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Old 10-18-2014, 12:23 PM   #1
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1967 20' Globetrotter
1954 22' Flying Cloud
Grand Rapids , Minnesota
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Talking First Post, Reading a ton, opinions please

I know buying new is easier, but I really love those older/vintage AS's. If there's no move in the back end and no rot in floors, what are the chances a mid-50's AS will not need major repairs to frame. I'd prefer a frame on replacement of floor and have wired, plumbed before. Great with a sewing machine and half way handy with a wrench.

It's a double axle with the old suspension. I'd need new tires. I've read so much that I'm officially overloaded.

My goal is to get it road worthy and use it as a rolling tent while repairing as I have time and $$. I was hoping to get a run down of cost to get something this old in towable/safe condition. I do have the advantage of it being gutted in one aspect that I can check for rot. I'd prefer to keep my remodel budget at 10K. Since I love designing and have remodeled 4 other homes, I can handle this part. Welding and that stuff... not so much.

Also, How often do mid-50 whale tales come around with descent skin? Front drivers side curved panel needs replacing. II love the look and really don't know if I'm going to find another for cheap to start that I can fix up as I like.

Thank you for the hours of reading you've helped me so much!! Intimidating, but still hell bent on camping again and would love it be in a classic AS. Plus, you people seem so fun!

Thanks
Kris
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Old 10-18-2014, 01:18 PM   #2
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This is a pretty rare trailer so it's worth some effort/cost to restore, especially if you can do a lot of the work yourself and enjoy that kind of thing.

If the bottom edge of the trailer looks level front to back when you stand back fifty feet or so to evaluate, and the rear end is stable when you stand and gently bounce on the bumper then the frame is most likely ok. It would be worth a visual inspection of the rear end. Can you drop part of the belly pan and check with a flashlight?

If there really is no rot in the floor that is a very good sign (please note that this requires a visual inspection if possible or at least thorough testing with a moisture sensor designed to test wood such as the one in the link below.)

The next area of concern with respect to the area between the inside and outside skin is current or past rodent infestation. It is a rare trailer of this vintage that has not been "occupied" by mice at some point in its past. They can inflict a lot of damage to insulation and wiring. Testing for rodent damage can be accomplished with a "smell test" and also by testing the imbedded wires for complete circuits. If you find a lot of short circuits, then you can be pretty much assured that the wiring has been compromised and that you will need to remove the inner skin and rewire the trailer.

A trailer of this vintage will almost certainly need new axles unless they have been replaced recently.

Keep asking questions and reading articles on this forum and you will learn a lot!

Good luck!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000224DA/...I151MQVTTR235N
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Old 10-18-2014, 02:11 PM   #3
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Here is a book you should consider buying:

Restoring a Dream

Also, check out the Vintage Airstream Podcast site:

The Vintage Airstream Podcast | Vintage Trailer Restoration
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Old 10-18-2014, 04:20 PM   #4
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It sounds like it is gutted and that could mean someone bought it and gave up on it. Is that is the present owner and where are the insides? It will be hard to restore without the original interior as a guide and to save some money. Some things can be fixed, some maybe not. An old frig, furnace and stove may not be worth fixing, but if they are gone, you have to start anew. Axles, appliances, bed, bathroom, converter, wiring, plumbing, kitchen, etc., mount up fast. Wooden things can be restored and if you want the trailer to look somewhat original, you need the original furniture and partitions. Does it have a fresh water tanks and black tank? Old trailers simply dumped to a hole in the ground. You can't do that anymore. $10,000 may only get you started. You'll probably end up pulling off the interior walls to insulate properly, check wiring and look for leaks.

A very rough estimate is that a lot of things cost around $1,000—axles, tires, frig, stove, furnace and hot water heater, A/C—that's, again roughly, $6,000. If you need furniture and partitions, you may have to build them yourself. Plumbing, sinks, toilet, shower add well over a $1,000. Wiring, converter and lights are probably in bad shape. Windows may need replacing and may be hard to find. Otherwise, you could look for another similar model for parts, but you should have bought that one instead unless the body is trashed.

