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Old 09-11-2013, 09:11 AM   #1
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Barrie , Ontario
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A 1976 31' Airstream on Kijii. Yay or Nay

Hello all. Long time reader, first time poster. I've been thinking about getting an Airstream for years, purely for leisurely pursuits - as a result, my interest has mostly been from afar, never really too serious about pulling the trigger. Long story short, my interest has suddenly turned urgent - a sick relative is too proud/private to take my offer to come live with us. He wants to be close to us, but still 'independent'. Thus he's suggested that we get a trailer and have it parked on our property.

That brings me to here, and my first post. Hopefully this isn't bad forum etiquette, but if I could simply post the link to the add here and then get some feedback as to what everyone thinks. There's a fair bit amount of detail in the add. When I do purchase, it will most likely be sight unseen given my tight timelines and the distance most trailers seem to be from my house. So it is critical that I be able to glean as much detail as possible in advance to making a purchase sight unseen .

1976 31' Airstream - Kingston Travel Trailers, Campers For Sale - Kijiji Kingston Canada.

So it would most greatly appreciated if I could get some experienced eyes to look at the posting. What I should be looking out for, what questions I should ask the seller, etc... I'm up in Canada, so we're talking Canadian dollars - but we're essentially on par with the US these days, so I don't think that should affect what you all deem the price point should be in relation to the CND price tag.

Thanks so much in advance. Cheers.
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:34 AM   #2
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1976 Argosy 28
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The listing looks promising. Of course EVERY used trailer's value depends on a thorough inspection, the seller can easily say all sorts of things.

The good: New axles w/ new brakes, good brand of tires, PEX plumbing, new electric converter

The maybe-good: Seller indicates "new marine plywood subfloor in bathroom." If the bathroom was removed and new subfloor installed properly, involving removal of the old subfloor and installation of new that's properly tied into the shell and frame, this is a good thing, it addresses the most common problem of 70s trailers esp. those with a rear bath. If a new piece of plywood was just laid over the old to give a firm-feeling floor in the bathroom, this is not a plus. You can tell pretty easily with these, because that hatch in the back gives you access to the aftmost part of the subfloor for inspection.

If the back section of subfloor was done right, and an inspection of the rest of the subfloor shows that it's solid, and the rest of the inspection is good the price is reasonable.

THAT SAID: It sounds like you're looking at this as living quarters for family year-round, in Canada. Airstreams are less than ideal as "park model" trailer houses, and less than ideal for real winter. It can be done, and if you think the winter-living part is temporary it may be worth it.

Not mentioned in the ad is a newer furnace. The original furnace in a '76 is probably ready for replacement. This is not particularly expensive but can be a bit involved because the new ones require some work to fit in where the old one came out. A properly-installed furnace in an Airstream heats the water tanks beneath the floor, and in a Canadian winter that is probably a critical function.
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:46 AM   #3
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Thank you for the reply. A lot of excellent feedback. The posting is about 3-4 hrs from where I live, but it sounds like a visual inspection is critical. So all tips on what I should be inspecting are very much welcomed. I'm pretty handy and mechanically inclined, but I must say, I've never physically inspected a trailer before. I don't expect the trailer to be used during the dead of winter, but nonetheless, October is cold in the evening in these parts. And once the time comes where the trailer will no longer be occupied, I will be taking out on the road.

Cheers
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:58 AM   #4
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As a fellow Canadian Airstreamer, I would not recommend an Airstream as full time living quarters for a sick or elderly relative. Think a small, slippery bathroom for starters.

Winter will be a real challenge. Airstreams are not build to withstand the very cold temperatures we can get here. Heating will be an issue, water lines may freeze and how are you planning on black tank dumping?

If you keep the trailer dry, i.e no water is being used, then it might just work, but even then keeping it at a livable temperature will be a challenge.

A highly insulated Arctic Fox trailer might be a better option for you. Our trailer goes into heated storage at the beginning of November where it stays until the end of April the next year.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:01 AM   #5
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As far as what to inspect, the excellent Trailer Inspector's Checklist is a good guide. Having someone who's seen multiple Airstreams and hopefully worked on some is also valuable, on the Portal page there's a link to see if there's a volunteer inspector near where the trailer is located. You can view that as either a way to get a wave-off if there are problems with this trailer and not even make the round-trip, or as a way to have someone go through the trailer with you and show you what's good or bad.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:17 AM   #6
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1976 31' Sovereign
Brownsburg , Indiana
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We used to own a 31' 76 and loved it. I can't speak to Canadian winters, but if you buy it - it will polish up beautifully. Check the vista windows - up high in living room - ours were ugly, had mold and condensation between double paned glass. That's a tricky repair - we just left them shut. Also the ad doesn't mention the condition of awning fabric, if they are original they will need to be replaced soon - about $1500 for new fabric all the way around. If the ad is accurate they have already dealt with most other expensive issues. The flooring is not original, it used to be carpeted. Those new axles are a big plus, and if it is as good as it sounds, that seems like a good price. If you are not sure what to look for, try to find someone on the forum that lives in the area and would help you inspect it.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:24 AM   #7
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I should add that the $1500 I mentioned for awnings is US$, and when I said $8000 seemed like a good price I am assuming that is, as you mentioned, a fairly even exahange rate.
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