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Old 06-19-2008, 10:13 PM   #1
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Newbe questions

Well, it's my first post in this forum. My wife and I want to full time in a couple years. We have researched and read books and had really considered going with a 31ft 5er and 1 ton diesel pickup. I kept seeing these beautiful AS on the roads and maybe saw the light. I have a number of questions to help me make that decision. We have no pets, just the two of us. We will have a combination of boondocking, traveling from Vegas to the midwest to W. Virginia every year (seeing the kids). We also plan on trying our hand at Workamping, hopefully down south for the winter months. My plan is to find a good 90s AS, probably in the 28 to 31ft size. Question 1: Since the AS is not like anything else out there construction wise, are the typical RV problem of leaks a problem? I take it that there is no resealing or maintenance of a roof. 2. How difficult is it to keep the exterior shiney? 3. What size truck will be needed to haul? I'm guessing a 3/4 ton diesel. 4. What hitch works the best? 5. Grey and black water tank size? I'm not concerned about fresh water as I can carry extra in the tow vehicle. 6. What was the first year AS had a slide out? I guess that's enough for now (maybe too much).
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:35 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums Vegasdan!

Here is a link to a thread that might have some additional things for you to think about as you are researching Airstreams: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f353...eam-22920.html

Here is also a link to interesting layouts, floorplans, pics, etc. if you should decide to go "vintage"... Vintage Airstream Photo Archives

There are resealing issues and leaking issues... different than a box trailer, but not maintance free by any means. The trailers wiggle and jiggle going down the road, things loosen up. You might try the search function (it usually gives you lots of threads that has the topic... doesn't really filter very well...) or look at the portal and check out all the threads and see if you can find threads on topics you are interested in!

The best hitch??? Likely the Hensley Hitch (also the most spendy...) Here is a thread on this hitch.... http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...ide-26279.html

The grey and black water tank size depends on year, model, etc. So that might be info you would find when looking at a particular rig. You might check on the classifieds here and start making notes on what you like, what you want, etc. Eventually you will find the perfect for you Airstream!

Hopefully others will chime in on their opinions! Good luck!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi traveling in S Tardis ~ from the Great State of Jefferson
My new blog: Yreka History
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:39 PM   #3
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Welcome to the Airforums! We are glad you are looking to join the wacky world of Airstreaming. You will be glad you did. There are a number of subforums that you can poke around in to help answer most of the questions you have...some answers vary depending on the Airstream you end up with, its age and floorplan, and what your tow vehicle is. Though Airstreams don't have the typical rubber roof that other types of RVs have, there are leak issues...but they can be overcome. Others will chime in here soon to give you information and between the subforums, member input and your questions you'll get the info you need to make a good decision...

See you down the road!
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Old 06-20-2008, 02:16 PM   #4
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Welcome Vegasdan!

You might want to read Rich Luhr's blog. Tour of America

He is the publisher of Airstream Life magazine and spent over 2 years on the road fulltime.

Brad
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:03 PM   #5
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Dan, welcome to the Forum. We've had our Safari since last October and would have been lost without all the information we've learned here. Now we're thinking about selling our house when the mortgage mess ends and fulltiming for a year or so and then settling somewhere else. You're asking some good questions and the answers are all over the Forum. Seems to me you have some major questions to answer, each to be taken in order: (1) what Airstream model, (2) what tow vehicle, (3) what hitch system, (4) selling or renting out your house (if you have one and I know Las Vegas housing market is about as bad as it gets), (5) how to fulltime.

Of course, the answer to #5 affects #1—fulltiming in a 16' Bambi might lead to divorce. I think there are so many things to consider it's better to settle on an Airstream and a tow vehicle first, then go camping taking longer and longer trips until you have a good idea how to tow it, use it and fix things. You'll learn what you need and what you don't. You learn what you need for boondocking and for RV parks. You might find fulltiming is not for you, but several week trips are. You may have had another brand and know all this. But it still would be a good idea to try out your Airstream for a while to learn it's quirks. If you buy a used one, there'll probably be things to fix or update.

