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Old 03-05-2011, 08:29 PM   #1
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Merrick , New York
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Newbie Help Please with purchase

Hi All,

I am looking to buy a used Airstream. Preferably a 1960's or 70's. I can't afford a 50's, the wood insides are a work of art. I have a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee AWD with a 6 cyl 4.0 motor. I have no idea what is the safest size to use with my car. Is a 22 or a 24 footer safe? I want to find one that is possibly original or 2nd owner.I want to replace all beds and couches. I want to be able to go over the whole Airstream and have a unit that will not break down on the road. If I have to add a new axle I will before I even go out. I was a mechanic before I retired, so repairing a unit will be something that I do myself. I also have done home plumbing & electric so I am familiar with how things work. If the stove breaks down, I can buy on the road a charcoal BBQ. I am not worried about this, but I do want the unit to be pulled with no headache. I like the vibe of an older unit and the price too. Like most, my money is tight so I need the best advice that I can get. My wife wants A/C, I do not care but I have to make her happy and want to go camping. I have an 11 YO son, so it will be for the 3 of us. Before I get any answers I want to thank everyone for their time.
Thanks
Jack
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:31 PM   #2
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Merrick , New York
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 3
Newbie Help Please with purchase

Hi All,

I think that I put this in the wrong section, so I am doing it again here.
I am looking to buy a used Airstream. Preferably a 1960's or 70's. I can't afford a 50's, the wood insides are a work of art. I have a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee AWD with a 6 cyl 4.0 motor. I have no idea what is the safest size to use with my car. Is a 22 or a 24 footer safe? I want to find one that is possibly original or 2nd owner.I want to replace all beds and couches. I want to be able to go over the whole Airstream and have a unit that will not break down on the road. If I have to add a new axle I will before I even go out. I was a mechanic before I retired, so repairing a unit will be something that I do myself. I also have done home plumbing & electric so I am familiar with how things work. If the stove breaks down, I can buy on the road a charcoal BBQ. I am not worried about this, but I do want the unit to be pulled with no headache. I like the vibe of an older unit and the price too. Like most, my money is tight so I need the best advice that I can get. My wife wants A/C, I do not care but I have to make her happy and want to go camping. I have an 11 YO son, so it will be for the 3 of us. Before I get any answers I want to thank everyone for their time.
Thanks
Jack
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:39 PM   #3
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XXXX , XXXX
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,601
Welcome Jack older units are lighter than modern ones. It would be helpful to know the towing capacity of the jeep.
Here is a link to airstream's website which has spec on weights and sizes.
Airstream, Inc :: Travel Trailer Specifications

When looking at older units pay particular attention to the condition of the floor and if possible the frame. Age and leaks may have taken quite a toll on the condition of both.
The frame will be tough to check as the underneath is fully enclosed but look for corrosion around the belly rivets or if it is sagging. That is usually an indication of frame rust.
The floor should be checked all around the perimeter of the shell wher it meets the floor. Pay particular attention to areas below all windows and openings, also the rear area which is prone to leaking. Check integrity of the floor with an ice pick to detect rot.
If you can travel try to get one from a dry climate like CA or AZ. Wet and salt climates are hard on units.
Smaller units will demand more money than larger ones.
Good luck on your search.
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:41 PM   #4
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XXXX , XXXX
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,601
Welcome Jack older units are lighter than modern ones. It would be helpful to know the towing capacity of the jeep.
Here is a link to airstream's website which has spec on weights and sizes.
Airstream, Inc :: Travel Trailer Specifications

When looking at older units pay particular attention to the condition of the floor and if possible the frame. Age and leaks may have taken quite a toll on the condition of both.
The frame will be tough to check as the underneath is fully enclosed but look for corrosion around the belly rivets or if it is sagging. That is usually an indication of frame rust.
The floor should be checked all around the perimeter of the shell wher it meets the floor. Pay particular attention to areas below all windows and openings, also the rear area which is prone to leaking. Check integrity of the floor with an ice pick to detect rot.
If you can travel try to get one from a dry climate like CA or AZ. Wet and salt climates are hard on units.
Smaller units will demand more money than larger ones.
Good luck on your search.
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Old 03-05-2011, 09:54 PM   #5
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1962 16' Bambi
2001 31' Limited
1985 29' Sovereign
Jenison , Michigan
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 142
Images: 8
Thanks wasagachris................the info. above, high lighted in blue is priceless!
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Old 03-06-2011, 12:01 AM   #6
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1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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Jack

Welcome to the forum and to the search for the best AS for you and your family.

It is good that you are handy, as it is more difficult to own a vintage Airstream when you have to pay somebody else to work on it. It is also not as much fun and you miss out on a lot of learning, making friends and the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

Vintage is better in many respects as they are lighter, less expensive and in some ways, better than the newer ones. I would say that you may need to keep your trailer weight below 3,500 lbs (just a guess). I would look for a single axle trailer in the length range of 17-22 feet.

Dan
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