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Old 01-16-2013, 09:34 PM   #1
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buying an Airstream for 'scrap value'

How much is someone really, actually getting for scrapping an airstream?

My cousin in TN found a trailer and the seller wants to sell it to me for "scrap value". he says he can get $.65/lb for aluminum (seems reasonable) so he wants to weight the trailer and I'm guessing multiply by $0.65. Original dry weight was around 4100#, so I'm guessing he wants $2600.

Now, there isn't 4,000# of aluminum; and I'm looking to get it for under $1500. Is there a more reasonable way to estimate how much aluminum , by weight, is in a 26 ft airstream?

Other things to consider; actual weight of the steel frame, and it's scrap value. Thoughts?
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:50 PM   #2
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$.65 a lb less the labor cost to separate would be a better value. Probably a couple of days for a couple of folks to rip it apart...It would be easiest to get the $/lb for mixed metals and make an offer on that.

If I had to guess, my '63 has, um, 1,000 lbs of aluminum?

Hummm

During the shell off, I could barely lift each corner of the shell...?200? lbs x 4 for the shell = 800, double that for the interior and belly? caution...SWAG!!!
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV View Post
$.65 a lb less the labor cost to separate
HI HO has it right! The LABOR COST to separate - is going to be huge.

If you're restoring a like/similar model and you're using a wreck for donor parts - that's a different kettle of fish, otherwise?

Why the heck would you work that hard to break even? You've got to make some profit, right?

Depending on how "wrecked" the wreck is most of the appliances will be toast - at the very least the propane ones will have to be thoroughly bench tested for safety before being reused (and that will cost enough to make buying new appliances look attractive). Unbroken windows will have value if you can keep them unbroken while removing them.

You didn't mention the AGE of the Airstream. Several older trailers might have components that are so hard to find that the joke is that they are made of "unobtainium" and you could score big on a few. On the other hand, you might just have a pile of old, wet, mildewed junk.

Anything you can't salvage you'll have to pay to put into a landfill if it isn't small enough and light enough to go to the garbage can.

You'll only be able to sell stuff like the axle assemblies, curtains, cushions, etc. if the trailer is a pretty new model - say 2005 or later.

And of course anything you can sell, you'll have to store until someone wants to buy it.

(NO I don't have any affiliation with Colaws or any other storage lot. I just know that... hmmm to put it nicely:
One Can make a SMALL fortune with Airstreams... provided of course that One starts out with a LARGE fortune!

So get it for a song or fergiddaboudit!

Paula
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:23 AM   #4
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Back in the 70's airstream had an add showing several (4) people holding up the shell of a trailer at the factory so it can't have that much aluminum.
Best bet would be to call a scrap yard and ask what they pay for something like that hauled in whole and work with that price when making an offer.
You don't want to pay .65 a pound for wood ,steel, and possibly a full holding tank.
Is this a salvageable trailer, ?? I have payed less than $1500 for several that I was able to put back in useable condition.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:40 AM   #5
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I know from experience it will cost you as much to break the trailer up and dispose of the non-sellable stuff than you would get from the metal. Scrap dealers don't buy plastic, they don't by wood, and they don't buy insulation.
So,. they will buy the copper pipes, if equipped, but they won't buy the ABS drain pipes. They'll buy the frame, but they won't buy the floor. They'll buy the window frames, but not the windows. And if there's ANYthing on or attached to the aluminum, you will get the "dirty" price for it, usually about ten cents a pound, rather than the clean price of .45/pound. Then you will have to pay to dispose of the fridge and air conditioner, both of which contain toxic gases. And don't think you are going to get rich off the steel, either. It's less than .05/pound.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:32 AM   #6
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just to clarify...
I'm not scrapping the trailer. and it's not wrecked.

im looking to buy from someone who thinks they can make $.65/lb (multiplied times the weight of the trailer) by scrapping it.

my thinking is... he cant be making much on the scrap value of it, there's not really that much aluminum. So i want to know how much he will really get so i can negotiate.

Quote:
Depending on how "wrecked" the wreck is
this is the thing. its not wrecked. its a 71 (i think) international overlander. no rear-end seperation. the body is in almost perfect condition; there's an aftermarket 1 sq ft hole where it looks like they cut for venting maybe a house HW heater; one front curved window has a crack in it, and every exterior seam is caulked. the interior is decent; missing front gaucho or dinette,( whatever was there) ; and the closet (i think thats what was there) has been removed; looks like they tried to make way for the house HW heater, which is also now gone. Appliances intact. kitchen and bath intact. cabinetry mostly decent shape. the vent is missing it's cap and the floor was soaked, but wasn't soft where the leak was, or anywhere else, except by the door.

