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Old 09-05-2011, 04:05 PM   #1
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chicora , Pennsylvania
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Hello from western PA

My name is Justin, I am into the Jeep cult pretty seriously, so I am glad to see a similar community/following for the Airstreams that I have adored since i was a kid! I come from a family that has camped for generations, and I recently got my family into it. My wife was never exposed through her life and i finally talked her into going this summer (she agreed very reluctantly). We picked up a cheap slide in truckbed camper with a shower and toilet and away we went... well her and my two daughters LOVED it. fast forward about a week and we saw an airstream floating down the road and my wife lit up and asked "what was that???" I said oh thats an airstream, they were a really cool well made camper. well, in her eyes the slide in is too small and theres nothing else worth looking at for our new hobby of choice (imagine my thrill finding out my wife digs the same trailers i have for years!). She loves the retro-vintage type stuff and we have both been in love with some of the older ones we have seen all done up. She loves the bubble and bambi models, but i am thinking a larger one would be best for our family. So we have been on the search and I just found one local.

We are going tomorrow after work to look at it. It is a 1970 land yacht 27' rear bath. the elderly owners say that it has been kept up and in very nice shape. it has been sitting in a camp park and used regularly for the last 15 years. it HAD new tires on it, but it has been parked up on a platform and the tires have been covered. it hasnt moved in the last 15 years, i am assuming the tires will need replaced and bearings serviced obviously. I have done extensive fabrication and restorations to the Jeeps i have owned, so i will be doing any needed work myself. I am not too worried about the systems in it, I am more concerned with structural integrity. I was searching for what to look for when buying, and ran across this site so i signed up and figured I would introduce myself.

from what i have found, the big things to look for are floor rot, body separation, and axle condition. anyhow, just wanted to say HI and I appreciate all of the tech i have found on your site... Any other tips and pointers are greatly appreciated! Hopefully we will be pulling one behind my Grand Wagoneer soon
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Old 09-05-2011, 05:42 PM   #2
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Justin...welcome to the forums. You will find quite a few of us "Airstreamers" here in Western PA. In fact, there is an Airstream only campground (Penn Woods) close to you in Clarion. I'm sure any of us would be glad to pass on any information that we have gotten over the years... You are correct to check out the floor, axles, look for missing rivets. You will definitely need new tires to tow and check lights. You will find, as I have, that once you start to address one area...another comes up. Good luck with your search!

Bob
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:31 PM   #3
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this one

Whether you get this one successfully or not, you should join us at the Fall Colors Rally at Pennwood. We travel from OH to rally with them. It is a great place and there is a fabulous potluck and OPEN house. You can check out other Airstream trailers and floor plans. The folks that are there are mighty friendly and it is a great weekend!

You have a young family and the "more room" sounds like a good plan. Be sure and check out whether the rig you are looking at has a black tank and a grey water tank. We looked until we found and AS with the bathroom mid-ship so that we got a larger fresh water tank and the gray and black tanks. At our age we didn't want to be toting blue boys.

Good luck with your search. Maybe we will bump into you at the Pennwood Fall Colors rally. You can check it out in the Rally Calendar for Oct.
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:52 PM   #4
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I have heard about pennwood, If i get a chance id like to check out the fall colors rally.

reading about the rear end sag and frame bending/rust issues, i am starting to get a bit nervous about tomorrow... Hope i can sleep and tomorrow will be a long day at work lol!
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:53 PM   #5
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Hi Justin:

My wife (username: GardenStream) and I purchased a '74 rear bath 27' Overlander for our first Airstream and still use it today (only 3 years later). We have two young boys, currently age 5 and 3 but were 3 and <1 when we bought the Airstream. It has done us well. I have often wished for the space of a 31', but all see greener pastures in other people's fields, right? Anyway, the rear bath is nice because it will have a bathtub / shower combo. We let the boys get in there and splash around all they want after a dirty / hot day of camping. It's nice to have for younger kids. Our 27' has the double bed / gaucho in the middle which is currently where we sleep, the kids are up front in that gaucho. In the future, after some renovation, it is planned to switch that sleeping arrangement so that we can go out by the campfire until we choose to, then return to the camper and get drinks, snacks, etc. without interrupting the kids' sleeping area. Of course, we will have to pass-through to the bathroom, so this is a yet-to-be-tested arrangement.

