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Old 06-08-2009, 12:19 PM   #1
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1969 31' Sovereign
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Help! Need help with parts - '69 Sovereign

I have a 1969 31" Airstream Sovereign that needs a new AC and a power cord for lights before I attempt to tow it to Ohio from New Mexico. Can anyone help me find out how to get these parts? The town I live in is small and the one RV place was of no help. Any help would be SOOOO appreciated as I have no one here to help me with this and I'm less than mechanically inclined! The power cord seems to have been one that was removable from the Airstream so that it has to have two ends that are "operable" - one that fits into the airstream and the other that fits into the trailer/truck. As for the AC, if I can just get the parts/unit that will fit, I can find a mechanic to install it for me. Thank you for your help!!!!!! kimberly
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:52 PM   #2
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Greetings Kimberly!

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

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimcup View Post
I have a 1969 31" Airstream Sovereign that needs a new AC and a power cord for lights before I attempt to tow it to Ohio from New Mexico. Can anyone help me find out how to get these parts? The town I live in is small and the one RV place was of no help. Any help would be SOOOO appreciated as I have no one here to help me with this and I'm less than mechanically inclined! The power cord seems to have been one that was removable from the Airstream so that it has to have two ends that are "operable" - one that fits into the airstream and the other that fits into the trailer/truck. As for the AC, if I can just get the parts/unit that will fit, I can find a mechanic to install it for me. Thank you for your help!!!!!! kimberly
Your task may not be too difficult.
  • The umbilical cord that connects the trailer to the tow vehicle may be something that you can find via a truckstop store.
    • First, you will want to check the outlet on the trailer into which the cord must fit.
    • You will likely find that it has "round pins" about the size of a typical construction nail -- if this is what you find, you are well on your way.
    • If what you find are copper colored oblong pieces of metal your project will be slightly more complicated but workable.
  • Examine the outlet on your tow vehicle.
    • You are likely to find that it has the copper colored oblong pieces of metal (the current "standard" for RV trailer connections).
    • You may (but probably won't) find a connector with "round pins" about the size of a typical construction nail.
  • At the truckstop, you need to ask a clerk in the store for a 7 pole trailer connetor cable. Similar to what you see below:
    • It will have the 7-"round" pin connectors.
      • I suspect that it will plug directly into the port on your trailer.
      • You will have two options on the tow vehicle end
        • Cut off the included connector and wire in a connector that matches your tow vehicle
        • Install a matching connector on your tow vehicle.
      • You might find an a dapter that will allow you to convert from the 7-"round" pin connector to the 7-"flat" terminal connector that your tow vehicle likely has -- this is a long-shot.
Now, for an additional potential complication -- I know, not something you want to hear at this point. A vintage Airstream was not wired to the current standard for the 7-pin connector so you will be faced with some "juggling" of connections regardless of other factors that fall into play. The pdf attached to this message has the diagram that illustrates the "probable" pattern of the wires in the trailer outlet. You can find the diagram to which your tow vehicle was likely wired at the MarksRV website.

There are two lines of thought regarding these connectors. The 7-"blade" flat or "industry standard" trailer connector is just that an industry standard meaning that you won't have the worry of rewiring the tow vehicle side when you change tow vehicles -- and if your tow vehicle happens to become disabled, it is far more likely that you will be able to find someone with a compatible tow vehicle. The downside to the 7-blade flat connector is that it is subject to corossion and must be frequently cleaned and/or replaced. The 7-"round" pin connector is said to be "self-cleaning" which reduces the problems with corossion -- I am testing this theory as my flat blade connectors on both trailer and tow vehicle ends are corroded and I have ordered "round" pin replacement connectors for both trailer and tow vehicle ends for each of my towing setups.

