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Old 09-18-2005, 08:24 PM   #15
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Thank you everyone for your many very helpful replies. I could not have imagined how many replies I'd receive all within the span of 24 hours since posting my request to this forum. This shows me I joined a great, friendly and very active community!

I can see by your responses there are some basic elements I need to keep in the forefront:

>> Don't buy before I try (or at least can inspect for bugs, drugs or thugs under the panelling first).

>> Make sure it is insulated and preferably double-pane glass.

>> Insure it's at least 90's or more recent.

>> Try to find one with extra width to insure I can stow my Boogie Board inside.

>> And above all else: recognize it is not gonna be the best babe magnet so my life as a poseur will be over...

Ok, funniness aside, I am a University Degreed nerdy stereotypical geek programmer. I'm currently finalizing an agreement for a job near Tulsa and honest to goodness, I'm quite comfy in a cubicle (my professional life in general) with my laptop, my iPod and my Pet Rock, so livin' la vida Airstream really seems a perfect fit for me.

I've considered mobile homes, but for some silly reason, the idea of having myself living in a camper gives me this psychological feeling like I'm forever on a vacation - the vacation that is my life.

See, told ya I have "quirks." :P

Ok, so now I gotta figure out what the price range is gonna run and how I'm gonna afford buying one...
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Old 09-18-2005, 08:33 PM   #16
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Hi, magbogs,

I've lived in Airstreams since 1992. Until this year in a '75 Argosy 28 and since March this year, is a '79 that I made a round trip of 3,000 miles to obtain. If you want to live in a travel trailer, and keep it mobile, as I wish to, you have to shed some ideas and shed some things. The old idea that with an Airstream you CAN take it with you is very misleading. You can take what you really need with you, but a bunch of your stuff needs to stay at home. (I financed a storage building at my folks' to leave my stuff in. I took half and they get the other half of the space.)

I have been very comfortable in the two trailers I've had, and I find that both 28 feet and 31 feet are okay. I like the extra living room space in the 31-footer, so that's what I'd recommend. (If you get the front gaucho and rear queen or twins, it also means that you can put your guests as far away from where you sleep as possible.)

There are Airstreams parked all over the place with folks living in them, but the trailers are not designed for that. Not only is sitting terrible on the suspension and tires, there's a notion that an Airstream needs exercise, that it needs to flex its frame and shell a little every now and again just to keep all the parts interested and working together. I like that idea, so I'm keeping this one light and road ready.

Tropical depressions willing, I'm taking my cottage down to mid-Florida for a forum rally this week. Time to practice what I preach.

I think there's a lot to be said for the late 70s and early 80s 31' Excellas. They tend to have the thermopane windows and little options that help, and they don't go for as much, foot for foot, as the little zippy wonders.

Best regards,

Lamar
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Old 09-18-2005, 08:38 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by maqboqs

I can see by your responses there are some basic elements I need to keep in the forefront:

>> Make sure it is insulated and preferably double-pane glass.

>> Insure it's at least 90's or more recent.

>> Try to find one with extra width to insure I can stow my Boogie Board inside.
Any Airstream unit you are likely to consider will be insulated. There are conflicting reports as to the Limited models of certain years having additional insulation, but I doubt it (where would it go?). Also, I am unaware of any double pane windows since the Corning glass units briefly available back in the 60's.

Being a 90's unit or more recent has no advantage per se UNLESS you want the wide body (8'6" vs. 8'0"). These came in during the 1996 model year, I believe, although I think there were some 34' Limiteds that were wide body in '95.

Somebody please be kind enough to correct any errors above.

Good luck to you.

Mark
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Old 09-18-2005, 08:42 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by SafeHarbor
I think there's a lot to be said for the late 70s and early 80s 31' Excellas. They tend to have the thermopane windows and little options that help, and they don't go for as much, foot for foot, as the little zippy wonders.
I agree that the very late 70s / early 80s units can offer the best value in Airstreams today. But the "thermopane" windows" is a new one on me. I have seen many, many of these and all had single pane windows. What is the story here?