I just need some ammo to counter his asking price
It's been raining 7 days straight here ; we need the weather to dry out so the seller can pull it and weight it. then i will know what he is asking.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:28 AM   #7
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just my opinion I think the seller and you might be on to something. Just sweet talk him and make sure he subtracts a substantial amount for the non metal items. You can't weigh the trailer and say 100% of the weight is aluminum,steel and copper. but based on what a lot of people are pricing their overlanders for sale most are in the 3000.00 to 4000.00 range and they might even be in worse condition that the one you're looking at. You have to convince him that the plastic, 'wood', glass, batteries and cushions in there dont contribute to the scrap value in weight and start from there. Just offer him what you would pay (since ultimately thats what a sale should come down to) or walk away and let the unbelievable amount he thinks he should get based on weight sit for a few months until he realizes it IS an unbelievable amount and accepts your offer. If you have money set aside for such a project then you can easily wait for something logically sound to come around as far as a purchase goes. Patience is key since this project will take the better part of a year maybe more to get it up an running. Its what you don't see that can nip you. Might not be any separation but the frame might be rusted out. who knows...then after the purchase at your estimated 2600.00 you now have the paper weight in your hands and the cycle continues of what to do with it. Just my opinion but make an offer...if he doesnt take it...walk away...I would put money down that if he advertises his asking price it will still be there in 6 months
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Patience is key...
DOH! I know! But its so hard.....
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:06 PM   #9
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Yes it is....the more you know about airstreams the more you are arming yourself with the knowledge needed to bargain. Most people think that the value of the trailer is enough to go home somewhat happy and own an airstream but you must figure in the cost of getting an old trailer to your driveway. Lets assume that the trailer is 5 hrs away. Now you have gas, most likely new tires, possibly brakes and temporary brake lights just in case, tools for the rescue and the list goes on. At this point you could easily be up to 1000.00 in just getting her home properly and safely. Now your trailer that your hopes of paying 1500.00 is now 2500.00. My advice is go see it and never trust what the owner 'says' is good on it. Learn as much as you can and call or talk to an inspector in the area that can tell you exactly what it will need so that it can limp home. It will make life so much easier unless you're able to do all that work yourself to get the scrap into your driveway
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:07 PM   #10
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Do you have a recycling facility near you? Haul it there and they will weigh it, look it over and make an offer. If you're standing there with him, you'll know exactly what the "scrap value" is! Then you'll have real dollar figures to look at - not theoretical.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:56 PM   #11
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I fall more on the side of what its worth to you. No scrap yard or previous owner can tell you what that value is. It would be essentially paying retail price for anything if you went on those two factors to determine price. At the same time no one could judge you if you paid 2 million dollars for the trailer because ultimately its your money (hopefully with that price it will come with 500 acres of wilderness). Make an offer a few hundred dollars below your last price because if you start at 1500.00 you typically have no where else to go but up. Explain why you are only willing to pay your price. Don't expect them to take it and walk away although that could happen . In then end the way you'll have to see it is 10,000.00+ into your investment of getting the overlander up and running you'll have a smile on your face or not and at that point you'll know it was worth the trouble. Judging that you are on trailer number 3 you've been through it before? Point is the decision is up to you but pay what you want not what any scrap yard deems its worth.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:51 PM   #12
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i do appreciate what you are saying... yes this is trailer #3 and as such, i now only permit myself to buy bargains; i can justify them to myself as investments

so yes, i figure fair market value $3k_ but i'm not quite as passionate about 70's trailers as i am about earlier years. So i likely wouldn't buy it for 3k... or 2600.... but if it were a steal, i would / could. Hence the title of the post... trying to establish what a scrapper would actually pay for an AS, so i can go in to the offer as an 'educated buyer'.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:27 PM   #13
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Worth....

2 years ago I was given a '64 Holiday Rambler TT that was complete outside but the rear dining room area and floor was removed due to water damage by a burst water heater. I was in Michigan at the time and that trailer was too heavy for my 1/2 ton pick-up to pull very far. So I decided to strip all the usable interior parts off it and scrap the rest. The windows were aluminum and I left them on the trailer as none of them operated well and they were too larger to work on any Airstream models. After hauling it to the scrap yard the most they would give me was $150.00 unless I wanted to tear it down to remove all the non metal/copper/aluminum parts. Needless to say without time to invest in that work I took the $$$ and they took the trailer. Hope this helps, Ed
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