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Old 02-28-2011, 12:16 PM   #1
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2008 27' International FB
1964 19' Globetrotter
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1500 Mile Trip to get her home - Suggestions?

Been looking long and hard for a vintage and Bob Leopold (a.k.a. Roadrunner) and I just stuck a deal last night. I'll be picking up his "60" Overlander sometime next month.

I have no experience with vintage units, so this will be the beginning chapter of our vintage experiences!

I'll be driving from Austin TX to Indiana, PA (~1500 each way) to get her to her new home in Texas.

From what Bob tells me, the PO has put tires on approx 3 years ago. (I'm not sure of the type or date code) I believe brakes and lights are supposed to work as well.

My preliminary plan is to head to PA and pick it up and take it to a local shop for new bearings/repack and new tires. I was thinking of having this done at "Airstream of Western Pennsylvania" in Greensburg, which from my understanding is about 45 mile away.

I'm hoping that the folks there can help me get the running gear checked and in order before the long journey home.

Can anyone give some advice about what other preparation I can do, either before I leave or when I'm there? I know I'll need to bring a 2" ball, and magnetic trailer lights. I have some magnetic trailer lights on a flat 4 plug that I carry in my motor home as a backup for my jeep toad, but have never used them. In fact, I think the cord length is only 25", so I think I'll need to buy some flat 4 plug extension and duck tape to secure it on the bumpers and run the wire under the belly as a backup. I believe the trailer lights and brakes work, but this is the "what to carry" under the "just in case" scenario.

What else should I bring or prepare for? I "think" this year had leaf springs so I think the axles should be OK enough to handle the ride for that distance (unloaded). As long as I have good packed bearings I think I'm OK there.

Any recommendation on tires I should get for the ride home? I'm one of those over engineer type of persons and I run 16" Michilen XPS ribbed on my "08 Int 27FB. What tire size will I need for this '60 26' Overlander?

Any other words of wisdom from the folks that have picked up vintage units across the country? I'm open to ideas and pointers to make this an uneventful and safe trip home.

Thanks!
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:27 PM   #2
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Kevin,

See what happens when you hangout with vintage people. Welcome to the other side.

Jim
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Prickly Pear View Post
Kevin,

See what happens when you hangout with vintage people. Welcome to the other side.

Jim
Hi Jim!

You are meaning vintage trailer people right? Not "vintage" people!

Say Hi to Paula for me!
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:21 PM   #4
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Kevin,

Here's the serious answer I got in a handout from Luke at Salida last year

Things to consider

New Tires
Repack wheel bearings
Check suspension
Check lights
Check brake operation
Safety chains
Cover front window if rock guard is missing
Check Ball coupler operation
Visual check of frame.


Last summer when we went to inspect the Caravanner it had broken spring components, badly worn bearings, the brakes had been removed, and the safety chain would not pass muster.

Jim
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Old 02-28-2011, 03:45 PM   #5
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1500 Mile Trip to get her home - Suggestions?

Greetings Kevin!

The following is an excerpt of an article that I wrote for inclusion elsewhere on this site -- see -- Airstream Articles.

Enjoy your Adventure!

