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Old 09-16-2009, 10:59 AM   #15
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Dan,
I live here in WA as well and used to work for Great American RV n Fife.They are an Airstream dealer.Look up Gary Troger there, he is a good man and will help you with your decision.
Regards,
Arveebob
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Old 09-16-2009, 11:08 AM   #16
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Oh ya I almost forgot!
If there is something you want looked at in the Pierce county area, let me know.
I am experienced in soundness evaluation and price assessment.
Arveebob
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:01 PM   #17
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Welcome Gator. Are you still using the single sleeping bag?

We have a 2007 Tundra and have towed for almost 2 trouble free years. Check out the Airstream website for specs on various trailers. I think the limit for the Tundra is our 25' FB Safari (now called Flying Cloud), but a reasonable argument can be made for the 27' and 28'. The more expensive trailers tend to be heavier. Payload is the big issue with 1/2 ton pickups so figure that carefully. I will attach a pdf file of weights going back many years.

The 1990's trailers are much lighter and then you could consider a longer, heavier one, but finding one in good condition can be a challenge. You have to be patient. The new ones depreciate fast and have many quality control issues. Recent ones can be had cheaper and hopefully the QC problems have been solved after several years, but other things may come up. Corrosion is an issue with many newer trailers; there's a long, long thread on that. QC has spawned a lot of threads too. A 1990's trailer will probably need more work and replacement of expensive items like appliances.

I read everything I could on the Forum and a few books on RV's before we bought our Safari and that helped me be a bit more knowledgeable about what we were doing. Still, we are learning all the time. It's hard to be patient once you get aluminitis. Once you get a trailer, it's expensive if you decide you don't like it and realize you should have gotten that other one. Visit a few dealers and look over all the Airstreams and take as much time as you want. Check out whether you fit on the bed, on the toilet and whether it feels right. It can be dangerous amongst all that aluminum not to buy one of the spot, so leave the credit cars and checkbooks locked up somewhere else. RV sales are way down and deals can be found. People go all over the country to buy the right Airstream at the right price.

For used ones, there are Forum members willing to inspect and they can be found on the right side of the Forum page. Some people advertise trailers as in fine shape and when you get there they are junk. I would be wary of buying one that I'd hadn't seen even with the help of the inspector. You have to be fast to get a good one. It can be frustrating because sometimes you lose the deal if you don't have your own plane warmed up to get there faast. But, getting the right one at a good price is important.

Good luck with your quest.

Gene
Attached Files
File Type: pdf weights.pdf (100.7 KB, 18 views)
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:09 PM   #18
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Bob, thank you. I will keep that in mind.

Last week we drove over to the Fife dealer and he didn't have any used trailers.

I have a whole new respect for the AS now that I have become familiar with the prices of the new one's.... ouch! We looked at a 2008 25' Classic and the sales guy wasn't going to budge off of the MSRP of a bit over $84,000. I always try to be a polite gentleman, but I lost it and laughed out loud at the guy.

Considering the present economy and the fact that he had a qualified and motivated buyer standing in front of him, I was amazed. I found the same trailer in New Jersey... slashed down to about 69K and it was a 2009. I'm starting to wonder if aluminum is edible. ;>)

So, having felt the full force of "sticker shock" and knowing that I didn't want to start selling off my other toys, (I'm old, but I'm still only 60), I decided that I must be low in the monetary food chain of life and instead of a "new" trailer, we are now committed to finding a well kept preowned AS. Heck, we gave much of our money to the government in DC and Wall Street over this past year, so were are just trying to unload some of what we have left before they come back for seconds. LOL

I might have found a good prospect at a dealership in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I'll talk about it in another post.

Dan
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Old 09-16-2009, 07:40 PM   #19
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Gene,

I appreciate you taking the time to educate me. On this subject, I feel dumber than a box of rocks, but I was born persistent, so I'll get there. ;>)

I've been net shopping around the clock. I have been reading and looking at photos and video's as much as I can.

During the past 2 days. have spoken to 4 salesmen around the country. This is fun, a bit frustrating and it feels very risky to shop this way... but I'm in it to win it. I WILL have an Airstream.

I have been trying to get a handle on all of the concerns regarding weight. I think I am starting to get the drift. While we had wanted a 25' Classic at first, we have been thinking that we might need a bit more room, so I have also been looking at 27 and 28's. I won't go larger than a 28'. Most of the time, this trailer will only have to take care of my Bride, my German Shepherd dog and me. I suppose that eventually, we could have some of our 7 grandchildren along for a trip. 2 or 3 at a time of course. ;>)

While we will camp locally, it would not be out of the question for me to, at the drop of a hat, point the truck east and not turn around until I felt like going west again. ;>) A couple of years ago we did that on a Harley and we ended up crossing the country and logging over 9000 miles during that 30 day vacation. LOL

So, my truck and trailer need to be compatible... I want this to be a dance, not a fight. I would not enjoy white knuckle driving.

