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Old 10-15-2016, 10:15 AM   #15
Rivet Master
1995 25' Excella
xxxxx , xxxxxx
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I wouldn't buy a 1969 fixer-upper to full time in.

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Old 10-15-2016, 11:32 AM   #16
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1975 27' Overlander
gurnee , Illinois
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 57
buying a used airstream

I just purchased a 1975 AIR STREAM that looked in good shape except for three small dents. We are going to just about gut it anyway so I wasn't to worried about the inside cabinets etc. After taking it in to our local AS dealer for $500 I found that the 2 axles could have cost me $2,000 each but I missed that one. Next I did need brakes and drums $2000. Thats because everything must be replaced because they are electric brakes and there is no turning of the drums. Next was those 3 small dents were on 3 different panels. Repair costs for replacing each panel is $2,500. I didn't think of it but there wasn't a spare tire or rim or even a spare tire mount. Cha Ching. Then as you enter the trailer it only has one step? Thats because the other one is missing. A new aluminum 2 step from AS is $666. Fortunately, We are gutting it because The water pump barely worked as did the hot water tank. The heater was fried altogether. The basic mechanical items to make it road worthy was 10 grand. My wife says so much for the vintage look. Gut it totally and we will make our own custom trailer. I knew this from the beginning that's why I spent $9,000 on the trailer and I have $35,000 left for restoration. My other option was to buy wifey a $90,000 brand new 27 foot AS. Ill still end up with beautiful custon 27 footer with $40 grand left in my pocket. I say go for it and make the best of it.

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Old 10-15-2016, 11:35 AM   #17
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1967 26' Overlander
Spartanburg , South Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 385
If I were planning to do what you are planning, with 2 dogs, I would be looking for a wide body, maybe 31 ft unless you plan to spend a lot of time in remote places that need a smaller body.
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:41 AM   #18
Continents Collide
1985 32' Excella
Spring , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2016
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Originally Posted by CRH View Post
I wouldn't buy a 1969 fixer-upper to full time in.
How come?
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Old 10-15-2016, 12:11 PM   #19
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Toronto , Ontario
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How come?

Originally Posted by continentsco View Post
How come?
Besides the previous comments of:..."This is a 1969. This is an odd year with way to many peculiarities. The wing windows come in two versions....both are very expensive, if available at all. The 69 also usually had rot all across the rear hatch floor and the water heater door....and, of course, the main entry door corners. A 69 will need new axles. Tires. It will need an..."

Consider the wear and tear, and stress, on an almost 50 year old frame. No one (in this thread) has yet mentioned the aspects of frame repair but this forum is rich with tips on that topic.

