Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-06-2009, 06:24 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
East Calais , Vermont
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 6
Modern v. Vintage Trailer for first Airstream??

My wife and I are interested in finding our first airstream and I have a number of questions that we could use some help on to refine our search.

My current TV would be a Toyota Tacoma with tow rating of only 6500lbs. I know that folks safely tow the 19' and 20' Safari with this but going any larger would require a larger TV.

This got me thinking about a vintage airstream as I've read from this forum that they are quite a bit lighter. I was wondering whether I could go up in airstream length with the same TV and have been interested in the Argosy trailers. There are several nice ones in the mid twenty foot range available now.

Assuming that I could tow a larger vintage airstream safely with my current TV, I've had trouble understanding the major differences between the vintage (1970s and 1980s) models and the modern models, except of course for floorplans. In other words, what are the differences in holding tank capacities (are the vintage one's heated?), the electrical systems, plumbing systems, and overall creature comforts? How do they compare for boondocking purposes? Is there an "airstream bible" that contains historical information on the vintage models so I can use it to evaluate whether a vintage model would work for us?

The other consideration is, of course, cost. It looks like the vintage trailers are very moderately priced and would allow me to invest, if necessary and possible, to make repairs and upgrades.

Thanks in advance for assisting us in heading down the trail of finding our first airstream. I've been reading the forums for about a half a year and I am amazed at the information available. Thanks.
__________________

Becasse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2009, 06:35 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
willyd's Avatar
 
1993 34' Limited
Melbourne Florida , Springfield Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 759
Images: 5
Welcome to the forum. I solved the towing issue by parking my Airstream. I know you will find many comments to your issue. Take Care.
__________________

willyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2009, 06:36 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
soldiermedic's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
Florissant , USA
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 5,083
Welcome to the forums.

I would definitely go for the older vintage unit. It will take a considerable amount of time and $$$ to be ready for camping, but will cost less overall. The real question is how soon do you want to camp? The vintage units don't have heated tanks, but the air ducts normally circulated air around the tanks to prevent freezing. Before 1973 there were no grey tanks installed. These could be retrofitted in if you restored an old trailer.

On the other hand, the economy is tight right now, and newer to slightly used models are going for a very good price on the market.

Whatever you decide, we are here to help in all aspects of your decision.

Steve
__________________
Streaming Soldiers Blog
soldiermedic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2009, 06:36 PM   #4
Site Team
 
azflycaster's Avatar
 
2002 25' Safari
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 13,141
Images: 62
Blog Entries: 1
Welcome to the forums, lots of things to consider with different vintage units.
The grey water tanks first appeared in 74 and they were small. Most 70's units, but not all had the rear bath configuration. 70's for the most part were lighter then the 80's. Here is a chart that shows the weights for the different years and models.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf weights.pdf (100.7 KB, 372 views)
__________________

Richard

Wally Byam Airstream Club 7513
azflycaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2009, 06:44 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
wkerfoot's Avatar
 
1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,741
The best source for vintage Airstream information, prior to 1980, is RJ Dial's site Vintage Airstream Home. Take some time and review the FAQ section, his restorations and the picture archive.

There is information on vintage Airstreams on the VAC site also www.airstream.net, but it is under reconstruction and you may not find much now.

Bill
__________________
Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
Just my personal opinion
1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA

http://billbethsblog.blogspot.com/
wkerfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2009, 07:09 PM   #6
4 Rivet Member
 
63Silver's Avatar
 
1963 28' Ambassador
Smiths Grove , Kentucky
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 406
Images: 43
It seems right now is the time to buy, if you have the money. The newer models are cheaper but it looks like there is an increased interest in vintage. We went vintage because of price and style. It does require more work like mobile gray tank, hand jacks, constant maintenance, etc. but we get to camp without another payment. Good luck in your search and by the way the Argosy's can be awesome too.

63silver
63Silver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2009, 07:16 PM   #7
Aluminut
 
Silvertwinkie's Avatar
 
2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,472
Not an easy question to answer. First, a Vintage in ready to go shape will cost ya....but most likely less than a new(er) one (2000 to say 2008). Get a fixer upper vintage and you have yourself a project and may get close in price to that of a vintage that is already fixed up...again, still less than a newer Airstream.