As it turns out, I am considering a 2005 28' Classic that's on a lot in Colorado Springs. This trailer would put me out of compliance with the 80/20 rule, instead, the math comes out to 85/15 (that's rounded up), but I "think" I am okay with that. The tongue weight for this trailer is 730 pounds. The TW rating on my Tundra is at least 750#..... I should know exactly what that number is later today.

Now I would like to find someone that might be close enough to the trailer that they would be willing to check it out for me. I have family that are in sales, so I am reminded of something President Reagan had said, "trust, but verify"

The trailer sure looks good to me over the net... pic's and video. I have already got him to come down 3K, but I still don't know if it's a good deal. I told him that if this is going to be the one, I would leave a week from this Friday and be there by the following Monday. It should only take 2 long and hard driven days to get there. When I was younger I could have done it in less than 24 hours. ;>)

So far these are the issues that I can determine from the pic's:

-There are a couple dings on a rock guard, but none on the body... no dents, no creases, no discoloration and the clear-coat is supposed to be without blemish.

-The coating has pealed off of the lower bump strip (if that's what it's called) on the door side. I think that would be easy for me to replace, but I don't know what they cost.

-There is some chipping of the leading edge of the wood on the pocket door located directly off of the kitchen. It looks easy for me to repair.

I haven't discovered any other issues. The sales guy describes the trailer as in excellent shape. He can't give me any history on the unit as they bought it at auction. It looks very clean.

I think the only upgrades are the air-conditioner/heat-pump and a fold down shelf for a TV in the bedroom. I will need to buy my own TV's.

I'm sorry that this post got so long...

Best to you,

Dan
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:38 PM   #20
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Correction, the tongue weight spec for my Tundra is 1030 pounds.
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:33 PM   #21
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Dan, by tongue wt. do you mean payload? I have a double cab 4WD with the 5.7 L. engine. Payload on that one is around 1,500 lbs. The crew cab has a bit lower payload. Some other models are higher.

The "lower bump strip"—do you mean the trim at the bottom of the aluminum. I think people call it banana wrap, but I've never been sure. If that's what you mean, the shiny chrome like strip in the trim is a strip with a glue backing that is fairly easy to replace and I don't think it's all that expensive. It has a tendency to delaminate and I have have a couple of pieces replaced under warranty.

Dents in the rock guards come with time. That's why they're there—top prevent dents in the aluminum. They are stainless steel.

I'm sure you can get TV's cheaper anywhere else—I got my HDTV for our home on Amazon. Does it have the TV antenna?

Get the biggest A/C you can—trailer heat up fast, although having been in Pt. Angeles, I'm not sure the sun shines there ever.

A 4 year old trailer will have some scratches and such—the road can be hard on a trailer.

Ask how old the tires are—4 year old tires can be near or at the end of their lives. Trailer (ST) tires are not very good. The OEM tires are Goodyear Marathons; they have a bad reputation. You might consider Maxxis as many people replace their tires with that brand. Check carefully for tread separation, cracks.

Try to see if you can get some kind of warranty from them. I know is over a 1,000 miles away, but try it anyway at least to get some things fixed while you're there. Wherever you buy one, stick around for a few days to check everything out. Bring a list with you of things you want to know because no one can remember everything. Ask them to spend several hours with you going over things. It is a house and has lots to learn.

We looked at trailers in Colorado Springs. The salesman told me all sorts of lies about what our 2002 Tundra could tow (we traded for the 2007 because the 1st generation with the 4.7 L. just wasn't enough truck in my opinion), went to answer the phone and never came back. We walked out. We ended up buying in Denver, but that's a dealer to avoid because of their shop. I don't think dealers get a lot of used ones and most people buy privately. There are some dealers that get a lot of kudos on this Forum and Airstream of Arkansas probably gets the most, but Colonial in NJ and the one in Eugene, Ore., have some favorable opinions. I'm sure there a few others, but I can't remember them all.

The 28' Safari is possibly doable with a 5.7 L Tundra; I don't know how much heavier the Classic is. There's a lot of question where the 80% rule came from and I think it's somewhere between old wives tale and conventional wisdom. It's nice to have a margin of safety, but be flexible and check the weight thing carefully. It's hard to figure out. I have towed our Safari over Colorado mountain passes at more than 65 and the truck does it effortlessly. It also uses a lot of gas, so I usually go 45-55, but sometimes I'm in a hurry. Our Tundra tows our 25' easily, so compare the weights on a 28' on that assuming you have a comparable Tundra. There are Forum members that tow 27's and 28's with 2nd generation Tundras and have no problems.

