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Old 08-31-2006, 06:54 AM   #1
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Costly Repairs to avoid while iso a used AS

For a newbie like me without deep pockets, I was wondering, while looking for a used AS, what types of repairs are typically the most expensive and if I found an AS trailer requiring these costly repairs, how fast should I walk (or run) away from that purchase?
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Old 08-31-2006, 07:17 AM   #2
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Frame damage (as evidenced by saggy back end) $2000. Bad refrig $1000. Bad air conditioner $900. Bad tanks $500 each. Rotten floor $1500.
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Old 08-31-2006, 08:00 AM   #3
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Fixing all of the above and taking your NEW to YOU Airstream camping for the first time and showing it off ... PRICELESS!

Or at least I hope so, I'll let you know in a few years!
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Old 08-31-2006, 09:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi
Rotten floor $1500.
Hey dwightdi,

When can you get started on my Bambi II ?

But seriously, I've gotten 4 quotes over the phone to replace my sub-floor , lowest $3,800.00 not including materials, highest $5,000.00 including materials. This is after I completely remove everything inside, cabinets,gauchos,all appliances down to the bare floor.




Mark
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Old 08-31-2006, 06:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streamer1
For a newbie like me without deep pockets, I was wondering, while looking for a used AS, what types of repairs are typically the most expensive and if I found an AS trailer requiring these costly repairs, how fast should I walk (or run) away from that purchase?
Here's some "Price vs Condition" information that will help you determine the value of a particular trailer and the estimated expenses for it's restoration. Only YOU can decide how much is too much for you to handle.

It's usually better to get the best trailer you can afford up-front and save money on the repairs...if you DIY, the parts costs may not be too bad, but if you have to hire out the work or replace major appliances, it adds up fast!

Shari
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Old 08-31-2006, 07:14 PM   #6
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Don't forget axles

If the axles are bad you're looking at a pricey fix.
New axles run around $500 from Dexter and $800 from Inland RV. Plus installation. There are lots of posts about axle replacement (a rather religious topic).
But no-one says it's cheap.

Inland Rv's website has a simple page on instructions on checking the axle here.

Good luck with your search.

Cheers,
Brian
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Old 08-31-2006, 09:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S C Streamer
Hey dwightdi,

When can you get started on my Bambi II ?

But seriously, I've gotten 4 quotes over the phone to replace my sub-floor , lowest $3,800.00 not including materials, highest $5,000.00 including materials. This is after I completely remove everything inside, cabinets,gauchos,all appliances down to the bare floor.




Mark
Mark,

Are the people that are giving you these quotes experienced in this type of work or are they trying to cover themselves because they don't know what they are getting into? How closely have they examined the AS? These prices seem pretty high in my opinion unless they are talking about an entire body off and significant rework of the frame type of effort. Do you already have all the interior out? Do you know what the condition of the frame under the floor is? The frame condition is the main factor in my opinion that can drive the price (and time) up. I also happen to be in favor of replacing a floor without removing the whole body and that can be a time saver if overall condition of frame and body will permit that. Are you looking to have the job entirely done for you or are you willing to tackle some of it yourself?

Malcolm
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Old 08-31-2006, 11:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by malconium


Are you looking to have the job entirely done for you or are you willing to tackle some of it yourself?
Malcolm,

Lacking the space to do the work at home,plus the cost to rent a workshop,led me to explore having a restoration shop do the floor. I could then finish the rest myself. I contacted 9 shops by phone and email and only got 4 responses. The quotes were all "ballpark" untill I could bring the trailer in for a complete look over.

I want to do it myself, but I'm trying to spend my money wisely. After spending many hours reading the threads of forum members like NorCal Bambi and others, my plan IS to do it myself. I think I have a line on an affordable shop and can probably do a better job, plus address all the unforseen problems ( frame rust, frame repair, paint the frame, etc...) at the same time.

If all goes as planned, I hope to start work this winter.
At least the exterior is in near perfect condition.
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Old 09-01-2006, 12:01 AM   #9
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Hello,

Good question! The above answers are really excellent. A lot of the huge costs can be magnified by the type and age of the Airstream. Not to mention where it has been stored. Has it been in a salty environment? Sitting in the damp woods for years? Stored in a garage its whole life? Ours needed total restoration, except all the appliances and such were 99.9% there and worked. My husband spent 10 months restoring our little Bambi. Frame off, shell off. Lots of work ~ but after the initial purchase we were able to do the "pay as you go" kind of repairs. I think the floor and frame were expensive, but we didn't have to purchase new skin for the outside or new refrig, or special windows.... Door problems can be fairly expensive. There are some good threads on what to look for in a airstream... I would make a comprehensive list and follow it each time you look at an item for sale. Be sure the seller shows you how the refrigerator works, how the heater works, etc. see for yourself that they work.

Some of the expense for new flooring is the removal of everything and putting it back in! Lots of time. If you are paying for labor, whew!

Good luck!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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Old 09-01-2006, 07:13 AM   #10
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Hello Streamer1 -- I'm not sure there's an 'economy' way to go when rehabbing an Airstream. Remember that any other box trailer is up on blocks as a hunting shack if they're around at all at age 15! Some of the valuable points above can be researched further on these Forums.

Air conditioners are frequent problems in older trailers. You cannot try out one you're looking at by using an adapter and plugging into a 15 amp circuit. You must have a full 30 amp service or else you risk burning out the compressor. If necessary I'd pull any prospective purchase to a local campground with electrical hookups. It has to cool or I'd discount the price on the spot. Some say freon fill on an RV A/C isn't possible, others say the opposite. But a 'no cool' situation is indicative of an A/C with problems! A/C replacement is at least .... $1000 ballpark seem right?

Your best traveling options come with a good RV refrigerator, usually two-way propane/110v. This should be easy to check out, though you'd want the previous owner to plug it in at least the night before you go to see the trailer -- they take a long time to cool down! Fridge replacement can end up being the single most expensive possibility but they aren't as problem prone as air conditioners.

Best of luck and keep asking questions. We're good at questions. It's the answers that ...
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