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Old 07-07-2016, 05:17 PM   #1
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72 Airstream Sovereign for $8500

My wife and I have been dreaming about buying an Airstream for a while. Maybe do some moderate renovation, but not the entire thing.

We saw this as on Craigslist today. What would be a good price for it? What should we look out for when viewing it?
Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

http://nh.craigslist.org/rvs/5667094240.html
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:02 PM   #2
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Seems a bit high for an empty 72. The "new" floor covering the old floor, no telling what shape the subfloor was in before it was covered.
"New tires, ball bearings, brakes", it probably needs new axles so the money spent on brakes and bearings was sort of wasted. Plus they're not ball bearings.
It does look like it's in decent shape. Possibly missing a hatch cover on curb side aft.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:24 PM   #3
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Thank you! How expensive are new axles and what would be a decent price for the state it's in right now? More like $5,000?
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:50 PM   #4
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The long trailers of that era are, in my opinion, the least desirable and come up for sale the most frequently. The under built frame can present problems like rear sag. Here is some essential reading:

http://vintageairstream.com/airstream-price-guide/
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:54 PM   #5
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Hmmm... I don't like new floors, they have the potential to hide things. You may be able to get photos from before the finish-floor, or you may be able to test with a pick or a moisture or density meter.

The shell looks pretty good, that's a plus.

It's a 32' trailer, that's a minus on $ value.

It's a '72, which means small black tank and NO gray tank, minus.

For a not-special year/size/plan, $8500 is a price for "let's go camping and fix minor things as we go along." I think it' s a bit high for "let's figure out what to do about furnishing the living/dining space."

My cynical nature notes that the photos don't seem to show propane cylinders or where the cylinders SHOULD be, so that's an open question. *IF* everything that's in it works (electrical OK on both 12V and 120V, water sewer and propane systems work without leaks, 2-way fridge still present and in decent working order, AC cools OK) then $6k-$7k may be an OK price. things that are wrong detract from that. A new fridge is a $1200 proposition, for example. I'm also more picky because I already have a trailer on which everything works, so I can be more selective about "The Deal." In the end your money is your decision of course.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:05 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses, very insightful!

The reason we personally are looking for a 32' is because we have two boys. Going camping with the four of us (and probably the dog) would be getting tight with a 24'? But a 27' or 28' might perhaps be a better choice?
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by NHdreamin View Post
Thanks for the responses, very insightful!

The reason we personally are looking for a 32' is because we have two boys. Going camping with the four of us (and probably the dog) would be getting tight with a 24'? But a 27' or 28' might perhaps be a better choice?
If a 32' is the right size for you, that just means you get a bargain in terms of $/ft. People seem to pay more for smaller trailers, for whatever reason. Buy what fits you, but pay attention to the market in the process.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:58 PM   #8
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Run away...screaming.
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Old 07-08-2016, 12:13 PM   #9
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I wouldn't consider it much of a bargain- you can get a ready-to-go Sovereign here in S. Florida for less, and it probably hasn't been driven on those salty roads up there. Having just paid out $1300 for new axles, make sure that the torsion arms point on a downward angle! And jump up and down on the rear bumper to check for separation. And step all over the bathroom floor, shouldn't be squishy. And...

(there's a complete checklist available here at airforums.com!)
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Old 07-08-2016, 12:31 PM   #10
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My wife and I bought a 1971 Sovereign in similar condition for $4000. It had just the bare subfloor, so we were able to see the needed repair in the rear bathroom area. The main thing that attracted me to our trailer was the fact that everything was there and worked. There were no missing pieces of window hardware, etc. Also, the frame was in excellent shape.

After fixing the subfloor, we updated the electrical stuff, as well as replacing all of the plumbing including the black water tank and toilet. We'll be adding a new fridge and air conditioner and intend to replace the axles. By the time we finish we will have a nice fully functional Airstream for a little under $10,000.

I'm a pretty skilled Mr. Fixit kind of guy and was able to do all of the work myself.
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:01 PM   #11
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If it's the size and layout that you want, make a list of all the things that it needs, or might need, along with the costs for each. Go and look at the trailer prepared to get the best price you can based on what it will need. If you can't see the floor or the frame then you should assume that there is some rot and that some of the frame will be rusted to the point of needing welding. That can be a big job because it often means gutting the trailer to get at the floor needing replacement. If the seller says the floor and frame are okay then ask to have the belly pan partially taken down so you can see it, or ask to see photos.

Assume that it needs new axles if they are the originals.

Check the date codes on the tires. Were they new this year, or new five years ago in which case they will need to be replaced soon.

As mentioned in other posts, add in the cost of an RV refrigerator and propane tanks.

Check all of the tambour doors to make sure they operate as they are commonly in need of repair in a trailer of this age. You can also use the lack of a grey water tank as a bargaining point. Trailers just a little newer (I think from '73 or '74 on) will have one. If you are unfamiliar with a lot of these items you might want to take someone with you who is familiar with them to get their opinion.

It seems to me that they're asking too much.
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:15 PM   #12
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if you check the rear end separation issue alluded to above and it is not a problem, 5-5500 would be an ok deal. Then you maybe put 3000 in it and have nice Airstream for 8000+.
First see if-
appliances work, are they all there or available? Air Cond? Heater? Plumbing..etc
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Old 07-08-2016, 06:37 PM   #13
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We would like to put in a composting toilet and then convert the black tank to a grey one. But good point for negotiating the price!
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Old 07-31-2016, 12:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameront120 View Post
The long trailers of that era are, in my opinion, the least desirable and come up for sale the most frequently. The under built frame can present problems like rear sag. Here is some essential reading:

http://vintageairstream.com/airstream-price-guide/
this guide doesn't really reflect much of a difference in the resale values ? only a few hundred bucks, did I read that wrong ? Listed sale prices on CL would certainly show that Bambi's go for a LOT more money ... !
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