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Old 03-23-2010, 09:43 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Dearborn heights , Michigan
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 6
1987 Airstream Sovereign 31 foot - hitch and sway bars?

I found a 1987 Airstream in a pole barn that is for sale CHEAP! The problem is the mice have had their way with the thing and the inside is in terrible condition from sitting. The outside is in great shape as it has been covered the entire time, and still is. It has the rear bathroom layout, and I am having a hard time finding data on this beast.

It has 6 lug nuts on each wheel, and I need to know how much this weighs and what load range tires to buy for it. The tires are dry rotted right off the wheels. I have a 1987 Chevy 1 ton C-30 with single rear wheels, 14 bolt semi-floater rear end , with 3:42 ratio ring pinion, 4000 lb over load helper springs, with a 350 TBI, and a TH-400 transmission, I'm thinking this will tow it. Will I need sway bars? What hitch will I need? I just need to tow it home safely.

Please help!
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:53 PM   #2
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1987 29' Sovereign
Sparta , Tennessee
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Sounds like a great find. Welcome to airstreaming.

Your truck will do very well. Hitch height might be an issue. I seem to remember that mine is around 19" from the ground. You only need to be close for one short trip. Ideally, you should get the trailer level so that all tires carry the same amount of weight. And you don't want the tail dragging. Usually the hitch ball can be adjusted approximately 4" or 4 notches, bolt holes, etc. The hitch ball will be 2&5/16", 10,000# rated. I think you use about 10-15 degrees downward tilt on the ball.

My 1987 Sovereign 29' has a hitch weight of 810lbs & actual weight of 6600 lbs so your 31' should be close to the same. I think your axles are rated the same as mine at 6800lbs gvwr.

Tires should be load range D or 2540lbs per tire inflated to 65psi. The wheels are 15" dia and are probably rated for 2600+ lbs per.

I alway use a jack point between the tires to access a heavy part of the frame. The holding tanks are directly behind the jack point so be care and don't have a bottle jack slip and do in one of the holding tanks.

A word of caution. These trailers are well built but, heavy and they will roll when unhooked. If there are no wheel chocks, I would be very careful when you get to where ever you will unhook.

I would try the elec brakes if you have the right connector.
I would spin each tire/wheel for serious drag problems and hopefully you can get it home without pulling the drums (short distance ?). Spin the wheel & tire and have someone try the brakes on each wheel.

If you have a considerable distance to go, might be necessary to check grease, although I would think new bearings, races, & seals are in order but, that is a bigger job.

Have fun.
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Old 03-27-2010, 08:00 PM   #3
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Dearborn heights , Michigan
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whats the weight of an 1987 31 foot

what is the weight of an 1987 airstream 31 foot with rear bath configuration?
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Old 03-27-2010, 08:27 PM   #4
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2010 27' FB Classic
N/A , Texas
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I only have info on the 88 Excella which is about the same trailer depending on how the Soverign was optioned out.
The only problem is that in my brochure for 1988 shows a 32' rear bath.

The heavier weight would be the one with the dinette. It's dry weight is 6500#. Hitch weight 800#.
I know it's not exactly what you are asking for but, it will be close to these numbers.
Without a dinette is less and then if it has a walk thru bath the weight changes again.
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Old 03-27-2010, 09:32 PM   #5
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2010 30' Classic
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South of the river , Minnesota
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Only way to know for sure is to take it over the scales. There are marked deviations from spec even on new trailers due to manufacturing variations and options.

I believe your truck is a good match for the trailer. The rear springs are a little heavy and while this is a topic of endless debate there are some people who believe that an overly stiff rear suspension in the tow vehicle can cause excessive stress on the trailer. Not a problem for a 100 mile trip home, though, and you can read the posts and decide for yourself after that.

You asked about hitches. You do need a good, weight distributing, sway control hitch even if you're going only 100 miles and even though you're towing with a 1 ton truck. After a good deal of thought I decided to get the ProPride hitch for my 31' 'stream. They are costly. Cheaper alternatives include the Reese Dual Cam and the Equal-i-zer hitches.

There have been sway-related accidents when people have driven a trailer 100 miles or less on just the ball (no weight distribution or sway control), to get it home.
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Old 03-27-2010, 09:51 PM   #6
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Dearborn heights , Michigan
Join Date: Mar 2010
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you got me thinking when you said"

"There have been sway-related accidents when people have driven a trailer 100 miles or less on just the ball (no weight distribution or sway control), to get it home."

can you give me a link to what I need for this sway control? Pictures are worth a thousand words. I am new to this!
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Old 03-28-2010, 06:23 AM   #7
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1997 34' Limited
1970 27' Overlander
South of Atlanta , Georgia
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Very cool barn find. I've heard of classic cars in barns, but this is unique. Can you post some pictures?
Craig and Carol
1997 34' Excella 1000
1970 27' Overlander, International
2009 Ford F150 5.4L
ProPride hitch with 1400# bars

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Old 03-28-2010, 07:54 AM   #8
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Daphne , Alabama
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