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Old 04-24-2011, 01:03 PM   #1
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Therapy session needed...No Phd required!

Help! I'm depressed, and beginning to question my sanity and common sense. Are my expectations too high, am I only visualizing the end state? Have I been blinded by aluminitis, or am I aded by all of the nice Airstreams you all seem to have?
I have "bought" three AS trailers in the past month and for various reasons, backed out upon inspecting them. I would like to describe the most recent, and need some feedback on whether I was right to have backed out, or was I being unreasonable?
Year: 1976
Model: 31 Sovereign rear bath full size bed option
Price negotiated: $2,500
Distance from me: 800 miles

Ok, I asked the right questions, had some pictures and have faith in others.

My concerns: pink was with owner, friend was selling, i provided contract and checked out process with dmv in two states. I could live with the risk.

I spent my two days of travel and $500 in fuel to go get it. Had to buy 4 new tires to pull it home safely...i scored a great CL find in the city near where i was picking up the trailer. 4 brand new 225/75-15 D rated trailer tires for $240 bucks! Ok, check that off my list. Now, i travel another hour and reach the trailer.

Condition: skin as described...NO dents! Great! Floor: took my awl, it seemed ok around entrance and perimeter. Bathroom floor has been covered with tile, and full sized household toilet installed. Hmmmm? Im getting uneasy now...all cabinetry was delaminating, interior end caps both cracked and front had clock surround poking thru, refridgerator worked, panel behing cracked, couple of cabinet doors missing, no battries installed to test everything, sink fixture was loose and AC cover inside loose, front fan and motor missing and cover had holes and cracked, frame was good as this one sat in the desert for 20 years. Now the deal breaker for me...all of the windows were yellow and blistered between the panes. I am assuming that is because PO put reflective panels inside to beat back the sun. The zip Dee curbside was present, two others were taken off and sold. Tanks not updated with current OPD. Both gauchos ripped significantly and foam exposed.

Am I being unreasonable by walking? Should I expect this condittion on my beer budget? Please help, im beginning to question my sanity.
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Old 04-24-2011, 01:13 PM   #2
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Absolutely not. You got a bad feeling about it, and just wasn't right. From what you say, you were looking at a shell. The household toilet would have scared me too.

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Old 04-24-2011, 01:14 PM   #3
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Phrunes Everything you described is as you would expect on a trailer that has "sat in the desert for 20 yrs". The tinting that is in between the windows is factory installed and that would be the condition if it was in the desert all this time.
If this was indeed the model and year you want then you should have negotiated the asking price using the conditions you described as points for reduction in the price. The missing title would have been a deal breaker in my opinion unless they are willing to greatly reduce the price.
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Old 04-24-2011, 01:18 PM   #4
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Come right in Mr. Phrunes.

Have a seat.

How has your week gone?

Oh, you are interested in buying an old trailer?

How did you reach this decision?

Have you ever done anything like this before?

Do you have the skills to fix up an old trailer?

Do you have the money to put into an old trailer?

How do you feel when you think about doing the work?

Let's talk about your mother…

Oh, the hour is up. That will be $150. Next week, same time?

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Old 04-24-2011, 01:26 PM   #5
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It sounds to me like you might be happier with a late model trailer that has perhaps been a bit more 'gently used' than this 35 year-old project. It sounds like a LOT of work to me, and the delaminating cabinets sound like the biggest sign that something is amiss (though I don't know anything about desert trailers).

The big question is do you want a big project to occupy you at home, or do you just want a nice trailer that needs a bit of here-and-there and you'll be out enjoying it this summer? They end up costing close to the same either way, it just depends on how much work you can or will do yourself!
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Old 04-24-2011, 01:32 PM   #6
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All of the above is true, when I inspected the AS 27' for my friend in Arizona ($2500.00), I told him, "It's not in bad condition, for what it is, but NO WAY will I permit you to think this is a coach that you can hook-up and merrily travel the country!"
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Old 04-24-2011, 01:40 PM   #7
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.....I think we should go to two sessions a week for a while; and......can you bring your wife in with you?
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Old 04-24-2011, 02:47 PM   #8
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Thank you all. I'm stabilized for today because of your sound advice. It is unlikely that I will require a 36 hour hold at this point. To clarify in advance of my next session: I am pretty handy, not afraid of working 18 hour days to revitalize an old friend like an AS, have lots of tools, and an understanding wife who will keep my five ankle biters at bay while I tinker. So, I guess you could say that coupled with the forum, i have a great support system.

