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Old 07-31-2005, 05:59 PM   #1
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Hey guys I'm new to this forum and I have never owned a TT. I am in the market for an AS around 27 to 31'. My buget is forcing me to look towards the older models, which leads me to my question. I spoke to someone the other day that told me be careful in purchasing the older models, the mid 70's to be exact. According to him, AS was sold to another company in the mid 70's and they didn't keep the same standards as the old management did. Therefore a lesser product. Is there any truth to this and if so, what are the years to avoid?
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Old 07-31-2005, 06:40 PM   #2
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Yes there is truth to this. The mid-70's are known to Streamers as the "Beatrice Years". This is the period of time that Beatrice Foods, yes I said Foods, owned Airstream. It wasn't that they didn't hold the same quality standards as much as they didn't have experience in the recreational vehicle industry. This period in history coincided with the first and eventually the second oil embargoes. In an attempt to make the larger models lighter to match the downsized engines in the tow vehicles and to make them more attractive for towing fuel efficiency, Airstream made the frame of a smaller size to reduce weight. This was also not long after Airstream had added grey tanks which added weight to the rear of the trailers. The longer trailers also had rear baths which added weight to the rear end of the trailer. All of this extra weight ( filled grey water tanks, black water tanks, fresh water tanks, and the weight of the bath room) with smaller frame members resulted in rear end sag. Some of these units have had their frames reinforced already. There are threads about how to tell and how to do it yourself if they haven't. There may also be threads on how much it would cost to have it done by a repair shop. Just do a search. This may give you a bargaining tool.

There are so few used Airstreams available that you may not be able to categorically discount all mid-70's era trailers. You may get lucky enough to find an early 80's or later trailer at a good price though. Good luck with your searches and with what ever you decide to purchase.
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Old 07-31-2005, 06:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duramax
Hey guys I'm new to this forum and I have never owned a TT. I am in the market for an AS around 27 to 31'. My buget is forcing me to look towards the older models, which leads me to my question. I spoke to someone the other day that told me be careful in purchasing the older models, the mid 70's to be exact. According to him, AS was sold to another company in the mid 70's and they didn't keep the same standards as the old management did. Therefore a lesser product. Is there any truth to this and if so, what are the years to avoid?
Every year/era have their own quirks. The '70's were known as the Beatrice Years, as Beatrice Foods owned Airstream during that decade.
There were some issues with coaches of that decade, such as rear end sag, frame separation, and the infamous aluminum wiring debacle.
Coaches of this decade went on a weight-gain program in the early 70's, and then attempts were made to trim some of the weight by reducing some of the structural thicknesses later on. This was not as successful as planned .
However, this was also the first decade with factory-equipped grey water tanks, vista-view windows, wing windows, and non-Hehr operated windows. Torsion axle rubber compounds were improved during this time, so later 1970's models are less likely to require new axles. Tambour doors were introduced during this time, and were improved into something reliable during the latter part of that period. This time was also when the trailers were made 6" wider, so that is a good thing.
There are other issues and improvements for this era, but these are the highlights.
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Old 07-31-2005, 07:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Duramax
... I am in the market for an AS around 27 to 31'....what are the years to avoid?
Much, much more important than the age is the condition of any given trailer....

If you are truely serious about purchasing a "bargain" Airstream it would be well worth your time to spend hours going through the various threads here in the Forums that describe things to watch out for, and things that could go (or be) wrong.

If you find a trailer with rear end separation (this could happen to ANY year trailer) there is more than an outside chance that floor rot and/or frame rust is an issue - as a matter of fact, floor rot usually precludes separation and frame rust out.

Floor rot could be caused by just about any leak - there are so many places for water to get in that a proper pre-purchase inspection should include a detailed inspection of the entire floor/wall perimeter.

Not cheap, not quick, but definitely worth trouble.
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