I have owned 2 new Airstreams, a 2003 and still have a 2004. The build quality is not there for the price, and there are a good number of newer units with corrosion issues as young as 6 months of the line.

True all finishes fail, but my take is that if I had to do it all over again, I would by a new(er) pre-owned unit with some or a modest amount of depreciation already gone, or go vintage and build it up the way you want.

I would NOT buy another new Airstream until they got their act together in terms of build quality and solve the corrosion issue.

Take a look at the model year quality threads and the corrosion threads and make an informed decision. Airstreams have a big cool factor and they are a nicely designed trailer, but they are the Italian Sports Car of the travel trailer world.

Pull up your easy chair, grab a drink, and read on:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f142...ity-41668.html

This first one has links going back to 2004



Then, there is this after you've digested the quality thread info:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f142...ams-31743.html



And if you are not just totally ready to take a nap and cry in your Cheerios, slide on over to this thread:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...ion-35237.html



All links are packed with great info and things to look out for.....
__________________
Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq and millions of others are by far the most popular with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form. -NY Times 11/91
Silvertwinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2009, 07:39 PM   #8
Moderator Emeritus
 
overlander64's Avatar
 
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,484
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
Modern v. Vintage Trailer for first Airstream??

Greetings Becasse!

Welcome to the Forums!

When you mention Argosy, there is one particular model that seems almost tailor made for your tow vehicle -- the Minuet 7.3 Metre. The Minuets are only 7' wide compared to the 7' 8" of the typical coach, and the 7.3 Metre is esenntially a 24' mid-bedroom coach available with center twins or a vanity-wardrobe with a pull-out double-bed opposite. Loaded for a vacation, this coach would be around 80% +/- of your truck's trailer tow rating.



The basic available floorplans for the Minuet series are above. The front on each of the coaches could be configured as a full-width lounge (standard) or a dinette ($50.00 option). The 7.3 Metre (24') also had the option of the center double (shown), or center twins -- I think that the center twins were standard and the double was a $175 option, but can't find my data sheet with that information. There have been at least two of the 7.3 Metre coaches advertised lately -- the 6.0 Metre coaches are typically the most common, with the 6.7 Metre coaches being the next most common.

The Argosy also offers two other floorplans that are unique in that Airstream didn't offer comparable floorplans until quite recently. These were the rear-door floorplans -- referring to placement of the entry door behind rather than ahead of the axles. Floorplans for these two coaches are below:


The above is the rear door model from 1977 in the 24' length.



The above is the rear door model from 1976 in the 22' length.

Any of the three Minuet models seem to be more readily available than either of the rear-door models. One of the rear-door models does, however, become available from time to time.

When I purchased my Overlander in 1995, I considered a new Safari, but just didn't find any floorplans that I could live with. Searched the ranks of the Vintage for about six months before I found my Overlander about 200 miles from my home via a local "trader" magazine. The Overlander was in very good condition which permitted me to have restoration done by qualified shops over the next seven years -- overall, I have about the same amount of money in the refurbishment of my Overlander as what a similar length Safari would have cost in 1995, but I have a coach that I truly love and enjoy using.

Good luck with your research!

Kevin
__________________
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2009, 08:15 PM   #9
Moderator
 
Kevin245's Avatar

 
Vintage Kin Owner
... , ...
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 10,231
Images: 9
Some things I would consider are:
  • What does the Significant Other think? Our 76 is no cream puff, but Sally and I have a blast roughing it every time we camp. She loves camping and sees ever trip as an adventure. If she wasn't into the AS, my enjoyment would be greatly diminished.
  • Purchase Price…Establish a shopping budget for Late Models or Vintage Units. We went Vintage because of price and sentiment.
  • How much of a “Project” are you willing to take on? The arch nemesis of Vintage Units seems to be moisture/leakage. Ours is a colander on wheels. So we are getting ready to do the Full Monte. We’re stripping her down to the ribs and frame. I expect the process will take 2 years and $6 to $8K. $8K plus the purchase price would put me into a really nice Vintage Unit, or a worn Later Model. With the worn Later Model I would expect to deal updating finishes instead of major projects.

