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Old 05-03-2013, 12:02 PM   #1
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Hello from Alabama!

Hi y'all!
I am so very glad I stumbled upon this site as I have been a huge fan of the Airstream since I can remember & have just recently started my search! I'm a fan of anything with a history! I'm an 'old soul', so I am drawn by almost everything vintage/retro/historical. Needless to say, in beginning my search for an Airstream of my very own, I will not be searching for a newer model (although the pictures of the new ones made my heart skip a little beat)! My initial thought was that I wanted an Airstream to "park" on a lake lot to spend weekends fishing. But the more I read of you guys posts in here, I think I would prefer to "park" it some weekends & tow it others!! As I said before, I have always admired the Airstream, but always from afar. I know zero about them except for the little research I have done online in the last couple weeks. I am however handy! I can remodel anything...including my own house...circa 1889 But I'm well aware that remodeling a house is not the same as remodeling/restoring an Airstream. Plus the fact that my budget, unfortunately, has to come into play! I'm a Realtor by day, a bartender by night & also in animal rescue so I'm all over the place all the time (mentally & physically)! With that said, let me wrap up this post before I start to really ramble!! So I leave you with a few questions:
1. Anybody else here from Alabama?
2.What are some red flags when it comes to purchasing an Airstream that "needs work"? What are some issues that are going to take lots of time & money & are best left to the professionals? I KNOW I don't want to purchase one that has been completely gutted but wondering what are easy fixes & what are not.
3. How easy is it to find original components for an Airstream? If I did choose to restore one, I think my hint of OCD would kick in & I would want it to be as close to original as possible.

Any & all advice comments will be greatly appreciated!!
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:49 PM   #2
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I'd say one of the biggest potential issues is the condition known around here as "rear end separation" where a rotted floor causes the top of the airstream to separate from the frame at the back end. If you push down on the back bumper and the rest of the Airstream doesn't move down along with it, you have separation.

Fixes vary from gutting the bathroom interior, replacing a bit of floor and reattaching the top to the frame (very simplified summary - see the many threads about it) to completely gutting the whole trailer, carefully raising the aluminum shell and replacing the whole floor. How big a fix depends on how extensive the floor rot is.

Other big ticket items include new axles and appliances. These are not necessarily difficult to install if you have tools and some aptitude, but they can add up. If you look at a trailer, assume that nothing works unless it is demonstrated that it does. Make sure that your negotiated price takes required repairs into account.
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:51 PM   #3
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Here's a link to a general inspection checklist. It gives you an idea of what areas to look at and be concerned about.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f138...ist-43294.html
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:16 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum Beth. You have come to the right place for all information Airstream wise.

I would recommend that you buy a smaller Airstream, 17-25 ft, and that you buy one in the best condition possible. They are all going to need work, but it is better to buy one that has been well cared for and pay 10-15k, or more, than one that needs a lot of work for 5k.

Look at lots of them, so you can figure out which years and layouts you like, and can get an idea of what you get for your money. Don't rush into anything. It may take a while to find your Airstream.

I would also go to some rallies. This way you can see a variety of Airstreams and talk to the proud owners.

BTW, I am a home inspector, but Alabama is a little too far.

Good luck.

Dan
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:23 PM   #5
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I am from Huntsville just west of you. My advice is spend a few months doing research on this sight before you even consider buying. Prices are high right now so I would wait till fall to buy but you can start looking now and see what is out there. I would spend some time on the floor and frame forum here and educate yourself on what to look for. Trailers over 10 yrs old can have all sorts of problems, especially as much as it rains here in Bama. Also consider AVION, there are a few around and they can usually be had a little cheaper than Airstreams. Many would say they are built better than Airstreams but I don't want to open a can of worms. I would start looking on Craig's list but beware of scams. A $5000 trailer can cost you two or three times that to fix not to mention the year or so of your time. Good luck on your search.

Perry
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:40 PM   #6
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Thanks y'all! I definitely plan on doing my research & being as knowledgeable as possible before making a purchase.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:43 PM   #7
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Floor rot is the enemy and it can hide under bathrooms, carpet, and flooring. Leaks at the back of the trailer in front the bumper at places that cause the most problems.

Perry
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Old 05-03-2013, 02:14 PM   #8
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I'm going to look at an Airstream this afternoon! When I first starting selling real estate in the office I work in now, my broker had 1.5 acres with an Airstream on it listed for $25,000 (the lot is worth almost that in the area I work in). I had my broker call to see if it was still for sale & he had (of course) sold it! But....he has another one he would like to sale. No idea of year/model. I'm going to look at it this afternoon. I am not ready to purchase now of course, but it'll sure be fun to look at!!
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:49 AM   #9
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Price vs. Condition - Vintage Airstream

Check out this and you will find some interesting items to give you a feel for pricing, replacement costs for appliances and other facts. No matter what you decide on, (year and model), this will give you some basic references.

And of course, welcome to the forum
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:52 AM   #10
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We live east if you in Georgia but we often camp near you at Desoto Falls/Mentone. My husband does inspections if you need help. Good luck!
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Old 05-04-2013, 11:05 AM   #11
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Look at as many trailers as you can before you buy anything. When you find what you think you will like, have someone with experience take a look at it. There are a lot of things that will look OK to the average person but will be a big deal to someone who has redone an older Airstream. Most anything on the older trailers can be fixed but it is a matter of skill, time and money. When you do find your dream, expect to spend a lot more getting it ready than you thought. I'd say double the money and quadruple your time. If you want to go camping then spend the extra money on a newer trailer that won't require so much work. I would not take anything for the experience of redoing my 68 and for the great friends I have made while working on the project. I am retired and I worked on it all the time for 2 years! Not every day but several days a week. Just want you to have realistic expectations. Good luck.

Oh, I spent 2 years looking for an older Airstream and one day while on my bicycle I found mine in a field with a for sale sign less than 10 miles from my house. You never know when a great trailer will appear.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skatiero View Post
We live east if you in Georgia but we often camp near you at Desoto Falls/Mentone. My husband does inspections if you need help. Good luck!
That's good to know!! The 84 Sovereign I looked at yesterday was actually in Mentone & that's where I sell real estate as well! You'll have to stop in at Mentone Realty next time y'all are in the area!
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:09 PM   #13
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I took lots of pics of that one yesterday but can't for the life of me figure out how to upload them to here from my iPhone!
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:11 PM   #14
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Finally!!
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