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Old 11-28-2006, 10:54 PM   #1
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help on purchase - first timer

im new to airstream, im looking at a 1975 airstream sovreign 31ft international.it has a rear bath and twin beds in the rear,its 97% original.im looking for advice on purchase what to look out for on the 70's air streams the trailers is good shape,and a fair price.looking to use the trailer as
just incase so i wont be homless .and to use the trailer for camping,hunting and year round use
the trailer has a 8track player that works and it looks really clean.always liked airstreams there the best,any advice would be helpful. northern calif
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Old 11-28-2006, 11:22 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums!
With a trailer of this age, you will likely find problems, possibly significant ones. I'll start the list, others will chime in.
Some of the expensive items to check are: Refer, A/C unit, plumbing, floor integrity/rear seperation/sag, stove, water heater, frame rust.

Problems with any of these items don't mean you shouldn't make a deal, you just need to get informed on costs and time involved in resolving these issues.
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Old 11-28-2006, 11:41 PM   #3
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thanks frame rust yikes ive been reading some posts here about frame rust not good.but with anything 20-30 years old its bound to happen ill get a list going of things to look for.i have digital photos the water heater looks like its really old.current owner says it works.under 10 grand i could make a deal
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Old 11-29-2006, 12:04 AM   #4
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10K sounds like a lot for the year unless it has had a LOT of work done. Check out the link below, lots of good info. There is a good price chart toward the bottom of the page.
http://www.vintageairstream.com/rr_t...condition.html
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Old 11-29-2006, 07:45 AM   #5
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I agree that 10K is not a low price, but not necessarily unreasonable. On a private sale, that figure should get you a very nice looking trailer in excellent condition - good skin, clearcoat (i.e. no peeling on roof), tires, axles, a near-perfect interior with updated flooring and upholstery, correct Zip Dee awning, everything working.

I would deduct any noted deficiencies from the 10K price.
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Old 11-29-2006, 12:25 PM   #6
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10K sounds a little high to me for an original trailer for that year, i.e. there will be lots of things to fix/check for (dave already started a good checklist).

i found this on the santa barbara craigslist this morning, maybe worth it for you to follow up (by airstream standards, the location is very close to you);

Reply to: sale-241161721@craigslist.org
Date: 2006-11-28, 11:27AM PST


1971 Airstream Soverign International trailer. 31-feet, power jack, new awning, ac, gas/electric fridge, propane stove and oven, 8-track, sleeps 3 or 4. Rear bath with tub. Great guest quarters! I just don't have room for it anymore.

good luck on your search.
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Old 11-29-2006, 01:57 PM   #7
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Just for comparison, a friend purchased a '71 International Sovereign 31' a couple of years ago at an estate sale for $1500. He put $2,000 in replacing all awnings on three sides. He has since replaced all plumbing and the refridgerator. The hotwater heater works but will need to be replaced in the not too distant future. The furnace hasn't been used since he purchased it, but doesn't look too good.

A new refridgerator can run $1,000 and up if you don't install it yourself. The axles will need to be replaced soon, too. Figure at least $1,000 each if you hire it done. The A/C can run nearly that, too and on that age of a trailer will need to be replaced within the next couple of years more than likely. Same with the other items. I'm not telling you to pass on this one, but I would caviat emptor on it for sure for that much money. I haven't even addressed any issues of floor rot, rear end separation (almost guaranteed if it is a rear bath model). You will definately want the power jack if it doesn't have one. That's $300-$450 installed.

You could wind up with $15,000-$20,000 in it easy. For that you could buy a much newer coach or one that has much more up-to-date appliances in it. Or you could put that as a sizable down payment on a nice new Safari with all new appliances and warranties and not have to worry too much about any of that if you don't mind a minimal monthly payment ($200 or less/month) for the next 5-10 years.
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Old 11-29-2006, 02:56 PM   #8
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Well said M's M. If you are looking for an AS to use and not restore, I would go a little smaller in size and spend a little more for one that needs less work. If you are new to Airstreams and you want a restoration project, again I would go smaller and get a cheaper one. The larger it is the more expensive and time consuming everything will be (parts, storage, cleaning, upkeep, tow vehicle, gas, etc.). Your chances of finishing your restoration are much better when you can spend less and finish sooner plus if you decide it's not for you, you have less capital & time invested.
I am currently restoring a boat and have about 7k into it (+ hundreds of hours) and I'm only about 2/3 done and when I do finish it I will have a boat that is worth about 7k. Not a very good investment but it's what I like to do. Places like http://www.revitalizedtrailers.com/buying.asp (no affiliation) sell turn key vintage units you can merrily hook up and go with no worries. There are some very nice Airstreams for sale in the classified section as well. Good luck in your quest.
Cheers,
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Old 11-29-2006, 03:04 PM   #9
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Don't forget to check the axles. It's easier than you may think. Use the search function and you will know what to look for.

There is also a list here of fellow streamers who will come out and inspect the unit for you. You may want to give that one some thought too.

Good luck!
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Old 11-29-2006, 03:31 PM   #10
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man thanks guys for all the imfo,thats why i like about airstreams great people, and parts still available,id like to get a good used airstream cant. afford too make payments credits shot.news out of the question and youre right if i get a trailer that needs work ill spend more time working on it, rather than using it thanks guys.hopfully ill find a good deal,hopfully an airstream
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Old 12-01-2006, 06:00 PM   #11
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Cool update to for sale

i wanted to say thanks to everyone for there help,i didnt buy the airstream trailer 31ft soveriegn too many problems.long story short ill be removing my membership here ive, determined airstream trailers are really nice but i can never own one because .used theres alot of work involved and the nicer units used are out of my price range and so is the new airstreams .i probably could find a nice new one in my price range.but for now ill keep looking at other brands.thanks again hopelessly lost spooky
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Old 12-01-2006, 06:40 PM   #12
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Spooky,
While I don't know your personal situation, and it MAY be true that you could never afford an A/S, I think you need to reconsider.

There are many decent, usable A/S trailers out there for less than what you were considering paying for this last one. Keep looking, just don't get in a hurry. You CAN find one.

Consider the life service of an A/S versus another brand. The percentage of A/S's built that are still on the road is very high, much higher than SOBs. Even IF you have to pay a little more initially, I feel that you win in the long run. That's why I chose A/S on my last two trailer purchases.

Lastly, even if you decide you can't have or don't want an A/S, there is no reason why you can't be a member here. There is much information to be gleaned here that applies to all makes. And we may just convince you that Airstream IS the way to go!
Good luck,
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Old 12-01-2006, 06:45 PM   #13
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Before you go...

Spooky, Check out this recent thread if you haven't already. Many points of view on good reasons to buy A/S.

http://www.airforums.com/forum...?highlight=buy
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Old 12-01-2006, 06:52 PM   #14
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Good advice from Dave in the previous post. Keep looking you will find one if you want one bad enough. If money is the issue look for a trailer that meets your current needs and go from there. You can always upgrade the systems as you go along. Hang in there!
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