Which ever path you choose I think you’ll be rewarded. You’ll get lots of comments about your AS, and routine requests to look inside.


The biggest dilemma we faced was what we were going to without our AS for a couple if years while the restoration is going on. Problem Solved…We bought another trailer!!! Item number 1 above is critical should you choose this path.

Good Luck,

Kevin
__________________

"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

Eleanor Roosevelt

Kevin245 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2009, 10:13 PM   #10
4 Rivet Member
 
gail's Avatar
 
2017 16' Sport
Malibu , California
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 298
Images: 9
Hubby wanted new and I wanted old. I won and we have a 71 Caravel. I liked having the cushions reupholstered to my liking and a new floor. OUr gal was in good shape and you need to look at the www.vintageairstream.com for prices. All repairs can be pricey unless you can use the advice on this forum and do it yourself. We had a goal for spending and we are happy with our choice. We are very close to getting her on the road. There are great deals out there and good luck with your choice. Do ot rush and begin to look at new and old.
gail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2009, 11:46 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
VIKING's Avatar
 
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Boulder Creek , California
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,177
We bought a 1964 Safari 22' a few months ago and we have a Tacoma 4 door truck to pull it with. We just went on our first trip over New Years to Big Sur. It pulled just fine. I think a 24' would be okay with this truck also. The weight of the Safari is only #3100 so it has a fair safety margin. I don't like the new airstreams at all. They are not even trying to make them light and they have some pretty disturbing issues with corrosion, as noted before in this thread. I think of them as SOB's in AS disguise. The vintage units are known for having bad floors, which are a big job to fix or replace. If you want to avoid this aspect of restoration you will need to do a very through inspection of any old AS you are considering. Look at the perimeter of the floor everywhere you can get to it. Pull out the beds and look behind them, look inside of the storage compartments and closets. look for signs of old leaks: copper pipes with a green film, black stains on areas where water could sit, that old trailer smell (you will know it when you smell it). Use a sharp object, like an awl or even a knitting needle, to poke at the floor right where the wall meets it. Especially below the windows, around the shower and toilet, and at the entrance door. If you can poke it into the floor and it feels soft or non-existant you will be looking at a floor replacement or repair. Also, if there is new floor covering, check it MUCH more carefully.
There is nothing like an old Airstream for the coolness factor, and they are very comfortable to tow and hangout in, so don't be discouraged if it takes a while to find the one that's waiting for you. Just be cautious and when the right one comes along, be ready to jump on it.
Best wishes, Rich
VIKING is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2009, 06:23 AM   #12
1 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
East Calais , Vermont
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 6
Thanks for the input thus far. I had read a bit further down in one of the forums and also realized that the vintage v. modern discussion is a popular one, so I apologize for creating somewhat of a repeat thread.

I am not very handy at all. Not because I don't want to be, I just didn't have an opportunity to acquire those skills thus far in life. So I would need to find a vintage in very decent condition.

I found an add for a 7.3 minuet that listed the holding tank capacities and they were very small in comparison to more modern models. Since I would anticipate using the AS in parks, NF campgrounds and boondocking (I like to fish and upland hunt with my dogs (who will also be traveling companions)) water, grey and black tank capacities are of importance.

The only "vintage" thing I've owned was a '76 Alpha Romeo GTV and it was very expensive to repair. I'll have to get an understanding of what I'm in for in terms of upkeep and repairs before jumping in.

Also, I would love to be able to use my computer in my AS and wonder about the electrical systems on vintage models. Has anyone retrofitted them for solar?

Again, thanks for the info. I think that a 25' or 27' would fit my needs (me, wife, 2 dogs) the best, but I really didn't want to go larger for a TV. I love my Tacoma and it gets decent mileage, but if I go with a more modern AS I'll have to bump it up to a Tundra.

I guess I also need to consult my significant other to learn how important modern amenities are versus going retro.....the last house we bought was stuck in the 60s and we spent $$ to update it, particularly the kitchen...you know...yukon gold fridge and stove....flower wallpaper and vinyl flooring.

