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Old 09-20-2005, 04:17 PM   #1
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Question Good buy, or too many issues?

New poster (and hopefully Airstream owner) here. I almost just bought a '60's Overlander in "as found" condition for $2,900-, but lost out to another buyer.

The seller also has a 1976 25' Tradewind for which he's asking $5,500 firm.
Pluses are - nice and very straight skin, relatively new tires (no cracks or dry rubber), can't find any soft spots in floor, replumbed with Pex, most appliances replaced - Norcold fridge, Thetford AquaMagic IV, guessing original Magic Chef range and oven, supposedly new water heater, (new?) 40 amp B-W 3240 pwr cnvrtr w/batt. chrgr, thought he said furnace was new - but couldn't find any ID, and much of ducting is a little rough, all windows work okay w/sreens gone in only front and rear, air conditioner looks to be original -he's never tried it though, close to home (have to borrow truck to haul currently) - so no delivery fees.
Negatives I see- floor stripped to plywood and will need recovering, all of sliding curtains missing - tracks still there, upholstery needs to go - gen cond. and aroma I think, linen looking fabric covering on wall dividers mostly puckered and in poor cond., no idea what shape black (and gray) water tanks are in, no paperwork on replaced appliances (except base model plastic Thetford), no power or water to hook up and check with, no gas bottles or batteries, rear drivers side crank down stabilizer/jack (factory item?) bent over, no keys for any doors or compartments, belly pan has slight through corrosion in some areas under frame rails and crossmembers though what I can see of frame appears sound w/lightly scaling corrosion, overall replacements and repairs not a hack job, but not top quality and professional either!

We need winter living/sleeping space, though I'm now convinced living outside with possible -20 deg. F nights is too much of a headache. Our new house I'm building w/a daylight shop bay/garage will accomodate up to a 29' trailer and I plan to keep it inside this winter, Dec-Mar at least. My new septic system will have a dump station cover on the tank with a trailer pad (w/pwr & water hookup) backing up to it. Once the house is done I'd like to use the trailer a "guest house" - drained during winter but with supplemental heat and a PortaPotti when in use, if and when the new 2+acre pond is dug and completed keep it down there much of the year.

I've spent the last 40+ years restoring and rebuiding prewar Ford cars & trucks, also my own '40-50's John Deeres, and during the last 20 years my Dodge Power Wagons. I ran for a good part of that time (and still have) my own machine shop, am a competent welder (no alum. though), am finishing myself the new house here on our old 80 acre southern Maine farm. We're selling off as one parcel the old house w/ 40-50 acres, the new house is smaller (with the kids grown and gone) w/ 30-40 acres -enough to hunt and fish maybe and play with my tractors and crawler. I'm pushing 60 real hard, but health permitting hope to get a Home Depot or equivalent job till I drop, and spend spare time cutting firewood and hobby farming a little, fishing in the new pond, a little hunting and shooting, and rebuilding both JD's , also rebuild 2 or 3 Power Wagons from the 10+ plus fleet. That's a lot of mechanic/painting/mach shop time - life is short, and I don't need to saddle myself with another major overhaul project in an Airstream!!!!!

What do you think? Is this Trade Wind too much of a potential headache, or for $5,500- a fair deal? I have a nice pair of revalved and newly certified aluminum LP bottles, a couple year old deep cycle batteries - but am really nervous about running into waste plumbing probs, or major appliance replacement at this price, but not much experience with trailers - am I expecting too much? We'll likely never take it out on the road, I don't mind cleaning it up and laying a new Pergo floor, playing around a little with appliances, etc. - just don't want to get into gray & black tank replacement, dropping part or all of the belly pan, stripping and painting the frame.

Any thoughts or advice will be appreciated - hopefully I haven't already lost this one too! Thank You, Joe
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Old 09-20-2005, 04:30 PM   #2
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Tough decision.... You might have a look at this link for price vs condition.
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Old 09-20-2005, 04:31 PM   #3
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Joe,
Personally I think he is a bit high on the price...if you are seeing belly pan corrosion the water had to be coming in from somewhere and I would strongly suspect that the bottoms of the frame and outriggers are likely rusted and possibly rusted thru. If the floor is stripped to the plywood pay special attention to the front floor under the curved windows use a pocket knife or awl to poke around right at the base of the wall behind the gaucho. Entry door area, and rear end inside the storage compartment. It is worth what you are willing to pay for it. I have seen similar units for sale from $400-$6000.

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Old 09-20-2005, 04:31 PM   #4
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I would look around some more, compare the 76 model to some sold on Ebay,I think you could do better,I did,,,,,, good luck and dont get in a hurry,I looked for 6 months and found a Jewel !!!!!!
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Old 09-20-2005, 04:41 PM   #5
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I agree compleatly with Aaron - curtains, upholstery etc no big deal - that belly corrosion has me really concerned. Aluminum does not corrode per se - however when it contacts with rusting metal - you get corrosion of the aluminum.

