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Old 07-21-2018, 10:20 PM   #1
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Los Angeles , California
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 4
First timer looking to buy: 20' in Los Banos

Hey there everyone!

My wife has been interested in becoming an Airstream owner for years and after a dismal flight with our 1 year old kiddo the time has come to pull the trigger. 4 years back we almost bought new, after a super pushy salesperson had us twisted in pretzels upon our first visit to a showroom. Thankfully we pumped the brakes.

After much tire kicking on new models to decide our length, weight, and floor plan, and thanks also to articles on this site like "Try a used one before you buy a new one?" we've decided to enter the used market for a late model 20' Flying Cloud. We're attracted to the lighter tow weight (will go with a Sprinter as a tow vehicle) and amenities the 20' has over the 22' and 19' trailers. That said, we'll be renting a 23' as a trial for a 6 day trip up north from Los Angeles to make sure that we're solidly into becoming AS owners.

So, we put down a refundable deposit to hold the 2011 20' up in Los Banos CA and we'll be shooting up there during our trial run with the 23' trailer. I have so many questions (promise to do my research throughout existing posts though) and am looking for a bit of advice.

Any red flags I should look for? Will expect to to immediately replace tires and brakes, but any other systems that I should worry about? Anybody knowledgeable willing to meet out there and give the trailer a once over with us? Would be more than willing to compensate for time and travel headaches. Any way to tell if something has been lived in extensively or used as an airbnb income vehicle?

I've got a background in mechanics due to a life long passion for motorbikes and spent 10 years in the trades with small general contracting teams doing home additions. I'm competent in home plumbing and electric. I have a research background thanks to grad school, so am always about learning new systems. Hoping to put all this to use and avoid spending $75K+ for a new trailer that still needs a good shake-out period. The 20' up in Los Banos is on the market in the very high $30K mark.

Any thoughts? All opinions will be much appreciated.

Best,
Andrew & Lindsay
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Old 07-22-2018, 12:33 AM   #2
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2018 25' Flying Cloud
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 232
We thought we wanted something in that size range as well. That was until we lived with a 16í Camplite for a summer. Painful for extended travel, fine for long weekends. What we didnít like was:

1) Having to climb over one another in the middle of the night should a bathroom (or in your case a young one) need visiting.

2) Relatively small tanks for water, both fresh and waste.

3) Small storage capacity for stuff. This resulted in a lot of visible clutter.

4) Constantly converting between living mode and sleeping mode. There was lots of churn for us.

For these reasons the 25í is our ideal trailer. Small enough to still get in most places, can boondock for a week, lots of storage, has a queen you can sort of walk around or, in our case, twins that are fantastic.

I think 2014 or 15 was the first year for central air. That helps keep the AC quiet and out of the livng space.

Look at one before pulling the trigger. Itís Airstreamís most popular model for a reason.
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Old 07-22-2018, 12:03 PM   #3
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We also have a 25í Classic. We purchased it 3 1/2 years ago from the Los Banos people. We wouldnít have considered anything smaller. We got lucky and it was in excellent condition and has twin beds. Your years of contracting will help because as well built as these Airstreams are they always need tinkering. Donít settle be sure.
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Old 07-23-2018, 06:39 PM   #4
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Los Angeles , California
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Just found this! WHAT AN INCREDIBLE COMMUNITY!!!

This is how you can search airforums for volunteer inspectors!

"You can search for an inspector using the attached link.
Fill in the location (city and state) where you want the inspection done.
Then select the type of inspector.
LEAVE ALL OTHER SPACES BLANK."

https://www.airforums.com/forums/mem....php?do=search
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Old 07-24-2018, 09:54 AM   #5
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Los Angeles , California
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Volunteer inspectors

This really is an incredible community! Found this link for volunteer inspectors in another thread!

"You can search for an inspector using the attached link.
Fill in the location (city and state) where you want the inspection done.
Then select the type of inspector.
LEAVE ALL OTHER SPACES BLANK."

https://www.airforums.com/forums/mem....php?do=search
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Old 07-24-2018, 10:45 AM   #6
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West Chester , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jul 2018
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These guys have it right...

Quote:
Originally Posted by daleyocum View Post
We thought we wanted something in that size range as well. That was until we lived with a 16í Camplite for a summer. Painful for extended travel, fine for long weekends. What we didnít like was:

1) Having to climb over one another in the middle of the night should a bathroom (or in your case a young one) need visiting.

2) Relatively small tanks for water, both fresh and waste.

