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Old 02-23-2014, 03:49 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Currently Looking...
Springfield , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 11
Pay first? Ship first? How long?

Hi there, everyone. Been perusing the site some but really haven't found clarity on actually getting an AS shipped ONCE the deal is locked in. In other words, the time between handing the money over to a shipper arriving & loading it up.

Here's some of my questions since this is completely new to me.

1. Waiting for a shipper- Flying in possibly over a few states to see an AS, so won't have a TV with me. How long does it take (avg) once a deal is struck, forms signed, and title in hand for a shipper to either tow it or mount it (untowable)?

Not too comfy with paying someone $1000s, then flying back home and hoping they don't screw me over waiting for a week or longer for a shipper to pick it up.

2. Paying the shipper- Does this need to be done before they take the job? After the shipping? I have more confidence in a shipper, just don't know the protocol.

3. Towing it yourself- Not to keen on this because I'm going to be a new RVer so not sure how to actually verify that a AS is "ready to go" (if it's a restoration job purchase), or a decent looking model. How "doable" is it to ensure the axle won't fall off, bearings repacked, tires...etc.?

4. Tow hitch- Haven't seen many AS for sale with a W/D tow hitch on. Should I buy one first and go with a "sure thing"? Wait? Why? Just a newbie with a ton of questions, lol.

5. Caveats- Any caveats to the above questions? Been reading, learning, and absorbing so much info from selecting a gasser vs diesel, tow hitches, tongue weight vs tow weight, different AS models...etc. Wow, it almost seems neverending! And this is just a means to an end which is to enjoy the outdoors primarily.

6. Ship to local RV repair?- Even though I may be able to pick up more from reading about RVs, I'm hardly going to be able to learn all the intricacies of an AS in a short time when I already work 65+ hours/wk. Would the local RV repair/sales place be able to give it a once over, or would I need to take it to an AS specialist/renovator for that? No need in shipping/towing it to my place only to take it elsewhere first in case it's not actually "usable" yet.

Thank you everyone. Just picked up a gasser (PV & TV) that can handle 950/9500#, and am looking for a 25-27' AS. Was gonna get the AS first but if it's close I wouldn't be able to tow it myself without a vehicle.

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Old 02-23-2014, 04:08 PM   #2
Rivet Master

1986 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,777
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Pretty similar to buying a new car. Start on the Airstream website, get an idea of what model/size you might be interested in, call the closest dealer and see if they have one or more for you to look at, visit dealer, negotiate price.

If they have the unit you want on site, you can work out delivery time. In almost all cases a decent dealer will carefully go over every aspect of the care and feeding of your new Airstream at the time of pickup. If you end up ordering one to your specs it can be weeks to months before the unit is delivered to your dealer then you work out a delivery time.

Your dealer can probably arrange delivery to your home if you do not want to tow it yourself.

It really isn't rocket science.

You simply won't get a consensus here on the forum regarding hitches or tow vehicles. It is like discussing religion -- everyone's truth is THE truth... All you can do is scan the appropriate posts, figure out the pros/cons of each type, and decide for yourself.

Good Luck,


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Old 02-23-2014, 04:29 PM   #3
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Berlin , Maryland
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As you will eventually have to tow it I say tow it. Just take it slow and easy.
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Old 02-23-2014, 05:31 PM   #4
1 Rivet Member
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Springfield , Illinois
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I should have qualified this. A purchase from a private party.

