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Old 01-21-2011, 05:42 PM   #1
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Albuquerque , New Mexico
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Just starting out...

Hi everyone,

I currently live in ABQ, NM and I have this dream. I want to sell all my stuff, and buy a 23' Airstream and a vehicle to tow it and live out of it while I tour the country. And I'm hoping to do this by the end of May when I need to leave for a job in Upstate NY where it will be perfect for me to live in it.

I'm very new to all this and would be very appreciative of any advice you could give me on the following:

I'd like to tow with a minivan. Is that possible and if so, what should I look for when I go to buy a used one. Can you recommend a make/model/year?
What kind of towing package would it require?

if that's not really possible, is there an SUV you might recommend? I'm hoping to have a tow vehicle that will get decent mileage when not towing, as that will be my main car. I don't mind small, and don't need a lot of bells and whistles.

In terms of the Airstream itself, I know there are so many kinds, but I can say this about the weight I might be pulling, I'm looking for used, late 60's into the 70's because I like all those windows, in decent condition in terms of systems, (the cosmetics I can fix along the way) and not longer than 23'.

What do you think? Can I make this fantasy a reality?

Thanks, and looking forward to your feedback!

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Old 01-21-2011, 06:07 PM   #2
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1956 22' Safari
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Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
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Is is possible...?

Couple of questions/comments...
  • Upstate New York gets pretty chilly in the winter months...are you planning on living in your trailer year-round? Airstreams are not the best for winter might get a kick out of this old thread that pinpoints some of the issues you may have to deal with.
  • "By the end of May" vs vintage trailer...chances are, unless you pay top dollar for a fully restored 60's trailer you are going to have to do some amount of restoration work. Having been through two restorations, I would think it would be pretty impossible to do one while living in the trailer at the same time.
  • Most likely a "mini-van" is not going to work out for you - they don't have the towing capacity you will need. A V8 Ford Explorer (we had one - worked great) is about the smallest (IMO) SUV you're going to be able to get away with. Other "non-truck" options include Suburbans/Yukons/Tahoes and the like.
  • Can you make it happen...sure! Are you going to be happy with the choices/decisions you have made? Only you can decide that - but the forums have lots of folks with the same goals & dreams. Do some searching through the "Tow Vehicle", "Winter Living", "Restoration" and "Full-Timing" sections to learn from others tips, tricks & mistakes.

    Good luck in whatever you decide to do ~ post lots of questions, and you'll get lots of advice.


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Old 01-24-2011, 07:22 PM   #3
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1967 24' Tradewind
Borrego Springs , California
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1

I posted a long reply here, but it is not posted...

we have a 24' 1967 airstream tradewind international in amazingly original and barely used condition...
We are also having trouble posting here and I hope this reply goes through...

we may be able to coordinate shipping it to youin May to Albuquerque
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:22 AM   #4
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Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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Originally Posted by blumonky View Post
...I currently live in ABQ, NM and I have this dream. I want to sell all my stuff, and buy a 23' Airstream and a vehicle to tow it and live out of it while I tour the country....I'm looking for used, late 60's into the 70's because I like all those windows, in decent condition in terms of systems, (the cosmetics I can fix along the way) and not longer than 23'.
What do you think? Can I make this fantasy a reality?
... looking forward to your feedback!
Welcome to the Forum, and a huge good for you for asking questions first prior to purchasing the first cutie that comes along.

Reality check - I have looked at lots and lots of 60's and 70's airstream - and all - that's A-L-L of them have required floor and or frame repair/replacement. Add the requirement of axle replacement (it's an age thing - all probably needs replacement after 15 years max) so you don't beat the poor thing to death when pulling, and you are looking at a major major investment prior to getting on the road.

Is it possible to find one and immediately get on the road?...sure it is, are simply delaying the unavoidable.

At some point in time you will HAVE to pull it apart and put a proper repair on it.

This is my opinion only - other's may vary.

Do your own "advanced search" from the right hand pull down options toward the top of the home page.

Carefully read the repair threads - here are just a few:

and especially this one:

Spend a few hours carefully reading posts and save yourself thousands of dollars.

Most important - spend a few hundred dollars and get an honest and thorough inspection by a QUALIFIED person...qualified means someone who has actually properly restored a vintage airstream, or a repair station that has LOTS of experience properly repairing older Airstreams....a "new" dealer with "newly certified" (by Airstream) technicians may or may not be qualified.

Take your time and BE SURE prior to putting down any money.

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

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Old 01-25-2011, 01:16 PM   #5
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1957 26' Overlander
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Saint Augustine , Florida
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It's too bad you won't be in Alburquerque in early June for the Restoration Rally at Enchanted Falls campground. You'd really love it.

If you can afford to buy a restored one, there are a few good ones out there for a price, and you would be ready-to-go.

I have a friend with a van who tows a 19' Bambi. But even he would not recommend it. Not for the handling- that seems fine, but the tow mileage and the struggle for the van.
Plus, if you're going to upstate NY you'll want 4x4 ability- unless you're only going for the summer.


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