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Old 08-15-2006, 10:16 AM   #1
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Red face Is my "new" 76 sovereign toad-alled? your .02, please

If you've been following along at home, this is going to be really amusing.

We just got back from an exhausting trip to inspect/pay off my ebay airstream. We got there sleep deprived & weary from the road. The seller was friendly & asked where we wanted to start... the awning, it worked okay. Into the sovereign we went, I was knocked out by the mold. It was thick, he had shampooed the carpet & cleaned up visible evidence but the smell was strong. I should've asked, and didn't... and figured when we rip the carpet/curtains/upholstery out we'd be okay. Then the windows- the listing stated 2 of the inner panes of the vista views had cracks, what he didn't mention was that EVERY SINGLE ONE of them had the gasket or something dried up & curled up in between the pains, along w/moisture & what appeared to be gravel. Ugh. I kept looking in horror. There were many of them, too, I think 8 in all. The 2 that were "cracked" were actually broken w/big gaps between the glass, and several others had cracks that he sealed. Then, as he was giving the grand tour we were told tales of years & years of neglect/abuse by the PO. About a failure to winterize and how he spent weeks fixing it. There are still some plumbing issues to work out, but the toilet & sinks work, no hot water heater/shower. We heard about how he put a hole in the roof for the antenna & it was leaking at first but now it's sealed. He even told us that when it was in the barn it was covered in raccoon poop!
We were in total shock.
Upon testing, we found the antenna to be out of order & he said he'd knock off for that. In shock & mold allergy stupor, I think I was waiting for the list of other things he'd take off for. he offered to let us walk away from the deal and it didn't seem like we wanted to do that.. and before we knew it we were paid in full & I signed. WHAT WAS I THINKING?


I was thinking that for 5300, we didn't get hurt too bad, I guess? That we wanted to rip all of the flooring out of whatever camper we got, and I guess the curtains & upholstery wouldn't be that big of a deal(tho now I'm rethinking that). Figured we could cover the vista views up w/those stained glass overlays. All of the other windows were great, opened w/screens intact.

But what about the plumbing issues? And those windows, if we ever wanted to replace them it would be big $. My husband is really handy but I don't think he could take that job on. What about any other issues that may come w/years upon years of neglect? We've been expecting one that needs work and i know that there will always be upkeep, but has this one gone beyond that phase, I wonder.

Well, I wrote to him last night & said we were in shock, and felt sick about the deal & he offered to let us out of it again. We'd be responsible for fees but there'd be no hard feelings. So, we'd be out the cost of the trip (around $300) + whatever fees and we might also owe some $ for cancelling our shipping. I was hoping he'd knock off quite a bit for those windows, that was a blatant misrepresentation in my opinion, but he doesn't seem willing. All or nothing. I'm really fortunate that we do have any out considering I signed & paid in full.


This has been humbling. It was such an impulsive buy, we had been researching for some time & here we bid on this one even tho there were red flags all over it. I think we were desparate not having camped at all in months & really wanting to own an airstream & get started on our dream. There was something about this that pulled us in.

Is it still worth it? What would you do?

This has been humbling, to say the least.
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Old 08-15-2006, 10:28 AM   #2
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I think you can do better for $ 5300.00
You have not mentioned the real important issues, though. How is the floor? Axles? frame? skin?
Water heaters and plumbing, although labor intensive, are not that much $$ to fix. There are numerous posts here on how to fix the vista view windows.
But the floor, skin and frame need to be ok for a trailer that costs that much. Judging by how he described the previous neglect, you can bet on rotten flooring etc causing the smell.
You need to get into a traielr that is a fixer upper for little cash, especially a large trailer which will have less collector value than a small trailer.
If you don't feel good about it, you're probably right. Count your belssings that you can get out of the deal, and only take a little loss, instead of getting in over your head.
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Old 08-15-2006, 10:36 AM   #3
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The frame/axles/skin seem to be in great shape. There are no soft spots in the floor that I can tell, but we did not bring an ice pick in.
It towed great, he had us take it on the interstate.

