Welcome to the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!
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.
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!