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Old 03-13-2014, 05:40 PM   #1
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Help with an all electric trailer!!!

Howdy y'all!
So here's the story, I'm currently looking at a 71 Overlander 27ft. AS. I absolutely LOVE it. I was talking to the owner, who had mentioned it was all electric, and at first that didn't mean too much to me. I'm new to Airstreamin'! I did some research and found out that all electric trailers are a no -no. I guess my reason for this post is, first off, why? Second, how much of a project would it be to "un-convert" the trailer (make it run on propane again), and also how costly would that be? And how would one go about doing that? (if you could direct me to certain forums/threads, what have you, it would be GREATLY appreciated) Also, what about solar panels? (I know, very vague, I just started researching them, but would they be an option?)

I'm looking to full-time in my trailer, and hope to live in the South for a good majority of the time. Thanks y'all!
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:52 PM   #2
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All electric is okay as long as you have an electric hookup or a generater. Furnace is gas so electric heat is needed, also no refrigeration on the road unless you can use an inverter. Others will have more thoughts. Jim
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:56 PM   #3
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Making a trailer run on propane could be a costly proposition . The appliances ( refrigerator, h/ w heater, furnace,& cooktop) if missing will be expensive to replace, especially if you pay someone to install them. I would conservatively budget $3k just to purchase these!
With all that being said, what is the overall condition of the trailer( axles, floor,a/c, etc)? Also, when you say fultime, are you staying at campgrounds or boon docking ?
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:59 PM   #4
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The problem is that nothing works unless you are hooked up to a significant (read 50 amp) grid supplied power system. So, any boondocking is out.

The things that take major power in any all electric RV would be the AC unit, the range top and oven, the water heater, the refrigerator and the furnace. That is on top of the "normal" lighting and other various other things you want to use. Now the AC and the furnace replacement would not be on at the same time, but everything else could be.

With an electric refrigerator, you have no cooling while traveling. With an electric range top and oven, you have no cooking, or even heating up a cup of coffee. If you are traveling when it is cool to cold, you have no way to heat the rig when you stop for a lunch break. Also no hot water.

Solar systems are a great supplement to a propane based RV, but not a supply for all the energy used in an RV.

In short, an all electric trailer is very limited in how it can be used and most people want to travel in their travel trailer, not sit in one spot tied down to a very large outlet.

And if the propane systems have been totally removed, they will be very expensive to replace.

I don't know how many Airstreams you have looked at, but don't buy the first one you see. Do research and know just what can be a problem, and what is not, as well as the costs of repair and renovation. BTW, a '71 Airstream came with no gray water holding tank, one more thing that you really need to know to make a good decision.
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:29 PM   #5
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More importantly, it matters what items have been removed from this particular trailer to make it "all electric".

The appliances that normally use propane are the range/oven, water heater, furnace, and refrigerator. Have all of them been removed or changed?

Have the gas lines been completely removed?

If all the propane appliances have been removed, then adding new ones will be costly.

Welcome to the forums!

Regards,


JD
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:34 PM   #6
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An all electric is not a bad thing just depending on how you use the RV.
For staying in camp grounds it's no big deal for camping off grid that's another story.
While traveling between campgrounds you can run an inverter off a battery to power the refrigerator.

As for going back to original configuration I would suggest looking for another Airstream unless you are an avid DIY with plenty of time on your hands.
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
And if the propane systems have been totally removed, they will be very expensive to replace.

I don't know how many Airstreams you have looked at, but don't buy the first one you see. Do research and know just what can be a problem, and what is not, as well as the costs of repair and renovation. BTW, a '71 Airstream came with no gray water holding tank, one more thing that you really need to know to make a good decision.
How much do you think it would be roughly? I've had my eye on a couple, this one just stuck out because of it being renovated completely on the inside. Thank you for all the information, by the way.
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jdalrymple View Post
More importantly, it matters what items have been removed from this particular trailer to make it "all electric".

The appliances that normally use propane are the range/oven, water heater, furnace, and refrigerator. Have all of them been removed or changed?

Have the gas lines been completely removed?

JD
From what the owner said, everything has been switched over to electric (except I'm not sure about the furnace). As for the gas lines... I'm not sure about that either, but thank you for giving me these ideas, so I can ask.
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:48 PM   #9
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You can get much more useful replys if you could reveal how you might use the Airstream, will it travel (how much) or will it be a park model and stay put?
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:04 PM   #10
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The trailer would be lived in full-time, I'm lookin' at stayin' at a KOA down in Nashville. I wouldn't be doing a whole lot of boondocking, and would be staying in the campsite for a good majority of the year, taking a few weeks or months here and there to travel. I'm going to Nashville to work and for music. Hope that helps!
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:18 PM   #11
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How much do you think it would be roughly? I've had my eye on a couple, this one just stuck out because of it being renovated completely on the inside. Thank you for all the information, by the way.
That is a very hard question to answer but if all the propane items are missing, the cost will be very high. Refrigerator $1200, Water heater $350, Furnace $450, Range $400. Those are approximate item cost alone, no installation, no gas lines, no gas tanks or regulator. Those items would be maybe $350 or so. Now to have someone put them all in would maybe double the cost (total guess but labor is very expensive).

You need to look at tires, axels, floor rot, frame condition, bellypan condition, brakes, electrical converter/charger, AC operation, batteries, and so on. Then there is plumbing, and pump and holding tanks. And leaks.

I am NOT trying to discourage you, but only want you to look ahead realistically as to what it is you want and to get the best trailer you can get for your uses. It is not uncommon for new buyers to get dazzled by the romance of a new to them trailer and later find they did not get a good one which fit their needs, for one reason or another.

Also, it is possible you could find a "pretty lipstick on a pig" unit, which has been cosmetically made to be nice but has only been dressed up, not renovated properly.

Old RV's, even Airstreams, get worn out, tired, and things become obsolete in them. They are great to own, but like a house, need constant repair, maintenance and updating.

And welcome to the madness of Airstreaming!
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:19 PM   #12
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How much is the trailer you're looking at?
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:26 PM   #13
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How much is the trailer you're looking at?
It's $10,000
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:29 PM   #14
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You need to look at tires, axels, floor rot, frame condition, bellypan condition, brakes, electrical converter/charger, AC operation, batteries, and so on. Then there is plumbing, and pump and holding tanks. And leaks.
How would a newbie go about checking for those types of things? Do I just ask the owner and hope they give me an honest answer? Or are there certain little tricks I can learn so I know what to check for when I look?

Thank you for all your help!
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