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Old 07-21-2014, 08:45 AM   #1
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1971 27' Overlander
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Help me make the correct choice.

I am sitting here sipping my coffee in Anaheim Cali with my family of five in an 1989 29" excella and it is tight (not a lot of room) and aged. The whole park is filled with shiny new units from other makers and I can't help but be a little envious. They are bigger and cleaner. Our unit looks tired to say the least. Here is the question; do I by a new unit and enjoy camping with my young kids or do I spend my weekends fixing up a tired trailer for the next couple of years. I am a woodworker by trade and am a little ocd so using it in it's current condition is not in the cards. What have others decided in a similar situation and are you happy with your choice?
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Old 07-21-2014, 08:55 AM   #2
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For me time is money and money equals choices. So... do you want to spend your weekends doing that for however long? Or do you want to just have it now?

Second, do you want something you designed/built and crafted yourself, with your hands, that you put your own sweat and blood into. Something you take pride in and have a connection too? Equally valuable.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:23 AM   #3
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"So... do you want to spend your weekends doing that for however long? Or do you want to just have it now?"

No I don't want to spend my weekends working on it. I did that with a fixer up house and I am 15 years in and still not done.

Second, do you want something you designed/built and crafted yourself, with your hands, that you put your own sweat and blood into. Something you take pride in and have a connection too? Equally valuable.

I have built enough things in my life to not really care about this anymore.. Sad but true. I wood work on a daily basis and have completed so many projects that the feeling I used to get when done (pride, joy, satisfaction) is just not as strong anymore. It is there but a fraction of what is used to be.

The question remains am I better off with a vintage unit that will last or a new unit that will better fit our needs but need to be replaced in ten years due to longevity issues from cheap construction? Decisions Decisions........
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:34 AM   #4
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I can sympathize with not wanting to spend your free time constantly fixing things. We got to that point with our first Airstream. I can't really imagine having anything but an Airstream, however, we aren't trying to camp with a family of five.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:37 AM   #5
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I think woodworking is like a gateway drug that leads to vintage Airstream ownership. I stepped on that same slippery slope. I have been working, as my full time hobby, on rebuilding a '73 Globetrotter. This was a trailer that I bought thinking it would be a "spruce up and repair" job, but it turned into a shell-off, and one thing leads to another, as things often do... I just recently crossed the three year mark, and I have yet to employ much of my woodworking skill (meaning, no furniture inside, but lots of sheet metal work).

So buy something that works for you, be it an Airstream or some other brand, and go camping. I have considered on more than one occasion what a relief it would be to wash my hands of this project. There is a reason why I see so many "gutted" vintage trailers for sale.

You might be able to "compromise" by buying an Airstream that has already had all the work done, then you too can be sitting in a shiny, clean trailer, and listening to the neighbors oooh and aaah over it. But...you still will be in a trailer that may seem tight and cramped and challenged for storage space.

I can tell you, though that when I was on my trailer hunt, I looked at some more current models of trailer, and saw the cheap particle board cabinetry with veneer already starting to peel, and thought that one of the first things I would do with this "new" trailer is replace all the cabinetry...

Anyway, if I knew then what I know now, I would have done one of two things: Choice A) I spent almost 2 years looking for the "perfect" trailer--had I bought the first one I saw, I would be done with the renovations by now. or Choice B) I would have pried my wallet open and bought something that was not a project.

Good luck!
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:38 AM   #6
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My wife and I just got home from a week in our 68 Trade Wind. Sitting in different campgrounds and looking at all the "fancy" new stuff sparked several long converstations about our Tradewind. For us it is just fine, but our grand kids are getting old enough to want to go camping and it would be too tight with them. One of the newer small 5th wheels would be nice as would a bigger vintage Airstream. We both love the old TW so I doubt if we ever change. If you love Airstreams, I would say why not find a nice used bigger trailer while you work on the Airstream. With the economy like it is, there are bargains out there. Redo the Airstream and then sell the white box trailer. If being in an Airstream isn't important, I could say get something else. Camping is way more fun than working on them and life is short.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgermano View Post
I am sitting here sipping my coffee in Anaheim Cali with my family of five in an 1989 29" excella and it is tight (not a lot of room) and aged. The whole park is filled with shiny new units from other makers and I can't help but be a little envious. They are bigger and cleaner. Our unit looks tired to say the least. Here is the question; do I by a new unit and enjoy camping with my young kids or do I spend my weekends fixing up a tired trailer for the next couple of years. I am a woodworker by trade and am a little ocd so using it in it's current condition is not in the cards. What have others decided in a similar situation and are you happy with your choice?
OCD
Tight
aged, tired
envious

I think you've answered your own question. You don't love your Airstream.
Airstream "mid-century modern cool" is something that might not turn on everyone (OMG heresy!) But it's true.

