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Old 02-26-2004, 11:12 PM   #1
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To rot or not to rot.

We need some advice! We are Airstream virgins ready to take the lifestyle plunge. We have done a lot of research on this forum, and now that we found a potential AS we are looking for some last minute words of wisdom.

Itís a 1974 Overlander Land Yacht that fell into our lap. The asking price of the AS is $1500. The outside looks all right, some dents and a small tear, but not too concerning at this point. Apparently all appliances work and will be testing them on saturday. The axles and shocks appear to be ok,the torsion arms seem to be sitting at the right angels, but look a little weathered. Needs four new tires.

We are concerned about floor rot and the stability of the overall trailer. If we decide to buy this AS, we will be towing it 2,500 miles back home to Ontario Canada from Idaho. So we need this little gem to hold together. Our concerns lie with itís structural integrity. We looked inside for the first time today and noticed the carpet was damp throughout the cabin. We figured this AS would be riddled with rot but found none. YET. We even peeled back the carpet around the front and found the wood to be solid but damp. We also spotted mold growing on the carpeting along with a little on the wood flooring. It is seems the rotting process has begun. The question is can we stop it before it is too late? We are looking for a project but this AS has a long way to travel before we can begin. We have a knack for getting in over our heads and blowing budgets. But isnít that half the fun?

oh ya, Our tow vehicle with either be a 3/4 ton pickup or suburban.
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Old 02-27-2004, 04:50 AM   #2
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It sounds like:
You wanted a reasonable price for an older Airstream, and
You don't mind working on an older Airstream.

It also sounds like:
You got an exceptional price for an older Airstream, and
it may not need that much work.

For that price, I would bet there are a lot of people who would buy it, even if the appliances did not work. Exactly where in Idaho is it?

From your description, I would say it has more than enough structural integrity to ride the interstate back home.

Concentrate your energy on towing preparations. You said it needs tires. Make sure you have a spare. For 2500 miles, you should go ahead and repack the bearings, and check brake wear. Make sure the exterior lights work. Show up with a tow vehicle that has an electric brake controller. Make sure you have the right 7-pin connector, and know which wires go where.

On the way home, pull over frequently, and make sure all four wheels and hubs seem to be heated equally. Check tire pressure after first 100 miles or so.

After you get home, wrap duct tape over the rooftop sewer vents and order new gaskets. That's probably where the water leak is.

Hopefully, others will fill in the towing preparations I have missed.

Good luck,
Tom
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Old 02-27-2004, 06:34 AM   #3
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Congratulations,

It sounds like a nice unit; A good risk IMHO!
I agree with TC about re-packing the bearings, however, I also think it would be good to check the brakes. When I purchased our last A/S I towed it home not knowing I had only one working brake, which explained some of the instability I felt while I was towing it home.

Take it one step at a time. Get it road worthy first!
It sounds like you may have a leak which has just recently decided to show it Ďself. It could be a gasket as TC has stated. I would suspect it to be somewhere around one of the seams riveted near the top or around one of the vents. After 30 years of age, some of the joints may be dried out and there may be some small cracks allowing water seepage. It can seep inside along a seam and follow a beam along the wall and then show up near the floor. I havenít owned an A/S yet that hadnít had a leak of some sort, (all of the ones Iíve owned have been older ones) but remember, with it being 30 years old, how many other SOBís are there even on the road after 30 years? As I was told about the battery in another thread, itís all in the maintenance. It sounds like if there is a leak you have a good start on it before it received much damage.

OBTW, Welcome to the forums!
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Old 02-27-2004, 09:31 AM   #4
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As an old boat trick - you can pour automotive antifreeze on the wood and it will stop any rot that has started. The antifreeze kills those rot bugs. Its also a good idea for anyone who has rot and can't get around to fixing it.

Ken J.
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Old 02-27-2004, 11:20 AM   #5
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Sounds like a good price but reflected in the fact that it has wet floor and moldy carpet. If you can deal with fixing the leaks and repairing the floor and possibly some of the framing then perhaps it is the trailer for you. The next big ticket items that I would look at is the axle condition, which you have done, and any rear end separation. But like I have said before, at $1500 I wouldn't be surprised that it has a mulitude of problems, if not then you would be one lucky person. For comparison, I sold a 74 Overlander a few months ago for almost ten grand.

