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Old 10-28-2004, 08:02 AM   #1
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Which Airstream to Buy?

Ok folks.. love the site by the way...

I have narrowed down what I "think" I want.. and I am asking the true professionals (you guys) what you think.

So far, I want one in the 70's and 25 to 27 foot.
Is it true that AS didn't have gray water tanks before 73?

I will be using the AS for Boondocking in WV where my family and I go ATV riding. (my son, daugher and myself, wife doesnt go ATVing)

We (she) also wants to take it to the Beach (Myrtle Beach SC) and leave it during the summer months.

We may find other uses as time passes but this the basic goal

Now... my question to yall.. is...

What year, and style, is the best for us.
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Old 10-28-2004, 08:09 AM   #2
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Cool additional information

We could go 80's models. I am looking in many places.

Tow Vehicle is a 2002 GMC 1500 4x4 with 5.3 Vortec engine and 4:10 rear end, rated at 8,800 lbs
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Old 10-28-2004, 08:17 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forums, BrianWSNC, from another former tarheel!

The salty air at the beach will rust the frame and other parts of the Airstream and possibly shorten it's usability. It also seems to have a adverse affect on aluminum.

Maybe you could find a storage site 20 - 30 miles inland and just do a short tow each time?

AS types are built to suit a wide range of folks. Your tow vehicle may dictate some restrictions here. It sounds as though you have some research already done, have you looked into your TV's capacity?

If you want more luxurious appointments check out the Excella line. Some attractive odd Airstreams to us were the Caravanner (lots of windows) and the Minuets. We found the Argosy Minuet line the most appealing. It's on the other end of the spectrum from the Excellas. The seat padding is thinner, the paneling is vinyl on metal and not real wood and it is narrower than the typical Airstream. The trade off is it is a lightweight and can go anywhere with ease without straining our Dodge half ton pickup.

Good luck and happy hunting!
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Old 10-28-2004, 08:21 AM   #4
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Hi Brian,

Welcome to the Forums!

A 4X4 1/2 ton rated at 8,800 lbs? I didn't know the 4-wheel drive versions went that high.

If you are planning to throw the ATV in the back of the truck AND tow the Airstream, are you still in good shape load wise? I assume you will also take extra gas & maybe a generator.

Another thing to look out for is the availability of the floor plan you want. With a girl & a boy, you probably want a center twin bed arrangement. Those seem to be not as common as the center-double version. In fact, My Overlander originally came with a center double bed, and I converted it to center twins. Are you willing/able to do work like that?

Good luck finding the Airstream that's right for you!

Tom
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Old 10-28-2004, 09:42 AM   #5
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Thumbs up Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianWSNC
Is it true that AS didn't have gray water tanks before 73?

I will be using the AS for Boondocking in WV where my family and I go ATV riding. (my son, daugher and myself, wife doesnt go ATVing) <snip>
What year, and style, is the best for us.
Yes, it's true. Grey water tanks were introduced in '73 models...for boondocking, sounds like you would want to have one newer than '73 although, you can always use a 'Blue Tote' to handle grey water...we do.

Shari
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Old 10-28-2004, 10:26 AM   #6
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Salt air ... didn't think of that.. good point! I might could dock it more inland.. but we might not leave it there more than a summer or two.. depends on how much we use it there.

Argosy... Arent' they painted? I really want a "shiny" one..
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Old 10-28-2004, 10:29 AM   #7
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"A 4X4 1/2 ton rated at 8,800 lbs? I didn't know the 4-wheel drive versions went that high. "

Yea, I keep getting different specs from different places.. At the dealership where it's listed it acutally showed higher.. but at a RV trailer place, the guy told me I should max at around 6,000 for safety reasons. ?? leaves one to wonder just what my max is. I think if I get one say.. 4400 to 5800 would be in a safe range. (with sway hitch)
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Old 10-28-2004, 10:30 AM   #8
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you can always use a 'Blue Tote' to handle grey water...we do.
I guess that would be an option... but I don't know if I want mess with the mess...
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Old 10-28-2004, 10:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianWSNC
I guess that would be an option... but I don't know if I want mess with the mess...
GREY Water...not Black!

