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Old 09-14-2012, 07:31 PM   #1
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2004 28' Classic
Boonville , Missouri
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HEAVY Hail Damage!

We were "gifted" from my in-laws, a 1992, 29' Excella with HEAVY hail damage. No does not leak and was going to use it like it is for a year to see how we like it but had it checked at A/S dealer and A/C and fresh water tank need to be replaced$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, BIG TIME. Not worth it so we are looking at upgrading (to newer A/S of course). If buy from a private party, what do we do with our 92 Excella. Inside looks great but outside it has numerous dents plus the AC and fresh water tank issue. How should it be priced appropriately to sell and the defects will most certainly be disclosed. Do not know how to put a price on it to even attempt to sell it.

Also, when we find newer (2002 - 2005) A/S, say if a 1000 miles away, how should we have it checked out to insure it is in good condition?

Thank you all for any and all advice.
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:28 PM   #2
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A few dents add character. A new Airstream might have problems as well. You are talking less than $2000 to repair/replace what you have. Why does the AC need to be replaced. I would get a second opinion on the repairs. Tanks are not that expensive. A dent specialist might be able to remove the dents. I would say that depending on the damage that is it worth $5000-$10000. You could be in the same boat or worse with a newer model. I have a little hail damage and I am not real worried about it. Look at it this way. If the hail damaged trailer suffers some other minor damage you won't be too upset. If your new one gets dinged you will be devastated.

Perry
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:02 PM   #3
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Smile

Per the A/S dealer, the tank cost alone is over $800 and then I was told it would take about a days labor to take the belly covering off (at $110 per hour labor). The A/C drip pan is brittle and all cracked so A/C has to be pulled out through roof and condition of 20 year old unit is very questionable. I pulled the interior A/C shroud off and know the drip pan is all cracked as I saw it. Unknown what all else is wrong with it.

The hail damage is not just a "little" bit. The insurance company "totaled" it to my in-laws when they had it. Talked to a Dent Removal company and they said without removing the interior, there is no way to get at the dents and they cannot fix them. If we get a newer A/S, think I will have to have a rubber coating put on it to prevent dings We just do not feel like it would be worth putting $$ into this unit due to hail damage and repairs needed. Feel like we would be money ahead to put those $$ into something newer and that does not need all the repairs. Thanks for the info.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:11 PM   #4
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The trailer was totaled and most likely has a salvaged title. Considering the water tank and AC issue, it would have a very low value. The cost of restoring the trailer and obtaining a clear title would exceed the value of a similar trailer in very good condition.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:14 PM   #5
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If you contract repairs out to professionals, the $100/hr. labor charge will make many repairs non-economical. If you can find someone who wants to do their own work, you may be able to get a reasonable discounted price for it and apply the money you get to buy something that is ready for the road, from someone who has aged out of the trailer life style. Several of our local members have sold their units for give away prices in the last year.
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Old 09-15-2012, 01:44 PM   #6
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Do you have photos of the hail damage? Would like to see what it looks like.

If the interior and all towing-related frame, running gear, etc. is OK, and the hail damage is only cosmetic, you may have gotten a perfectly good camper for the cost of an air conditioner (or repairs and a new shroud), and a fresh water tank. Since you didn't have to buy it, the repair costs could make this a real bargain. Also, check out non-Airstream dealer RV repair shops. These repairs could probably be handled by others that don't charge as much.

Note: If the air conditioner doesn't leak, you may be able to delay this expense until next spring; as the weather should be cooling soon.

There are a lot of 20-year-old SOBs (and Airstreams) running around with hail damage; so if you can get over the cosmetics, you could have a great camper that you don't have to worry about adding a few small scratches or dents to when boondocking. Assuming it doesn't look like something from the set of Beverly Hillbillies, you may have inherited an Airstream with a little "character" already built in, and an interesting back story.

Also, a used Airstream, regardless of age, will probably come with some needed repairs. When combined with monthly payments, periodic replacement of broken/damaged/worn out parts/equipment and other RV and travel expenses, some come to view these as money pits. Therefore, you may wish to take a few weekend trips in it to see if you even like camping.

If you do enjoy the RV lifestyle, I would encourage you to follow your first idea; i.e., to use it for a year before deciding whether to purchase a newer model. You may find you have a willing volunteer in your father-in-law to help do some of these repairs yourself; as I'm sure he would like to keep it in the family (otherwise, he would have sold it outright, himself). It seems apparent that he is giving his baby to you, hoping you will enjoy it as much as he did. Your wife may have memories of family camping trips in it, and it could give you some bonding time with your in-laws -- all good things...

