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Old 10-19-2017, 06:59 AM   #1
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Newbie thinking about a remodeling project

Hello, I'm new to these forums, so let me know if this is the right sub forum to post this .

I'm looking for advice about buying used a airstream for remodeling. I'm planning on building out my own interior, so I suppose the "as is" interior condition is not important, as long as the aluminum panels, subfloor, and trailer don't have water damage, rust, or leaks?

If anybody can point me to some good resources, I've been reading the archives of this forum for ideas.

My plan is to seal the interior skin of water, replace wiring and plumbing, insulate with closed cell foam, and then replace interior metal skin. Then add appliances, furniture, etc. eventually solar panels for off grid electricity.
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Old 10-19-2017, 08:57 AM   #2
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Sounds like you have a big project ahead of you. Well, here is some advice:

1) Manage your expectations--all trailers leak unless the owners have been dilligent about maintenance over the years. Most trailers in "as found" condition will have been neglected for years, and as a result, the only vintage trailer you will find without a rusting frame and rotting subfloor will be one which has already had the repairs performed.

2) Your list of projects includes pretty much everything except floor and frame repairs. If you are going to do all that stuff, you may as well do the the floor and frame as well. The advantage of this is that you know it was done right, and you can buy that dilapidated wreck of a trailer today and get to work, rather than spending the next two years hunting for that beautiful unicorn without floor rot.

3) There is a thread on these forums that brings together links to all the "full monty" threads, as well as external blogs. Peruse a bunch of these to see what you are signing up for. Get the back episodes of The VAP (Vintage Airstream Podcast). Especially the early episodes describe the systems, the repairs, and what to expect--you can absorb a lot during your daily commute.

Good luck!
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:17 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by MilesOfRoses View Post
Hello, I'm new to these forums, so let me know if this is the right sub forum to post this .

I'm looking for advice about buying used a airstream for remodeling. I'm planning on building out my own interior, so I suppose the "as is" interior condition is not important, as long as the aluminum panels, subfloor, and trailer don't have water damage, rust, or leaks?

If anybody can point me to some good resources, I've been reading the archives of this forum for ideas.

My plan is to seal the interior skin of water, replace wiring and plumbing, insulate with closed cell foam, and then replace interior metal skin. Then add appliances, furniture, etc. eventually solar panels for off grid electricity.
Use the "inspectors" available on this site: http://www.airforums.com/forums/members/list/
They can help you assess the condition of a unit and provide valuable info on what it might take to get it in shape for your needs.

Also look through this check list to identify other issues that you may need to consider - axle condition, plumbing, black/gray/fresh water tanks, etc.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f138...ist-43294.html

There are a lot of folks hoping to find what you are looking for - clean body, floor and frame. These items are hard to find in good shape inexpensively... and they can be quite a bit of work to repair. Not sure what your budget is but you can be certain that if the interior is in poor shape, the other bits are too. While floor/frame damage can be found in units less than 10 ys old, other issues like axle failure, furnace recalls and plumbing/tank damage are common in older or vintage units. Be prepared to inspect a lot of units - and maybe traveling outside your area to see ones that appear "legit".

You'll find tons of information on this site - use the search function to find all kinds of info. In addition to searching on "full monte", try these terms:
floor rot, rear end sag, inspecting trailer, axle replacement, running gear, leaks, window repair and riveting. Understanding the possible pit-falls and repairs is valuable in finding a unit that you are happy with - and assessing value.

Cheers,
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:50 PM   #4
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.

2) Your list of projects includes pretty much everything except floor and frame repairs. If you are going to do all that stuff, you may as well do the the floor and frame as well. The advantage of this is that you know it was done right, and you can buy that dilapidated wreck of a trailer today and get to work, rather than spending the next two years hunting for that beautiful unicorn without floor rot.
I just want to work on something with good "bones" because
I don't know how to weld, so I am trying to get an airstream that doesn't need welding work on the trailer or welding work on the frame. I think I can eventually handle all of the non-welding remodeling work insude of the airstream, I have lots of experience remodeling traditional houses.

I'm sure that most of cheap uses trailers have leaks, so waterproofing would be my first plan after gutting the interior.

My budget is tight, but I have lots of free time to spend a few months on a fixer upper trailer project.
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Old 10-20-2017, 08:47 AM   #5
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Welding is no big deal--I hired a guy to rebuild the last 4 ft. of my frame. Cost about $400, but I didn't have to buy a welding machine and learn a new trade.

It is also quite difficult to verify the condition of the frame because it is almost entirely covered by the bellypan. I had no idea my frame was in such bad shape until I started pulling things apart.

When you say that your budget is tight and that you have a few months to do a huge project like this, I conclude that your expectations need some calibration. Most full rebuilds like you are describing take years to finish, unless you can spend months doing it as a full time job (and have helpers).

There are plenty of "gutted" trailers out there for sale. The sellers have all kinds of explanations for why they are selling, but it usually comes down to the fact that they thought they could splash some paint on the walls and replace the flooring, and they would be traveling in style, and the more they touched the trailer, the clearer the enormity of the project came into focus. So they throw in the towel.

good luck!
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