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Old 04-30-2008, 07:25 AM   #1
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Lawrenceville , Georgia
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1971 31’ Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht

Hi Everyone!

I was hoping I could get some help from the Airstream experts on determing if a local Airstream is worth what the buyer is asking for it. He is asking $5000. The unit still needs some work, as can be seen by his comments below. I have attached the pics he sent me, of the unit.

Thanks, in advance, for helping out a newbie!

Larry, aka Tervman

=================
This is his comment on the unit:
Here is a list of the improvements I have made:
- Replaced the entire copper plumbing system with PEX and added extra insulation
- Replaced most of the shades with mini blinds
- Replaced 2 tires and it comes with a spare tire
- Replaced Freezer/Refrigerator and added microwave. Has original working gas oven and stovetop.(4 top)
- Replaced bath and kitchen fixtures.
- Replaced city water intake
- Replaced water heater with new electric 19 gallon water heater.

The skin is in great shape for its age. If you know anything about Airstreams, then you know the importance of good skin (aluminum siding).

The bathroom is in the back with two single beds in the middle.
I have added a board that easily pulls out to make the bed queen size.

It tows smooth and easy and doesn’t eat up lots of gas, like most RVs I have towed.

The following are things I would do if I was able to, in order to sell at a higher price.
-Replace carpet or put down laminate
-paint inside a little more
-Tint windows
-replace AC shroud
-Fix small dent on left side
-clean and polish the outside
-replace two louver doors
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Old 04-30-2008, 07:58 AM   #2
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1971 25' Tradewind
1967 24' Tradewind
1975 31' Sovereign
Estancia , New Mexico
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Hi and welcome.

Based on the info and pics the price may be a bit high but not outrageous. Did I miss info on the hot water heater, toilet and the condition of the axles? A couple of big concerns the info does not address is:
Are there any spoft spots or floor rot, especially where the rear wall meets the floor?
Any rear end separation? Jump up and down on the rear bumper it should not move apart from the body.
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Old 04-30-2008, 08:38 AM   #3
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Austin , Texas
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I'll make a bold prediction that Andy from Inland RV is going to take a look at that profile view of the curb side and tell you that the axles need to be replaced.

(Don't worry, seems like pretty much any unit of this vintage will need axle replacement, unless it's already been done, and if it has already been done, then usually the seller will increase the price accordingly)

Anyway, here's a resource to use as a pricing guideline for vintage units. It not only includes some estimates on current market values for vintage Airstreams, but also some of the estimated costs to repair or replace the biggest problem areas. Read through the whole thing, but you're primarily looking for Table B:

Price vs. Condition - Airstream Values

By this guide (which is of course only a guideline), it appears that $5K is not totally out of line. But if this is local to you, you should go take a look at it and make the owner plug it in to prove all electrical functions properly, turn on the gas to make sure all gas appliances work properly, and check to make sure all water works properly. Also check for soft spots in the floor and take a look at as much of the frame as you can see-- anything other than surface rust is bad news and means major project time.

Good luck!

-Marcus
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Old 04-30-2008, 08:40 AM   #4
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1974 31' Sovereign
1970 23' Safari
1956 26' Cruiser Overlander
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Just a couple quick things that I see. The axles are toast ($1,600 plus shipping for OEM) and the reffer is an electric apartment replacement (approx. $1,000 for a dual propane replacement). Also being a '71 the unit does not have a grey tank.
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Old 04-30-2008, 08:40 AM   #5
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Lumatic,

Thanks for the welcome, and the input.

He did replace the kitchen and bath fixtures, and the hot water heater. I will ask him about the conditon of the axles and the floor.

Also, I noticed your avatar....do you pull your Airstream with a Mini-Cooper?

Larry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumatic
Hi and welcome.

Based on the info and pics the price may be a bit high but not outrageous. Did I miss info on the hot water heater, toilet and the condition of the axles? A couple of big concerns the info does not address is:
Are there any spoft spots or floor rot, especially where the rear wall meets the floor?
Any rear end separation? Jump up and down on the rear bumper it should not move apart from the body.
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Old 04-30-2008, 09:45 AM   #6
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1975 31' Sovereign
Houston , Texas
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My 2 cents:

It is a long-boy (31' footer) = the least desirable and least valuable length.
(But very popular with some of us kooks)
No grey water tank as stated, (not until 1974) Is not an easy add-on either.
Prev Owner painted interior he says, well this is often a mess. It ain't easy to make that paint stay put.
Elec.Water Heater = OK in some respects, but will the circuit handle it? Did he beef up that circuit panel if necessary?
No rockguard shown. Common sense says you will eventually want one if you are gonna travel and they cost about 500 dollars.
Did he hold up on the flooring re-do because he found wood rot?
Plus all the correct and excellent advice above.