I'll read the other vintage v. modern thread with great interest too.
Becasse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2009, 07:11 AM   #13
Rivet Master
 
mutcth's Avatar

 
2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,649
I've been shopping around for a while too - to the point where we bought an used T@B teardrop to camp with until I figure out/fix up what we get. A few thoughts:

- Floorplan is king for us. What helped immensely was going to some rallies and looking at some trailers locally. (It's amazing how many folks on the forum are willing to show you their trailer if you ask nicely.) That helped me to narrow down what I eventually want to purchase. That, and spending hours on Vintageairstream.com and reading old brochures online (and, well, buying them on eBay, to the chagrin of my spousal unit...)

You might step into a 22' trailer and find that it would be plenty big for the two of you and the dogs. (Keep in mind that for much of the 80s and 90s, a 25' trailer was a 5500-6000 lb trailer. Nice rear bedroom/side bath floorplans, but got to consider the tow vehicle. By contrast, go 10 years older and a 25' trailer is 1000 lbs less.)

- Consider how much tank capacity you really need. Lots of people boondock with vintage units with their smaller tank capacities. (You can use a "blue boy" to haul/store excess gray water if you don't have a tank.) I say that because the Minuet 7.3 Kevin mentioned above does give you a lot of length for a low weight - and there is a nice one in the classifieds (which I'm not related to.) (I'm going to boondock with the T@B - which has no bathroom.)

- There is a wide range of "vintage" on sale. Some have been actively camped in and have lots of stuff replaced. Some have been sitting in a field and need everything replaced. It's not a bad idea to let someone else take the primary hit (and do the labor) on repairs.

- I learned a lot reading through the forums and listening to thevap.com podcasts.

- There are also lots of little details that poke up their heads. Stuff like Airstream using OSB floors instead of plywood for much of the 80s and 90s (and some modern units). Or that there are differences in how much the windows open depending on the trimlevel. You start to figure out what you want to have, what you can live with, and what you can avoid.

- It helps to be willing to travel to get a trailer. I drove 1400 miles roundtrip to buy the T@B, and they're more common than some AS models.

Hope this helps and good luck!
mutcth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2009, 07:15 AM   #14
4 Rivet Member
 
DPeakMD's Avatar
 
1975 23' Safari
1978 31' Excella 500
Franklin , Indiana
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 472
Images: 2
Send a message via Yahoo to DPeakMD
It seems that you have a good grasp of the pros and cons of vintage vs. modern already just from what you said above. The vintage electrical systems are up to the task for your computing needs. Solar options are definitely possible for both old and new Airstreams. Read up and give it thorough consideration before you leap into anything and you'll make the right choice. Good luck! (and welcome to the 'Forums!)
__________________
Dallas Peak, MD 'That 70's Guy!'
VAC 1VP President
WBCCI/VAC #8481
AIR #9
W9CDC
.-- ----. -.-. -.. -.-.
DPeakMD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2009, 07:18 AM   #15
4 Rivet Member
 
flitzwhopper's Avatar
 
1976 Argosy 24
Tempe , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 326
Our dilemma had to do with whether or not we would like camping in a trailer. We spent about $7k for the trailer and the assorted other required stuff. We like camping. Our Argosy has all of the modern conveniences - forced air furnace, air conditioner, black & gray water tanks. It weighs about 4k lbs fully loaded. Hope this helps
__________________
Donna & Mike
Cowboy up! or go sit in the truck

Charter Member Four Corners Unit

WBCCI #2417
flitzwhopper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2009, 09:33 AM   #16
1 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
East Calais , Vermont
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 6
I've been studying up...

Well, I've spent the better part of a few days perusing all the vintage AS sites and have really learned alot about the different models, configurations, and prices. Overall, it seems that a nice condition vintage unit is in the $15-$20K ballpark. I've seen several layouts that are completely different than today's models and I think they look better too.

The issue I keep coming back to is the black, grey and freshwater tank capacities. I would much rather be in a state or national park or boondocking on state or federal lands than in a park and therefore expect to use the AS in places without hookups much of the time.

