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Old 01-12-2020, 07:03 PM   #1
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1999 28' Excella
Frederick , Maryland
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Decision: Keep current AS or "upgrade"

The eternal decision, needs vs. wants....

I'm curious what goes into folks decision to trade/sell their (perhaps like ours paid off) Airstream for a newer model. Especially if you have an older one like me (a '99) where the trade in or money you get from selling it, only covers a portion of the new one.

Our trailer in many respects is perfectly fine. We have upgraded it in many ways: Stripped and polished, Ultraleather upholstery, memory foam mattresses, solar, TV, Alpine stereo and sub, all new brakes, bearings, drums, cork floor, new curtains etc. etc. We like it, but we are soon both to be retired and like most folks on here, we want to take the grand tour, perhaps more than once. For that, first of all, I would like a trailer with more windows. Our Safari's layout doesn't have a lot of them in the living area 9(no pano either). A front bedroom would be nice too. Maybe the rear lift door. Also, I would like the updated systems, ducted AC with heat pump and most of all, at my age, not to have to run the Cyclo anymore. I'm Cycloed out lol. I won't mind washing and waxing a trailer, but buffing. I would leave that to P&S if we kept. I must admit being a "car" nut, that it's lots of fun pulling into the campground with a fairly high wow factor. We get a lot of visitors from the SOB folks. Many of whom seem to dream of a 'stream (sorry,couldn't resist).

So there you have it, we have a perfectly fine trailer in many ways, that we love (I will shed tears when/if we part with it). However, I would like something 18-20 years newer for the reasons stated above. We would likely buy a late model used trailer to avoid some of the depreciation on a new one (BTW, I know I can easily sell our trailer for about $7-10k more than we paid for it, some due to upgrades, others due to the Airstream mania that seems to be around these days - at least until the next recession lol).

We can afford it without nailing our retirement funds. Well I guess all of our funds are retirement funds, but you know what I mean.

Looking at another 28 or maybe a 25. Flying Cloud, International of one sort or the other. Kind of like the interior on the Flying Cloud, as it is pretty much like our Safari with the swing up cabinet doors. However, we like some of the bells and whistles on the "higher" trim levels too.

To elaborate, I think I could get the low to mid $20s for our beloved Safari. Especially here in the mid-Atlantic, it seems like there is a dearth of AFFORDABLE Airstreams in good shape (lots of restoration projects though). The "new" trailer, depending on the year and model I would think will be in the $55 - $75k range.

I will say that I am a believer in buying what you really want, if you can AFFORD IT. Life is short. .

BTW, I can't believe how many late models for sale are there. Do people buy them on a whim and get tired of them? Decide they can't afford them? Take that one big trip and sell or, or see that the RV lifestyle is not for them no matter how cool it looks in ads etc.

Thanks
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Old 01-12-2020, 07:27 PM   #2
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It sounds like you are going to be in the market for a new airstream soon.

For a hopefully helpful reality check, I’m sure you are aware that with all the new bells and whistles a late model airstream will come with, there is also The pain and hassle of the shakedown trips and getting the dealer and/or factory to fix all the annoying flaws that come with a brand new trailer, should you buy one brand spanking new.

Of course if you buy a late model used one, you can presumably avoid both the depreciation hit and theoretically have most of the bugs already ironed out, as you wisely acknowledge.

I understand the only models with the rear hatch available are the 27 footers. If you’re going to go buy used, I would try very hard to find something before spring; as you know once spring arrives it’s going to be a lot harder to find a used trailer that checks all of your boxes.

If what you find is substantially the same as your current trailer, the logic of buying it becomes more tenuous. But if what you find is substantially better than what you have, then it will make a lot more sense.

Finally I’ll leave you with a very handy coping mechanism I stumbled upon as a little boy. When I was growing up our family was rather poor, I knew My folks could not afford most of the cool new toys I would see advertised on television. So, I would often pretend that I already had that toy and it was sitting in my room that very moment, and would ask myself if I wanted to go play with it righ now. More often than not, I realized that I didn’t really want to. I had plenty of other toys sitting unused in my room. Not too many nine-year-olds discover that sometimes wanting is more fun than owning. It makes no sense, but is often true.
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Old 01-12-2020, 07:35 PM   #3
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Congrats on your upcoming retirement! We retired last summer and immediately took a long caravan (Southwest Adventure). Loved it. While on the caravan we determined our beloved 23D was too small for extended trips, soooooo... we traded for a new 28RBT (Flying Cloud).

For shorter trips (<2 weeks) we were plenty satisfied with the 23D.

Since you’re used to a 28’ right now, be careful about downsizing now that you may be taking longer trips.

BTW one of the reasons we chose the 28RBT is the # of windows and placement of same.

Good luck to you. feel free to PM me if you have questions about our current rig.

