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Old 04-28-2015, 01:17 AM   #1
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1976 25' Tradewind
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Need Advice: Overlander in Orlando

EBAY LINK: 1968 Airstream Overlander International


I'd love advice on this Ebay listing! It's really near me and the guy dropped the minimum bid from $6,500 to $5,999 after I talked to him. I'm hoping it doesn't sell so I can go see it and maybe make him a lower offer and he'll get desperate enough to take it. But I want to know if based on what the description and the pictures say about this trailer, if it's even worth it.

It's pretty darn close to what I'm looking for in terms of interior condition, make, and model. I'm just not sure about the propane and plumbing systems since part of the propane system is removed and he doesn't even know if the plumbing works.

I've been in contact with him, and he didn't answer my questions about the frame/axels, or the rust on the A-frame, or if it was safe to haul. So basically nothing new that isn't in his original description.

If I go see this trailer, even if it ends up being a lemon and I don't want to spend money on it, is there anyone who lives nearby that has experience inspecting and appraising that could help me look at it?

And based on the ebay listing alone, is it:
1. Not worth the money
2. Need more information to judge
3. A good find?

Budget: $3,600 at the moment
Timeframe: Would like to go see it next week if he agrees

My fingers are crossed, but I'm prepared for disappointment if this isn't my knight in shining armor. Be honest with me!
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Old 04-28-2015, 01:59 AM   #2
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Except for a few dents around the bottom, and something going on with the water heater cover (it looks like it is fastened on with steel screws which have rusted), it looks really straight and in good shape on the body. The rust is something you'll need to get a look at in person. Hard to believe the owner has had it over ten years and never put water in it or used the plumbing! In my experience, if someone says they don't know if something works, that means it doesn't. And you know the propane system needs to be redone. Why did he pull the oven and fridge? Do they work? Did he just never use them either? If they work and you can reinstall them that would be nice, because fridges are expensive. So the price seems reasonable, but you need to get someone to poke around inside and look it over.

On the Portal page of the forum, scroll down and look on the right side of the screen and you'll see a search box for Volunteer Inspectors. Find someone in the area of the trailer and contact them, and see if they can help you.
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:32 AM   #3
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Center vent cover missing, and missing when he bought it ten years ago. In Florida, where they get a hundred inches of rain per year.
Tires installed by the PO, over ten years ago.
A lot of expensive stuff removed. He does not say if he still has it, or if he is including it with the trailer, if he does still have it.
I have never seen a rear bedroom 1968 Overlander.
Why are there no interior photos?
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:41 AM   #4
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I would worry about leaks...of course. If you can't inspect this for floor damage,,,and the resulting frame rust out you will have to pass. If you can get a knowledgeable inspection done maybe it will come together.

Good luck, many of us have been there, done that...
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Old 04-28-2015, 09:26 AM   #5
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Welcome to the forums. I'll offer you my honest, albeit unsolicited, advice, which is that you have to calibrate your expectations (and your budget).

There are many, many, MANY of us here on the forums that had planned to pick up that nice vintage Airstream for a few thousand dollars and be camping with minimal superficial fix-ups, only to find the floor and frame rotting, the major systems requiring overhaul, and a shell-off restoration in the cards. Any trailer you find that is 40+ years old and has not already had a lot of time and money put into it is going to require it, even if it was stored in a museum. If your bugdet at the moment is $3600, and that is meant to cover the initial cost of the trailer and the expenses required to make it safe/campable, I would say you need more.

The ad says that the trailer is in "original" condition. Usually when people say this, it is intended to convey to the reader that they are getting something of value, a collector's item, a real "time capsule." It also usually means that they won't negotiate much on price, and that the carpet, cushions, and upholstery are all 40+ yrs old, and the only time capsule is the composite smell of 40 yrs of neglect. You can figure at least a couple hundred dollars to replace the fresh water tank, if the fridge is no longer working, an RV style model will be around $600. The oven you can probably do without. The plumbing will require repairs, and clearly, the propane system will need to be replaced (how handy are you?). If it is riding on the original axles, these will need to be replaced as well ($1500 for parts), and $500+ for new tires.

Is the price fair? It probably isn't completely out of whack, but you have to realize that with these old trailers you are buying the shell and frame, and a lot of the other parts will get thrown away while you are doing your complete rebuild. This shell has some ugly dents in it, which will bug you every time you look at them, and no, you can't just pop them out with a suction cup.

Sorry to sound so negative, but good luck in your search! You might want to read the "full monty" restoration threads, and listen to some of the old Vintage Airstream Podcasts (The VAP) to get a better idea of what you are embarking on with a vintage trailer.

Here is a thread that includes the links to the major rennovations--I will hazard a guess that most of these purchases did not start out with a desire to completely rebuild a trailer:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ons-35399.html
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:26 AM   #6
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Average rainfall for Orlando is fifty inches per year.
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
Welcome to the forums. I'll offer you my honest, albeit unsolicited, advice, which is that you have to calibrate your expectations (and your budget).