These old long-boys are a wonderful project platform (long project often), and they are priced anywhere from 1200-6000 dollars that I have seen.
I understand that he has soaked alot of time & money in already and I understand his "needing" the 5000 price. However I'd say 3000 tops.

BTW I suspect with the economy in trouble and the fuel price never going back that there will be many more of these long-boys and a number of shorties on the market sooner than later and many of the long ones at fire-sale prices.
You did not say whether you were planning on a trailer for travel or for a parking. i.e. a cabin or lake house etc. If you want to park one, then the axle nightmare might not be so grim.

Also if you are project oriented and capable, do not assume that your driveway is the ideal spot. The ideal is a barn, but a hardtop spot in the back yard or side yard is prob the next-best. Read and you will see that projected upgrades usually take a year or MORE for many of us.

>>not intended to sound negative, but I've been there / done that with a similar model.
Bought it for about 3000 but paid storage fees and insurance for years before I got it useable and never got it all done as I so often fantasized I might. Could not get my money out of it so I parked it on a deer lease. Now it's back (costing storage) and I plan to park it on or near a lake somewhere. No travel cept for moving it to spot.
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Old 04-30-2008, 10:31 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the prompt replies!!!

I have heard enough to think I will pass on this Airstream. I am NOT a Mr. Fixer-Upper....I have 12 thumbs on each hand. I was thinking the work might be something even a novice could do, but reading through your responses makes me think there is additional work that would require someone more experienced than I am.

So....the search continues.

Thanks again.

Larry
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Old 07-30-2011, 01:00 PM   #8
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HI ALL THININKING OF BUYING A 1978 EXCELLA FOR THE PRICE OF $5,000 all works except the heater?? body is in good condition need some TLC and louver doors in the front and kitchen need replaced . I have a new f150 ford truck with trailer tow .Not sure if they are askinfg to much? all works except furnance .
Need so fast help here . Thanks All
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Old 07-30-2011, 01:05 PM   #9
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I have a nother question for , I am new to the Air Stream Family I have just found a 1999 Air Stream Excella 34 ft. in perfect condition and they are asking $16,000 is the asking price to high????????

Also I just purchased a new F 150 with a trailer tow package with a 5.4 v8 eng. can this truck handle this size of Air Stream????????
Need help thanks all George
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Old 07-30-2011, 01:34 PM   #10
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What shape is the floor in? (goes for both units) If there are spongy spots when you walk around, then the floor needs repair or replacement - it is a frequent issue with these trailers. I'm not sure how easy louver doors are to repair? Don't suppose you have pictures? Furnaces cost about $800, depending on what you buy, just for a reference for you (we just bought one). In general, doesn't sound like a bad price for the 1978.
No idea on the 1999 for price.
Check your owners manual for info on the truck towing capacity. In general, you don't want to go over about 80% of your tow capacity for the vehicle. Otherwise when you get into mountains, you'll be the one climbing those hills at 10 mph. Not good for your TV.
Hope this helps!

Kay
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Old 07-30-2011, 01:41 PM   #11
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When you say "new" F150, is it a 2010 that was still on the lot? Or new-to-you? The 2011 doesn't have the 5.4L anymore.

I have a 2007 F150 with the 5.4L, and it does a fine job with my 24' Argosy and I'm sure it would be okay with the '78 Excella. I personally would want more truck if I were pulling a 34-footer, but the 6-speed auto in the later F150s might make enough difference for it to be fine, especially in flat country.
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Old 07-30-2011, 02:47 PM   #12
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Re-up Price Guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by utee94 View Post
I'll make a bold prediction that Andy from Inland RV is going to take a look at that profile view of the curb side and tell you that the axles need to be replaced.

(Don't worry, seems like pretty much any unit of this vintage will need axle replacement, unless it's already been done, and if it has already been done, then usually the seller will increase the price accordingly)

Anyway, here's a resource to use as a pricing guideline for vintage units. It not only includes some estimates on current market values for vintage Airstreams, but also some of the estimated costs to repair or replace the biggest problem areas. Read through the whole thing, but you're primarily looking for Table B:

Price vs. Condition - Airstream Values

By this guide (which is of course only a guideline), it appears that $5K is not totally out of line. But if this is local to you, you should go take a look at it and make the owner plug it in to prove all electrical functions properly, turn on the gas to make sure all gas appliances work properly, and check to make sure all water works properly. Also check for soft spots in the floor and take a look at as much of the frame as you can see-- anything other than surface rust is bad news and means major project time.

Good luck!

-Marcus
I have been reading through older posts for information and came across this price guide. I thought I would bump it back to the front. Quality advice.
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