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Old 02-07-2011, 10:01 PM   #1
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1961 26' Overlander
Santa Fe , New Mexico
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Alternate Plan "B"

Bought our first A/S a little over 2 weeks ago in ABQ. It's a lovely 61 Overlander. The original plan -- drive the very short distance from the purchase to the (only) "certified" A/S dealer / repair shop in NM. The trailer was parked for a long time in Truth or Consequences and brought up to ABQ last summer by the person we bought her from. He had replaced the split rims and tires and had the bearings repacked. The hitch wiring is some old (ie non 7 pin) system -- so no access to brakes or lights. -- OK so far . . . we crept our way safely to the dealer and left it there with the instructions to check out all the systems with a list of needed repairs and a focus on safety issues (running gear, lp lines, furnace and such).

One week goes by and no progress -- I visit and have a long talk with one of the owners about how to proceed etc. Shortly after that I am in Dallas on business and get stuck in the crazy weather we got hit with. They are closed all last week. Speaking with them today they say they've started. . but

Now as I've read more and more each day on the forums here I realize that at this point I probably know more about vintage airstreams than they do. A very spooky thought. I also have no idea what condition (regarding winterization) the trailer is in. At this point I am wanting to get the trailer on back in my possession but I don't know just how dangerous it would be to try to pull it from ABQ up to Santa Fe (on the back roads -not I-25) with only the brakes on my TV (1/2 ton Avalanche).

Any and all help / ideas greatly appreciated.

Robert
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:36 PM   #2
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1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
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If you already have a brake controller on your TV and are reasonable handy and have the time, you can get the light and brake wiring checked out yourself.
Do you have any experience using a multi meter?
We just went through helping a member who goes by teamkeira here on the forum get there wiring straightened out on their trailer. Look for their post.
I have included a drawing of what I think your trailer will have when it comes to the wiring. If you are willing to tackle it, I and others here are willing to help.
Does the trailer have a cord that is intended to be plugged into the TV. Commonly refered to as an umbilical cord or (UCord for short). Or does it just have a socket on the front of the trailer?
If you can tow with operating brakes you will be much safer; not to mention legal.
You should also have what is known as a "house battery" in the trailer that provides power to the breakaway switch on the brake system.
Obviously a hitch on your TV rated for the weight of the trailer, some where in the area of 3500# dry weight.
How far is it from Albuquerque to Santa Fe?
If it hasn't been winterized before the cold snap set in, it will need some work, but you don't need that to get it home.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Airstream '64-'65 wiring.pdf (64.3 KB, 61 views)
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:50 PM   #3
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1971 25' Tradewind
Menlo Park , California
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The dry weight on your trailer is shown as 3300 lbs. Your tow vehicle weighs 5500 lbs or so...

You _could_ do this, but it's somewhat sketchy. I've pulled worse w/o brakes (after car trailer trailer brake wiring shorted out inside the axles) w/ my 3/4 ton, but that's 7000+ lbs empty. Your stopping distances will be significantly larger than you're used to, and you're violating NM vehicle codes.

If all goes well (I assume the roads are pretty flat), it'll be a piece of cake. If someone pulls out in front of you, things will get dicey. Your vehicle has excellent brakes stock. If you have some weight you can put in the back of the truck, this will help.

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Old 02-07-2011, 11:07 PM   #4
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1961 26' Overlander
Santa Fe , New Mexico
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
If you already have a brake controller on your TV and are reasonable handy and have the time, you can get the light and brake wiring checked out yourself.
Do you have any experience using a multi meter?
We just went through helping a member who goes by teamkeira here on the forum get there wiring straightened out on their trailer. Look for their post.
I have included a drawing of what I think your trailer will have when it comes to the wiring. If you are willing to tackle it, I and others here are willing to help.
Does the trailer have a cord that is intended to be plugged into the TV. Commonly refered to as an umbilical cord or (UCord for short). Or does it just have a socket on the front of the trailer?
If you can tow with operating brakes you will be much safer; not to mention legal.
You should also have what is known as a "house battery" in the trailer that provides power to the breakaway switch on the brake system.
Obviously a hitch on your TV rated for the weight of the trailer, some where in the area of 3500# dry weight.
How far is it from Albuquerque to Santa Fe?
If it hasn't been winterized before the cold snap set in, it will need some work, but you don't need that to get it home.

