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Old 09-28-2010, 11:41 AM   #15
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1971 25' Tradewind
Grottoes , Virginia
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Originally Posted by funkill View Post
Renovation is fairly subjective. Somewhere on this site, someone described renovation vs restoration - and I believe that renovation included lots of new *modern* mechanical/electrical components and also updated conveniences (appliances) with custom interiors. Could encompass A LOT of work. Restoration could also be a lot of work - but would likely be more dependent on the condition of the trailer to start... there are plenty of 70's out there with good interiors and working systems.
There's also renostoration in between

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Old 09-28-2010, 12:04 PM   #16
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1968 17' Caravel
Battle Ground , Washington
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I bought one in pretty good shape, took it camping, worked on it in the winters, and it has pretty much been done for the last couple years (we've had it 7 summers now). Nothing to worry about except to fill the water, hook it up, and go camping. I know someone else who bought theirs before me, decided to do a complete shell off floor replacement with the newest high tech materials, and upgrade it with all the bells and whistles, who hasn't had it out of the driveway yet. Just like a classic car, the project is all about where you start, and what you plan to do with it.

The number of people abandoning projects are because of folks who jump right into their first project. They expect it will be easy, it's more work than they thought, it's more money than they thought, they get in over their head, they burn out, and they sell it unfinished. This pattern applies equally to cars, boats, houses, and old Airstreams. However many people do the same thing and come out the other end with a beautiful trailer they love. I don't know how to predict which group you'll fall into


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Old 09-28-2010, 12:30 PM   #17
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1993 30' Excella
Lakeland , Florida
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Once you do all the above math and convince yourself that what the heck I may like it and if not I can always sell it, you may need a psychatrist after getting one, to help with the dependency of the addiction of having one.

Got one one, fixed it, love it, making my second trip to Florida in a year 2000 miles round trip and I can sell it for more than I have in it, if the Doc can cure me.
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:10 PM   #18
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1960 28' Ambassador
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1998 25' Safari
Avonton , Ontario
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Originally Posted by Airstreamdmb View Post
....The one most concerning to me is the axles and inadequate frames. I'm handy but far from knowledgeable on inner-workings of brakes axles, and terminology surrounding the suspension. This suspension issue appears to be a major concern with separation, sagging etc......
Don't worry so much about the suspension. For $800 installed, per axle you can have everything new. Includes axle, brakes, bearings, seals, brake drums, pre greased and ready to roll. All of them 70s and back really need this and it's a great way to get started. I've done at least a dozen this year and they all ride much better for it.
Doug & Terry
60 Ambassador Int.
98 Safari
1950 Spartan
1966 Globetrotter
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:45 PM   #19
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
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Lots of good advice already.

You need to look at your abilities—restoring requires skills of an auto mechanic and home construction. How much money can you spend and how much will a specific trailer cost you to fix? Money pit? Probably, even a relatively new one has issues and maintenance costs of any trailer are high. Do you have the tools?—if not, figure that into your costs.

One that has been treated well and is in good shape may have things break, just like an older house. If you find a good used one, figure you'll need more money for stuff that breaks next week or next year. You'll need a tow vehicle to fit the trailer. You may need a hitch, sewer hoses, fresh water hoses, and all sorts of stuff that everyone uses with an RV. Some may come with it, some may not.

You can do the research on this here—start with 2air's link and then just look around on the Forum to get an idea what you're getting into. Some models are notorious for problems such a rear or front end separation—avoid them unless it has been fixed properly. A lot of research is time consuming, can be depressing, and requires sorting through opinions that may not make sense, but in the end will save you a lot of grief.

You can have inspectors look at it and give you an idea of the shape of the unit you're interested in, but the good ones can go fast. Inspectors are listed on the right side of the Portal page.

Yes, some buy blind, get started and realize they are not the right person for this. They may sell a partially restored trailer cheap to get rid of their mistake, but it may be right for you.

It is often said no one gets what they have put into a restored trailer, and that may be a way of getting an older one at a reasonable price. People sell for health reasons among others and those trailers may sell reasonably. Everybody can win in those sales.

It's not a journey to take lightly, but the results can be good or better if you are realistic, patient and careful.

