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Old 07-01-2011, 09:57 AM   #1
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Buying in Minnesota???

I have the opportunity to buy a 1973 25' Land Yacht.
Seems to be in pretty good shape.
A/C is broken
3 cabinet doors are broken
2 are missing
2 windows are foggy.
Looking to see if 6K is a fair price.
It's pretty sweet, but I'd hate to buy with my heart and not my head

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Old 07-01-2011, 10:20 AM   #2
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louieb, Check NADA to get a value, at least it's a place to start.

Foggy windows - from etching or moisture? the later would be the worse of the 2 IMHO.

Tires and axles next ?? any clue there? body hanging way over the tires is a clue.
Soft floor anywhere?

broken / missing doors? vandalism? or rough life?

The value is what your intentions are. Remod or useability. If your looking for something to use now, what does it take to get on the road in the least amount of time or $$$$. Remods choices are prueist or to your taste and where you start from. Both are $$$$$

Do you need the A/C??

just some quick thoughts. Good luck and send pics.

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Old 07-01-2011, 10:53 AM   #3
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Welcome to the boards and to the community of Minnesota Airstream owners. There's an Airstream rally in St. Cloud in a week or two, and several of the people from the forum will be there.

$6K seems high to me but then again it depends on your plans for the trailer and how much more shopping you're willing to do. If it's right in your back yard and easy to get home maybe it's not worth it to shop more.

In general the longer early 1970s Airstreams are low value even in good condition. There are three additional things you should check carefully:

1) rear end separation. Units of this era are prone to it and if serious it can be expensive and time consuming to repair.

2) axles. Unless they've already been replaced they're probably shot, and you're probably best off replacing the axles and brake system entirely, typically $2000 parts cost

3) fridge. Be sure it works as replacement is often necessary if they do not and the costs are high.

You can repair or replace the A/C for around $500-$1000, sometimes less if all you need are capacitors or a fan motor, so in the scheme of things that's a fairly minor item.

The early 1970s in the longer lengths are usually not highly sought after by collectors so the price should only reflect the usefulness of the trailer in its present condition.

Pics will help us understand what you have.

I don't believe NADA is a useful guide for older trailers, not even sure they go back to 1973, but I suppose it's worth a try.
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Old 07-01-2011, 02:32 PM   #4
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Unless it's had axles and wheels/tires replaced, no rear end separation, new floor, and most things work, then $6 grand is toooo much! Sounds like perhaps she was "rode hard and put away wet" as my dad used to say. I would look at negotiating that price down some.

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Old 07-01-2011, 04:14 PM   #5
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Work backwards

Even with rough estimates frm NADA or other sales history, secret to figuring some realistic value for "Project" Airstreams (which that one is clearly...) is to define value in good "everything works" condition, and then subtract all of the necessary repairs... A 25' Trailer from '73 in good condition is probably worh closer to $10K, so here would be math:

Trailer in great shape: $10,000
Less A/C Replace 1,000
Less Axles/Brakes 2,000
Less interior cabinetry 500 (?)
Less windows 500
Less Flooring, upholstery, plumbing, kitchen, awning, tires, etc etc

Seems to me that price is optimistic as well....

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 07-01-2011, 04:24 PM   #6
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Jammer pretty well has this one nailed. I'd be wanting to overlook disclosure on a lot of problems if I had a buyer on the line at the $6K price line. You can almost bet that the axles haven't been replaced ($2K without labor). An AC unit is close to $1K without labor. A new fridge? $1.6 K or more. Goes without saying -- tires over 5 years old are automatically garbage. Putting a lot of labor into an old unit (consider: a 40 year old auto restoration) is a foregone conclusion. Needing capital investments of $5-6-or-8K or more tells you that this may need a second look. I'd say an asking price of $4K is excessive. The seller needs a reality check and I think you should look further.

This Price vs. Condition page is a starting point. Frequently updated in the past, I don't think it has been updated much in the last year.

A '73 Airstream not kept up-to-date would be a $$ sponge. Only thing going for it is the general sense that shorter units didn't have as much separation. But my '74 Argosy sure had rear bumper leakage and rear end floor rot. The seller needs a reality pill and I feel you've latched onto an owner or their children with an inflated sense of value. Let them ride off into the sunset unless they almost give it to you ($2K or so). Show them this thread.

These become classics only after you've spent $20K (actual $$ or sweat equity at a rate of $0.25/hour). You'd be ahead of the game buying a unit worthy of a $10-15K asking price.

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Old 07-01-2011, 05:06 PM   #7
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Also, there are quite a number of 1970s era Airstreams on the Minneapolis craigslist right now. Most of them are north of the cities, since that's usually where people like to park them, but looking through them there are some better deals than what you have in hand.
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Old 07-01-2011, 07:18 PM   #8
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All of the windows in our MH were fogged when it arrived on our doorstep. Fortunately, the coach was still under warranty. The windows were dual pane and AS replaced all of them. I had them replaced with single pane windows, because I didn't want to risk that happening again in the future at my expense.
Bob & Nancy
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Old 07-01-2011, 10:13 PM   #9
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As comparison...I offered $2500 for the same 70s TW (DC Metro area), which I thought was generous given it is unknown whether any of the appliances/systems work.

