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Old 10-24-2011, 11:20 AM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
Vancouver , British Columbia
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Our new Sovereign!

In the process of purchasing a 1973 '31 Sovereign!!

There is much to do, and much to learn as this will be our first Airstream, our first trailer! We are very green and we are looking forward to all the advice the is here to be had!

Now we need a tow vehicle!
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:26 AM   #2
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
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Welcome to the forums!

What's the state of your Sovereign? Is it close to being camping-ready, or is it a project for you?

There are plenty of tow vehicles that can serve you well, provided the TV is equipped properly (useful rear-axle ratio, transmission cooler, good brake controller, etc.) and the hitch is set up well. Many owners like Suburbans, many others like diesel HD pickups. A '73 will be significantly lighter than a new Airstream in the 30-ft range, so a half-ton pickup should be more than adequate as well (and way more capable than the TVs people were using in 1973.)
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Old 10-24-2011, 01:01 PM   #3
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Our new Sovereign!

Greetings Buffysairst!

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

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffysairst View Post
In the process of purchasing a 1973 '31 Sovereign!!

There is much to do, and much to learn as this will be our first Airstream, our first trailer! We are very green and we are looking forward to all the advice the is here to be had!

Now we need a tow vehicle!
According to Airstream's corporate website, the following are base numbers for your coach:
  • 31' Sovereign Twin -- Rear Bath -- International Package
    • Dry Weight 5,005 pounds
    • Dry Hitch Weight 485 pounds
  • 31' Sovereign Double -- Rear Bath -- International Package
    • Dry Weight 5,035 pounds
    • Dry Hitch Weight 490 pounds
  • 31' Sovereign Twin -- Center Bath -- International Package
    • Dry Weight 4,920 pounds
    • Dry Hitch Weight 695 pounds
  • 31' Sovereign Double -- Center Bath -- International Package
    • Dry Weight 4,915 pounds
    • Dry Hitch Weight 730 pounds
Keep in mind while reviewing these figures that these base or dry weights do not include any options nor installed accessories. The weights also do not include fluids (water, LP gas, etc.) or any personal possessions packed in the coach. My suggestion would be to utilize the following approximations for the gross weight of your coach ready to travel:
  • 31' Sovereign International -- Rear Bath
    • 6,200 pounds Gross Trailer Weight
    • 725 pounds Gross Trailer Tongue Weight
  • 31' Sovereign International -- Center Bath
    • 6,100 pounds Gross Trailer Weight
    • 875 pounds Gross Trailer Tongue Weight
Many here on the Forums like to apply an 80% rule of thumb where you look for a tow vehicle rated to tow at least 20% more than the loaded weight of your coach. Your coach likely will weigh only a few hundred pounds more than my Overlander (I tend to over-pack, and my Overlander typically scales between 6,000 and 6,100 pounds with a hitch weight between 725 and 750 pounds) . . . when I shopped for my last tow vehicle, my minimum tow rating was 8,000 pounds (in reality, I went with a tow vehicle having a 10,000 pound trailer tow rating as it was a better buy than lesser vehicles that I considered).

Good luck with your tow vehicle investigations!

Kevin
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:21 AM   #4
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1973 31' Sovereign
Vancouver , British Columbia
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Thanks for the advice!
The coach is in excellent condition. it has been well looked after and many repairs have been done. The previous owner even built a bunk above the double, which is perfect for us with our little ones!
I have been really worried that we missed something on our inspection after reading so much about rear end separation. But PO did give us such a thorough tour of the coach and pointed out many things that he repaired, including replacing the black water tank. He explained that he had to pull the toilet out and rebuild the whole business back in to replace the tank from underneath. Would this be a good indication that the back end is ok??
PO has thoroughly labeled everything in the coach, and replaced heaters, stoves, built bunks. We are hopeful that it is all good. It looks wonderful.
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