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Old 07-17-2004, 11:42 AM   #1
Craftsman
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Talking First Time Airstream Owner-'76 Sovereign

Well we've made arrangements to buy the 31 foot 76 Sovereign that Rog 0525 mentioned on the forum a couple of days ago. It really looks like a pretty nice unit in excellent condition. Roger took a look at it and said he was impressed by the condition, and after talking with the owner they have insisted that everythng is in working condition. If any of you would like to look at the photos, they are listed in Rogers post under 76 Sovereign. I would appreaciate any comments or feedback pro or con since this is our first Airstream.I still have to pick it up. It's 600 miles away. What will I need to take with me besides the tow vechile? I don't want to get there and find that I don't have something that I should have.
Jack
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Old 07-17-2004, 11:50 AM   #2
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Congratulations Jack!!

One thing I would do pre trip is see if there is a way to either get the bearings packed and brakes inspected or make an appointment with a competent shop in the area so that the bearings and brakes are up for the trip.

As for stuff to take with:

Normal hand tools, some wire for 12 volt stuff, electrical tape, a DVM, Pressure gauge, socket set, duct tape, Misc screws, rivets and rivet gun if you have it, tye wraps in varying lengths, a 4 way lug wrench, some boards for leveling/tire changing, some bungee cords, your Visa card, and if you are a AAA member add the RV coverage to the plan. The normal one only covers the tow vehicle.

That is my short list
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Old 07-17-2004, 11:59 AM   #3
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You will definately need Electric Brakes on your tow vehicle, the best 2 choices are either Jordon 2020 ultima, or the Prodigy.

Unless it comes with the tow equipment you will need that. (Hitch setup with 2 5/16" ball, Spring Arms, Sway Bar) If it dosent come with the tow equipment and you don't already have it then I would recommend the Equalizer Hitch. This hitch eliminates the need for the sway bar according to the manufactuer, but I use one anyway.

You will need a 7 way connector to connect the trailer lights and brakes up to your tow vehicle. Bring a trailer conncetion cord with one end already attached so all you need to do is connect to the trailer.

Also bring a drive up ramp like the ones used to change the oil on your car. They work great in case you get a flat tire. You can pull the trailer up on the good tire and then the flat will be lifted off the ground and you can change it very easy.

Bring your camera and take lots of pictures................
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Old 07-17-2004, 12:06 PM   #4
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Here is a little check list I made for mine for beginning the tow home.

01) Air up all 4 tires to pressure (They may look aired up, but who knows)
02) Take off its jacks if it is on them
03) Inspect for any hanging type things on the bottom.
04) Pull trailer from present position to level ground area to complete hook up and do other inspections.
05) Pull all tires to check the hub, grease in bearings and check the brakes.
06) Check rear end of trailer for any Frame Seperation (This is just so you know)
07) Wire up the new trailer connector to match the tow vehicle.
08) Check all lights to see what is working and possible shorts.
09) Check Electric brakes to make certain they are working.
10) Get traiker and truck level for the tow home.
11) Make final inspection to make certain all awnings are secure, propane tanks are secure, and compartment doors are secure.
12) Place License plate on the trailer (Almost forgot this one)
13) Pull vehicle up a few feet and check stopping using only the trailer brakes. (Button on brake controller)
15) If all checks out then it's time to begin the tow home.
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System: Jordon 2020 Ultima Brake Controller
Hook-Up: Equalizing Hitch and Sway Bar
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Old 07-17-2004, 12:48 PM   #5
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First Time Airstream Owner-76 Sovereign

Greetings Jack!

Welcome to the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craftsman
Well we've made arrangements to buy the 31 foot 76 Sovereign that Rog 0525 mentioned on the forum a couple of days ago. It really looks like a pretty nice unit in excellent condition. Roger took a look at it and said he was impressed by the condition, and after talking with the owner they have insisted that everythng is in working condition. If any of you would like to look at the photos, they are listed in Rogers post under 76 Sovereign. I would appreaciate any comments or feedback pro or con since this is our first Airstream.I still have to pick it up. It's 600 miles away. What will I need to take with me besides the tow vechile? I don't want to get there and find that I don't have something that I should have.
Jack
Regarding your tow vehicle, you will want to be sure that your receiver hitch is properly rated for the probable Gross Weight abd hitch weight of the Sovereign - - according to the Airstream Weights and Measures page, the empty weight of the coach is approximately 5,000 (before options) with an empty hitch weight of 650 pounds (rear bath) or 690 pounds (side bath). Typically, you can add 1,000 to 1,500 pounds to estimate Gross Weight which usually increases tongue weight by 100 to 175 pounds.

In setting up the ball mount, you will want to be sure that your drawbar allows enough drop to allow for 19.5" hitch ball height that Airstream specifies.

My experience in towing home recently acquired Airstream/Argosy trailers is that in both cases the trailer Bargman connector was not wired such that it matched my tow vehicle. In both cases, the previous owners' had wired the tow vehicle to match the trailer. It is an owner's perogative to choose the wiring method, but many prefer to wire the trailer end to the current industry standard so towing with more than one tow vehicle isn't such a great problem. When I acquire my Argosy, I carried a Bargman trailer end to match the one on my tow vehicle - - rewiring the trailer plug took less than two hours. If you find that the coach's lights don't work properly, rewiring the plug is easy using the wire color/function coding found in the Airstream site's Bargman Plug Wiring Codes for 1966-1981 - - the colors/functions matched up to the actual wire functions on my '78 Minuet as well as a neighbors '76 Argosy 26.

With a properly adjusted weight distributing hitch, sway control of your choice, properly wired Bargman connectors, functional brake controller, good tires, operable trailer brakes, and good tires on the coach; you should have the makings for a successful return voyage.

Good luck with your adventure!

Kevin
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Old 07-17-2004, 03:54 PM   #6
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Jack, I sent you an email earlier with more info and pics. Remember that the tires are passenger tires and should be replaced with trailer tires. You might want to contact a Goodyear dealer and have them put you in touch with a store which would be on your way home and could install them.
One other thing: Check the forums for info on proper jacking procedure and don't let anyone jack the trailer improperly. I discovered the hard way that not all RV and tire shops know how to correctly jack up an Airstream.
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