Kevin

Prepping Your New Vintage Coach For The Journey Home:
  • Be prepared for the empty/dry weight of your coach as well as its hitch height requirements.
  • Be prepared for the likelihood that the Bargman trailer connector will be wired to a standard other than today’s standard. The typical Airstream schematics are as follows:
  • Be prepared to double-check VIN against title and ownership documents. Also, if purchasing out-of-state, be certain to check with your local DMV for the ownership papers that you will need to present in order to register your new acquisition.
  • Obtain a set of magnetic or strap-on temporary tail lights to provide for the event that the original tail lights cannot be persuaded to operate.
  • Plan on a new set of tires as well as rims if the coach happens to have original split-rim wheels.
    • Most Vintage Airstreams utilize the tire size: ST 225 75 R15 in either load range C or D – almost all vintage Airstreams had load range C standard, but many have upgraded to load range D particularly on longer single axle coaches.
    • Most Vintage Airstreams from the point where Henschen Dura-Torque Axles were adopted utilize the following wheel specifications:
      • 15” X 6”
      • Six Lug on 5.5” centers
      • 4.25” Center Bore
      • 2,600 pound minimum load carrying rating
      • Must be able to handle 65 psi inflation or greater.
  • Plan on having the wheel bearings repacked – particularly if the previous owner does not have adequate documentation on when the bearings were last serviced. Should more than a year have elapsed since the bearings were last serviced, repacking and inspection are a good insurance policy.
  • For coaches that have been sitting unused for any significant period of time, you might want to consider installing new fully loaded backing plates to be sure that the brakes and bearings are in tip-top condition -- the drums may also need to be turned to true and match the new shoes.
  • You will also likely find that the break-away switch will need replacing -- the part is inexpensive and is very easy to replace. The break-away switch is required in many jurisdictions for trailers weighing in excess of 2,000 pounds. Remember that the coach must have a fully-charged battery installed if the break-away switch is to be functional.
  • If the coach has a history of long stretches of inactivity, the Dura-Torque axle has probably taken a set and isn't likely to have much action -- you might want to consider a new set of shock absorbers that may give you a little additional protection for your coach on the long trip back.
  • Check the "A"-frame hitch for any obvious perforations or serious rust penetration -- surface rust is to be expected, but if there is any rust through or near rust through professional (welder, etc.) inspection is called for.
  • You will need a hitch with a ball of the correct size and rating for your trailer.
  • You will want to verify that the rear bumper is solidly attached to the balance of the frame -- sitting on it at either end as well as the center should highlight any excessive flex -- a small amount while not a good sign isn't necessarily a big danger signal (1/4 to 1/2" of movement might indicate rear end separation).
  • If you are concerned about frame rust -- one method is to use a rubber mallet and use it to strike along the main frame rails listening for excessive metallic particles bouncing around that might indicate rust flaking -- if this rudimentary test provides questions about the only way to determine if there is an extensive problem is to either drop the bellypan for inspection -- or cut an inspection hole in the bellypan to see what is going on. Surface rust is to be expected, but quantities of flakes are reason for concern as are any rust-through holes.
  • Prior to towing the coach:
    • Carefully examine anything attached to the exterior of the coach to be sure that it isn't ready to take flight when you hit the road.
      • Check every access panel to be sure that it is securely attached and latched.
      • Check roof vents to be sure that the aluminum covers are solidly attached to the lifters and the lifters are firmly attached to the coach.
      • If the coach has an air conditioner, checking the shroud to be sure that it isn't seriously cracked posing a potential hazard should it decide to fly off.
      • Check to be sure that the LP tanks are securely attached to the tongue, and that the center rod is securely attached to the tank carrier (the cotter key or jam-nuts at the base of the rod are often corroded to the point where they are not capable of securing the tanks when on the road).
    • Check each of the windows to be sure that both the frame and window are secure -- the windows should be latched from the inside and the frames should be inspected looking for missing molding that secures the glass -- if you can see the raw edge of the glass, the window is a candidate to depart the frame under the pressures of being on the road -- duct tape or something similar can be used to temporarily secure windows that don't pass the basic inspection.
    • Check the refrigerator and range vent covers to be sure that they are firmly attached to the coach. If the coach has the original water heater and furnace, you will find exterior vent covers that you will want to check to be certain that they are securely attached.
    • Check the main door and be certain that it is secure. A rather common issue with vintage coaches is worn latching mechanism – doors have been known to fly open while in-transit damaging both the door and coach. A bungee cord or other non-damaging device to secure door in the closed position is a good insurance policy that the door won’t unexpectedly open while in-transit.
    • Be sure to make a final safety check before departing:
      • Be certain that your coach has working tail lights.
      • Be certain that the coupler is securely locked to the ball – use the tongue jack to raise the tongue and back of your tow vehicle several inches – this verifies that the connection is secure.
      • Be certain that your safety chains are of adequate strength and are properly crossed and connected.
      • Be certain that your break-away cable is connected to an appropriate point on your tow vehicle.
      • Double-check inflation pressure in trailer and tow vehicle tires.
      • Double-check lug-nuts/bolts for proper torque (particularly important for alloy wheels).
      • Check to be sure that trailer brakes are operating properly.
      • Pull-forward 50 to 75 feet, stop and get out of your tow vehicle and walk around your rig looking and listening for anything unexpected.
  • Some hints to make your first experience with your Vintage coach a success:
    • If you are not accustomed to driving your tow vehicle, a trick that can help you to cope with a larger vehicle than you normally drive is to place a 12” piece of contrasting color painter’s tape along the center-line of the tow-vehicle’s hood – you can then site down this line to align your rig in your lane. If your tow vehicle has a stand-up hood ornament, it can be used for the same purpose.
      • If you have adjustable spot mirrors on your auxiliary towing mirrors, you can adjust the curbside mirror such that you can glance and see the relationship of your tow vehicle to the lane’s edge stripe.
    • Take advantage of rest areas along your route. Stop, get out of your tow vehicle and walk around your rig. Place your hand near each tire and wheel to check for marked differences in temperature from one wheel to the next. A hot tire is a blow-out candidate and usually indicates a load/balance/hitch adjustment problem. If the center of the wheel is hot it generally indicates a problem with bearing adjustment, a failing bearing, or a brake that is improperly adjusted.
    • If you are not accustomed to towing, limit your time behind the wheel. You will need your full and undivided attention to the task of handling your rig during the first few trips. Towing when tired is always dangerous, but particularly for the novice trailerite.
    • If this is the first time that you vehicle has towed a trailer, check your gauges and warning lights on a regular basis. It is not terribly unusual for a problem to develop during a tow vehicle’s first outing with a trailer. Temperature and oil pressure are the two most critical issues.
The items that I have mentioned are those that would need to be checked and attended to prior to towing. There are many more things that would go into inspecting a coach for purchase -- these are the towing safety related issues.
If you feel uncomfortable making the inspections yourself, you will usually be able to find an Airforums volunteer inspector near the trailer's location. Getting a coach assessed for travel is a familiar practice for most Vintage trailer owners.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:24 AM   #6
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Kevin,

Thanks for the detailed list. Now my next challenge is the long drive...
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Maxwell the 1964 Globe Trotter
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:40 AM   #7
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Wow! Congratulations Kevin! That will be an awesome vintage trailer!
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:07 AM   #8
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for the trip

Well, Kevin hit all and more of the items of import

One or two more things to consider:

Take your time. Don't get in a hurry to get back to Austin. Stop and check things pretty regularly.

