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Old 06-14-2017, 06:32 PM   #15
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That's what my gut is telling me...it's so exciting and nauseating all at the same time because I've never taken on a project of this magnitude. Even though I've never tackled a subfloor, I've read enough to know I'm not ready nor do I want to if at all possible!

My husband (who's not a fan of buying the 1973) says I shouldn't touch axels that old. How do I know? I have no idea about how to go about inspecting that aspect of the trailer. I see a great exterior and interior that is totally re-doable.
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Old 06-15-2017, 08:39 AM   #16
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Hi

The main wear items on the axles are the bearings (just replace them) and the brakes (have them checked)). The axles themselves don't rotate, so not much to wear there. Do have them checked, but don't worry a lot about it being a gotcha.

Bob
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Old 06-15-2017, 02:33 PM   #17
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Buying any used Airstream is like buying a used car. It is buyer beware regardless of the age, and the only way you can mitigate your risk is to inspect thoroughly. I already offered my 2 cents on the rolled trailer, now for a few comments on the '73 (bear in mind that I own a '73):

This trailer is over 40 years old, so manage your expectations--there will be work to do that will go well beyond new paint and curtains. You wouldn't expect to buy a 40 year old car and then drive cross-country in it, nor should you expect to do so in a travel trailer.

Go to the "Portal" page and scroll down, looking on the right hand side of the screeen. There is an interface there that helps you to find volunteer trailer inspectors, and a Trailer Inspector's Checklist. At the very least, go through the checklist--this will help you to know what you are up against.

My opinion is that for the asking price (even if there is negotiating room), the trailer should be ready to go camping. If the floor is rotting away (especially in back), or there are major appliances that don't work, then the price should be adjusted down accordingly.

In my mind, when someone advertises a vintage trailer as "all original," that is more of a red flag than a benefit. It tells me that nobody has done any rennovation work on this trailer since 1973, and there is likely to be a lot of work to be done. Just my cynicism, perhaps.

The axles on these trailers use rubber torsion "springs" built in. Rubber loses its "spring" after 40 years, so if these are the original axles, they will likely be ready for replacement--this is a question to ask, and also something you need to educate yourself on as to how to evaluate them. Swapping out the axles may seem like major surgery, but it is one of the simpler repairs you can do on a vintage trailer. It literally involves removing 4 bolts per axle and disconnecting the brake wiring. You can pay your local mechanic to do it if you aren't hands on, but just be advised that vintage trailer ownership is a hands-on business unless you want to go broke paying a technician to do all the work.

Note, also that in 1973, trailers didn't have all of the modern conveniences that come standard today. In particular, you are likely to be lacking a grey water tank, unless someone retro-fit one in. Another question to ask... And depending how you plan to use the trailer, it might not matter to you.

The shell aluminum wasn't thicker back in the 70's, but they did use stronger alloys. Your '73 shell is likely to be 6061 T6, which is far less dent prone than today's softer alloys.

Good luck!
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Old 06-15-2017, 06:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
Buying any used Airstream is like buying a used car. It is buyer beware regardless of the age, and the only way you can mitigate your risk is to inspect thoroughly. I already offered my 2 cents on the rolled trailer, now for a few comments on the '73 (bear in mind that I own a '73):



This trailer is over 40 years old, so manage your expectations--there will be work to do that will go well beyond new paint and curtains. You wouldn't expect to buy a 40 year old car and then drive cross-country in it, nor should you expect to do so in a travel trailer.



Go to the "Portal" page and scroll down, looking on the right hand side of the screeen. There is an interface there that helps you to find volunteer trailer inspectors, and a Trailer Inspector's Checklist. At the very least, go through the checklist--this will help you to know what you are up against.



My opinion is that for the asking price (even if there is negotiating room), the trailer should be ready to go camping. If the floor is rotting away (especially in back), or there are major appliances that don't work, then the price should be adjusted down accordingly.



In my mind, when someone advertises a vintage trailer as "all original," that is more of a red flag than a benefit. It tells me that nobody has done any rennovation work on this trailer since 1973, and there is likely to be a lot of work to be done. Just my cynicism, perhaps.