Walls sound like they have been covered - so would be difficult to bring back to original - if thats what you want to do.

On the other hand if there is no rust (only way to really know is to drop the belly) and no floor rot - check with knife or ice pick all along the edges, then the price is probably ok.

Also watch the "new" tires - they may look great, but if more than 5 or so years old, I would replace - they tend to rot from the inside out.

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Old 09-20-2005, 06:54 PM   #6
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hobbyguymain.

If your going to travel with your Airstream, be sure you check out the axles.

They can deteriorate, especially if the trailer was stored for an extended period of time, unless it was jacked up.

Andy
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Old 09-20-2005, 07:50 PM   #7
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Joe, There was a design change in the late 60ís/early 70ís concerning the way the belly pans were attached to the trailers. The belly pans actually are attached OVER the exterior side walls. I only have experience with my trailer, so I donít know when this began and ended. It was an obvious design flaw, however. The end result of this is that water literally pours into the belly pan of this era trailer. We have had a very wet year here in Georgia and as the rain fell, after I got the floor up, I would go out and watch the rain pour in. This has caused the frame to be severely rusted in many areas under the floor. Nothing that canít be fixed with a talented welder and lots of POR 15, just a pain to get fixed. You can follow a rather lively discussion of this phenomena here toward the end of this thread by some of the people for which I have much respect.

Tires. The rule of thumb here on the ĎForums is that if they are over 5 years old, buy new ones. My trailer has tires that must be over 5 years old and I dragged it home over 200 miles without a problem. Your results will probably vary.

Cold Weather. My one experience in Maine in the winter was January, 1986. We were stationed at Ft. Devins for a short tour before going overseas. We went up to L.L. Bean and it was 70 degrees. Obviously, not a normal January. I understand it can get really, REALLY cold up there (I think you mentioned -20 degrees?). Another rule of thumb is that these trailers donít handle extremes in temperature very well. They are simply not insulated well enough for that.

Bottom line? I wonder if any RV can withstand the quickly approaching winter in Maine. This particular trailer is a toss up. IF all the mechanical systems check out, then the trailer might be worth a look. But only as a long term restoration project. I donít think I would trust it to actually live in in the very cold.

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Old 09-21-2005, 07:01 AM   #8
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There is a fairly simple fix for the water coming in the belly pan from along the sidewalls...the lower rail is supposed to be caulked along the top edge...this is a maintanence item that is often overlooked and is critical for the longevity of the trailer. Mine was done orginally with parbond then overlaid with a god awful amount of silver silicone...which was totally ineffective. I are removing and resealing my rail as I go. I am using a bead of vulkem at the bellywrap/sidewall joint then using a thin bead of vulkem on the top of the rail after it is reinstalled.

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Old 09-21-2005, 07:26 AM   #9
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is the vulkem easy to work with?I will be applying some in the next few weeks,
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Old 09-21-2005, 07:49 AM   #10
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Airstreams were designed to travel. Most used Airstreams do not have double pane glass and are poorly insulated (weight and thickness tradeoff). Therefore, living in an Airstream in Maine over the winter is a bad idea. If there are apartments close by your construction site, the rent will be cheaper than the value of the hassle unless you are a masacist.
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Old 09-21-2005, 08:28 AM   #11
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Wink Winter Living

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi
Therefore, living in an Airstream in Maine over the winter is a bad idea.
Time for another read of 'Rubyslipper's Adventures'

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Old 09-21-2005, 10:16 AM   #12
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is the vulkem easy to work with?I will be applying some in the next few weeks,
Very...keep plenty of mineral spirits or paint thinner on hand for clean up. It is pretty slow to cure too, IIRC 72 hours to full cure...so keep the fingers out of it

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Old 09-23-2005, 09:22 PM   #13
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I know of a 1976 Overlander near me for sale. About $2900. It's in decent shape, certainly not perfect. Floor seems solid, skin is decent (a dent in the rear, not huge...and some dents in the bellypan)...fridge supposedly works well (and looks new), water heater supposedly works, heaters look good, but owner has only used one of them...tires are brand new...virtually all original inside.
Anyway, if I don't buy it (and my wife is actually telling me that I should), do you want to know about it? I can transport for reasonable cost, too.....

....it's on Long island.
-Chuck
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Old 09-24-2005, 12:39 PM   #14
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Yep, Shari has the motherlode thread! Also Search on 'wintering' and 'condensation' (latter being a big problem). Once there was a photo posted of an Airstream with a large LP tank sitting next to the A-frame.
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