Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-29-2017, 07:01 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
2009 19' International
Concord , Massachusetts
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 8
Dealbreakers?

Hello, all you wonderful people.

I've been lurking for the past year or so and am finally making moves towards purchasing our first AS. My partner and I in the market for a used 19' AS made within the past decade. We're in contact with a couple sellers and are working toward getting inspections done. This is our first RV, and neither of us come from RV-ing folk, ie we are total newbies.

My question is: what would you consider dealbreakers/signs we should walk? Given that we are buying used we are prepared that we may need to put a little bit of $ into repairs/maintenance on our side (for example, we know we want to upgrade to solar immediately). I would hate to have to do some sort of major repair work that we didn't catch due to rookie status. I know this may be a highly subjective question but I've gleaned so much from other threads I've read through, I thought I'd give it a whirl.

I guess another way to frame the question would be: what would you expect normal wear and tear to look like on an AS that's 5-10 years old? What are some normal/acceptable imperfections?

Thanks so much, all. Very much looking forward to being part of this community!
__________________

Hieboig is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2017, 07:50 PM   #2
Len and Jeanne
 
Len n Jeanne's Avatar
 
2005 16' International CCD
2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,619
First off, we're very happy with our 19' Flying Cloud. Given that we like to camp in some of the older, funkier public campgrounds in the western US and Canada, we were reluctant to go more than 20'.

Others on this forum will be better able to advise you on mechanical issues. But there is a board here that will enable you to contact mechanically savvy AS owners in the Boston area, who might be willing to go on an inspection tour with you if you've found a likely purchase through a private sale. If you find one at a dealership, they should guarantee that it's good to go.

Just keep in mind that it is typical for a buyer to travel to the right used AS, vs. finding one close to home.

We were told by our nearest AS mechanic (Spokane, WA) that it wasn't worth our while to get solar panels, because the 19-footer doesn't have enough available roof space. (A lot of the roof is occupied by the air conditioner, roof vents, TV antenna) with ditto for portable solar panels, but you might get different advice.

We boondock a lot, and our fallback position is to perfect our means of prolonging our useable battery life before we need to recharge. We have two 6-volt batteries, a Honda 2000 generator, plus an electrical battery charger that we can use when we have a plug-in.

Wear-and-tear on the interior really depends on how much the AS was used. You might find a 10-year old lightly-used one in near mint-condition, and a much newer one that was used a lot and not well cared-for. Obviously, camping-- with the attendant dirt and bugs-- can generate more interior grime than you'd expect in a high rise apartment. If you'd like to redecorate, and it goes beyond re-upholstering, you'd just have to decide how much of a restoration hobby you're up for.

Good luck with your search, and don't worry about being newbies. We were Babes in the Woods 10 years ago, and now we feel like old pros.

Almost.
__________________

Len n Jeanne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2017, 08:16 PM   #3
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 5,516
Hi

Physical damage (dented panels) would be a turn off for me. So would be other forms of damage (bullet holes, bent frame, ...). I would not want a trailer that had been "upgraded" by the previous owner, that may just be me.

Past that, a rotted floor or rusted frame are common gotcha's. The problem there is that we don't have x-ray vision. Knowing if a trailer does *not* have an issue is harder than spotting one that does. Put another way, you can never be *sure*.

Looking over an entire decade (as you have guessed) isn't going to work out well. A 5 to 10 year range may still be a bit much. If financing is involved, a lot of banks have a 7 year cutoff. That's not just for trailers, it applies to a lot of stuff. To the extent it's true, you may see a "break" in prices between 6 years and 8 years.

You also *could* get into the whole "19' vs 20'" debate. There are enough different models out there that a "only 19" restriction may not make sense.

Once you get past 5 years, expect to swap out tires and batteries. Appliances should still be in ok shape. I would convert the incandescent lighting / signaling to LED before I did solar. Again, that may be an quirk.

Lots of decisions.

Bob
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2017, 08:47 AM   #4
1 Rivet Member
 
2009 19' International
Concord , Massachusetts
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 8
Yes, we're in New England which doesn't seem to be a hotbed of Airstream sellers. We did check out our closest dealer which is how we decided on the 19'. I'm assuming we'll have to travel for the AS we want, so we've been checking out options all over, and I think we're wedded to the idea of a private seller. What I'm hoping to have happen is to find someone to do an initial inspection, and then if that seems good to move forward we'll head out to look at it ourselves.

This is useful information; thanks!
Hieboig is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2017, 08:14 PM   #5
Len and Jeanne
 
Len n Jeanne's Avatar
 
2005 16' International CCD
2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,619
One thing to consider with buying a used trailer from a dealer is that they should guarantee their used RVs. I don't know how they would operate near you, but when we bought our 16-foot Bambino used from an AS dealer, they put a one-year dealer warranty on it, which is valuable for a used RV. We did have stuff go wrong on it, and they fixed it for free. This wouldn't happen with an as-is private sale.

