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Old 06-27-2014, 09:29 AM   #1
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First Airstream Purchase - Value of newer vs. older?

We are in the process of searching for our first Airstream. Based on budget and other preferences, we are focusing on a 25' model.

In our search we've seen some nice trailers like 2004-2006 25' International CCD's in the low to mid $30,000 range. Some of 2009-2012 25' trailers are in the $40,000's and start to approach the $50,000's as you get to 2013/2014 model years. Obviously the new ones are even more.

Is there a "sweet spot" in value? For example, if we purchase a 2004 trailer I am assuming that certain items may need to be replaced - mattress ($750), refrigerator ($1,500), tires, etc.

A $36,000 trailer could easily become a $42,000 trailer. In that case we possibly could have purchased a model 5 years newer.

I guess another way to look at it is to ask how long things tend to last. How often do tires need to be replaced simply due to age and not wear? Other wear items? What about appliances and the like?

Also to consider are construction materials and techniques. Are there any model years or ranges to generally avoid because of material choices that haven't worked out so well? Water heaters prematurely failing and the like.

Appreciate any insight. Thanks.
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:42 AM   #2
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I think you'll find that the RV reefer last a long, long time. Our first trailer was almost 20 years old when we got it and all systems worked fine and were original. The only system change / upgrade I made was a new multi-stage convertor. Our second AS and current one was 10 yrs. old when we got it. Bought it from a friend that had it since new. I knew the history of older couple, no kids, no pets and stored underground when not in use in a limestone cave in Missouri. Our friend lives in eastern Kansas. It was in like new condition. I made the same convertor upgrade to this one also. So, in short, they are out there. Keep lookin and you will find the one for you and don't be afraid of the age if you know it was well kept.

PS: Yes, the mattress change is your choice. I've read where people get a foam mattress and cut it to fit.

See ya on the road sometime
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:51 AM   #3
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In the age/price range you are interested, the only thing that should need replacing is the tires, which have a shelf life of about 5 yrs., and possibly the battery/batteries. Cushions, mattresses, floor covering and upholstery are going to be dependent upon how much use they got, and how much "icky" you can tolerate. My bet is that most recent model trailers that are being sold are being sold because the owners realized they aren't using them but once or twice a year (though there are the ones that got rode hard, put away wet, and the owners are going for something bigger/newer). With that thought in mind, none of your appliances should be worn out, and they generally don't die due to just age.

There was a period of time that the floors of newer model trailers were made of OSB. Rumor has it that the newer models have gone back to using plywood. Either will rot if consistently exposed to water, but the OSB is more fragile. Search for "OSB floor" and you should find some more info. There was also a range of years that newer trailers were experiencing cracked frames--do a search for "cracked frame" and you will probably find some threads on the topic.

At the end of the day, there isn't much of "formula" for finding the sweet spot (other than the typical newer=more costly). You have to treat every trailer as potentially having its own set of positives and negatives. A 2004 trailer that has been camped in every weekend, stored outside, and not maintained is going to be a completely different animal than one that has seen little use, and spent most of its life stored in a covered space. My guess is that these two trailers would have a pretty similar asking price.


good luck!
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:10 AM   #4
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Thanks for the tips. That OSB point is exactly what I am looking for. Looks like the early 2000's may have had them but likely not in 2008 up.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ard-80946.html
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:15 AM   #5
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I haven't had the floor up to look in our 2001 but our first one was 1985 and it did have the OSB floor.
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:34 AM   #6
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It's all about condition. Years and eras have strengths and weaknesses and idiosyncracies but it all comes down to condition, which comes down to how well they were cared for. Find a trailer owned by a conscientious - or even better, fanatical - owner and you won't go wrong.

There was a trailer listed for sale a while ago by a longtime member of this forum that had been maniacally maintained and upgraded. The price was fair and whoever bought that trailer got one better than a new one at a fraction of the cost of a new one.

Good luck!

Poppy
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:40 AM   #7
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New or used...what to do??

Quote:
Originally Posted by SCOTTinNJ View Post
Thanks for the tips. That OSB point is exactly what I am looking for. Looks like the early 2000's may have had them but likely not in 2008 up.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ard-80946.html
Hi;
Saw your post and wanted to share our experience. We first purchased a 25' 2006 Safari and paid $34K back in 2008. We replaced tires, and did a few minor updates, but overall not much repair work needed. We used it for 2 years, and sold for $34K. In 2010, we bought a 25' 2008 Safari for $32K, used it for 2 years, put tires on it and repacked the bearings, and sold it for $36K. We wanted a newer model with LED lighting, but 2010 models and newer (gently used) models were/are sometimes costing more than a new one. So we purchased a new 2014 Flying Cloud for < $58K from a dealer, with exactly what we wanted on it. I think there are great deals on newer used models also from time to time. But for us, the newer updates and saving power with LED lighting, plus getting solar on your unit are important features to consider with a newer model's; plus if you get a twin, you have lots of outside storage, which the 08' model did not have. You can replace lighting on an older model also, of course, but that can be costly. All around the newer models have a lot of improvements, including more outside access storage. As a friend once said, "you only live once; when you die, you will know you led life to it's fullest, when the check to the undertaker will bounce!" LoL
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:50 AM   #8
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Amen to that advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdmaestro View Post
It's all about condition. Years and eras have strengths and weaknesses and idiosyncracies but it all comes down to condition, which comes down to how well they were cared for. Find a trailer owned by a conscientious - or even better, fanatical - owner and you won't go wrong.

