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Old 02-22-2010, 01:38 AM   #1
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Russellville , Arkansas
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Financial questions:

I know, read... I've been doing so and am seeking information as to 'where to begin'. (Lota info here)

Background:
I'm Medically retired from the Corps, and going back to school (In the Ozarks)

Have housing, but considering living in an Airstream as a cost effective means not to have roomates. (I've had enough of that!)

Grandparents had an Airstream... it's the only option.

Would live in it a couple years (In a campground)
"Boondocking' probable during the summer.

Likely I'd continue to be a 'fulltimer' when I moved to a new area after getting my degree.

I'm used to living in Barrics, out of a seabag etc so the size will not be an issue.

Other:
Single, no plans to change it.
Tow vehicle not an issue, would rent/borrow to get the trailer on site, and buy a new (To me) tow vehicle before graduation as current vehicle will be due for replacement.

Price is however.
I'd like to spend about $7,000.
I CAN spend more if required/most practical price/quality ratio.

But I'm pretty cheap.

I came here due to seeing a add for a 1964 28 footer (Original) for $1,650:
Quote:
We hate to part with this original 1964 Airstream. We are the second owners of this classic. The Ambassador has all the original items such as: refrigerator, stove, furance, cabinets, etc. 1964 was the first year of many new changes. The Uni-volt wiring system operates lights and appliances. Switches from 110 volt to 12 volt using a switch. This is also the first year for the aviation style bathroom, sink and tub combination. 1964 also brought the marine style water pump and one stop service center for electrical and sewer hookups. The trailer has a double axle both with Kelsey-Hayes Electric Brakes. The bathroom is at the rear, fold out couch at front next to entrance. Kitchen is at midship next to a single bed and cabinet setup. Has wardrobe and linen cabinet as well as a medicine cabinet and plenty of storage.
Our intent was to completely go through the camper w/updated appliances, cabinets, flooring, etc. We have all the original paperwork, appliance and warranty information.
I was contemplating a renovation...

But after my reading here I am not so sure...
I don't pretend to be 'handy' but I have fixed minor auto work, worked on my bikes (A little) and built guns.
With the manuals and sweat/blood I can find a way.

Size: Prefer 24-30 foot.
Also flexable.

So my question:

I BELIEVE I should look for a post 1974, 23+ feet, for ~ $7K in more or less 'liveable condition' as that would be the most practical thing...

-I'd spend 10K, but would haveto be pretty sure it would not need much $.

I'll put work into it for the right price to effort ratio.

So, is that the best option given my peremeters?
Should I give up any thought of a 'gut the thing' as not cost to effort effective?

Thanks for all info/input.

Semper Fi.
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:46 AM   #2
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We did minimal work on a 65 to get it livable and I think your ida of spending 7,000 and going post 75 is a better idea. That's how we wound up with our 78. If you take your time you should be able to find somehing that meets your needs. Good Luck and welcome to airstreaming.
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:12 AM   #3
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Financial Question

I would look for a good 1975 to 1978 25ft Tradewind in good condition. A twenty five foot would give you the space you need for your studies and still allow room for other activities. Having lived in a barracks I know what size you are coming from and a Tradewind will feel great to you now and for awhile in the future depending how your life goes.
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:26 AM   #4
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We bought (and sold two years later) a 1979 24' Argosy for $6K. Needed water heater, small touch-ups, would have been real livable. I definitely could have lived in it.

DW and I live (>two years and running) full-time in 25' and it is just about perfect space for us. Has all the comforts -- a sofa, dinette, kitchen, two closets, and storage places everywhere. Nice in-between size.

There are a lot of Sovereigns and other models with owners retiring from towing, prices are often found in your range.

Very best luck,
Jim
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Old 02-22-2010, 10:18 AM   #5
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Another fact to consider is that among older trailers the longer models are less sought after, so if you have the space for one of the longer models and ability to tow it you might end up being money ahead to get one even if you don't use the extra space.

A lot is going to depend on your local market and if you can find something nearby that is reasonably priced and in good shape the floor plan may not matter much.
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:03 AM   #6
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from another Leatherhead...been there

Concentrate on your studies, first things first...

If you insist...get an SOB and see if it's even something you can deal with...

Getting an education and Stream'n just may not be compatible for you...
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
from another Leatherhead...been there

Concentrate on your studies, first things first...

If you insist...get an SOB and see if it's even something you can deal with...

Getting an education and Stream'n just may not be compatible for you...

Ya lost me... I AM concentrating on scruel (Why I havn't been on till now... I'm taking 18 hours)

But what does this have to do with living with one?

My roomates arn't bad... but I'm looking forward to 'just me'.


Why the SOB? It'd be worth 'not much' whereas the AS keeps it's value?

Color me confused...

I may look at a larger one, just remember my grandparents 'downsizing' and bitching about getting the longer one in and outa places (Or places which wouldn't even allow it)
-I went with them one summer from New York, out to Salt Lake City and back...

What's the length which is 'banned' mostly?

Thanks
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:19 PM   #8
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What color would that be?...
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad, 2nd View Post
Ya lost me... I AM concentrating on scruel (Why I havn't been on till now... I'm taking 18 hours)

But what does this have to do with living with one?