In reagard to your Air Condtioner. If what you have is an original Armstrong Bay Breeze air conditioner, be prepared for a few quirks in its replacement. The first hurdle is that it wasn't installed in a 14" square opening as would be the case with most RV air conditioners. The Armstrong typically installs with three smaller round holes through which wiring and regrigerant lines pass -- the air conditioner has two units -- interior and exterior connected by refrigerant lines and electrical wiring. The Armstrong is likely attached to the roof with MANY rivets and will be time consuming to remove. Once removed a 14" square opening will need to be cut for the installation of the new air conditioner. Blocking will need to be added to this opening to provide additional support for the modern air-conditioner's mounting. You will also want to be careful selecting the air conditioner as there are only a select few models for which Airstream manufactures drain pans that will connect to your coach's internal condesate drain. If my notes are correct, the only air conditioner on the market that doesn't require a special drain pan is the Carrier RV air conditioner.

Good luck with your preparations.

Kevin
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 7wayplug1966-81.pdf (9.0 KB, 45 views)
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:29 PM   #3
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Help! Need help with parts

Greetings Kimberly!

I had another thought. Unless a previous owner left the cable attached to the coach in a public storage are and it was stolen, it is rather unusual for the cable to get separated from the trailer. You might want to check every possible storage compartment in the trailer -- look in areas under upholstery by lifing the cushion and the wood beneath -- also check each and every cabinet, particularly the lower cabinets -- check each of the outside compartments -- you may hit pay-dirt, then again, if you don't you will at least know what trinkets may be hiding in the various storage areas.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 06-08-2009, 03:16 PM   #4
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Here's an example of replacing the air conditioner. The braces between the inner and outer skin are the most important element. You have to cut the transverse pieces curved to fit the curve of the shell.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...tos-20568.html

Here's an example of replacing the umbilical and connector on the Airstream end.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/...tor-48969.html
It turns out you can get the trailer mounted [and recessed] male and the cord mounted female for the round version at Napa for about $24 the pair. Most truck parts places and some RV places carry the 7 conductor cable with the #10 wire for the charge line and #12 for the others, about $1.70 a foot and you'll need 5-6 feet.

Inland Andy says the flat type connector, the type that is most common on pickups, is prone to failure and he highly recommends the round pin type. I've used the flat pin connectors on my pickup for 150,000 miles and three different Airstream umbilicals with no problem. I just used the new connection on the Sovereign for 5,000 miles with no problem.

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Old 06-08-2009, 05:46 PM   #5
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kimcup,
Hello.
Why do you need the Air Conditioner replaced before you leave New Mexico?
Are you moving from there or just planning on a road trip where you will stay in your "new" Airstream?
Ohio is the home (only one now) of Airstream. There should be lots of answers at dealers in the area. If not the home office (known as 'the mother ship' to some of those here) is in Jackson Center. Maybe there are answers there. Maybe not.
How much time do you have before this journey from New Mexico? Keep posting here and some of the members will get you thru.
BTW the old Armstrong Air Conditioner may be repairable, and it may be useful to some other Airstreamer if you insist on replacing it. Like I say just keep us informed right here on this thread.
Also have you the ability to have your running gear checked before the trip?
Is the object to just get it to Ohio in one piece and then start working on it in earnest?
Give us more detail.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimcup View Post
I have a 1969 31" Airstream Sovereign that needs a new AC and a power cord for lights before I attempt to tow it to Ohio from New Mexico.

Hi and welcome to Airforums.com! This site is a great repository of Airstream info, and it's best if you have the time to read, read, then read some more, but it sounds like you are in a panic hurry and need to get going, so I'll keep this short:
  • You are about to tow a 40-year-old trailer: have you had the tires, brakes, and running lights inspected? (i.e. is it safe to tow?)
  • What tow vehicle do you have, and does it have the necessary gear? (again, safety considerations)
That's it! That is a biiiig trailer, so it behooves you to take the time to make sure all will be well on your Long Trek Home.

Aage out!
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:54 PM   #7
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Kimberly:

Before you dump the A/C, contact some commercial refrigeration repair people. It is my understanding (FWIW) that the Armstrong units are not unlike commercial units and are repairable. Also, be sure that there is really something wrong with it. If the trailer is not plugged directly into a 30 amp receptacle, an extension cord that is too light duty is often used. This can make the A/C struggle to run because of an excessive voltage drop.

Regarding your connector, stick with the blade connector at the tow vehicle end. As was mentioned before, this is what is on most tow vehicles.

BTW, what are you towing it with?
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