're staying this morning was a good experience. The really bright Florida sun danced across the Airstream parked 40 feet away. With all the adversity we had faced, and all the exhaustion we had endured since buying the '74 Airstream, it just felt good to look across the lot and see its smooth and shiny persona sitting there. For a brief moment I felt it tug at my feelings as if to say "Don't give up on me...".

Ok, then I had a "Cup O' Joe" and realized the rust must be everywhere. Plus, the Suburban was running like crap... What a mess. Reality sucks...

My friend Bill Foss (The Art & Music of Bill Foss) is here in Tallahassee with us and just saw our Airstream this morning. He felt it was really amazing looking. I showed him our nicely tied up rear end. Since he knows a little about these things he wanted to look inside to examine the rust and construction. The duck tape strings snapped away one by one and the bottom fell down again with a dull thud. When he finally said he felt it was fixable I felt a sigh of relief. It faded as he continued to say he hadn't a clue how it would be done. We discussed this over a donut... Donuts always make events feel a little bit less heavy. I don't think you can eat a donut and be stressed out a the same time. Of course I wasn't looking through that large rotted hole in the floor of the Airstream at the time.

Within minutes we headed to the Chevy dealership nearest us - University Chevrolet. Every person we met there was interested to help us. We got in right away and within 30 minutes I was shown a bad spark plug. Yup... it was a bad plug! I guess even new plugs go bad. But these are not just any plugs. These are 1 million watt plugs made by Pulstar (Pulse Plugs - 20,000X More Powerful Than Spark Plugs. Greater Horsepower, Fuel Efficiency, Torque.) and cost $25 each. Without the trailer we had an increase of almost 4mpg and alot of power.

A standard plug was installed for $108 and the Suburban was running smoothly again. I was relieved... and a little more broke.

While waiting I decided to call Jay. I had decided to see if a refund might be possible. No answer.... So, I left a polite message.

Once we got back to the room I received a phone call Jay. I'm sure he had no idea what a can of worms he had opened when he asked how things were going. Now, as you might imagine, I didn't say things were going well. I explained the situation and asked for a refund. After all, 50 miles down the road and the ass end of the trailer falls out you might think things are pretty bad... There was an uncomfortable silence at the other end, then a heavy sigh. He had no idea this was wrong with the Airstream. He seemed really troubled by the news.

Jay told me he would make it right. So, I can bring it back to him (250 miles back to where we were) or find someone to fix the problem locally (Tallahassee). Another alternative would be to let him know what I thought it would cost to fix. Whatever the decision, he would support us and help to fix the issue. If it couldn't be fixed? Well, the conversation didn't get that far since Bill had said he thought it could be fixed.

[side note: Kathy is getting a bit concerned this is going to be a mess...]

I have a feeling Jay wants to handle this with respect and honesty. So, I have a question for you have who read this far:

What do you think it would cost to fix this problem? We're going to take pictures tomorrow morning and can post them here (I think) for you who want to see what we have going on. I'm sorta confident it is repairable, but have no idea what this requires. Perhaps one of you would have an idea. If so, please let me know. I'll pass it on to Jay, the fellow who sold us the trailer.

All in all, day 3 has been another interesting day we would have missed without our silver beauty sitting in parking spaces 8 through 16 at the Suburban hotel parking lot somewhere on Silver Slipper Lane in Tallahassee, Florida.

No, I'm not kidding.. this is where we are right now.

Best Wishes Everyone
Jerry Wills
__________________
XpeditionsTV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2007, 08:57 AM   #12
4 Rivet Member
 
Stream 1529's Avatar
 
2004 34' Classic S/O
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 294
Images: 19
Wow!

Jerry,

I've read this thread with my mouth open in horror. You sure do have much more patience, understanding, compassion, and perserverance than I do. Y'all are the picture of the half-full glass that I keep hearing about.

I think y'all may want to call an Airstream dealer and talk with their service manager to get a feel for what you may be in store for. Not only $$$ but potential problems that are as yet undiscovered. Then make a decision on whether to seek a refund or repair.

Over the past, Bates RV in Dover, Fl has had good reviews. I hope others here will chime in. Their number is 888-228-3778. Give them a call and have a serious talk with them.

I'm sorry about your problems, and I wish you smooth roads and following winds.

________Tom
__________________
Blog: www.travelpod.com/members/wbcci1529
'04 34' Classic S/O lounge, dome king, twin a/c, faux fireplace to keep the wife warm , equa-li-zer, prodigy, 4 birds, dog - no kids allowed!

'05 Excursion 4x4, 6.0 PSD, magnaflow, helwig anti-sway, air lift springs.
Stream 1529 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2007, 09:46 AM   #13
LJH
Rivet Master
 
LJH's Avatar
 
1985 27' Sovereign
Defiance , Ohio
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 3,254
Good morning Jerry, glad you got the Burb running. I use Bosch Platinum plugs in my '99. They are very reliable and seem to last forever. As to the trailer situation, you do need an expert evaluation. Try the Forum search to find a member who does inpections, chances are good that you can find one near, give them a call. You might also try a local AS dealer, they may have someone willing to take a look. Everything on an AS can be repaired or replaced. The question is cost and tme. If this is the AS that you realy want and have the time and money, go for it. If you are looking for a ready to go unit, call Jay, work something out and keep looking. Keep Smiling! Once you two find the AS that adopts you (and they do adopt you) this will be a great campfire story. Good Luck!
__________________
LJH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2007, 12:26 PM   #14
1 Rivet Member
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 12
Day 4: Part 1

Today started with a bang. Kathy opened her eyes, sat up in bed and told me we needed to get a refund. Dazed and half asleep I mumbled something like "Huh!!!! Get rid of that wonderful gleaming beauty sitting out there???" Then it occurred to me she was probably right... Now both of us are starting the day wondering what we've gotten ourselves into.

The posts we have received during this highly exciting journey into the world of Airstream have been wonderful. Kathy & I excitedly opened our email this morning to read the latest from what you great folks have had to say. It's encouraging to know you're out there -- Thanks so much to each of you.

After a quick mug of rich Columbian coffee we unpacked our cinema camera, shot a few stills and sent them to Jay. Afterwards, we opened all the windows, sat in the Airstream and wondered what we should do next.

Finally, I decided to ask Jay for a refund. We'll know soon if he agrees. if so, Monday we head for Ocala.

Kathy is really concerned about the mold. It seems to permeate the inside. As everyone knows, mold is a serious issue. I suspect it's from the rear.

I checked the flooring per recommendations from you folks reading this and from other threads Kathy has been digging through. The floor seems to be perfect everywhere except the back. I suppose that's a good thing!

Ok, I'll post Part 2 later this evening.

Best Wishes
Jerry
__________________

__________________
XpeditionsTV is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
First Tow Experience hapitauk Towing, Tow Vehicles & Hitches 10 02-04-2007 11:59 AM
airstream starts polling customers about the 'dealer service' experience.... 2airishuman Off Topic Forum 12 11-17-2006 11:32 AM
Bad Experience at the Minnesota Airstream Park 6xblessd On The Road... 33 08-29-2005 01:08 PM
My experience... Bambi_Bandit Commercial Listings 6 11-10-2004 11:51 AM
Can-Am RV Experience?? Craig Commercial Listings 20 10-05-2004 08:30 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:49 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.