Don't worry about long posts—I do it all the time. Of course, I don't know if anyone reads the whole thing.

Gene
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:02 AM   #22
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Gene,

My Tundra is a white 2007 (late year after they got the bugs out) 5.7 L, standard bed, double cab, 4x4 with the tow package. I bought it to tow my boat, a 28' ocean ready very fast cruiser/camper/fishing boat. It weighs about 7K dry, but it's never been dry and it holds 100 gallons of fuel.... and I don't even feel it back there. Although I haven't had any need to tow it over mountains etc, because the boat ramp is only 15 minutes from my house. ;>)

I have also towed my JD 970 tractor with the loader and backhoe attachments, a load that comes to about 9 to 10K. But again, I don't tow it far, because I have never had a reason to do so. The Tundra doesn't even break a sweat.

I can't offer more clarity in regard to the "lower bump strip", it's tough to see in the photos.

The AC is an upgrade from stock and is described as a 15,000 BTU A/C with heat pump. I don't know where that fit's in the AC food chain.

This trailer is supposed to weigh 6785 pounds from the factory, dry. This gives should give me 2215 pounds to work with.... such as water, propane clothes, food, dog, wife, me etc. At least this is what a salesman in Minnesota told me.

They told me they would give me a 30 day warranty and that for those things covered, I could take it to any AS shop and they would pay the bill.

Good point about the age of the tires. tough to tell from pics, but the thread looks sufficient, but I had not thought about the age. They are probably the original tires.I might as well plan to replace them.

I neglected to specifically ask about an antenna, but it is wired for a tv in the living area as well as the bedroom.

Thanks again,
Dan
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:04 AM   #23
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Thanks Bob. I will contact him if my shopping takes me back to that store.
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Old 09-17-2009, 10:15 AM   #24
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Gator, you have the same truck we do except for the color which will not affect anything. Any color truck looks good with an Airstream. As I said, payload is the issue. I think we are at about 90% of payload, maybe a bit more. Things tend to accumulate in the truck bed and cab. You may have to put the dog on a diet.

15,000 btu is, I believe, the largest A/C you can get on that trailer.

All I know about the dealer in Minnesota is when I called them to get part numbers (I had a wheel bearing failure in Minnesota last spring, another story), the parts guy was very friendly and helpful. I seem to remember a post where someone complained about the dealer though. As always, be careful with a dealer you don't know, and I think you know that.

Keep having fun with this and the anxiety comes with it. Once you make a deal, don't look back because you'll never know if you could have gotten a better one.

Gene
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:13 PM   #25
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Good morning Gene,

It is my understanding that there are some members that volunteer as trailer inspectors on this site. Do you know if there is a listing for those folks?

It would be great if I could find one living in Colorado Springs, that might be up to the task.

I may be just thick headed, but I am not sure where it is allowable on this site to start a thread covering this call-out for assistance.

My personality will not allow me to buy the trailer without an objective evaluation from someone other than the salesman. I need to either find some help or walk away from the deal. I could fly down, but I don't fly well because of health issues.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could just point me to such a listing or tell me where it's acceptable to post such a request.

Thank you,

Dan

UPDATE: I think I just found where I should post the "call-out" request.... in the "off topic" forum.
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:40 PM   #26
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Dan, go to the Forum page and on the right side are "Inspectors".

Gene
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:50 PM   #27
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Will do.
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Old 09-17-2009, 01:50 PM   #28
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Hey Gator;

We were just in Pt. Angeles last week on our way to Cape Flatery. We stayed at Shadow Mt. and drove, without the trailer, out to the Cape. Beautiful. We also stayed at Graylands State Prk. just south of Westport. Its on the beach and magnificent. I highly recommend it when you find your dream.

Be a little careful of the Colorado Springs dealer. A friend of mine bought a 19' from him in 2007. He paid the same price I did for my 25'. The first night out from the dealer on the way back here, he found that the fan on the converter didn't work. He discovered this when he saw smoke. No damage. Also, the trailer had been on the lot over the winter, was not winterized properly, and developed a leak in the fresh water line.

If you haven't contacted them already, talk to Sutton RV in Eugene. They gave me a great deal in '07 on a brand new, ordered from the factory, Safari. 50K delivered with all options. They always seem to have a lot of Airstreams on their lot.

Good Luck.

John
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