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Old 07-05-2014, 10:10 AM   #1
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1978 Argosy 30
Hartwell , Georgia
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Looking for an Airstream: what an adventure!

What I am seeing is a camper that is way over rated and over valued. I love the lay out and style of Airstream, but lets get real on the prices. You wouldn't buy a car that had half the problems these campers have , and pay a premium price for it. A rotted out frame and floor for a 31 and still want 8500 and more, What! Everything I have seen so far is lousy craftsmanship past the skin on the outside. I helped my friend with his 31. They are no better built than the cheapest camper on the market. Frame rot, axles replacement, leaks galore, rotted floors even newer ones, what's up with that? This camper is supposed to be the mack daddy of campers! Then there is the all original speech, yep means it needs a whole lot of work and I want a lot of money for it. Well hopefully I will find one somewhere that is REASONABLY priced and a good frame and axles, floor not a big problem but still will be considered in pricing. I know I will probably catch a lot of flak here, but if you can justify price vs condition of a worn out camper let me know. Not just because it's a Airstream please. Still going to look for one.
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:10 AM   #2
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It sounds to me like you would be much happier buying a lightly-used SOB that is far less expensive. It would be a real bummer to "overpay" for an AS and always feel like it was a cheap POS.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:13 AM   #3
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Welcome to the Forums.

True, there are plenty of sellers out there that think their rotting wrecks are worth a fortune in the field-find condition. The market determines the selling price, and as long as there are people buying at high prices, sellers will continue to ask as much as they can. I suppose your comparison to cars is half correct, but you have to compare to a classic muscle car, or exotic sports car. There is a market for old Mustangs, but not so much for old Pintos.

But, if you are willing to put up with all the shortcomings you have so aptly identified, keep your eyes out. I routinely see 70's era trailers, especially the longer ones, for sale in my area for under $2000--granted, in rough shape. The fact is, the selling price of a trailer is just the down payment, typically the cheaper they are, the more money you will have to put into it. If you want an Airstream and don't want to deal with a leaking shell, and rotting floors, then look for one that has already been rebuilt by someone who can show you what they did and how they did it. You'll pay $15-20k for it but you will spend your weekends camping instead of rebuilding.

Good luck!
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:38 AM   #4
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The Market Determines the Price

Let me start by saying I am biased toward valuing Airstreams higher than other RV brands. You can stop reading now if this seems illogical o you.

The price of an Airstream is determined by the market. Each of us is only one small part of the market but acting together, all of us determine the direction of the market.

The fact that used Airstream prices are higher than you think they should be is because the rest of the market (which consists of buyers and sellers) think they are worth more than you do. Seller opinions on value are based on the transactions that occur or do not occur after interaction with prospective buyers.

I looked for two years to find the Airstream that was right for me at a price that was right for me. I understood the market very well after looking for two years but what really drove the point home for me was when the first Airstream I found was sold for its asking price after I waited 1 day to make an offer while I thought about the price.

Certainly some Airstreams have rotting floors but not all Airstreams have rotting floors. The reason we read so many posts on the forums about rotting floors is because the posters are a) not happy about it and b) want some advice on how to correct the problem.

Somewhere in the marketplace there is an RV that is perfect for you in every way including price. It may or may not be an Airstream. Whatever it is I hope you find it and enjoy it.
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jscanvas View Post
What I am seeing is a camper that is way over rated and over valued. I love the lay out and style of Airstream, but lets get real on the prices. You wouldn't buy a car that had half the problems these campers have , and pay a premium price for it. A rotted out frame and floor for a 31 and still want 8500 and more, What! Everything I have seen so far is lousy craftsmanship past the skin on the outside. I helped my friend with his 31. They are no better built than the cheapest camper on the market. Frame rot, axles replacement, leaks galore, rotted floors even newer ones, what's up with that? This camper is supposed to be the mack daddy of campers! Then there is the all original speech, yep means it needs a whole lot of work and I want a lot of money for it. Well hopefully I will find one somewhere that is REASONABLY priced and a good frame and axles, floor not a big problem but still will be considered in pricing. I know I will probably catch a lot of flak here, but if you can justify price vs condition of a worn out camper let me know. Not just because it's a Airstream please. Still going to look for one.

