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Old 12-28-2015, 06:23 PM   #1
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2018 27' International
Fort Worth , Texas
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Interested in Biting the Bullet

Hello Airstream Fanatics!

My wife and I are doing our research and investigating as to if an Airstream is right for us. We have a 10 year old daughter, in which we home school, and a 6 year old Brittany. At present we are daydreaming of the FC-28 Twin, as it seems meet the initial needs, and can safely be towed behind our 2011 Yukon XL Denali. We look to make regular road trips for extended amounts of time (2-3 weeks) at a time, multiple times a year.

So without getting into too many details, we have read both horror stories and stories of pure utopia. On a practical level, why should we pay $70K+ for an Airstream TT??? Should we buy a 1, 2, or 10 year old trailer over a new one? My main concerns about the AS are the corrosion issues, excessive humidity/moisture issues, hot/cold box issues, and other items along these lines. I am not concerned about smaller nuisance items that can be easily repaired (appliance failures, minor hose leaks, AC failures, etc. This is normal RV/House stuff - to be expected) I am looking for overall design and structural material issues, that make the AS unique from all other RVs.

Some hard facts and sense will help us make a better decision. Thank you ahead of time. Is it worth all the extra money?? Is there a REAL distinction and level of quality that is unparalleled here? Are the Vintage units of higher quality?

I am a "Fish out of Water Here!"

Thanks in advance.

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Old 12-28-2015, 06:57 PM   #2
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2017 25' Flying Cloud
2015 22' FB Sport
Kansas City , Missouri
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My opinion is to look at the total cost of ownership in the analysis.

Let's say you can purchase a 1-2 year old AS and sell it in 8 years, when it is 10 years old.

What is the differential between the purchase price and sell price? This is fairly easy to ferret out by analyzing ads on the forums and other websites.

Do the same for other options you would consider. Then decide if you think the cost for the AS is worth it.

For us, the overall cost was fairly close due to the AS having a fairly high 10 year residual value, and it being virtually 0 for the other brands in the size we were interested in buying.

I would say that a 1-2 year old AS is a better value in all likelihood than a new one, if you can find the model you desire easily and in good condition. This is probably easier to do for the smaller units like we have, since oftentimes people trade these up for larger models.

So if this math works out for the units you would consider, and you can afford the cash flow of the AS, that may help you decide which you prefer.


Piggy Bank
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Old 12-28-2015, 07:56 PM   #3
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2017 30' Flying Cloud
2008 23' International
Saskatoon , Saskatchewan
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I agree with what Piggy Bank said. Also, open and close the interior doors on other trailers you are interested in. I find that the Airstream cabinet doors are much tighter. They don't vibrate as you open them. The cabinets are made of plywood, not lightweight panelling materials.

However, you will definitely notice that the interiors are much "cozier" space-wise. A 28-foot box trailer will be much more spacious than a 28-foot Airstream.

Not all Airstreams have corrosion issues. Maybe it is location-dependent?

Nevertheless, because the roof is rounded and the AC, fans, and skylights are not, we have to stay on top of sealing these. Airstreams inevitably leak if you don't maintain them. Be vigilant.

Be proactive about humidity issues -- in any trailer. After showering, we consistently wipe the shower down. We do this at home too. Use your vents and fans. Also, but I'm sure we are in the minority, we rarely cook inside. This keeps down humidity and odours. Like I said, we are in the minority on that, I'm sure.

Airstreams are like a work of art, both inside and out. When the company hired Christopher Deam, the interiors finally matched the exteriors. Most RVs are stuck in the 80s, which turned us off. We don't regret buying new.

Lisa and Paul

2008 23' Int. CCD "The Atomic Pod"
2002 Chinook Destiny | 1973 13' Boler (fiberglass egg) "The Boiler"
WBCCI #23223 (=23 CCD)
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Old 12-28-2015, 09:12 PM   #4
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Battle Lake , Minnesota
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Airstream corrosion is caused by exposure to salt environments such as parking on the coasts and northern road salt. You can apply corrosion preventive products to mitigate the problem, and early repairs of the affected areas to keep things looking good. In salty environment, it will happen; you will need ongoing prevention treatment and repair as needed.

