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Old 06-12-2013, 04:26 PM   #1
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Buying gently used vs. less gently used??

So, the wife and I are going to be looking to buy an airstream come later this fall or first part of 2014.

We plan on this summer trying to make it out to see alot of different models, floor plans, etc...

In looking at ALOT of photos, and reading quite a bit, looking at the classifieds, and talking to some folks on here....we have decided to go used.

I have what I think will be a simple question...but what are some key differences when buying something only a few years old vs. 10 years vs. 20 years.

Ive spoke with some folks on here about getting say a 90's model that is in really good shape, and that is really really good bang for the buck, and its mostly depreciated.

Where as so a 2006-2009 ish model will cost more, but it will, well, be newer....obviously styles vary, interior, exterior may be in better shape, clear coat in solid shape (no need to consider the long buff job), perhaps newer appliances....

I figured some of you would give me some good thoughts to help me think of all the differences and if we want to "splurge" and spring for the more "gently used" rather than older.

The budget can accomodate either really, although the "gently used" - depending on the model, may require a "touch" of financing...nothing that would be problematic though for the budget by any means.

I know there are folks on here I can look up when the time comes to help do an inspection hopefully for me, ascertain value, condition, etc....that will be a resource I will definately look up when the time comes.

In the meantime I am trying to find a rally to go to with the wife and kids to come and look at a bunch of AS's....hopefully something relatively close by to my location (birmingham, AL)

Thanks for your help or any advice to be given. We are getting excited and also really nervous....
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Old 06-12-2013, 04:52 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PharmGeek View Post
So, the wife and I are going to be looking to buy an airstream come later this fall or first part of 2014.

We plan on this summer trying to make it out to see alot of different models, floor plans, etc...

In looking at ALOT of photos, and reading quite a bit, looking at the classifieds, and talking to some folks on here....we have decided to go used.

I have what I think will be a simple question...but what are some key differences when buying something only a few years old vs. 10 years vs. 20 years.

Ive spoke with some folks on here about getting say a 90's model that is in really good shape, and that is really really good bang for the buck, and its mostly depreciated.

Where as so a 2006-2009 ish model will cost more, but it will, well, be newer....obviously styles vary, interior, exterior may be in better shape, clear coat in solid shape (no need to consider the long buff job), perhaps newer appliances....
Age and condition are not necessarily related

Interiors vary the most and will depend on what models you're thinking about. Recent production Classics have had hickory cabinets. The 1990s era had darker oak cabinets and mirrors.

By the 1990s the longer trailers were all wide bodies.

Quote:
I figured some of you would give me some good thoughts to help me think of all the differences and if we want to "splurge" and spring for the more "gently used" rather than older.
Units degrade with:
- heavy use
- exposure to heat and sun
- rot and mildew from leaks if kept in a wet environment without proper maintenance

There are a surprising number of RVs out there that were purchased and never really used regularly. Some have been kept inside. In general these are good deals if you can find them.

Heavy use will lead to deterioration of interior surfaces and cumulative wear on hardware. Usually not a problem unless someone was fulltiming for an extended period.

Usually by the time someone makes a decision to sell an RV it has been sitting unused for a couple of years and so you more or less have to plan on replacing batteries. It is also common for some appliance problems that have never been fixed to accumulate as rigs get older. The furnace, fridge, and water heater both have limited life spans and have to be replaced eventually
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Old 06-12-2013, 04:53 PM   #3
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The main issues are water leaks which lead to 1000's of dollars worth of repairs. Also I would try to avoid something with OSB floors which tend to be much less rot tolerant than plywood. There were some frame problems on some of the trailers in the 2007 time frame. I believe they were some of the shorter models. Many Airstreams of any age suffer from rear end floor rot as a result of the plate at the back of the trailer that goes under the floor not being sealed properly at the factory or the seal has failed. Trailers that has spend their life on the west coast are usually in better shape because of the lack of rain. The newer models seem to have more clearcoat problems and skin corrosion issues. Remodeling and replacing a few appliances is cheap compared to spending a year or two and several thousand dollars and hours fixing one that has rear end rot. Anything that has been kept covered is always better than one that sits out. All RV leak and Airstreams do as well. Leaks are sneaky with Airstreams because many times the leak is between the inner and outer skins where you can't see it till something falls off or you go through the floor. All leaks end up in the floor usually under some sort of plastic floor covering. There are some really good trailers out there in the 10-20 yrs range. If you spend big bucks on a newer one, make sure that you know what you are getting and maybe work out some sort of warrantee period. Probably at least 90% of us bought an old trailer with hopes of taking it home cleaning it up and going camping and we find the dreaded floor rot and spend a year fixing it up.

By the way, I am up the road from you up in Huntsville. Good luck on your search.

