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Old 07-13-2011, 09:49 PM   #1
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Smile Buying advice

We are seriously looking to purchase very soon our first AS. We need advice. Are we getting into a new hobby that represents a demand to keep repairing and fixing?

Bill
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:53 PM   #2
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New?
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Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...g?t=1278182564
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:56 PM   #3
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Yes, you are.

Just like you've got to do preventive maintenance on your car and repairs when something breaks, so too with any RV.

A new machine will have a few "shakedown" issues but then will have fewer maintenance and repair issues for a while ... on the other hand, an older unit - usually, if not fully restored - will have more maintenance and repair issues. The former trailer costs a lot more, the latter a lot less. So there's a definite trade-off in my view.

But it's all entropy; your shoes wear down, the driveway develops cracks, trees fall down in strong storms, and all RVs require upkeep. There is no stopping thermodynamics.
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Old 07-13-2011, 10:00 PM   #4
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Hmmmm, $50 - 60 k vs $12 - 18k, both will need to be worked on.
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:05 PM   #5
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Welcome Bill!
Not if you're looking new... We bought our 19' Bambi in 2006 (a new 2005 leftover from inventory) and have had an absolutely wonderful experience. The only repair work done on our unit was a result of a 45' pine tree that came down in a storm the first year we owned it! Heartbroken we started to look into options for repair and ended up bringing her back to the mothership in Jackson Center, OH to have the factory repair it. It is literally like new! One of the many advantages of the AS is that they are built every bit as tough as they claim. The tree did a surprisingly small amount of damage for the size. The trailer is just really tough. Any of my other units would have crushed under that weight.

Have done nothing except ENJOYED the trailer. You won't regret your decision! If you have an interest in discussing further, feel free to message me and we can discuss further. Lots of great options. Wouldn't even consider any other brands after the amazing customer service i received from AS factory folks. THey "get it". Customer service is alive and well in jackson center!

BTW: Welcome to the forum. I only get on once in a while. To busy, but enjoy the banter and idea exchange! Nice to have you here!
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:57 PM   #6
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In recent years, as we approach retirement, my wife and I had many long discussions on what we wanted to do with our time and money. We had gone on a lot of roadtrips staying in resort hotels, nicer motels, and bed and breakfasts; and there was that one week at Half-Moon Bay in Jamaica. However, the discussion always came back to the early years when we camped with our sons in a little 16-foot Cardinal; and we started talking about buying another camping trailer.

When we finally decided on an Airstream, because the design never changed, and there seemed to be some really old ones still on the road (you hardly ever see a vintage square box), the question of cost came up. You can stay a lot of days in a resort hotel for the price of a new Airstream, but you just can't find a hotel room far away from crowds that will let you have a fire outside on the balcony, under the stars. That was the deciding factor.

We decided that we didn't want to buy a trailer that would only last 10-15 years before it started rotting into the ground -- we already have a cabin cruiser that is doing that. So we bit the bullet and bought a new Bambi. Yes, there have been things break on it (seems like about everytime we go out, we come home with a new list of things to fix), but that's what RVs do. It seems like there is a finite number of things that can go wrong; so if you use it a lot, hopefully you'll get all of the fun out of it before everything breaks. At least you don't have to worry about it sinking, like the boat.

(Of course this depends on where your camping spot is on the beach, and how quickly the water comes up when you aren't paying attention. One time in the Cardinal, we went to bed on the beach at Lone Rock at Lake Powell with the row boat tied to the rear bumper, about 15 feet away; and woke up in 18-inches of water.)

In any case, we bought our 19-foot Bambi in 2005 and haven't looked back. Since we live in Arizona (that 118 degrees is a dry heat!), it should last to be handed down to our sons in another 20-30 years.
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:27 AM   #7
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Will you have a trip or two without a failure? Well sure, but that comes from having done your prep work throughout the year. It might even happen with a new unit once you iron all the bugs out after delivery. All pieces of equipment need regular maintenance but that does not preclude the occasional unanticipated repair from happening.

I just finished a two week, evenings only, bow to stern, touch-up list that has 58 items on it. We leave soon on a six week tour of the continent.

Although I have a 'long' list, on some items I might not have to do anything, but eyeballing or checking every component greatly reduces failures on the road that are inconvenient as well as detract from your adventure. Some items on my list are as simple as disconnecting and reconnecting electrical connections to tackle minor corrosion or testing for water leaks around seams and openings, while others include changing HVAC filters, blasting compressed air up the refrigerator flue, or repacking the bearings. I cover the list twice a year and our aluminum is as steadfast a companion as you can desire.

Our 2003 28' SO has had only two gotchas while traveling. The first a cracked fitting for the external water hookup (plastic does age) and the other a loose screw on the main power cord connection which resulted in a total loss of 120 power til I found it. Both were readily fixed and we continued our travels.

I may sound paranoid, but I carry a full set of bearings, races, seals, and dust caps so I am never stranded awaiting a 'shipment' of these non-stock items in a rural area. Duly equipped, I can get a wounded unit to wherever service can be provided if its beyond my self-sufficient skills.

Getting ready to go is a tad more than walking around your rig to spot an obvious problem. A short check list in the beginning will become a second nature behavior and add enormously to your enjoyment of hitting the road for parts known or unknown. I love leaving feeling confident we are ship shape and adding to the life's memories.
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:14 AM   #8
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We travel with a 2.5 ton floor jack, a small air compressor with storage tank that will inflate trailer tires up to 80 psi, generator(s), 110v electric drill, miscellaneous hardware, a multimeter and a good set of tools. Somehow, working on that TO-DO list isn't so bad while in the mountains boondocking, instead of in the driveway in 110+ degree heat. (It's called "tinkering", isn't it?) Looking forward to doing a lot more of this after retiring. It's lots more fun that sitting in front of a computer screen for eight hours a day.
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:43 AM   #9
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Less so with an Airstream than with many of the other brands on the market. Less than with a boat (at least anAirstream is unlikely to sink). Less trouble than a second condo, house, or cabin. Less trouble than a vintage car.
But it does not matter, and Airstream is just a wonderful way of traveling. Gosh, I hate to have to stay in a motel and eat out all the time worse than I hate keeping the Airstream tip top.
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:40 AM   #10
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We bought a used 2002 30' Classic with slide-out in 2010; took a few short trips in 2010 and then went on an extended 7,000 mile trip from Idaho to Florida and back with never a hickup. The day after returning home and we had parked the AS in our driveway, I found a flat tire. Fortunate that it happened after the trip was over, but "stuff happens".

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Old 07-14-2011, 10:14 AM   #11
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Thanks so much for all your comments...and I just joined!!! What a nice reception. I feel like I now have some connection with reality about fixing AS. We are going to spend around 15k and so it will be used. Looking for the 20 foot versions about. ANy suggestions on which years or models to advoid or seek after and why?

Bill
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:58 AM   #12
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I'd think 15 grand would buy a pretty decent trailer if bought in person with the head and nose, and not the heart. For that price I want a really nice shell, a solid floor, good frame, good awnings, all working components, and no glitch titles and no funny stories.

Have hitch, will travel . . .

I'd add another 5 grand for new drapes, floor, air conditioner, seals, and a new refrigerator down the road not too far. . .
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Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...g?t=1278182564
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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