3) Small storage capacity for stuff. This resulted in a lot of visible clutter.

4) Constantly converting between living mode and sleeping mode. There was lots of churn for us.

For these reasons the 25í is our ideal trailer. Small enough to still get in most places, can boondock for a week, lots of storage, has a queen you can sort of walk around or, in our case, twins that are fantastic.

I think 2014 or 15 was the first year for central air. That helps keep the AC quiet and out of the livng space.

Look at one before pulling the trigger. Itís Airstreamís most popular model for a reason.
Itís called two footitis. Honey we should have added two more feet, now we are stuck. It happens all,of the time, RV,s, Boats...

Move up, you will not regret it. After a year the above reasons will drive you nuts, guaranteed. They may seem small, they are not. And then the money you lose on re-sale. Stay used...good call...but move up. You will not regret it.
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Old 07-24-2018, 11:04 AM   #7
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2013 20' Flying Cloud
Westerly , Rhode Island
Join Date: Apr 2018
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We have a 20' and at this point in our lives would not consider going larger due to the type of travel and camping we like. Both my wife and I work, so one two week trip a year is as long as we travel, but we do many weekend and long weekend trips, and a lot of those are planned just a few days before hitting the road.

We don't like RV parks, we prefer state and federal campgrounds. Here in the northeast there are many beautiful state/federal campgrounds that have no spots for traliers over 20', and those that do might only have a couple. Good luck getting a reservation at one of those spots the day before you travel!

I definitely understand the benefits of larger, but for now the 20' works best for us.
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Old 07-24-2018, 11:10 AM   #8
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
. . .
I definitely understand the benefits of larger, but for now the 20' works best for us.
Same here, for similar reasons. The kitchen is the best in any Airstream until you get up to 27' or so IMO.

Had a 25' AS years ago, and would not go back.

This 20-footers thread is full of enthusiasts:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f542...rs-127845.html

"Less Is More"

"Keep It Simple, Stu"



Good luck, Andrew and Lindsay!

Peter
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Old 07-24-2018, 11:45 AM   #9
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2008 27' Safari FB SE
Long Beach , California
Join Date: Jan 2015
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I really wanted a 20' for my first AS but it was really difficult to find and we ended up with a 19'. The kitchen on the 20' was what sold me.

However, after a year with the 19' (which I still LOVED), we decided that climbing over each other was just not a lot of fun and the kitchen drove me nuts with no counter space and the super-shallow sink.

We moved up to a 27FB and haven't looked back. However, don't let this dissuade you - if your 20' comes at a good price, you'll probably find that you can swap out at some point without much of a hit on price.

We traded in our 19' and it cost us very little for what essentially a year's use of it.

Congrats!!!
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Old 07-24-2018, 12:15 PM   #10
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Thumbs up

Well said!

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Old 07-24-2018, 12:16 PM   #11
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2015 23' FB Flying Cloud
Walnut Creek , California
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Your dealer gets great reviews. The 20 will be in demand if you find it not to your taste over time. The Sprinter is an odd choice and not one I would make, but it should give you the ability to expand your load out options. That should keep you happy in the 20 longer.

Make sure the corner bed works.

The 23FB is a great coach, but the wheel well obstructs the foot space in the dinette. Good for two, not too bad for three, tight for four. The wheel well does not obstruct the dinette in the 20. It's all a compromise. Pat
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Old 07-24-2018, 01:12 PM   #12
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
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The 20' has a front bed . . .

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Old 07-24-2018, 01:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
The 20' has a front bed . . .

Stand corrected - thanks for the info. Pat
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Old 07-24-2018, 02:19 PM   #14
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2017 25' International
Los Osos , California
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We had a 2005 Airstream Sprinter RV and it towed a 2000 pound T&B trailer comfortably. Not sure we would have gone any heavier. The newer V6 Sprinter might be more capable with towing more weight.

We've also had 19' International and 23' International corner bed models. Would probably have chosen the 23 FB (front bedroom) for more convenient sleeping arrangement. We towed both with a RAM 1500 Hemi. That was until we decided to go to Alaska and purchased a RAM 2500 with more cargo capacity and safer downhill performance. We pull our 2017 25 FB wit the RAM. Frankly....we always say (in hind sight) that we should have started with a 25FB and 3/4 ton diesel truck and avoided those intermediate steps.

Also, I'm not too keen on single axle trailers. You blow one tire and you'll find controlling the trailer difficult.

Make certain that you replace the tires if they are the original ST tires, especially if they are Goodyear Marathons.
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