Jim
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Old 01-12-2020, 07:38 PM   #4
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My only comment for consideration is that you first explore buying from an individual rather than a dealer. Perhaps look at what some folks here have for sale. We were looking at upsizing our 20' to a 23' or 25' and after visiting a AS dealer to look at models, the "yuck" factor of dealing with typical RV dealers (even AS) has turned us off for now. It kind of seems like RV dealers are like auto sales of 30-40 years ago. At any rate we will likely never visit an RV dealer for service or purchase again unless they radically change. Check out Yelp reviews and pay attention to the 1 and 2 star reviews to see my drift. Love our AS, hate the current status of most dealers and service, and thank goodness there is nothing on our AS that we could not service, repair, or replace ourselves (well with the exception of body panels and we all know where to go for that).
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Old 01-12-2020, 07:47 PM   #5
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In the same situation we bought a new 25’ FCFB and are glad we did. There are bugs to deal with on any new mechanical thing, but a good dealer and the warranty will manage those. Our feeling was that new appliances, ducted air, better windows, new axles, and freshly sealed joints were of value. Also, there is a metal, etc. fatigue to even a nice older unit. Our new rig came with a dealer incentive warranty on basically everything including appliances. We do highly recommend service and repairs at Jackson Center.
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Old 01-12-2020, 09:58 PM   #6
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Frederick , Maryland
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Thanks for the responses.

I liked skyguyscott's way of thinking from when he was a kid. But I don't know if that will work in this case. I would still be interested in hearing how some of you rationalize these more or less "unnecessary" upgrades.

Yeah I think buying a late model used one is the way to go, save a few bucks and hopefully have the bugs worked out. Of course there are some pretty good deals out there on close-out 2019s.

There is no AS dealer in Maryland (where we live). We are planning on heading up to Colonial in NJ soon to see what's what up there. Our daughter just moved to NJ about 45 minutes away from Colonial, so we can tie that in with a visit. They do have some close out deals, we'll see. I would be tempted to see what kind of trade-in I can get, but just like with a car, I would likely make enough more selling it myself to put up with the hassle, maybe. I have recently began to stop selling my cars myself and instead trading them as the people/hassle factor has just gotten to me after all these years. I sold my last trailer myself and it was fairly easy. Like I said in my original post, their aren't a lot of used, affordable, decent quality Airstreams for sale around here. Priced fairly I have a feeling it would go fast.

As for repairs, if it's not warranty, I generally fix it myself if I can (or can figure it out). I don't mind doing things like that, I just don't want the maintenance of polishing it and I don't want a stripped and polished trailer if it's not going to look nice. A good job for a young buck lol. I do agree, that taking it to the mothership is the best place for warranty work (and other work too I would think, although I hear they are pricey - but aren't they all!). Fortunately we are not terribly far from there.

BTW, feel free to check out the pics I have posted on here if you want to see my current trailer.
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1999 28' Safari
2012 F150 Platinum Max Tow 7650 GVWR 3.73 Elec. Locking Diff.(Prev 2003 Dmax).
Honda EU2000i, Equalizer Hitch
AM Solar Panels 150W - 2 Trojan T 105 6V Batteries

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Old 01-12-2020, 10:42 PM   #7
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Wait for the 2021 models to be released. A new 25í with rear hatch would be a very cool rig to tour the country in. Plus, other changes are in store for the new model year.
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Old 01-13-2020, 01:05 AM   #8
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Keep the one you love.

Hi, the new trailers are pretty. We bought our trailer brand new and years later we remodeled our living room to better suit us. I did a few upgrades here and there too. We really like our trailer.

What would be the benefit of buying a new or newer trailer??? More electronics that basically do nothing for us. More shine? A lot more money for basically the same thing?

If it was a motorhome with 100,000 miles on it with a worn out engine, a slipping transmission, and a howling differential, I might feel different, but it's a trailer!

My opinion; Keep what you have.
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:51 AM   #9
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IMHO. I am a new member, just bought a 1997 Safari.
"Why crush it when you can restore it?"
This statement goes for just about anything. I tow my 97 AS with a 2005 Ram 3500. 334K miles. Both are in very good condition, and I have no notion or reason to trade or sell.
Don't fall into the idea that you need to upgrade or purchase a new item just to keep up with the "Joneses"

Does it NEED a lot of repairs? Is it worth repairing? "As my mechanic says... $1000 repair now or $500+ a month payment for the next 3,4,5 years?"

Decisions, decisions. Good luck Rick
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Old 01-13-2020, 06:01 AM   #10
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Back hatch. It is right next to the back door.... think about that. It is handy for stowing bicycles, etc., and you can drink your morning coffee outside under the jatch, but blow out a knee and you will choose steps over climbing up on the rear bumper.

I love NOT having a suicide door, but it is a long dangerous walk all the way to that rear door if your meal of diner chili causes lower G.I. distress And then the bathroom is nearer to the front than the back so 20 more mincing steps to "social security".