The axles on these trailers use rubber torsion "springs" built in. Rubber loses its "spring" after 40 years, so if these are the original axles, they will likely be ready for replacement--this is a question to ask, and also something you need to educate yourself on as to how to evaluate them. Swapping out the axles may seem like major surgery, but it is one of the simpler repairs you can do on a vintage trailer. It literally involves removing 4 bolts per axle and disconnecting the brake wiring. You can pay your local mechanic to do it if you aren't hands on, but just be advised that vintage trailer ownership is a hands-on business unless you want to go broke paying a technician to do all the work.



Note, also that in 1973, trailers didn't have all of the modern conveniences that come standard today. In particular, you are likely to be lacking a grey water tank, unless someone retro-fit one in. Another question to ask... And depending how you plan to use the trailer, it might not matter to you.



The shell aluminum wasn't thicker back in the 70's, but they did use stronger alloys. Your '73 shell is likely to be 6061 T6, which is far less dent prone than today's softer alloys.



Good luck!


Thank you!! That's exactly the kind of information and delivery I was looking for .

I know "all original" is highly sought after and regarded and as much as I appreciate the vintage character, I'm a fan of modern enmities as well. Probably a generational thing as this trailer is 5 years my senior .

You've given me a lot of good specific points to consider. I guess it's between God and my gut now...
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Old 06-16-2017, 06:17 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by go_lope View Post
Thank you!! That's exactly the kind of information and delivery I was looking for .

I know "all original" is highly sought after and regarded and as much as I appreciate the vintage character, I'm a fan of modern enmities as well. Probably a generational thing as this trailer is 5 years my senior .

You've given me a lot of good specific points to consider. I guess it's between God and my gut now...
Hi

.... and the inspection report from the inspector. Please don't leave this part out.

Bob
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Old 06-16-2017, 06:33 AM   #20
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Hi



.... and the inspection report from the inspector. Please don't leave this part out.



Bob


Yes!
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Old 06-16-2017, 08:25 AM   #21
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The importance of "all original" is really a matter of taste. You will see ads bragging about the originality, but you also see plenty of buyers who "want to make the trailer their own" as soon as they take possession of it. My guess is that Originality is important to a niche crowd--don't pay extra for it if it isn't important to you. Also, originality has greater value in the really old trailers, but only the most hard-core historian would question your upgrading a 70's interior.

I would take a quality redone interior over a tired old 70's interior with mouldy carpet hiding floor rot any day.

My general view of vintage trailers is that they all need some major refurbishment done. If the previous owner hasn't already done it, then it will be up to you. One of your first questions when shopping for a vintage trailer should be "what work have you done on it while you owned it?" Again, for the $13k asking price, I would expect serviceable axles, rot free floors, and all working appliances. Even a very honest seller can tell you the trailer is in great shape and ready to go, but not realize they have floor rot and rear-end separation, because they have never thoroughly inspected the trailer.

I'm not trying to warn you away from the vintage trailer--just trying to set expectations. If your current choice is between a vintage trailer with tons of refurbishment to do or a modern trailer that has a wrecked exterior, I think I would keep shopping--there are plenty of trailers out there in your price range. Just realize any RV is an expensive hobby. What you initially pay for it is just the down payment. New and old trailers alike will require repairs, and if you let them get away from you, they can get quite expensive/labor intensive (for example, subfloor replacement).

good luck!
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Old 06-16-2017, 10:33 AM   #22
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Axle and tires are way easier and less expensive to deal with than exterior damage.

Sounds like you wouldn't have to do a complete renovation all at once if you didn't want to. You could camp in it and decide what to replace a little at a time if the electrical and plumbing all works. Even though though we are doing a complete renovation all at once I still have to look at it as a lot of little jobs instead of one big job so I don't get overwhelmed.

My vote is for the old school.
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:46 AM   #23
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Hi

One of the most basic advantages of "original" is that you don't have to deal with the mods some guy named Bob put in who knows how long ago. Since you have no idea how well they were done (or even what they are), there can be surprises buried down under this or that. With a reasonably original setup, you have a pretty good idea of what is under / behind this or that.

Bob (The guy who never documents any mods)
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