There are many, many, MANY of us here on the forums that had planned to pick up that nice vintage Airstream for a few thousand dollars and be camping with minimal superficial fix-ups, only to find the floor and frame rotting, the major systems requiring overhaul, and a shell-off restoration in the cards. Any trailer you find that is 40+ years old and has not already had a lot of time and money put into it is going to require it, even if it was stored in a museum. If your bugdet at the moment is $3600, and that is meant to cover the initial cost of the trailer and the expenses required to make it safe/campable, I would say you need more.

The ad says that the trailer is in "original" condition. Usually when people say this, it is intended to convey to the reader that they are getting something of value, a collector's item, a real "time capsule." It also usually means that they won't negotiate much on price, and that the carpet, cushions, and upholstery are all 40+ yrs old, and the only time capsule is the composite smell of 40 yrs of neglect. You can figure at least a couple hundred dollars to replace the fresh water tank, if the fridge is no longer working, an RV style model will be around $600. The oven you can probably do without. The plumbing will require repairs, and clearly, the propane system will need to be replaced (how handy are you?). If it is riding on the original axles, these will need to be replaced as well ($1500 for parts), and $500+ for new tires.

Is the price fair? It probably isn't completely out of whack, but you have to realize that with these old trailers you are buying the shell and frame, and a lot of the other parts will get thrown away while you are doing your complete rebuild. This shell has some ugly dents in it, which will bug you every time you look at them, and no, you can't just pop them out with a suction cup.

Sorry to sound so negative, but good luck in your search! You might want to read the "full monty" restoration threads, and listen to some of the old Vintage Airstream Podcasts (The VAP) to get a better idea of what you are embarking on with a vintage trailer.

Here is a thread that includes the links to the major rennovations--I will hazard a guess that most of these purchases did not start out with a desire to completely rebuild a trailer:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ons-35399.html
I think this is around my favorite model year and config in vintage. If I was doing a reno, retrofit,modernization I'd probably start with something like this.

There seem to be an awful lot of 26' Overlanders out there. This one looks pretty. That said, the bathroom area is probably rotted , and other areas. The plumbing is broken and needs replacement, plus gas work, plus electrical, shell-off, polish, tanks, flooring, woodwork, reupholstry, panel work, millwork, bathroom work, fixtures, appliances. Then there's the frame. Which can probably be welded, powdercoated.

You'll be in for 10k more by Christmas and 20k by the time you take it camping next spring.
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avionstream View Post
Average rainfall for Orlando is fifty inches per year.
Okay, 500 inches of rain through the hole in the roof, instead of a thousand.
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:35 PM   #9
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Be aware of sellers who don't know about problems,, or cant cover a few simple questions.. Ours started out at $36,000 and once I saw it listed again in our $8000 price range I told him I would pay that but would discount issue I saw once I could see it first hand. Ended up getting a discount for new axles,, hole sawed in the bedroom wall along with a few other smaller issues.. He had to move it, and no place to move it too and was in a divorce.. Time to sell at any price.. Sodbust
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:39 AM   #10
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1976 25' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts View Post
Hard to believe the owner has had it over ten years and never put water in it or used the plumbing! In my experience, if someone says they don't know if something works, that means it doesn't. And you know the propane system needs to be redone. Why did he pull the oven and fridge? Do they work? Did he just never use them either? If they work and you can reinstall them that would be nice, because fridges are expensive. So the price seems reasonable, but you need to get someone to poke around inside and look it over.

On the Portal page of the forum, scroll down and look on the right side of the screen and you'll see a search box for Volunteer Inspectors. Find someone in the area of the trailer and contact them, and see if they can help you.
Thanks! I knew there was a Volunteer Inspector thing, but I wasn't sure where to find it. I'm going to see if anyone is available the day I want to check it out.

10 years without using the plumbing seems fishy to me, too. I know the fresh water tank is there but removed, for some reason. And from what I can tell, he pulled the appliances in order to install the new inverter and just never put them back, so I assume they work, but of course I would have to re-install them or pay to have someone else do that.

I am definitely not purchasing this trailer unless I get someone knowledgeable to look it over and tell me it's a decent deal, or how much to offer.
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:52 AM   #11
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1976 25' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
Tires installed by the PO, over ten years ago.
A lot of expensive stuff removed. He does not say if he still has it, or if he is including it with the trailer, if he does still have it.
I have never seen a rear bedroom 1968 Overlander.
Why are there no interior photos?
The tires thing is a good point.

He does mention the stuff that was removed at various stages is included, including the fridge and the oven, but no way to test them without reinstalling them, so it's kind of a crapshoot on whether they'll still work.

There are lots of interior photos and photos of the removed appliances. Did you click the arrows on either side of the thumbnails? There are four "pages" of photos, which is one of my favorite things about this listing.

