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Old 01-11-2003, 02:06 PM   #1
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I bought an Airstrem... now what?

I just bought my first travel trailer.

1969 27' Airstream Land Yacht. I love it!

I have some questions...

does the grey water and black water go to the same tank?

the lights turn off momentarily when you have 5 or more on while the trailer is pluged in to 110. any ideas?

should I try lighting the furnace and hot water heater?

how do I know if the propane tanks need to be updated.



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Old 01-11-2003, 02:58 PM   #2
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I bought and Airstrem... now what?

Greetings Mark!

Welcome to the world of Vintage Airstreaming.

There is a tremendous amount of information available regarding this hobby from a number of places. Your coach is one of the first coaches following a redesign, and is likely designated an Overlander based upon its 27' length. In the past few years, the longer Airstreams have become much more collectible, and your Overlander would be an example of these.

Does the grey water and black water go to the same tank?
The answer is not automatically, but it is one possibility. In 1969, Airstreams did not have standard gray water tanks. It wouldn't be until 1973 (factory option) or 1974 (standard feature) that one could find an Airstream with a factory gray water tank. If your Overlander came with an owner's manual, it should describe the method for "backing" the gray water up into the blackwater tank. The basic run-down is to place a solid cap on the terminator valve and then open the blackwater tank valve thus allowing the gray water to "flow" or "back-up" into the blackwater tank. Be prepared, however, as it does create a problem when dumping the tank. Prior to dumping the blackwater tank, it is then necessary to close the blackwater tank valve in preparation for the dumping operation - - this traps some waste between the valve and cap assembly - - have a bucket ready as this waste will flow out as soon as the cap is opened.

The lights turn off momentarily when you have 5 or more on while the trailer is pluged in to 110. any ideas?
Electrical problems are not my forte, but I would suspect one of three things. A bad or loose ground somewhere in the circuit would be my first suspicion. A Univolt that is experiencing some difficulties would be another possibility. A circuit breaker of fuse that is weak or defective.

Should I try lighting the furnace and hot water heater?
This is an area of great potential danger. I would never consider lighting any propane appliances until a trained LP Gas technician has inspected the system and verified that all appliances are safe to operate. It may be an expense, but it is a life-health-safety issue. If these are the original furnace and water heater, they are at or near the end of their usual useful life so it is very critical to have them checked-out by a qualified technician.(IMHO)

How do I know if the propane tanks need to be updated?
One indicator is to look at the valve on each tank. The valve should be labeled "OPD". (Most OPD valve handles that I have seen are of a triangular shape while the older valve handles were typically more rounded.) You should also find a stamp or label indicating when the current inspection runs out on the tanks. In addtion to having the OPD valves, the tanks must also be current on their inspection/certification before some (all in my area) suppliers will refill them. The tanks should have a date of manufacture stamped toward the top of the collar - - if this date is more than 12-years past, the tanks will need to be inspected certified if there isn't an additional stamp or tag indicating that they have been inspected/certified. If your tanks are Worthington Aluminum tanks or other Aluminum tanks, refitting and certification will likely be quite cost-effective; if however, they are steel tanks, it might be just as cost-effective to purchase new tanks. When I purchased my first OPD tanks for the '64 Overlander, my existing tanks were old steel units and it was less costly to purchase similar new tanks. I am having my original 1978 Worthington Aluminum tanks refitted/certified on my Argosy Minuet, but I have been quoted a date of April 15 as the earliest that the valves will be available for the 20 lb. tanks from my supplier.

Good luck with your Overlander! I am sure it will give you many years of enjoyment.


Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
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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Old 01-13-2003, 06:04 PM   #3
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thanks for the info!

I called a guy and he wants $65 an hour to do a total inspection lasting 2 1/2 hours.

will have more questions soon.

this is a great service!

Thanks again!

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Old 04-16-2003, 11:00 AM   #4
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Talking 69 Airstream-new owner also

Hi Mark,

I too, am a new owner to a '69 27' Airstream. Mine is an Overlander International. Near as I can figure out, I am the fourth owner of this trailer. Fortunately, all of the documents stayed with mine. The owners manual is complete but the binding is not intact. I have found some good info there as well as here on the forums.

If you are interested, it would be good to here from you and exchange info about our vintage TT's.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

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Old 04-16-2003, 11:46 AM   #5
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A complete safety inspection is always a wise choice when purchasing a used Airstream product.

If done properly, it will find improper repairs, worn out or defective parts or compnents, such as your appliances. LPG pressure should be recorded as well as a complete leak check.

The axles should also be carefully checked as the failure rate from 1974 and back, unfortunately, is rather high.

A detailed written report should be given, along with cost estimates.

We charge $195.00 for a detailed written 250 point safety inspection, that takes about 4 hours to do. The write up time can also take considerable time.

If you provide a fax number, we would be happy to send you a copy of our inspection form.

You can learn how to check the axles yourself, by going to our web site and click on articles. You will find an article on the "Dura-torque axle."

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Old 04-16-2003, 02:26 PM   #6
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What happens when the axel fails? Is there something obvious to look for when it is begining to fail?
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Old 04-16-2003, 04:33 PM   #7
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The big clue for me, was the fact that the Airstream sat lop sided, about 1.5" lower on the "street" side.
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Old 04-16-2003, 05:06 PM   #8
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Checking axles

Anyone at any time can check their own axles.

Go to our web site.

Click on "The Dura-torque axle" article.

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Old 04-16-2003, 07:52 PM   #9
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safety inspection

I realize you bought your Airstream 3 months ago, but in case you haven't had a safety inspection done yet, or others are considering having one done... I highly recommend it.

After I bought mine, the first place I towed it was over to InlandRV for a thorough safety inspection.

It was the best money I've ever spent on my Airstream.

I know they spent way more than 4 hours to do the safety inspection. It was probably closer to 4 hours to go through it, 4 hours to apply cost and labor estimates to each line item, and then 3 hours to explain it to me. But it only cost $195. If you think Andy's tidbits of information are nuggets of gold here on the forum, wait until you've got him in person.

The safety inspection flagged serious issues that I would not have caught until too late. From the useful information, I was able to prioritize line items, and take care of them as needed.


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