It seems like a solid trailer outside, I had no complaints from the walkaround. I bounced on both sides of the bumper, that looked good. The underbody looked okay, there was a tiny bit of rust forming, tho.

I've already got about $500 into it, w/up to 425 more to cancel the shipping.
I didn't want to walk away altogether, I would've felt so much better if he would've considered the windows in the negotiations.
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Old 08-15-2006, 10:36 AM   #4
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If you don't feel good about it, you're probably right. Count your belssings that you can get out of the deal, and only take a little loss, instead of getting in over your head.


I agree with Uwe. If you don't feel right about it now just think how you might feel in the future when you find other things that need to be fixed. The plumbing is a big deal, as well as a "dead battery"
Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 08-15-2006, 10:56 AM   #5
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if it has mold in the carpet then it is in the sub-floor also. It may leeking from the vista-view window and the lower oval window. also at the vent pipe that go through the window. it is not a big deal to remove and reseal the vista-view windows. I am doing that on my 75 now. I think that 76 vista-views are different. I think that you will find with any a/s that age that all needs to be resealed if not done already. this will also include all window gaskets and door, cargo door seals.

-Garth
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Old 08-15-2006, 11:04 AM   #6
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My 2 cents

This is my 2 cents and how I think on the deal if it was me. I looked at the pictures and the past owners description and it does look like a nice trailer. Now I will tell you this there probably is floor rot, and with 30 year old trailers there are going to be problems no matter how well they have been kept up. As far as the smell when we picked ours up last year it had been stored in a barn and not been touched for about a year and let me tell you it stunk to high heaven but they all do if not aired, because they are so air tight. If yours was stored as ours you need to reseal everything on the outside, if it's not leaking now (It Will)
The past owner is being very nice in his description he states (as is) but if you decide to take it back you could cut your loses and find a newer one with less work needed.
We paid a few hundred more than you did on ours and drove 500 miles to pick it up, we have replaced half of the floor, resealed everything, and fixin to have it all re-plumbed with pex and take all copper out. The way I feel about ours is we are still way under what we would have paid for a new some other brand that would only last our family a few years. And we couldn't but a new Airstream (afford) so now we have something we can enjoy and work on as a family and have it for many many more years.
I would keep your trailer and start working on it and enjoy.
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Old 08-15-2006, 12:40 PM   #7
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Vote to get $$ back...

While you might eventually make this trailer into one you'd enjoy, it will cost more than you bargained for... I'd also be worried about long term consequences of mold in fiberglass insulation between inner and outer walls, as well as sub-floor..

Your messaage makes clear you feel seller mis-represented the trailer, and I feel you'd keep dwelling on that emotion each time you found another major glitch or defect that added money and time to the restoration. THe negative feelings toward the seller would make it hard to enjoy that trailer...

While this forum is filled with stories of brave souls who bought very thrashed Airstreams and nursed and banged them back to life, one key to satisfaction is knowing what you're getting in for before the decision to proceed. If you are constantly reminded that you got stuck with more than you bargained for, it will be easy to get frustrated and discouraged. The loss of a few $ Hundred now is realtively cheap lesson compared to the $10K+ you'd have invested in that trailer before being able to enjoy it...

John McG
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:08 AM   #8
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Buyers Remorse?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Condoluminum

Your messaage makes clear you feel seller mis-represented the trailer, and I feel you'd keep dwelling on that emotion each time you found another major glitch or defect that added money and time to the restoration. THe negative feelings toward the seller would make it hard to enjoy that trailer...

John McG
You asked for our .02 worth, well here's mine + a little more that you might not want to hear.

I agree with Condoluminum. Back out now while you can and take a small loss. It sounds like the seller is being quite conciliatory in this deal by allowing you this option.

