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Old 03-03-2018, 08:55 AM   #1
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New London , CT
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Newbie in CT, about to take the plunge

And by "take the plunge", I mean "go from full time living in a normal house to fulltiming in an RV with a serious emphasis on boondocking".

So I found this ad: http://www.airstreamclassifieds.com/...-new-jersey-3/ . I'm hopefully going to see her today. I want to see if she looks solid and is ready to tow. The interior is ready to become whatever I want, which means installing a kitchen and figuring out sleeping and dining spaces. I hope to make her as off-grid as I can. There's already a composting toilet, so no black water. I live in CT, but may soon be moving south. For winter heat, I'm seriously thinking about a very small wood stove that can vent through the range hood vent. I'm also looking into a SERIOUS solar setup, like on the order of 1000W of freestanding panels. I prefer freestanding because it means no holes drilled in the roof, no cimbing on the roof to clean them, and I can park in the shade but have the panels in the sun. They'll just get tied down to the bed when I travel.

Can anyone point me to a good walkthrough of how to replace the electrical connection to the tow vehicle with a modern one (wiring diagram?) Is this rig a good price (yes, that composting toilet does sell for almost $1000)? ANY tips/advice/anything are more than welcome.

Oh, the other thing; I plan to install some manner of recycling shower. I hope to keep my total water consumption under 5 gallons per day, but I love a good long shower. I'm familiar with Navy showers (I've served on submarines for 13 years), but if some extra plumbing means a lot more comfort, I'll jump on that in a heartbeat.
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Old 03-03-2018, 12:43 PM   #2
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This trailer has many issues. I would keep looking...
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Old 03-03-2018, 06:55 PM   #3
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Hello from Colorado: Welcome to Air Forums. Many of us started our Airstream ownership right here; reading, learning, exploring the Classifieds, etc.

Full timing in an Airstream is a challenge. They are fair weather trailers, and have rather small interiors. I see many more 5th wheels and even motor homes as full time rigs as opposed to Airstreams. However, there are plenty of people who do full time in an Airstream.

I agree with azflycaster. The trailer you linked us to looks very rough and very overpriced. That kind of money would buy a very good 90s trailer with much less problems for you. Since you are interested in full timing, you would be wise to look at the larger models in my view.

I renovated a 1966 Trade Wind 24', one size smaller than this Overlander 26'. The mid sixties trailers have some unique parts that are difficult to find and rather expensive to replace. The Corning curved glass windows are a case in point. Same with the Bargman door lockset, and the Herr vent lifts. I now have a 75 Overlander 27' that I'm working on. It is a later body style and the parts are more readily available. My Overlander is in pretty good condition and not that much more than the 66 in the ad.

So study the classifieds. Get the best trailer you can afford. Be ready to put a few thou in it after you get it to make it "boondock" ready. Be ready to learn all about these Airstreams so you can maintain it yourself. And be ready to move when the weather turns too cold or too hot.

Most of all, have fun.

David
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Old 03-04-2018, 07:47 AM   #4
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Thanks for the advice. I knew she was a little rough going in. I went t go see her, and the work that's been done is quality work, but I think there's more there than I can really tackle at the moment. It's tough finding a good used rig on the east coast; it seems like every ad is Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, or California. I'm going to keep looking around.
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Old 03-04-2018, 04:50 PM   #5
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Do yourself a favor...Buy a newer trailer, with not so many problems as the one your looking at....Your gonna spend a lot of money getting that one in the good condition..You might as well get something that's in better shape, with fewer problems...
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Old 03-04-2018, 06:53 PM   #6
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It is not unusual to travel 1000 one way miles to buy a used Airstream. I did.

Note that Air Forums has folks like me who volunteer to inspect a trailer for sale to the benefit of the buyer at no cost. If you see a potential trailer, don't hesitate to ask for an experienced inspector and then read the report. You can ask for an inspection on the "PORTAL" page, the first tab on the top left, and then find the Request an Inspector about midway down the page on the right.

