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Old 09-20-2009, 01:28 PM   #1
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1979 31' Sovereign
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Wheel bearing replacement

I just purchased a 31' 1979 Soverign International from a friend of mine for $1500 and have been camping with it twice. It had not been used or pulled for the past six years. The a/c and frig are working fine. I almost have the plumbing issues resolved and still have to go through the gas system. My question is how difficult is it to replace the wheel bearings? As long as it set up unused, I am sure they need replacing. Also it was laid on it's side turning a corner and does have some damage on the backside on the front and rear. Even with this it still has no leaks and pulls great. Can anyone give me an idea of it's approx. value? We absolutely love this camper and want to bring it back to the condition it deserves. Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:18 PM   #2
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It won't hurt to pull the bearings. You will be able to get a good look at the brakes and axel's. If the bearings look good you just need to replace the seals which do not cost that much and a can of good bearing grease. I would do it for the peace of mind.
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:35 PM   #3
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Welcome to these forums - is this your first Airstream?

Are you a 'do it yourself' guy? If so, replacing wheel bearings is pretty straight forward. Perhaps the hard part is getting the part number - the easiest way to do that is to find the nearest store that sells trailer wheel bearings - then pull a set off of one wheel and take them in (maybe clean 'em off first). The bearing part # is stamped into the bearing assembly (altho' I need a magnifying glass to see them). The other thing to look at are the bearing races - again, take a brake drum (with the races in place) to the trailer store - the parts counter guy can tell you if those need replacing.

If you have a shop do the replacement it's also not a big deal - the biggest cost is for their labor. If you've not done this before & since your trailer was in a 'mishap' - it might be worth it to have a good shop do the job, and have them inspect the brake shoes & magnets, check the axle for alignment, wear, or damage, etc., at the same time. But since cleaning and greasing the bearings & inspecting the brakes is supposed to be done each year (or more, depending on miles), it's one of those tasks that is worth learning how to do yourself, if you're inclined to get your hands dirty

If you post photos of the damaged sections - there are people here who have experience with repairs and can give you a ball park cost number. It depends a lot on how many of the aluminum panels are damaged, and whether there's any damage to the ribs, frame, etc. Photos would help a lot to answering this part of your question.
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:38 PM   #4
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Yeah, we just came back from our second trip and my wife noticed a whining sound coming from the wheels when I was parking it. Checked the hubs and 1 was pretty hot while the others were warm. This is our first camper and I don't want to screw up on maintenance.
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Old 09-20-2009, 03:03 PM   #5
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Here are a few shots of the damaged areas and 1 shot from front to rear on interior. Looks bad but pulls and works great. Thats for all the responses.
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Old 09-20-2009, 03:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airstreamer0 View Post
I just purchased a 31' 1979 Soverign International from a friend of mine for $1500 ...Can anyone give me an idea of it's approx. value? We absolutely love this camper and want to bring it back to the condition it deserves. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Welcome to the Forums!!!

I'd say that what you paid was spot on what it was worth. Someone here in the Houston area purchased one recently for parts and paid about the same amount of money you quoted. Check out the price of new Zip Dee awnings, windows, and a used AC, Fridge, and the other internals, and you will get an idea of the value of the unit.

Lots of work ahead, use the "search" function as your new best friend. Nothing that can't be fixed - depends on what your time is worth.

You didn't say just when the rollover occured, but if it has been a couple of years (and the unit has been stored outside) there may be a good chance that you might find some "floor rot" (do a search) around the floor perimeter. This is pretty much normal for a unit 30+ years old - especially when a seam may have been compromised.

Good luck - pics and a blow by blow documentation would be most appreciated.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:18 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. I think I will try it myself.
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:48 PM   #8
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I'm new to this also. Have had first trailer for 6 weeks. Go to utube and search for "repack bearing" . They have acouple of clips that show it pretty well. Worked for me.
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