If we had even thought of fulltiming before we bought our Safari, we may have considered a longer trailer. Too late now. I think one aspect of fulltiming is to like being outside because it expands the trailer. Nice inside an Airstream, but after a while, I am sure we'll have to go hiking and maybe bring a tent to get away for a night or two.

It seems like you've thought out a lot of this already and are doing the same kind of research we did. Good for you.

I may have a few answers. The clearcoat on the newer units does not shine like the really old ones without any coating on them. The coating on a lot of '90's peels off and looks awful. Some people just let it peel off until they can't stand it anymore. We figured that the longest one in the '08 Safari line that could be towed by a 1/2 ton is the 25'. The Classics weigh a lot more, so 3/4 ton for any of the newer ones. Older ones are a lot lighter, so you have to check on weights for them and may not need a 3/4 ton. We wanted the shortest, lightest trailer with a queen size bed we could tow with a 1/2 ton. We wanted to use a Toyota because our experience with Toyotas is no problems. That combination made the decision to buy the 25' FB Safari. We wanted some of the extra goodies that came with the SE (the '09's will be called "Flying Cloud"). If you believe a 31' fits your needs, you will need a 3/4 ton truck. The good news is those trucks are very, very discounted. I don't know about a diesel, the price for the fuel is so high compared to gas, the benefits of better mileage are lost. Some people complain the newer diesel engines are difficult because they really haven't figured out how to conform to newer pollution standards. I think there are some gas engines with plenty of torque that will pull a 31' unless you get a newer Classic. For all the specs on newer ones log on to the Airstream website—it's all there.

People are as attached to their hitches as they are to their dogs and trucks. The Hensley hitch people will tell you that it is the best for a 31'. Maybe they're right. The Equalizer works fine for our 25' and costs much, much less. Water tanks on the 31' and 34' are much larger than the 25's (check the specs) and the primary good thing about that is you can boondock longer and don't have to dump as often. But you are carrying a lot of weight around when you travel, and then carrying water in the truck is even more weight. Everything is a trade off. I wish we had a larger fresh water tank, but we don't. I wish we had a larger grey water tank because when you bring extra water, the grey water tank fills up very fast and you have to figure out what to do with all that grey water. It's considered bad form to dump some on the ground, but with biodegradable soaps, I'm not so sure it's a bad thing. You can empty a gallon at a time into a bucket and dump grey water in the toilet to get rid of it ever so slowly. The black water tank takes a very long time to fill (unless you have the flu or cholera). What fills up the grey water tank is showers. So, tank size has a lot to do with one's tolerance for being less than clean.

I don't know anything about slide outs. Surely that extra room is nice. To me it seems like a lot of potential trouble. All that weight hanging out the side of the frame must cause a lot of wear on whatever mechanisms there are. The more traveling, the more maintenance. Maybe they work fine but in my possible ignorance, seems like a lot of trouble.

Gene
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:54 PM   #6
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Hubby Hank and I have been living in our airstream (International 27 FB Ocean breeze) since May 2. I've been living in it since April 19th.

We still have our condo, but have our A/S parked at a campground closer to hubby's work (to shorten the commute by half).

While we bought our beloved "Aluminotti" for a potential out of town project, we're getting in good practice... And guess what? We haven't killed each other yet!

I like the simplicity of it...

Stay tuned into this message board. There's TONS of sage wisdom here... TONS!
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Old 07-25-2008, 10:13 AM   #7
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We have been to the AS dealer a couple times now and are finding out more as we study and read these forums. So thanks a bunch to those who took time to answer. We have decided that the 27 has all that we could want in terms of floor plan. The Classic is great but the Safari with the extras are equally nice. Still planning to go with a 3/4 ton and still leaning toward a diesel.
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:35 AM   #8
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Veg, I think the prices are going up a lot for the '09 Flying Clouds, so I'd be looking for an '08 Safari (same trailer) and some dealers still have '07's. The Classic is much heavier. Some say a 1/2 ton will tow a 27' Safari, some don't. We really liked the 27', but didn't want the extra weight, extra dollars (about $4,000) and extra length. We find the 25' works fine for us, but everyone has different needs.

