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Old 07-17-2019, 09:22 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1970 27' Overlander
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 7
New to the Airstream!

Good morning! My bride just picked up a vintage 1970 27 Overlander. I plan to haul it back here to CA in a couple of weeks. I have a few things I need to sort first and hope that this has all been covered before...

First, the PO removed the breakaway switch. Said it never had one! But using Facetime I see the red wire under the right side tongue what should power the vintage AS breakaway switch. My question, is the yellow wire for the brake lines in a vintage AS also run along the right tongue and is there somewhere or where do I connect the other side of the breakaway switch to in the control box under the front bench? My understanding is red and yellow for vintage AS trailers was the standard and not blue as today.

Second, I plan to replace the bearings and set the brake shoes. Then get new tires. 225/75-15 E rated seems the accepted norm on this forum. There are currently 215/75-15 C rated car tires on it right now. Planning on GY Endurance tires.

Third, the girl is pristine and I hope to see ya'll on the road soon!

Any help appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:05 AM   #2
Rivet Master
1969 18' Caravel
Greenville , whereEverIroam
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 1,125
Images: 20

I sadly have no experience with the breakaway wiring, but you are correct that AS trailers do have them. My little '69 Caravel has one, so...

Someone here likely knows the proper wiring. And you could update the wiring to modern specs if you wish.

Good luck and happy travels!
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:10 AM   #3
1 Rivet Member
1970 27' Overlander
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 7
Another question is if I need to splice in the new breakaway switch for the brake lines and the red wire is hot as anticipated, where is that splice accomplished? In the control box in the front?

The umbilical from the TV to the trailer controls the proper lights so the 7 pin wiring is correct from what I can tell.

Thanks for the reply. Gonna be living in her from Aug til Nov here in Northern CA and so happy to be 'Streaming soon!
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:43 AM   #4
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2007 22' International CCD
Corona , California
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 8,880
New to the Airstream!

The axle rubber torsion rods may be bad if they are original. For a quick check measure the axle hub to wheel well distance when they are loaded. Then measure again when you Jack it up to put the new tires on. It should drop 2-3 inches when itís off the ground. If not, the rubber has hardened and the axles need to be replaced. Otherwise the lack of springiness will beat up the trailer. You can tow at very slow speeds to help reduce the damage, but highway speeds wonít be good for it.

If the trailer has leaf springs on the axles, it may be ok. Check the spring hanger bushings and lubricate them if needed.

That age Airstream probably has Henschen torsion axles. They are no longer made, but replacements are available.

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'The Silver HamShack' ('07 International 22FB CCD 75th Anniversary)
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:39 AM   #5
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1977 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
1973 21' Globetrotter
1975 26' Argosy 26
Vista , California
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 589
I just looked on my 71’ and it is connected between the jack power (painted grey) can’t tell original but it looks like a #10 gauge, and a orangeish red. Looks like a #14 gauge. You can test it by touching them together while the wheel is spinning when Up on the jack. Congratulations on your new trailer.
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:48 AM   #6
1 Rivet Member
1970 27' Overlander
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 7
Thanks for checking and it gave my brother in law, who is repacking the bearings, a place to start. He looked around and found that there are actually two wires in the gray sheath that come forward to the jack. So now to see if there is power to the red/orange and address that issue.

But from the pictures he sent the bearings were recently packed and in great shape as is the bearing race. The wheels are clean and the brakes work great. Once its back together its time for the breakaway switch and new tires. Then off to CA!

BTW, where is your breakaway switch located? On top of the tongue or on the side? I bought the vintage one so it looks more period and am wondering where they were originally located.

Thanks again for checking, sir!
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Old 07-20-2019, 05:52 PM   #7
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1988 32' Excella
Robbinsville , New Jersey
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,635
Most break-away switches I've seen are on top of the tongue mounted to 1 of the bolts for the jack, usually on the street side.
Also it is a good idea to connect the beak-away cable to something other then the hitch or receiver, some people replace 1 of the license plate bolts with an I-bolt and hook the cable to that.
If you google GM receiver failure you will probably think hooking the cable to the receiver is a bad idea.
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