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Old 10-08-2004, 08:57 PM   #1
Owner "Tin Twinkie"
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4
New '84 29' Sovereign owner needs help

Thanks for this forum in anticipation of some positive results. I have just gained ownership of a 1984 29 foot Airstream Sovereign and already I am adrift in a sea of (mis)information. Please any help you can provide or anywhere you can refer me to is much appreciated.

I have several years camping experience and a vast background in boats and boating but this is the first travel trailer. She's a fine old girl with everything onboard and working well save the refrigerator. The fridge has been replaced with an off the shelf 110v only unit. Several questions come to mind.

1) What does she weigh? The tag on the front says 6800 lbs but a website this forum mentioned says 5300 lbs. The web site aforementioned also states a 550 lb tongue weight where the prior owner of the unit swears a weigh in of 400. I know there is variance in loading but 150 lbs?

2) I've moved a lot of weight with a lot of vehicles but never something so large with a vehicle so small. 2001 Durango for a 29' (31' actual?) trailer where my local dodge expert says it will do it. Granted I'm not going far or very often and I'm staying in "flat country" but any thoughts from someone with more time under tow than I?

3) The interior is clean and well kept save the bathroom door inside veneer. No big deal to repair. Obvious items like hoses and fitting will be throughly checked due to unit's age as well. Any other problem areas not obvious?

4) Exterior is undamaged by impact, no leaks are apparent inside or out, all vents and seams look tight. The surface seems "faded" on the top and top 1/3 of the top to side transitional curve. I've heard mention of a particular exterior sealer or clear cote, can anyone elaborate on that?

That's quite enough for now and again, I thank anyone that may shed some light on my first steps in this airstream journey.
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Old 10-08-2004, 10:03 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtwilburt
1) What does she weigh? The tag on the front says 6800 lbs but a website this forum mentioned says 5300 lbs. The web site aforementioned also states a 550 lb tongue weight where the prior owner of the unit swears a weigh in of 400. I know there is variance in loading but 150 lbs?
6800 lbs is gross, or maximum not-to-exceed weight. The 5300 lbs is a hypothetical unladen coach with no options or fluids; the 550 lbs is again a maximum based on the gross. You want your tongue weight to be somewhere around 12% of the actual weight for the best handling.

You don't mention it, but this coach is more than large enough to benefit from a weight distribution hitch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtwilburt
2) I've moved a lot of weight with a lot of vehicles but never something so large with a vehicle so small. 2001 Durango for a 29' (31' actual?) trailer where my local dodge expert says it will do it. Granted I'm not going far or very often and I'm staying in "flat country" but any thoughts from someone with more time under tow than I?
Don't guess. Get the Combined Gross Weight rating for your truck, weigh the truck (truck stop scales), weigh the coach (both loaded and configured for travel), and do the math. Offhand, I doubt you will come in under the limit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtwilburt
3) The interior is clean and well kept save the bathroom door inside veneer. No big deal to repair. Obvious items like hoses and fitting will be throughly checked due to unit's age as well. Any other problem areas not obvious?
These are fundamentally excellent units. It is possible you have worn out axles (see the Inland RV site for instructions), but that is only a possibility. Do not assume there are no leaks until you find out how to get to every little corner and cubby hole. Airstreams tend to leak between the inner and outer panels, the water showing up somewhere along the inside perimeter. Look really hard for dark stains on the wood floor; take off covers and panels. You likely have troublesome polybutylene plumbing - see the archives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtwilburt
4) The surface seems "faded" on the top and top 1/3 of the top to side transitional curve. I've heard mention of a particular exterior sealer or clear cote, can anyone elaborate on that?
The fading is lost clearcoat. It does that. The fixes are all expensive, time consuming, or both. See any one of a dozen threads on "polishing" in the archives. Or do as many of us do, just wax it and go on and enjoy yourself.

Good luck,

Mark
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Old 10-08-2004, 11:27 PM   #3
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1984 29' Sovereign
Savannah , Missouri
Join Date: Apr 2002
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Thumbs up Welcome~!~

Congrats on your 'new' 84 Sovereign~
I have one similar to yours and it's a great ole gal..
See numerous threads under my name for pictures of it~

Off hand, I'd say that you should be fine with your tow vehicle..
You didn't say what size engine you have or if it has the heavy duty tow package included..
Quote:
The big Dodge 5.9-liter Magnum V8 generates 245 horsepower and 335 foot-pounds of torque. That's a bit more robust than the Expedition's optional 5.4-liter V8 (230 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque) and compares favorably to the Tahoe's 5.7-liter V8 (255 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque). The Durango should make a better tow vehicle than an Explorer. With the 5.9-liter engine and 3.92 differential, it's capable of pulling a trailer of up to 7,200 pounds. Chevy's Tahoe is rated to pull 7,000 pounds and Ford's Expedition is rated for 8,000 pounds. Fuel economy for the 5.9-liter Dodge V8 is rated by the EPA at 12/17 mpg city/highway

The above reply brings out excellent points..Additionally, be sure you check the vent pipes seal for the bathroom real well..By now they've long since lost their capacity to seal around the vent pipes properly and, "must/should be replace~!!"..
InLandRV has the correct ones for around 7$ each..Be sure you order "two"..
Is your unit the twin bed in the rear model or did you get the queen size in the rear?
Sorry to hear that your frig has been replaced as it's former unit was a three-way unit.(120vac, 12vdc and propane model)..The three-way combination is really neat.
It's rather unlikely that your axles are bad, unless it has just sat unused all of these years..simple to check..Take a look and compare the wheels on my unit with your's..They should be sitting very much the same..I assume that you still have the original steel wheels??
While on the subject of wheels, when traveling with your unit..You might wanta consider taking the wheel covers off while on the road as they're sometime prone to coming off (I lost two of mine this way..Grrr) and..they're not easy to replace`..Once on site again, you could put them back on for "dress purpose"..
Did you get the two owner's manual with it??
One should be the operations manual and, the larger one is the maint manual..
Love to see picture of the unit, both inside and out...
Again, welcome to the A/S family and many happy years of travel with the 84 Sovereign~!
ciao
53FC
proud owner of "SilverTurtle"..
29' is the correct length~
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Old 10-09-2004, 11:20 PM   #4
Owner "Tin Twinkie"
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4
Thanks for the info

Thanks for the quick and concise info. I'll check the noted items (wheels, leaks between skins & in floor, etc.)

About the tow, a little more research and a little more info . . . it's the 4.7 in the Durango with the 3.55 rear and the HD tow package to include Class IV hitch and the other standard tow upgrades. I've gotten the definitive yes the vehicle will handle the tow weight by frame and hitch specs. The 4.7 is "a little light duty" for the job but functional. The whole explanation had shades of "kids don't try this at home" to it so we'll see. It is also a weight distributing hitch with anti sway bar, another first in tow for me. The current owner has agreed to ride along for the delivery trip to coach me. My current goal is get her home (about 30 flat miles on a sunny Sunday afternoon) and go from there. The wife is already hinting at a bigger tow vehicle for all of us to ride in (unexpected bonus!)

Thanks for the welcome to the group as well. It is a queen sleeper aft and I've already resolved to attempt to replace the factory fridge with same.

Pics to follow soon.

Thanks again for the replies.
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Old 10-11-2004, 08:12 PM   #5
Owner "Tin Twinkie"
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4
Durango handled the unit just fine and she's finally home. Would like a little more horsepower for longer hauls though. LOVE the Reese weight distributing hitch! Thanks for the help again.
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