Mark
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Old 09-18-2005, 08:47 PM   #19
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Mark,
My '77 Excella 500 has the dual pane windows everywhere but my '86 Sovereign does not.
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Old 09-18-2005, 10:27 PM   #20
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Alright, so what about modifications? I'm really good with a hammer and nails, electrical wiring, etc.

When I bought my car, a 1991 Olds Cutlass Calais that has exceeded 100,000 miles and still purrs like a kitten, I also bought a huge info manual that pretty much details anything I'd ever want to know about it.

If I buy an Airstream, are there manuals I can get for it? You know, in the event I wanna rip out and replace some wiring, fool around with restoration or replace a window here or there?

Maybe I'd want to install solar panels on the roof or embed a flat screen television and surround sound into the walls. Maybe wire in a custom alarm system connected to all the windows and door. Stuff like that.

I'd really need a good detailed manual on my particular Airstream wouldn't I? Are there such manuals available?
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Old 09-18-2005, 11:20 PM   #21
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There goes your 500 bucks' rent & then some, sweetpea.
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Old 09-19-2005, 06:54 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by maqboqs
Alright, so what about modifications? I'm really good with a hammer and nails, electrical wiring, etc.

I'd really need a good detailed manual on my particular Airstream wouldn't I? Are there such manuals available?
The short answer is NO. Depending on the year and model, there may or may not be an owners' manual. To my knowledge there are no "detailed service manuals".

RVs in general though, are different from autos in that most of the systems are off-the-shelf kinds of things, and the systems are pretty simple: no lubricated internal moving parts (unless you get a motorhome, another whole story entirely). Refrigerators from Dometic or Norcold. Water heaters from Atwood or Suburban. Same with furnaces and practically every other "system" appliance. The axles, of course, are from Henschen. Brakes by Dexter... etc. etc. You get the picture. The only things that are really Airstream are the shell, the cabinetry and the frame. The shell is aluminum sheeting, buck riveted on the exterior with insulation and wiring run inside. The plumbing typically runs inside the cabinetry, on the inside of the inner wall. It's all pretty straightforward. The most difficult part of repairs is chasing wiring in the walls.

Fortunately the Forums have an excellent search function. There's probably not much you can do to an Airstream that someone here hasn't already done and documented in some fashion. The Forums members are your best bet for that kind of information.

Working on Airstreams isn't necessarily difficult, but it can be time consuming and frustrating (and expensive...)

Oh, and BTW, I lived in a '70 Safari 23' for almost a year. I enjoyed the minimalist lifestyle, but a 31' would have been heaven. Had I been able to afford a 34' back then (in 1987) I'd probably have never moved back into a house! I'd vote for the rear queen bed floorplan. You spend a LOT more time in bed than you do in the bathroom!

Roger
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Old 09-19-2005, 11:41 AM   #23
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There goes your 500 bucks' rent & then some, sweetpea.
Whatchya mean?

If I'm paying $500 a month now, that's $6,000 a year in rent I'm throwing away. Multiply that by the last five years and I blew $30,000 on rent. Five years prior I was paying around $400 a month, or $4,800 a year, for five years at $24,000.

So, I look back over the last decade and see that I've thrown around $54,000 right out the window. Since I'm 33 and see myself living at least three more decades, I think now is the time to reconsider my whole rent-to-live scenario and just drop a good lump sum up front on something that is mine for keeps, you know?

I've not even been allowed to paint my walls from their glaring off-white to a nice tan or beige where I live now. And heaven-forbid I should even consider having a dog or cat!

I know it's gonna be a big investment, but my new job in Oklahoma will include a very sweet raise and the cost of living there is much lower than here. With no modification to my current lifestyle, and renting myself an apartment there for around $325/Month (I've been doing my homework and calling some places there), I know I can put back at least $1,000 each month until I have what I need to afford an Airstream. Might take me a few years, and even if I change my mind, in the end I'll have $12,000+ to either get a mobile home or place a downpayment on a small house. So I'm at no loss no matter what direction I choose.
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Old 09-19-2005, 12:07 PM   #24
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From someone who is doing exactly that!

