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Old 09-11-2002, 07:55 PM   #1
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Question Thinking of Buying '72 Overlander

Well, I never owned a trailer before but looked at many. Today I saw a 1972 International Overlander, 27' model for sale. The owners appear to have taken excellent care of the trailer inside and out. The trailer has center twin beds, large rear bath, and the 70's look throughout.

I am thinking about buying the trailer, is their anything that I need to be aware of or concerned about? I would really appreciate any help. I am very new to this...

Thanks, Joe
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Old 09-11-2002, 08:55 PM   #2
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I have a 1969 Overlander. It is a good size trailer, large enough for comfort, small enough to get into many small sites.

Trailers prior to 1973 did not have a gray tank. Black water tanks hold toilet water. The '72 should have one in the rear of the trailer. There is a slide valve that is opened to drain the tank. The valve and the tank should not leak. Check for frame rust back there as well. Grey water tanks hold sink / shower wastewater. The '72 will not have one. Sink water will drain out of the drain in the rear. At one time it was considered ok to do so, now it is not. Most people use a tote tank to capture gray water when not at a full hook-up site.

Look for evidence of floor rot (soft wood) around the edges. Airstreams are double hulled, if they develop a leak, water runs down the inside wall and over time can cause floor rot.

Make sure all the appliances and system work. This means check them all. Fill the water tank, run water, look for leaking pipes, etc. Check that the Fridge gets cold. Does the airconditioner (if equipped) work? Does the furnace work? What shape is the upholstery in? Window treatments?

Check the exterior skin. Small blemishes are likely, but large dents, deep scratches, gouges, etc all seriously detract from the value. Check that the frame is straight. Check the state of the tires, shocks, axles (does it sit level side to side?). That kind of stuff.

My '69 has a sixties look and has light wood that we really like. See attached.

Jim
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Old 09-11-2002, 09:59 PM   #3
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I like the inside of your trailer, the wood is much different than what is in the 1972 Overlander. The trailer I looked at has dark wood vinyl that is suppose to simulate wood. Very 70's. I am concerned my wife is not going to like the looks. It even has an 8-track tape player installed! It seems very darkish inside.

The trailer looks very well cared for, but we did not test the water or refrigerator. I guess I need to do ask the owner to do that. He said that air conditioner needs a 30 amp line to work properly and his home only deliver 20 amps so we could not try it.

The trailer does not have the gray water tank, as you mentioned.

By the way, the asking price is $5,500. Is that about right?

Thanks
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Old 09-11-2002, 10:14 PM   #4
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Jim,

I forgot to ask, the trailer I looked at has a humming noise around the bath area. The owner says that it is the converter. Seems very loud. Is this normal?

Also is your nice wood original? I looked at some pictures of another 1969 Overlander and it was dark walnut.

Joe
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Old 09-12-2002, 06:13 AM   #5
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Decent deal

I just paid 5000 for a 1971 Overlander in fair condition. The asking price was 5500 but I talked him down to 5K.

Although the electrical cord is 30 amp, RV stores sell an adapter that will plug right onto the 30 amp cord and allow you to plug into 20 amp outlet.

I run my Air con and vacuum cleaner electric Refrigerator etc all at the same time off of my 20 amp outlet at my house. It works just fine.

I would definitely check Air con for operability due to the fact that a replacement is at least 500 dollars before you pay for labor and subsequent leaks.

The humming noise is Univolt DC converter and they can be a little loud.

Check status of Battery also.

Something I have learned is that the best time to buy an RV is after several days of hard rain. Leaks will only show up after a hard rain.

Hope this helps,

Smily
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Old 09-12-2002, 06:21 AM   #6
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Joe: Jim gives you good advice: Check everything! Yes, the converter is generally loud. New ones are quieter. Look at the head of the curbside bed, at the mattress line, and you might see a switch. It allows you to turn the converter off if it bothers you at night... And consider what he has to say about the lack of a grey holding tank...

