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Old 04-10-2007, 10:35 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by DennisT
for initial photos see under, products, pre-owned. It's the only '87 there. Not many photos, but a start.
looks pretty good, one small street side 'blemish' near the rear.

unless it's been submerged the subfloor is likely ok.

seeing surface rust on the frame is normal, sadly.

but not likely to affect this unit.

how fresh are the tires? check the date codes.

not a fan of carpet? solid surface flooring smells better; is easier to maintain, add throw rugs.

how much travel do you plan?

the axles should be fine unless it's been parked forever.

no vinyl ceiling is a plus...

how are the windows/seals and various rubber gaskets ?

like looking at hands, gaskets are a good sign of aging...

another plus is resale. this unit size and layout is very popular, even if the decor is dated.

the full awning package is a wonderful feature of these babies...

should you decide not to keep it, and the price NOW is right, there's very little downside short term.


there are how-tos on picture posting, it's pretty easy, but i've seen enough...

until you own it; then we want LOTS more photos!

and travel stories too....

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 04-10-2007, 11:13 PM   #16
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25' Excella

FWIW, the floorplan is the rear corner double that is pretty hard to find. If you like that plan over the twins, it may be hard to find another w a double bed.

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Old 04-11-2007, 12:26 AM   #17
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sounds good...

as said before, surface rust is fine. I think you might be really scared of what others have seen for 10,000+.... really, 4,000 more than that you are getting a pretty darned good unit.

Axles - I dunno - I've run up and down the west coast with my 1975 axles - now is the time I'm starting to notice things shook apart. If you are financing, that 2-3000 will cost more with interest. Or, you could wait awhile, use the unit as is, and learn on the forums... maybe even do it yourself!

All things break on RV's eventually... SOB or AS alike. If you start in a better condition, you have less to fix from the get go.

I say if it feels good, you are comfortable with the price, it smells good - then go for it. I've seen much worse for the same price (via ebay, etc).
Good luck! Also, I mean it, please join us for the NW rally in May, trailer or not!
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Old 04-11-2007, 07:21 AM   #18
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I noticed the access door on the streetside rear has a pretty good crease in it. Check inside it to see if it leaks. If it does, that would be a big something to have the dealer repair or replace before accepting the coach. Other than that, the dent just behind the door won't hurt anything, and may save you the anguish of getting "the first dent" later .
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Old 04-11-2007, 09:54 AM   #19
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Thanks....once again !

Cash. No financing here. Not that we're rich, we're not. Just cutting into reserves. The hope here, being an Airstream, is that if we take a health hit or something doesn't work out in the first couple years of it's owership, we would not loose as much as with most other things. And I do some monkey-wrenching, so mechanical things don't bother me unless it involves too much stress on my back.

Interestingly, those, "creases," that show in the dealer's photo look much more shallow in real life. I doubt any of that is more than a quarter inch deep and standing next to the trailer they are much less noticable than in the photo. No punctures either.

Good comments and obeservations by all of you from the photos.

Will be some hot conversation around the house momentarily and maybe another road trip to Spokane shortly.

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Old 04-11-2007, 07:06 PM   #20
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Unhappy The Spokane '87 Sovereign: story ended today....

Well folks, we have a conclusion. It's sort of a bad news, bad news deal: Late this morning I discovered a transmission seal leak in our older 1-ton tow vehicle. Next we sat down with a sharp pencil and figured out our outside-of-normal 2007 expense projections. That sent us into real overload. I called the Spokane dealer and told him we had to regroup and take the AS off the hold status. It was the only thing we could do and I was feeling under WAY too much pressure. He was courteous enough to leave us a telephone message this afternoon that he had sold it already to someone else. I think that partucular unit was nearly ideal for us but I think the timing for us was all wrong. We knew we would not be able to put many miles on it until 2008 and having NO experience with, "trailers," whatsoever didn't help.

Another issue for us I had not mentioned here was that we have some pets that we need to address with respect to traveling. It won't be that way forever, but it is now. The last my wife and I traveled together was a few years ago when we had, "pet coverage," here. The other issue is she has a condition called Fibromyalgia and when traveling using motels she is often unable to get limbered up until late morning and is looking for a place to rest by late afternoon. Makes motels real expensive when all we get is a six or seven hour travel day. That is the reason for considering for the first time a travel trailer with, "Airstream."

So I write this with some melancholy but it is now a good time to learn as much as we can about Airstreams and make a better and more knowledgeable plan for the future.

Thanks to all of you for your help. I'll keep in touch here.