Grey water is wash water...what mess?

'73s and older have black tanks...'til you get into the 50's

Shari
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Old 10-28-2004, 11:10 AM   #10
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oh...
Well then I am not limited to 73 and up..
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Old 10-30-2004, 05:28 PM   #11
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Anyone else have any suggestions?.... which is best?.. problem AS?
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Old 10-30-2004, 05:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianWSNC
Anyone else have any suggestions?.... which is best?.. problem AS?
Rear bath tends to have more of a rear end sag issue, pre-1974 or so had an issue with the axles sagging, some furnaces had a problem with inlet and outlet tubes on the furnaces, they tended to crack and let CO into the coach, almost all models have issues with floor rot if the windows have leaked for an extended period. Probably the most desirable, as far as problems, would be a 1975-79 center-bath unit, it has the least potential for most of the problems I listed.
There are other, mostly minor things, but no more than you would find on any 20+ year old piece of equipment.
Also, a blue tank is not a bad idea, even if the coach you find has one. Ours has been retrofitted with a 10 gallon grey tank to go along with the 10 gallon black tank, I empty the grey into the blue, also 10 gallon capacity, since we use more of it, and dump it, and take the trailer to dump the black tank, so "black mess" is minimized.
Terry
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Old 10-31-2004, 12:55 AM   #13
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If I recall correctly the 70s coaches (some models--not all) had rear end seperation issues which can be fixed, it is a fairly involved process.
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Old 10-31-2004, 03:12 AM   #14
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What Terry writes is correct, but you should also be aware that the models from the 60's and earlier did not have grey tanks.

When Airstream first added grey tanks in, the frame design had not been reengineered to accomodate the additional weight brought in by the addition of the additional tank in the rear. This it caused structural stress in the early 70s rear bath models. However, this should not stop you from looking at any rear-bath model from this era. I have seen trailers at rallies that have had this issue satisfactorily addressed by having the frame reinforcements. If you find a trailer with this kind of separation issue, you may also want to negotiate a corresponding discount for getting it done yourself (I believe I recall hearing that it costs about $400-$500--other folks here probably have a firmer estimate).

Earlier trailers don't have this concern, but not having a grey tank may prevent boondocking in public places like Walmart parking lots. Of course, you mention camping in WVA, where folks are pretty trailer-friendly, so dragging out a blue boy may not be a problem. If you are camping on private land, letting your grey water just dump out might not be a problem (though make sure you use "green" non-phosphate soaps and cleansers, since your dish/shower/sink water will be released unfiltered). At most campgrounds, the folks are fine if you use a blue boy.

The thing is, nearly every era has its points of concerns. If you read around here, you'll probably see some of the common ones. Some late 60s models had curved windows that can't be replaced with glass if broken (nobody makes them, though there are lexxan versions out there), older furnaces can produce carbon monoxide (though they can also work just fine, depending on condition). Duratorque axels tend to lose flexibility as they age and if the trailer lacks enough spring, an axle can break if the trailer hits a big bump. Multiple axles can add in safety if you get a tire blow-out--but it means for a bigger, heavier trailer (which may be less desireable, if you don't have much towing capacity). In general, earlier models were lighter, but they also lacked the lavish interior features found on newer trailers. If you search the archives here, you can find a link to the weight chart Airstream has for its old models--its good to look at.

Bottom line, watch what you buy. The thing is, when you actually meet Airstream owners at rallies, everyone tends to think their era of trailer is the best. Fact is, if you love what you buy, I really don't think the age or model really matters. It will be your baby, it will have maintenance and repair issues, but even these annoyances will seem more tolerable than they do now.

Mary

Quote:
Originally Posted by argosy20
Rear bath tends to have more of a rear end sag issue, pre-1974 or so had an issue with the axles sagging, some furnaces had a problem with inlet and outlet tubes on the furnaces, they tended to crack and let CO into the coach, almost all models have issues with floor rot if the windows have leaked for an extended period. Probably the most desirable, as far as problems, would be a 1975-79 center-bath unit, it has the least potential for most of the problems I listed.
<snip>
Terry
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