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Old 03-06-2013, 05:01 PM   #1
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Good years-bad years ?

Starting to look for a used 16-25' AS and wonder if there are certain years/models that have better workmanship and fewer problems than others.
Ideally, I'd like to find vintage that is already completely restored but they seem to be hard to find. So, probably looking for something between 1993 and 2003.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:35 AM   #2
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Hi, and welcome to the forums!

In your vintage Airstream search, I think you are taking the correct approach--try to find one that has already had the work done, so you can spend your time using your trailer, rather than restoring it. You might try monitoring the AirForums classified ads, as you may have a better chance of finding a good trailer there than Craigslist. Be sure you have a complete idea of what full "restoration" entails. Fresh carpet, upholstery, interior paint and exterior shine do not a Restoration make.

As far as good years/bad years I can make some generalizations:

Pre-1969 trailers are generally considered by the vintage crowd to be better built, and at least less prone to floor rot in the rear of the trailer (body style changed in 1969 that promotes water draining into the rear of the trailer). They are also constructed of 2024 T3 Alclad aluminum, which will take a nice mirror shine and is tougher (less prone to dimpling in a light hail storm).

1970's and newer trailers generally have the same body shape and design shortcomings that result in problems like floor rot in the rear and rear end separation. Airstream has experimented with different alloys of aluminum ever since ~1970. It is a common belief that as time has gone on, the aluminum has gotten less tough, and more prone to damage, and less beautiful. If you look around the forums, you will find owners reporting floor rot in trailers that were built in the last 10 years, so be careful about thinking a newer trailer will eliminate the worries about leaks and rot.

I would recommend you choose the genre of trailer based on what you like (length, width, features, etc.), and then try to find one that has already had the work done.

Good luck!
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:51 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mountair View Post
Starting to look for a used 16-25' AS and wonder if there are certain years/models that have better workmanship and fewer problems than others.
I don't think workmanship has varied much. The 1970s-era trailers, especially larger ones with a rear bath, have the problems with rear-end separation. But then, in most cases people contemplating a 40+ year old trailer intend to perform a complete restoration and so initial condition doesn't matter much.

Quote:
Ideally, I'd like to find vintage that is already completely restored but they seem to be hard to find. So, probably looking for something between 1993 and 2003.
Fully restored trailers do come on the market but they are expensive and you'll be conducting a region-wide if not nationwide search.

Condition of late 1990s trailers varies widely depending on how they've been used and stored. Gently used and kept inside they can be like new. Some are basket cases. Be careful.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:38 PM   #4
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Mountair,
Welcome to the neatest forum on the 'net. Our son graduated from ASU in '03. We love Boone! Like you, Lin and I started looking for our AS by combing the internet, both the Classifieds here and the listings at RVTrader.com seemed to be about the best. After months of looking and refining our want list we looked at a few gently used units. We found her in South Carolina, and feel in love in Spring 2011. We are still in love to this day. Also, like you, I thought I wanted a short one. Don't be shy about length. Our 30 pulls like a dream.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:42 PM   #5
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I don't think workmanship has varied much. ... Gently used and kept inside they can be like new. Some are basket cases. Be careful.
I would respectfully disagree based upon a recent purchase... PM if you need details.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:18 PM   #6
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What about all the bad frames in the 2003 and newer CCD trailers. I would think those would be ones to stay far away from.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:40 PM   #7
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i have a 1971 29 ft and pulls good would not trade or sell it we love it
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post

As far as good years/bad years I can make some generalizations:

Pre-1969 trailers are generally considered by the vintage crowd to be better built, and at least less prone to floor rot in the rear of the trailer (body style changed in 1969 that promotes water draining into the rear of the trailer). They are also constructed of 2024 T3 Alclad aluminum, which will take a nice mirror shine and is tougher (less prone to dimpling in a light hail storm).

1970's and newer trailers generally have the same body shape and design shortcomings that result in problems like floor rot in the rear and rear end separation. Airstream has experimented with different alloys of aluminum ever since ~1970. It is a common belief that as time has gone on, the aluminum has gotten less tough, and more prone to damage, and less beautiful. If you look around the forums, you will find owners reporting floor rot in trailers that were built in the last 10 years, so be careful about thinking a newer trailer will eliminate the worries about leaks and rot.
Thanks for all the good comments. The search for a used unit seems like a corn maze...lot's of potential wrong turns.
What are the beatrice years specifically ?
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:05 PM   #9
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The Beatrice years were from '67 to '79. There are plenty of folks who think those are "bad" years for material quality, but I think its way blown out of proportion. The main problems seen with this era of trailer is rot in the rear end flooring, and tail end droop, sag, and separation. All of these problems are specific to the design (both the shape of the trailers, and the length), and are difficult to simply blame on "poor quality materials." As mentioned above, there are trailers built since 2000 that have cracked frames, and floors made of particle board that disintegrate when they get wet. At least the Beatrice trailers had plywood floors.
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:26 AM   #10
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Year Airstream changed the clear coating

Can someone tell me when Airstream changed the clear coating? I was told it was 1999 or 2000. Does this eliminate the clear coat peeling?
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:42 AM   #11
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The current trailers use Alcoa aluminum panels with a plastic-cote by Akzo. This started in mid 1999. I have heard plenty of anecdotes concerning the current plasticote eventually aging, degrading, and peeling, so it would not appear that it is a permanent solution. I replaced one of the segments on my trailer with a new one with the current plasticote, and so far it has proven resistant to any stripper I have thrown at it, if that is any reassurance.
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:16 AM   #12
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Alcoa aluminum with plastic-cote by Akzo

Thank you for this info. We are looking at a 1999 Safari. I will ask current owners if it has this. I understand it is not perfect solution but trailer appears to look good and has supposedly garage kept.
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:27 AM   #13
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There are some other threads with similar discussions. One thing I remember reading that i did not see mentioned is the materials besides the shell that one refurber on here shared

60's wood inside
70's plastic inside

Comment on CCD frames. I do not believe that all CCD frames of 2003+ are bad. I thought that was only an issue with one model- the 22'.

Look at the trailers that you find. Buy a moisture meter. Look at overall condition.

My unit, as far as I know has no floor rot but it had other issues as any used item may have. The original owner drove off once with the awning not locked down. It blew around and caused some denting and scratching as the brace piece came loose and the top spring castor bounced around on the top roof area. Aside from surface abrasion it is ok. Things happen. I paid a lower price. You will find something.

The changes in the shell carry a good and bad. I really like the all clad and it will last but it should be polished. I do not know the years specifically but after the all clad came the ones that have clear coat that peels- needing refinished every so often. Then finally the newer style aluminum that is coated in like a thick plastic (I was told it is not clear coat [looks clear to me!]) but they suffer from between coat corrosion known as filliform- not like rust but just ugly. The positive is that it requires the least maintenance (aside from chasing filliform with Corrosion X!).

The '99 sounds like a good shot. There is also reference to OSB flooring instead of plywood. Some have said that is a Safari thing- not so, at least on my Safari.
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:44 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ann R. Bell View Post
Thank you for this info. We are looking at a 1999 Safari. I will ask current owners if it has this. I understand it is not perfect solution but trailer appears to look good and has supposedly garage kept.
Our early '99 peeled badly. The factory refinished it under warranty and they said, at the time, they changed chemistry just a few months later. SO THE LATER '99s supposedly don't peel. But don't bet on it.
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