The 50's models are worth restoring because they are special, but it is a big job. It will take a long time before it is rolling, I fear. An easier job would be a later model—1970's or even 1980's. They are more likely to be complete or have been kept up. A '70's model can be had fairly cheaply, but one in good shape will cost more.

There are lots of restoration threads on the Forum. Read until you are cross eyed, and then read some more. After a while it will fall into place in your head. If it never falls into place, you shouldn't be doing this.

I also like design and have also remodeled 4 houses. But a trailer is different—it is like remodeling a bathroom. Lots of expensive stuff in a small space which is hard to maneuver in.

I sure sound negative about this, but this is not something easy to do. If you like a challenge and are in love with it, go for it. Necessity will make you better with a wrench.

Gene
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Old 10-18-2014, 04:44 PM   #5
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Kris -
I apologize for adding to the negativity. I think you will spend considerably more than $10k on a project like this. And guaranteed that there will be expensive surprises uncovered in the process.
It also is very likely that you will encounter some floor rot due to past water leaks - that old copper plumbing didn't do well in cold temps - especially if the trailer went through Midwestern winters. I had two areas to repair in mine, not requiring a shell-off. One was not apparent until I had removed all the (asbestos-containing) floor tiles. My frame was solid, but beneath areas of rotten floor often hide disintegrated frame components.
These 50's trailers are special, but resurrecting one is a very big project.
Mark
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Old 10-18-2014, 05:07 PM   #6
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A couple months ago I spoke with a lady who had restored a 1966 Airstream, I think it was about 19 feet. Cost = $35,000.00 Now, this is an exceptional unit, polished, some modern amenities added, but, it seems the most cost efficient way to have an Airstream is to get one which is not rare, maybe a model less desirable, and in the 10 year or more age group. I have seen some purchased for very little and a total of $10-15,000 including original investment can give good results.

I suspect most of this requires patience and lots of time to investigate and educate. There is a lot to be learned before purchasing an older Airstream.
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Old 10-18-2014, 05:16 PM   #7
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You said you have time and money, go for it! It'll be bigger than what you think, and cost more than you plan, but if you're determined, you can do it. It pays to be multitalented... Plumbing, electric, carpentry, sheet metal, welding, a bit of automotive experience... Nice thing is, everything you're going to do has already been done, and probably documented very well on this forum. As someone said earlier, READ until you're sick of reading,then read a bit more. Good luck in your refurb.

-Red
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Somebody ought to clean these windows. There is a tremendous buildup of gook all over them...
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Old 10-18-2014, 07:49 PM   #8
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1954 22' Flying Cloud
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he send pictures put in linked album. I do see a direct to street sewer pipe down there though LOL. All windows are intact but he is replacing some glass today apparently
So... with all that in mind needing everything including interior.. 2K max seems fair for price right? A few extra 20K for the rest LOL. I was planning on removing the interior panels anyway to insulate, plumb and wire. Looks like it's a drivers side bath or at least the flow pipe is on that side. If I had a big barn Id have it already. I don't mind a lot of work and can certainly budget it as I go. I don't really want the original appliances but did want the kitchen/bath to refinish. Love those.

Heck by the time I'd be to that I would have found a torn out kitchen and bath anyway.

he's going to take better pics for me. I think if I can get it to the twin cities I can find someone to redo the axels/brakes and new tires. From there just get it safe and wait for summer to start removing/fixing windows. then do a shell on floor replacement.. side walls and ceiling to reinsulate. There goes 2 years already See you in 2016 hahahahah Only til 2018 til I'm finished.

