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Old 07-29-2014, 08:05 PM   #1
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What's Wrong with the '80s?

After spending the last 3 months looking for an SOB and just getting tired of rotted roofs, floors, and delaminated walls. Then trying to avoid that by looking newer (a 4-year old Jayco Jayflight is depreciating still at $2500 a year?!), I decided to take a girlfriends advice and look at an Airstream (actually it was an Avion).

Oooh! Ahh! Preeety!

In which I immediately found extensive hidden floor rot.

Still, decided to keep looking and get educated. Love the curves and interiors of the '70's Airstreams which are also in my price range. Then saw endless threads and horror show pics of tail droop and floor separation.

Turned to Avions but in anything but the whales (tri-axel 34-footers), the floor plan I want--rear bath/center double, or side bath/rear double, is very rare. Crap!

Think I may have found a sound, mostly all mechanicals already replaced '71 Ambassador with original interior, only to discover how much ya'll love your laminate interiors. <sigh>

Plus, I would like a biggish doorside window, which doesn't start until '79?

So, what's wrong with the '80's? What do I need to look out for?

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Old 07-29-2014, 08:37 PM   #2
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1972 29' Ambassador
1962 19' Globetrotter
1951 21' Flying Cloud
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I love the early 70s trailers! Many 80s trailers were made with OSB sub-floor. It turns to mush when it gets wet over time. There are a few very well taken care of trailers out there from time to time. Be patient, read all you can here and make a good decision on the trailer you buy. Good luck!


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Old 03-25-2015, 11:09 PM   #3
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1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
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From reading your post, you seem to have your head on straight as far as what to watch out for (floors especially). You have hit on the biggest issue in considering the longevity of an Airstream: leaks! Leaks will make the trailer much more costly to bring back to as-new condition.

So, of course, the '80s AS units are just old enough to have all those weak floors issues, but the only other thing I can think of that, as a group, they are fairly lightweight.

Here's a few:
'68 Ambassador 28' twin: 4,395 lb
'75 Ambassador 29' rear bath double: 4,855 lbs
'80 International 28' twin: 4,143 lbs
'80 Excella II 28' twin 4,443 lbs
'84 Sovereign 29' centre bath 5,300 lbs
'88 29' Excella 5,600 lbs
'93 Excella 29' 5,600 lbs
'96 Excella 28' 6,720 lbs

So you can see, a lot of the '80s TTs were comparatively light weight, which can makes for less expense in the Tow Vehicle.

People will say that in the early '80s the Beatrice Corp had taken over AS and they ordered that less steel be used in the frame, but overall, I am not fully convinced that had any large impact on longevity. There are tons of '80s still around.

Keep looking, there are lots around, and remember that there really isn't much (if any) difference in pulling a 31-footer than a 28-footer, but I seem to see way more 31' units than the 28'/29' ones.
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