We just bought a 1975 Overlander. After looking at many trailers we concluded that the most important thing is the exterior. The skin is very expensive or impossible to repair. Also, we wanted to update the interior to our tastes. We were lucky to find ours at the local Airstream service center (C&G in Bellflower). It had been mostly a one-owner trailer that had been serviced most of its life by C&G. The exterior needed only some paint touch-up (tongue, AC, etc.) and a good wash and wax. But while mechanically everything worked, the interior was FILTHY. We are replacing the separate cooktop and wall oven with a new range and using the wall oven cabinet to install a new microwave oven. New countertop completes the kitchen remodel. Then new floors (laminate "wood"), curtains, shades, and upholstry and it looks like a brand new trailer. We kept the 70s look, just updated it a little. The bathroom is original gold and we've kept it as-is, sort of like a museum...

There was a little rot in the bathroom floor, the AC needs freon, and we put in a new battery and TV antenna.

The wood vinyl look is certainly darker than Jim's 69, but, like you say, it was a 70s thing... We were amazed how much brighter the interior is now with the new drapes and upholstry. New light fixture lens and light bulbs help, too.

Price is soley based on condition. We were able to buy ours cheap enough to keep the total cost (purchase + repairs) to under $10,000, which seemed about right for a totally updated Airstream. Check out the Vintage Airstream website for their section on Price vs. Condition - http://www.vintageairstream.com/rr_t...condition.html

Good luck!
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Old 09-12-2002, 09:31 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies.

I did not know you could turn the converter off at night. Does the furnace and refrigerator still work at night okay with the converter off?

The laminate "wood" floors you installed sound like it brightened the interior. Is your new floor similar to the "Pergo" flooring or a vinyl, simulated wood floor? I would like to see your pictures. Currently the trailer has dark, brown carpet which matches the dark, vinyl wood grain cabinets.

Is the skin repair expensive or impossible because of the age of the trailer (non-existant replacement panels) or just all airstreams in general?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 09-12-2002, 05:50 PM   #8
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Re: Decent deal

Quote:
Originally posted by smily
Although the electrical cord is 30 amp, RV stores sell an adapter that will plug right onto the 30 amp cord and allow you to plug into 20 amp outlet.

I run my Air con and vacuum cleaner electric Refrigerator etc all at the same time off of my 20 amp outlet at my house. It works just fine.
Me too... and I have to go through a 25' 30A extension cord in addition to the trailer cord to get to the 20A outlet. AC compressor doin' it's thing, frig on, converter powering lights, 120V TV on... voltage never drops below 118. I wouldn't try to add the microwave to that load though.

Actually, the adapter lets you plug into a 15A or 20A outlet. A 20A outlet will have a horizontal slot AND vertical slot on the left side ( forming a T ) and take either 15A or 20A plugs.

There's no reason NOT to test the AC on a 20A circuit, and several hundred reasons TO test it.
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Old 09-12-2002, 08:13 PM   #9
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I have to agree with Maurice on the Air Conditioner issue. If you look in the AC panel the breaker for the Air conditioner is a 20 AMP breaker. If the current owner is too worried that the low current at his house will "hurt" the AC, there may be a buyer beware issue here.

You might ask if he would be willing to tow it, or let you tow it to a local campground that would allow you the use of a site for a few hours to test the AC, the dump system, the water system (both city and internal) etc. If you are really serious you can try to negoiate this as the deal closer, or breaker. If you try to do this mid week, I would be willing to bet with a call ahead you can work a deal for a few bucks. The effort you take now and a few dollars spent now can save you thousands later.
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Old 09-12-2002, 08:24 PM   #10
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I actually haven't tried turning off the converter - I've just been told it can be done. Anyone else out there tried this?

Our interior is lighter and brighter even without the floor being put in! The Airstream is still "in rehab". It will get even brighter when the dark blue carpet is out and the medium "wood" floor is in.

At the risk of getting too technical, Pergo, Armstrong, Wilsonart, Shaw, and others all make laminate wood floor. It is not a vinyl floor with a fake wood color and texture put into it. It starts with a wood or wood-composite backing; then a photograph of wood is applied, followed by a coating of clear vinyl. The vinyl is what makes it stay nice and easy to keep clean. Important distinctions come in the wearability of the vinyl coating and the durability of the backing. Other variations are the joints - they can be glued or "snap-in". Pergo is actually the cheapest and poorest performing laminate floor. Wilsonart and Shaw fall somewhere in the middle (I have Wilsonart at home in my kitchen and we are putting Shaw into the Airstream). Armstrong has the best wear surface and the best backing. Its backing is protected against moisture better than all the others. (I don't work for Armstrong, but I am an architect and I specify it often...)

