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Old 08-04-2006, 02:34 PM   #1
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1996 25' Excella
southern , Illinois
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Looking for scrutiny here! Guidance?

We've been checking this one out on ebay & are sad to see there's no inspector in the area (outside of Rochester, NY).

We've been looking for almost 2 months now, we keep hoping the right one will come up nearby or where we could have an inspector go in.. and it's just not happening. We're considering buying sight unseen.

I haven't even called the seller, but I do want to have a list of questions for when I do.
There's one area near the hitch... roadside... that I can't make out what's happening. Any ideas? Also want to ask the basics about solid flooring, leaks...

BUT he's never owned an airstream...so maybe he's not even going to know enough about it to answer the questions?

I want to ask about evidence of mold/bugs/critters, too... right?

We're hoping to buy something solid at a decent price & update to our needs (laminate flooring, solar panels, upholstery, etc.). What do you think? Is that a realistic goal?
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Old 08-04-2006, 03:05 PM   #2
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~flutterbee~
There's one area near the hitch... roadside... that I can't make out what's happening. Any ideas?
Both the right and left lower front curved panels seem to have something symmetrical going on. Since there are no lower rockguards this may have been a modification -- extra thickness of metal (except the VIN tag is on the front left panel) or some application to absorb dings? Some folks paint a rubber material to this area so maybe this is evidence of removal of such an application.

The other panel issue that doesn't show up very well is at far right in the very last photo. It doesn't appear on any other of the roadside pics -- though I must say the jpeg resolution loss is a problem with this set of photos. Sellers can be fairly responsive to your email queries and may even talk over the phone. If they say 'A/C needs freon', our RV tech member (lewster) says RV A/Cs cannot be recharged at all -- they usually have to be replaced if not running. Something about the ebay placement makes me think pro ... buyer feedback suggests multiple auto deals.

eBay territory is very 'buyer beware' when it comes to frame, quality, etc.

Decent price so far ... though they always run up significantly the last hour or so. Do a forums search here with keywords: ebay strategy. That doesn't exactly find what I was looking for but it's a start.
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Old 08-04-2006, 03:36 PM   #3
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If they play dum, I gotta run

I'm always suspicious when a seller of anything knows nothing about the item, warning phrases are: "it's my fathers, brothers, other family members, dead friends, inherited it, bought it and can't afford it, dropped out of the sky, magically materialized in my driveway " etc.



When a seller cannot commit on any aspect "due to lack of knowlwdge it's very hard to tell if they are not just pro's playing dum"



My motto: "If they play dum, I gotta run"



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Old 08-04-2006, 08:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe stream
...If they say 'A/C needs freon', our RV tech member (lewster) says RV A/Cs cannot be recharged at all -- they usually have to be replaced if not running....
The ebay advertisement for my previously owned '77 Excella 500 said the A/C was blowing air buy not cold air and that it probably needed freon. The A/C was the original Armstrong Baybreeze which was checked by a friend of mine and found to be only a little low on freon. He charged the unit and brought it back up to spec. The problem was not low freon but a 125 v. to 24 v. transformer in the A/C unit. It was only reading 9 v. outgoing at the transformer and zero v. at the thermostat. I replaced the transformer and it would run you out of the 31' unit it was so cold. Obviously, the A/C CAN be recharged but many shops don't want to fool with it. They are interested in selling you a new unit and charging you out the ying yang for labor.
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Old 08-04-2006, 09:04 PM   #5
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I bought my Airstream off of ebay sight unseen. It said the air blew cold. It did...for about 2 minutes. Had to replace it. Said there were no leaks. There were...still haven't cured one of them. Said it was an Excella...it wasn't, but I was uneducated in that department. In the end, though, I'm happy with my Airstream. It has been a lot of puttering (which is why I bought one in the first place) and the results have been pretty gratifying from working on it. However, expect more things wrong than what they actually tell you are wrong!
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Old 08-04-2006, 09:29 PM   #6
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We bought on ebay...

Hello,

We bought our Bambi "sight unseen" from ebay. Emailed back and forth with the owner... the man we bought it from was selling it for his father! But, the Dad was around to answer questions as well. Our negotiated arrangement was to put a $500 deposit via pay pal and the balance in a cashier's check. We knew if once we went to pick it up if it didn't live up to what he said we would maybe be out our $500 and travel time/costs... but we could turn and run if we had to. We emailed back and forth, got their phone number and called and spoke with them. They seemed "honest" as far as we could tell via cyberspace and voice, but one never knows! I have heard some folks make similar arrangements and then instead of all of the balance in a cashier's check they would also have about $1,000 in cash to add to a cashier's check. That way upon inspection if something wasn't as described they had a little "negotiating" room. In fact, I may have heard it on the VAP.

I had never bought anything that big on ebay before and certainly a lot of it was "chancy"... but I figured if I lost $1,000 it would be hard to take, but I certainly have made other poor financial decisions that lost money... I wanted the Bambi we bought and was willing to take the risk. I must say in retrospect all in all we had a great experience buying our Bambi on ebay. The guys we bought ours from were very helpful, bought new tires for it so our 800 mile trip home would be safe, made sure the brakes worked and wheels greased, etc. Helped us get it all hooked up ready to travel. We worked in their yard for a whole day being sure lights worked, etc.!

