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Old 05-28-2013, 04:40 PM   #1
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Howdy! Could use some advice ...

Greetings folks. I have been looking at ads for late 70's and 80's Airstream and Avion trailers. I am a full-timer and am working in the oil patch of South Texas (read: "extreme heat and dust"). Anything critical that I should know about these trailers from that period of time?

I am kinda going on the assumption that an Airstream or Avion is a sturdier trailer than average and would be a good basis to customize the interior to my personal specs and to keep for awhile. Does that ruggedness extend to the axles and other components?

Is there a steel chassis underneath the aluminum body on these trailers, or is the suspension bolted directly to the body like a unibody auto?

Thanks in advance. I am not totally naive to the ways of things RVing, having brought an early 80's Bluebird Wanderlodge diesel pusher back from the dead. But I need something that can be up and running fairly quickly this time around.
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Old 05-28-2013, 04:46 PM   #2
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My trailer is a 1976. The body is an egg shell on a plywood deck bolted with steel fasteners to a steel frame. The plus is that the body won't rot away. Everything else will. Axles are standard torsion axles. Would I buy another one? You bet!
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Old 05-28-2013, 05:11 PM   #3
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I also work in the oilfield but in West Texas. I have an Airstream, but don't use it in the patch, I'm not sure it would be the best choice, better for RVing down the road. They are hard to heat & hard to cool, you would have to look at some serious air con for the South Texas summer. Will it be in a park or on location? I think the oil field environment might be hard on the AS exterior, rough roads, salt water, H2s. For the money you will pay for an Airstream you can buy a square box with more of the comforts of home. In the park might be alright, nearby where I am working there are a few Airstreams in the parks, mostly SOBs. We presently use Idle Time park models for housing on the location, never much problem with them. In the 40 years I have worked on rigs I have only saw one Airstream on location, back in the seventies, a geologist had it, pulled it with a front wheel drive Cadillac.
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Old 05-28-2013, 06:12 PM   #4
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I love my Airstream, but ...

they are really better at going down the road than sitting still. You give up a lot of interior space, tank size, etc. for the aerodynamic shape and iconic aluminum shine. If mine were gonna' sit for long periods and I weren't gonna' see a lot of rain (as in W. Texas) so as not to worry about wall studs rotting, I'd buy a nice, nearly new, gently used SOB and save a lot of cash that I could use to buy the Airstream once I was through working and wanted to travel.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:21 AM   #5
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Interesting! Thanks guys!


I am a bit surprised on the comments about an Airstream being hard to cool. I would have thought that the shiny aluminum would reflect much of the heat and an Airstream seems to have superior insulation. No?
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:31 AM   #6
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The shell will get hot outside,-but if you have the AC running before a sunny day starts...turn it on and the inside should keep nice and cool for the most part. The insulation is two and a half inches thick all over. It helps also to park under some trees or park where you are in a good solid shade in the afternoon.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:22 AM   #7
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Interesting. That sounds about like my strategy when I had my Wanderlodge - get a jump on the heat in the morning.

Most of our sites are out in the open although every so often I get lucky and get one that has a few scrub trees.

My understanding is that even the bigger 34' Airstreams run one a/c unit on a 30 amp circuit. My knee jerk feeling is that if I added two A/C units on a separate 50amp circuit I'd have plenty of cooling capacity and some redundancy when - not if - one unit fails. (and yes, our generators generally do produce enough power to run both a 30 amp and a 50 amp circuit at the same time).

Even if the Airstream isn't the ideal trailer for oil field work I am still inclined to pursue it because I want a sturdy relatively low cost trailer that I can use as I get back on my feet and go back to motorcycling around the USA and into Mexico. I had been considering a range of 5th wheel toy haulers for that role but if an Airstream tows as well as everyone says they do then I can use some of the space on my truck for an extra bike (I have a Class 5 cab over that will hopefully soon have a box and lift for one bike; an extra bike can go on the space where the 5th wheel would normally go)

Comments?

And thanks!
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:46 AM   #8
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A sturdy relatively low cost trailer may be a scarce animal to find in an Airstream. If it is serviceable and ready to go it will be fairly expensive, if it is cheap it will take time and money to make it right.
I like my Airstream, but if it gets too hot or cold I have the option to leave it parked or head for a better climate. Sounds like you might be on a drilling rig, there is nothing worse than to make a long hot tour on a rig then not have a nice cool place to take a shower and chill out.

Words of wisdom from AirsDream---- I'd buy a nice, nearly new, gently used SOB and save a lot of cash that I could use to buy the Airstream once I was through working and wanted to travel.

AirsDreamI love my Airstream, but ...
they are really better at going down the road than sitting still. You give up a lot of interior space, tank size, etc. for the aerodynamic shape and iconic aluminum shine. If mine were gonna' sit for long periods and I weren't gonna' see a lot of rain (as in W. Texas) so as not to worry about wall studs rotting, I'd buy a nice, nearly new, gently used SOB and save a lot of cash that I could use to buy the Airstream once I was through working and wanted to travel. AirsDreamI love my Airstream, but ...
they are really better at going down the road than sitting still. You give up a lot of interior space, tank size, etc. for the aerodynamic shape and iconic aluminum shine. If mine were gonna' sit for long periods and I weren't gonna' see a lot of rain (as in W. Texas) so as not to worry about wall studs rotting, I'd buy a nice, nearly new, gently used SOB and save a lot of cash that I could use to buy the Airstream once I was through working and wanted to travel.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sstar View Post
. . . I'd buy a nice, nearly new, gently used sob and save a lot of cash that i could use to buy the airstream once i was through working and wanted to travel.

+1


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Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...g?t=1278182564
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 05-30-2013, 06:17 AM   #10
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Seems like a group with no biases. Any suggestions on brands of SOB that folks feel are sturdy? I have been looking at some of the older Alfa trailers.
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:09 AM   #11
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Unfortunately, don't know a thing about SOBs personally. Bigfoot (made in Canada, I think) gets good reviews for quality of build, relatively water-tight construction, and insulation. But I hear that they're pretty pricey.

I don't want to necessarily dissuade you from an Airstream if that's what you want. I'd sure never swap mine for any other brand. But mine is pretty much always on the go - the longest it's ever been in one place (when out of storage) is four nights. And I'm usually solo, so the smaller interior, etc. is not a problem for me. It is just great for long-distance easy-towing travel. And don't kid yourself; with any brand, the maintenance is just an ongoing chore.

Good luck in your search!
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:19 AM   #12
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I've started reading up on Arctic Fox TT. They have thermopane windows, heated tanks, and more insulation. I don't know if I could get rid of our Airstream though.
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:04 PM   #13
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Oh, I'm not scared off. Even if an Airstream is not the ideal trailer for the oil patch I can see that it would work well for other things that I plan to do. After all, I'm not here to work until I die, I am here to replace my stolen motorhome and raise enough fund$ in order to get back to traveling and motorcycling.

Has anyone ever put a Land Rover-style tropical roof on an Airstream?
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Old 05-30-2013, 06:05 PM   #14
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What kind of bike do you ride? I tool around on a 1977 BMW 100/7. Nothing better than the wind in your face. Happy hunting finding your Airstream.
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