My roomates arn't bad... but I'm looking forward to 'just me'.


Why the SOB? It'd be worth 'not much' whereas the AS keeps it's value?

Color me confused...

I may look at a larger one, just remember my grandparents 'downsizing' and bitching about getting the longer one in and outa places (Or places which wouldn't even allow it)
-I went with them one summer from New York, out to Salt Lake City and back...

What's the length which is 'banned' mostly?

Thanks

SOB - some other brand or square old box

Truth - if money is a primary consideration Airstreams are not cheap - they are not economy trailers period. If you're parking it until you graduate - style and towability may not be big issues. SOB's vary in quality. Some are so poor that putting them on the road and towing extensively literally shake them apart. Airstreams with 50K, 60K, etc. may need maintenance, but they're still holding together.

You might want an SOB for college, and an Airstream for travel.

BANNED - well the 34 tri-axle can be a bit much for some small campground sites, and could be a bear to turn around. (I took a wrong turn going around DC last fall - had to take an exit ramp and make a U-Turn on a city street. Luckily I exited on an 8 lane divided road - it took 4.5 lanes to turn around successfully, and that was with a long wheelbase truck and a 25 foot Airstream - with a 34 footer I might have corrected in BALTIMORE!

Airstreams are measured from the hitch not from the front wall - a 25 footer will have about 22 feet of floor space inside. A 25 fits about anywhere, but most private campgrounds have upgraded to take the big honkin mohos, so the biggest trailer isn't a problem; as long as the driver can handle and back it.

The main things to look for in a used Airstream - no frame or floor rot and appliances that work well - a water heater replacement is not unusual, but replacing the refrigerator, the air conditioner or the furnace - expensive. Decent axles are a must if you want to do extensive towing - and the older torsion arm models do "set" and lose their resiliancy.


Gook luck and semper fi, Paula
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:43 PM   #10
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Sounds reasonable to me. But I would get one livable with maybe a few cosmetic issues. We are in the middle of full redo frame, floor, electrics, the works, and it is really time consuming and expensive. School is really important and should be foremost. A few cosmetic issues would be relaxing and fun between studies compared to the frustrations and headaches involved with a full restoration. If I was single and in school I would go for it. Ebay, Craigslist or here in the forums. Good luck to you. Bo and Susan.
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:42 AM   #11
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More questions to your questions

Do you have a place to work on your AS? Many campgrounds won't let you work there. If not you should look for a ready to move in AS. I'm currently doing some work to my MH & have rented a space (mobile home lot in woods) to do work.

It'll be hard to find a rental vehicle for towing. There are threads here talking of this. The biggest problem is the balls are 2" & welded onto truck.(U-haul, Ryder etc.) You can't change them for a 2 5/16 ball you need. It's best tow have it proffessionally towed. I had a local tow truck come to my spot to move a project Tradewind. He had several balls to choose from. Make sure the final resting place is level & ready if doing this. It'll cost more $ for a 2nd trip just to put TT on 2 x 6 's to level it. Be there upon arrival so you can place 2 x 6 or whatever leveling device you choose in place. If not, the delivery person will just unhook & go.

Happy Airstreaming & welcome to the fulltimers lifestyle.

Ricky
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:18 PM   #12
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banned length

We heard rumor at beginning of this winter, haven't confirmed yet -- the great bankrupt nation of Calif may at some time start allowing only less than 30' trailers?

Never mind that, many state and national parks more than 30 is royal pain to maneuver. Yet these are the very best places to get away and enjoy the quiet (except on holiday wkends).

Jim
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:09 PM   #13
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Good deals are out there. We found our 1975 Argosy 24' on Craigslist and paid $2900 for it. It needed cushions & curtains, so we bought a couple of full size foam mattresses & cut them down to fit the bed & dinette area, and got fabric at Wal-Mart & Jo-Ann's. We then sewed the curtains & upholstery ourselves. We camped in it for the first time less than 3 weeks after we bought it!

A new door lock (not cheap, even for the aftermarket version), new cabinet latches, an awning and rails (also from Craigslist, $450), a new water pump, new toilet, etc, have kept us busy. We're now replacing the city water inlet, the kitchen & bathroom faucets, the shower curtain rod and trying to track down a small leak in the kitchen area.

So, keep looking, and you should be able to find something that you can make livable fairly quickly. But be prepared to continually find new issues that need to be addressed!

Good luck!

Sharon
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Old 04-03-2010, 11:17 AM   #14
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Seriously, a standard box type trailer would make more sense for you. They have more room inside and they cost far less money especially used.

Where the Airstream comes into its own is when you want to travel a lot. Then the lightweight streamlined design pays off. Sitting in a park, it's a waste.

For your particular use, and budget, a used trailer in the 30 to 35 foot range would make sense. Big enough to live in, and you can find good ones cheap because they are not as popular as the smaller ones.

You remind me of a millionaire I know. He could never see spending money on rent, he always wanted to own his home. So in college he made a down payment on a 24 foot trailer and lived in it until it was paid off. Then he bought a 30 footer and rented out the 24 foot. When the 30 foot was paid off he rented it out and bought a 35 foot. When it was paid off he sold all 3 trailers and that is where he got the down payment on his first house. Duplex actually.
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