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Old 05-22-2019, 03:37 PM   #1
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Hello everyone. Iím looking to buy my first Airstream which I would use to live in, possibly in the Florida Keys. Iím wanting something around 30-34í and am wondering exactly what years and models I should be looking for. Iím quite handy and mechanical, I could do some repairs but I donít want to perform a full restoration. Iíve looked at everything from a Ď70-Ď90 models but donít know which are truly built better. Any help or advice would be appreciated
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:42 PM   #2
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I've owned several 30' Airstreams and one 34', ranging from 1973 to 2000 year models. Build quality, if you use it for living in, not towing, there is not a lot of difference IMO. The earlier trailers were lighter/narrower, a little easier to tow. Where the big difference comes is how the trailer was maintained by prior owners, and the conditions the trailer was used in. Moisture and rust are trailer killers.

If I were looking I would consider interior space. In the trailer sizes you mention, those built after late ~1995 are 6" wider. That's a big deal IMO!
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:45 PM   #3
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The Keys have pretty restrictive zoning but you might find a mobile home park that will accommodate you. It will be pricey, even for rundown... But, if you succeed, it is a very neat place to live.

There seem to be lots of 31' Airstreams around and they tend to be the least expensive of the 10 - 25 year old models. I'm not sure when Airstream started putting black tanks in to all the trailers but you really want one so equipped. Mine is an '86 and is pretty much a tank -- I've towed it about 80000 miles and I am the fourth owner as far as I know. You need to stay on top of it -- keep the seams sealed, search for water leaks regularly.

I was at Curry Hammock in Marathon last week and with the air temperature at 96, my single A/C was working hard to maintain 80 in the trailer. Make sure whatever you buy has at least one working A/C.
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:12 PM   #4
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The Keys have pretty restrictive zoning but you might find a mobile home park that will accommodate you. It will be pricey, even for rundown... But, if you succeed, it is a very neat place to live.

There seem to be lots of 31' Airstreams around and they tend to be the least expensive of the 10 - 25 year old models. I'm not sure when Airstream started putting black tanks in to all the trailers but you really want one so equipped. Mine is an '86 and is pretty much a tank -- I've towed it about 80000 miles and I am the fourth owner as far as I know. You need to stay on top of it -- keep the seams sealed, search for water leaks regularly.

I was at Curry Hammock in Marathon last week and with the air temperature at 96, my single A/C was working hard to maintain 80 in the trailer. Make sure whatever you buy has at least one working A/C.

I have already found a place to lease and am on a waiting list at another place which is supposed to be a little closer to where I will work. What trailer do you have? Today I looked at a Ď90 Excella 34í but it wasnít what I was looking for. It was nice but the seller seemed shady and couldnít/wouldnít answer many questions. Iíve had my eye on a Ď78 sovereign 31í that has been kept indoors and is all original but when he was pulling it out of his shop he damaged it when the awning caught the shop door. I donít know how difficult this would be to repair but this Airstream is otherwise perfect
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:21 PM   #5
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Well, the upper panel dent you could live with. What looks like a tear below the awning arm mount might allow water to seep into the rig above the floor which is bad. Not something you can fix and pricey to have it done professionally.
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:24 PM   #6
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Well, the upper panel dent you could live with. What looks like a tear below the awning arm mount might allow water to seep into the rig above the floor which is bad. Not something you can fix and pricey to have it done professionally.
How much would I be looking at to have that bottom fixed?
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:59 AM   #7
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Thousands, at a minimum. More if both panels need to be replaced. If you are just going to park it, you could always just seal it with a flex-tape kind of product.
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:54 AM   #8
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I see 3 damaged panels.
For the one dented segment in the cap at the rear, $1,200 to $1,500 is what I have read on other threads that people are paying.
The curved lower panel should be about the same.
The straight panel from the awning arm over to the door is a flat sheet, so not a special cut and formed item from Airstream. Even so, it involves removing any equipment mounted in the wall, so extra labor.

Is there any damage to the awning?
The stripe decal will come off with the panel. New will never match the old, so where is the starting point to replace?
The insert is missing in the rub rails. Going to replace that?
Olympic Rivets $- hundreds of them. And, a rivet head shaver will be required.
Lots of details to think about!

