Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!
Originally Posted by erock53
I have been lurking in this site for quite some time. Just learning about what it is going to take to get / rehab a vintage airstream. I just picked the title up today for a 78' soviergn international. It has been sitting in the back yard of an old lady's house and has not been titled since 92'. I suspect that it was even a few years before that when it last hit the road. I just found out that the darn thing has some sort of vacume assisted hydrolic brakes. I of course have a diesel chevy and am not able to hook up the brakes at this time. I will need to either get a electric / hydrolic pump if the brakes even work, or just bite the bullet and purchase all new axels / brakes. Any suggestions? The outside looks pretty bad, but it is just dirt and green moss. I haven't seen a dent or any other damage. I know that it will clean up pretty good with some soap and water. The interior has the beautiful 70's fabrics and brown shag. I am a cabinet maker by profession and look forward to redoing the interior in custom cherry cabinets and solid surface countertops.
My plan at this point is to get the mechanicals working. I need to get the chassis / wheels / brakes working first. Then I will attack the floor and look for rot and fix all of the gaskets. Any suggestions would help. This is my first Airstream and I will be looking to this forum for help and advice. I have a Starcraft pop-up, so the family and I will still be camping until I get the 78' up and running. I can not wait until I get that silver tube on the road.
The brake system on your coach is a keeper IMHO. My '64 Overlander is due for new axles and it will be receiving new axles with the disc brake upgrade as I do ocassionally tow it with my '75 Cadillac Eldorado.
The Excella Hyda-Vac disc brakes were state-of-the-art in the late 1970s, and nothing short of one of the new disc brake systems offers similar performance. Parts aren't necessarily readily available, but most can be sourced through Inland RV. There are at least two trailer-mounted vacuum pump systems that have been mentioned as suitable for vehicles where accessing vacuum isn't possible or advisable.
If you haven't had the opportunity to browse the Forums, you would be well-advised to search on the topics of "Rear End Separation" and/or "Frame Sag" -- both are/were rather common problems with coaches of this era. It is also something to keep in mind as you refurbish -- the frame wasn't designed with much excess capacity so adding additional weight above the factory weight can prove to be a problem in terms of separation/sag issues.
Good luck with your coach!