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Old 11-08-2010, 03:07 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1977 31' Sovereign
portland , Oregon
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 13
Need to tow 31' Sovereign

i just purchased a 1977 31' sovereign. i am curently living in portland, or - the location of the trailer is in a town north of seattle, wa.

i was hoping to take a train trip up there - and using a u-haul vehicle to tow it back to portland.

i have never owned an airstream before - newbie.

what options do i have? do i need to rent a commercial vehicle?

thanks in advance! jon

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Old 11-08-2010, 04:05 PM   #2
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1986 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Two big problems.

1. You must have operating brakes to tow the trailer. Insane and illegal to try it without. If the brakes are electric, the tow vehicle must have an installed brake controller (eliminating the U-Haul option -- not to mention that they prohibit towing anything other than their own equipment). If the brakes are vacuum (very rare) then the tow vehicle must be specially rigged for that to work as well.

2. Even if you round up a friend with a herky tow vehicle (a very capable 1/2 ton or greater) who has a brake controller, then you will need to have a correctly installed and sized weight distribution hitch with some variety of sway control.

I would try to negotiate delivery with the seller. If that fails, you may be looking at a towing company kind of deal $$$$.



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Old 11-08-2010, 04:56 PM   #3
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1965 17' Caravel
Butte , Montana
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Welcome to the forums.

Some things come to mind when I read your post.
  • Is the trailer road worthy ? What I mean by that is how long has it been sitting ? Tires rot, bearings gather moisture over time, etc. You didn't mention the condition and that's the reason I ask.
  • It is illegal to tow something that heavy with out brakes in Washington 3,000 lbs or more. Here is the info on that - Brake laws
  • Have you checked to see how much it would cost to have it towed down to Portland by a towing company ? It isn't that far a drive and I wonder if it would be a wash by the time you buy the train ticket, rent the Uhaul and buy gas/diesel. I know in my F250 it would be around $300 or so in gas. (round trip)
You could probably get away with doing what you described and have no problems. There is a potential for there to be some very large problems on your drive down here. I-5 Between Portland and Seattle area can be nuts at times.

I don't mean to rain on your parade but I wanted you to get a feel for what you are up against.

Let us know what you figure out. Good Luck.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:17 PM   #4
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2005 39' Land Yacht 390 XL 396
Common Sense , Texas
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Being a total "newbie", and not having a tow vehicle, I'd agree with Mike....negotiate delivery with the current owner.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:22 PM   #5
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1973 31' Excella 500
Spring Green , Wisconsin
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 265
If the trailer is road ready and has been towed regularly up to this year, it may be ok to tow. if it has been parked for several years you need to check tires, wheel bearings, lights, brakes and maybe even the axles.

There are companies that transport RV's all over the country. Just Google RV Transport and you can easily get a quote. They should be able to provide temporary lights if needed and would have the correct hitch and brakes. You may have to replace the tires though. If the price is right, I would think that would be a pretty good option for you IMHO.
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sovereign, tow, u-haul

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