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j54mark 03-25-2003 08:51 PM

For no particular reason, I was looking over the listed weights on the factory site for some of the models through the years. It is interesting to note that they, as so many of us, have put on quite a bit of weight through the years.

Since I own an '85 25' Sovereign, it was that size which drew my attention. Here are the listed weights at 10 year intervals from 1955:

'55 Overlander 26' - 3,170 lbs.
'65 Overlander 26' - 3,950 lbs.
'75 Trade Wind 26' - 4,140 lbs.
'85 Sovereign 25' - 4,900 lbs.
'95 Excello 25' - 5,100 lbs
'02 Classic 25' - 6,000 lbs.

Note the gain of 700 lbs or so evey decade except the period 1985 to 1995. Presumably, like so many of us, Airstream attempted to hold the line in those years, only to fall off their diet once more these last few years. In fact, a new Classic now weighs almost twice as much as the same length Overlander of 1955!

I am sure this tells us something imprortant; I have no idea what, though. It does help answer the frequently asked question, "How did they tow those things back in the 60's with passenger cars?"


Silvertwinkie 03-25-2003 10:08 PM


It might be possible that more technology and creature comforts happen at regular intervals whereas the weight might be a bi-product of that.

My 19' Bambi is about 5k loaded.


Pahaska 03-26-2003 11:04 AM

At 5000#, you are 500# over the GVW for the 2003 Bambi. From the Airstream site:

GVWR Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (lbs.) 4500
My 22' International grosses at 5000#.

Silvertwinkie 03-26-2003 01:13 PM


I posted "about" 5000lbs. The Bambi is rated 4500 gross. On some literature I also recall it saying somewhere in the 4650 range too.

It is not totally unrealistic to think I could not add a few hundred more pounds to get it to 5k.

Just a thought. :)


Pahaska 03-26-2003 01:47 PM

Look on the plate on the side of your trailer for the GVW. I expect it will be 4500# based on the axle rating. There is a big difference between 4500# and 5000#.

From the Bambi part book -

7430001H Axle, 4,000# - 19 FT
A big factor in setting the Bambi GVW is the load rating of your single axle. To get to the 4500# GVW, Airstream is assuming a tongue weight of 500# which is 11% of the GVW. With an equalizing hitch transfering some of the hitch load back to the axle, the axle will to be loaded very close to the rated load at the GVW of 4500#.

My International, with a GVW of 5000#, has 2 2500# rated axles which allows a little more fat between axle loading and axle rating.

jcanavera 03-26-2003 02:26 PM


Originally posted by Silvertwinkie

It is not totally unrealistic to think I could not add a few hundred more pounds to get it to 5k.

Just a thought. :)

One other item where that GVW comes into play. Check your tires maximum capacity based on the air pressure recommend by A/S. A trailer exceeding GVW could also mean an overload on the tires. Nothing more to ruin your day than overheating and a subsequent tire failure due to too much weight.

Your tires may be rated to carry the heavier load but it might be at an inflation pressure higher than what is listed on the A/S serial/weight tag.


Silvertwinkie 03-26-2003 03:19 PM

I'll have to take a look at that. Good point. :)


Silvertwinkie 03-26-2003 08:16 PM

On the tag on the A/S it says GVWR is 4500lbs. Axle rating 4,300. Tires are 2540 (each) @65psi. Hitch weight 460lbs (typical). Adding the tongue weight and the axle rating gets me to 4760lbs.

I just thought of something too, I won't be pulling the trailer with the holding tanks full (estimated all tanks full 310lbs). The most weight would be the LP gas and the fresh water tank. So in reality, after thinking about it, I would prob. never get beyond 4500lbs anyway.

Thanks for making me think about this......



Forrest 03-26-2003 09:05 PM

Newer & Heavier
I'm disappointed that over the years Airstreams have gotten heavier, but I don't think it's a mystery. Corian countertops, particle board, solid oak cabinets, glass shower doors, etc. all add significantly to the weight. It's all heavy, dense material. Contrast that with the late sixties. A number of people have stated in other threads that the cabinetry in older Airstreams is unimpressive, but it is light and strong. For instance, all the cabinet doors in my 1966 A/S GT are hollow. On the negative side the older A/S have a shallower frame under the floor since the holding tanks sit above the floor. The newer A/S's have deeper (and heavier) frames to accommodate larger (heavier) gray and black tanks that sit under the floor in the frame. My GT's UVW factory weight is 2910 lbs with an overall length of 20' 8". The new Bambi with an overall length of 19' 2" has a factory UVW of 3,600 lbs.

Pahaska 03-26-2003 11:13 PM

Airstream should take a hint from TrailManor. In my TrailManor, every horizontal surface was foam cored with wood edges and wood blocks glued in at stress points such as under hinges. The TM had other failings, but the foam-cored surfaces were never a problem. The foam-core surfaces even included the folding dining table.

With the laminated cabinetry in my International, this approach would save considerable weight and never be detected visually.

Silvertwinkie 03-27-2003 07:25 AM

I just found the weights posted on the A/S site about weights for the tanks. I should clarify-- the weights per gallon of liquid in each. For example, water, LP, etc. Seems my 310lbs were off, so it's back to the drawing board. :)


Pahaska 03-27-2003 08:30 AM

Little things add up

A number of people have stated in other threads that the cabinetry in older Airstreams is unimpressive, but it is light and strong.
The drawers in my International are grossly heavy. They have 3/4" plywood front, bottom, and back and solid steel side panels.

The worst contributor to weight is the steel drawer sides. I weighed one of the small drawers in the galley and it weighed 8 1/2", a ridiculous weight for a small drawer. I ran the plywood bottoms and backs through my planer and cut them down to 3/8" to shed a little bit of weight, but, short of building new drawers, there is not much I can do about the steel sides.

I am serously considering building 3 shallow wood drawers to replace the two deep drawers in the galley. Shallow drawers would make access to cutlery and utensils much easier.

femuse 03-27-2003 11:27 AM


We too have been appalled at the weight of the cabinetry.

Our 29' 1974 weighs 4850 dry, the 32' 1990 weighs 6300.

I had a conversation on another forum about "how much better" the new Airstreams were, with all the oak & mirrors replacing the old style of cabinets. All the ones in our 1974 are still working great in spite of fultiming since 1996.
I cannot understand why people who often insist in towing with inadequate vehicles, like SUV for a start, like to add a few thousand pound to their trailers !!!!!!!!! I had a lot of talk about that on the RV forum I guess it was.

I suppose all the mirrors are helping to brighten the place up, but at what cost in pounds? For a start, we are going to remove most of them

You rekindle an idea that Mike had. He had been thinking for a while about making foam-core panels. It would be so much easier to buy them pre-made.
We are going to look for a source of those, and use them if we can in things we intend to modify or build, like night tables, dining table.

Silvertwinkie 03-28-2003 01:01 PM

Weight aside, the simulated wood in the new low end trailers is ok, but I have to say, I've seen some nice pictures of some 80's or early 90's like John HD has, and the interior blows some of the newer stuff away.

Of course, back to reality and if it were so, I'd have a 6000lb gross Bambi! :)


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