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Old 09-07-2006, 02:32 PM   #1
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'78 31' Sovereign ... Axle/ Brakes/ Shocks?

Looking at '78 31' Sovereign that has been parked at a campground for 10 years...moved less than one mile for winter outdoor storage...and back...each year.

Original owner who appears to have kept in current working condition...including new tires and bearing grease three years ago. But no highway use for 10 years.

Is it likely to need new axles/brakes/shocks?

Will wiring connector be "current" in design.

Are brakes electric/hydraulic?...what issues there?

I am trying to get a feel of what it might (or will) take to be fully current for freeway towing?

I am aware of the issue of rear sag/floor problems and will have to check carefully when/if I go to inspect...but other items sound dated but OK shape...all systems/appliances work. New furnace a couple of year ago...seems like repaired anything that did not work.

Let me know...I am a "learner" in the arena...Tom R in Two Harbors MN
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Old 09-07-2006, 03:02 PM   #2
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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Tom,
It sounds like with a wheel bearing repacking, brake check(what kind and do they work) and possibly some new rubber you should be able to get it home. Then you can delve into whether it needs new axles or not. FWIW my 1975 Sovereign axles are still pretty decent. But my 1980 Excella axles are toast...go figure.
The umbilical plug should work as wired, but may require some tweaking, or possibly a plug switch out on the vehicle end, depending on how the PO had it wired.

Aaron
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Old 09-07-2006, 07:25 PM   #3
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1979 31' Excella 500
1975 28' Argosy 28
Rutledge , Georgia
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Hi, Tom,

You need to ask if it has disc brakes. That's a biggie because you'll either have to adapt your tow vehicle (and hope the rest of the system works) or adapt the system on the trailer itself.

If it does, post here and somebody will explain your options.

Lamar
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Old 09-07-2006, 07:51 PM   #4
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Hi Lamar...Thanks...I'll check on that. Is disc better or worse?

BTW...what is an Excella 500...is it a premium version of the Sovereign? What were the differences. Newbee question ...Thanks...Tom R
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomR
Hi Lamar...Thanks...I'll check on that. Is disc better or worse?

BTW...what is an Excella 500...is it a premium version of the Sovereign? What were the differences. Newbee question ...Thanks...Tom R
Tom,

Discs are a lot better, the only issue with the older ones is the actuator on the trailer. It is best to install a new actuator, cost $500 to $800. But if you want to get rid of the disc brakes and install electric drums, I will take them off of your hands .

You can see pictures of both the Excella and Sovereign here: http://www.vintageairstream.com/archives/index.html

I think that RJ Dial has information on some of the differences on his site also.

Bill

ps: I made 600 posts with this one.
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Old 09-07-2006, 10:03 PM   #6
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1979 31' Excella 500
1975 28' Argosy 28
Rutledge , Georgia
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Hi, Tom,

The Excella was a more conservative, more "loaded" version of the same trailer. One of the things I like to observe is that Sovereign owners in the 70's got the same floorplan and major options and nice, cheerful flower print wall cladding in the bathroom, and Excella owners got a depressing "autumn leaves" print in the bathroom. How much more obvious could they get about their intended audience?

Lamar
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Old 09-08-2006, 04:58 AM   #7
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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I did some perusing of RJ's site and noticed and interesting difference between the 1975 Sovereign and the Excella 500. The front gaucho appears to be taller in the back, and they used a "crushed velvet" appearing upholstery as opposed to the more conventional stuff in the International. Also the "500" had the infamous Nutone Counter mount kitchen unit. On a personal level I prefer the gaucho in the International...at least from an appearance point of view.

Aaron
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Old 09-08-2006, 07:51 AM   #8
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Here is an e-mail list of responses to some of my questions... (Red) my edit.

Quote:
Following are answers, by number, to the questions posed in your e-mail:

1. (Tires) Not new tires; 8-10 years old without much use over the road. (Grease) Wheel bearings: four years.
2. (Hitch) Height: 17-1/2"
3. (Hitch Types) Easy Lift Hitch with sway bar
4. (Trailer lights) Trailer lights work
5. (Brakes) Brakes work. Electric
6. (Axles) Have not been replaced. A knowledgeable Airstreamer crawled underneath the trailer and found the axles in good shape.
7. (Finish) Some areas in the back (sun exposed) are dull. Sides are okay.
8. (Brake Control) Kelsy brake control (wired w/car)
9. (Exterior) One dent in front. Previously said upper conrner 4"...no "cut" or leak.
10. (Coach batteries) 3 years Two compartments with 1 battery
11. (Files maintained) I do have a file with coach purchase and repair history
12. (Rear "Sag" question) No leaks or separation.
13. (Window condition) Windows are fine; no leaks.
14. (Items replaced) Dometic refrigerator; furnace; water heater control; toilet all 2-1/2 yrs old...currently replacing bathroon fan. Says all systems work (they live in it).

Thanks for your continued interest.
The '78 31' Sovereign is a rear bath and has been owned sicne new by the current owner. Used to take to AZ every winter...last 10 year in a campground w/o trip "south".

Owner very much seems genuine,detail oriented and honest gentleman. My concern would be things he may not know or costs just to get back to A-1 "trailer ability"...not addressing interior and cosmetics. He is asking $7,000 but it has been for sale for some time and he is preparing to "head south" to his condo near the end of September and probably would like to sell...I think. I am guessing at LEAST $2,000 to get it safe to pull...with bearings, tires, brake work, electric hook-up, hitch purchase (or adaption), brake controller, batteries...with no cosmetic fixes?????

I am not truly at the "ready" to buy stage but I may never be...this COULD be an opportuniy to "get in the game" for a price and cost that would be VERY moderate risk. I can then determine over the next year what makes sense...and perhaps use it a bit a LEARN about the AS "experience" to use my Harley terminology.

BIG QUESTION for you Gurus...ASSUMING it shows as a reasonably clen original and I can verify no rear sag or floor issues (it is a rear bath)...HOW MUCH would you pay as an "I can't leave it" price. What price plus how much immediate expense makes sense...

Your opinion do not create any future legal claims by me!...all thought sowuld be truly apprecaited. I will likley go to see it next Monday. It is about 150 miles away from me.

Tom R in Two Harbors
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Old 09-08-2006, 08:04 AM   #9
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by looking at the list i would say a set of tires and some grease and you would be in the game!

john
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Old 09-09-2006, 06:19 PM   #10
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Hi All...please read my post elsewhere on "Rear end sag/separation".

Does it make better sense to look for a newer AS than risk having to deal with the rear sag/separation issue? Particularly since I think the 30' '78 Rear Bath Sovereign seesm to be at the heart of the problem. What year/length are you "free" of that design issue?

Might it make sense to allow for this and make a reduced offer?

Please read the above posts and my other and give me your thoughts...BTW...I know I am too analytical...I am a CPA by training and can't do it any other way! Tom R in Two Harbors
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Old 09-09-2006, 11:02 PM   #11
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1973 27' Overlander
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Hi Tom R--In reading your detail, I would think about all you need to get going is a new set of tires. Wheel bearings should be OK if packed 4-years ago. With the list of replacements in item 14, looks like the major items have been replaced. Probably will need a battery shortly, or now. You say brakes work, so that should be OK for the present. Price appears reasonable for the condition you describe, however, as we go into the winter season, the seller will probably accept less, so he doesn't have to winterize it, and try to sell it again next year. If he couldn't sell it for $7K this summer, then the winter price has to be less.--Frank S
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