Can folks give me an honest assessment of whether I can find or retrofit a vintage AS to meet my needs? I understand that the greywater tanks didn't come into being until the early 70's. I do not like the idea of hauling around a blue boy in my truck as I'll have my dog kennels in the rear under a fiberglass topper and will utilize the rest of that space for stowing gear.

I gotta say that the late 60's and early 70's ASs seem to fit the bill in terms of layouts and weights (I think I could tow a 24' tradewind with my Tacoma and easily anything smaller like a Safari or Globetrotter), so how can I make it work?
Becasse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2009, 10:49 AM   #17
4 Rivet Member
 
DPeakMD's Avatar
 
1975 23' Safari
1978 31' Excella 500
Franklin , Indiana
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 472
Images: 2
Send a message via Yahoo to DPeakMD
The physical limitations of the size trailer you're considering impose a limit on grey water capacity to say, 20 gallons or less, whether a 70's or a newer model. Depending you your hygienic requirements, if you're staying in one place for awhile, you'll eventually have to dump grey water. It's easier to use a blue-boy than hitching up and moving the trailer to dump. The blue-boys that you can can haul with your tow vehicle are very practical. A 'smallish' 15 gallon full of water weighs over 100#. It's not a glamorous side of trailering, but the blue-boy is a near necessity. We just find room to haul it somewhere in the TV or trailer.
__________________
Dallas Peak, MD 'That 70's Guy!'
VAC 1VP President
WBCCI/VAC #8481
AIR #9
W9CDC
.-- ----. -.-. -.. -.-.
DPeakMD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2009, 01:36 PM   #18
4 Rivet Member
 
gail's Avatar
 
2017 16' Sport
Malibu , California
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 298
Images: 9
We had our gal fitted with a new gray tank, not a problem cost 800, as for prices Vintage airstream info tells you exactly what things cost. If you are a handy man you can do many things yourself, if you need a dealer ouch the labor is high.
I think in this economy you can find a rig for under 10000. Good to very good condition.
Then if you put in a few thousand you are great. Our gal is looking good and we are signed up for the Hobo rally in Feb. I like the ideal of free campsites!
gail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2009, 01:43 PM   #19
4 Rivet Member
 
1963 24' Tradewind
San Diego , California
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 360
Becasse, Welcome! I have a 63 Tradewind 24', great size not to small and not to large, and will fit in most camp sites with no problem. I use a 18 gal. blue-boy (it's gray) works fine. When it's time to empty i put in on the tow ball and off to the dump station. With proper conservation i/we (2) can get 3 days with no problem, alone i could get over a week. Reguarding towing, I have an 04 Tundra it does ok however it does struggle on hills and i would like another TV in time. I love my "VINTAGE AIRSTREAM" !!! My TW weighs aprox 3300# dry. GOOD LUCK!
Sixty3TW4US is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2009, 01:43 PM   #20
4 Rivet Member
 
gail's Avatar
 
2017 16' Sport
Malibu , California
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 298
Images: 9
We had a tv put in ours, she now has both tanks, and we have laptops we take with us.
When you buy used make sure everything works. We got a great price and knew we would put in 5000 more. Once you are on the road others are sure to be helpful.
Even a not handy person can do a few things. Take a volunteer inspector along with you. DO NOT BUY with the inspector. Vlamica was our inspector and he was wonderful. this is a fabulous forum and you can find an nspector close to where you go look at used trailers. OUr gal is old but not worn and I am sure she will give us many years of pleasure.
__________________

gail is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Vintage vs. Modern? robertpeters Our Community 45 09-28-2010 02:24 PM
Airstream Excella Trailer Video - Vintage 1980's Production Colonial Airstream Commercial Listings 7 11-17-2008 09:53 PM
Vintage Trailer 56 Spartan Member Introductions 5 12-01-2007 10:51 AM
site that sells modern cabinets etc. for airstream Judy Barde Sinks, Showers & Toilets 1 10-17-2006 09:24 PM
Modern building materials in vintage restorations bredlo General Interior Topics 18 12-05-2003 07:16 PM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:15 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
×