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Old 06-21-2011, 09:33 PM   #1
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Newbie With Question About Floorplans

Looking at buying an AS, probably brand-new (would need to sell the house to do this). Thinking 28 - 31 foot for full-timing. None of the 2011 floorplans are exactly what I'm looking for - I'd like to have the bathroom at one end, with the head, shower and sink all in one room (if there was a bathtub in there that'd be even better). I've seen some older units like this for sale, but they all have the galley/salon at the opposite end and twin beds in the center. Twin beds are a non-starter with me - the bed's got to be at least 60" wide. Has there ever been a floorplan with a queen-sized bed in the center, or the bath at one end and the bedroom at the other end? The 2011 23' model with the bath at one end would be perfect, if it was just 8 feet longer. As designed, there's no living room/salon/whatever you call it. Incidentally, it seems like almost every used AS I see for sale has twin beds - is there a reason for this? Thanks.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:43 PM   #2
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Hey Mr. Bill,
Welcome to the forums! The 23' with the bath in the rear is cool huh? That is the longest AS made with a rear bath these days. I really like the rear bath size myself.
I have one of those old 72s with a rear bath and twin beds. The twin beds allow you to have a walkway to the bath in the rear. With the double bed, it has to be made and stowed so you can walk down the center isle. I was a little hesitant to get twins at first, but we camp with our three teenagers, so well, it works fine. I love the layout of our 72.
You can always buy a vintage AS and have it professionally restored to exactly what you want for the same or less money than a new unit that is a compromise.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:03 PM   #3
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You can always buy a vintage AS and have it professionally restored to exactly what you want for the same or less money than a new unit that is a compromise.
That brings up another question - the thought of buying an older unit that had a floorplan more to my liking and restoring it has occurred to me, but - although I'm reasonably handy with tools there's a lot of things I don't know about the heating/cooling, electrical etc. systems on a trailer, and I'm afraid I'd make some serious mistakes. If I bought an older unit in reasonably good condition are there really people who could professionally restore it for a total cost (trailer plus remodeling) that would be less than a brand-new unit? Hopefully somewhere in or near Northern California? Thanks.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:22 PM   #4
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Yes there are quite a few professional shops across the states that do that very thing. Most charge an hourly labor rate in addition to parts costs. I have heard of some people paying a fixed price for labor plus cost of materials. In California, I know of Area63productions in Orange. Uwe is the owner. I don't really know of any in Northern California. I'm sure there are some. There are a few restorers that have ads in Airstream life magazine. There is Colin Hyde Trailer Restorations in upstate NY, Frank's Trailer Works in Baltimore, MD. I do know of people that are having their trailer restored in say New York and live in Iowa. It pays to shop around and talk with people that have had their trailer restored at one of these professional shops. If you are going to fork over thousands and thousands of dollars for a restoration, having the shop close to where you live would be great, but that isn't always possible. There are many advantages to having an old trailer restored. Old trailers are not Depreciating they are Appreciating. Good luck to you.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:34 PM   #5
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Finally figured out that I was suppose to click on the "Abby Gets Some Separation" link. You do good work. (And I haven't heard "consumables" used since I got out of the National Guard back in 1975)
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:43 PM   #6
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Oh and I forgot to mention that Vintage Airstreams from the fifties are about half the weight of a brand new Airstream of the same length. Every decade Airstreams have gained weight. My 29' 72 weighs (empty) about 1,200 pounds less than an '11 28' International. I read elsewhere you were concerned about having to have a 3/4T pickup. I tow with a Toyota Sequoia. A monster truck isn't really a necessity in my opinion.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:48 PM   #7
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Welcome to the forums. I can add experience to the mix because we owned a fifth wheel before we decided on an AS.

Regarding the "bathroom", please be careful. In the fiver we had a compartmentalized "bathroom" in one room and it was very uncomfortable ( shower, sink. pottie, medicine cabinets, etc) because it was far too crowded.....even the " '31" AS has a more enclosed BR which did not suit our needs. We have lived in our AS for about 60 days thus far, and we really enjoy the "openness" of the mid-trailer BR....lots of room to move around, and you don't have to feel compelled to close the pocket doors with every use, b/c of the privacy glass windows on the AS.

The bedroom in the '30 is open enough for easy access with very nice storage areas.

The "living room" is a real plus in the '30....we ordered ours without the TV mounted behind the dinette on the wall enclosing the refer, b/c we thought that the tv mounted there was too far away for viewing...again personal preferences.....so we have a nice 26" ( Best Buy) on the stand between the dinette and the couch, and it's wired for cable, "air" reception, and a Direct TV satellite ( Traveler 3005).

We really enjoy the openness of the "living room" as you enter the trailer.

