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Old 01-06-2004, 08:52 PM   #1
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Vintage vs. "other" trailer

Hello everyone,

I'm a new guy here and have been researching vintage trailers. My parents have had a trailer for a while (not A/S) and my wife and kids (two little boys) and I have been lucky to use it quite frequently; that is until their recent move out of state and a more full time use of it. We've been dying to get something to camp in but can't afford a new trailer right now, and after reading about many of you with vintage Airstreams, I've been considering getting one and working on it. Of course I have lots of questions, though.

Is it possible to find say a 25' that we could use (with working insides) and I could fix up bits at a time? I've read about several that are already gutted but am not sure I could handle that being so new to the restoration thing and all.

How would you compare a vintage (redone) to other trailers? Although I've been researching it on the net, I've actually never been in an old 72 or others... Could I fix one up with two bunks and a queen bed, along with the bathroom, etc?

Sorry for the length - and I'm sure lots of you have responded to similar posts, but I seem to have gotten the "bug" and can't shake it

Thanks in advance for the help.
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Old 01-06-2004, 09:02 PM   #2
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Steve-O

Welcome to the Forum!

You've certainly come to the right place for your questions!

Let me recommend you do a "search" for questions (upper right button on the top of the page).

You are quite correct in that answers to similar questions abound within the pages of the forum.

Let me say, that with a bit of ambition, all is possible.

Search the ralley forum, and link to the WBCCI website.

The WBBCI is sort of a marquis club, and several chapters are active in Texas. I point this out because visitors are welcome at their rallies, you may tour several sizes of trailers at one place, and most all will be willing to share their views of "Airstreaming".

Good luck!
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Old 01-06-2004, 10:21 PM   #3
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Steve-O,
Welcome to the forum. It is possible to find a trailer but be aware that you have to act quickly to see it if advertised because they usually sell fast. I'd look for one that had a solid floor, good exterior, tires not more than a couple of years old (unless you plan to put new one's on right away- use ST rated tires), make sure that the plumbing and the brake system works and there are no gas leaks. I've seen them advertised stating that the furnace doesn't work ($500+ to fix), refrigerator ($1,000), airconditioner ($1,200) so be aware some appliances can be pricey if you go back in with direct replacements. Some individuals have gone to ceramic electrical heaters rather than replace the gas furnace or cheap electrical refrigerators $100-150) to save on expenses. You may pay more if you purchase from an RV dealer selling a used unit rather than from an individual but then you may be getting a unit that has been checked out thoroughly (but don't bet on it). Minor work can be done over time. Try www.airstreamtrailers.com for links to RV dealers or places like RVtrader.com as well as the Vintage Airstream site which has a classified add section.

Also be aware that pre '73 Airstreams did not have a greywater tank. Water just ran out on the ground. Law does not permit this any longer but is remedied by the blue tank totes. Good luck and happy hunting.
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Old 01-06-2004, 10:26 PM   #4
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The short answer is yes.

My advice is to buy the trailer thats in the best condition you can possibly find - you may spend a little more, but in the long run it will be much cheaper.

Look for rust and floor rot - all interior parts can be removed and you can replace with what you want - just gets to be a bigger project when you start doing that.

Airstream puts bunk beds in its trailer as an option so I'm sure you could find one, or retrofit one

Keep the questions coming - welcome - may I suggest you join us Tues evenings for chat night -that way we can discuss the specifics

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Old 01-07-2004, 07:12 AM   #5
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Steve-O,

Where in Texas are you. You're at the stage I was earlier this year. We wanted to move from tent camping with two kids to a small trailer with beds for each. Found a 1967 24' Tradewind that I had to drive to Wash. DC to pick up an pull back to the DFW area. We've been happy with it and so far the work getting it set up the way we want has been enjoyable. I searched the internet extensively to find mine (Airstreamnet, .....) Good luck, if you get one and are close by drop me an email & we can swap stories.
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Old 01-07-2004, 05:38 PM   #6
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Tin,

I am in Mesquite, just outside of Dallas. Thanks to you and others for your help. I went to the chat for a bit last night and there sure were lots of people from Texas in there.

I've been scouring the internet for trailers and have come up fairly empty as of now. Where did you guys (and others) find yours? I've followed several links for hours (times goes so fast looking at pics of A/S insides!)


But I'll keep looking around. One's bound to turn up somewhere -in the mean time I can keep saving.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-07-2004, 05:58 PM   #7
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I found another classified site this afternoon I hadn't seen before. www.rvhit.com
I'm sure you have gone to www.rvtrader.com as well as www.rvtraderonline.com
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Old 01-07-2004, 06:06 PM   #8
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Do some rural trips

Steve-O
Another way to find vintage a A/S is to travel around by car with eyes open. You will be amazed at how many vintage units you will see parked out by barns and such. Traveling around Tx (we live in Allen) we nearly always see two or three units that look unused and forgotten. Even though we are not in the market, we are always looking and most of the ones we see are in small towns and look to have been unused for years. It never hurts to stop and ask as you might find a jewel. Understand that if the unit has been unused there may be issues with expensive items such as the refrig and it should be taken for granted that there will be plumbing leaks from freezing. But if the price is right and you are willing to do some work, A/Ss can nearly always be returned to true diamonds.


