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Old 08-17-2012, 02:15 PM   #15
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Not an Airstream owner myself (yet), but I can share my experience owning a 2003 Class-A motorhome.

You will find the need to become somewhat proficient at basic maintenance, everything from finishes and cleaning, to electrical and plumbing. None of it is terribly difficult, and you could always find someone to do the work for you (for a fee).

Trailers benefit from a somewhat smaller cost/time footprint as you're not having to deal with engine and drivetrain issues (although you likely will for your tow vehicle). As noted earlier, costs associated with storage and accessories will likely be the biggest factors with a new-ish trailer. As with anything you can prioritize your costs based on immediate versus long-term needs, so it becomes more manageable than you may first realize.

"More than $0.00" was the advice I was given when I asked the question of ongoing maintenance costs.
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:29 PM   #16
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Other costs that you might not have considered…

An Airstream comes pretty well-equipped if you buy new, but there's lots of gear that you might need, for "outfitting," from wheel chocks to dishes and towels. Some of the "lifestyle" gear you can borrow from home, like folding chairs, barbecue grill, dishes, towels, bedding, at least until you get tired of always loading/unloading it and decide you need a separate set for the trailer. Most of the "technical gear" like the aforementioned wheel chocks, you'll have to buy or scrounge or build.

If you plan to go boondocking, then you'll probably want a generator, sooner or later.

If you buy used, some of that stuff may be included in the sale, especially if the person selling isn't looking to get a bigger/smaller/newer model.
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:18 PM   #17
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Here, indoor storage costs about $3,000 a year. That's the single best thing to keep any RV fresh, dry, and clean. That's only $30,000 every 10 years.

We found covered storage for $150/month and if we pay a full year, we get 2 months for free. So, our annual covered storage cost is only $1500.00. So wish our HOA would let us keep our new AS but, no such luck. Our insurance costs, BTW will run us $63 per month with $500 deductible.

Since we just purchased a new AS last Thursday, our initial costs for the maiden 2,000 mile voyage are going to be the hitch, brake control, new bedding, pillows, some new kitchen/bath "stuff", eventually new Michelin tires, new mattress and going to the Factory on our way home to get the full awning package put on for a mere $1500. So, yes ~ I'm feeling the initial investment and payouts are big right now but, when it's all decorated and such, it will be routine maintance. We hope!!! Good luck
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:28 PM   #18
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The following are my expenses since purchase of my 2002 ASCL 31 Foot travel trailer in June of 2001, a total of 11 years and over 35,000 miles. Included in the expenses are some related to the onboard Onan Microquiet genset which would not be a part of a "normal" Airstream. The coach has been stored outside since purchase.
OK, being a total Newbie, I am impressed and also nervous about your maintanence list. What are "Piss Ants"? And your AS got broken into? Not sure I'll know how to do all the things that are on your list if our AS will need it. Yikes! Not nervous about your total, that seemed pretty resonable.
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:18 PM   #19
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OK, being a total Newbie, I am impressed and also nervous about your maintanence list. What are "Piss Ants"? And your AS got broken into? Not sure I'll know how to do all the things that are on your list if our AS will need it. Yikes! Not nervous about your total, that seemed pretty resonable.
Never actually heard the term "piss ants" used to describe actual ants before! Where I grew up, "pissant" is a derrogatory term for an annoying but otherwise insignificant person. Hard to put up with, but hardly worth the effort of sending them on their way.
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:57 AM   #20
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OK, being a total Newbie, I am impressed and also nervous about your maintanence list. What are "Piss Ants"? And your AS got broken into? Not sure I'll know how to do all the things that are on your list if our AS will need it. Yikes! Not nervous about your total, that seemed pretty resonable.
Travel Bird, "Piss Ants" are those very, very small black or rust brown ants that you almost need a magnifying glass to see. I have worked in the oil field as a Rough Neck and the term was widely used to describe mundane chores as follows: “You guys go piss ant those (items) over here”; sort of like a bunch of little ants diligently working to dismantle and carry off a grasshopper.

As to the broken window, some years ago I had the AS parked in a relatives front yard in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Lewis Ave. I had gone to sleep in the rear while my older son was sleeping on the gaucho with his head at the curb side. My younger son, who is a 2nd degree karate black belt, was taking a shower. All lights were out (from the outside the AS looked to be unoccupied) when my older son heard noise at the door, but in his sleep thought it was just me doing something outside. A short time later he heard the POP of the tempered window next to the door by his head shatter. As he awakened he realized that an arm was reaching through the broken window by his head and feeling for the door locks. He grabbed that arm but was not able to hold on as the burglar jerked it out and ran up the sidewalk and out of sight. My older son then awakened me and the police were called.