Don't have a brake controller yet. The TV does have the trailer package from the factory and has the additional wiring and plug for a controller though not connected. It does have a charged house battery. The break away is actually a mechanically tripped hydraulic pump that sits on the tongue and connects to the rear set of wheels with electric brakes on the front set. The towing capacity of the TV is more than adequate. The total trip is about 67 miles. Just trying to wrap my head around whether to attempt this or not?
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:12 PM   #5
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1961 26' Overlander
Santa Fe , New Mexico
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barts View Post
The dry weight on your trailer is shown as 3300 lbs. Your tow vehicle weighs 5500 lbs or so...

You _could_ do this, but it's somewhat sketchy. I've pulled worse w/o brakes (after car trailer trailer brake wiring shorted out inside the axles) w/ my 3/4 ton, but that's 7000+ lbs empty. Your stopping distances will be significantly larger than you're used to, and you're violating NM vehicle codes.

If all goes well (I assume the roads are pretty flat), it'll be a piece of cake. If someone pulls out in front of you, things will get dicey. Your vehicle has excellent brakes stock. If you have some weight you can put in the back of the truck, this will help.

- Bart
Well it's a little over 2,000 ft increase in elevation from where the trailer sits now to my house. There are 2 stretches of down grades that would get your attention on the route I would take. The only other way puts me on I-25 (75 mph speed limit and numerous ups and downs). I can definitely load up the bed of the truck. Not sure how much the trailer is going to want to push the truck.

Robert
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:19 PM   #6
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I believe the rear axle hydraulic brake system is a surge brake. I don't know if it provides the breakaway function. If you don't know that the hydraulic brakes work, I would guess it would be easier to get the electric brakes to function. It would be better than no brakes. I must admit that I towed our trailer 450 miles home without brakes, it was on a remote hiway with very little traffic and I was very cautious and lucky as well. No problems on the trip.
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:20 PM   #7
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1961 26' Overlander
Santa Fe , New Mexico
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TG Twinkie, thanks for the wiring diagrams. I am familiar with a multi-meter and comfortable (especially with all the help here) to tackle the re-wiring but that would be after I get the trailer back home. The PO has added some kind of "pistol-grip connector" -- that doesn't conform to current 7-pin.
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:24 PM   #8
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1961 26' Overlander
Santa Fe , New Mexico
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
I believe the rear axle hydraulic brake system is a surge brake. I don't know if it provides the breakaway function. If you don't know that the hydraulic brakes work, I would guess it would be easier to get the electric brakes to function. It would be better than no brakes.
Well, there's a chain connected to a trip lever that looks like it would connect to the TV and would activate the hydraulics? Don't know the condition of either the electric or hydraulic brakes. I starting reading an old thread by Uwe or area63productions about a 63 Overlander he towed without brakes when he bought it? Just need some kind of reality/sanity check on this idea.
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:34 PM   #9
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I learn something every day here.

I have never heard of that type of breakaway system but obviously it did exist since you have one. I would assume there is some way to reset it if it is tripped. So what you could do is hitch the trailer to the TV, then trip the brake system and see if the brakes work. Just trip it and try to drive forward.
You can get a light set at an Auto parts store or Wal Mart that are temporary setups just for the situation you are in. All you need is brake lights and turn signals for towing during the daylight hours. If you truck has a plug on the back you could get it to work without much trouble.
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:50 PM   #10
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1961 26' Overlander
Santa Fe , New Mexico
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Temporary lights would be easy, it's just the idea of no brakes. I guess I'll sleep on it and see what ideas develop over the next few days. There's supposed to be more snow on the way Tues / Wed so definitely not going to be doing anything till there is clear weather in any event especially here at about 7300 ft. Thanks for your help I'll keep you posted. Just so excited about the whole first A/S thing -- kinda like being a kid. Just don't want to be a dumb kid.
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Old 02-08-2011, 04:10 AM   #11
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Alternate Plan "B"

Greetings Robert!

