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Old 08-04-2008, 01:26 PM   #15
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Steve, thanks for that link - but bit far
Just linked it to give you an idea of what you can get. If you are patient you can get what you are looking for in the $6000-7000 range and then have a few thousand left over for repairs... even if the ad says "everything works"
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:54 PM   #16
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Well, there are two ways to go (maybe three). You can buy the trailer of your dreams and then figure out how to haul it. You can sit down and do the math to see exactly how much you can tow with an existing TV. Of course, there will always be a few who just hook up and go....

Having had a few "hairy" experiences in my wayward youth, I tend to err on the side of caution. My rule of thumb is to live by the GCWR and to make changes to improve transmission cooling, handling, braking, etc. as much as possible. One of our preferences has been a tandem axle (which has resulted in less interest in some otherwise attractive vintage trailers).

If you have a notion about your TV, subtract the GVW (locked, loaded and full of gas) from the GCWR to establish your trailer weight "budget." I have a pdf somewhere with the published weights of AS trailers from the 50s on, but I'm sure the data is running around the web somewhere. Of course, after you think you have done all the math, it never hurts to actually weigh everything and see where you are.
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:58 PM   #17
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Hello-

I am new to this forum and Airstream ownership. I just bought a 1987 Sovereign 25 footer last Friday, in your price range. I looked at new, and knew I couldn't pay that much...so I had decided I had to go vintage. One leedle problem, I am not a do-it-yourselfer, nor am I handy. After I looked at my first vintage "opportunity", a 1961 Overlander, I almost threw in the hat. Vintage restore and repair is way beyond my abilities. I simply kept looking (as is advised here on this forum) and when I went to go check out the '87, I knew, just knew, that it was a keeper. The older couple kept it in pristine condition, as they were yearly snowbirds. They used it, and replaced or repaired what was needed so they could continue to use it and not park it. It is in completely perfect shape, and all I need to to is continue the excellent care. The eighties aren't my favorite aesthetic years, but I have all working systems and hook up and go camping opportunity. I am so thrilled to be the new owner. Just keep your eyes open and keep looking.

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Old 08-04-2008, 02:45 PM   #18
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The older couple kept it in pristine condition, as they were yearly snowbirds. They used it, and replaced or repaired what was needed so they could continue to use it
Lynn,

Congrats! the best used Airstream is a "used" Airstream
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Old 08-04-2008, 02:54 PM   #19
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Lynn,

My father taught me almost nothing about mechanics, electricity, plumbing, carpentry, etc., aside from throwing an occasional tool at me. When I returned from active duty in the Navy, I pulled my grandfather's old Chevy truck, stripped it down to the frame and restored it. I made more than my share of mistakes, but I armed myself with books, shop manuals, etc., and asked lots of questions. I learned other trade skills courtesy of older homes and a lack of income to hire professionals.

I think some people look at renovation work and just get overwhelmed. I understand that skinning knuckles is not everyone's cup of tea, but the work really isn't as mystical as it might seem at first. In my experience, the amateur can do most jobs as well as a pro... it just takes much longer. In my case, much, much longer. Even if you don't do a renovation, the more you know about how things work, the more confident you feel and less likely you are to be taken to the cleaners.

I hope your trailer continues to work perfectly... but don't be afraid to muddle through a minor repair or two if the need arises. The more you do, the easier it gets... or, at the very least, the more fluent you become in cursing.
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:09 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
If you have a notion about your TV, subtract the GVW (locked, loaded and full of gas) from the GCWR to establish your trailer weight "budget." I have a pdf somewhere with the published weights of AS trailers from the 50s on, but I'm sure the data is running around the web somewhere.
Yep - that exact printout is sitting in front of me. I got it from Morrison's Airstream page here.
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:13 PM   #21
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Trailer Selection

I would suggest you befriend a local owner of a vintage trailer and enlist them to help you inspect the trailer you really want. I think you can find an excellent vintage trailer in that price range, but you can also get taken. Much like older houses, it is very easy to be infactuated by the polish job, and great window treatments. What you want to understand is the foundation and systems. Are the axles good, is the frame rotted, is the floor rotted. Those things will cost more than most cosmetics. If they are servicable, or within your budget then I think you can get what you want in that $ range.
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:17 PM   #22
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My wife and I bought vintage because of the price. We found a great 63 Ambassador that needed a lot of work but didn't require a lot of money. If you plan to restore get ready to pay! We went with remodel and tolerate things like a frig. that does not operate on gas, we do not have a gray tank but use a dump tank instead. I have been thinking about upgrading to something newer because of the upgrades but I'm not sure the newer ones are better made. We want to travel out west next summer so new axles and tires are on my list to purchase. I'm not patient, part of that immediate gratification generation....