Lastly, ... I wonder if the AS we were after sold to someone from this forum? Perhaps I unknowingly sold it myself ? (G)

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Old 04-11-2007, 07:27 PM   #21
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Well, hang in there and the right thing will come along. I think it's best not to buy something if you're feeling pressure, or unsure about it. There's usually a reason, even if you don't know exactly what it is.

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Old 04-11-2007, 07:32 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by DennisT
I crawled under and the torsion bar arms are slightly sloped below level. I have some concerns there, however, "fenders," still ride about 4"+ above wheel. Comments on this particularly invited. Of course dealer said it is fine.

I pulled up top cover over rear bumper and examined each end of that storage compartment. Looked inside the 3" holes on each end that look into the frame as suggested here. I see surface rust but not to any depth. I've looked at a lot of rusty metal where the scale is so deep it has to be chipped off and this is not that way. For a 20-year-old unit then, is surface rust in there normal?
As the owner of an '85 25' Sovereign I can say that these are nice units if well maintained. With regard to your questions above:

Axles: I am not convinced that upward axle angles mean anything on a 1980ish and later Airstream Trailer. It probably is an indicator of axle condition on older trailers, but not newer. I believe that around 1980 or so the factory reduced the starting (unloaded) axle angle from 22.5 degrees down to 10 degress down, which will result in a loaded angle that is actually up on even a new Airstream. I think this was done to reduce the height or center of gravity of Airstream trailers. I have no proof that this was done, but I have never seen an Airstream newer than 1980 with a downward axle angle, so I think I am right. And supposedly, the rubber in the torsion axles was changed around 1974 or so and the newer rubber is not supposed to harden like the ruber in the 1962 to 1973 axles did.

Rear Frame Corrosion: This is unfortunately typical in 1980's and 1990's Airstream trailers as the frames were not galvanized or treated with any other corrosion preventative. A little surface rust or light scale actually indicates an above average trailer. I have seem many with large rust thru holes in the rear frame ends, some of which were covered with light gauge aluminum panels to hide the evidence. I wouldn't touch a trailer with rust thru holes, but I'd have no issue with a trailer with slight surface rust or even slight scale. I'd just plan to paint the interior of the frame ends with rustoleuon (or equivalent) when time permits to slow the progress.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 04-11-2007, 09:47 PM   #23
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but I don't think you were quite ready... I got a sense that there was an undercurrent of uncertainty. I wouldn't want to be second guessing myself as time went on staring at the trailer.

About your tranny leak - where is it leaking? Almost all American tranny's seem to leak around the rear seal - is this where it is? Is it a lot, or do you notice some evidence of a leak but no fluid on the ground.

I think you said you had a 2001? Is it under warranty(sp?)?

Don't worry about the trailer - as I said, those rear wraps were rare. I'm sure it sold itself.
Good luck in the future, and let us know what you find.
I think there is a 1989 on EBay right now, rear twins (no rear wrap) if you want another look at a simular trailer.

Search here about traveling with pets - that can be an option too sometimes. Especially if it's dogs - cat's are a bit harder.
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Old 04-11-2007, 09:53 PM   #24
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Dennis,, so sorry about the trailer,, i also sensed a bit of unreadiness in your posts,, hope all goes well, and when you are ready, it will be a great adventure,,, best to you ,, donna
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:59 PM   #25
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thanks + trans

Thanks again. Yes, I think it had to turn out this way. We've been rippling through many changes over the past 18 mo. Moved 300 miles; bought 5A 1920's farm with Bungalow/Craftsman home including most of an old church my wife's ancestors were members of. Lots of getting settled; too many things on top of one-another. But we get manybe 5 cars a day by the house and nearest neighbor is a mile away; dead quiet living ! Love it. Had all this not been ongoing, we'd have been better prepared.

3M: trans leak - Well, that's the other thing. I have a 1992 Chev. 1-ton 4WD 6.5 turbo diesel with 170,000 miles. Very slow drip now from drain hole in dust cover under bell housing. Trans pan and trans rear is dry. So I have a very slow leak in front trans input shaft seal developing. Truck is in very good condition otherwise but I see a rebuilt trans in the near future. Might be cascading into dealing with newly acquired (older) Airstream pulled by an aging truck had this deal this morning worked. Truck is also a standard cab so not a good pet hauler in itself. It is not a daily driver as we have 3 other rigs on the road; it can still be a good truck, just have to take care of things.

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Old 04-11-2007, 11:00 PM   #26
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Oh, 3M: My comment about Trees of Mystery is because many years ago I spend quite a long time about 100 miles south of TOM on 101.


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