There are a few thousand holes punched into the aluminum for rivets, and many window and accessory cutouts so leaks will happen from time to time. Check for them visually and probe the plywood subfloor with a moisture detection meter for early detection. Another ongoing maintenance requirement to prevent damage.

Then there are the issues common to all RV's, equipment failures, tire, brake and bearing maintenance, scratches to touch up, wear and tear of interior to maintain. Take steps to prevent condensation, usually ventilation. They can be hot in summer and cold in winter, but the A/C and furnace can normally keep you comfortable.

Knowing that, we can tell you we enjoy every moment traveling with our Airstream and wouldn't settle for anything less (or more). We have made modifications and upgraded equipment and it is perfect for us. We have our own quarterly inspection and maintenance program to care for it; it was beautifully assembled when new and we have had no failures or significant repairs traveling six months a year, going on five years. We use corrosion prevention products, avoid salt environments and have no corrosion on or under our Airstream. We have had four minor leaks, found and repaired early.
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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Old 12-29-2015, 04:24 AM   #5
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2018 27' International
Fort Worth , Texas
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Thanks for the Info!!

Piggy, Lisa, and Doug -

Thank you for the honest, quick response. All very good information, and your comments both reaffirm what my wife and I have read, as well as answer some questions to help us make a better decision.

With this potentially being our FIRST RV, it is challenging to one - make the decision to go RV-ing, and two - drop that kind of money into a RV. I agree, that at some level the AS is a piece of art, but that can be hard to swallow at times when you might be hot, damp, and squeezed tightly (all at once)!! :-)

Again, Thank You Very Much!!!

...................Happy New Year!!
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:45 AM   #6
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Do AS dealers allow access to repair repair records of used trailers they are selling? Is there a record of warranty repairs? Does Jackson center release thus info to dealers? This would be a help to those buying used. Info would tell buyer how many and what repairs were done if done at an AS dealer. So buying a 2 to 3 year old AS could be a disaster if the first owner never had anything fixed properly or at all, just covering up leaks ,etc to sell the unit. It would be unlikely a new AS didn't have any warranty issues. If repaired by owner how do you know what was done and if it were done properly. At least if their is a record of repair by an AS dealer, the new owner would have a starting point on diligent maintenance and know where to look to check on repairs previously done. So I think buying used is the best deal but check and verify on repair records if possible.
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:50 AM   #7
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Personally, I think you can get all the benefits of Airstream ownership for far less than $70K. Buying new or close to new may reduce the chance of dealing with 'issues' in the first few years, but thereafter the exposure is pretty much the same until a decade and a half or more passes. As many have stated regularly, do the annual maintenance and be vigilant against leaks and the overall experience of enjoyable family adventures will far outweigh the acquisition age of the trailer.

Just my opinion... I think you would do considerably better acquiring an older unit in a layout you desire if you have handyman skills and enjoy learning the ins and outs of your unit. There are many decent units from the mid-2000s in the $25-30K range that will leave you with money for both traveling as well as the unexpected repair items that will crop up from time to time. Unless it is floor rot, repair time and dollars will not adversely impact recreation time except when it happens at the beginning of an outing.

Although the posts about corrosion, three season insulation, etc., are accurate to a degree, I've found these to be far less of a concern than one can interpret from the emotion with which these topics are addressed here. I believe there are more happy owners who don't write about their satisfaction than those compelled to author posts.

I'd also recommend 'used' so you can test the waters of RV ownership and determine if it really is a longer term lifestyle your family enjoys. That way, if you back out, the net cost of the experiment will be greatly reduced by avoiding the depreciation loss associated with new(er) units. Be sure to check the inspector list for someone near your target unit so a more critical eye can help evaluate condition.

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