This is farther than you'd probably want to travel, but a fun source of used Airstreams is at: https://varr.co/ . Slightly close but out of New England, we've heard good things about Colonial Airstream in New Jersey. http://www.colonialairstream.com/preowned.html

If a used 20' is similar to the newer ones I've looked at, the advantage is a better kitchen in the rear, with actual counter space and a side larger window. But we like the bigger rear window in the 19-footer, as with a back-in site, your best view is often out the back window. If you're cheek-by-jowl with a monster 5th wheel with slide-outs, you lose the 20-footer's side window advantage. Also, there's not much separation in the 20' models I've seen between the dinette and bed, so that if you're like us with one night owl and one early bird, it's hard for the night owl to make any noise at the dinette (watching TV, a video, streaming something) without disturbing a sleeping partner/spouse. With the 19' Bambi, the dinette table is in the front, and the bed is in the back with a folding door in between.

Wouldn't it be great if your Bambi found you for Christmas!
Len n Jeanne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2017, 08:24 AM   #6
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 5,516
Hi

The whole private purchase process is filled with possible gotchas. Most sales go fine and people are happy. The thing I would watch for on any used trailer right now is a unit that has gone under water. You are at the point that it can have water damage, but not a lot of rot (yet). Every time we have storms with flooding, bozo's creep out of their hole in the ground to lie about cars, trucks, and RV's they are re-selling.

Be careful !!!!

Bob
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2017, 08:27 AM   #7
Rivet Master
 
2012 19' International
Southeastern MI , Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,488
There's a nice one at CanAm.
__________________
2018 International Serenity 27' FB
Michelin 16 tires
Hensley Arrow hitch

Tow Vehicle: Ram Laramie 2500 crew cab, Cummins 6.7 Turbodiesel
Countryboy59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2017, 08:50 AM   #8
1 Rivet Member
 
2009 19' International
Concord , Massachusetts
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 8
Thanks, all! I've always bought cars from private sellers, so feel comfortable with that idea and process, but the AS seems like such a bigger deal. That said, I've liked what I've seen come up from private sellers as I've been watching the past year, and the difference in price between dealer and private seller is pretty remarkable to me. I suppose that with the dealer you're paying for that guarantee, but that just hasn't convinced me

We LOVE the 19' floor plan. We actually went to the dealer to look at everything under 25', expecting to go with the 20', and did not like it once we were in it. 19 it is!
Hieboig is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2017, 08:53 AM   #9
Rivet Master
 
Mollysdad's Avatar
 
2017 26' Flying Cloud
Tampa , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 2,739
A deal breaker for me would be evidence of a leak.
I can fix most accessories or replace them, but I would never attempt to replace a floor or walls.
Mollysdad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2017, 10:03 AM   #10
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 5,516
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hieboig View Post
Thanks, all! I've always bought cars from private sellers, so feel comfortable with that idea and process, but the AS seems like such a bigger deal. That said, I've liked what I've seen come up from private sellers as I've been watching the past year, and the difference in price between dealer and private seller is pretty remarkable to me. I suppose that with the dealer you're paying for that guarantee, but that just hasn't convinced me

We LOVE the 19' floor plan. We actually went to the dealer to look at everything under 25', expecting to go with the 20', and did not like it once we were in it. 19 it is!
Hi

When shopping for anything as big ticket as an AS on the internet, be very careful drawing conclusions from listings you see. There is a strong incentive for a private seller to "puff up" a listing. They have one item to sell and no "reputation" to uphold. It happens with houses and it happens with RV's. When you actually go out and look at the listed item it often is *very* obvious why the price is so low (and why it hasn't sold for a long long time ...) With dealers, the list price may include an amazing amount of "wiggle room" ....

Even if you are not looking for anything other than a 19', it would not hurt to take a look at anything that is listed in your area. I'd limit it to AS trailers of roughly the 5 to 10 year old range. I'd call anything you can get to and back in a day as "in your area". Seeing a few examples will do more than anything else I can think of to prepare you for the real deal.

Bob
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2017, 12:48 PM   #11
PKI
Rivet Master
 
PKI's Avatar
 
2015 23' FB Flying Cloud
Walnut Creek , California
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 2,920
Talked to a lady at JC and learned a lot in 5 minutes. Learn from the experiences of others. The items below, generally came from folks posting on the forum.

Walk away issues:

Too high a cost - establish your budget. Understand why you set it and work within it. You will spend more for gear, upgrades, and wants, so include a pad in your budget.

Water damage - Know where the normal locations for leaks are and where to look for floor damage? Look for sealant degradation. Do not assume that being stored inside is a guarantee of no leaks. It's just a very good starting point and worth a bit of premium.

