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Old 10-31-2015, 01:40 PM   #1
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My First Airstream! Questions!

Hello,

I am looking to get a 64 Safari to India for commercial use. I am new to Airstream and to trailers too! And have a few questions.

I am putting in a deposit in a few days on an airstream and have a few questions.

1. Has anyone here taken their Safari on really busy roads? The traffic and proximity of vehicles in India makes me worry hence the question.

2. In the event of a major blow/accident does anyone here know how one goes about fixing a major dent?

3.Say you have a damaged panel what does one do? Do you have to replace the panel? Or just fix it some way. Do you get replacement for panels?

4. Does anyone know of a company/person I can talk to Kansas City for a trailer wrap?

5. Lastly I don't have people around here that have any technical knowledge about airstream should I be worried about anything in particular?

Thanks for helping me out here in advance.

Puneet
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Old 10-31-2015, 06:06 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums!

I'll answer your questions relative to the number:

1) Certainly many of us on the Forums have had our trailers in "heavy" traffic. Heavy traffic in Houston, TX may look nothing like heavy traffic in India, though. Dealing with traffic without a trailer adds to the stress level. Put a trailer on behind, and the stress level only increases--but it is done all the time.

2/3) Airstreams are pretty fragile. You bump them, and they are liable to scratch or scuff, you give them a major hit, and they are going to dent. People fix dents all the time. Sometimes you can pull the dent out with suction cups or other automotive body repair techniques, but if the aluminum has been stretched, ripped, deformed, crumpled, the only way to get it looking right is to replace the section of skin. The flat panels on your trailer are 2024 T3 Alclad. This is aluminum you can order online by the sheet. The real difficulty is when you damage the formed sections that make up the rounded end-caps. These aren't manufactured anymore, so either you have to have some artisan make one, or find a donor wreck.

4) Airstreams with wraps are fairly rare. You would have better luck just looking in your local yellow pages for a "wrapper" in your area that will do a trailer.

5) Knowing nothing about your trailer, I would say you should worry about everything (especially worn out axles, rotting floors, disintegrating frame). Furthermore, I would worry about whether your commercial application (ie., weight wise) can be supported by this old trailer. I don't know if you just bought a 50 year old trailer that has spent most of its life parked in a field and neglected, or if you have purchased something that has just undergone a complete rebuild. There is a "buyer's inspection checklist" on the portal page. You can go through your trailer using this checkilist, and it will help you get a feel for what you are up against. You really need to do some research to figure out what you have, how it is constructed, and what the limitations are. Doing Google searches from outside the Forums usually works better than the Forums' built in search function.

Good luck!!!
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Old 10-31-2015, 06:48 PM   #3
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Hi Puneeth and welcome to Air Forums. Wow, you have an ambitious project. An old Airstream travel trailer will likely have many needs. Many Air Forum members do their own repairs as it is challenging, interesting, and fun. There are all kinds of skills needed, for instance mechanical, plumbing, electrical, woodworking, and metal working.

Airstreams are unique in their construction. It's call semi-monocoque construction. The light weight frame holds up the light weight aluminum body and the body holds up the frame. It is all integrated together. If it becomes damaged in a traffic accident, it is more difficult to repair.

The electrical system may not be compatible with what is provided in India. Rewiring an old Airstream is a lot of work. You probably know if a change will be necessary.

Towing a trailer means it takes more time to accelerate, more distance to stop, more room for turns. Towing a trailer is challenging in tight traffic conditions. It takes practice for sure.

David
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Old 10-31-2015, 11:21 PM   #4
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Hello All,

Thank you for getting back, here is some additional information about the one i am buying please give me your thoughts on whether i should go ahead with my ambitious project or not:-)

This is the Safari i am putting the deposit on.

I do not need any water for by business hence no plumbing

The person i am buying this off is restoring all external lights and putting a brand new floor.

The internal electrical i plan to do in India, concealing behind the furniture hence not planning to open the panels for internal lighting.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?...ms&usp=sharing

Regards,
Puneet
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Old 11-01-2015, 01:43 AM   #5
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Salutations Puneet;

I looked at the picture of your gutted Airstream. NORMALLY the body is taken off of the frame to replace the floor, though it can be done "frame-on"

In the USA many old Airstreams are converted to Coffee Shops, and small stores that sell accessories such as belts, purses, scarves, etc. They make attractive boutiques in upscale neighborhoods... but when one gets a panel damaged (which happens easily) it's expensive and on curved panels would be prohibitively expensive to ship - and would require an experienced body shop used to working with aluminum panels to do.