As an aside, everything we had stored in the fiver ( a 32' Cameo) is now stowed in our AS with LOTS of room to spare...with the exception of the equipment in the fiver's basement which now has a home in the covered bed of our truck.....

Anyway, my basic point is to find as much "openness" in a trailer as possible....especially if you plan to full time.

I am also anxious to learn the opinions of others. This is a terrific forum with honest, knowledgeable, and experienced posters. .... Good luck!!!! ZIGI
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Old 06-21-2011, 11:33 PM   #8
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Welcome.

I will begin with the standard advice that fulltiming and indeed rving isn't for everyone so you really should do some traveling first before doing something like selling your house to buy a trailer.

Older Airstreams are narrower which does make a difference in useful space.

I myself like the twin layout. There are fundamental advantages layout wise in addition to being more flexible if you have guests traveling with you.

I believe that floorplan differences aren't really that great and there are many usable layouts. The rear bath poses practical problems with weight distribution on larger trailers which is why they are no longer made.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:04 AM   #9
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I am think you should go VINTAGE! and get what you want.... Just saying!
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:56 AM   #10
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I know of a place in Dallas that does the full restoration and customization work. My brother in law had the Peacock Alley airstream work done there. It's not Northern California, but a lot closer to you than some of the other places.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:54 AM   #11
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Some great info from all of you. I noticed myself that the older Airstreams seem to be much lighter than comparable current models - why is that? Also, I can see that it wouldn't be too hard to update the appliances and upholstery in a vintage model, but if I wanted to update the cabinetry to something more like a "Serenity" or International, could I buy the cabinets or would I have to build everything from scratch?

I probably should explain why we want to full-time. Getting close to retirement and crunching the numbers we realized that it would be financially difficult for us to remain in our home of 34 years. Instead of saving up for retirement we seem to have foolishly squandered our money on frivolities like food and shelter. Downsizing to a smaller home isn't an option - at 1,000 square feet, we're already in the legendary "smaller place." So, we're contemplating making lemonade out of this particular lemon by selling everything, getting an Airstream, and touring the USA.

Why an Airstream? I'm a "vehicle damage appraiser" - I write estimates on wrecked cars. I was an independent appraiser for over 20 years (until the insurance companies pretty much put independents out of business, which is why I'm now back working for an insurance company, doing the same job I was doing in 1977). Anyway, in my time as an independent I looked at a lot of damaged trailers and RVs, and once you've seen what happens to a wood framed RV when even a small amount of water gets in thru a roof seam, building trailers out of aluminum seems like a very good idea. I once saw an RV where the 2X2's that constituted the "frame" were STAPLED together.
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Old 06-24-2011, 01:18 AM   #12
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Hi, if I were you, I would buy a new trailer [or slightly used] with a floor plan that you could live with. Re-doing an old trailer could take years and cost more than a new trailer. [and still be old] Paying some shop to do a total re-construction on an old trailer is very costly, but sometimes very nice. Most people who don't have a money tree in their back yard, do the work themselves. Can you do it yourself? I love my trailer, but I'm not ready to sell my house and live in it. I still want a smaller house and to travel more with my trailer.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:37 AM   #13
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Has there ever been a floorplan with a queen-sized bed in the center, or the bath at one end and the bedroom at the other end?
The problem with a queen in the center is getting around the thing, especially if you want to get to the bathroom at the other end.

The trailer that sounds closest to what you want is a mid-2000s 30' Safari bunkhouse.



Here's a previously sold one on Colonial Airstream's website. But note that the bathroom is fairly cramped into a corner to allow for a rear bed. Big bathrooms across the back of the trailer have become endangered species in Airstreams.

Tom
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Old 06-24-2011, 08:59 AM   #14
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The biggest reason for the weight gain in AS trailers was the body type. The older trailers were 8' wide and only about 6' 2" high inside. During the late 1970's the FB (fat body) trailers came out. They are 9' wide and about 6'5" high inside. The older trailers were more rounded and the FB trailers were more squared off.
A 22 foot trailer in the old style has a lot less interior space than a 22 foot FB trailer but you pay a price in weight. It's also not as easy to tow because of the weight and the width.
Today, AS offers the Sport line of trailers that are built more like the older trailers. They are only 8' wide and smaller inside.
My wife and I are fine with the smaller size trailers. Were both under 5'7" and not too wide. By brother in law is 6'5" and can't even stand up straight in our trailer.
I can't tell you what trailer is best for you. Go to an AS dealer and get in several trailers to see what works for you.
I like the rear bath myself. The full size shower is great. In the 1970's AS made some longer trailers with the rear bath. Some even had bath tubs. Unfortunatly, this led to "hogging" (the rear end droops) in some trailers. Today the larger trailers are only offered with the side bath because of this problem.
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