Gene
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:00 PM   #9
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Vegasdan,
We have an '06 30' Classic with a slide and love it. The only thing that slides out is the dinette and it doesn't slide out that far. But it does open up the interior of the coach. It does add A LOT of weight to the tongue and you would definitely need a 3/4 or better tow vehicle. If my recollection is correct I think the slide out models began in 2000 or 2001. There were some seal problems on the early ones. Ours has been water tight since purchase and hope it remains that way. If you want to do a search on the forum for "slide out" or "slideout" the best metod is to use google and enter your search thusly...

slide out site:www.airforums.com

The forum seach tool is a little less than stellar.

Welcome to the forum and good luck with your seach. I don't think you will regret choosing an Airstream, I know we didn't.
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Old 09-19-2008, 01:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegasdan View Post
Well, it's my first post in this forum. My wife and I want to full time in a couple years. We have researched and read books and had really considered going with a 31ft 5er and 1 ton diesel pickup. I kept seeing these beautiful AS on the roads and maybe saw the light. I have a number of questions to help me make that decision. We have no pets, just the two of us. We will have a combination of boondocking, traveling from Vegas to the midwest to W. Virginia every year (seeing the kids). We also plan on trying our hand at Workamping, hopefully down south for the winter months. My plan is to find a good 90s AS, probably in the 28 to 31ft size. Question 1: Since the AS is not like anything else out there construction wise, are the typical RV problem of leaks a problem? I take it that there is no resealing or maintenance of a roof. 2. How difficult is it to keep the exterior shiney? 3. What size truck will be needed to haul? I'm guessing a 3/4 ton diesel. 4. What hitch works the best? 5. Grey and black water tank size? I'm not concerned about fresh water as I can carry extra in the tow vehicle. 6. What was the first year AS had a slide out? I guess that's enough for now (maybe too much).
As Fulltimers We pull a 07 25' Safari SE with a Dodge Dually Diesel, get 17 MPG w/Superchip. Waste tank (black) last 2 weeks plus. Been RVing 15 years this is the best house we have had. Tried Workamping, gave up as we were not willing to work that hard, USFS in NC was the worst. I clean the exterior with Mcguires Detailer or window cleaner, interior with Orange Pledge. Don't need a bunch of fancy hookups, just drop it on the hitch plug in the lights and go. Dually makes a difference. Email me and I will give you specifics.
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Old 09-19-2008, 03:35 PM   #11
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I don't think I'd want to let the black tank go two weeks since it begins to smell bad before a week is up despite using sanitizer and sometimes adding some after a couple of days. I have a Flush King (check Camping World to get details although you don't have to buy it from them; we waited until it was on sale). Airstream has a connection on the side of the trailer to flush the tank, but you can't tell how clean the tank really is. You can see what's coming out with the Flush King, not an entirely pleasant experience, but after flushing it several times, you should get clean water. If you just use the Airstream flush system, you will not get all the stuff out. Then it can dry on the tank walls (especially the toilet paper) and be very hard to remove.

How long to flush? How much water goes in the tank depends on the campground water pressure. I have no idea how many gallons/minute it would be even if I knew the pressure. You need a non-drinking water hose to connect to the Flush King and I don't know how much a 5/8" hose (standard size I think) can deliver per minute at 60 lbs. pressure, a pretty common city water system pressure. You don't want a fountain coming out of the toilet or more likely, blow a seal. I count to 120 by thousands each time, then flush, then repeat and repeat…. You can also flush the grey water and get the soap scum out with the Flush King.

The Flush King is a wonderful item and makes cleaning tanks much easier. Now if there were an easier sewer hose system….

Gene
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:23 PM   #12
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Personally we researched over a year before we bought our AS. If price is not a concern, go with a diesel dually and hensley hitch. You could pull any airstream you may want. We love our setup. Our 08 tundra pulls about 10,000 pounds. We average 13 mpg. Our airstream is a 07 25 ft sarari ss se and weighs about 5600 pounds. Go to a dealer and spend alot of time hanging out in all the models. This website is priceless. Also check out classifieds when you narrow it down to a few models then you could eye a good deal on a used model, prices seem to vary alot.
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