Am I being reasonable...im looking for the following...25 to 27 feet, great skin, minimal floor rot, solid frame, clear windows, and unmollested interior to use as a template for gutting and updating. Budget: $3,000 entry fee and about $3,000 added over time for basic improvements.

Am I crazy?
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:02 PM   #9
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With those qualifications in mind, I guess you need to find out what is involved in re-habbing those windows. It sounds like if you want to gut it and re-build then the delaminated cabinets and the house toilet and stuff like that isn't as big a deal. So it sounds like the windows are the big thing tripping you up on this one.
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:12 PM   #10
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$3,000 added over time for basic improvements

Phrunes that budget will be eaten up in appliances alone. Water heater $500, furnace $800, stove $500, fridge $1500, A/C $800. Now think about axles $500 each with mods needed or $750 each for bolt ins, tires $125 each, battery $125, and most likely frame repairs will be needed on any 70's unit no matter where it is from. I would estimate at least $10k for a modest reno and $30k for a full blown all out restoration.
If your budget is only $6K then look for a newer unit and be prepared to spend a little more, at least $10K for a ready to go unit.
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:49 PM   #11
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Yeah, I hadn't thought about your budget, but I spent $6k on restoring my trailer, and it was beautiful to begin with! I replaced the axle, fridge, charging system, battery, furnace, part of the floor, had the cracks in the frame welded, replaced the damaged LP pipes underneith, replaced the regulator, rebuilt the water heater, replaced the toilet, and I think that was about it. If someone looked at before and after pictures of my trailer, they would say 'what did you do?'

If you want to rebuild the interior, you'll be re-doing counters, sinks, plumbing, probably messing with your electrical, replacing appliances, cushions, curtains, flooring - it will all add up fast. Wasagachris has pretty reasonable numbers there!
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Old 04-24-2011, 04:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
With those qualifications in mind, I guess you need to find out what is involved in re-habbing those windows. It sounds like if you want to gut it and re-build then the delaminated cabinets and the house toilet and stuff like that isn't as big a deal. So it sounds like the windows are the big thing tripping you up on this one.
Yep, that was my thinking too. I figured used replacements because disassembly, hours of stripping, reglazing and reassembly makes no sense. Any idea whats involved regarding removal and repair or replacement of the windows?
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Old 04-24-2011, 04:19 PM   #13
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I feel your pain

I feel your pain. I have been there. My 1st AS sounds a lot like the one you were looking at; except it cost me $1000 and was only 50 miles from home. After I got it home, I found out what I had. It was really rough: bad floor, frame, fogged windows, I could go on and on. I knew I was over my head and it was just not worth my time and money.
Well I guess I'm smarter then some other AS wannabes. I just couldn't pull the trigger on that project. It sat in my back yard for two years as I learned more about AS's. I ended up finding the right trailer for us. An Airstream that was in much better shape, hardly used and not in need of a complete restoration. I paid only a little over your whole budget and I have been using my 66 Caravel for 3 years with only minor repairs.
My advise to you would be to spend as much as you can and buy an AS in good condition. You can save a ton just not having to pay the doc for all those sessions.


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Old 04-24-2011, 04:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrunes View Post
Yep, that was my thinking too. I figured used replacements because disassembly, hours of stripping, reglazing and reassembly makes no sense. Any idea whats involved regarding removal and repair or replacement of the windows?
Phrunes removing the entire window glass and frame from the sash assembly is actually very easy.
Disconnect the lift up arms from the window. Go outside and stand on a ladder and raise the window up about 120 degrees and the window will release from the sash. The window has a J shaped hinge attached to the top and a corresponding J shaped slot on the sash.
There are a couple of threads on disassembling the windows to remove and replace the factory window tinting.
Have a look at the window frame itself. If there are screws all around the glass frame then the window is very easy to take apart and repair. If not it requires drilling out the rivets holding the hinge to the frame and the rivets that hold the right and left half of the frame together. I'll look for the threads and post the links here for you.
Here is the link for the best thread:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f454...ilm-37422.html
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