73 Tradewind - a set on Flickr
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Old 07-01-2011, 11:33 PM   #10
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1972 25' Tradewind
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These guys haven't even gotten to the furnace, plumbing, door seals, vents, charger, propane tanks etc.

I got something similar to what you were looking at

axles & brakes, over 2000
awning 1500?
furnace 2-300?
replaced plumbing w pex & new pump, easy250
black-water tank 200
upholstery for gauchos 500
air conditioner , 700
wfco charger 100??
water heater 300
toilet 100
fireplace 700
generator (2800 w inverter) 900
front window cover, 300?
curtains , 300

still to come ---solar + 12v management system, 1000+
maybe a new fridge (mine works but it is almost 40) 700
cork floor--maybe

There is the labor parts with miscellaneous materials
rebuilding all of the tambour doors
new fantastic fans (2)
high gain tv batwing
rewiring the hitch & breakaway
2 pink flamingos
nickle plated toledo torch
hitch lock
generator chains and alarms
other bells and whistles

--still have not figured out a periscope!, but I am considering adding it to the list!

Actually with that expense and some labor (this is after all a hobby), I have one solid RV that shouldn't give me too many unanticipated problems.
installing a 12v stereo (just a GM).

forgot, I'll need new tiresin a couple years and I still need to get the baby moons.

Just know what you are up against. Have a place to keep it while you work on it. The forums can get you through anything. I knew nothing about renovating (I am not restoring) a travel trailer. Example: I am disabled and when I inquired about getting some axles and hiring a shop to install them, Andy (Inland RV) - over the phone asked me questions about things like my general mechanical ability, work surface etc. He provided a couple of instructions and the forum filled in details--done--& I did it. There is something about doing the whole enchilada yourself.! The AS becomes your own little kingdom. palace spaceship--whatever.

If you budget over several years, apply Murphy's law and have a good place to work on it, you should consider an AS. As to the price, mine had bad axles, a recalled furnace, crap for an awning and a belly pan that needed re-riveting. Those were the obvious things. It did come from a freind and he gave me a deal at $1500, I also gave him 3 days to change his mind as I figure it to be worth something around $3000.

Value is a product of demand and condition. There are plenty of these around. Don't be afraid t make an offer for what you think an AS is worth. Though for the older ones it would be hard to beat an old Globetrotter or an older bambi for a project.

Well--tomorrow I have to get with it and get the fireplace finished (it is that or paint the house), whatever you do, good luck. Cheap hobby when you break it down over a decade or so
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:29 AM   #11
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Buying in MN???

Thanks for all of your imput. Each of you have given me plenty of usefull info going in.
If I do buy this (or another one) I would like to use it as soon as possible. Plan on doing trips within 200- 500 miles from home.
Restoring one does sound good but realistically probably not going to happen.
This AS belongs to a friend (co-worker) and I have it parked at my house right now. He has given me the opportunity to test it out for a couple of weeks.
I have looked at the axles and they seem to be original, judging from the rust.
Not sure I understand how to look for the rear end seperation thing you've been talking about. Is it eveident from looking at it or do I need to look deeper into it?
The windows are foggy from moisture. They happen to be the front 2 corner ones (one worse than the other).
I fired up the furnace and it seems to be blowing hot air.
The fridge does run but I have'nt ran it for a long period of time to see if it actually cools. I will try that tonight.
The floor seems to be in pretty decent shape with no noticable "spongy" spots. Any suggestions of how to investigate this would be appreciated as well.
I have not tried the plumbing yet either. I will try to do this in the next couple of days as well. Any phantoms to look for here?

All windows open.
Vents all open, power vent in front works.
Awing in in good shape.
Tires are 5 years old.
LP tanks are the newer type.
I have one blinker than doesn't work. (bulb?)
It does have an owners manual.

St Cloud is about a 3.5 hour trip for me and may entertain the idea of bringing it there for some expert advise. Any more info on this would be helpful.

Thanks again for all the input.
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:45 AM   #12
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There are many threads on rear-end separation. The telltale signs are missing rivets, doors that won't close, and movement of the rear bumper when you stand on it. Here's one thread to read, there are probably better ones you can find with the search feature:

There is an article on axle failure and replacement:

Dura Torque Axle

As long as the plumbing is basically functional it is rare for any repairs to be especially costly. You would want to put water in the fresh water tank, confirm that the pump works, and observe that there are no major leaks.

The rally in St. Cloud starts Friday. More information here: TAC Minnesota You do need reservations but it is my understanding that there is still space available.

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