You make it pretty obvious that you would rather not own an Airstream, probably wouldn't be happy with whatever make you would buy.....if you think Airstream is low quality, and over priced, I wonder what you would say if you looked seriously at some of the other makes......
Maybe, the best thing you could do is to find another maker's forum to complain to.....
For whatever it's worth....

Larry C.
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:08 PM   #6
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70% of ALL Airstreams still out there....must be a lot of rotted-out, over-priced junk that refuses to be re-cycled. Get a Casita!
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:44 PM   #7
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we bought our 72 for scrap price, it was dirty rotting, stinky, smelly. After fixing, cleaning and replacing the old insulation, new axles, rotted out frame pieces, almost like a new one. The cost up to now is about the same as a used SOB but Much better construction in my opinion. We had been going to RV shows looking at all the new trailers from the inexpensive to the luxurious. After tearing apart the Airstream going to the RV show now seeing the materials used now and the construction, I would say the Airstreams are better designed and built to last, at least with minimal repairs. I will say ours being 44 years old is and was in better shape than any other brand the same year. Kinda like a Zippo lighter verses a disposable Bic lighter. Just my opinion
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:52 PM   #8
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It's more expensive because everything on them is repairable and worth the effort.
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Old 07-05-2014, 05:04 PM   #9
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He's just trying to get someone's panties in a wad. He deserves a 30 year old Jayco to restore, and see what it is worth when he finishes making it purty.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:00 PM   #10
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Sounds like people I know, who tell me how stupid I am for not buying a trailer where I can get parts in the clearance section of Walmart.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:03 PM   #11
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Looks like you've found out how to make friends with your first post. Do you post things like this on all the car forums you belong to?
Quote:
Originally Posted by jscanvas View Post
What I am seeing is a camper that is way over rated and over valued. I love the lay out and style of Airstream, but lets get real on the prices. You wouldn't buy a car that had half the problems these campers have , and pay a premium price for it. A rotted out frame and floor for a 31 and still want 8500 and more, What! Everything I have seen so far is lousy craftsmanship past the skin on the outside. I helped my friend with his 31. They are no better built than the cheapest camper on the market. Frame rot, axles replacement, leaks galore, rotted floors even newer ones, what's up with that? This camper is supposed to be the mack daddy of campers! Then there is the all original speech, yep means it needs a whole lot of work and I want a lot of money for it. Well hopefully I will find one somewhere that is REASONABLY priced and a good frame and axles, floor not a big problem but still will be considered in pricing. I know I will probably catch a lot of flak here, but if you can justify price vs condition of a worn out camper let me know. Not just because it's a Airstream please. Still going to look for one.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:44 PM   #12
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This is a post from a troll..........best to ignore and have the moderator delete it.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:57 PM   #13
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This is a post from a troll..........best to ignore and have the moderator delete it.
uh, yup.....
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jscanvas View Post
What I am seeing is a camper that is way over rated and over valued. I love the lay out and style of Airstream, but lets get real on the prices. You wouldn't buy a car that had half the problems these campers have , and pay a premium price for it. A rotted out frame and floor for a 31 and still want 8500 and more, What! Everything I have seen so far is lousy craftsmanship past the skin on the outside. I helped my friend with his 31. They are no better built than the cheapest camper on the market. Frame rot, axles replacement, leaks galore, rotted floors even newer ones, what's up with that? This camper is supposed to be the mack daddy of campers! Then there is the all original speech, yep means it needs a whole lot of work and I want a lot of money for it. Well hopefully I will find one somewhere that is REASONABLY priced and a good frame and axles, floor not a big problem but still will be considered in pricing. I know I will probably catch a lot of flak here, but if you can justify price vs condition of a worn out camper let me know. Not just because it's a Airstream please. Still going to look for one.
That's honestly your very first post in this forum? Terrific entrance. That's a little like popping on to a stranger's baby announcement in Facebook and declaring the baby is ugly.

You're either serious in your opinion - in which case I would say you should buy an SOB and best of luck to you; this forum can't possibly help you - or, you're baiting the group - to which I would say; congratulations, you're a master baiter. Either way - don't let the door hit you on the way out...
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:58 PM   #15
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I can't help but adding my answer.

Who is holding your feet to the fire? Don't buy one, don't look for one, don't even look at them driving down the road. We who own one won't care if you do not become one of us.

Now I feel better.

