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Old 07-26-2015, 07:20 PM   #1
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Coach that has been parked for a long time

While we're researching the possibility of an Airstream I check the Classifieds regularly. I've seen a couple of coaches that might have been of interest to us that have, apparently, been parked for several years. Since we aren't ready to buy at this time, those coaches are only of academic interest for us. However, should we decide to go for an Airstream, should we consider such a coach? If so, what areas might be especially suspect? I would assume that the brakes and axles would be prime areas to check, but else?

I would expect that a coach that has been frequently taken to new places would probably be a better candidate for a full-timer than one that has been parked for several years, but if the price reflected that lack of use (and presumably allowed for the repair/replacement of parts) might it be a good choice?
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Old 07-26-2015, 07:59 PM   #2
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Coach that has been parked for a long time

Tires ... and all systems as if buying a house.

We recently bought a 75 Overlander 27' that who knows for sure when the last time was that it was used. Prior to going to look at it I crunched some rough guess numbers for worst scene scenario. The PO claimed everything worked but couldn't prove it since it wasn't hooked up. The PO did not know much about RVs or his AS. Favorite two examples are he didn't know what the fresh water hookup hose bib was for, or how to set up the equalizing hitch.

The beautification engineer fell in love with it and because it didn't need a complete rebuild with new appliances I didn't argue. That was about 6 weeks ago. Once all repairs and replacements are complete, we'll have less in it than a new white box of smaller size.

Used is okay if you're good at repairs or don't mind paying someone who is. Repairs are likely less if it is in use or the current owner knows how to fix stuff and/or knows RVs.
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Old 07-26-2015, 08:30 PM   #3
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Thanks. I assume that tires will need replacement on any coach. If they don't I'm impressed. Same for batteries.
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Old 07-26-2015, 09:19 PM   #4
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1964 17' Bambi II
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"Trailer" it home if you can and assess at home if you are happy with the price.

We flat bedded our trailer home- it needed a new axle/tires/etc., but now I know I am pulling basically a brand new 1964 trailer.

Ours had sat since 1984- we brought it home in 2010. It is happy to be on the move again after all those years resting.
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:53 AM   #5
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Thanks, Pa. Looks like you had some fun getting yours ready to go. Unfortunately, we are full-timers with no home base, so whatever repairs/upgrades are needed will have to be done pretty much where the coach is located if they are necessary for safe towing. We will have someone who actually knows Airstreams do an inspection on any coach we're seriously interested in.
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Old 07-27-2015, 02:18 PM   #6
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Used Buses

Arizona's Sonora desert kills everything. My bus had been sitting for 15 years?? Anyway, I bought a 1995 Land Yacht Motorhome. It looked great. That was 1 1/2 years ago. $20,000.00 later, I still need to replace one air conditioner, replace the gas tank, repair the Onan Marquis 7,000 etc, etc. The bus needs another $10,000 worth of work.
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Old 07-27-2015, 02:36 PM   #7
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I have a 1994 Airstream Land Yacht that sat for two years before my son bought it for me. There was a lot of cleaning of course. I did change all the fluids, had systems flushed, fuel filter changed, new alternator belt. my son had step repaired, and it could probably use a tune up and new batteries. It runs great and all the things work well except the cab aircon. The tires were good but I did scape one on the curb and it'll probably need replacing My son paid about 6k and between us we put in a couple grand. I've taken it on two road trips, both about 7-8 hours each way. It gets 11 mpg. With combined city, fwy, mountain road travel. Sucks on step hills but does them. So I guess what I have to say is that it really depends on the condition it was in when you bought it and how many miles, etc. (mine had 56k) if it was lived in them there may be more wear and tear on systems.
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Old 07-27-2015, 06:36 PM   #8
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Your use of the word "coach" makes me think MH, but you mentioned replacing axles which makes me think TT. I know little about MH's, but a TT that has been sitting needs tiresand batteries, inspection of floors for rot, cabinets and out of the way spaces for rodents, body seams and tanks for leaks and gas and appliances for leaks and operations. If it is more that 30 years old it probably needs axles. It should not be lost on you that WBCCI has a very large segment known and the Vintage Club which speaks to the longevity of the products.
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Old 07-28-2015, 10:51 AM   #9
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Jacob, I am talking about a TT, specifically a late-90's 34' Airstream. I don't know what the requirements are for a coach to be considered "vintage" but I suspect that what we're looking at will be there soon.