Take a small tool kit with you....nothing fancy or overkill. I include a can of WD-40 or a penetrating oil of some kind. Zip ties of various sizes. Always duct tape. Never under estimate the value of baleing wire (wire of some type) I carry a hand rivet tool and several large head rivets for the unexpected. Make up one of those wood door locks that will secure the door ...nice to have in the future too. Those old doors always need the "belts and suspenders" security treatment.

Make it easy...forget the old flat four connector. As long as you have the tires and bearings done at a dealer...have 'em install a new 7 pin connector. It will save you time and problems along the line.

Stop by here, in North Texas, on the way home for and enroute stopover.
One last check befor the Austin arrival.

Robin C
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:29 AM   #9
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make sure you post some pictures when you go get it
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:38 AM   #10
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x2 on the pix of the trailer. That area of PA is picture worthy too!
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:15 PM   #11
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Got it, go slow and easy, no rush, and bring a tool kit. Good points on the wire, WD 40, and zip ties. If I bring my truck I have a tool box and will have most my tools with me.

I talked to Airstream of Western PA this morning. They say they can work on vintage units. I asked them if they could do bearings, brakes (backing plates) check the wiring and new tires there and they said they could.

My concern is limited time off from work, so I'm leaning towards getting the trailer to the dealership for the work before I pick her up. They charge $1.50 to pick it up... That may be a wise investment to save me some time and allow enough to work on things (or surprises) that may need time instead of rushed when I get there.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bambi_Bandit View Post
...I'll be driving from Austin TX to Indiana, PA (~1500 each way) to get her to her new home in Texas....Any other words of wisdom from the folks that have picked up vintage units across the country?... I'm open to ideas and pointers to make this an uneventful and safe trip home.

Tires three years old - and brakes work???

Knowing your capabilities and the Ford 250 I think I'd recommend for you to try to barefoot it.

Could the owner check out the operation of the brakes for you?

Bring a new battery and some fused test leads - doubtful if your present 7 way electrical will hook up to the trailer - chances are good the trailer wiring was modified some time in the past. Plan on 4 hours in a parking lot if you need to rewire and trouble shoot lights.

Borrow an extra spare tire or two to bring along just to be sure you won't have to purchase "temporary" tires on the highway.

Check your PM's.
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Old 03-01-2015, 10:54 AM   #13
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I am interested in a trailer that is for sale in the Pheonix Arizona area. I am from Worcester Mass around 2400 miles away. I was told there are people that if in the area would check it out for me for a fee? I have been looking around the forum and can't seem to find this service???? Let me know if anyone knows if this is an option. Thanks Laurie
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Old 03-01-2015, 11:06 AM   #14
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If you can get owner to sign notarized power of attorney on just the AS when you go to get Texas title if anything needs to be sign you can do it
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Old 03-01-2015, 12:36 PM   #15
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Kevin:

Make sure are Airstream of Western PA you are talking to either Carl or Alex. They are brothers who have probably 60 years combined experience on Airstreams. We live an hour away and they are our dealer of choice. They do work on anything AS, and do a good job in my opinion from replacing and or fixing inside to replacing and or fixing outside skin. They do the whole thing. I am guess you mean they charge $150 to pick it up or $1.50 a mile. With your time constraints I would have them do it, only problem I can see is you have to have purchased it prior to them picking it up. Which should not be an issue from whom you are buying the unit. As you noted by them picking it up they can start the basic work, and if they find something they can call you before you leave OR while on your way. Another thing about Carl and Alex is they are honest guys, if it needs to be done they will tell you, if not they won't do it, at least that is my experience and this one we have now is our third AS. As an aside if either Alex Carl or Tom pick it up they might detect something while towing that would be hard to pick up sitting, so you would get the advantage of a "test tow". They use a Ford F350 Diesel.

Best of luck, contact if you need any help.

Bud
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Old 03-01-2015, 02:25 PM   #16
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Y'all know this thread is almost four years old?
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Old 03-01-2015, 02:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airjenny1965 View Post
I am interested in a trailer that is for sale in the Pheonix Arizona area. I am from Worcester Mass around 2400 miles away. I was told there are people that if in the area would check it out for me for a fee? I have been looking around the forum and can't seem to find this service???? Let me know if anyone knows if this is an option. Thanks Laurie
On the "portal" page on the right hand side there is a "Airstream Inspectors" locator. Select your state and type and there you go.
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:17 PM   #18
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Air jenny try Airstreams 4 Rent online, It is a Phx Airstream rental business. John Abbot is an inspector.
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