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Old 12-01-2008, 06:41 AM   #15
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Jim,
thankyou so much for your lovely reply. i am glad that you're making permanent living in your Airstream work for you and Debbie.
thankyou, also, for the description of the interior of your little home. it sounds truly wonderful!

i also appreciated the discussion of the 'black tank'. you see, i would have known nothing about this were it not discussed here. i am, indeed, very much a novice regarding airstreams.
indeed, i have looked at mobile homes quite a bit. not only here in Springfield, MA, but online at homes in Tucson, too. [many avialiable in Tucson are very inexpensive and many were built in the mid 90's and later. here, most are older and have all that awful faux wood paneling- the very nadir of home decor!!yuk!]. alas, i wished there were Airstream models that are mobile homes! i love their style so much.
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:00 PM   #16
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Keep it dry!

Hi Guys,
I will say this to anyone living full-time in an Airstream. I've lived in my 31ft Sovereign for nearly two years and one thing you must address. The process of living, even breathing, in an Airstream creates a humid atmosphere. This matters less in the summer when you have doors/windows open and air circulates. In the winter, with doors closed, you will find that humidity will condense, invariably in the coolest part of the trailer, the bedroom. Place a slim, wall-mounted dehumidifier there and it will prevent water dripping down your walls and damp bedding.
Marc
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:52 PM   #17
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Remodel a mobile home....

Quote:
Originally Posted by snog View Post
Jim,
thankyou so much for your lovely reply. i am glad that you're making permanent living in your Airstream work for you and Debbie.
thankyou, also, for the description of the interior of your little home. it sounds truly wonderful!

i also appreciated the discussion of the 'black tank'. you see, i would have known nothing about this were it not discussed here. i am, indeed, very much a novice regarding airstreams.
indeed, i have looked at mobile homes quite a bit. not only here in Springfield, MA, but online at homes in Tucson, too. [many avialiable in Tucson are very inexpensive and many were built in the mid 90's and later. here, most are older and have all that awful faux wood paneling- the very nadir of home decor!!yuk!]. alas, i wished there were Airstream models that are mobile homes! i love their style so much.
You can remodel a mobile home.....it may be more cost effective in the long run and more suitable to full-timing and you can customize the inside however you wish.....good luck and don't be discouraged......pj
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Old 12-02-2008, 01:09 AM   #18
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You would need to have the airstream moved to a park you choose. I doubt many Airstream trailers are in place in mobile home parks.

I'd certainly look at all options, including mobile homes already in place. Even a small mobile home would be larger than most Airstream trailers. I suspect some low prices on single wide mobile homes larger than Airstream trailers. If you can find a clean older single wide, some of them are classic in their own right, with nice wood interiors.

But if you're heart's set on living in an Airstream trailer, I won't discourage you. I could live in my 25' unit indefinitely. It will burn up about $2. per day during summer to run the air conditioning (it will run continuously from about 9 am to sundown), then cycle on and off all night. If Rich Luhrs can travel 70,000 miles in a few years with his family, sleeping in the trailer every night, it would be much easier and cheaper to leave it one in place and sleep in it every night.

Check RV parks for monthly rates, they should be very cheap in Tucson during the summer.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:53 AM   #19
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A travel trailer is appealing. We all fell for it. Some of us have kept them "in situ" for years at a time (or found them for purchase like that).

True, the plumbing can be modified ($$), but I'm afraid that nothing will modify the only 2" of insulation between the walls of an A/S. Travel trailers "gain" space and "lose" weight by keeping the overall structure to a minimum, unlike a house or mobile home.

Think of it as an enclosed metal tent.

As a person long single I know the appeal. Like a sailboat or mountain cabin, it appears neat and simple. But that Tucson summer -- like our "summer" calling for 7-8 months of A/C in South Texas -- is long. Long and depressing without some form of shade for the trailer since these metal boxes really heat up and expand.

I ran A/C in my Silver Streak non-stop for seven months in 2007, only turning it off for service or travel. There were days it barely kept up, and we rarely saw temps in the interior below 78F at the afternoon's worst in July, August and September anywhere in Texas.