If you are looking at a '70, it won't have a gray tank unless someone has added one after the factory. '74 was the first year for gray tanks although some of the higher trim levels (Excella) had them in '73. You can do without the gray tank...people are still camping all over the place with pre-74 campers. You just have to have a blue boy on-site at all times and/or find somewhere that you can dump the gray on the ground like they did pre '74. There's a family on here (Airforums) that is currently full-timing with two kids and two large dogs in a '70 Overlander (27') without a gray tank. Their usernames are Exthemius and Rebelstand, perhaps you can contact them regarding living without a gray tank with kids. If they can full-time, then anyone ought to be able to camp for a long weekend.

Not to be left out on the PennWood thing... We will be there too. It's a great rally. We started going to IdleWild after the rally last year and plan to do it again this year weather depending. The town of Clarion, PA (nearby to PennWood) has an incredible parade on Sat. My kids usually get so much candy that they are ready to go long before the parade it over. If you can get an Airstream that's campable in a month's time, then please do sign up. It's one that we will not miss. I even forced my company into a business trip time frame that they didn't like because I wasn't missing PennWood Fall Colors this year. That's how cool it is.
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:05 PM   #6
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Well, i just got back from looking at the AS. it is a 1970 made in 10 69'. it is an overlander land yacht international. definitely some frame problems, rust under the door, drivers side rear bumper moves independently from body but the passenger side is tight and solid. the main frame rails seem solid except for the rear. did not find any soft spots in the floor. the plumbing system has not been used for 15 years and the waste tank had a hole in it next to the dump pipe, i am figuring on new plumbing. i am pretty sure it should get new axles as well although its hard to tell as the trailer is on jacks. the appliances all work except the furnace.

The shell is in really nice shape, and the Interior is all untouched original in beautiful condition, complete. the oven and a few other appliances say "airstream custom"... original asking price is 3k, the guy came down before i made any offer to 2k. i am wavering a bit, thinking i maybe ought to offer 1500. any thoughts?

needs for sure:
containment tanks
plumbing
frame repairs
awning cloth and spring loaded roller
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:36 PM   #7
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I'd want to see what happens when you get the trailer off the jacks. You know sitting on the wheels and nose jack only. Then you will know if the frame is still in one piece.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jeepjustin View Post
i am wavering a bit, thinking i maybe ought to offer 1500. any thoughts?

needs for sure:
containment tanks
plumbing
frame repairs
awning cloth and spring loaded roller
This is my personal feeling, but there's a lot better that can be had out there for maybe 2 or 3x that money. Anything is going to need work, but even the new ones usually need work! I personally wouldn't want to tackle such work before being able to get camping. It's your own personal balance...spend low money, put in own time / money / labor for a few years; then camp. Or, keep looking, find something in better shape for more money, spend less time / money / labor and get camping soon. All depends on the balance of time and money that you have on hand, I guess.

I'm glad we did not buy the first AS that we saw...or the second. We jumped on the third and maybe did so for a bit too much money, but we were getting anxious. We wanted an AS and camping season was approaching. We probably ended up with a 50/50 deal (seller nor buyer can claim getting a "steal") on it considering the money into it in the following year's time. In hindsight seeing things on eBay and Craigslist over the last 3 years, there were better deals. But, that would have been 3 years of camping gone.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:50 PM   #9
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Welcome! If this was the 1st one you've looked at, it's worth taking some time and looking at others before you decide to make a deposit and take on a "project" (completing the project will be 4-5x the deposit). Jason has summed up some of the best advice you'll find on this forum...find something you can actually camp in and enjoy with your family while you work on the improvements/repairs. Read any of the restoration, frame repair, or full monte threads and you'll find threads depicting 2-3 years (or more) of effort before the 1st camping trip. A few who are very skilled, persistent and very committed (working it full time) appear to have done it in a 9-12 months. Others here have found good buys (AS in camp ready condition) in the 4-6K range and if you're looking in the 26-27' models you're more likely to find a better supply at a price you're willing to pay. Keep in mind that if you check the AS Classifieds, Craigslist, or Ebay you might find one not in your immediate area....the forum is also a great place to reach out for assistance for those nearby who are also willing to check them out for you.

Are you planning to pull a 26-27' with a Jeep?

Good luck on your search!
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:24 PM   #10
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Well... I have an 05' silverado 2500hd diesel that will probably be doing most of the towing, however my wife drives a hemi grand cherokee that could be used, and i have an '88 grand wagoneer too. Nothing like towing a classic with a classic! Thanks for the advice... I have 3k in cash at the moment. I have seen a few claiming to be campable for right around 4k i guess ill be patient and wait till one pops up in a bit better shape.
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