I hope to post pictures as soon as we get the Airstream home.
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Old 09-12-2002, 08:46 PM   #11
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I do it all the time (turn off the converter) to make the MH quiet to sleep. I do not have a dedicated wall switch as some of the traiilers do (My 77 soverign had a wall switch) I just figured out what breaker turns it off and give it a flip. The furnace and refer should still work fine as long as you have a good battery. The furnace would be the biggest drain if the night is really cold, or you want it really warm. The newer refers draw some power, but it is minor comapred to a blower or fan motor. The older refer that use a standing pilot light will draw no power, unless you leave the door open.
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Old 09-12-2002, 09:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
I like the inside of your trailer, the wood is much different than what is in the 1972 Overlander. The trailer I looked at has dark wood vinyl that is suppose to simulate wood. Very 70's. I am concerned my wife is not going to like the looks.
We looked at several Airstreams and Argosy before we found this one. The outside was in good shape and my wife absolutely fell in love with the interior. I wanted to negotiate with the seller, but was constrained because every time he left the two of us alone for a second or more, she'd give me "listen to me know" look and mouth "I want this trailer!".

There was a soft spot on the floor under the window forward of the door and the TV antenna was missing. I got the price down a touch and had him fix the floor. In the end we paid $5400 back in 1996. Over the years we've put another $3k - $4k into it adding an awning, adding leveling jacks, replacing the furnace, reupholstering, replacing shocks, new tires, and other assorted repairs and maintenance.

The univolt on my twin bed model is under the curbside bed. There is a switch to turn it off. The furnace will draw the battery down some but will be fine for one night if you remember to switch it back on.

The univolt is designed to have the battery in the circuit. It will buzz veraciously if run without a battery. It will also likely damage the univolt.

Again and as others have said, check the Air. Also (more importantly) make sure the refrigerator works. It should run on both gas and electric. If you plan to do any camping in National Parks or National or State forest (no electricity) campgrounds, you want a fridge that runs on gas. A general rule to keep in mind when evaluating the coach is that everything costs around $500 (water heater, oven, airconditioner) plus installation (effort or $$) to replace with the exception of the refrigerator, it is double to triple that.

Good luck.

Jim
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Old 09-13-2002, 08:47 AM   #13
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Joe C.
1974 on back trailers, both Airstream and Argosy, can have axles that have failed rubber rods.
Replacement axles are available, but are not inexpensive.
To see if yours are defective, or on the trailer that your considering to buy, go to our web site inlandrv.com
Click on articles and then click on "Dura-torque axle."
That article explains what it is, how it works, and, most importantly, how to check it out yourself.
If the coach you wish to buy needs axles, you will have much more bargaining power with the seller.


Andy
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Old 09-14-2002, 08:43 AM   #14
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Talking I have a 72 Overlander

I think I got lucky and paid $1500 for my Overlander. It has the usual floor rot in a few places. No big deal to fix. The hot water heater had rusted through so I pulled that out. The ac works fine. No rv fridge. That had been gone for years. It has a small electric one in it's place. For the most part, it is in really good shape. Even the dark interior was really clean and in tact. However, at the dismay of many Airstream purists, I am changing the interior to totally modernize it. I figure even with replacing most of the major interior components, AC, HW, Converter, and new fridge, I will only have about $5-6000 in to it. Not bad for a brand new Airstream. It should be good for another 30 years.

I plan to take about 2 years doing it. After those 2 years, my youngest will be in college... and I am hitting the road!

The Overlander is a nice size. Easily inhabited by 2 adults, and small enough that you don't need a humongous truck. Go for it!

You can check out some of my progress at the following web site.

http://web.tampabay.rr.com/bfrankli/airstream.htm

Barry
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