Chas
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Old 02-27-2004, 04:08 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input

Wow, thanks for the quick responses. This forum has been a great tool in helping us make our decision. If we do make the purchase tomorrow you can bet we won't be strangers to this group for long. If we're going to live in a bubble I want mine made of aluminum. Thanks again.
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Old 02-27-2004, 04:30 PM   #7
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You probably should also check your house battery has good power. If I'm not mistaken, the electric brakes will use the house battery in the case of accidental separation. I'm not sure if it uses otherwise. Also check the break-away switch is fully functional.

Otherwise, I almost envy your working appliances! Though, even after Hurricane Isabelle, my floor was dry. But so is my plumbing which has to be completely replaced. It's all good!
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Old 02-27-2004, 06:14 PM   #8
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Hi Charming Wino;

We just went through the same process last month. Getting our GT from Louisiana to Ontario. As you can see there are some pretty fantastic people on this forum who really take their A/S to heart and just love to help newbies and eachother with anything and everything.

This Forum and a few people in particular really made it possible for us to make it home safely with our new '69 A/S.

Too new at this game to offer you any technical advice - however if you have not done the paper-homework in Importing a "Vechicle" into Canada from the US and don't want to go to all that trouble of making back to the border and having to leave your find with Canada Customs - give me a PM and I will provide you with the steps required - for an easy sail through Canada Customs.

Things are pretty sticky now at our borders from both sides and it is just great to have everything in order - that way you can concentrate on the safety issues of getting your baby home. (Axle, Breaks, Wheels, Tires, Frame, Lights, Brake Controller, Hitch Set Up to include, Load Levelers, Sway Control, Adjustable height type hitch - compatible wiring from tow to trailer, tow mirrors - and a safety type tool box with many other little things which I am sure you can search for - or PM our handy aid - gsymes.) - don't forget the bungie cords

PS sounds like a nice price if your willing to put more $ and time into her. - Remember though we don't have the access like US does for parts and sometimes you will get dinged for the exchange rate, pst/gst and a customs import fee depending on the item.

(We plan on making a few trips to the US and have a few friends from this Forum who are really nice and will help us out by stock piling items if we need them).

Just can't praise this site and ALL it's members enough. Good luck with your journey should your deal go through!

SPK

PS where are you from in Ontario?
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Old 02-27-2004, 09:20 PM   #9
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Under belly!!!

Charming,

Welcome to the forum, as you probably already know it's one of the better things going on the i-net. It looks like you got great advise already covering most things for a long haul. We hauled our 1500 miles, everything was fine except one small oversite. The under belly had some small tears in it and after awhile at highway speeds the wind made them big tears. So if you get the unit make sure the belly pans are secure. They are not that hard to replace if you need to, so if they are hanging and can't be secured you may want to cut the loose peices away. It is alittle hard to secure them along the side of a highway. I know this from experience. Like Gt6921 noted, don't forget lots of bungie cords. I ended up with 8 of them stretched across the underside holding up loose panels. For the price I don't think you could go wrong.

Go luck and welcome to the A/S world.

whistler
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Old 02-29-2004, 05:49 PM   #10
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one step closer

Thanks to all for the great advice. We are one step closer to closing this deal. All the appliances fired up (with a little coaxing here and there). I really want a pro to take a look at the axels to ease my mind though. Its got two flatter tires so I can't move it till they get some air. We are very excited as it seems all the pieces are falling into place.
There is even an equalizer hitch for sale here for a 175 bucks. The question is are they truck specific?Seems like a good price if it's in good shape.
GT6921, we've decided to settle in a little town ouside of Renfrew, on the Madawaska river. We are planning on heading home sometime in april, depends on how far we go in the playoffs. Hopefully far. I would certainly appreciate any advice you have for importing. I have to bring in a truck as well seeing how the jeep is not up to the towing task. Anything that would smooth out the border crossing would certainly help. Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 02-29-2004, 06:09 PM   #11
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The equalizer hitch is not vechicle specific. Just make certain that you get it adjusted properly. You want the trailer level when hitched and the eqalizer bars loaded. Some bow in them.

Look for the date of manufacture on the sidewall of the tires I would replace anything over 7 years old even if the sidewalls looked good you don't want a blowout on the highway.

