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Old 03-27-2016, 10:31 PM   #1
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springville , Alabama
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Hello from Alabama

Hey yall. I don't own an Airstream yet but the wifeand I are looking. After church today we looked at a 73 Excella. Boy does it need work but that is what we think we are looking for. I am a contractor so the work doesn't scare me. Making the wrong first choice does. Asking price is $4800. I don't think I would be willing to pay more than $2500. Opinions and ideas are welcome. If I am on the wrong forum for this question let me know. Thanks so much.
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Old 03-27-2016, 11:22 PM   #2
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Unless this trailer has been modified it will not have a grey water tank. IMHO $4,800 is way too much.
If you plan to travel with a unit of this era. Plan on putting lots of $$$$$$. It is very easy to blow thru $10K just to get the unit road worthy and livable.
I would recommend doing some serious research and reading on this forum before you take the plunge.
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Old 03-28-2016, 08:58 AM   #3
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pictures would help assess the value. A lot of things add up to a total picture. The model you mention could easily be worth 4800. Airstreams are hot right now, maybe hotter than ever. You being a contractor gives you a big advantage over most of us, in that you could take the trailer and turn it into something worth 5 times as much....maybe.
Also while you are considering someone else may snatch that trailer up..
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Old 03-28-2016, 03:25 PM   #4
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Here are a couple of pictures from CL.
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Old 03-28-2016, 03:48 PM   #5
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The first picture - the rear bumper shows the dreaded "Rear Frame Separation" CHA-CHING. 99.9% odds you'll need a frame-off reconstruction and probably either major repairs to the current frame, or a build a new one. Got serious welding skills? If appliances haven't been replaced they'll need to be - and then there are the axles and tires - axles might be ok, but I don't think so. I wouldn't pay $1000 for it, but if you know what you're getting into (a 3 year project in all likelihood) you might go as high as $2500. The body does LOOK decent but I haven't see the front yet. The bottom step hasn't fallen off which is also expensive to replace.

If it had been store indoors all these years it would be worth a bit more - but the filoform corrosion (male pattern baldness and little white wormy things) suggest it's been out in a field quite a bit. And the awning is missing. ACK $1500? or so.

Go to SEARCH and scroll down to Google - then type in "Costalotta" which is a fairly simple redo of an Argosy (painted Airstream)... and then type in "Full Monte"... and then you might want to type in "mouse highway" so you know about removing all of the internal panels and replacing all of the insulation and most of the wiring to get rid of the gnawed insulation and the delicate odour of mouse urine. (it smells so bad I have to use the British spelling of odor to adequately form my face into the rictus needed to describe the intensity and pungency of the stink. And then search "hanta virus"

After than enjoy your renovation. I triple dog dare ya'

Paula

On a more serious note some people have done near miracles with old units - perhaps you ARE then next one. Costalotta's redo wasn't all that bad AND according to a post near the end of the thread they're planning to sell HER this spring. A private message might get you a really NICE Argosy. And Smokeless Joe's thread for the amazing work he did with his Argosy/tow vehicle combo - search "contemporizing" to see that one.

BTW I paid to have my Avion redone - PM Me and ask, but be seated when you read the total - and that was a modest amount of work because the "bones were good" and Avions are built like tanks.

Paula
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Old 03-29-2016, 06:26 AM   #6
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have to agree, that rear end mess is a big deal, and requires a lot of work. If the interior has lots of floor rot as well, which it probably does, you are in for the full monte. Unless the price is very attractive, I would keep looking. Rear bedroom models are less susceptible to this type problem. Not eliminated from having it but less likely.
There are lots of pages here on that repair, you might see if your skill and energy are uip to the task before passing on this one
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Old 04-02-2016, 10:49 PM   #7
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Ok. So we found another on . A 72 model 27-footer. I have asked for a picture straight on from the side. Hope to have that tomorrow. Asking price is $ 6800. What do you think?
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:15 PM   #8
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Here are a few more. What do you guys think?Click image for larger version

