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Old 02-04-2007, 10:39 AM   #1
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1977 31' Excella 500
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1976 31' Sovereign questions

I am going to look at a '76 Sovereign tomorrow and have a few questions to help me make the most of my inspection.
We have a 63 Overlander and it was pretty easy to see the trouble spots since the trailer was so basic. With these 70's models there seem to be so many gadgets and furniture that can hide potential problem areas.


Are there any options that are more rare than others on these models?

What, besides frame sag, should I be looking for as common potential trouble spots on this particular year/model.

I am wondering if anyone can tell me the cabin length of it as opposed to the total overall length (Tongue to bumper).
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Old 02-04-2007, 11:28 AM   #2
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1975 31' Sovereign
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The OA cabin length is around 29' or so...I will measure a bit later today

A couple of items to look for is excessive corrosion on the belly pan, it indicates the possibility of rusted frame and/or outriggers, as well as leaks somewhere. Look behind the wheels to see if a reinforcing plate has been installed. If it has not you will see round "punch" stamping on the main frame, if the plate is not installed look very carefully for frame cracks in the axle attachment areas. Sight down the side for heavy bulges aft of the axles too, a sign of frame issues. The only item I missed on mine was a bad attachment point at the front where the floor had rotted out underneath the wing windows due to a leak.

Aaron
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Old 02-04-2007, 11:31 AM   #3
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Aaron,
Great info! Thanks a ton.
I am gonna print that out and take it with me tomorrow

Is the reinforcing plate behind the wheels something AS would have done as a recall type thing?
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Old 02-04-2007, 11:33 AM   #4
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Besides the standard, does everything work I would be looking hard for problems with the floor. The design of the bumper on the 70's units allowed water to run onto the floor behind the bumper. Check this area for floor rot, which could also mean frame rust problems as well.
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Old 02-04-2007, 11:53 AM   #5
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1975 31' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squrlgurl
Aaron,
Great info! Thanks a ton.
I am gonna print that out and take it with me tomorrow

Is the reinforcing plate behind the wheels something AS would have done as a recall type thing?
Possibly...my unit came with it installed and it looked like a dealer install.

Aaron
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Old 02-04-2007, 11:55 AM   #6
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1975 31' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
Besides the standard, does everything work I would be looking hard for problems with the floor. The design of the bumper on the 70's units allowed water to run onto the floor behind the bumper. Check this area for floor rot, which could also mean frame rust problems as well.
The easiest way to check for this is to step up on the rear bumper, if there is ANY movement between the bumper and the shell there is an issue that will need to be addressed. The more movement the worse it will probably be. FWIW my 75 has about 1/4" of movement, my 80 very minimal. I have seen some so bad that they moved almost an inch for one that bad I would suspect major frame rust and rotten floor.

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Old 02-04-2007, 11:56 AM   #7
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It is 27' I would look at the floor where the roof vents go thru the floor
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Old 02-04-2007, 01:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LI Pets
It is 27' I would look at the floor where the roof vents go thru the floor
Bob,
It's a 31'.
Where do the roof vents pass thru the floor?
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Old 02-04-2007, 01:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wahoonc
The easiest way to check for this is to step up on the rear bumper, if there is ANY movement between the bumper and the shell there is an issue that will need to be addressed. The more movement the worse it will probably be. FWIW my 75 has about 1/4" of movement, my 80 very minimal. I have seen some so bad that they moved almost an inch for one that bad I would suspect major frame rust and rotten floor.

Aaron
Good point. I want to avoid another project. We have the bath ripped out of the '63 Overlander right now. Not looking forward to going through that again.
So is frame seperation an issue that plagues the 70's AS regardless of whether they have frame rust as a result of a leak back there? Is there something wrong with the design, like having a rear bath or just the length of the trailer that makes a 70's AS prone to sag?
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Old 02-04-2007, 01:26 PM   #10
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I have a 1976 31' sovereign and it's a really a nice Airstream. The one thing that I would warn you about are the Vista View windows. They are double pane and have a tinting that was put on the inside surface of the outer pane the peals and curls and generally just flakes off in pieces. To bring them back to like new condition you have to break the inner pane ( without damaging the outter pane ) and remove the inner pane in pieces, and install new rubber gaskets.Very doable and there are much clearer directions elswhere on the forums.Good luck with your inspection. No problem with sag with the center bath.
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Old 02-04-2007, 01:36 PM   #11
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Just to reiterate the common leak area is as Aaron said, on mine it was in the front just after the curve ( on a front gaucho unit, its to either side of the gaucho) where the beltline molding let water behind it get in.. After sealing the top of the beltline it stopped the leak. Our floor rot in that area was minimal luckily for us.
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Old 02-04-2007, 01:40 PM   #12
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OOOPS I mean sewer vents
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