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Old 02-16-2012, 12:50 AM   #1
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Question #2

From what I've researched, $5000 in AZ will get you a decent trailer but in your experience, is that usually a price range for a trailer that will require a lot of work on the inside to make it a full time home? I'm talking about safety when it comes to the electrical systems, propane and plumbing.
I'm looking at a 31ft or so to accomodate my wife, 2 month old baby girl and myself and I'm concerned about "safety", because of my girls. I wouldn't want to buy it, move in and then have problems with the wiring, a fire from a clogged pilot a leak from a propane line, etc...
Am I being too paranoid? Should I just spend more? or should I jus buy an ok AS and remodel it and forget about it?
Thanks for any and all input.

racer155
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:35 AM   #2
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We paid about 14 K for the one we have and we have had it for seven years now. The older models, you might expect the AC to go out at some point, and thats a 4 -5-hundred dollar fix. And also will mention that there ARE AS (airstream) owners who will come to inspect any Airstream you might want to buy. Have someone check it out first THAT KNOWS!
If you plan to fulltime are you going to be moving around, or are you planning to park it somewhere longterm.?
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:02 AM   #3
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Thanks anywhairstream!

thanks for the info and I should've said I'm planning on parking it. I won't be towing it around, not for now.
The AC maybe going bad is exactly what I'm talking about, I don't want to run into that once we are settled in, I'd like to have all that taken care of before we move in and that's why I'm inclined to buying one that needs love and work on it. Plus, it'd be another AS saved from demise
Thanks again!

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Old 02-16-2012, 11:05 AM   #4
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There is absolutely no way that anyone can predict future problems with things like AC units, furnaces, hot water heaters, refrigerators, converter/chargers, electrical systems and propane systems. All one can do is look at the age of something and make an educated guess that it may work for a while longer, and test it to be sure it is working prior to purchase. I had a refrigerator in a 310 motorhome which worked fine when I put it away in the fall, and upon startup in the spring it had lost it's charge due to a rust pinhole and was dead. A $1200 replacement cost. I had a furnace in the Caravel I purchased which seemed to light and run fine, but kept giving me headaches when I used it. Turned out to have a rusted through combustion chamber and I have found no way to predict that, other than general age of the unit (the older they are, the higher probability of problems). One can check for propane leaks in the initial inspection, but there is no guarantee one will not develop later on.

I guess what I am saying is a used AS, like anything else, can always have issues at any time. A more costly one, which has had more things replaced and has been carefully maintained may have fewer problems, but maintenance is an ongoing thing, from new to totally restored, to basket case.

I am not sure if I am even on the right track in my reply to your post. So, if it is a ramble in the wrong direction, please disregard.
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:17 PM   #5
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If it was me,with growing family, and you are gonna Park it and use it as a home..look into 5th wheels. More room and storage.

Just say'n,
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:28 PM   #6
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If it was me,with growing family, and you are gonna Park it and use it as a home..look into 5th wheels. More room and storage.

Just say'n,
Sane
Ditto that remark...

I can say that we have had to replace all of our major systems in the year and a half since we finished our post-purchase "update" (I won't say restoration, because that will come later) due to failures. You should, at least from a budgetary perspective, expect that the A/C will go out (we replaced ours for $700), your fridge to go out ($1000 if you go with an RV gas absorption, give or take), furnace ($600 or so) and hot water tank, likely your batteries and/or converter (aka the Univolt), which is another few hundred, depending on what you get. If you are thinking of moving it, then you also have to consider running gear (brakes, tires and/or axles) which will easily be anywhere from $600 up to $2k depending on what all you're doing. You'll also want to add propane and co detectors (depending on the age of the trailer, they won't have them) and then you'll have to evaluate the cooktop/stove.
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:17 PM   #7
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Maybe you should consider buying a used house trailer and live in that. The problem with old trailers is that they are just that, old trailers. They can, will, and do have problems. Very few unless they have been recently rebuilt back to factory or better than factory specs are going to be trouble free. You might find a newer square box trailer that will require less fixing up. Airstreams are built for towing. They are not the best bang for your buck as far as $ per square foot. RV's tend to have leak problems. All of them including Airstreams have wood in them that will rot. An AZ trailer may not have as much rot but unless you know exactly what to look for, chances are you will buy one with some rot. Fixing the rot is not an easy process.

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Old 02-16-2012, 06:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by racer155 View Post
From what I've researched, $5000 in AZ will get you a decent trailer but in your experience, is that usually a price range for a trailer that will require a lot of work on the inside to make it a full time home? I'm talking about safety when it comes to the electrical systems, propane and plumbing.
Prices vary regionally and seasonally, and it's hard to predict. Around here there aren't very many good trailers in that price range but there are more in areas that draw retirees and where rain is less of a problem.

With a few exceptions it is rare for safety problems to arise in a trailer over time. There have been some furnaces affected by recalls, for example, but that's about it. An older trailer won't have safety features like GFCI breakers but you could add those.

Quote:
I'm looking at a 31ft or so to accomodate my wife, 2 month old baby girl and myself and I'm concerned about "safety", because of my girls. I wouldn't want to buy it, move in and then have problems with the wiring, a fire from a clogged pilot a leak from a propane line, etc...
Am I being too paranoid? Should I just spend more? or should I jus buy an ok AS and remodel it and forget about it?
Thanks for any and all input.
I have a 30' trailer and three kids and while it's great for trips I would not suggest that it would be a suitable home for a family over the longer term. There isn't enough space.

The things that go wrong in older trailers are more typically roof leaks, plumbing leaks, and appliance failures. While those aren't safety problems as such they can affect quality of life.
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Old 02-19-2012, 04:21 PM   #9
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I've seen $10,000 tossed around in several forums as the amount one should keep in reserve when buying a used coach, to be used for repairs and upgrades that you feel are necessary. For example, you mention that your coach will be parked permanently. You may feel that, as long as they get you to the park, you don't need to worry about tires or brakes. Another person, looking at the exact same coach, will immediately replace the tires and brakes because they intend to travel.

Again, the previous owner may have replaced the air conditioner, for example. Having that done already may make that coach more attractive to you. If, however, the replacement was with something that you wouldn't have purchased for yourself, you may not be as willing to pay as much for the "improvement" as the seller would hope.

Only you can determine what will fit your needs.
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