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Old 04-03-2016, 08:02 PM   #9
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Somebody has remodeled this one so it's value is totally dependent on how good a job they did. It was probably rough inside so needed the work. Maybe not good to tow around depending on what was done. Front sheet metal parts are expensive to replace. I'd keep looking. Hard to say just from photos what the value is. To me the larger Airstreams are portable homes, and the ones up to 25 feet are travel units due to my aversion of starting and stopping a lot of weight. Also I like to keep mine up on blocks so the tires don't touch the dirt.
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:24 PM   #10
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

I have corrected your thread title to include the "b" in Alabama.

Best wishes in your quest for the perfect Airstream.

Brian
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:37 AM   #11
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Do you like the interior ? The redo is ok from what can be told. Can you live with th dents. Seems there are a few. With a good wash and shine up, some new striping and painted bumpers,etc...it will look better of course. The price is not bad at all.
As for camping and traveling in something over 25 feet, the other responder to this thread obviously has his opinion. However odd it might be.
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Old 04-06-2016, 01:39 AM   #12
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Dear Bruce, it is hard to tell from pictures - and some of what I'm seeing could be due to being under a roof - shadows rather than damage. But looking at the two end segments with damage I'll tell you flatly that's at least $6,000 to have those two replaced with bucked rivets -might be $8000 by now as prices keep going up.

What I saw on the second picture in post #8 really gave me pause, though. I clicked on it to get a closer look and liked that even less. I think the frame might be bent or broken.

Airstreams have light weight frames - semi-monoque construction (airplanes are monoque - the body itself provides most of the strength, the circular ribs give stability to the shape as air pressure changes - and there's really no keel. In cars it's called "unibody" meaning there's a stamped out bottom panel and essentially NO frame - that's simplistic but just remember "light weight/weak frame"!

If you tow an airstream like it's a fiberglass SOB with frame rails that are essentially I-Beams, the frame can bend or even break. Overloading, or driving on potholed roads like a maniac can cause fatigue cracks to the frame. Where that damage is most likely to happen is right in front or right behind the axles. I look at those wheel wells and it looks like the side panels are deformed - holding up a ruler and looking along the bottom of the Airstream I do not see a straight line. (that could be the photo's fault)

I'd look at the trailer in person and run a plumb line - if the line is taught and the bottom of the airstream looks like an arch... it isn't good. (and test that with the stabilizers OFF the ground). The stabilizer jacks are not supposed to be used to level an Airstream, just to make it less bouncy in wind and when walking around in it, but if the frame is compromised a "lipstick on a pig" seller might be tempted to try to hide the damage by cranking the hell out of them.

Heck, I'm lazy, getting more arthritic every day and don't like the creepy crawlies you'll find under most trailers, but in spite of all that, and before I'd spend a nickel - I'd haul my fat fanny underneath it and drop the belly pan. The best way to realistically know how much frame work lies ahead is to get a high powered flashlight and even a camera and eyeball the frame from stem to stern.

I did think the reno looked nice from the one picture I saw, but sometimes people who renovate know nothing about fixing the bones of the trailer - and don't know about using lightweight framing techniques, or balancing the weight from side to side and front to back - or even avoiding stuff as heavy as solid granite countertops... and over time the renovation's weight and lack of balance CAUSE frame damage.

And I've seen one person try to frame an Airstream's interior with 2 x 4s and add a cast iron tub! Build it INTO a slab buddy! On the other hand UWE did his Argosy with TIG welded lightweight metal bed frames, etc. - beautiful work.

Don't want to discourage you, but life has taught me that sometimes you gotta kiss a lot of frogs to find a handsome prince!

Paula
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:47 AM   #13
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I'm not seeing what you are P...but you are right its better to have inspected before purchase.
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:53 AM   #14
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Great you might keep one on the road and camping!!! Welcome aboard!
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