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Old 03-02-2021, 03:16 PM   #1
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1970 27' Overlander
Sebastopol , California
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 3
What inspections should we do before getting on the road?

We bought a 1970 Overlander with bunks that appears to be in great shape (doesn’t seem to have been used much) but are wondering about the basic inspections we should do before assuming all is well to take our family on the road for a few week trip this summer. The hitch, axles, brakes and ball bearings have been inspected & repaired. We are pulling belly pan off now to inspect frame & bathroom tank.

Electricity seems to work, but should we have wiring inspected? Should the appliances be checked by a professional or is our inspection/making sure they turn on enough? Have the plumbing checked? I would hate for us to be on a trip and realize water or gas is leaking under the trailer somewhere. Ot that a frayed wire starts a fire in the wall. But we are not stripping this all out if we don’t have to. We’d rather clean it all and use what works since we are not living in it and will use only 3-6 weeks/year now while kids are still in school.

If we do have to use professionals, do we look at Airstream experienced shops or regular appliance person could do it?

Any issue keeping/using a 50 year old frige if it works? Thanks for any input!!
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Old 03-02-2021, 04:51 PM   #2
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1977 31' Sovereign
Rochester , WASHINGTON
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 631
With a 50 yr.old Airstream, you're in for a series of suprises. Start with basics.
New tires.You seem to have had the running gear checked out.
I would do the easy stuff, like replace all the old electrical outlets, that probably hardly hold a plug.
Thats gives you a look at wiring inside outlets, and makes sure every connection is tight.Also, replace the junky 12volt lighting with bright low draw LED lights.
Maybe put on a new 30 Amp power cord, save future problems.
All electrical parts don't age well, like a fine wine.
If the old refrigerator works, it probably won't for long,+ is terribly inefficient.Junk it
Look at water heater, and replace, depending on age.Same with plumbing fixtures, that stuff wasn't great when it was brand new.
Just things like that, and that gives you a little deeper look at general mechanical condition.
Things like replacing all old battery cables, you keep eliminating future failures.
Don't try and work around old junky parts, R+R as much as possible.
Airstream rodeo clown, it's my turn in the barrel 🤡
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:59 PM   #3
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1970 27' Overlander
Sebastopol , California
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 3
Thanks for your insights!

Quick question, I was under the impression that the original Fridge (eclectic/gas combo) was a good alternative for boondocking. But your saying its "terribly inefficient" Have we been misinformed?

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Old 03-05-2021, 11:48 PM   #4
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2001 19' Bambi
kent , Washington
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 49
Originally Posted by Santiago View Post
Thanks for your insights!

Quick question, I was under the impression that the original Fridge (eclectic/gas combo) was a good alternative for boondocking. But your saying its "terribly inefficient" Have we been misinformed?

I would say if it ain't broke, don't replace it. I have electric / gas combo in my 2001 and was quoted $2,000, parts and labor by the local Airstream dealer to replace it. Of course, I'm sure if I researched it more, I could probably find more affordable options.
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Old 03-06-2021, 07:33 AM   #5
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1986 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2004
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If the refrigerator works on both gas and electric, clean it up, load it up and enjoy! Back then, they were pretty simple mechanisms and propane operation is great for boondocking.

The new compressor refrigerators are very efficient in terms of amps per hour as the old refrigerators use a resistive heating element but no propane option so you need a source of electricity (solar, generator, power pedestal...) and it would help to have a large capacity battery bank.

I thoroughly agree with post#4 above — get everything working, go camping! Use the thing for a while before you start with upgrades and modifications.
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:21 AM   #6
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1964 22' Safari
modesto , California
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,068
Safety First

Check the age of your tires. The tires may only have a few hundred miles on them and look brand new. However, if the are over 6 years old. I would replace them. Tire age can be a contributing factor in tire failure. Brakes, make sure they are working properly. Axles, Are they sagging? Running lights working? Safety chains secure? breakaway switch working?

Have you checked for rear end separation?

As far as the appliance's (Water heater, stove, furnace, refrigerator, A/C) are concerned. Do they work? Use them until they don't, or you are ($$$ - Time) ready to replace them.

Look, You can spend years and thousands of dollars replacing stuff before you even use you trailer. Or, Use you trailer. Save some money for when something really fails (it will). Have a plan and replace it when you have to. You will have a better idea of what "you" need or want to replace or add (larger propane tanks, solar, better batteries, etc.) after using it for a while.

Have fun, enjoy! My $.02

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