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Old 06-12-2013, 08:38 PM   #1
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Newbie looking for Advice!

Hi all! I've been stalking the forums for a while now and I figure it's time for my first post! About me: 38 yo married mother of twins who just turned 1. We live in South Florida. Hubby and I are interested in buying our first AS. I have some RVing experience but not in an AS. I have owned a pop up van camper as well as the ugliest class C motorhome you'd ever care to see. I don't own any RVs at this time. Hubby is completely new to RVing. We would like our AS to serve two purposes. During most of the year it would be parked in our lovely wooded yard and rented out as a vacation rental to visitors to the tourist centered town we live in. During the summer and Fall we would use it to hit the road with the kids.

We are looking at our first AS on Friday and I couldn't be more excited. I know it's foolish to jump on the first one we see so I am hoping for a little advice. I've looked at the inspection checklist on this site but I must admit its pretty over my head. About the trailer: it's advertised as a 24' 1966 Landyacht. From the few photos in the ad and doing a little research and assuming it really is a '66, I suspect it's a 26' Overlander. It has the 2 twin beds in the center. The seller is the third owner and they've had it for a year. They lived in it for 5 months and didn't do much traveling and it's been stored for 6 months or so. The previous owner lived in it full time for 5-7 yrs in a trailer park here in town. He did travel in it but not much and not very far. It's been a South Florida trailer it's whole life I think.

So I guess I just need a little advice on what to look for. I assume rust is going to be a big issue being that it's S Fl. And the fact that it hasn't traveled much kinda worries me. And how do I know what a fair price is? I'm totally perplexed by this. I don't really want to put a whole TON of work into a trailer. I don't have the time and hubby isn't the handiest guy in town. We'd have to hire out most of the work. I know there will be some work needed and that is fine but I really don't want to be gutting anything. Anyway, am I nuts for even looking at a '66? I've considered a newer AS, say one that's 10 years old or so. But oh that '66 is a beauty. I can't help but fall for the vintage charm. Any input is helpful.

One more random question. This is about trailer layout. Has anyone ever built/installed some type of trundle/fold out bed that would bridge the gap between the two center twins essentially making it a king? Something that could just come out at night and then move out of the way during the day? I'm thinking something like this along with two hammock bunks above it for the kids would suit us just perfectly!

Ok, thanks in advance and sorry for being such a newbie!
Natasha
:-)
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:56 PM   #2
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I'm still a novice at this, but based on my experience with an old Argosy, and what I've seen on this forum, I'd bet you'll be in for a LOT of work on a 66, or even a 76, 86 and maybe even a 96. Heck, even a 2006 is 7 years old at this point. The single biggest problem area that I see talked about on this forum is leaks. The older the trailer the less likely it is to have been properly maintained over the years. That means leaks, which means floor rot and frame rust, and that can mean a lot of work. I got lucky on mine in that it had been stored inside for many years, but it still has issues. So I would say be very cautious and really check out the floor, especially where it meets the shell, for any soft spots. Rot and rust are difficult problems to repair, everything else you can throw money at and take care of fairly easily. But then what do I know.

Great idea on renting it out, I would do that if I were traveling in that part of the country.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:00 PM   #3
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Hi Natasha,

Welcome to the forums! We have twins too, they're now 15 years old.

There are lots of things to consider when looking at a new trailer. First - is it the right layout for you? No trailer is a bargain if it's not going to suit your needs. You're right to consider rust, the other big consideration being floor rot. The two kind of go hand-in-hand. Either one could mean having to gut the trailer. If you go to look at this one take a sharp object like an awl with you to probe the floor anywhere you can get to it, especially around the outside. On our '64 Overlander the floor was pretty much gone in the rear compartment under the bath, and was rotten in several other places. The trailer will also likely need axles unless they've already been replaced. This is not as a huge job to have done, but something to budget for.

If you're looking for a trailer that won't require much work on your part I'd suggest either a newer one or one that has already been renovated. If it's the latter, make sure it was done by a reputable shop or that it comes with lots of documentation on what was done.

