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Old 08-20-2008, 04:18 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1969 25' Tradewind
Augusta , Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 21
Question 1975 Airstream Travel Trailer what price?

Hi, I am new to this forum and to Airstreams. I have always loved them. we saw this one for sale at a car dealership in our parent's hometown while we were there for a visit. The inside and outside look good. He "thinks" everything on it works, no hot water heater (I don't know if one came on this model", and there is a hole under the bathroom sink through to the is about baseball size. Of course I am sure there is other damage that is not visisble...Also the storage compartment in the rear, is rusty and there is a dent in the front. The first link is to the dealership used car section and the second is to more pictures of it. They said well all you need to do is put a piece of sheet metal over it, but I don't know about that after looking at the floor replacement section....
I did look at values also and know they are asking too much, but I do not know what to offer.

Thanks for looking and any advice greatly appreciated!!!

Elizabeth and Tom Curry

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Old 08-20-2008, 04:48 PM   #2
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1977 23' Safari
Hillsboro , Oregon
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Well, it should have a HW heater iirc. Their price seems high for a trailer in that sort of condition but not extremely so, imo. I bet they can get $4500 for it.

The propane tanks look like they have the old style valves that would need to be replaced and the tanks re-certified.

2009 F-350 FX4 Crewcab 4x4 6.4l
former '78 Argosy 20' Minuet owner
former '77 23' Safari owner
former 25' Fun Finder X-250BHS SOB owner
current 26' Komfort Trailblazer 262BSLE SOB owner
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Old 08-20-2008, 05:00 PM   #3
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
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1975 Airstream Travel Trailer what price

Greetings Elizabeth and Tom!

Welcome to the Forums!

A 1975 Airstream Tradewind (25') coach would have come standard with a Bowne (Atwood) water heater. The water heater was typically located on the street-side just rearward of the rear axle -- it can be identified by the smallish rectangular access door with a small rectangular screen in the upper left corner of the door. The standard water heater would have been LP fired with a manual pilot light (the coach MAY have a water heater bypass that would keep water from reaching the tank if in the winter position which allowed anti-freeze to be circulated through the pipes without filling the five or ten gallon water heater tank).

If the coach doesn't have its original water heater or if the existing heater does not work it is a relatively common replacement. A new six gallon water heater can usually be installed for around $750.00 depending upon local prevailing labor rates.

The hole in the bathroom floor below the vanity is reason for concern. I can think of two explanations -- a drain pipe leading to the gray water tank is missing -- or there is floor rot (not uncommon with this era coach) which would need to be addressed as it is quite expensive to repair if there is extensive rot. The rust in the rear compartment points to potentially neglected maintenance/leaks that could be a source of floor rot.

The dent in the very lowest front streetside corner involves the banana wrap which isn't uncommon. The dent above the trim strip involves a panel that would be expensive to replace if you can't live with the blemish. The LP tanks appear to be original and it doesn't appear that they have been brought into compliance with the requirement for OPD valves (certification and new valves could run around $75 for the pair). The curbside awning is a Zip Dee which is a definite plus.

Since the used car dealer who has this coach didn't have the ability to identify that the coach had (or should have) a water heater, I would be suspicious of any undocumented statements made. If you are serious about this coach, my suggestions would be to ask that the operation of systems be demonstrated (or guaranteed in writing if you have that much confidence in the dealer) -- those that can be the most costly to repair replace would include:
  • Air Conditioner -- a new air conditioner installed can cost between $1,000 and $2,000 depending upon unit selected and prevailing labor rates.
  • Refrigerator -- a new Dometic refrigerator installed can cost between $1,000 and $2,000 depending upon model selected and prevailing labor rates.
  • Water supply pump and plumping -- costs can vary greatly depending upon the extent of work/repair needed. A new PAR water pump can run as much as $500 with installation (a rebuild kit can be had for around $50).
  • Furnace -- a new furnace with installation can cost between $775 and $1,000 depending upon model needed, modifications neede, and prevailing labor rates.
  • Water Heater -- a new water heater can cost between $775 and $1,000 depending upon model selected and prevailing labor rates.
The price being asked for this coach is high enough that I would expect that it should be camp ready with little additional needing to be spent. Apparently, a new water heater is needed at the very least. With careful examination and some negotiation, the coach could be a decent deal.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 08-20-2008, 05:00 PM   #4
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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A couple of thoughts...the trailer is sporting a sticker from a dealer in St. Augustine, FL. If it has spent too much time in that environment you may have problems buried under the shiny metal, things like rusted out frame sections or outriggers, I would bet on axle replacement PDQ. The 25' is one of the more desirable lengths. I own a 1975 and can tell you they cut corners everywhere they could to keep the weight down, which leads to things being worn out. With no water heater and no confirmation that anything else really works I would offer them about half of what they are asking and then decide how much you want to pay for a long term project. Realizing that the cost of the unit is reality a down payment.