Here is a post about a 2005 22ft Airstream that had a cracked frame. I think it had 4" tall frame rails as opposed to the standard 5" tall frame.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...nny-93908.html

Perry
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Old 06-12-2013, 05:11 PM   #4
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I realize there are exceptions to what I am about to say, but one thing I really liked about the newer AS's was the amount and size of windows along with the aluminum interiors. The newer models seemed more open and "lighter". We ended up buying a 2yr old new AS that sat on the lot for a pretty good discount. I would have been happy with a sport trim level, but the "openness" was so important to me I paid for a International to get the fully opening windows.
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Old 06-12-2013, 05:31 PM   #5
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We picked the model we liked and started shopping.
A lot of the older trailers we looked at were fairly nasty if they were in original condition and costly if they had been fixed up.
Ours had been used for one trip by a couple who thought they were Airstreamers but hated it and purchased a park model. There was a significant discount from new price.
In the end, our selection boiled down to paying a fair price. There are people out there think their trailer is a pearl of great price and ask a lot of $$ for it. If a 2 year old trailer costs almost new, buy new.
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Old 06-12-2013, 05:33 PM   #6
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You may also want to weigh the options in terms of your personalities. If you are the type to like customization, it might allow you to spend less on a good shell and put together the interior to your taste.

On the other hand, if you want to be able to buy and camp as soon as possible, the layout and interior condition might be more important.

For me personally, the wood interior on my '66 was icing on the cake, as the purchase price was very low, and my wife and I wanted to be able to do a custom restoration/renovation over time.

As an aside, our interior layout changed after using the trailer a few times, resulting in 2 recliners where the gaucho formerly resided. We would not have made this choice without spending time in our TradeWind.

Good luck!
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:55 PM   #7
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If you want the "modern" aesthetic - aluminum walls in particular and the front panoramic window - you're basically looking at a 2002+ International, a 2006+ Safari SE, or any late-model Flying Cloud. (The 22CCD is known to be trouble prone, with weak frames and common floor rot.)

You also need to consider what upgrades/updates you're going to want to make. Something like a 1999ish Safari 25', often costing around $16k. But you'd want to rip out carpet, put in a nicer floor, fix leaks, replace appliances... This stuff can all add up.

The more trailers you look at, the more this will all snap into focus. For us, we wanted the modern aesthetic, didn't care for the CCD's wenge laminate cabinets, couldn't afford a newer Serenity, and liked the L-lounge floor plan. That sort of decision tree narrows it down.

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Old 06-12-2013, 07:24 PM   #8
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My wife and I have 2 small children at this point (3 years and 6 months, boy and girl). She grew up doing some RV'ing and loved it...I did a couple trips with a friend in high school to the beach and loved it.

The primary use of the AS will be weekend quick trips and 2-3 vacations per year. Also, in about 5 years, we plan on buying (perhaps) a lake lot in our area to enjoy...buy a decent lot...would use this for fun of course and storage of the AS...have found some indoor storage I think already, a bit pricey for now, but it will work out in the budget.

The wife in looking at alot of pics, is pretty sure she wants something in the 28-31 foot range....34 is not an impossibility either....but I like the 30-31' models.

Gently used seems a bit less stressful I guess, less probability of more appliance failures, unseen leaks, etc...

I do love the lighter color of the "newer" models....the darker wood is a bit drab....but im not too too picky perhaps about interior....but I definately lean harder toward the newer interiors...LOVE the aluminum walls!!!!
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:41 PM   #9
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@Perry

Hey, you are right up the road

My dad lives in Huntsville....I would love to while I am up at some point in a few weeks perhaps meetup with you and see your AS and perhaps you could give me pointers! Send me a PM!
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:44 PM   #10
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"The more trailers you look at, the more this will all snap into focus."

Yes, this is what I am hoping. I am trying to look at the rally calendar and find a rally this summer that I can make it to....but so far its not working out very well...I think there is one dealer here that has a couple new AS's they tend to keep in stock...I will have to drive a bit further to MS or FL to a larger dealer to see a bit more inventory to see layouts and stuff....I just really need to make it to a good rally and look at alot.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:48 PM   #11
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We got lucky with our first purchase. It was 23 years old and we bought it sight unseen. It gave us 4 years of service and about 30,000 miles of travels. All systems were serviceable. I did need to repair a section of floor rot but after reading here on the forum I guess that's too be expected. Also, after reading here on the forum, I don't think I would make that kind of purchase again. But, the price was affordable and we did it. We now have a newer trailer. Purchased from a friend. It was stored in a limestone cave in Missouri and was never exposed to the elements except when on the road. It is " as new" in every way even though it's 12 years old. I think it all boils down to what you feel is affordable. Shop around and you will find one that fits your family.
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:50 PM   #12
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After walking through all the different models I decided I liked the traditional homey interior of the Classic. I looked for many years for a suitable used trailer but could never get exactly what I wanted for a price I wanted to pay. I eventually decide on a new trailer because it has no carpet. The layout is exactlynthensame except that older models have carpet in the living room and bedroom. It seems that unless you get lucky all used Airstreams are generally over priced, but then again new ones are, too...
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:06 PM   #13
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I have not ruled out new.....but a new 30 model is a tad pricey...its doable....I would need to get a new one though at around 70K...im not sure that is doable in looking at the MSRP's....I know they can be as much as 20% lower in cost...so maybe I could swing that....wonder what the bank interest rates are on these purchases lately for folks with top tier credit...

I have read alot on the forum here about new and am aware of pros/cons there...
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:32 AM   #14
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You might can deal at 30-35% off MSRP. I tried getting a less expensive SOB, but after a couple of years of grief I did what I wanted to do in the first place. I missed some good deals on some used Airstreams. The eBay auctions always went above what I was willing to give.
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