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Old 08-24-2010, 12:01 AM   #1
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I am looking at buying an Airstream trailer to live in for a year or two but want some suggestions, info, opinions from you guys here actually doing it.
I am wanting to get at least a 27' but would love a 31 footer if possible.
There is one locally I have my eye on and am going to try to go look at in person this coming weekend if it's for sale. Here is the ad for it: Airstream Ambassador for sale
Let me know what you guys think about it! I do not mind doing a little renovation work to the interior or exterior but the more complete the better.
Thanks for any info or suggestions!
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:21 AM   #2
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Shawn the no title no problem statement scares me. How can you be sure you leaglly own in without a title. If you plan to full time off the grid without 110VAC how can you run the electric fridge and electric water heater. The axles look in poor shape. The rear bath models suffer from rear end seperation so check this area properly. Jump up and down on the bumper and look for movement between the shell and bumper.
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:36 AM   #3
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The title thing scares me as well. I have been reading about the bathroom thing and as you said the axles too. I may just pass on it but will still check it out to get ideas for layout. I do not want the bathroom in the rear. I think either way I go I may strip it down (floor and walls) and re-insulate and POR15 the inner frame under the floor to keep from rusting and rust from spreading like I do on floor and frames while restoring old cars. Seems like Winter time will be hard in an AS unless I do some insulation upgrading and a few other things.
What years should I keep a look out for that will have 110V outlets and such?
Here is my plan. I will be buying some land to live on. I would like to run my water from a well that a house runs off of and for sewer I would like to do a septic tank of some sort as well. I do not plan to travel in this thing for the first 2 or 3 years so permanent is not a problem. As for electricity I am not sure on this yet and for gas I am thinking of a huge tank unit outside. I pretty much want to live in this AS on my land until I build a home. Drilling and adding a well will be fine because it can be used for the home when built, etc. The rest I am still having to do my research on and have been reading the forums like crazy for idea's and what can and can't be done.
Thanks!
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:21 AM   #4
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I`m not sure abour all years but 70`s are hard to remove all floor without lifting shell. It can be done but not in full width sheets. How cold does it get ther in winter. A skirt around bottom will keep out cold. two small halogen work lights kept my floor warm with a skirt. If you are going to live without hydro make sure unit has working gas water heater and working gas & electric RV fridge.If temps get below freezing there the water line above ground needs to be wrapped and heated with electric line heat for water pipes. To do it properly a drilled well and septic system will be expensive. You may have zoning issues as well. Here you cannot install septic and well without house first. We also cannot put trailer on land and live in it. I think you have a few items to sort out before you pick a unit. Land, water, septic,hydro, gas etc, then you can pick unit to fit your needs. Maybe try a trailer park that has all services on site first until other issues resolved. Boondocking or dry camping without services is alright for a few days but not for full timing.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:26 AM   #5
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I will look into the laws here for this. I believe you can put a trailer on land and live in it. I may be wrong but I have seen it done here before. I will read around here some more and get some more info figured out and try to find out what my local laws are for trailers on land and having a well system and septic. A well system will need to be done anyways for the home so figured I might as well do it now. That and most homes in my area are on wells and not on city water unless you live in a big gated community.
As for weather it will get into the teens here but mostly in the 30's. Sometimes it will get down in the 20's and 18 degrees but not for long, maybe a few weeks.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:33 AM   #6
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A well here can cost $5000 and a septic twice that. Bringing electricity in to a site can be several thousand also. Your local power authority may have issues about supplying electricity with out a house . boondocking is ok in warm summer weather. Battery to run furnace will only last hours without recharging
Like I said lots of problems to overcome first
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:35 AM   #7
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Here a permit to put in a driveway and get an emergency lot number in case of fire etc cost $1500
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:02 AM   #8
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What if I use my fathers home and park it next to his house in the meantime? Can I rob the power and water from there and be fine do you think? That is another option that I talked to him about.
From reading around it seems that Winter time in one of these will be tough and a box type camper/trailer is a better option with more room as well... I'd really like to go the Airstream route but if it just cant happen it cant happen.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:29 AM   #9
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shawn a white box SOB trailer is even less set up to use in the winter.Their under belly is not enclosed,insulated or heated. Most of the have plumbing under the floor that would freeze. Using an as in your parents driveway is easily doable. Water hookup is easy jus wrap it with line heat and wrap and insulate it. If you have a dedicated 30AMP circuit with a RV outlet, plugging in the trailer will be easy. The only issue that would be difficult is the sewer. How easy it would be to hook up the trailer to your parents house or septic system you would have to find out for yourself. I used mine like that without water or sewer for a couple of winters. sort of like guest house without a bathroom or kitchen.
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:36 PM   #10
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I am in a similar situation, have been dreaming of fulltiming for years! I am currently looking for a vintage 31' and I amhaving some trouble getting financing.