You might also try searching the member list to see if there's anyone in your area who would go with you to give you their opinion on the trailer. About half way down the member search page there is a place where you can indicate that you're looking for someone willing to do an inspection.

Good luck with your search!

Grant
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:00 PM   #4
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Newbie search...

Welcome to the Forums...the MOST genuinely honest and forthcoming group of Airstream owners you'll ever meet.

Addressing your larger question: I had been the camper, and as we raised our family, we graduated from tents to pop-ups to hotels and back to camping and we bought an Airstream.

We looked at many units, new and used, short and long, took into consideration (huge factor) what tow vehicle we'd use, what the trailer weighed, where we expected to travel and when. If it's new, cost is major factor. If it used, anything can (and may) malfunction. Who will repair it? Ballpark cost? Really, it's no different than buying a home; somethings you can do yourself, others, not so much.

We would not own any other brand, and you will find a tremendous amount of suggestions and help on this forum. Usually, one can find people in their geographic area who will assist in an Airstream evaluation.

All the best; maybe we'll meet down the road someday. =)
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:35 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone! I'll definitely be on the lookout for rust and rot. Grant, I did try to search for members to help with inspection in my area but there aren't any. I live in Key West and the closest is in Miami (3+ hours away). Do you think if I took pictures when I go take a look and then posted them here someone would be able to give me a little more guidance?
Thanks again,
Natasha
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:23 AM   #6
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1964 26' Overlander
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natasha. View Post
Do you think if I took pictures when I go take a look and then posted them here someone would be able to give me a little more guidance?
Thanks again,
Natasha
Yes, good idea!

Grant
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1946 Spartan Manor
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1965 Avion C-10 Truck Camper
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Old 06-13-2013, 02:23 PM   #7
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In 66 there was an option for bunks above the mid twins. You can check out this site for more information.

Airstream, Inc :: Specifications
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:10 PM   #8
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Hi again. Ok so we went and took a look at her. She's in better shape than I imagined and I didn't see any signs of leaks or rot. The floors are new and it looks to me like the subfloor is solid. It's parked in tallish grass so it was hard to see much underneath. Not really enough room to get under there. All the windows work and are original. It's not the original AC. Here are some pics and I was hoping some of you could give me your opinion. After seeing it I don't think it's the one for us just based on the floor plan. I'd really prefer a center bath/ rear bed. But it'd be great just to get people's opinion on price/ condition just as a learning process. It's the first one we've looked at after all. The seller is asking $7500. What does everyone think? I have more photos but I thought more than 10 might be overkill.

Thanks!
Natasha

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Old 06-19-2013, 11:04 AM   #9
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Yes, good idea!

Grant
Grant,
Any thoughts on the trailer?
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Old 06-19-2013, 03:09 PM   #10
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Grant,
Any thoughts on the trailer?
Hi Natasha,

It looks pretty good from what I can see in the photos, but the price seems high. Maybe that's normal for your part of the country. What is the mark on the rear street side corner? It looks like the aluminum is dis-coloured.

I would want to drop the belly pan in the rear and have a look underneath, especially at that price. The new floor looks nice, but it could be hiding rot underneath that you can't see from above, and the frame could be rotted out from rust. You would also want to look at the axles - if they haven't already been replaced they will need to be.

For comparison here is a '79 for not a lot more money - unless you have your heart set on the real-wood interior of the 60's models. Just because it's newer doesn't mean it won't have something wrong with it, but maybe a safer bet for getting you on the road without a lot of work. It's not a centre bath either, those are a little harder to find.

The Vintage Airstream Photo Archives is a good place to look at the various models and features that were available through the years, and Airstream weights can be found here.

Grant
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:48 PM   #11
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Agree with Grant. I'd definitely want to be SURE that the subfloor looks good. The last thing you want to do is put all this $ into a trailer only to find that the cosmetic stuff you can see is hiding the "bones" that hold it all together. Good luck!
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