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Old 05-05-2009, 12:55 PM   #1
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1977 Argosy 28
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1971 Land Yacht

I have seen an ad for a 31' 1971 Land Yacht ("RT"?) which is going for $5k. The owner has lived in it and says it is roadworthy. I am thinking of driving 200 mi RT to see it this weekend but would first like to hear from anyone with points to look for. It'd be mostly parked on private land, for use by myself and wife and 2 children when staying with the grandparents. But it would be nice to take it on the road occasionally. Any burning issues?
Thanks.
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Old 05-05-2009, 01:27 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by joegal View Post
I have seen an ad for a 31' 1971 Land Yacht ("RT"?) which is going for $5k. The owner has lived in it and says it is roadworthy. I am thinking of driving 200 mi RT to see it this weekend but would first like to hear from anyone with points to look for. It'd be mostly parked on private land, for use by myself and wife and 2 children when staying with the grandparents. But it would be nice to take it on the road occasionally. Any burning issues?
Thanks.
The key is "how was in maintained?

To some, leave it alone.

To others, PM is necessary.

Check the axles out. Go to Airstream Central for the "how to" article.

Window and entrance door gaskets. It sure will need sewer vent pipe cover gaskets.

How about dings and dents?

Carpet, upholstery, drapes?

Any water leaks from rain.

Ceiling vent covers, windows, age of the LPG bottles?

Appliances, especially the Air Conditioner?

Holding tank, water tank?

Interior walls? Sticky? Did the people smake in the trailer?

Awning condition?

The above will at least get you started in the right direction.

Andy
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Old 05-05-2009, 03:18 PM   #3
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That's a long way to drive for a 31' unit.

Everything Andy said and more so.

Very few "vintage" units have been consistently maintained for 30+ years. If they have, they don't usually sell for $5K.

If you find a restored unit, expect to pay $7500-$12,000 (and worth every penny if you've ever torn one apart and put it back together, replaced all appliances, axles, etc.)

$5000 is in the "get burned" range in my opinion, unless the appliances have recently been replaced and you know for certain that you have no pressing shell/floor/frame issues.

Sometimes it is better to find a gutted, straight shell for $2000 and start over than to pay $5000 for something that ends up requiring all new appliances, a tear out to repair structural issues, door and window gaskets (been there, done that 2x) on top of the $5K you spent just to bring it home.

We've all had the aluminum dreams of travelling with our family in our very 1st Airstream, but most of us wake up in the morning with the ugly truth of a long, drawn out ordeal which can sometimes seem never-ending.

But I suppose marriage and family is a bit tougher than most of us anticipate as well.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:21 PM   #4
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31'

Two great answers and so quick! Thank you so much, that sounds like quality info. The thought of being held hostage by gasket suppliers hadn't occured to me, and does not appeal! Yes I am running on dreams right now, and I don't want a project. It's good to have a reality check.
Is 100 miles a long way? Do you think there are better deals in Portland?
Thank you.
Joseph
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:45 AM   #5
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Gasket suppliers aren't the problem, it's the gasket remover/installer (you) who will hold the camping trip hostage.

I don't know what's available in the Portland area, but my point is that at that price, it's unlikely that you'll find a unit that doesn't need significant time and attention ($$$) either immediately or closely down the road. The seller will adamently disagree.

Others on this forum may disagree.

You just need to have realistic view of what you're getting into.
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:29 PM   #6
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I don't think 200mi RT is that far - dang I drive that for wings & beer with my cousins!! I have no idea of it's value but there's a list on this site to help you determine that. Maybe the current owner just has it priced it to sell! If I was in the market for a trailer of that size and year, I'd print up the list of things to check off this site, in addition to Andy's suggestions, and give it a look. I didn't pay much more for my trailer - well, if the PO would have deducted the cost for new axles. Other than that, mine was, essentially, ready to go. Course, something could spring it's ugly head any day now I guess. Maybe 31 footers are a little less desirable and that would warrant a price reduction? I have no idea. Regardless, you'll never know until you go look. If it's what you want and is in good shape, then consider yourself lucky to get it at that price!
Laura
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:54 PM   #7
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Go look, its probley a heap but........Make a nice little trip with the family. At the least you will start the loooong schooling process. The more Airstreams you look at the more you will learn. And you might get lucky. We stop and scope out every old( and most newer ones) Airstream we see. This winter in the Wittmann area of Arizona we stopped at a RV park and saw a 1966 Overlander that a guy was living in VERY clean, dang near pristine, original, not a rebuild. He purchased it a year ago in Utah for $2500.00. I was stunned at the deal he had stumbled on. So, you never know. Adios, John
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:31 PM   #8
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Go look, its probley a heap but........Make a nice little trip with the family. At the least you will start the loooong schooling process. The more Airstreams you look at the more you will learn. And you might get lucky.
That's exactly what I was thinking as I read thrugh this thread. We put a lot of miles on our van just looking. Each one I saw taught me something.


Lots of old sayings come to mind:
  • If you don't put in the wood, you don't get the heat
  • Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  • The more "stuff" I throw at the wall, the more that sticks.
Right down to "Buyer beware".
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Old 05-07-2009, 04:08 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies, again, this is good information for me, and quite timely. I'll let you know if I make it to the guy's trailer court this weekend. I'd like a day at the beach anyway, even if it is Oregon weather.
JG
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