Good luck; can't wait to see photos.
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Old 09-15-2012, 02:29 PM   #7
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I bought a trailer from 2500 miles away... the arrangement we made was to take it to an Airstream dealer, have it inspected, and the dealer report the condition to me. They ended up doing some minor repairs (non-working faucet, broken levelling jack) and I paid for the inspection. Then, the dealer agreed to let it sit on their lot of the grand price of $6 a day storage, and I sent a hauler to pick it up.

They sort of acted as escrow, but not in an official manner. Once I knew the trailer was at the dealer, I wired the money - they gave the title to the dealer, and away we went.
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Old 09-15-2012, 02:33 PM   #8
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Lots of stuff to think about. Got a place to park it? Got something to tow it? Hitch? Tires, brakes, bearings on Airstream checked? If all that checks, then I would try it for a while before I did anything. Can camp without airconditoner if you pick your spot and times. Carry a gallon of water in a jug in the shower for use on the road and hook up to water when you get there. Only use the water tank when boondocking. Never would I try to fix hail damage. If you know you can not live with that it is a deal breaker. I have seen several trailers with a lot of hail damage and it would not bother me too much.
Twice I thought I had gotten a bad water tank. Both times it was a leak in the fill hose. Water leaks for a long time after the fill since it accumulates in the insulation and pan. Only takes an hour or so to change that. I doubt the tank is bad unless it froze with a lot of water in it.
Have a long chat with the PO. (father in law?) If he has taken care of it and the tires, wheels, and bearings are good that is worth something.
New airconditoner with new pan ought to be around 1300 to 1500.
It is easy to buy a trailer that looks good and still spend 5 grand getting it exactly right. You probably do not need to ask how I know that. You could end up with a bargain but only if you can live happily with the hail damage. To me, an esentially depreciation free Airstream for 4 or 5 thousand repairs would be good.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:51 AM   #9
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Lots of different opinions here and that is what I needed. Unfortunately the trailer is at the Airstream dealer a 100+ miles from here and do not have any pictures close up of the hail damage. As far as having my father-in-law help me work on it, that won't work as he is 92 years old and not up to that. As far as that goes, I am not up to it either in my "golden years" or should I say my "aluminum years!" If all else worked okay on the trailer, I could live with the hail damage but with the other expensive items that need to be fixed, I just do not feel it is worth sticking $4500 to $5000+ into it, along with the severe hail damage. It is sort of a "catch 22" situation. If it did not have the hail damage, then I could probably see putting that money into it but feel if I did now, it would just be throwing money down the proverbial rat hole because it is not something someone would buy in the future to rehab due to the skin damage.
The leaking fresh water tank is a big deal to us as there are numerous places we want to go where we would have to "boondock" it. The A/C would be a big deal also because without it, it would severely limit our camping. The a/c leaks like crazy inside so it would have to be fixed or it is not useable. We are looking at some newer ones that we will have checked out and hopefully see some of you on the road or RV Park of where ever we all go
Still need to know what to do with current unit if we buy from a private party (no trade-in) and what it might be worth consider the issues it has.
Thank You
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:55 AM   #10
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By the way, what is a "RIVET MASTER"?? Sounds like I should aspire to be one!
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:44 PM   #11
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I think it has to do with number of posts. You will probably make it if you try to fix up this old trailer.
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:58 PM   #12
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If you are retired and on a fixed income, this changes things a lot. Spending a few thousand dollars on an Airstream you have personally owned and know the condition of is one thing, and taking over someone else's trailer and potential unknown problems is another. In the end, only you know what you can handle financially (and physically). -- Good luck, and keep us posted on what you decide...
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:50 PM   #13
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My ac pan cracked as well. I repaired it with epoxy without ac removal, all work done from below.
Cost was time, and a some industrial grade epoxy.
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:17 AM   #14
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We bought a 1991 29' Excella 1000 in 2009 that had extensive hail damage. It was a one owner with all documentation and history. Original owner even had a trip history showing miles pulled where & when they stayed.... Once your inside everything is just like new! We have been using ever since and love it! Do we get lots of looks and questions - yes, sometimes I make up a different story as to when how where the hail storm happened to see the reactions! This is our first camper and love it - plus it's paid for and ready to roll! ENJOY your airstream and don't look back.....
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