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Old 07-03-2011, 11:03 AM   #1
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Which airstream is most reliable era for older and resto?

((I posted this in the general area, maybe I should have posted it here. ))

I posted this in the general area, maybe I should have posted it here!
OK, let me start this by saying that I have been on again and off again on an airstream for years. I was buying a 67 31 or 32 foot rear bath a couple of year ago when I learned about the rear bath sag issue which this had and decided against it.

That combined with the fact that MY WIFE wants a larger RV with a slide, ect, stopped me in my tracks. I currently live in Northern Nevada and own 175 acres in Cambridge Idaho that I am oneday soon (hopefully a couple of years) AM going retire too. My wife and I may need to live in an Rv while building a home if the economy does not come back and we cant get any $ out of our home, so this is her main concern. I have a pole barn that I am trying to get done tere for a main big bathroom, laundry services, extra fridge, ect, so that would make it easier by far.

Then we want to travel a bit and see whats out there ect. I am a hotrod builder on the side, have many projects and enough talent to build a home or car for the most part and I want something original LIKE an older airstream that I can restore or gut with modern stuff to make my wife happy.

That said, I recal reading issues about rear baths and how that was corrected some time in the 70s?????. So yesterday I told the wife that I hate new Rvs and the cookie cutter world of RVing. I told her I wanted to do an airstream and to build it to be like us, original and kind of odd. We have a large hotrod shop currently and a 50s style diner in our home, so an Airstream just fits us. I explained that the Airstream is a live style and the people are BETTER as a whole and she agreed to just get an older airstream and restore it to what she likes inside as far as making it a comfort thing for her.

that said, which years are best and most reliable, axle, frame, bathroom issues, plumbing, ect. Im talking say late 70s and older, nothing newer. I dont mind older but I dont want to have to worry about new axles, the frame as a whole ect.

I dont mind gutting it or finding one that is gutted so as not to destroy a good one. Seem there are pleanty of gutted ones for sale.

I just want a good foundation and would loike it close to 30 ft.

Dave in Northern Nevada.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:13 AM   #2
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There are some mid-bath trailers from the '70s. If I were looking for a bigger trailer from that era I'd search for one of those, though it seems the more plentiful ones in the market are rear-bath.

If you're starting from a gutted trailer, though, you'd be able to identify and address any rear separation issues or problems with the floor more easily, you'd just have more work ahead of you getting the interior and systems back up to livable levels. If you have the stomach for doing it from scratch, I suspect that there are lots of gutted trailers out there that can be had pretty cheaply because someone's in over their head and just wants to be rid of the trailer.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:21 AM   #3
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I have read about the rear bath separation also. Does anybody know what difference the rear bath makes in the separation problem, as opposed to a rear bedroom? And I agree that there could be a solution to this problem, anyway.
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:24 PM   #4
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It's likely that trailers of that vintage will require new axles. I had to replace them on my '73. It cost some money and a weekend. It wouldn't be the first time or the last time that working on an old trailer will do that. If it were me, I'd focus on year, length, and floor plan, and not worry about the condition axles.
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Old 07-03-2011, 01:01 PM   #5
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I don't remember who it was but someone said in a post somewhere that when you get an old Airstream, all that you are really getting is a shell. I agreed with that, unless you find that miracle trailer somewhere.

The bigger the cheaper it seems like.
The biggest things are time and money.
It is etc., not ect.
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:26 PM   #6
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The 60's were notorious about leaking around the rear hatch. That caused the floor to rot and the rear end to separate. Also the galvanized box that houses the black tank will most likely need to be replaced. May not be an issue if the trailer spent its live in an arid location. Count on axles! Why spend the time and money on redoing a trailer and then beat it to pieces pulling it on axles with no suspension left in them. The 70's used a lot more plastic on the interior than the mid 60's models. If you are going to completely redo the inside it might not matter to you, but I like the real wood of the older trailers. Don't underestimate the amount of time it will take to do the project. As a car builder you know it always takes longer than you think.
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