I've viewed the eBay listing, and I think you've got a very nice looking trailer. ($5300 is more than I would have paid for it, but that's beside the point). Is there work involved? ABSOLUTELY! Any 32 year old trailer will have issues. In reading the listing, and all the questions asked and answered, I think the seller tried to do a reasonable job of describing the trailer. Then he allowed you to tour the trailer and do a walk thru after you had already entered into a contract to purchase. You still bought it. Now he's offering you an out. Take it and run if you are not happy with your purchase. You state that he's not willing to "knock off anything" on the window issue - view it from a sellers point of view. Maybe he feels that he has done everything in good faith and now the buyer is trying to renegotiate the contract for less. All or nothing is fair to both parties. Fulfill the contract as is or opt out.

The seller has maintained a 100% positive rating since 1999. 554 comments in his score of 962 are from satisfied buyers. I know he hasn't maintained that score by trying to deceive or cheat his buyers. (In comparison, I've got a score of 1061, a 99.4% in 6 years - I've had 6 negatives in 6 years - it's very hard to please everyone)

Perhaps you will be happier looking at a new, or newer trailer. Anything you look at in that age range is going to need some kind of work. Whether it's minor refurbishment such as getting rid of the ugly 70's gold color scheme, or bigger items like lions and tigers and bears, o-my! err .. I mean... windows or water heaters, or even subfloors! Leaks? - they all leak...eventually. They just need regular maintenance and care (and of course - use!) Good luck on your decision. Let us know what you decide and how it all works out.
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Old 08-16-2006, 07:11 AM   #9
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Great post Great Pumpkin well said.
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Old 08-16-2006, 08:56 AM   #10
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As the owner of a 78 Argosy and the buyer of a 58 Airstream I now know how overwhelming some projects can be. It was "fun" restoring the 78 since it was in really, really good condition. Needed some love, took carpet out and put in wood floors, replaced AC, replaced water heater, replaced Univolt, replaced faucets, replaced etc.......... BUT, it was still love at first sight and that feeling continues to this day. The 58 was a different matter and the work needed on it was so overwhelming that neither my husband nor I even wanted to look at it once we got it home. Some things just aren't worth it to some people. Sold the 58 to an avid trailer guy with time to do it justice. We were glad to see it go. I think for $5300 you could find something you love and something you will have fun restoring. Add a little to that and get an Argosy or AS that you can use right now and work on too. I paid $6000.00 for my Argosy, which may have been a little too much, but it was ready to go when I first saw it. The things we replaced were things we wanted to be newer. Nothing didn't work. Keep looking.
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Old 08-16-2006, 10:07 AM   #11
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We turned it down.

I want to thank everyone who replied. It really helps to have so many perspectives.

Juel~ Thank you for bringing up the emotional factor.

On the drive up, as well as the week we had to wait to inspect it- we had plenty of time to brace ourselves for what we might find and I was still shocked.
It wasn't love at first sight, to say the least.. I was literally sickened! I was fully expecting something in need of repair but not to that extent. If there is so much evidence of problems out there in the open, what is lurking behind those walls & under the floors? And to look at the interior pics now, I see he was pretty creative in the angles he chose & I should've expected it... I just thought it was somebody w/differing tastes & thought w/some work it could be homey.

I feel really bad about not holding my ground at the inspection, and it was my place to inspect it before I ever bid... I feel even worse about that. I think that's why I couldn't just say no when I was there, I felt like it was mine, like it or not. I was voicing my fears/concerns about the state of things to the seller & he was dancing around them. When the antenna didn't work he quickly knocked off for it & I just couldn't understand why he wasn't compensating for the other big stuff. I could care less about the antenna, but if he was willing to take anything off at all I was going for it, you know? I was prepared to buy it, I knew I was bound by our contract. But since he did offer to let me out of it altogether, I couldn't help but consider it.

Thanks for all of the input.
We are going to re-do the budget & work on the new game plan.

Counting my blessings, Kelly
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Old 08-16-2006, 12:10 PM   #12
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I think that you are dealing with a good seller. That said, do what feels right. The seller left you every option.
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