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Old 08-16-2004, 04:12 PM   #1
Tim
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Red face New owner of '77 Sovereign

My wife and I got a "deal we couldn't refuse" on a 1977 31' Sovereign and made the purchase quickly. The trailer was delivered to a temporary location for us and as a result, we've never towed it. I'm ready to bring it to our house but have run into a couple of issues. I think it needs new tires because the ones on it are cracked around the sidewalls. Its been in one spot for the past 10 years prior to our purchasing it so there isn't any wear on the tires. Just cracks. It also looks like they are 235/75 Light Truck tires instead of ST tires. I plan to put 225/75 15 ST back on. Is this correct? Also, I have found that there is a recall on the brakes for this year and model. I have confirmed with Airstream that this unit is included. Does anybody know if the issue is caused by use? The trailer hasn't been moved (except for about a 3 mile journey to where it is now) in 10 years. Airstream says I can't tell if its been fixed by looking at it. I need to tow it from TN to GA across two different mountain ranges. I'm so excited about owning it and getting it fixed up and don't want a catastrophy on the way home. I also just purchased the Tekonsha Prodigy brake controller. Will I be able to use this?
Sooo much to do and sooo much fun to have!!!
Tim
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Old 08-16-2004, 05:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim
Its been in one spot for the past 10 years prior to our purchasing it so there isn't any wear on the tires. Just cracks.
Replace them! Tread wear has zero to do with the decision on your tires. The rubber in tires ages even without use, they need to be replaced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim
It also looks like they are 235/75 Light Truck tires instead of ST tires. I plan to put 225/75 15 ST back on. Is this correct?
Our '72 Sovereign has 7.00 R15s that we just replaced. I agree you want to go to a thinner tire at minimum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim
Also, I have found that there is a recall on the brakes for this year and model. I have confirmed with Airstream that this unit is included. Does anybody know if the issue is caused by use? The trailer hasn't been moved (except for about a 3 mile journey to where it is now) in 10 years. Airstream says I can't tell if its been fixed by looking at it. I need to tow it from TN to GA across two different mountain ranges. I'm so excited about owning it and getting it fixed up and don't want a catastrophy on the way home. I also just purchased the Tekonsha Prodigy brake controller. Will I be able to use this?
Sooo much to do and sooo much fun to have!!!
Tim
I don't know about your break recall. Airstream is probably your best source of information. You may want to locate the closest Airstream dealer to the trailers current location to look at the breaks for you. It would be well worth the money, in my opinion.

Our set-up: Suburban & Prodigy controller
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Old 08-16-2004, 05:49 PM   #3
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Definately get rid of the LT tires especially if they have cracks in them. I went with Carlisle 225-75-15 ST tires although Goodyear Marathon in the same size are fine. The 225-75-15 radial tires are just a tad shorter than the 7.00 X 15 but the radials make the trailer ride fine.
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Old 08-17-2004, 10:09 AM   #4
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Tim.

Do you have electric or the hydraulic disc brakes? If it's disc brakes, we have the repair parts. If it's electric brakes, most any dealer can help you. Certainlt setting for years warrants an immediate "major brake inspection".

Also, since your trailer has been setting for years, it is wise to check the axles.

Andy
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Old 08-17-2004, 12:35 PM   #5
Tim
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Thanks for the reply, Andy.

The trailer is in TN and I'm in GA so I'm at a disadvantage. I was hoping to just go up one weekend, hook the thing up and bring it home, but its looking like it'll take a couple trips at best.
How do I inspect the axles? I have all the manuals from the previous owner. Will I be able to tell if my brakes are electric or hydraulic from the manual? The only hookup I know of for the tow vehicle is a 7 way plug.

Thanks again,
Tim

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Tim.

Do you have electric or the hydraulic disc brakes? If it's disc brakes, we have the repair parts. If it's electric brakes, most any dealer can help you. Certainlt setting for years warrants an immediate "major brake inspection".

Also, since your trailer has been setting for years, it is wise to check the axles.

Andy
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Old 08-17-2004, 02:33 PM   #6
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Tim.

The service manual shows both brake systems. The serial number does not indicate electric or disc brakes.