Frame and shell damage as has been mentioned. The body damage can be a way to get more than you can afford normally, but do not underestimate the loss of value. You may need to trade or sell due to a family emergency.

Lack of normal maintenance - this is a maybe. If it has been well used and not maintained, there will be lots of potential failures waiting. However, use is not a terrible thing, given that it is not abuse. The difference between use and abuse is the maybe.

Being towed with an Equilizer hitch - inspect frame for deflection/damage. Check for furniture and shell rivet damage. Should inspect no matter what hitch is used, as travel over rough roads at excessive speed can do same. Edit - more a big consideration than a Walk-away issue.

Considerations to cost:

All systems working - discount to repair is appropriate.

Tires - assume replacement required if more than two-three years old. Do not assume old tires will get you home. Replace immediately.

Batteries - assume batteries will need to be replaced and budget for it. Really normal maintenance. See upgrade below.

Brakes and hubs - assume they need to be serviced/replaced if not serviced in the last year. Plan to service immediately, before you tow any distance.

Plumbing - Check toilet seal to verify it holds water. Work dump valves and verify they are not stuck - assume they need seal replacement and service. Check that fresh water pump is not too loud for you - assume you may need an accumulator tank, adjustable pressure regulator, check valve, or new pump. Check for fitting leaks - running hot water heater can over-pressure lines enough to make them seep. Same for high pressure city water hook-up. Some fittings may need to be replaced, if not immediately, as normal maintenance. Check that black tank flush backflow device is not damaged.

LPG monitor - needs to be replaced every five years.

Upgrades:

A pair of suitcase solar panels may well be your solar solution.

Batteries - upgrade to 6volt when the existing die. Install a disconnect to shut down parasitic load when storing for more than a week.

Converter - upgrade to a 4 stage controller. This is something that may or may not be necessary. Folks get by without, but if you can DIY it is a good way to spend $200. Understand why you do or do not need to replace the 12volt board.

Axle bearings - upgrade to US made Timkin bearings when you replace them.

Cushions - you may want to upgrade the foam in the seat cushions. Firmer is more comfortable.

Mattress - Plan on replacing the mattress with your personal preference as to firmness and construction.

Trips - budget for going. Camping in the driveway is not the smile producer that travel will be.

Training - budget for learning. A 19 is not terrible to tow, but if you have no experience, you may need some training to come up to speed. Better to pay someone to help you learn than to pay for repairs to fix bobos.

Good luck with your search. Pat
PKI is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2017, 06:08 PM   #12
Rivet Master
 
Currently Looking...
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 864
Welcome to the forum! Buying used is a wise idea. Do you know about the volunteer inspectors? When you find a coach that might fit your needs you can contact an inspector in that area. I don't know how they handle costs, but you could ask. That would be money well spent, in my opinion.

Remember that tires usually age out before they wear out. Generally, 5-7 years is all you get, less if they have been overloaded. Same for batteries. Many people figure that you will spend about $10,000 the first year in repairs and upgrades. The price should reflect the condition of the coach. One that has new tires, batteries, etc. will be worth more than one that needs work. It is just a fact of life that the seller won't get out of the coach what has been put into it. In other words, a coach that has new tires won't be worth the cost of the tires more than one that needs tires. That said, the one with the new tires will sell faster than the one that needs them.

Buying an RV from a private seller is pretty much the same as buying a vehicle from one. Cash is king, and it has a 30/30 warranty (30 feet or 30 seconds, whichever comes first). A dealer has a reputation to uphold, and has put some money into the coach to get it ready to sell, so a dealer's coach may well have a higher asking price than a similar one from a private party. If you're willing to tackle any problems that may occur yourself, the private party sale may well save you money. On the other hand, the dealer may have already addressed the problems, so you will have a happier experience, which may be worth it to you. Only you know the answer to that question.

Good luck as you research and hunt. Keep us posted, and be sure to ask questions here. Lots of wise people here to help you avoid major disasters.
__________________
David Lininger, kb0zke
TAC SD-6
AIR 54240
Heartland mpg 181 (sold)
1993 Foretravel U300 (for sale)
kb0zke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2017, 06:17 PM   #13
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
lewster's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,308
Just as an aside;

I have installed solar (3 panels, large inverter/charger, new batteries etc) in 19's on several occasions! It is more difficult to do these installs due to the smaller installation environment, but definitely NOT IMPOSSIBLE!!!

Don't discount the possibilities of a 300 watt solar charging system for your 19. It happens all of the time (regardless of what some will say!!)
__________________
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
lewster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2017, 09:04 PM   #14
Overland Adventurer
 
AtomicNo13's Avatar
 
1991 34' Excella
2009 34' Panamerica
Telluride , Colorado
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 2,168
Yes, bullet holes, exploded dead body stains would make me think twice....
__________________

AtomicNo13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:01 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.