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Old 07-02-2010, 09:51 PM   #1
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Airstream Virgin | Could use some advice!

My wife and I (both 30) are thinking of buying our first Airstream in a day or two. We've been doing a bit of research and have found one that we kind of dig.

It's a 28 foot '79 Excella with 74k original miles on it. It's been smogged, is running nicely, needs coach batteries and probably a good polish, but is otherwise (seemingly) in pretty good condition (has been loved and used).

When I was taking a look at it, we had to pump the accelerator a few times before it would start. After about 30 seconds, it started up nicely and sounded smooth.

Being noobs, we are excited, but wondering:

- are there any common issues that we should keep an eye out for?
- is ~15k a reasonable price tag?
- is there anything else we should be thinking of before taking the plunge?

I grew up travelling with my parents in a motorhome, so lot's of this stuff is vaguely familiar to me. But I could definitely use guidance from you folks.

Thanks!
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Old 07-02-2010, 11:11 PM   #2
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:02 AM   #3
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Hi, I hope this Airstream is better than his spelling.
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:34 AM   #4
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@Melody Ranch. Are listings like that typical? Looks like it's got a few more days of bidding to go too..

The owner of the Airstream I'm looking at said he'd be pretty negotiable if cash were involved. Are you saying I shouldn't pursue it? Better options? Is 71k miles too many?
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:21 AM   #5
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With older vehicles like these a lot of the value is what you are willing to pay. The one in on ebay is 3500 miles away. Not cheap in time and money to get to Santa Barbara. There was a '82 28' Excella with a fresh diesel up here last year that went for about $9000. It was kind of rough both inside and outside.

It depends on how much time and money you want to put out to fix one up verses buying one you can use now. You can also spend a lot of time and money looking for one to buy. There are not a lot of them to choose from.

I inherited a '82 28' Excella diesel and I could have bought one for the money I put in it to bring it back to life, and I did the work myself.

Bottom line if you like the coach and can live with the price, buy it and go camping. If you would rather take a month or two or maybe a year or two to find the perfect coach and maybe save a buck or maybe not, only you can answer that question. It's not like buying a new Ford or Chevy where you have many to choose from.

Whatever you decide move forward and have fun. Looking back and worrying about what might have been will only drive you crazy.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:12 AM   #6
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Since you asked for opinions, I'll give you mine. If you are a mechanic and a jack of all trades, and are looking for a vehicle to tinker with and restore, jump on used as the doin' is better than the usin'. On the other hand, if'n you want something that you can use, and be eager to go anywhere anytime, buy a quality brand from a trusted dealer new and under warrentee. That way, if you break down in East Overshoe, Maine you tell the tow truck driver to take you to the nearest dealer and relax as things get done. A checkbook is sometimes a better tool than a cresent wrench. Just my ever humble opinion.
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:02 AM   #7
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We looked for our MH for almost a year...traveled to several places...it was worth the wait to us, although we were anxious to buy...there will always be upcoming problems, but we have been really happy with our travels...we did join the Good Sam Emergency Road Service, and that was a smart move.
The 454 usually won't start right away...long way from the tank to the carb...Ours usually requires 3 attempts, but the 454 in my pick up required the same attempts.
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, I hope this Airstream is better than his spelling.
I was wondering about that myself, but decided that maybe that is how people talk in New Jersey. Could someone confirm that for me?


Thanks,

Ken
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:23 PM   #9
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Can't confoim it, I'm from New Yourk.

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Old 07-03-2010, 02:59 PM   #10
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Thanks to everyone for all the great input!

@Dan. Thanks! We're leaning towards pulling the trigger! We've learned that almost everything in the coach is original. So there that is.

@Snedwid. Thanks for your honest feedback. I'm not exactly a mechanic, but I am pretty handy, and love a good challenge. I am a (graphic/web) designer by trade, so the idea is to spend a year or so working from the road. Hopefully the repair schedule won't be too constant. I am cripplingly aestheticly oriented, so I'm not sure I'd be happy with anything other than an Airstream (or a Prevost, but those are $$).

@ScrapIrony-2. That's good to know. The Good Sam club sounds smart too. I think my parents had something similar.

@everyone who noticed the spelling. gah! holy keyboard! I know it's wrong to say this, but I keep imagining 'The Situation' from Jersey Shore punching out an eBay listing on his Droid. I'd almost be scared to buy from him as there could be some epic misunderstanding..

* Curious. How hard is it to make the Diesel conversion?

I do fear there's this (Airstream) obsession growing inside of me that might not be easy to ignore.

-Warren
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:08 PM   #11
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Good luck with your decision. About the only thing replaced in my coach was the heater and last year I replaced the roof air.

I put a 3.4 liter Cummins in my '38 Ford truck. It was a fun, challenging project but then I am into that kind of thing. If you want a diesel you would be a lot better off buying one than converting.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 07-03-2010, 08:11 PM   #12
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We had AAA come to our rescue, just the other day. We had a blowout on our Avion trailer, coming home on 985 just north of Atlanta. We were able to get over on the shoulder of the road, but four lanes of heavy traffic kept flying by. I was so glad we had the RV Roadside assistance to change the tire and help get us safely back out into the flow of traffic.You never know where you will be, when something goes wrong!
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Old 07-03-2010, 11:27 PM   #13
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Thanks again Guys. One more quick question.

I noticed that there are a few rivets missing from the siding in various places.. Probably no more than 10.. I'm guessing that it's not a huge deal but figured (as long as I have your attention) I'd ask just in case? Thoughts?
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Old 07-04-2010, 01:12 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by warrenivan View Post
Thanks again Guys. One more quick question.

I noticed that there are a few rivets missing from the siding in various places.. Probably no more than 10.. I'm guessing that it's not a huge deal but figured (as long as I have your attention) I'd ask just in case? Thoughts?
Pictures my friend really help. We are all anxious to see what you have been talking about.

Cheers, Dan
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