Several sellers I have met are quick to mention, "we had the frame strengthened by welding..." etc etc... so it's a well known potential pitfall.
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Old 10-15-2016, 01:10 PM   #20
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1980 24' Caravelle
vallejo , California
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 73
I would pay no more than 4,000; having had a 63 globetroter,64 overlander,70 globetroter ,there's always more to fix once you get into it
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Old 10-15-2016, 02:54 PM   #21
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1973 31' Sovereign
Middletown , California
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 424
I would try to find a '74 or newer that has a grey tank in it, and if you won't always have shore power a gas fridge might be handy. Also some years have windows that are easier to fix. Somewhere in the mid 70's they changed the levers that open the windows so that you push down to open them rather than push up with poor leverage on a real heavy window. Just a few details to think about...
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Old 10-15-2016, 04:43 PM   #22
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1973 Argosy 24
hartselle , Alabama
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I ditto on the 74 or later. Not having a grey tank bites when boondocking.
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Old 10-15-2016, 06:51 PM   #23
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Seattle , Washington
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You will put a lot of money into this unit to get it road worthy and liveable -
Do not expect to get that money out when you sell - consider it a fun hobby project and a write-off.
Long term, a newer unit that requires less work, will be a better value - unless you're looking for a 'fun hobby project'.
Know many people who restored old boats to beautiful conditions - and got clobbered when they tried to sell it -
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Old 10-15-2016, 09:06 PM   #24
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1971 31' Sovereign
Temple , Texas
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We paid $4000 for our 1971 Sovereign. I totally agree with 1973Argosy in that you will bond with a trailer you restore yourself. We spent many hours working on our trailer and feel it was well worth the effort. It is truly "our trailer". By doing all of the work ourselves we only spent about $5000 on the renovation. We have been living in our Airstream for about 2 months and absolutely love it.
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Old 10-16-2016, 06:20 AM   #25
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1977 23' Safari
Niagara on the Lake , Ontario
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Restoring a vintage trailer, or any vintage vehicle is usually a terrible investment unless you can do all the work yourself to a professional level. Buyers don't want to pay for something a DIY're did in their driveway.
Any trailer out of warranty will need work. If you plan on doing the work yourself buy a trailer that needs the type of your you're capable of and enjoy doing. If you don't like working with metal and don't own a welder, stay away from trailers with rusted out frames.
The alternative is to pay someone to work on your trailer but you'll not get your investment back spending that kind of money.
If you don't plan on selling the trailer, buy whatever trailer best suites your intended use and make it your own.
1977 Safari Land Yacht
2005 Toyota Tundra SR5
2010 Ford Flex Ecoboost
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Old 10-16-2016, 07:43 AM   #26
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1973 Argosy 24
hartselle , Alabama
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Bought my Argosy about 15 years ago, before vintage was cool in the camper world, and never plan on selling it. I have done a professional grade restoration to our trailer and never stopped to think if I would get my investment back or not. The return on my investment has been the memories I've made and the experiences my trailer allowed my family to do. Knowing that when I pass two of my three children are going to fight over who gets dad's trailer, now that's a return on an investment.
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Old 10-16-2016, 11:20 AM   #27
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1969 23' Safari
Palmer Lake , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 561
We have a 69 Safari 23'. The poster above is correct about 69 models being difficult to find body parts for. The reason seems to be that 69 was a change-over year so some trailers built in 69 were the older body style and 69 introduced the smooth front and back body panels. The windows also changed and became slightly curved top to bottom.

Our trailer has been in our family since new. It was delivered to New Mexico and has been in a dry climate continually. We brought it to Colorado about 3 years ago. It had been maintained, washed, and walbernized each year and was winterized and was stored covered for about 10 of those years. But it was not used for that period. We made three lists - safety items that were required to be fixed before overnight use, living comfort items that could be fixed over time but may make living in the trailer difficult, and third cosmetic items. The floor is solid and did not need any repair - thank goodness. If the floor needed to be replaced then I would have sold it as a hunting trailer for $3-4K. Yes to curtains (they do need to be hand-made), new cushion covers (can be jobbed out). Ours has the original carpet in it and it is good shape amazingly.

In pretty short order we had to replace the battery & converter, furnace, water heater, water pump and all the copper water supply tubing replaced with pec. We also had to replace sections of LP line due to leaks. We were lucky with the axle, not bent and the wheel bearings were in good shape and needed to be packed. Brakes were good. Black water valve had to be replaced which was a bear but it had to be done for obvious reasons. The 69 does not have a grey water tank and the tank itself is not that large so it fills pretty quickly, doubly so if the one you are looking at has grey water channeling into it. A leaking tank will cost about $180 for the part and hours and hours of labor to replace. Fresh water tank was in good shape. Had to replace the LP regulator and the lines to it. Stove, oven, and refer are all in working order and still original. The Armstrong A/C had to be replaced and it was hard to let it go but the new one is awesome.

This is all predictable and pretty easy to assess ahead of time. But I will say a lot of these items did not present as issues until we were out using and living in the trailer. So - before you head out full time maybe you should consider a "shake down cruise" for a few nights in a close location. Run everything at all times of the day. We are working through the cosmetic list a little at a time but to me that is not that important plus the trailer itself is in great shape overall.
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Old 10-16-2016, 12:53 PM   #28
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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To the OP:

Maybe you should broaden the conversation to include your immediate plan, timeline and budget. How long do you have until you plan to live full-time in the trailer, how much do you plan on investing in the trailer beyond the initial purchase price, and how deep do you want to go into the refurbishment (ie., shell-off vs. some sprucing up)?

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