If the trailer has disc brakes, you will find a large gray plastic cover, that hides the brake booster assembly, immediately behind the LPG bottles.

If indeed you have the disc brakes, before you can tow it, "AND" have brakes, you must provide a source of vacuum to the trailer. Additionally, basically only one type controller will function with that system.

If you have electrics, then there is no problem.

Can you call someone and ask them if there is a gray cover behind the LPG bottles?

To learn how to check the axles, go to our web site, inlandrv.com
Click on articles and then click on "Dura-torque axle."

Andy
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Old 08-18-2004, 08:21 AM   #7
Tim
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Can you tell from this photo if I have the hydraulic system?
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Old 08-18-2004, 09:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim
Can you tell from this photo if I have the hydraulic system?

I can't tell from that one. The units that had the hydraulics often had a hydravac plaque near the Airstream model plaque to the right of the door. If this plaque is there the hydraulics were there from the factory. They could have been removed by a PO. Also if you look thru the wheels you should see the actual disks like on a car, if they are still there.
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Old 08-18-2004, 10:08 AM   #9
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Tim.

The disc brake booster assembly is about 12" x 12" x 24" tall and is directly behind the LPG bottles.

I don't see that in your photo.

As Brett said, the trailer "could" have had disc brakes, and someone removed them.

But for now, your trailer has pure electric brakes.

Andy
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Old 10-31-2004, 05:24 PM   #10
Tim
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Got new tires but still no brakes

Here's the latest...
We got new tires and took them to TN to put on the Airstream with the intent of bringing it back to GA. Before leaving, I purchased a Prodigy brake controller and the Ford OEM 7-way wiring harness. Everything installed on the tow vehicle smoothly. Got to TN and hooked up the trailer and the Prodigy read that there was a short in the system and, indeed, we didn't have any brakes on the trailer. Fortunately, the trip to have the tires mounted and balanced was fairly short and we made it without brakes. However, the drive back to GA includes mountains so we didn't risk it.
Here are a few details:
The Univolt system quit working while we were doing some cleaning last time we worked on the trailer.
We don't currently have a battery for the trailer.
While hooked up to the tow vehicle, all of the lights worked properly.
If the Univolt and the battery are required for the brakes to work, is there any way to bypass them so we can get the trailer home?
If these two items aren't an issue, what is the best way to replace the brakes and the magnets in the hubs? (I plan to do this anyway, but would rather do it at home).

Tim
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Old 10-31-2004, 06:04 PM   #11
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Tim,
Forum members, it is my understanding that a battery is needed to activate the brakes should the trailer break away from the tow vehicle. This is a large trailer (have the 31' Excella with disc brakes at the house) so I don't believe I would want to tow it over a mountain range unless my tow vehicle was a Freightliner.

I know you want to save money by doing the brakes yourself or have someone you trust locally but is it worth your life to tow it back to the house and something happen on the way home. If you give the general location of where the trailer is then maybe someone on the forum could suggest a horse trailer/brake specialist who can look at it. Any horse/cattle trailer repair or trailer maker could work on your brakes to fix the short and do an inspection.
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Old 10-31-2004, 06:07 PM   #12
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By the way Tim,
I hope once you get your Sovereign back to GA. you will consider tagging along on one of our informal rallys. We had a great time at Cloudland Canyon State Park in your state.
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Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
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Old 10-31-2004, 06:31 PM   #13
Tim
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So do you think repairing/replacing the univolt will also be required to have working breaks? I guess I'm hoping to get an idea of how extensive the repairs may be before the trailer is road worthy. I don't plan to risk myself or anyone else. The trailer is in Bledsoe county TN about 15 miles from Crossville. I believe I can get it to Crossville again to have it serviced if it ends up being more involved than something I can do myself. Any suggestions or references are always welcome. The concern is also appreciated but rest assured, I have no desire to travel without breaks any more than is absolutely necessary.

Thanks,
Tim
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Old 10-31-2004, 10:53 PM   #14
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brakes and battery

I don't think that the univolt has to be in working order for the brakes to work or the breakaway feature to work. It does need a house battery for the emergency feature to work though.

TnSue is from the Crossville area and is headed for CA. so why don't you send her a PM to see who did her trailer work in Crossville?
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