Unlike buying most cars, you drive off after the paperwork is done whether private party or a dealer. Not always the case with a TT. Thanks.
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:36 AM   #5
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2011 31' Classic
Nellysford , Virginia
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I understand. We had ALL the same questions in Feb. 2011 when we shopped. Because I already had a truck with tow pack I just kept looking until I found candidates within a reasonable driving distance. Looked at two before buying the third one from a private party. Reading their posting, looking at the pictures, and talking to them on the phone convinced me. If the unit was even near what was described I would buy it. We drove down. Fell in love. Towed her home, slowly and carefully after some instructions from the previous owner. You Can Do It.
Linda Heuer. President Shen. Valley Unit
Greg Heuer, 2nd VP Shen. Valley Unit
2011 31' Classic Ltd. - The Silver Otter III
2013 GMC Denali 2500HD 6.6 DuraMax - Sierra Blanca
TAC VA-18 | WBAC 1927 - Shen. Valley Unit 149 | AIR 53869
with Corey, the Norwegian Forest Cat
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:53 AM   #6
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2005 25' International CCD
Lilburn , Georgia
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 263
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While we didn't technically buy site unseen, it was close. We found what we wanted, then in less than a week bought a tow vehicle, installed the break controller (it had a tow package on it), arranged for financing and insurance and then went to see the trailer. In our case the hitch came with the trailer. The trailer was as advertised, and the previous owners were honest and nice people. We didn't actually negotiate price till we arrived, but we already knew it was a good deal so we paid slightly less than asking price, just to say we did something. From reading on these forums, it seems that we were lucky. We had a cashiers check from a major bank for about half the price and a personal check for the rest. At the time it didn't even occur to me that this arrangement could possibly be an issue. The PO had no problem with that arrangement and he knew it was the plan.

Once we were done the PO helped hitch up and away we went for an 8 hour drive. It was not without excitement though. Our hitch was not set up correctly and our front wheels skated down the road due to not enough weight distribution. But we made it with careful driving. Never towed a trailer before this time.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:53 AM   #7
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
1953 32' Liner
1955 22' Safari
Valley View , Texas
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Yur giving me heebie jeebies....

Only if your very fortunate will this work out in what I would consider a good result. First of all buying it unseen......???? Next, unseen and your inexperience....? Shipping.....way to many unexpecteds, way to many. As mentioned...your going to have to haul it sometime, so do it. Unless it is a vintage the Airstream should be OK to go.....make new tires, battery and wheel bearing service part of your purchase agreement. Arrange for a pre purchase inspection by a reputable RV company and pick it up there. If your unfamiliar with anything, your questions will be answered there. Now your ready for a nice adventure back home. The fun has already begun.
"If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted
then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production."
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:38 AM   #8
RJ Dominic, 1975 Soverign
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1985 34' Sovereign
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LaGrangeville , New York
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Hi Midwest,
What age range TT are you thinking of buying?
RJ Dominic
Flat Creek International, Inc.
Vintage Transport Solutions
(914) 204-6190
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:16 AM   #9
Well Preserved

1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Go there in person.
Pay the seller in cash or certified funds after you verify there is clear title, and the serial/VIN match the trailer.
Get all necessary paperwork completed before giving up the cash.
Take the trailer with you when you leave.

Anything else is asking for problems.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:13 PM   #10
1 Rivet Member
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Springfield , Illinois
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Posts: 11
Thank you everyone for your answers. Very valuable indeed! My gasser tops out at 9500# so I'm not going to go close to that, and looking for a 25-27' beauty. Still debating whether to go for a restoration unit, a restored unit, or one that just needs some TLC with optional updating. Kinda leaning toward the latter since I'll be able to camp out by April/May. Looking at '80s-90s models (if I can afford it), without carrying a huge loan since the TT isn't what defines me but what I do outside of the TT.

Been reading some more & will get my tail out to see some soon. It was 4 degrees in Central IL this morning. That bites.
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:20 PM   #11
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Fenton , Missouri
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If you have no experience with RV's, I'd also have someone take a good close look at that trailer with you to verify the condition. You've got some pretty expensive issues to deal with if the fridge isn't working, non functioning air conditioning, heating, water heating, plumbing or holding tank leaks just to name a few things.

You may also need to repack wheel bearings, replace tires and check brakes before heading for home. There are folks here on the forum who have volunteered to do inspections if you happen to buy from the area where they live. Doesn't hurt to ask.



Jack Canavera
AIR #56
'04 Classic 30' S.O.,'03 GMC Savana 2500,'14 Honda CTX 700
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