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Originally Posted by CAPTNDAVIE
I'm going this coming week to look at a '68. It was listed as 32 foot. But I can't find anything on a 32' '68, so I believe it is a 30' sovereign
. Anyway I was wondering if anybody had any advice to throw out and anything to look for inparticular. It supposedly has nice skin and what sounds like original interior that is dirty. The down side is that it has some floor issues in the bath area. This will be my first RV and from the sites I have looked at I like the Airstreams. Thanks for the advice. Dave
Frame separation often accompanies rot in the rear bath models. The easiest way to determine if the coach has rear separation is to place firm, direct pressure on the rear bumper and observe for movement of the bumper independent of the coach body (standing on the bumper is usually sufficient). My '64 Overlander had an 18" x 3" area with rot damage along the rear wall that was accompanied by separation (deflection was about .25"), but that was the only floor damage and its only other frame issue was a broken outrigger under the refrigerator. You will want to look closely for other potential soft spots (particularly along the perimeter of the coach) including under each window as well as near the door/refrigerator -- a small, fine-point awl can be a handy probe for suspicious areas --- any soft spots are candidates for repair once the leak is repaired, and you will find many methods of repair discussed in the forums -- small areas can often be remedied with an epoxy consolidant, while others may need a patch while larger areas may reguire full or partial panel replacements. The larger the damaged area, the more likely the need of extensive replacement of the floor material as the floor structure is crtical to the well-being of an Airstream coach.
A great help when inspecting a Vintage coach is some type of checklist. There is a very good list available on R. J. Dial's website that discusses Price vs. Condition
, and can give you a good idea of both value and potential costs for repair/replacement of systems that are found to be non-functional or in need of repair.
Something to keep in mind with the 1966
coaches is that the Corning Glass windows are a bit fragile, and until recently quite difficult to find in the replacement market. Recently, reproductions of these tempered glass windows have become available, but the cost of the replacements can be an issue if very many are needed. Up until very recently when one of these windows was broken, the owner either used Lexan or Plexiglass as a replacement until a salvage unit could be found.
Another item to be aware of with the 1966-1968 coaches is that many were equipped with aluminum wiring. Not necessarily a problem, but something that can require some extra trouble-shooting and some specialized products to restore the electrical system to full functionality if there has been any history of systems neglect.
Axle replacement is expensive, as you noted in a later post to this thread, but it is a necessary procedure on many vintage coaches. Worn axles produce a number of headaches for owners that include popped rivets, cracks in the skin, lowered ground clearance, reduced clearances in the wheel wells, limited suspension travel, etc. My '64 Overlander has very badly worn axles and has had its travel severly reduced until such time as I can afford to have my dealer install new axles. My Minuet received its new axle two years ago, and the difference is quite remarkable -- it is now a rare instance when any of the cabinets loose their contents in transit, it is unusual to find anything bounced off of either lounge, and there is very minimal movement of the coach noted from the tow vehicle when underway -- prior to the new axle, the coach bounced perceptibly on every freeway joint as well as on uneven spots -- I haven't had any sheared rivets for two seasons and I had at least one or two on every trip prior to the axle replacement.
You might consider seeing if there is a Forum member near you who might assist with your inspection. A starting point might be the thread "So You Want To Buy a Trailer That is Three States Away"
Good luck with your research and investigation!