I enjoy my Airstream - it's unique look - etc. but it is not the most PRACTICAL purchase I've ever made. I also don't have a good sense of what laws and regulations you'd have to conform to in India to be able to run a business from one. AND if one is in business, obviously having a profitable venue comes first (and second and third and fourth too - if you can't make money why be in business?). For your consideration may I suggest you consider a Casita or an Oliver travel trailer. (The Oliver twin axle is 22 feet long - on the big end for a "fiberglass egg" trailer). You order either of these from their respective factories... and you could get a "shell" with an air conditioner, batteries, electrical system and no plumbing or furniture if that's what you need. You'd mentioned having a trailer wrapped, and to me wrapping a fiberglass trailer to LOOK like an aluminum one might be far less expensive than getting aluminum in the first place. Fiberglass can also be painted - silver color if you wish. Fiberglass is much less affected by the environment, salty air near the ocean, environmental stuff (smog or pollution) and even handprints can just be washed off.

Also repairing fiberglass that has been damaged does require some skill, but it's commonly available here in the USA in the boat industry. I assume it's almost as commonly available in most of India. AND it's a skill that most of us can learn if we have to. Does not require a lot of expensive tools or years of experience to learn.

Oliver Travel Trailers | Fiberglass Travel Trailers
www.casitatraveltrailers.com

Getting a new shell will in the end be far less expensive than getting and modifying an Airstream; and you could be operating your business in days or weeks instead of months.

Paula
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Old 11-01-2015, 04:42 AM   #6
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Puneeth - welcome!

What is your budget for the purchase and restoration - including professional vendors if not doing the work yourself?

I saw the pictures you posted and there's a lot of work ahead of you for this job. You can certainly do it - and you could consider another option that looks like an old airstream but can be configured new for your specific application.

Depending on your budget, Paula's (Foiled Again's) suggestion could be ideal and it may also be worth inquiring here: http://www.retro-rocket.co.uk/home/ for the Airstream "copy" look.

Whatever path you choose, I've never personally driven in India but have friends who had that experience. As they represented it, I imagine the challenge is significantly more complicated there than in the US. Have you ever seen trailers/caravans like this there? If so - how do they fare? What business are you planning on running?

Best of luck to you!
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:24 AM   #7
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Options I have

Thanks everyone for you very valuable advice.

From your comments I am now resconsidering my decision and perhaps should explore other options.

I have here in India the Jayco and Lance and have someone who knows everything about these and is the company distributor. Now wondering if I should consider one of these?

Let me know your thoughts please.

Regards,
Puneet
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:25 AM   #8
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The traffic here is on a different planet than busy traffic in India. I have been in many major cities in India, New Delhi. Anything is possible but I just couldn't see myself capable or willing for that adventure. You might consider an AS that is not WIDE, anything less than 25' might suit your logistical challenge much better. Good luck and you must send pictures.
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Old 11-01-2015, 11:35 AM   #9
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Thanks for suggesting plan b!

I was considering a 22 feet Safari 8 feet wide but after suggestions here I am not too sure I should hence considering a 19feet Jayco Or Lance trailer and what's good with this is that I have someone here who has all the knowledge, experience and is a distributor from the company directly.


Anyone knows anything about a Jayco or Lance?
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Old 11-01-2015, 11:57 AM   #10
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Hi, seems like a whole lot of trouble to do what you are doing. Do they not have trailers in India?
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Old 11-01-2015, 01:30 PM   #11
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Personally I would do as they do in India and convert a truck.
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Old 11-01-2015, 07:18 PM   #12
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Puneeth, I think you are wise to consider the Jayco or Lance as the base for your "traveling store". They are not the special shape of the Airstream, but may serve your purpose at much less cost, especially since you have connections in your home country for these trailers.

In the USA we have experienced the rise of "food trucks" that travel in to the city, park, and serve meals at mid day and at night. Many people like the convenience of having food served close by and handy. We also have medical health care trucks, tool sales trucks, shoe sale trucks, and on and on. Possibly your business idea would be well served with a truck instead of a truck and trailer.

Here is a picture of an Airstream being used as a shop. I didn't go in, but it does draw attention. This trailer is much bigger than a Safari.

Let us know what you decide.

David
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Old 11-01-2015, 09:33 PM   #13
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Business

The business is a nail business and hence I am too sure I could use a truck and make it into a beautiful relaxed ambience hence the trailer or can I? What truck does one use any idea?
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Old 11-02-2015, 07:26 PM   #14
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The Mercedes Sprinter 2500 diesel comes to mind. Since you were considering a small Airstream, I assume your fingernail salon would have about 4 stations for customers. Such a full size van would have plenty of room.

Just an idea...

David
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Old 11-07-2015, 10:44 PM   #15
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Considering

i am considering the Jayco also looking at the 2015 Shasta Airflyte. Anyone has any advice on the 2015 Shasta Airflyte?
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