These roof A/C's are not quiet and unobtrusive. Nor are they long-lived if run this way; I would guess only a few years of operation before replacement at $1,000/ea for a serviceman to deliver and install. (might could be cheaper, but that's the way I'd budget it for every three years going into the deal; reality could be better).

If I had a spot that was providing shade to the whole roof and any western exposure I would consider it. But I also would be prepared for more labor than a park model might need. The "fixes" would be smaller, but the time involved in repairs higher; say, replacing a window. No going to Home Depot for that.

Hope you find a good solution, and let us know your thoughts at that time. Good luck.
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:11 AM   #20
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After some thought I'd like to make a recommendation: My grandparents retired to Mesa in about 1963, and after full-timing kept their trailer in the White Mountains to use as a retreat from the brutal desert summer. That trailer was sold about 1980 (in place) and I imagine it may still be in use. My recommendation is to travel a bit, and see if one can see some old trailers used in this manner. Granted, second, third or fourth owners may do as little as possible in the way of repairs (adding a Home Depot window A/C unit in the kitchen or bathroom as a way of keeping costs down; cutting out the original window when struck by a tree limb to install something, again, from H-D as cost and time are paramount.

In short, an approach to maintenance and repairs that heaves aesthetics out that proverbial window. Is this acceptable? I find that as age increases, and energy diminishes that concerns for appearances also decline (appropriately, I might add). In short, increasing age, increasing physical decrepitude, and decreasing funds lead to a situation that, over time, is not as appealing as ones initial desire.

While the rich may command what they wish without thought, the rest of us make do with what we find reasonable.

Thus the suggestion, if it can be acted upon, to tour facilities locally and more distantly to see what others have made of, once, "travel" trailers.

Again, good luck.
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:58 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDNAX View Post

If I had a spot that was providing shade to the whole roof and any western exposure I would consider it.
This is a nugget in this thread. I'd put shade at or near the top of any priority list for a site. The more the better but even half day or partial day shade is much better than nothing.

In hotter climates some permanent mobile home installations have shade covers over the roof.

At least one positive re: Tucson-quite a bit of summer cloudiness due to monsoon. In our CA Mojave desert many relentless days of pure sun. I know the Airstream's response to this climate very well.
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:55 PM   #22
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I'm not so sure it is even possible for an Airstream air conditioner to keep it cool enough to sleep at night in Tucson in the summer. Does anyone know? I would not consider even temporary camping in Tucson or Phoenix in our extreme summer heat.
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Old 12-02-2008, 02:27 PM   #23
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I have 25' w/ 11000 BTU Dometic Penguin. I've camped in weather up to 118 degrees in Laughlin NV, Las Vegas, and Johnson Valley CA.

Nights and cloudy weather are absolutely no problem, even in very hot weather conditions. The AC will cycle on and off even in 90 degree night weather.

Clear sunny days without shade present the worst conditions. During the 110+ weather I've managed to keep the trailer below 80 degrees for the most part by keeping the curtains closed, using exterior reflectors on the windows, attempting to orient the trailer for the least loads on the windows, and using roof vent insulators. Occasionally the trailer will warm up to the low 80s during a few hours in the worst days, but areas of the trailer remain comfortable in the breeze from AC. Always let AC run to get a good head start on the day's cooling loads.

I'd certainly recommend a 15,000 BTU AC for anyone anticipating southwest desert summer camping. I'd also recommend insulating the skylight dome. But most of all I recommend shade.
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:09 AM   #24
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thankyou, once again, for all the info. many of you have made some excellent points CON against living full time in an airstream in a mobile home park; i am not physically able nor fiscally, either, to make extensive repairs.
indeed, i think it's best for me to get a small single wide mobile home. 2 bedrooms tops. it's good to know that air condition an airtream would cost mabey $2 a day; perhaps a well insulated mobile home wouldn't cost much more.
it's also nice to know that a vintage [mobile home] model may well have real WOOD as opposed to the faux panelling and trim. i'd like to look at mobile homes built in the 90's- or later. i've seen many online in the Tucson area which are pretty low priced.
as for traveling around to see full time lived in airstreams, i would not be able to do that very easily. i don't drive and as well, my low income precludes being able to do that.
this is a very nice forum and i've enjoyed reading about people's airstream experiences!
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:38 AM   #25
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Interesting discussion here.

