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Old 02-11-2019, 01:10 PM   #1
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Once in a lifetime chance?

Hi All
I'm considering buying my first Airstream and can get a 1975 for $1000. It will need new floors, electrics, plumbing and a lot of interior work but the body and glass is good. Seems like a killer deal, but I have no idea what I'm potentially in for. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, new guy.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:15 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum!

You might want to read the recent Love Shack thread for its insights into what may be a long road ahead, told with good photos and a healthy sense of humor:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f227...ck-183431.html

The new search function in the blue box above works great [on the desktop version of this site], and here are the results for "shell off" . . . which refers to the process of total restoration, accomplished by lifting the aluminum "shell" off, and re-doing almost everything else including the steel frame:

https://www.google.com/search?q=shee...=airforums.com

I would encourage a thorough reading of many of the threads linked in those search results, so you can proceed with eyes wide-open.

Lots of folks have renovated lots of Airstreams, so best wishes, but it is a ton of work. The end results are often stunning and rewarding, but the number of folks who do not reach the end of the road is not that well documented IMO.

Good luck,

Peter
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:42 PM   #3
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It will be easy to spend 25,000 on it. Once you remove the cabinets, they may not survive and be fit for reusing, and so you will be virtually replacing everything. If the frame is rotted out, it can get dicey if it is worth doing, unless you can do the work yourself. Honestly, unless you are very handy, can do virtually all the work yourself, and have a place to do the work, you would be better off buying one that is in better condition for 15,000 or so, and just doing little superficial stuff. If you have to hire out the work, you will spend way more than it will be worth.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:21 PM   #4
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If the body and glass are good, ( and I mean good. Uou cant beat out dents), I would buy it.
But , I can make a frame, and do all the work myself.
It will still cost me $20,000 at least. and a year or two.
With NO labor. Double or triple that if you are not doing the work.

So, I agree with the guys above, if you do not want a year project before you can go camping, then a higher priced ready to go unit would be better
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:09 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forums!

Out of curiousity, how long is the trailer/what model is it?

I'll second all the statements above: 40 year old trailers that have been neglected for the last 20, and need a complete rebuild are only once in a lifetime opportunities because most sane people won't do more than one complete rebuild of a trailer. The starting price is a pittance compared to what you will invest to make the thing useable again.

Neglected, field-find trailers that require a ton of work should be cheap, but sure, someone out there would by that same trailer sight unseen on eBay for $6k. The most important quetion for you is, do you have the patience and drive to do a multi-year rebuild, and do you have the skills to do the work yourself.

good luck!
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:21 PM   #6
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Do it if you are set on restoring a vintage Airstream. Otherwise you might find a excellent used modern trailer for about what you'll spend on the restoration.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:26 PM   #7
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Sorry, Doc, doesn't seem like much of a bargain to me. No way I would buy it... an old travel trailer is a formidable adversary, the chances are really high of it beating you up, and devouring huge stacks of cash.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocTrev View Post
Hi All
I'm considering buying my first Airstream and can get a 1975 for $1000. It will need new floors, electrics, plumbing and a lot of interior work but the body and glass is good. Seems like a killer deal, but I have no idea what I'm potentially in for. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, new guy.
Do a rough spreadsheet on everything you think it needs and what that will cost you in parts and your time and see where it goes.
Are you considering the axles likely need replacing?
Tires
If the floor is gone the frame will likely be in poor condition and may need welding work or possibly rebuild
All the appliances, water heater, AC unit, furnace, refer, etc.
You said electrical
You said plumbing, new shower valve, sink and K faucet plus the sinks themselves plus the piping.
Cabinetry
Flooring?
12V batteries, charger
propane tanks most likely out of certification
Upholstery and curtains
Etc.
Etc.
Etc.

Not trying to rain on your parade but get the wheels turning.
Maybe it is a deal but just be ready for what lies ahead.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:58 AM   #9
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Thank you all very much for the valuable input. After reading everyones advice and following the links I can safely say that I will not be buying the Airstream in question. I consider myself handy, but I don't have the tools or the time or the space if it ends up being a body-off restoration. Thanks again, back to looking.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:43 AM   #10
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Thanks for the update . . . a wise decision IMO.



Peter
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