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Old 09-28-2010, 03:41 PM   #20
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Sioux Falls , South Dakota
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It's probably been mentioned already but I've found all the parts I've needed for my trailer have been available. To me, that's a pretty big consideration when starting a repair/replace trailer fix up project. Try that with a '76 Forester.

Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 09-28-2010, 04:36 PM   #21
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1969 21' Globetrotter
Seattle & Olympic Peninsula , Washington
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 88
I used to work in IT for a huge RV dealer selling everything but AS. In my experience the build quality on most brand new SOBs is just down right horrible.

Ask yourself how many other RV manufacturer's brands do you regularly see 40+ year old trailers running down the road?

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Old 09-28-2010, 04:52 PM   #22
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1977 25' Tradewind
Waskesiu Lake , Saskatchewan
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All RV's are things that "take money out of your wallet" (I won't say money pit).

Purchasing a new trailer means you spend big bucks up front, higher insurance fees, taxes at time of purchase, higher licencing costs and endure rapid depreciation. If you took a loan for the RV you are also paying interest every month. If you paid cash - you aren't earning interest on that money anymore either...

Purchasing an older trailer means you spend less money at the time of purchase and then possibly spending hundreds or thousands of dollars renovating, restoring and/or repairing.... but this is not always the case. We put only a couple of hundred into ours and everything is solid... a bit retro, but solid.

At the end of the day when choosing older vs. new:
  • What's your real, honest "cost per night" (factoring in interest, depreciation, etc.)?
  • Can you do the repairs yourself, or will you have to hire it done (hiring might still be cheaper than buying new...)?
  • Do you typically change RV's every couple of years?
  • Is owning from new REALLY important to you?
  • Are you happy with pre-owned?
  • If you only camp one or two weekends a year, have you considered renting?
  • Can you REALLY afford new?
No right or wrong answers - it depends on you being honest with yourself.
Every home needs a dog, and every dog needs a home.

1977 25' Tradewind (with two ... three... FOUR dogs)
2011 Ram 1500 Quad cab, 5.7 Hemi, tow pkg.
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:56 PM   #23
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1965 28' Ambassador
Malta , New York
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Posts: 100
keeping both

yes my plan was to keep both until i was able to use the Airstream. I'm aware that the market is poor for resale so it would make no sense to sell the Jayco right now. I do want to be able to camp and I do want the project too. I see nice deals on the classifieds but they are all half way across the country from where I live. I live in upstate NY. Is there a way to buy from such distance or am I better to take what I can find within 4 hour drive???
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:36 PM   #24
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1969 21' Globetrotter
Seattle & Olympic Peninsula , Washington
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 88
That depends on your circumstances. We knew exactly what we were looking for and waited until it showed up here in the classifieds. When it did and we confirmed everything with the PO, we left the next day, drove just over 2,000 miles round trip. But for us t hat's part of the adventure.
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:39 PM   #25
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
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We found one from the forum classifieds in Mississippi for the price we wanted and a great PO who was more than willing to be very honest with condition and sent us tons of pictures. It worked out very well for us. We found out later that there are people that are willing to go inspect for you in the area you are looking to buy in. We are in those ranks now. You could try that if you find a trailer in another part of the country and want someone to look at it for you.

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Old 10-01-2010, 06:38 PM   #26
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Fort Worth , Texas
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A well-built travel trailer can't be included in the same sentence as "motorhome" when we say "money pit". And it isn't even in the same galaxy as an airplane or a big sportfisherman.
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 12-cpm solo, 19-cpm towing (fuel)
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:42 PM   #27
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1965 28' Ambassador
Malta , New York
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Posts: 100
found it

found a 1965 Ambassador and am picking it up this weekend. Can't wait.
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:36 PM   #28
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2007 25' International CCD FB
1970 23' Safari
1956 16' Bubble
Jamul , California
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 254
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Right On!
Have fun and don't forget the primary purpose, go camping!

Stream Safe,
Bob U-
San Diego, CA.
The " TinDen "
2007 25' International FB
1970 Safari 23' Land Yacht
1956 Bubble 16' California Whale Tail
Charter Member 4 Corners Unit
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