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Old 09-05-2009, 07:54 PM   #1
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Shady Cove , Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 5
Help for a Newbie?

Hi, folks,

My wife and I have been trailering with a small rig for a while and are thinking about stepping up.

We are retired, and are "comfortably off", but subscribe to the "small is beautiful" concept---though we are not rabid about it.

We want a four-season trailer that we can tow into the boondocks, but which gives us some more of the comforts of home.

We think an Airstream might be in our future, but we are confused by the proliferation of subtypes/models.

Could anyone steer us in the right direction? What type of airstream might be appropriate for us?

And we are concerned with maintenance. What is a typical maintenance schedule for an airstream? (We don't want to spend a major part of our lives maintaining our trailer.)

Thanks.
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:07 PM   #2
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1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
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Airstreams are designed for travel. Their maintenance schedule is about the same as other brands but are generally more reliable per mile traveled. They are quite a bit higher cost per foot than other brands but are unique designs. If you want to make short hops and use the trailer just for vacations without a bunch of pets a smaller unit is for you. If you intend to take it to Florida and live in it for 5 months at a time a small unit will be too confining and you will want one with a dinette.
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:09 PM   #3
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1998 28' Excella
Dolores , Colorado
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Hello Shady Cove, Welcome to the forums from SW Colorado. We have owned 2 A/S in our live beginning in 1980. You learn over time how to make repairs and keep it maintained. Are you looking for a near new one (early 2000 to now) or a vintage (over 25 years old). A lot of it will depend upon how the previous owner took care of the unit.

If you are close to Eugene you need to pay a visit to Gene Sutton who is an A/S dealer in that area. I have spoken to Gene in the past and he states they do what it takes to get their customers in a unit.

My wife and I are retired (since March) and we have found the 28' is an ideal size for the 2 of us and our hound. We pull it with a F250 because it is a Classic model and they are a little heavier.

If you know someone who owns an A/S get with them and get some ideas or else pay a visit to Sutton.

Wish you luck.

Bob
Member Four Corners Unit
Classic A/S Club
WBCCI # 10105
AIR # 28748
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:18 PM   #4
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
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Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

We have traveled extensively in our Airstream over the past three years. We have spent 460 nights in our Lucy and have pulled her over 50,000 miles.

Lucy is a 2005 25' Front Bedroom model. These FB's, as they are called, are very livable. The also come in a 23' and a 27'.

For starters look around the Airstream Company Website at Airstream, Inc :: Home. Then try to visit a dealer to see them in the flesh.

Brian
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:30 PM   #5
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2005 30' Classic
Burlington , Ontario
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When we moved for a smaller and lighter (27') Award trailer to an Airstream, I initially wanted to stay at the same length, but we just could not find a layout that suited us compared to our previous trailer.


Rather than compromise, we bought a Classic 30, (actually 31'), because it had rear double bed, dinette, and front lounge, all features that we wanted.

We wound up trading our 1/2 T pickup for a 3/4 T diesel pickup in order to pull it easily but we are pretty happy with our decisions now! The 1/2 T could have worked but I felt it was marginal.

Small is good, and I would have preferred it, but we like our comfort too! We are retired and go on longer trips.

So far, after one trip to California, no regrets at all!


Brian.
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:45 PM   #6
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Shady Cove , Oregon
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Thanks for the replies, folks.

We think probably one of the smaller lengths of the Flying Cloud might be appropriate for us. There are two of us, no hound! We will be using it several times each year. Probably once to seek the sun during the winter, then two or three times during the summer for sightseeing.

As for maintenance, I was really wondering about the aluminum skin and whether it has extra problems, such as getting dinged from pebbles thrown up on the road. And how about popping rivets?

How does one maintain the aluminum skin? Do you wax? If so, howe often. If not, what do you use?
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:57 PM   #7
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As for pebbles being thrown up, I believe most new As models have stainless rock guards and also rock shields over the front windows that protect from such things. Ours has both.

As for maintenance, I believe waxing a couple of times a year is recommended. We use a product called "Walbernize" that we bought from AS - very quick to apply & buff.

Popped rivets I think are relatively rare - some say they can be caused by a tow vehicle with stiff suspension.

So far, our 3/4 ton GMC Sierra seems to have caused no problems.

There is a known problem on newer units with a type of aluminum corrosion called "filiform" which is manifested by white spider like lines coming from cut edges in the aluminum sheets, such as rivet holes.

I believe that AS do not acknowledge it as a warranty item, and many new AS owners are very upset about it.


If you are considering purchasing a new AS and are meticulous about this sort of thing
(I think it is largely cosmetic) then you may want to search more on this forum about it - there are about a thousand messages! It is an on-going issue that As will not own up to.

We have some corrosion issues on our 2005, but so far limited to larger aluminum items such as door hinges, grab handle and tail light surrounds. Not a big deal, but still unsightly and disappointing on a trailer worth this much.

Better you know now than later! Wr are still happy with our purchase, but just a bit less so!

Brian.
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Old 09-07-2009, 07:23 AM   #8
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1977 31' Sovereign
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1989 34' Excella
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It sounds like you want to use the unit for enjoyment rather than make a hobby out of restoring and maintaining a vintage unit. The new Flying Cloud size would suit your needs as long as you are not intending to stay in Arizona for two months at a time. I would suggest you keep it from 1998 and newer to have less maintenance to worry about. You should still have it fully checked out and update the tires when you first buy it. The ads on this site or using the Craigslist searcher site mash : airstream : combined classified and auction listings would be a good place to establish a fair price. Airstreams are more prone to hail damage than the better quality fiberglass unit. I speak from personal experience.
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