The specific coaches that raised this question were all in use (at least as far as I could tell from the ad) but were parked for many years. I would assume that there were no leaks or small tenants, but sometimes moving a coach will "break" something that would have been okay if left alone.
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Old 07-30-2015, 08:34 AM   #10
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In looking at older TTs it is almost a norm that the owner lets them sit a few years before selling. The emotional attachment.

The ones I've bought were always this way. But be sure they haven't been using it as a storage container or to house relatives. THAT is where one starts to see problems (the attitude about the trailer).

A perfectly original TT from the original owner is an ideal situation, IMO. Familiarize yourself with sales brochures from the MY so you can spot changes.

Tired and batteries, etc, are just a negotiating tool.

Buy the one in the best condition. I favor exterior condition over interior due to cost (I don't buy A/S, so clearcoat is not an issue; I do mean worse than a few character marks).

Go into a 20-year old with the expectation that all appliances may need to be replaced the first year. The oven may be exempt, but the furnace (pinholes from rust), the reefer and the A/C are reasonable to plan for.

Is 1994 the first year for wide body? I'd hold out for that myself.
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Old 07-30-2015, 10:07 AM   #11
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I think in 94 there were some WB coaches available. By 96 the lineup had been sorted into WB for the longer ones and SB for the shorter ones. Yes, we want a WB.

Good points on the furnace and a/c. We decided before we even started looking for coaches that when the rv refer died we would replace it with a residential unit. We did so on this Foretravel and love it. That might be a possibility for an Airstream, too. We'll have to see. I asked about it earlier and was roundly criticized for daring to even think about such a thing.
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Old 07-30-2015, 12:47 PM   #12
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My Norcold has been running constantly more than 2.5 years. A thirteen year old model. I've always found three ways preferable. Otherwise a marine reefer with a substantial solar package.

I've had to run mine on propane the past month. Park electricity too low. So I'd advise considering worst case scenarios where you quite happily do without refrigeration.

I am much looking forward to what TT you eventually buy.

Good luck
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Old 08-03-2015, 06:34 AM   #13
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To qualify for membership in the Vintage intra-club the unit, be it TT, MH or 5th wh must be at least 25 yrs old. That being said, a 93 is getting close. You can join as an associate member and attend vintage functions which is a great help with older units. Vintage members are always eager to share their considerable knowledge and experience. I wouldn't worry about moving an older trailer that has been sitting a while provided careful inspection doesn't show any serious structural deficiencies. A/S's are pretty tough but you are right to worry a bit as seasonal and daily changes in weather conditions from hot to cold etc cause expansion and contraction of the metal skin and frame which I suspect may be the biggest single cause of leaks, your biggest enemy. Fortunately they are fairly easy to spot if you are diligent and don't mind sticking your head and shoulders into close spaces. An vintage A/S that has been garaged or covered well most of its life is a rare but great find as most of the problems you could encounter are circumvented.
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Old 08-03-2015, 08:17 AM   #14
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I purchased a 1994 34' last year that had been "resting" for about 5 years. I have replaced the running gear completely, and am amazed at the difference. Nothing opens or moves around now. You can expect to replace the A/C, the fridge, and probably the HWT in a unit of that vintage. From experience, you can have no leaks today, and after being on the road for a couple of days, find a leak with the next rain. Caary Parabond, creeping crack cure, and sikaflex with you!!! Chris
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