We live south of Houston, and we use our trailer most frequently up in the Lake Conroe area, about 80 miles north. We keep our boat there full time, and use the trailer to stay weekends (or more) when we go up there. On a side note, we stay at a nice KOA, but also there is a GREAT place called Park on the Lake where we rent by the month in the summer, we can leave out boat there with our trailer, and the wonderful thing is the campsite comes with a PRIVATE DOCK, you just can't beat that. I call it the $350 a month lake house.

Anyway, we also have the Dometic Penguin, and we also find that it has trouble keeping up in the middle of the hottest days. It has NO problem at all at night, even in the hottest months, and in fact frequently "freezes us out" and we have to turn it way down.

Here's my solution ... I am going to buy a Walmart portable air conditioner, and drill a hole in the shell for the exhaust pipe. The hole will be in the side cabinet between the refrigerator and the fold out table, so will be hidden when not in use. It will have a dryer vent type arrangement on the outside, also closed when not in use. This unit (can be 10 or 12K BTU will, in conjunction with the roof unit, keep up with ANY heat the world can throw at it. I have already wired a plug to the refrigerator vent area, so we can plug in the A/C unit separately from the regular trailer power, basically making the trailer a 50 amp type unit, kind of. Here are the units ... they are also very compact, only a 15 x 16 footprint:

Walmart.com: 10,000 BTU Cool/ 10,000 BTU Heat Sunpentown Portable Air Conditioner and Heater : Appliances

Walmart.com: 12,000 BTU Sunpentown Portable Air Conditioner With Remote: Appliances

The beauty of this is they are removable, and I can even take these portable units onto my boat, or just remove them from the trailer when not needed. They are also heaters ... so between this and the roof unit, I expect I might be able to forgo use of the furnace, which is a lot cheaper especially when renting by the night with electric included, in which case it is FREE.

What do you think?

Regards,

Steve
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:10 PM   #26
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Snog as you point out there are some excellent buys in used mobile homes just now.

It is also easier to remodel or redecorate a mobile home than a house. For example you can have new carpet or laminate flooring installed, and new vinyl in the kitchen and bath, for less than half the cost of doing a small house.

I'm with you on not liking the wood paneling look. One thing I have done, is to redo one wall. The lumber yards have many choices of paneling including some with a mural effect. I chose a mural of a landscape scene with trees, brook etc and redid one wall of a bedroom and it transformed the look of the room.

You do not need to repanel the whole room, one wall is enough to relieve the paneling look.

In this particular case some of the old paneling was damaged so I reused the good paneling to replace the damaged pieces. This also meant I did not have to hunt around for paneling to match the old stuff which was probably not available anyway.

I have also wallpapered over paneling after filling the grooves with drywall joint compound.

A ceiling fan or a new light fixture is not expensive or hard to install and can give a room a new look.

The hardest thing to change is plumbing. If the kitchen and bath do not suit you it is probably best to look for a better mobile.


Would suggest you buy the best latest model mobile you can afford, in a nice park, and redecorate to suit your taste.

This would give you a bigger living space, and much better value for money, than an Airstream trailer.
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Old 12-05-2008, 05:17 AM   #27
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Ganaraska, thankyou for writing about what you'd done with your mobile home. indeed, i would look for later models- say mid 90's through 2000's. geeez, i'd even seen a mobile home built in 96 selling for 6,700!!! i could pay cash easily for that, lol.
i am hoping the later models would have sheetrock/drywall as opposed to panelling. i don't want wallpaper. i could live with linoleum flooring if it's in squares, but, better yet, hardwood flooring. as for the ceiling fans, i am very fussy about the style i'd like, prefering a ceiling hugging stainless steel one.
thankyou very much for your input.
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Old 12-06-2008, 09:06 AM   #28
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Snog,

You would never find a travel trailer with sheetrock/drywall walls. Sheetrock is very heavy, and it does not flex. Travel trailers are constantly moving and flexing, drywall would have to be replaced after one or two trips, and you would be cleaning up white dust on a daily basis!

Regards,

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