Wasagachris, I really want a 31' Excella or Sovereign. What are your thoughts on the difference between the two? I found a 73 Sovereign with a rear bedroom that I'm really excited about. Good condition, they are asking $13,500 though.

I have given up on the whole "setting utility systems up on land" idea. It's alot of work, and I haven't heard of anyone being able to do it without an existing house on the property. I am now looking for friends with property, or an RV community lot rental.

I am so excited to find this forum!!!!! I can't wait to learn as much as possible about the trailer lifestyle and baby, this is the place to be!!!
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Old 10-23-2010, 10:18 PM   #11
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Zisi The differences between Excella and sovereign are mainly cosmetic. There are however some nice differences like soild tri fold sliding doors between bed and bath rooms and between bath and kitchen instead of accordian style doors,extra storage compartments & shelves, power and water lines on reels instead of loose, extra lighting and drape valances etc.
Check out this excella it looks good and is very close to you.
Airstream Excella 31ft 1973: eBay Motors (item 320606470035 end time Oct-28-10 07:17:09 PDT)
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Old 10-23-2010, 10:35 PM   #12
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Zisi: I don't want to be a wet blanket, but I've been looking into the vintage trailer thing myself, and something you said raised a red flag with me. You should assume if you're buying a 40-year-old trailer, you'll need to spend a fair amount of money AFTER the purchase bringing the trailer's systems up to date just for comfortable camping... if you're going to full-time in it, figure on spending even more.

So, if you're thinking of the purchase price in terms of "what it costs" you are probably missing a big part of the equation. Check out some of the threads on these forums about the amount of sweat and money people put into their old trailers.
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Old 10-23-2010, 10:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wasagachris View Post
Zisi The differences between Excella and sovereign are mainly cosmetic. There are however some nice differences like soild tri fold sliding doors between bed and bath rooms and between bath and kitchen instead of accordian style doors,extra storage compartments & shelves, power and water lines on reels instead of loose, extra lighting and drape valances etc.
Check out this excella it looks good and is very close to you.
Airstream Excella 31ft 1973: eBay Motors (item 320606470035 end time Oct-28-10 07:17:09 PDT)
I agree, unless the bids run up a lot, that looks like a nice unit.
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Old 10-23-2010, 10:54 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by wasagachris View Post
A skirt around bottom will keep out cold. two small halogen work lights kept my floor warm with a skirt.
Please elaborate on this skirt thing -- is this something that can be purchased? Or something you make yourself? We typically take a 2 week camping trip in March. Depending on where we go, there can be snow on the ground (such as at the Grand Canyon a couple of years ago). That was in our pop-up, and we had a lot of anxiety about tanks and lines freezing. We really would like to be able to set up our Airstream (once we get one) for full time camping. (I know -- someone will reply "search the archives" -- but gosh, this search engine is limited. Believe me, I have tried. If you can point me to the right link I would really appreciate it.)

Tammie
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