The hatch is very nice for outside access to under dinette storage, but be mindful of too much weight aft of the axles.
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Old 01-13-2020, 06:33 AM   #11
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What’s a cyclo?
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Old 01-13-2020, 06:45 AM   #12
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You are looking for input so here is mine: short answer, keep what you have and pay someone to polish it.
We have always had a sparkle about buying a new car, a new house, or even a new travel trailer. But do the new new trailers really justify the cost? The cost of these things has increased far more than inflation and based on reports here, it is not because the quality has improved.
Sure, we do not hear from lots of new owners, maybe many of whom have few problems.
But, I shudder at each demonstration of lack of attention to detail by Airstream that is presented here. If you buy new, you will be stuck with dealer visits for 3 years. Colonial is as far from you as my dealer is from me and each trip is agony when I have been spoiled by the concept of a car dealer a few miles away. Then you get to fix problems yourself, some of which will still be Airstream production issues.
I think if you must part with the trailer you like and have cared for, then you should wait for the right lightly used, but proven trailer. You would be dollars ahead and maybe even aggravation free.
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Old 01-13-2020, 07:47 AM   #13
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Lots of food for thought. Thanks.

Shiny16 a Cyclo is a tool used for buffing aluminum. It was originally designed for polishing airplanes, but is also used by folks that have polished, non-coated aluminum trailers. It it’s generally used as a final stage after the initial polishing with traditional style buffer.

Isbordsky- good points. And it is worth noting, like you mentioned, it is unlikely that I would buy a new one. More likely 2017 or so (or whenever they started the ducted AC. I only have bought one new vehicle in my life and I regretted it almost immediately. The depreciation hit being a big factor. But also dealer with the dealer on warranty work.

One note, we kept this trailer for 10 years and wouldn’t mind keeping it another ten, but as I mentioned there are some things on the newer trailers that are very tempting. Most important the numerous windows that would be great on our travels. The availability of front bedrooms. Ducted AC with a heat pump. The list goes on.

Also as I mentioned in the first post how did you RATIONALIZE trading a perfectly fine trailer in on a newer (not necessarily new) Airstream, while your existing one was still serviceable.

Just like any purchase like this (Cars being a good example) you can almost always make a financial case for not doing it. Especially if the current item you have is still serviceable. Wants vs. needs.

Not that it matters that much in the decision, but we will be paying cash and not creating a new payment. We generally keep our cars, trucks etc. long enough to save up for the next item. As mentioned we have had this trailer for 10 years. We are the third owner.

I guess I am trying to be talked into or out of buying a newer AS
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:07 AM   #14
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Soyboy,

In my years of watching these kinds of decisions on this forum, you have already made up your mind. You are just looking for some reinforcement of your decision. To hell with all of us! It is your trailer, your money, your decision. Just do it! Whatever IT is.
Larry
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:22 AM   #15
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Lol Larry. Actually I havenít made up my mind, but i am curious how other folks feel about these decisions. Just a little back and forth. Beats the usual talking about tow vehicles, diesel vs. gas etc. etc.
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2012 F150 Platinum Max Tow 7650 GVWR 3.73 Elec. Locking Diff.(Prev 2003 Dmax).
Honda EU2000i, Equalizer Hitch
AM Solar Panels 150W - 2 Trojan T 105 6V Batteries

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On internet forums, please research and separate the wheat from the chaff (including mine!)
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:24 AM   #16
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" Beats the usual talking about tow vehicles, diesel vs. gas etc. etc."

Indeed!

Larry
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:28 AM   #17
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I have an FC 20 that perfectly suits my needs. So why do I plan on buying a 23' some time in the next year or two? Because it takes care of my needs and perfectly suits my wants. I'm 53, I've always been a saver and not a spender. I scoffed when I heard people say you only live once and if you can afford it it's fine. Recent events in my life have changed my view drastically. You do only live once and you have no idea how long that one time may be. I say do it. You can always spend a year or two actually making it happen, there's no rush.
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:30 AM   #18
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Most everyone has heard the old saying:

ďItís not the man who dies, but the man that dies with the most toys, winsĒ

A buddy of mine has updated that old saying to the following, and this could apply in your case:

Itís not the man that dies with the most toys, but the man that dies with the most toys ďthat are not paid forĒ is who truly wins!!

Just Saying,
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:00 AM   #19
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Smithcreek - there is something to that. Life events certainly impact your thinking. My dad died Dec. 23 (Merry Christmas ). my mom 8 years ago (which was unexpected). They had plenty of money, but always seemed to guilt themselves out about spending it (I think that in part is why I started this thread - some of that carries over). Especially my mom in that regard. They were good people, but it makes me desire not to leave so much ďon the tableĒ as I grow older. Itís hard to put a price on the enjoyment we get out of our travels. And they environmentalists in which we do that ( in this case in part our RVs) Hopefully, no matter whether in our current AS or a newer one, Our health holds up as we age and we spend a lot of time traveling and soaking up this life while we have it.
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AM Solar Panels 150W - 2 Trojan T 105 6V Batteries

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Old 01-13-2020, 09:08 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiny16 View Post
Whatís a cyclo?
A "Cyclo" is a duel head electric polishing machine uses to polish Airstream exteriors to a mirror finish.

Brian
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