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Old 11-13-2012, 10:41 AM   #1
New Member
1973 31' Sovereign
Tomales , California
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 1
Just bought a '73 Sovereign for $3000

I am completely new to Airstream--believe it or not!
Now I'm asking myself, what have I gotten myself into?

I will be living in it full-time, and am in the process of downsizing. I'll have one-half the space---I've been shrinking down for some time in preparation for living on a fixed income.

Right now I am in the process of finding a place to park it. I want to present my case as honestly as possible. I want to go solar, and put in a self-composting toilet. In other words, other than fresh water, I want to be completely self-sustaining. Can anyone help me with talking points, amount to offer. In other words, what is realistic?

Yes, I know I have my work cut out for me. First, I need tires to move it. The woman who owned it really couldn't help much. I have the owners manual, but for a neophyte, it's all Greek to me! I have a friend who will be moving it, and he has done this before. (He says.)

I want to take off the wheels after moving, and stabilize it. Any suggestions?
Actually, as you can probably tell from my queries, I need all of the sound advice/help I can get.

Thanks, everyone.

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Old 11-13-2012, 11:48 AM   #2
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1976 Argosy 28
Milton , Ontario
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 189
Welcome to AS Forums...

Hi Hargsnarkle,

You have come to the right place and everyone here, once upon a time, was a newbie just like you and me.

You will find a wealth of information on this forum and many owners will be glad to assist in offering insight and solutions.

There are many full-timers on this site, as well. And, downsizing will be the hardest job you will encounter as you head into retirement.

Don't look at it as work, look at it as a new adventure!

Good Luck and I'm sure many more will offer words of encouragement.


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Old 11-13-2012, 12:18 PM   #3
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1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11,219
Images: 25
Howdy and welcome to Airforums.com, Hargsnarkle! You have reached the best place on the web to get your Airstream questions answered.

I think the first thing to do is to take a deep breath and realize that you can't and won't be able to do everything at once. Sit down and make a list of things to do, and put your best guesstimate of listing them in order of importance.

For example, you want to remove the wheels. When you think about that, to me it's certainly not the first thing to do when you are so new to this experience, since you could easily decide to change the spot where you put your trailer.

However, since you will discover that all old trailers leak (even the newer ones do too!) that perhaps understanding where and how to look for leaks might be something that you want to put at the top of your list of things, so that you maintain the integrity of your trailer by keeping the innards (and you) dry.

As for finding a good place to park it, I think you will need to enlist the help of others in your area that have done that, and get all the input and advice from them that you can. It's not as simple as just convincing someone to let you camp in their back yard. Local jurisdictions generally set lots of rules regarding what can be done and where you can do it, so learning those rules might again be something that goes to the top of your list, right after finding local "trailerites" that have done what you're about to do.

Take your time, think through what needs to be done,and exactly how you think you can do it. Feel free to bounce your ideas off the group here, OK?
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:35 PM   #4
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1973 27' Overlander
1972 29' Ambassador
St. Paul , Minnesota
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,044
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I want to take off the wheels after moving, and stabilize it
Gee - $92 a foot, such a deal

The only frame area that can lift the trailer is the vertical plates the axles bolt onto. ANY lifting on the main ladder frame, bumper brackets etc. will damage them! You want to make a tripod, some point at the axles on each side and the front hitch jack.

Leaving at least one wheel & tire on at each side is cheap insurance in case the lift fails and the trailer drops.

If you have the room making a ramp out of stacked 2x10 boards will reduce the travel needed to lift with jacks.

If the torsion axle is healthy the tires stay on the ground for four or more inches of lift until they catch air, if the axles are frozen the tires lift off the ground much sooner.

Many ways to do it - bottle jacks and 6x6 wood blocks stacked into pylons, example: base layer 24" long for stability and 12-16" wide laterally on dirt then stack lengths narrow to the top block w/ cross-grain to the plate to keep it from splitting is the way I did it, then use jack stands to stabilize the rear overhang.

Solid concrete blocks are good, the lighter weight hollowed cinderblocks can collapse. Use thin wood blocks to avoid metal-to-concrete contact.

Automotive jack stands are a little tippy in my opinion, they are made for temporary use on smooth concrete in a protected area. Using four with two on each side of the axle plate cures some of that, use plywood bases to keep them from cutting into asphalt, still vulnerable to wind or nudges from a car etc. though.
The days are short and the night is long and the stars go tumbling by.. . ~Airstream~
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:48 PM   #5
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1973 31' Sovereign
Providence Village , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 9
Just based on personal experience I wouldn't take the tires off. We had both curb side jacks fail during a heavy wind storm and had it not been for the tires still being on the trailer it would have resulted in a lot of damage. You can of course help prevent that by building a solid base under the axles to act as supports along with the jacks. I've seen it done with large cinder blocks across the entire axle on both axles. Personally I'd just leave the wheels on for the piece of mind.

Welcome to the forums!
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:31 PM   #6
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1974 Argosy 28
Fresno/Clovis , California
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 700
Welcome to the forum. Lots of info here, as well as help.
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