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Old 11-14-2014, 08:24 PM   #1
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Buying without boxes

I love the way the outside of Airstream trailers look, all streamlined and shiny, but the insides have yet to impress me. I have looked far and wide and thought about what modifications I would need to do, and it's ridiculous, really. I would pretty much gut the entire thing and start over.

To this end, I have perused quite a few older models with the intent of gutting then starting over, and in most cases, there are so many other issues like structural problems and weight management, that it becomes cost prohibitive.

Here is my real problem: I am looking to create a living/working space for basically, the next bit of forever. I also abhor squares. I mean, why put squares inside a non-square casing?

So, here is the real question.

Is is possible to purchase a brand new structurally sound Airstream body with absolutely no insides?

I have enough knowledge from years of working with my contractor father, and enough licensed friends for all the rest, that I can create my own space, exactly as I want it, without the waste and expense of gutting an existing inside.

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Old 11-14-2014, 08:40 PM   #2
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Contact Airstream to find the answer to your question "buy new Airstream with no insides". They might well charge extra as they could sell that unit for $$$.

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Old 11-14-2014, 08:54 PM   #3
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I believe you can custom order a shell from Timeless Trailers. Customize window, door placement etc.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:15 PM   #4
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Be aware that there has been some engineering involved in the design of the "guts" of any travel trailer.
GVW capacity, dry weight; weight distribution; etc.
especially if you plan on towing the coach.

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Old 11-15-2014, 05:24 AM   #5
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And possibly some structural stability. Jim
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Old 11-15-2014, 09:50 AM   #6
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thanks for the responses

I appreciate all the responses and information. I had thought about structural issues based on the developed insides of a trailer, which I do plan on towing on occasion, but I have not yet found anywhere that talks about requirements or advisements.

Does anyone know where I might could find information about mandatory or advised internal structural support?

It would be extremely helpful in determining where I go from here. I have contacted Airstream and am currently awaiting a reply.

I also wanted to add that the kitchen area will have structure and square edges, as I have yet to see a round stove or fridge, and stove ventilation and all of that will create some structure.

Where I live, the cost of getting rid of gutted insides of an older trailer are quite prohibitive, as I am charged by the weight, so $1000 or more just to get rid of the pieces I cannot re-use.

In addition, I absolutely abdhor the look and feel of particle board. Because I do plan on living in my Airstream pretty much full-time, and in the NW USA, I want to do my own insulating, and inside finishing. Also because I want to live in full time, I want a larger bathroom, so I was thinking the back end of the trailer.

There are many solar and wind mods, as well as a passively heated water tank I want to install in the ceiling above the axles, so way easier to start with nothing.
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Old 11-15-2014, 10:12 AM   #7
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Corvus, I like the way you think, and would love to see what you come up wih.
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Old 11-15-2014, 11:15 AM   #8
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Once I actually get started with the shell and am able to work up from there, I'll start a photo blog and post progress. Send me a pm and I'll make sure you get the URL when it happens!
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Old 11-15-2014, 11:51 AM   #9
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This is part of the bathroom of the Airstream the Magnolia Pearl. I want a tub like this!
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Old 11-15-2014, 03:19 PM   #10
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How many gallons of water does that tub hold? t must weigh a bunch. Maybe it would be fine if the trailer was parked and never moved again.
The whole thing is a bit over the top.
Oh well, different strokes and all.
I do believe when we were at Jackson Center we saw an empty shell that had been built for a specific purpose where the purchaser wanted to finish the interior.
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Old 11-15-2014, 03:34 PM   #11
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Need Good Frame


For what you want to do, have you considered an Avion instead? They are similar to Airstream, but have much heavier frames. For example, most Airstreams have two 5" channel sections making up the main frame. The really old ones had two 4" channel. My '87 Avion has three 6" box sections for the main frame, but it also has an 8" deep suspension frame that the trailer frame sits on top of. So you have 14" of frame where the bending moment is the highest.

I offer this in case you didn't want to fabricate a new frame or a bunch of bracing for your custom heavy bathroom.

I think your idea is cool. I'd do it myself if I had the time. But, you have to be extra careful with weight on an Airstream. They like big weights in the middle.

Silver Streak uses a heavier frame as well. In fact, I believe Streamline did as well.

If the cost of a new shell is prohibitive, and you are deadset on it being Airstream, I would recommend you look for a mid 70's 31 footer with a good shell that is not all beat up. You can buy those fairly cheap. Don't worry if the axles are shot. You just want the shell. I'd then weld up a new frame using 8" or 10" deep rails (I-beams are light and stiff) and swap the whole shell over. You can find creative ways to get rid of the interior.

I've often thought of getting two of the longer trailers, and making one super jumbo out of it. Take the front 2/3 of one and the rear 2/3 of the other

Best of luck with your project.
- Jim
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Old 11-15-2014, 03:50 PM   #12
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Just curious, will your Airstream be permanently parked; or do you plan on taking it on roadtrips?

The reason I ask is that the bathtub in your photo wouldn't be very practical for us. I suspect it holds more water than the combined capacities of our fresh-, gray- and black-water tanks.
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Old 11-15-2014, 03:55 PM   #13
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Getting rid of interior - $1,000.00!

Rent a Dempsey Dumpster, fill it up. They charge by the number of times they empty. Depending where you live, shouldn't cost that much. I rented one for a month - weekly emptying and cost $162.00 total. Inside of Airstream shouldn't take more than three loads or four in normal dumpster.
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Old 11-15-2014, 04:21 PM   #14
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I wouldn't be surprised if a new "can" was $50-$60k from airstream.

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