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Old 05-20-2009, 07:29 AM   #1
New Member
Austin , Texas
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 2
Happy to join this cool community! Advice Needed!

Hey there everybody. I've been wanting to get an AS (I'm even working on the lingo!) for several years, and I've been checking out these great forums for almost as long. Very cool!

So I'm getting close to pulling the trigger, so I thought I'd join the fun here and learn from y'all. Here are some thoughts about my plan and some questions. The big first question is what to buy. I know I want a trailer. I'm pulled boat trailers, plenty, so the towing part doesn't scare me. A few things I'm considering:

TOW VEHICLE. I drive a 1990 Toyota Land Cruiser (FJ62). We've been together 10 years and I just rebuilt the engine, so changing vehicles is not really an option. However, I just pulled out the Owner's Manual, and it says that the trailer plus cargo can't exceed 3500 pounds. It looks like that makes my only option the 16' Bambi--at least for the new models. Right?

OLD vs. NEW. I really love old vintage things, but I'm not sure if I'm up for the unknown of getting an old AS. I've restored several houses and my car, but I'm not sure if I have the patience for another labor of love. However, I've read that the old models are lighter. Yes? If so, how much? Are they light enough to allow me to get a 19' instead of a 16'? The 19' seems like the perfect size for me, especially considering the next factor . . .

FULLTIMING. I'm pretty sure I'm going to fulltime it for several months after I get it. I'm mid-30s, single, with a regular job, so the fulltiming would be part of my everyday, working life. I've already found a person who can loan me part of his lot to stay on. His place is on a little canal on the lake, where I think I can park my ski boat about 20 feet from the trailer. Nice! I'm working on getting my life as paperless as possible, selling the stuff I don't really like or need, and getting a small storage unit for what's left. One concern of fulltiming is the small tanks on the Bambi. I think I have a partial solution, which is to shower at the pool where I swim every day. That will really cut down on burning through tank capacities of a Bambi.

Well, I guess that's it for now--I gotta leave for the office. I'd love your input!

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Old 05-20-2009, 07:46 AM   #2
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,326
Hi and welcome.

If the rating is 3500, that is the wet weight of the 16' new(er) Airstream. Adding fuel, passengers and cargo, you will most likely be over. Vintage you might still be able to pull it off, but either way on flat land you should be far better off with either, until you hit the hills or mountain areas, then I think you might see some issues crop up. I had a 19' and for one, it's perfect...dual tanks (black and gray) dry bath, a bit more storage. The 19 is like a studio apt, and though I like the 16s, they are about the size of a walk in closet, yet still plenty of room for one person who is ditching all accessories in life.

Vintage could weigh between 500 and 800lbs less than a new(er) Airstream, but I am not sure that even a 19' vintage would come in loaded under 3500lbs.

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Old 05-20-2009, 08:23 AM   #3
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1973 27' Overlander
Sparks , Nevada
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hey Skiergirl - sounds like a grand plan. I've been dreaming of fulltiming too - but have a house to *unload* first. I probably have some of the same skills and am always surprised at how much there is to learn about a trailer. Seems that everything necessitates some research. Thankfully, folks on this forum have done a lot of that leg-work and are happy to share their findings!!! I chose to go vintage though mine didn't require any work to start camping. I did replace the axles over Christmas and have started sealing/replacing window gaskets. Then I'll move onto replacing the converter and checking/fixing the gas appliances A/R. I didn't expect to get a 27 footer - but now that I have her - it's great. But it did require me to upgrade my TV. That was not such a treat as I hate, hate, hate vehicle shopping.
Anyway - good luck. Love to see other young, singles interested in airstreams!!! Sorry I can't answer your questions....

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Old 05-20-2009, 08:27 AM   #4
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Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,814
The weights and tongue weight of all older Airstreams are posted on several threads and if you look around, eventually you find it, or try the the not very good Search option and if you're lucky, it'll show up. Does your owner's manual give you a payload rating as well as how much weight the Toyota will pull? These are 2 different things and it's payload that if more often the stopper when you have a vehicle that is borderline for a specific trailer.

Not to discourage you from getting an Airstream, but there are other trailers that are lighter and some interesting hybrids that are part tent trailer and part hard sided (not for my taste, and probably hot in an Austin summer) but they may be lighter.

Good luck in your search.

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Old 05-20-2009, 09:26 AM   #5
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Austin , Texas
Join Date: May 2009
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Great thoughts

Thanks for the input. Getting a trailer with soft sides is out of the question for Texas summer, I'm afraid. I love to rough it, but not all day every day of the summer. I will check into payload.
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