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Old 12-30-2004, 01:59 PM   #1
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Exclamation Short term fix, is it safe enough?


I just purchased my first A/S (actually my first trailer), a 1971 31' Sovereign. I purchased it from a friend and need to bring it home. Now the problem, the tires are in despare and I would like to move the A/S asap. Can I put two new Goodyear Marathon's on the origanal rims and keep two of the old tires on the front axle? I 'm going to replace all four rims and the remander of the old tires with alcoa's and goodyears while I refurb. It's about a fourty mile trip and I can use nice straight back roads and slow speeds to make it. I know that most will suggest wait and do all four tires at the same time, but I need to move it asap and christmas has wipped me out of the good ole green stuff. What should I do?


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Old 12-30-2004, 02:44 PM   #2
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I'd say GO FOR IT!

You do have an escort, don't you?

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Old 12-30-2004, 02:47 PM   #3
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You will probably not have anyone in the forum tell you it's safe enough, because there are all kinds of worst case scenarios; though some will fess up and say they've done worse. I had a similar problem and brought mine twice as far on 4 old tires. I did buy an equalizer hitch before hand and was comfortably within my towing limits. My owners manual says the trailer was built to handle driving on three wheels. I've read several threads on the damage a blowout will cause, so... You didn't say what you were pulling it with or just how bad the tires are. I had good tread but sidewall cracks. I survived the trip with no incidents... Your 31 footer is going to be pretty heavy. I guess this also means you don't have a brake controller either...

Good Luck!

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Old 12-30-2004, 03:10 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by markdoane
I'd say GO FOR IT!
Thanks Don; I did not want to be the first one to say it

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Old 12-30-2004, 03:37 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice, I'll use an escort (being a firefighter has it's privaleges, and spelling is not one of them) and pick up a brake controller. No worries right? Can't wait to get started, thanks again. Mike
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Old 12-30-2004, 03:54 PM   #6
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Take your time and make sure the tires are pumped up to the max specified on the sidewall.
Keep the shiny side up.
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Old 12-30-2004, 03:59 PM   #7
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You will likly get to use the two new tires on the new wheels, right. Find out from your friend when the last time was that the bearings were greased. If you gives you a blank look then I'ld sure do that. You don't want to ruin the axel if it's good for lack of grease on the bearings. Since you'll likly replace the bearings anyway you don't need to be too fussy lubin em up.
I think putting the tires on the axel that seems to be getting the weight may help.
There are two parts to towing, going and stopping. Good Luck
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Old 12-30-2004, 04:10 PM   #8
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Short term fix, is it safe enough?

Greetings Mike!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

What you are proposing is familiar to many of us who have retrieved Vintage Airstreams; I know that I have gone through the drill twice. In each case the tires were weather checked, but were carefully checked during the bearing/brake inspection for obvious weak spots, splits, etc. My method was to fill the tires to 90% of the maximum inflation pressure posted on the sidewall. I kept my speed low (45 MPH or less), and stopped at each opportunity to check tires and hubs for evidence of excess heat or other issues. In both cases (Overlander and Minuet), my distance was a bit greater than what you are facing - - 175 miles with the Overlander and 200 miles with the Minuet. I wasn't as concerned with the Minuet as the tires could be traced to having been installed just short of six years prior to my purchase - - the tires on the Overlander were of indeterminate age.

Something that you didn't mention, but of which you may not have yet discovered is the distinct possibility that you will find the umbilical cord needing to have its Bargman connector rewired to match your tow vehicle. In 1971, Airstream utilized a wiring schematic that is different from the industry standard wiring schematic that is likely utilized on your tow vehicle. My suggestion would be to carry a new trailer end to match your tow vehicle and be prepared to rewire the trailer to match your tow vehicle (the trailer wires will need to be matched to the new plug based on function rather than color as Airstream's colors for the period do not match the functional colors used in modern connectors).

Good luck with your Sovereign!


Kevin D. Allen
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1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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