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Old 01-07-2004, 06:28 PM   #9
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Vintage vs. "other" trailer

Greetings Steve-O!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
I've been scouring the internet for trailers and have come up fairly empty as of now. Where did you guys (and others) find yours? I've followed several links for hours (times goes so fast looking at pics of A/S insides!)
One of my favorite sources has been the "trader" type publications that are available free or at minimal cost at local supermarkets. I found my Overlander (sometimes I wonder if it found me) through a blind advertisement in a local trader - - it was mis-identified as a 28' International when in reality, it was a 26' Overlander International. Shortly after purchasing the trailer I discovered that it was the same trailer that I had gone camping in for the first time when the trailer was brand new and I was five years old.

I first met with an Argosy Minuet in 2000 - - thought the trailer was uniquely appealing. Decided in 2001 that I would like to own one. After the International Rally in 2002 was perusing the VAC Classifieds, Vintage Airstream Classifieds, and happened upon a 3-minute old posting - - the trailer was located less than 240 miles away - - traveled to inspect the coach 11-hours later and it followed me home to join the Overlander. The strange thing about this trailer was that it was the one that I had seen at the International Rally in 2000 that had sparked my interest in Minuets!

Vintage Airstreams have a habit of popping up when you least suspect. Typically, a unit that is reasonably priced for its condition doesn't last long.

Good luck with your search!

Kevin
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Old 01-07-2004, 06:51 PM   #10
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Another site is www.sellairstreams.com

When you get one let me know. There's a local Airstream club that we joined recently and have enjoyed get togethers every couple of months or so.
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Old 01-07-2004, 06:51 PM   #11
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Talking about the trailer finding me. Mine was found one block from my house, discovered during my nightly walk in the back of a neighbors yard with a for sale sign hanging off. The p/o said he though there might even be a club of some sort for these kind's of trailers. The negotiation lasted about 30 seconds, he stated his asking price, I was shocked thinking I would have to pay far more. Upon seeing my suprise, he said I could pay him $500.00 less, SOLD! I returned with cash in 30 minutes before he could research or talk to any other interested parties. He even towed it to my yard at no extra charge.

It does pay to take walks and keep your eyes open.

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Old 01-07-2004, 08:55 PM   #12
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Funny you should talk about that - every time I'm in my truck, I openly gawk at any trailer going by, especailly of the silver kind. And if I ever see one sitting beside a house, in a field, etc, I wonder if it might be for sale.

Speaking of my truck, are most of the older trailers heavier? I've read so many of the posts about weight so I have an idea of what I can pull (I have a Dodge Dakota quad cab 4.7L V8 w/ brake control). But I'd hate to think that I can pull in the 22-25' range and end up putzing along. I pulled my parents' trailer from Dallas to Estes Park just fine (it's a new 30' lite w/ slideouts and stuff) but I can't remember the rated weight.

And the info on pre-73's having to grey water tank is helpful - I didn't know that. I've got a pretty big blue tote but sure is nice to have that tank for longer stays without hookups.
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Old 01-07-2004, 09:09 PM   #13
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Steve-O,
Go to Airstream.com and look for the FAQ section regarding trailer weights. Trailers in the mid to late '70's were lighter since they started using a lot of vaneer rather than Oak. You will start to see a trend a few years later to cabinents made of oak and a heavier trailer.
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Old 01-08-2004, 08:16 AM   #14
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Vintage vs. "other" trailer

Greetings Steve-O!

Here is a link to the Airstream weights and measures page that David mentioned:

Airstream Weights and Measures

Basically, the empty weight of the vast majority of the Vintage trailers is somewhat less than many of the recent models of similar size. There are a number of reasons for this difference. One that is often overlooked is the number of features that were optional on the Vintage coaches that later became standard features. For instance, in the 1960s coaches, such features as air conditioning, Univolts (pre-1964), television antennas, entertainment systems, etc. were extra cost options if available at all. With most Vintage trailers, you need to add an allowance for options and accessories that have been installed - - for instance, my '64 Overlander is listed on the above site as having an empty weight of 3,930 pounds when in reality as it is equipped (with options and added accessories), it has an empty weight of 4,425 pounds - - it has options including television and radio antennas, stereo radio, air conditioning, curbside patio awning, two window anwings, International package, 40 pound Worthing Aluminum LP tanks, solar electric system with built-in Inverter, and a replacement Dometic refrigerator that is 10% larger than stock.

There are a number of Vintage Airstream models that would likely be within the trailer tow capacities of your Dakota. My suggestion would be to add an allowance of at least 1,500 pounds to the empty weight listed on the Airstream weights and measures page to allow for the weight of optional equipment as well as gear that is carried in the trailer. In my experience, it has been valuable to keep the trailer weight at no more than 80% of the tow vehicle's rated capacity to retain the degree of driveability that I prefer. The trailer tow rating for your Dakota should be available in your owner's manual of from your Dodge dealer.

Good luck with your search and decision!

Kevin
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