The photos make it clear that it's a rear bath and a center double bed - he just mislabelled it. The interior looks pretty clean, but everything needs updating, obviously. But lots of usable original parts. Hopefully.
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:57 AM   #12
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1976 25' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sodbust View Post
Be aware of sellers who don't know about problems,, or cant cover a few simple questions.. Ours started out at $36,000 and once I saw it listed again in our $8000 price range I told him I would pay that but would discount issue I saw once I could see it first hand. Ended up getting a discount for new axles,, hole sawed in the bedroom wall along with a few other smaller issues.. He had to move it, and no place to move it too and was in a divorce.. Time to sell at any price.. Sodbust
This guy has lowered it from his "priced to sell" $6,500 to $5,999 and NOW to $5,625 - he's willing to meet with me early next week, yet he's "confident" it will sell before that. 7 hours left in the bidding and it's still got no bid, and I know the bidding expired on it last time too with no bids. Maybe two unsuccessful attempts and he'll be eager to get rid of it.

I'm hoping if I have an inspector there to say "that's bad that's bad, this needs fixing" etc, he'll take a fair price for the actual condition instead of trying to buff up the price because it's "original" and "antique" (aka un-renovated and old as balls). I don't mind putting money into it and I WANT to renovate, but I don't want to spend all that money up front. So if everything he "doesn't know" is because it doesn't work or is missing, I won't go over $3k on it.
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Old 04-29-2015, 12:19 PM   #13
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1976 25' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
Welcome to the forums. I'll offer you my honest, albeit unsolicited, advice, which is that you have to calibrate your expectations (and your budget).

There are many, many, MANY of us here on the forums that had planned to pick up that nice vintage Airstream for a few thousand dollars and be camping with minimal superficial fix-ups, only to find the floor and frame rotting, the major systems requiring overhaul, and a shell-off restoration in the cards. Any trailer you find that is 40+ years old and has not already had a lot of time and money put into it is going to require it, even if it was stored in a museum. If your bugdet at the moment is $3600, and that is meant to cover the initial cost of the trailer and the expenses required to make it safe/campable, I would say you need more.

Here is a thread that includes the links to the major rennovations--I will hazard a guess that most of these purchases did not start out with a desire to completely rebuild a trailer:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ons-35399.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by timhortons View Post
I think this is around my favorite model year and config in vintage. If I was doing a reno, retrofit,modernization I'd probably start with something like this.

There seem to be an awful lot of 26' Overlanders out there. This one looks pretty. That said, the bathroom area is probably rotted , and other areas. The plumbing is broken and needs replacement, plus gas work, plus electrical, shell-off, polish, tanks, flooring, woodwork, reupholstry, panel work, millwork, bathroom work, fixtures, appliances. Then there's the frame. Which can probably be welded, powdercoated.

You'll be in for 10k more by Christmas and 20k by the time you take it camping next spring.
Thanks for the advice, I'm definitely not interested in purchasing a lemon that's going to require a full over-haul. I just want something I can update and replace things over a period of time, rather than something I'm going to have to rip apart in order to fix. That's why I'm definitely getting an inspection of this trailer by someone much more knowledgeable before I offer anything for it.

The $3600 is just my budget for the original purchase price, not for all the fixing up as well. I have a steady income and until I purchase a tin can, that chunk of savings will continue to increase. And we're pretty handy and planning on doing whatever we can ourselves. I have friends and family ready and willing to help out.

I do appreciate the links to major renovation threads, I saved three that are similar ages and styles to the kind I'm looking for so that I can read through them and gain a better understanding of what I'm in for.

Tim: I agree, I like the late 60s early 70s models the best, and I don't want something too small or too big, and I definitely prefer the rear bath. That's why this one, with how close it is to me (I'd only have to haul it 3 hours to get it home) is so tempting. If it's in USABLE condition, I don't mind putting money into it to make it mine. But if the propane AND plumbing are entirely unusable, he's not going to get a great offer from me. Certainly not $5000.

And if anything about the Axles is broken or needing replacing, that'll cut $2000 off what I offer him in a heartbeat. And if way too much is wrong with it, I will walk away without offering anything, because something better is bound to present itself.

Thanks again for all the advice (and honesty) - I definitely don't take offense at reality checks when they are needed because I do NOT want to waste the most amount of money I've ever saved up on something I'm going to regret. I expect hard work and I certainly don't expect everything to be cheap, but I do want to have fun and enjoy the end result. Ugly and expensive surprises are not what I'm getting into this for.
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Old 04-29-2015, 03:24 PM   #14
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Let me reiterate: Any trailer that was built in the 60's or 70's that hasn't already had a lot of work done to it will need that work done. I wouldn't call them "lemons," they are just old. If an old, unrepaired trailer is a lemon, then your budget puts you squarely in the lemon market. If you don't want to do a full rennovation, then you should be looking at trailers that have already had the heavy lifting done, and that were towed and camped in last weekend. You may be able to pick one of these up for $10-12,000, and you will probably be better off in the long run.

I can just about guarantee that any trailer you find that the owner is willing to part with for under $5k will be a candidate for a shell-off. Typically, the cheaper the trailer is, the more you will pay to repair it. There have been several threads started showing pictures of abandoned trailers in the woods, and the posters asking if it would make sense to take on the project if the trailer was free. Many of the responders will say "no-way!"

good luck!
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