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Old 10-06-2014, 05:41 AM   #1
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Red face new and looking for an Airstream for retreat space

Hello, I'm a newbie an this is my intro- I'm very interested in buying an airstream trailer and I would like to know if my reasons seem like good ones to the experienced people on this board. Both my husband and I work from home- we are therapists and have traffic in our home 5 - 6 days a week. In addition, my husband is remodeling the house slowly and patiently.

I'm looking for a little retreat space that I could take on the road for get away trips from time to time, but mostly use as a spare bedroom and writing space. I adore airstreams and have for ages. I live in upstate NY. My fantasy budget is under 15,000, preferably 7,000. Am I crazy? i want to do this myself- i.e., not take my husband's fix it energies from the house.

thanks in advance.
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:55 AM   #2
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Hello, I'm a newbie an this is my intro- I'm very interested in buying an airstream trailer and I would like to know if my reasons seem like good ones to the experienced people on this board.

Am I crazy? i want to do this myself- i.e., not take my husband's fix it energies from the house.
Welcome to the AirForums!

Yes and no— you're not any crazier than the rest of us. Although, the irony of a therapist asking strangers if she's crazy is not lost on me (unless you're a physical therapist, in which case there's no irony at all). Anyway, as long as you can afford one and you don't intend to destroy it, there's no bad reason to buy an Airstream.
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:02 AM   #3
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Good point- I guess I should ask the professionals if I am crazy- but then they are the craziest of all! Thanks for your reply.
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Old 10-06-2014, 09:05 AM   #4
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Welcome tot he Forums.

There are a lot of variables to your question (size and age of the trailer, and how much work do you want to sign up for are the major ones). The shorter trailers tend to have the higher asking prices. Any vintage trailer that hasn't already had a lot of work done on it will require a lot of work. But, for under $15k, you should be able to find an older trailer that is on the smaller side (21' or so), that has had the heavy lifting done, and won't require more than superficial fixes/redecorating (ie., paint and upholstery). $7000 will buy you a trailer that has been flipped--ie., someone buys an old wreck, spruces it up with new interior paint, flooring over the rotting subfloor, etc., and makes a few thousand profit by selling it to the next person.

So my recommendation, is to set your sights on trailers that are 18' to 23', that have already had the heavy refurb work done (and the owner can prove it), and are "camping ready" when you buy it (you will still get to do some work, trust me). A purchase-price budget of $10-12k is reasonable, and this will leave you some cash for your fix-ups. Trailers built in the 1970's through the 1990's will all be candidates.

Good luck!
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:03 PM   #5
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Thanks Rivet Master,

that sounds very well thought out. This morning, after I posted here, I saw an inexpensive 1985 Avion 25H. The inside needs to be almost gutted for my purposes, but it was inexpensive. I am tempted. Dare I ask about an Avion on an Airstream site? The seller was suggesting they were similar.
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Old 10-06-2014, 03:14 PM   #6
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Avions are close cousins - and many will assert that they were better built. You are welcome here, quite a few members have them or other "relatives" including Silver Streaks, Streamlines, etc.

Since you are in New York, you ought to meet Colin Hyde. User Name "Colin H" who is in Plattsburg/Peru NY. I know it's over 4 hours away - almost spitting distance to Canada. Even so, send him a private message. He does restorations, and could give you a good idea of what is worth looking at and what is a "polished turd" or hack job. Some people either don't know how to do a proper restoration or are deliberately doing cheap, shoddy work that looks great until the frame breaks or you fall through a rotted subfloor.

I'm not sure but Colin MAY have a unit or two for sale.

He always says it's easier to take one that's never been messed with and upgrade it, than to undo a bunch of bad work and then rebuild.

Happy hunting.

Paula
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:10 PM   #7
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How Nice, Paula,

Thanks
I sent him a pm to see if he can help. I see you are in beautiful VA. We have a friend down there. Wonderful area.

Matisse
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:55 PM   #8
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Can it be done? Absolutely and I think your budget is very reasonable.

What do you plan to use as a tow vehicle or is that coming after the trailer purchase? Some of the later model units are a fair bit heavier than the earlier units.

BTW my corp office is in Elmira, I usually stay down by the Blue Dolphin in Apalachin.

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Old 10-07-2014, 04:55 AM   #9
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thinking about all this in the wee hours- the Avion I saw is huge and needs work. I would have to hire someone to do it for me. I am liking Belegehel's thoughts on a smaller one that's ready. Also, we have a volvo station wagon, so I'd prefer something I could pull with that.
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Old 10-07-2014, 06:26 AM   #10
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thinking about all this in the wee hours- the Avion I saw is huge and needs work. I would have to hire someone to do it for me. I am liking Belegehel's thoughts on a smaller one that's ready. Also, we have a volvo station wagon, so I'd prefer something I could pull with that.
So what does your Volvo owner's manual say is the towing capacity? And what class of hitch receiver do you have mounted on it?
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:52 AM   #11
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Thanks for the sensible question, Protagonist. The towing capacity is 3300 pounds. I don't have a hitch yet, only fantasies in my mind of travel and scenery. I'm like a little kid, I guess. I'll do some more research. The Avion is 5500 lbs!
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Old 10-07-2014, 08:45 AM   #12
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You will see a lot of opinions about tow vehicles, which will range from diesel VW Jettas to 3/4 pickups. But some thoughts on weight: The vintage models made in the 60's tend to be lighter, and the trailers have gotten heavier each decade. Naturally, the larger trailers are heavier than the smaller ones. If you are dead-set on towing with the Volvo Station wagon, you will be very limited on the trailers you can tow. Even the smallest and lightest will be approaching your max towing capacity. I'm not trying to talk you out of an Airstream, but you might also look into some of the little fiberglass "egg" shaped trailers like the Casita.

Also, hiring someone to do massive repairs on a trailer is probably the most expensive way to go about it, short of buying a brand new unit. I can just about guarantee that if you were given a 40 year old trailer that has been sitting neglected for free, you would blow your budget rather quickly hiring a professional to do the repairs. As suggested earlier, you want a trailer that has already been repaired by someone who did it as their hobby, or labor of love, and then decided later that they wanted a bigger trailer, lost interest in RVing, etc..
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Old 10-07-2014, 03:05 PM   #13
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I think I am getting some really good advice here. I am thinking this out more clearly now. 1. I could tow up to 3300 pounds with the volvo, and I need to get a hitch receiver. 2. I love the airstreams, but its looking like they will all be too heavy and I can't afford another vehicle. 3. It would be silly to buy a very old one I don't know how to fix up, so I will look for a trailer that has already been repaired and out grown by someone. I'll consider other models, but the airstreams remain my favorite.

BTW-The Avion 25H is in Nichols NY if anyone wants to search. He was offering to sell it for $2000 and I suspect he might have gone even lower. Thanks all.
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