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Old 08-12-2015, 07:47 PM   #1
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EEC's Avatar
1969 31' Sovereign
Dover Foxcroft , Maine
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 6
Newbie bring vintage trailer home

This weekend I'll be starting the process of bringing home my 1969 31' Sovereign that has been sitting since 1995. It looks to be in very good shape inside and out (but wait til you see the picture of the two trees growing right up along side it). I have been reading many of the posts especially regarding wheels, axles and brakes but this is my first time with this rig. I feel comfortable doing mechanical work. The TV is a 2012 1500 Ram.

Based just on the age alone I know the tires must be replaced. Don't know the condition of the wheels (rims) so please help me decide on the following since the budget is limited right now to just getting this home safely.

It seems there is more or less a consensus that Michelin LT tires and 16" wheels are the preference.

Are the vintage wheels likely to be OK?

If they are (unless there's a real advantage to 16" tires) then I'll get Michelin MS2 LTX 225-75-15. Will these present any difficulty installing them on this trailer? Will 235's fit? Any advantage to this wider tire?

If the 15" wheels need to be replaced does it make sense to go to 16"? Will that size fit on the '69 Sovereign?

I will pack the bearings as best as possible and inspect the axles per the post by Inland RV. Haven't looked at either yet but from what I've read they are probably "good enough" for this 170 mile (including 135 interstate miles) trip. Comments? Max speed 60 - 65 mph OK?

Thanks in advance for your help.


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Old 08-12-2015, 09:37 PM   #2
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1975 27' Overlander
Mission , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 827
From another thread ...
When we bought our 75 Overlander I pulled the dust caps to see if there was anything frightening (funny red grease in all, water and rust in one), checked the tire pressure (okay, no visible cracks and good tread), hooked up and checked lights (not working, but hand and arm signals can substitute), drove a little ways and checked the brakes with the controller, and adjusted the controller (functioning), said a prayer to St Christopher (the patron saint of patatroopers and travelers) and we headed for home - about 200 winding mountain miles. Periodically we stopped to check the hubs for heat and smell, as well as the condition of the tires - steady as she goes. About 40 miles from home it started pouring rain and miraculously the lights started working. Top speed 60mph.
I've done scarier things and nobody got hurt.
Safer would be to replace the antique tires (one could have been original), repack the wheel bearings and adjust the brakes (one of four wasn't working I later found out), and get the running lights operational.
Or put it on a flatbed.
Your decision ...
On changing to 16" wheels. Why? In our own case, the original 7.00x15s (27.88" in diameter) made contact with the wheel well. So when replacing them we went with a tire about an inch smaller in diameter.
My father worked for Gates Rubber as a chemical engineer in product improvement. He could remember watching the evolution of tires as the first tractor on the farm had no rubber tires. He was an avid RVer for over 30 years. Never any blowouts. Always trailer tires on his towables.
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