I'm pretty set on an older unit. Whether I wait for something else I don't know. I was really trying to determine if I should take this one on or wait for a mid-50's whale tale to come along w/Interior at a cheap price and what the chances of that were... My relatives are telling me to walk away dangit

I have quite a few pictures. One is showing a tear in the belly pan. hopefully this isn't on the same end as the front drivers fender with a ding. could mean frame issues... hopefully I can link here, can't find how to post pictures otherwise ttps://plus.google.com/101784686296606934401/posts/JaHQfusKZTt
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Old 10-18-2014, 08:00 PM   #9
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1954 22' Flying Cloud
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene View Post
Is that is the present owner and where are the insides? Gene
Picked by a local guy who saw it sitting as storage in a back yard with plastic and tape over windows. I'm almost certain there will be rot on the floors but that nice hole in the belly pan should be nice to spy through. Looking now for volunteers in Minneapolis who might want to check this out with/for me
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Old 10-19-2014, 09:52 PM   #10
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Since you have the time and realize the need for a budget, and are really into this, buy it (I don't know whether $2,000 is right, but others may).

Rent a flatbed and take it home and then see what you need to do. No need to put new tires on now. They'll just age and you'll have to buy new ones that much sooner even if they have been sitting. Same thing with axles. Take it home and learn more about axles. Some people don't think replacing is that bad a job. Anyway, unless you have unlimited money, you'll save a lot on labor if you do it yourself.

I think you want new tires and axles first because you want to tow it home rather than determining what should come first. You may find so much wrong with it that you end up with a trailer beyond your ability or saving with new tires and axles.

Once home, develop a plan. Start with some easy stuff and get to know this thing intimately. Better to start with a lot of knowledge before you screw up something. No matter how much you know, some things will go badly, so reduce the number of times that will happen. Decide whether you want to restore it to what it once was, modernize in a way that hides the changes and keeps the original feel, or do whatever you want. Design fascinates me, but things that work together are only revealed to me slowly despite my impatience. I would choose to sort of restore, but carry the Art Deco feel of Airstream to what I would imagine is its logical end.

Gene
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Old 10-19-2014, 10:36 PM   #11
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Buying new is easy, especially if you have the money or the ability to pay for it.

Buying used, an Airstream that has been well cared for, is probably the best way to go but will still cost 15k-25k for one that is 15-20 years old.

If you like vintage, have renovated some old homes already, and are willing to camp in an aluminum tent for a while while you complete the renovation, then going after a vintage Airstream is clearly the best plan for you.

I offer the following advice:

1. Looking for an Airstream is like looking for a mate. Look at lots of them to learn about what you want in your Airstream.

2. Once you figure out which years and models you like, buy the best you that you can find that is in your price range. Even if it is in campable condition you will probably find lots of upgrades you want or need to do like axles, new pex plumbing lines, new faucets, led lights, new converter, new floor covering, new soft goods, etc.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 10-20-2014, 10:16 AM   #12
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Hello KirsE MN,

I think you are catching aluminatitis! Seek treatment right away. It is a bad sickness! $$$$ hrs, hrs, hrs lost.

I looked at the photos in the album. This is a trailer waiting for MAJOR renovations. There isn't a square inch that doesn't need work. Most folks would approach this project as a "full monte", shell off rebuild. But wow, it sure would be neat when done.

This thing reminds me of Stepan's project thread on his 1948 Liner I've been following. He has, or will, touch it all. He is currently replacing the outer skins!

I live in the Minneapolis area. I'm retired. I've done quite a bit of work on my 66 Trade Wind. I think we could access this old Airstream and have a pretty good idea of what it would take just to make a rolling, dry aluminum tent with tail lights out of it.

PM me if you want to pursue it further.

David
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:15 PM   #13
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1967 20' Globetrotter
1954 22' Flying Cloud
Grand Rapids , Minnesota
Join Date: Oct 2014
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We'll see, he hasn't contacted me in a bit. I think he might put it in storage

I saw a 22' 1962 argosy today full of hail damage but cute. the owner bought it for 3K and let me look inside. I was rubbernecking and stopped in to let him know how I loved it. It looks so much like an airstream inside. even the glass lamp and 2 cone lights up front.
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:39 PM   #14
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1967 20' Globetrotter
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so what pops up on ebay? a 57 airstream 2 hours from me bizarre

1957 Airstream Travel Trailer Vintage Great for Restoration Project Sold as Is | eBay
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