Check the brakes, the bottom spring over the "Star Wheel adjuster" has a nasty habit of breaking, and they are expensive (39 cents each at the local shop in my ho9me town) while you are there packing the bearings, adjust the brakes all the way around. You can do all of the above in 30 minutes or so per wheel but well worth the time spent in peace of mind.
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Old 02-29-2004, 08:18 PM   #12
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High Charming; (I'll post rather than PM details as someone else may find this information helpful)

Sounds like you are pretty excited! A little hard to contain it sometimes when dealing with your first A/S

Paper work:

1. Be sure that you obtain a "clear title" which can be transfered to your name and have it notorized by a Notary Public.

2. Be sure to obtain a written Bill of Sale and also have this signed by both parties and Notarized by a Notary Public. (I will PM you on this point further - re Taxes).

3. The next issue is licensing the trailer for your journey home - this is where we ran into a bit of a problem - but it may be different in Idaho. Anyway Us Customs informed us that we could obtain an "In Transit" permit that is good for any State - and when we got to the border our own Customs will take care of us. Unfortunately in Louisiana the rules are not the same. (Because we were not permanent residents we could not obtain a license for the Trailer) But no worries - as long as you have the Notarized Clear Title/Transfer and the Bill of Sale you will be fine if you are stopped by any State Police.

4. Canada Customs - You will need to find out before you try to cross the border if both your vehicles qualify for the RIV Program - Registrar of Imported Vehicles.[URL=http://www.riv.ca[/URL] Not sure on your Tow vehicle but your trailer will be exempt from the program because it is older that 15 years. You can get the tel numbers from the web site and a good idea to read all about the program and the fees involved i.e. $182. and for your car probably a $100.00 Airconditioner Tax. If you have difficulties finding your car model then just give them a call on their 1800 number and they will let you know.

As far as the trailer being exempt - at the boarder you will need to obtain what is called a "Form 1." You must have this form signed by customs in order to obtain a licence from MTO.

First Canada customs will stamp the Form 1 acknowledging you are importing a vehicle - based on the bill of sale and clear title (be sure the make and model and vin numbers are clearly stated - then they will stamp Form 1 a second time EXEMPT (this also must be done to avoid having to pay the $182.00)

If you are not declaring anything else don't forget to apply your $750.00 duty exemption amount (sorry only one persons exemption can be applied - we tried to use both but no can do). This will determine your final amount for duty - in otherwords how much GST you owe at the border! Once paid...

5. You will get a copy of Form 1 and an official receipt with the final amount .
i) the copy of Form 1 acts as your Canadian Temporary license for 45 days
ii) the official receipt is what MTO will use to calculate the PST owed on the purchase. (hence my PM to you)

And the rest is easy sailing to your home with your new A/S

Now I did not catch if you were Canadian or a US citizen moving to Canada? if the later - I am not sure what your legal import exemptions would be if any. And depending on the amount of time you plan on residing in Canada you may not have to go through the above until such time as you become a perminant resident.

Well I think that is it - Renfrew is a nice place - just outside of Ottawa very Pretty - another gentleman on this Forum is Moving from BC to Trenton this summer - Hope that you will be able to attend the May Rally in Richmond - as someone said - if nothing works and your not ready but she can roll safely then bring along the "Tin Tent" for some laughs - so that is exactly what we are going to do - we hope to have her shined up at least though.

Have not heard if your deal has gone through yet - so here is some Congrats in advance!

SPK
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Old 02-29-2004, 08:59 PM   #13
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Re: one step closer

Quote:
Originally posted by Charming Wino
Thanks to all for the great advice. We are one step closer to closing this deal. All the appliances fired up (with a little coaxing here and there). I really want a pro to take a look at the axels to ease my mind though. Its got two flatter tires so I can't move it till they get some air. We are very excited as it seems all the pieces are falling into place.
There is even an equalizer hitch for sale here for a 175 bucks. The question is are they truck specific?Seems like a good price if it's in good shape.
Wino
You are indeed a lucky man or woman.
If you're in Boise Idaho the man to see is one of the 5 or 10 most knowledgeable Airstreamers on any of the many AS forums.
He is Charlie Burke and he works at American Way RV Center there in Boise. 1-800-345-6651.
Find him and don't miss the chance for his opinion.
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Old 03-01-2004, 10:31 AM   #14
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I second your comments about Charlie Burke - he has been most helpful to me over the years.

Charlie, however, has retired and is not longer working at American Way RV - you see his posts on the VAC list and Hunters list. I just heard from him and he has order a new 30' Classic - so I think we will be seeing him around at rallys - yeah!


Ken
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