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Old 08-04-2008, 07:08 PM   #23
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LOL, I get the feeling I'm part of that "immediate gratification" generation too. Someone needs to write "Zen and the Art of Finding the Right Airstream."

You raise a good point about "remodel" and deal with issues vs. restoring. Just need to find the right balance in the trailer in the first place...
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:08 PM   #24
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Honestly, the remodel was not difficult, not even replacing part of the floor. It just takes time and a little investigating to find things that will work on the old campers. I replaced all the water lines with PEC's which was a little bit of a pain but worthwhile. We kept the water heater, it's a small 5 gallon that only works on electric. That is something else to consider, Do you ever plan to boondock with no electric or water? We do not, we'll stay in the campgrounds. Our 28footer is a good size without getting to large. My brother in law has a 35ft triaxle, I would be terrified towing that oceanliner down the road. Best of luck to you, just remmeber life is short so start camping IMMEDIATELY. One last warning, Aluminum is addictive and "no" one is never enough!!

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Old 08-04-2008, 09:23 PM   #25
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Well, that depends on how hard you look and how lucky you are... I looked for maybe 3 or 4 months seriously..doing VAC and forum classifieds and the 'crazedlist' trick in Firefox. I stumbled upon a '69 Safari on VAC Classifieds and after inquiring learned there was also an '01 Tundra (with brake controller, sway bars, WD hitch, etc) that could be had for $10K for the both of 'em and, well, I jumped on it buying sight unseen since I had no tow vehicle and it seemed like a good deal:

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I flew to VA and drove the combo back to LA (1400 miles) having never towed before. It was fantastic and a great first Airstream adventure. I decided to rebuild the bath after finding the floor was pretty shot back there. I guessitmated it would take six weeks, but it took six months! (part time..) You can see THAT adventure here:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...air-38434.html

Remember, like the lions outside the library, Persistence and Fortitude are required, but good deals are out there. I think an Argosy in really good shape would be a swell way to start (I was aluminum-obsessed and wouldn't settle for non-silver, though).

I would recommend learning as much as you can first, but it's really true that your first trailer is the one you "learn Airstreams" on. Also, there is no substitute for seeing a trailer in Person, up close. Learn about how to really inspect too, your icepick can be your best friend in trailer-buying..

I will say it REALLY helps if your handy with building skills: woodwork, plumbing, basic elec and learning the Wonderful World of Rivets...

good luck!
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:26 PM   #26
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My .2 cents is
that there are A/S out there just be patient and don't buy the first one that catches your eye. I looked at several mid to late 70's models and even a couple 80's models.
i probably drove 500 to 1 thousand miles just looking at 5 or 6 different A/S then one day i was driving home from work and i saw my future A/S. which i found to be the weirdest thing thing that i drove a lot of miles and looked at a lot of A/S to find the one i bought 10 miles from my house.
which by the way i would take 12k for my 29fter not because i want git rid of it but its just me and the wife and were thinking that 29 ft is a bit big and a 19 to 22 ft would suite us a little better. i only say this because i just wanted to show you that there are good deal's out there and i think that any one who'ed look at my trailer would agree that its a heck of a deal.
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:27 PM   #27
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If you want an idea of what to expect after purchase, you can check out this thread:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f314...ins-32395.html
It chronicles our purchase, upgrades, and other odds-n-ends. Total cost for the trailer and all parts, not counting our labor, is currently about $11,000.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:02 PM   #28
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Mutcth, I'm sure we talked at the Vintage jam. Not sure if I showed you our pictures of my 73 Argosy. It's am example of what you can get. It's a 26' double bed, new axels, replaced front couch with one from a 2005 ( much more comfort) everything is original and guaranteed working, grey water tank added, new flooring and bath fixtures repainted to new looking. Just could use outside paint touched up. All this for $8500 because we are working on a 60 28' for our use.
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