I am located in Shreveport, Louisiana and have been living full time in a 1969 Overlander and I couldn't be happier! $175.00 monthly lot rent, about 35.00 a month for electric in the summer-10-15.00 in winter, and in the winter months, I never used more than 35 lbs of propane in a week (and that was when it was REALLY cold, by Louisiana standards anyway! I came down here on an assignment for my employer, and thought I would try the Airstream as a trial for my future dream...to live on a 32-37 foot sailboat. (roughly the same interior volumes).I have sacked away tons of cash as a result...plus my yard is mowed in minutes and my residence is likely worth at least as much today as when I bought it...no depreciation you know. The air conditioning (the original 1969 Armstrong unit) has kept up with the worst heat imaginable (you're from Louisiana, so you know what I mean), and I haven't found any problems keeping warm in the winter either. I do keep insulated panels in the window frames when possible, to keep thermal loss/gain to a minimum....Of course, I don't entertain much, but like you, I am a single guy who doesn't spend a lot of time at home. Just make it a point to date women with a more traditional sense of housing, and you will be fine! )It has been a great experience for me-I say do it!
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Old 09-19-2005, 01:05 PM   #25
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I am located in Shreveport, Louisiana and have been living full time in a 1969 Overlander and I couldn't be happier! $175.00 monthly lot rent, about 35.00 a month for electric in the summer-10-15.00 in winter, and in the winter months, I never used more than 35 lbs of propane in a week (and that was when it was REALLY cold, by Louisiana standards anyway! I came down here on an assignment for my employer, and thought I would try the Airstream as a trial for my future dream...to live on a 32-37 foot sailboat. (roughly the same interior volumes).I have sacked away tons of cash as a result...plus my yard is mowed in minutes and my residence is likely worth at least as much today as when I bought it...no depreciation you know. The air conditioning (the original 1969 Armstrong unit) has kept up with the worst heat imaginable (you're from Louisiana, so you know what I mean), and I haven't found any problems keeping warm in the winter either. I do keep insulated panels in the window frames when possible, to keep thermal loss/gain to a minimum....Of course, I don't entertain much, but like you, I am a single guy who doesn't spend a lot of time at home. Just make it a point to date women with a more traditional sense of housing, and you will be fine! )It has been a great experience for me-I say do it!
I read that some Airstreams are called Land Yachts so maybe you should just christen yours with a good name and pop out the windows and replace them with portholes instead? Sounds like a plan...

I guess the thing that attracts me to one is the "little boy" in me. I used to spend hours playing inside my dad's camper as a kid. You know the kind - they sit on the back of a pickup truck with the door over the tailgate and have barely enough room to turn around in.

After some of the posts on here I got to thinking about what I really have that I couldn't bear parting with. Turns out I can fit most of my posessions within the confines of a 3' square U-Haul cardboard box. Other than my clothes and two pairs of shoes, the love of my life is my widescreen 17" laptop (with integrated television!), my iPod, and a stack or two of CD's and DVD's with all my software, movies and music on them...

To say I am a minimalist is a major understatement. I think there are maybe two pictures hanging on my walls along with a clock and my two degrees. I haven't owned a television in over a year, since buying this laptop with TV built in.

Some people just can't fathom that there are people out there who make good money but don't own a lot of things. I'm one of those minimalist people who can see myself being happy as a clam (and living like one) in an Airstream.
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Old 09-19-2005, 05:50 PM   #26
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Service and owners manuals are available for some year trailers. Check the vendor list for Secretarial Services for model years available.
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Old 09-19-2005, 06:23 PM   #27
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Thumbs up Real Reprints Available!

Quote:
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Service and owners manuals are available for some year trailers. Check the vendor list for Secretarial Services for model years available.
Go ya one better...Airstream has started doing reprints of the orginal manuals go to www.airstream.com and check in the store, under manuals! I wondered when someone would wake up and smell the coffee. And if the year you want is out of stock email Airstream and they will let you know when the next set of reprints will be available.

Aaron
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Old 09-19-2005, 07:41 PM   #28
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Oklahoma?

Oklahoma gets REAL bad hail storms. And tornados.

But hail is what would keep me from living there in my Airstream.
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