I once drove 500 miles one way to inspect a trailer I thought would fit my needs. The advertisement was good, and so was the phone call. When I arrived, I found more problems than I wanted. Like you, I passed on that trailer. I'm sure someone bought it and probably has it renovated by now.

The east coast dealer Colonial Airstream is very big, offers good prices and service, and may have a good selection of used trailers. It is a good place to visit to learn all about Airstreams. Check out their website.

David
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Old 03-04-2018, 08:42 PM   #7
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1000 miles...whew! I suppose it could all be worth it in the end. A lot of good advice is coming up, particularly the bit about inspectors being available. That's a nice touch; I guess that's what can happen when there's a real community that has grown up around a quality brand. Following the weather is less of an option for me (I go where the Navy tells me to), but I'm also not very demanding about my environment. I'm six foot one, and every RV I've ever been in has more headspace than a lot of places on a submarine, and you can at least get out of the RV a lot easier!

There seem to be a lot of used models 30 feet and up floating around. It seems a bit daunting to tow something that long, especially when the need arises to back up, but I suppose that's nothing some practice (and maybe a backup camera) can't fix.
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Old 03-04-2018, 09:59 PM   #8
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Our 86 Limited is 34' long. It was the first Airstream I ever towed. I tow it with a Super Duty diesel, a rather overkill for a 8000 gross weight trailer. I also use a no sway Pro Pride hitch which is quite excellent. A more than adequate tow vehicle is a necessity for safety. Backing into a tight campsite is a challenge, but you become proficient at it. Just look at those truckers back into a loading dock between two other trucks with high degree of precision. Granted they are fifth wheel trailers. None the less, it can be done.

An Airstream is somewhat like a submarine. Small and tight on the inside. But at least the Airstream has windows! I like to say it's similar to living in a Lear jet. Small but pretty comfortable once you're seated.

Yep, I drove from Colorado to Louisiana to purchase my current 75 Overlander project trailer. It was worth the 4 nights I spent on the road, two of which were in my new trailer. It was fun for me. I saw all of Texas!

David
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Old 03-05-2018, 06:43 PM   #9
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I'll say it again, this volunteer inspector thing is great. I think I found the right one for me; the only problem is, it's 2000 miles away! That's easily an 8-day trip both ways. Looking at the cost of fuel, food, and hotels, it's almost cheaper to have it shipped, and that's besides the difficulty of getting that much time off work. And what if something goes wrong? Does anyone have any experience getting these things shipped, either professionally or by an individual? On the off chance, is anyone planning on making a trip from Colorado to the east coast and feel like making some money to tow a trailer?
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Old 03-05-2018, 07:40 PM   #10
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There are lots of folks who tow new trailers to the various dealers all over the country. I'll bet most new Airstreams are towed to their purchasing dealer. Research these folks. I'll bet someone would be willing to tow a used one for you to your address of choice. I don't know what the cost might be.

I would be reluctant to purchase a used Airstream without first inspecting it myself. Even a good Airstream inspector can't read your mind. You might not like the decor, the smell, the layout, etc, etc.

David
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Old 03-05-2018, 08:42 PM   #11
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The decor and layout are two of the things that appeal to me most in this one. I especially like the rear bedroom; I occasionally have a guest or three over for dinner, and walking through the bedroom to use the bathroom seems offputting. I would like to "put eyes on target" as we say, if it's feasible. But if it isn't, I'd like to think there's not much I couldn't overcome. Then again, I may learn a valuable lesson; maybe I'm allergic to beetle kill counter tops or something.
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Old 03-06-2018, 05:39 AM   #12
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I would buy from Colonial.
First rate reputation.
First rate service department.
Some type of warranty.

Removes loads of risk=more joy!

IMO

Tom
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Old 03-06-2018, 06:08 AM   #13
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Ouch! Pretty Rough looking for $15K. Keep looking..
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Old 03-06-2018, 06:11 AM   #14
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We don't Salt the roads out here in CA. Be careful of Scammers too.
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