Tim
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Old 07-06-2014, 08:08 AM   #16
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Jscanvas:
I bought a '74 Argosy 26' in 2009. I chose the Argosy because a friend recommended it.
I knew when I bought it. There would be work to do. I also am one of the "Lucky Ones". This coach had very little floor rot and no frame damage.
I purchased the unit from the original owner's son.
I gave $2,200 for it 4 1/2 years ago. Counting the purchase price, I have over $11k into it today.
If I had it to do over again. I would put the money toward a new "non A$" product.
While all RV's are money pits. A$'s are what I would consider "very" high maintenance. They are also somewhat fragile. In regards to rivets popping for various reasons.
The design of an A$ has not changed since my trailer was built. The new units have the same or similar problems as my 40 year old unit. Leaks, floor rot, frame failure, poor workmanship, limited dealer support and the list goes on.
I have the skills necessary to do all repairs and upgrades to this coach, short of bodywork and painting, no patience in that area. So I have saved, if you want to call it that, a ton of money doing the work myself.
The truth hurts. A$ products are NOT all they are cracked up to be.
Like you. I expected a higher quality of workmanship and better dealer service than I read about here in the forum.
There are owners here who will defend A$ until the last rivet breaks in their coach.
They are true alumiholics. Others won't admit that they paid too much for the money they spent.
Some enjoy the restoration process and don't mind spending the money. And obviously, they are very proud of what they have. And should be.
There is one A$ unit that I would give a serious look at. And that is the Argosy owned by SmokelessJoe. A$ could learn a lot from this member. His unit has to be one of the most innovative on the road. And from what I can see and read here. There is no shortage of craftsmanship and innovation when it comes to his coach.
If he were the president of the A$. I believe you would get what you paid for.
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Old 07-06-2014, 08:36 AM   #17
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I cant believe anyone still uses the term

"Mack Daddy"
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:50 AM   #18
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... Snip ...
There is one A$ unit that I would give a serious look at. And that is the Argosy owned by SmokelessJoe. A$ could learn a lot from this member. His unit has to be one of the most innovative on the road. And from what I can see and read here. There is no shortage of craftsmanship and innovation when it comes to his coach.
If he were the president of the A$. I believe you would get what you paid for.
Actually, TG Twinkie - I believe he said he's put about 3x more in the rig than he's asking for it which would mean we'd all get quite a bit more than we paid for - but of course, the company wouldn't survive for very long.

No excuse for shoddy workmanship anywhere, but somewhere between 2 extremes is a good, profitable, high quality balance. As it is, if I had the cash laying around for SmokelessJoe's amazing rig, I'd snap it up without negotiating. Truly a highly functional work of art!

As for Airstream, in my experience, I'm very pleased with my trailer. Other than a few minor nuisances, it's been very good to us. There are DEFINITELY things the company can improve, but the sky isn't falling by a long shot.

Everyone's mileage can vary :-)
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Old 07-06-2014, 10:44 AM   #19
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TG Twinkie
This is a sincere question. If you are so disillusioned with your trailer, why do you still have it? I would think you could get your money back out of it and apply it toward a new one. Just wondering.
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Old 07-06-2014, 11:24 AM   #20
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My decision to buy an Airstream was about personal preference. There wasn't anything practical about the decision, and quality (real or imagined) didn't factor into the choice. I chose to rebuild a vintage trailer because I wanted a project (and boy did I get one). I had always wanted to get a classic car and restore it, so I thought rebuilding an AS would give me a similar experience, and when I was done, I would have something I could really get some use out of, rather than just an alternative to my daily driver.

RVs and Trailers are just like boats and planes and classic cars. They are all maintenance intensive, they all have to be cared for, and if you don't have the inclination to take care of things, then either don't own one, or buy something that is shiny, new, and disposable, and as soon as it requires maintenance, sell it and buy another new one. I imagine that really practical people live in rented apartments, drive leased cars, and that way, it is always someone else's responsibility to do the repairs and maintenance. Just guessing, I already know I am not practical.

There are a lot of misconceptions about Airstreams. I have read threads on this forum where the posters presume that because their water tanks freeze in arctic conditions, that there must be a manufacturing defect, that because a water heater failed, it is an example of an "Airstream related" problem, and because torsion axles have to be replaced after 40 years, that this is a major shortcoming of the design. Manage your expectations (with a little education), and you won't spend so much energy being disappointed.
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