From the money end, the newest fanciest thing costs a lot! It's also true that ANY new thing you buy is super cool, nifty, wonderful etc. for about six months. Eventually a new car turns into "transportation". The newest niftiest camper will only be new until next year's model comes out.

So, how long will a brand new trailer/moho, etc. KEEP you happy? If the answer is five years or longer and you're not spending the kids college fund to buy a new 5th wheel or whatever, AND if you'd really prefer to keep on RVing as opposed to doing something else... then get something that WILL make you happy.

If you WANT to keep the Airstream and rehab it into something like Smokeless Joe did, since you have the skills... that might be a side project. Or you could sell it to someone who'll enjoy it.

Paula
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:51 AM   #8
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My thought....

Enjoy your children while they are young, do your trips and activities with them while you can, not using weekends to refurbish.

If your trailer looks tired, do simple cosmetic things to spruce it up a bit.

If you are OCD, and I've been told I have a touch of that my own self, it might be difficult for you to have young children in a brand-new trailer. They will do what children do, and there will be nicks, scratches, spills, etc. Maybe you can handle this.

Your kids will grow and be on their own, you can get a brand spanking new when your family has shrunk a bit.

Ultimately, only you know what is best for you.


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Old 07-21-2014, 11:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgermano View Post
family of five in an 1989 29" excella
29 inches, that's a small trailer!




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Old 07-22-2014, 09:54 AM   #10
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1971 27' Overlander
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Thanks for all of your responses. After much thought I think I am going to do some cosmetic things and enjoy the old girl. About two years ago while looking for RV's I remember the feeling I got when I went into a new rig. It was, insert speech bubble, this is really nice but man these are constructed very cheap. That is why I bought the Airstream in the first place. Then reality set in and I started to think about all the hours involved in fixing her up. After woodworking for so long I have a good idea of how much labor is involved in completing various projects. Although I love woodworking I absolutely hate working on cars and mechanical things so some of the work would be drudgery for me. If the rig needs it I guess I will take it to inland Rv.
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:04 AM   #11
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You might want to go to the Airstream web site and look for the section about why buy an Airstream. There they compare the handling of a towed Airstream to that of a box style trailer that some of us call SOBs (some other brand). It is that video that convinced me that I would rather tow an old Airstream, or Argosy, than any other brand new trailer.
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:08 AM   #12
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same quandary

We had the same quandary when deciding to purchase - we would love to buy vintage and make "our own"...then reality set in. It would take all our free time for a couple of years. In the meantime, our kids are only getting older and we have a new grandbaby. The time factor wasn't worth it for us, so we bought new (also because I'm a little OCD and don't think I could have purchased a couple-year old model).

If we had already owned, we would keep it. Repair as needed, once the kids are gone buy a Bambi
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Old 07-22-2014, 12:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by jgermano View Post
Thanks for all of your responses. After much thought I think I am going to do some cosmetic things and enjoy the old girl. About two years ago while looking for RV's I remember the feeling I got when I went into a new rig. It was, insert speech bubble, this is really nice but man these are constructed very cheap. That is why I bought the Airstream in the first place. Then reality set in and I started to think about all the hours involved in fixing her up. After woodworking for so long I have a good idea of how much labor is involved in completing various projects. Although I love woodworking I absolutely hate working on cars and mechanical things so some of the work would be drudgery for me. If the rig needs it I guess I will take it to inland Rv.
Good thinking, IMO.

I like things to look nice, to look and be clean, to be neat and tidy, etc., and do whatever I need to do to get that fresh, clean, pulled-together look.

There is much you can do to improve the look of cabinetry, with those nifty cabinet polish/refinish products, that make them look almost a good as new. Have even bough a small tin of stain and covered over worn areas, first. Does a good job.

Could also change your curtains, get a slipon cover for your couch and chair, put down a carpet remnant on the floor that can be picked up and shaken outside....and washed, if needed.

A little paint, perhaps, a bit of peel& stick wallpaper border? Our first RV was a 77 barth, which needed serious cleaning and sprucing up before we went anywhere in it.

Then....go, we did, with the grands and by ourselves, while we were still working, We and they had a blast! They are older, we are retired and we upgraded to something for two that is much more road worthy.

Let your mind run a bit.


Maggie
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