It is also missing ALL of the blue rub rail insert.

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Old 08-20-2008, 05:14 PM   #5
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Mohrsville , Pennsylvania
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Elizabeth and Tom,
First off welcome to the forums and the madness called aluminitis. You will find great friendly people and a wealth of advice and information on this forum. It is almost as addicting as Airstreaming.

I guess it all depends on if you want a project or do you want to go camping right away? If you want, and can handle a project then I would follow Wahoonc's and Overlander64's advice. If you want to go camping right away I would continue your search for another Airstream.

I second Wahoonc's concern that, given the dealer sticker on the trailer, it may have hidden salt water corrosion. And for the uninitiated, the rub stip that he mentioned is a blue vinyl trim strip that sits in the moulding on the lower portion of the trailer where the upper trailer body and the lower wrap meet.

I would suggest looking at and getting into as many different Airstreams as you possibly can. You are going to have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince, that is unless you plan on buying new.
Carl, Elaine & Finn The Beagle
2006 30' Classic W Slide & Limited Package Katarina
2006 GMC 2500 HD 6.6 Turbo Diesel Crew Cab 8' Bed
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:52 AM   #6
2 Rivet Member
1969 25' Tradewind
Augusta , Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 21
Thank you all for your very detailed responses!!! We are going to talk to them some more and probably will pass on this one at this time, but we will see what they say.

Thanks, and I will be lurking and learning here and will post when I see another one or have more questions...

Thanks again,
Elizabeth and Tom
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Old 12-13-2008, 04:27 PM   #7
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1963 19' Globetrotter
Reynolds , Georgia
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 74
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Did you buy this Airstream?
I have owned a '75 and aside from a few issues it was one of our favorite models.
It's the way they used to do things like the letters Airstream in large cast aluminum.
We didn't care too much for the "tamber" doors though.
Not a bad price at all.....
In California it would be snaped up in a heartbeat...
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Old 12-13-2008, 05:06 PM   #8
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1973 31' Excella 500
Morristown , Tennessee
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 193
Images: 9
Just a few thought since there is no indication that the trailer has been bought. It is a desirable length but I personally don't like the mid twil arrangement. With only the pictures that are available and the story, the exterior is dented and the tanks are original aluminum and not a big deal to convert and get certified. It cost me $20 plus the cost of the propane. A hole in the floor is worrisome and never buy an Airstream without trying the appliances and water pump unless there is a major reduction in price. It would be like the dealership where it is listed expecting you to buy a used car assuming the transmission works without a test drive. It would take a thorough inspection of the axles and the interior as well - expecially the flooring. Is the plumbing working including functiong holding tanks and valves? If any of these things are in need of repair, it could come to $10,000 in materials alone. Axles, reefer, hot water heater, furnace, plumbing, air conditioner, exectrical i.e. univolt could all have problems. Weather stripping and plumbing vent seals and tambour are just some of the small things that are available and will certainly need work. If flooring needs replacement,DIY is cheap but will require you developing the disease (aluminitis) and becoming part of the group to effect repairs and claiming the joy of owning an Airstream.

The price seems very high to me and I would be happy to have someone in California own this unit.

I comparison, I bought a 1975 31' Excella with all systems working except the reefer for $5000. It was extremely well cared for with all awnings in good shape and only needed tires.

Each must satisfy themselves but a good working platform will lead to pride on ownership much sooner. If there is a unit near me, I will be happy to take a look at it for you. Best of luck.

Joe DeFelice
1973 Excella 500
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