My guesstimate - $6,000 minimum, probably more, for getting it done professionally.
Can you do the work yourself? Materials and misc supplies will cost $2,000 to $3,000
You can get some ideas of material costs here>
http://odmrv.com/catalog/index.php?m...ex&cPath=98_99

ps: Some people have sent photos by email to Airstream's repair shop in Jackson Center Ohio and received a preliminary estimate.
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:13 AM   #9
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Corrections

Quote:
Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
The Keys have pretty restrictive zoning but you might find a mobile home park that will accommodate you. It will be pricey, even for rundown... But, if you succeed, it is a very neat place to live.

There seem to be lots of 31' Airstreams around and they tend to be the least expensive of the 10 - 25 year old models. I'm not sure when Airstream started putting black tanks in to all the trailers but you really want one so equipped. Mine is an '86 and is pretty much a tank -- I've towed it about 80000 miles and I am the fourth owner as far as I know. You need to stay on top of it -- keep the seams sealed, search for water leaks regularly.

I was at Curry Hammock in Marathon last week and with the air temperature at 96, my single A/C was working hard to maintain 80 in the trailer. Make sure whatever you buy has at least one working A/C.
I think all the trailers he is looking at will have black tanks. GRAY tanks were not installed in AS trailers prior to 1974 or so. As far as A/C goes, I think 2 will be required to cool a trailer that size during FL summers.
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:15 AM   #10
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I think it is too expensive of a repair when he only knocked off $1500 after it occurred. It happened after I first saw it so he let me know and said he would knock off $1500. I think I’ll pass on it
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:29 AM   #11
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I think all the trailers he is looking at will have black tanks. GRAY tanks were not installed in AS trailers prior to 1974 or so. As far as A/C goes, I think 2 will be required to cool a trailer that size during FL summers.
What about an earlier model like a Ď62 28í? It wonít have a gray water tank. Would that be a problem for zoning or could I not have my gray water run into the sewage system? My guess is that I could cool one of those smaller trailers more easily and with a single unit
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:23 AM   #12
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Grey water runs into the sewer system all day long from normal households and RVs alike, so not having a grey water tank should make no difference if you are staying at a facility with full hookups, and you don't intend to spend any/much time camping "off the grid."

Where temperature is concerned, physics is not your friend. These trailers are aluminum on the interior and exterior surfaces, and those surfaces are joined by aluminum ribs. You will bleed heat in the winter and absorb more heat than you can easily cope with in the summer. The walls are only 1.5" thick so no matter what you put in there, you are looking at around R3 or R4. So brute force is your only option, hence the recommendation for 2 units.

The trailers you have your eye on are 40+ years old. Practically every trailer that is this kind of age needs a full rennovation. The frames rust, the shells leak (if only from dried out window gaskets), and the subfloors rot. If you think you are going to buy a "mostly original" 40 year old trailer that has spent its entire life in the humid South, and live in it, you are likely to be in for some unpleasant surprises. Unless you are ready to tackle a big project, your best bet is to look at trailers that have laready had the "heavy lifting" done, and done right. The question is not "what era is best," but "in what condition is the trailer that I am looking at."

Go to the Portal tab of these Forums and you will be able to find a "trailer inspector's checklist" that will be helpful in evaluating the condition of a trailer. Also, there is a utility to help you find individuals who are willing to help you inspect.

Good luck!
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Old 05-23-2019, 11:20 AM   #13
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. . .
Go to the Portal tab of these Forums and you will be able to find a "trailer inspector's checklist" that will be helpful in evaluating the condition of a trailer. Also, there is a utility to help you find individuals who are willing to help you inspect.
. . .
Here is a link to the Portal page, which you can also access via the grey "Portal" tab at the top left:

http://www.airforums.com/

On the right edge of the page are the boxes to complete to find a FL inspector. Good luck!

Peter
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Old 05-23-2019, 01:29 PM   #14
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We like our 2013 31’ classic....
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Old 05-23-2019, 03:48 PM   #15
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The newer and the better condition and the bigger the better. I do not see a “magic” model that stands out. I have 1988’s. They both take a lot of work to keep up.
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