What the burglar had done was try to pry the door open using a screw driver (he left it behind) which left about 15 “dings” in the edge of the door. Failing to get the door to yield, he then used the screw driver to pry up on the bottom center of the tempered glass window by the door causing it to fail and leaving a small “ding” in the aluminum frame.

My showering younger black belt son was oblivious to it all; had a chance to use his talent and blew it; never there when you need them.

I was able to remove the door “dings” so that unless one is REALLY looking for them they do not show, and Airstream, JacksonCenter, overnited a window which was simple to replace.
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:07 AM   #21
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The first couple of years see a lot of small expenses. After that, not so much . . it's more a matter of cleaning out the accummulated small junk that looked so cool in a catalog ("awning de-flapper", my favorite dumb purchase . . if it's that windy, then . . . . )
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:48 AM   #22
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Having had through the years a few sailboats and powerboats I can tell you there is no cost comparison. We bought our Airstream new in 2007 and have over 20k on it. We don't polish it and when not in use it sits in our yard uncovered with covers on the tires. We replaced the battery at 3 years and the tires at four. Had the bearings repacked and brakes adjusted. The skylight will need replacement soon. Other than that and normal lubing of latches, stabilizers, etc. everything else works fine. Nowhere near the cost of a boat.
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:05 AM   #23
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But, .... your significant other will always find some doo-dah that he/she likes and $$$. In comparison to our 8M sailing rig, the AS is much more cost effective and both were purchased new. Now, if you factor in the cost of a suitable (read that new) TV, that is another story.
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:15 AM   #24
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Having had through the years a few sailboats and powerboats I can tell you there is no cost comparison. We bought our Airstream new in 2007 and have over 20k on it. We don't polish it and when not in use it sits in our yard uncovered with covers on the tires. We replaced the battery at 3 years and the tires at four. Had the bearings repacked and brakes adjusted. The skylight will need replacement soon. Other than that and normal lubing of latches, stabilizers, etc. everything else works fine. Nowhere near the cost of a boat.
I'll second that! Before I bought my Airstream, I looked into the possibility of buying the smallest boat that I could live aboard for a while, and doing America's Great Loop route during my first year of retirement. Right up until I had foot surgery, and gave up on the idea of living aboard something that never, ever stops moving even when it's parked.

Almost everything costs twice as much for a boat as for an RV or travel trailer. Buying a boat costs about twice as much for the same volume of living space and the same age. Insuring a boat costs twice as much, if not more. Marina slips cost about twice as much per night as campground spaces. If your boat is a stinkpot and not a sailboat, it takes more than twice as much fuel to go the same distance.
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:22 PM   #25
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Most are addressing maintenance/storage issues. There was a brief mention of fuel efficiency but actually fuel use (gas alone) can be the greatest expense. I have heard of a drop in fuel efficiency...65% mentioned here seems high. A seller states that he typically drops 4 MPG when towing a 20 footer. This translates to just short of a dollar per mile (not including wear and tear on the towing vehicle). So a simple 600 mile trip out (12,000 round trip) might cost about $1,000 in gasoline.
If I am incorrect please let me know on this forum.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:57 PM   #26
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I can't seem to find my records for the trip we took this past Feb / Mar. We traveled from NJ to central Florida, around the gulf coast to New Orleans and then homeward, stopping to visit with friends in SC and NC along the way. Total mileage was 7000 and our fuel cost ( if I remember ) was $1900 or thereabouts. Most of that was towing our 30' Excella. Our truck is a 2006 Dodge 3500 Diesel. I get around 13.5 mpg while towing and closer to 19-21 non-towing highway mileage. This was hand calculated. I don't believe the overhead truck computer. That has me at 15-16.5 towing mpg.

Since this thread has gotten off to boats we must remember the definition of a boat " A hole in the water that you fill with $$$$$ ".

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:30 PM   #27
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Oops, my math was way off. 1200 miles with a loss of 65% fuel efficiency equates to only about $125 extra fuel cost (assuming 18.5 MPG initial).
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:53 PM   #28
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I am sitting here in shock that a fellow poster would have kept financial data for 11 years on cost of trailer ownership...and also impressed. If I kept these kinds of books I don't think I would have been persuaded to just forget it!
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