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Old 09-18-2015, 03:56 PM   #1
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1986 32' Limited
Columbus , North Carolina
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New with some ?? Please help

Alright fella I will start out for thanking anybody who will help me with some insight!! I'm in the market for a travel trailer.... My wife and I are 26 no kids, and we really want a camper. We love older thing classics antiques.... I've came across a 1986 32' airstream for $8000. It's all original very good condition stored under a shed its whole life.!.! I'm leaning towards this over a newer camper of a cheaper quality.... I just want to know if that would be overpaying? And the price might be a little less. I am suposed to go look at it this weekend. But it has ac, furnace, heat strips, fridge, stove, it's the model with twin beds in the back. Any insight is appreciated thanks in advance Evan
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Old 09-18-2015, 04:14 PM   #2
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On the Portal page, right side column, there's a link to an Inspection Checklist. Suggest you download it and use it when you inspect the trailer. If the trailer has been protected from water incursion, rodent damage, etc. all these years, it might be well worth the price. But, it's a buyer beware sort of world out there.
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Old 09-18-2015, 04:50 PM   #3
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1986 32' Limited
Columbus , North Carolina
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Ok thanks I will def look into the checklist. Yes it's supposedly a really clean camper. I'm just interested in a camper that's going to last more than 10 years
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Old 09-27-2015, 05:05 PM   #4
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1986 32' Limited
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Bump try for any more help haven't had time to go take a look yet but the time is coming soon!!
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Old 10-06-2015, 11:38 AM   #5
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1985 32' Excella
Valley Village , California
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We got our '85 Excella ( lesser model than the Limited) for 12,800, and we got a deal! If this one is as clean as they tell you, $8,000 sounds fantastic. We remodeled ours completely, and it just got appraised for $46,500 after putting about 9,000 of cash into it. $8,000 sounds pretty sweet to me!
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Old 04-22-2016, 02:51 PM   #6
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1986 32' Limited
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So we had slacked off the camper but the owner called yesterday wanting to sell.... I'm really nervouse about the camper and its value were expecting our first kid. And if things were to get tight I would want to be able to get the camper gone. I went and looked at the outside today going to see inside tomorrow. It's an excella 32 1986 model with rear twin beds all original. Has power jack and doorbell just 2 things that stood out to be. All windows looked good and it's been kept in a barn.
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Old 04-23-2016, 02:00 PM   #7
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1985 32' Excella
Valley Village , California
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I have exposed almost every hidden spot on our similar trailer, so If you have any questions about anything while your looking at it, give me a call - 818-693-9272 and I will see if I can be of any help!- Joe
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Old 04-23-2016, 02:49 PM   #8
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Step one - The purchase price is the first of many expenditures. Assume you will spend another $4K over the next 2 years. You may not, but do not be surprised.

If you do not have $8K in liquid cash, consider an alternative camper that you can buy out of your pocket. If you have some money to spend, are a DIY person, and have interest in renovation and repair work, the AS may be a great idea for you. But $8K is the start, not the end of your expenditure.

Next question. Do you have an adequate tow vehicle? You may need to consider a trade or at a minimum, enough research to understand the requirements to see if what you have will work and be safe.

Potential expenditures. Air Conditioning repair or replace, Oven/stove repairs, refrigerator repair/replace, furnace repair, hot water heater repair/replace, propane tank DOT pressure test/cert or replace, tires, axles, brakes, bearings, complete leak test and sealant so the nice dry camper stays that way (check floor for soft spots = leak, Batteries, converter, hitch/WDN, plumbing leaks, new cushions, fan repairs, window seals. Old means old and 86 is 30 years in the barn. Stored inside is a very good thing. Often what you have is good bones to make a good coach. But if you store it outside in the rain and it has leaks, you will have a frame off restoration on your hands in no time.

And so as to not discourage you, folks do without working appliances and use their coaches as they fix and repair them. Think of it as an aluminum tent.

Good luck and when you buy a coach, travel safe. Pat
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Old 04-23-2016, 06:43 PM   #9
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1986 32' Limited
Columbus , North Carolina
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Thank you sir for the advice I have a 08 Duramax truck so towing isn't the issue..... Comes with a good hitch.... I looked it over really close today. All the windows have been re caulked..... But no evidence of any leaks anywhere..... Not in corners under beds or under sink that I could find. All the seat cushions look new other than 1986 style. All the awnings are good electric jack works has rock guards on front idk if this comes on all excellas
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Old 04-23-2016, 08:17 PM   #10
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1989 34' Excella
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Follow the inspection checklist and get an estimate on required repairs. If you are mechanical and a DIY type, it could be a bargain. You certainly will need $480 of new tires to start. Check the axles, that can be another $2,000. Fridge can be $500 -$1,000. Air can cost you another $700. These models are nice trailers and very comfortable for many usages.
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Old 04-24-2016, 04:09 AM   #11
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Welcome to the airstream world! Okay first we all like pictures here as we are actually aluminum junkies and it is what we do! A camper is just like a boat except that the hole is on land and the sharks are all human!! I can not give you advice on something that I have not seen so take a camera and act as a CSI look under over around feel and ask lots of questions! If it is towable and has no major dents then they can get there money for it. you need a clean title and tires and pictures!!! As for the antiques thing you are 26 damn near everything I own according to my 30 something daughters is a fraking antique! Again welcome!
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Old 04-24-2016, 05:56 AM   #12
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1986 32' Limited
Columbus , North Carolina
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Ok sound good thanks ... Yeah the people that have it now don't know hardly anything about it... They've had it for 6+ years but only used it one time and decided they didn't like camping. It has all the manuals with it. Are the axles serviceable? And a saw that it has shocks on it? Are those something I could get from a carquest I'm sure they are shot from sitting? I am very mechanical and a diy'er so any repairs will be done by me. I'm a machinist but also rebuild engines and do additions decks things like that so there is no issue with ability to fix things just funds and time.
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Old 04-24-2016, 06:34 AM   #13
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2015 23' International
Charleston , South Carolina
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Not sure about the shocks. Most Airstreams have torsion axles and as far as I know that Model is no different. Look up torsion axle you will see information on evaluation and replacement. In short, the internal rubber torsion "spring" looses its resilience and the suspension arms start to sag. Igbo remember correctly, if the swing arm angles uphill from the axle to the hub and not downhill, then the axle is shot. Pretty standard replacement after about 20 years or so.

If trailer is as good as you say, sounds like a good deal. Smell inside and trust your nose. If you smell mildew or worse, that's a red flag.

Will you be able to store it under cover? If so that will mitigate some of the leak concerns. At that age it's a good chance it will have some leaks. They generally just require caulk with tracking the source being the biggest challenge. Since anything but a fully time trailer spends most of its life parked, storing under cover will go a long way toward buying you time to fix leaks at you leisure.

In general, Airstreams are very serviceable and great for DIY types.

Best of luck

Steve
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Old 04-24-2016, 07:29 AM   #14
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Weatherford , Texas
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Inland RV's website has a link to a good article on torsion axles and how to evaluate them. The shocks on an Airstream do nothing except reduce vibration. The rubber rods within the torsion axles do the shock absorbing.
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