There was a trailer listed for sale a while ago by a longtime member of this forum that had been maniacally maintained and upgraded. The price was fair and whoever bought that trailer got one better than a new one at a fraction of the cost of a new one.

Good luck!

Poppy
Condition; excellent point! our second unit we purchased on auction, and although it looked fine with pictures, when we picked it up, it looked like it was "rode hard (Alaska and back a few times!) and put away wet!" Lots of dings in the rock guards, and a pewtred smell in the unit....wife spent several hours scouring the inside, stove fan, oven, shower, bedding, etc....advice; go see the unit before purchase, even when purchasing new! We did find a few minor scratches on our new one also....
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsydad View Post
Hi;
So we purchased a new 2014 Flying Cloud for < $58K from a dealer, with exactly what we wanted on it.
Did you buy in the off season? Not seeing that type of price currently.
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Old 06-27-2014, 11:09 AM   #10
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Old 06-27-2014, 11:42 AM   #11
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I strongly second the previously expressed sentiments about the condition of any used trailer you might be considering. I'd feel much more confident buying a ten year old trailer from one of those "fanatical maintenance types" than I would buying a four year old trailer from some "shlub" whose idea of preventive maintenance was to rinse out his sewer hose once a year!

You should be able to tell on which end of the spectrum your seller fits within seconds of walking into the prospective unit.
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Old 06-27-2014, 01:35 PM   #12
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Scott,

I am on my second Airstream. Both were late models and salvaged. My current Airstream, a 25ft 2007 Safari was in high flood water in Georgia and the insurance company called it a loss after that. I bought the trailer for $20k in late 2009 when it was still around only 2 years old.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f351...d-56857-2.html

Much like you, I joined the forums and sought the advice of others before making my purchase and against the majority opinion on here, I pulled the trigger.

A trip to the factory to replace the electrical components and install a new stove, and some long hours cleaning and drying things out and about a 4 week wait to have the factory make me some new cushions in the fabric I chose and I was out on the road camping after the factory gave me the green light and did a system check on everything.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f396...-ls-61361.html

Long story short, with the money I saved I have been able to customize the trailer the way I wanted. I have added an extensive solar array and have changed the interior lighting to LEDS and just utilized the money I saved to make the trailer my own, and more importantly TRAVEL. I have had this camper everywhere from California to Maine and everything in between.

So take the advice you receive with a grain of salt, Campers in general have a lot of variables, especially ones that are constructed by hand. So dealing with a "phantom" issue or two is to be expected. Airstreams aren't immune to systemic problems as well, these things just happen.

If I had taken the advice of all the "experts" on here, I would have never bought my camper. For fear of deadly mold that everyone insisted I could not counter, or the floor that every "carpenter" said would be rotten in a years time.... None the less when I purchased the camper I was a 24y/o, and the price was perfect for me and some work didnt scare me off. I'll be 30 next year and I couldnt be happier with my purchase. My camper had big issues, So PLEASE don't be scared away by little things when your shopping. Make the purchase decision that best fits your needs, and trust me you will be happy. Whether those needs are based off of size, or price; I would place model year lower on the list.

Happy hunting- and whatever you buy....JUST USE IT and enjoy the adventure
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Old 06-27-2014, 01:50 PM   #13
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I bought a 2007 trailer in 2012. Perfect cosmetic condition, only used for 3,000 miles. It's needed some fixes, some of them one-offs, some of them pretty common. Here's the list of surprises:

- Had a cracked water tank because wasn't properly winterized one year (that was a surprise)
- Water fill piping had become disconnected (another surprise)
- Oven door oddly out of adjustment
- Black tank sprayer needed replacement

And here's the list that will probably affect most trailers of similar vintage:

- Was time for new tires
- A/C was leaking rainwater due to cracked mounting pan (a poor design); also needed new shroud thanks to UV damage
- Needed new caulking around vent pipes and ceiling vents
- Rusted license plate holder

This doesn't include the various upgrades I did, including LEDs (about $500 for the whole trailer) and upgraded Fantastic Vents.

My gut feel: What matters here is how well the trailer was cared for. You could have a four-year-old trailer with floor rot, even one that didn't use OSB. (Most 25' ASs from the last 10 years or so have had plywood floors.) Or you could get an immaculate eight year old trailer.

Tom
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Old 06-27-2014, 03:14 PM   #14
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I'm in the same boat. And have the same desires. We have been bouncing between a 25 and 27 FB model. I had my mind set for awhile about just buying a new one, but I'd either have to come up with a huge down payment or just be miserable financing 80K. And like you I haven't seen prices on new International Signature's under 80K.

I'm about to buy our Tow Vehicle, but I've been looking and shopping Airstreams too. The hope is to purchase one around the Oct timeframe.

For me I've narrowed the sweet spot for us to 2009-2012. I don't want to go higher than 45K personally, but obviously the lower the price the less I'll have to finance. We've saved a sizable down payment we're going to use to help lessen the load.

We're also planning on jumping straight into full-timing. So for us, a project is out of the question. We don't' want more than the upgrades we plan, solar & internet. If you've got time, space and skill, then there are more options out there at a better price I think.

Good luck in your search.
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