Welcome to the world of Vintage Overlander ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver-man View Post
The original plan -- drive the very short distance from the purchase to the (only) "certified" A/S dealer / repair shop in NM. The trailer was parked for a long time in Truth or Consequences and brought up to ABQ last summer by the person we bought her from. He had replaced the split rims and tires and had the bearings repacked. The hitch wiring is some old (ie non 7 pin) system -- so no access to brakes or lights. -- OK so far . . .
From your description, it would appear that your coach has experienced minimal change to the hitch configuration since it was new. According to some of the research that I did following the acquisition of my '64 Overlander, it seems that in the very early 1960s, there could be two or three separate connectors for electrics rather than a single, seven-pole connector. Some data that I uncovered suggested that there was one connector for 12-volt electrics (provided one or two 12-volt lights inside of coach while traveling), a four-pole connector (for turn signals, brake lights, and running lights), and a connector for 12-volt electric trailer brakes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver-man View Post
At this point I am wanting to get the trailer on back in my possession but I don't know just how dangerous it would be to try to pull it from ABQ up to Santa Fe (on the back roads -not I-25) with only the brakes on my TV (1/2 ton Avalanche). Well, there's a chain connected to a trip lever that looks like it would connect to the TV and would activate the hydraulics? Don't know the condition of either the electric or hydraulic brakes.

Any and all help / ideas greatly appreciated.

Robert
You will likely find that the easier path will be to get the electric brakes operational. From my research (more than 10 years ago now) parts for the hydraulic side of the tandem electric and hydraulic system can be virtually impossible to find (the tongue-mounted master cylinder didn't appear to be available in any from when I was investigating the one that my coach came with from the factory). <<The original owners of my coach had included the original hydraulics setup in a box with the coach and I momentarily considered restoring it to original, but then decided that four-wheel brakes were a ecessity for modern-day travel.>> My understanding was that there were two different braking technologies on the coach to accommodate a change-over that was occurring at the time our coaches were new -- some owners were towing with cars equipped in the 1950s with direct hydraulic connection between the rear brake circuit of the tow vehicle and the coach -- while other owners had made the jump to electric trailer brakes that were controlled by one of the early Kelsey Hayes electric brake controllers that tapped into the towcar's brake system at the master cylinder.

Over the years, many of the coaches with the "tandem" braking system were converted to strictly electric drum brakes. The original owners of my coach made this conversion in the late 1960s when they purchased their new 1969 Oldsmobile 98 towcar. The axle on your coach that has electric brakes isn't much different from today's electric brakes. The shape of the magnet may be different, but otherwise they are quite similar - - it is also quite possible that the brakes can be serviced with modern, fully loaded backing plates (this isn't absolutely certain as there is some question about drum compatibiity and a few other issues).

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:00 PM   #12
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1961 26' Overlander
Santa Fe , New Mexico
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Quick note here to end this little chapter in our Overlander saga. With the help of not such great weather I was able to restrain myself and wait on picking up our '61. This allowed them (RV repair shop) to re-wire the harness to a the new standard 7-way, allowed me to order and install a brake controller and allowed the weather to become simply lovely. So today we drove down to ABQ and brought her back (to her new home). Brakes worked just fine with a little tweaking on the controller and the whole trip was a lovely drive through the countryside.

Now on to the long list of projects and fun of fixing her up. . .

Thanks to all.

Robert
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:21 PM   #13
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Life is a journey. Enjoy it in your new toy!
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:28 PM   #14
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congrats on getting the '61 home...

now starts the fun part...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f109...ome-71609.html
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