We bought our second Airstream on ebay as well. All went equally smooth. You can only use your own good judgment and decide what will work for you!

My only advice is to ask zillions of questions, ask for lots and lots of pictures to be posted and/or emailed to you directly. Pictures do say 1,000 words (hopefully they are actual pics of the trailer you are considering buying...) Ask for their number and give them a call and ask questions. If they aren't willing to give you their phone number and expect you to give them thousands of dollars.... well ....

Good luck!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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Old 08-05-2006, 12:57 AM   #7
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Looking for an Airstream

Hi, Flutterbee. I kind of know the feeling. I saw pictures. I talked to sellers. And I drove many miles to actually see these jewels. You have been looking for two months now. I looked for three years. We ended up buying new. Too much money to not get what you want in your dream trailer. I'm glad I didn't buy any of these jewels sight unseen. I would have been very unhappy. I also watched E-bay for Airstreams and still look for the heck of it. Too many sellers state "I don't know anything about this or any trailer." And "I never checked the appliances". This tells me, not to expect anything to work.

Bob
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Old 08-05-2006, 03:21 PM   #8
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Another E-bay purchase here.
The seller gave me the option to walk away with no hard feelings if I didn't like it. 3 years later I have put over 5000 miles worth of camping trips on this unit. Ask as many questions as you can think of, pictures of everything and ask some more questions.
If the seller can't get it to work or is unwilling to try, consider it broken and bid accordingly.
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Old 08-05-2006, 05:06 PM   #9
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Bid On It!...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holzarbeiter
Another E-bay purchase here.
The seller gave me the option to walk away with no hard feelings if I didn't like it.
Flutterbee,
It appears to be a nicely maintained unit.

See if you can get the seller to give you what will for now and evermore be called the "Holzarbeiter Option."

Assume the AC will have to be replaced and bid accordingly.

Based on the symetrical concavities in each front quarter panel, I would say that this trailer has been dropped hard on it's tongue. There may be frame damage.

Even so, I would bid on this trailer, with the Holzarbeiter Option of course.
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Old 08-05-2006, 08:22 PM   #10
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1996 25' Excella
southern , Illinois
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Thanks everybody for all of the thoughts & ideas on this. This forum has been so helpful.

My husband spoke with the seller last night. While my husband did like the guy, what I heard didn't make me feel comfortable about the deal. He really doesn't know much about airstreams so I'm nervous about that. He's got the reserve set a little higher than we want to go (ESPECIALLY if that's frame damage!). AND he said if he doesn't get the reserve he'll take it to an AS dealer & have everything checked & relist it for more money.
That's what I'm most uneasy about for some reason. Can't quite put my finger on it but I've got to go with my gut. I wish he would've had it checked out to begin with. Maybe it'll come around again w/a clean bill of health & I'll be ready for it.

Back to the drawing board! And that's okay! I'll have even more time to research this purchase, which is major considering we plan to live on board.

Off to get lost in the search tool! Bee well!
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Old 08-06-2006, 10:14 AM   #11
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I just can't understand why folks put stuff on ebay and don't check everything out and then they pass it off as they don't know much about the item. I sell on ebay and I try to describe all my items to a tee, if I don't know about it I do all kind of research.
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Old 08-06-2006, 11:32 AM   #12
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When I look at the marks on the front of the trailer, it looks like the unit may have had home made segment protectors installed at one time and then removed. The marks are from where they rubbed against the skin. The area covered shows less oxidation then the rest of the trailer.

The things that concern me are the things not mentioned in the listing. The refrigerator is discribed as upgraded. Is it a propane / shore power unit? Does it work? The lister mentioned that he got the heat to work, was that the furnace or the added cat heater. No mention at all about the water system being tested. Is the dealer going to include a WD hitch with the sale? When I look at most ebay listings I see more questions then answers. I assume anything not listed is an issue.

I base this on personal experiances I had when I was looking for my trailer. In the almost a year I looked, I drove thousands of miles, spent hundreds of dollars and even walked away from a $300 deposit. I bought my trailer from a forum member who was had bought a more vintage unit. I wish you well with your search!
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Old 08-06-2006, 12:00 PM   #13
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AZFlycaster is Correct

Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
When I look at the marks on the front of the trailer, it looks like the unit may have had home made segment protectors installed at one time and then removed. The marks are from where they rubbed against the skin. The area covered shows less oxidation then the rest of the trailer.
Methinks AZFlycaster is correct is exactly right about the segment protectors. This trailer had the "Stick on" segment protectors I believe. What I thought were concavities, and indications of a heavy tongue drop, are really the outlines of the segment protectors. I am presently looking at a 23' that has applique segment protectors of just this shape!

Way to go, AZ!

Bid away, Flutterbee!
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Old 08-06-2006, 01:27 PM   #14
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1963 16' Bambi
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Clueless here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by klevan
Methinks AZFlycaster is correct is exactly right about the segment protectors. This trailer had the "Stick on" segment protectors I believe. Way to go, AZ!

Bid away, Flutterbee!
Okay, I am clueless... what is a "segment protector"??? Any pictures? And what is "stick on" segment protectors? Some kind of clingy plastic to protect the outside of the Airstream?

Thanks.

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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