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Old 05-10-2015, 04:36 PM   #1
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I've always loved the look of Airstreams, and recently had what seemed a good deal come into my lap. It's a '71 31ft International Sovereign for $2,000.
However, the windows were shot out by kids "a few years ago." I figured a new floor and windows might be an easy fix, and that it was still a great deal - then started reading here. Sounds like frame rot and wheel bearings and a host of other issues should be EXPECTED, and that it might not be a great deal at all - especially with the up-front cost of replacing the four windows.
I'd love thoughts and opinions. I'm handy, and was planning to do the work myself, but if time and materials are going to rocket the cost up really quickly, perhaps I'm better off finding a unit with a bit less damage.

Thanks
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Old 05-10-2015, 04:50 PM   #2
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Assuming you work for free, and assuming you have and/or will acquire the specialized knowledge to complete the project, and based on your description of the condition of this particular trailer, be prepared for parts and material costs in excess of $15,000 and a thousand man hours of your time.

Older, "barn find" Airsteams like this are labors of love by those who enjoy the challenge, have the time, and cherish owning a restored classic.

If you think you are getting a deal on a cheap trailer that you will be camping in this coming summer, keep moving along....
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Old 05-10-2015, 04:52 PM   #3
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Welcome. You are the only one who can decide what that coach will be worth to you. You are looking at a coach that is 44 years old and hasn't been moved in years. You will have issues to deal with that a similar coach that has been used regularly won't have.

If you're still online, come on into the chat room and we can visit a bit more about this. I'm in The Lobby now.
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Old 05-10-2015, 06:08 PM   #4
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Keep looking. $15K is the low end of what you could be spending.
Specifically. What are you in the market for?
If you think a '74 Argosy 26' rear bath, mid twin, front dinette would work for you send me a PM ( private message) with your email address. I will send pics and a list of what has been completed on this coach.
I am 200 miles from Denver. You are welcome to come and look.


Sent from my iPod touch using Airstream Forums
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Old 05-10-2015, 06:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ere109 View Post
I've always loved the look of Airstreams, and recently had what seemed a good deal........

Thanks
It's usually at this point we tell people to RUN not walk away, BUT it's up to you as to how much it's going to take to get her back up and running OR get another trailer.

It comes down to one of three paths to take:

1) Pay the big bucks to have a proffessional to fix up your trailer. They know what to look for and where to look for it as far as damage is concerned. The job will be done far faster than you could do it but will cost mucho dinaro and you will never recover 50% of the cost.

2) Take it apart CAREFULLY yourself to find out exactly what damage has been done, remembering to take lots of photos, measurements and notes on fitment, electrical connections , plumbing connections etc. etc. Read everyhing you can on how to fix the damage and if possible find a rivet master close to you for help and advice. The thousand hours of labour could be a very conservative amount if you're doing a full Monty.

3) Post it for sale for $3000.00, sell for $2,500.00 and take your new found knowledge to find a trailer in better condition.

The flip side of this is....better the devil you know, versus the devil you don't. What I mean is, if you put in the time and expense into this trailer with new tech materials like Coosa board for the subfloor, for example, and do a very good job of the restoration, then you will know every square inch of your trailer. You will know how to fix anything and everything; where as spending more money on a better trailer that may one day need to have all this work done to it anyway.

You're in a Pandora's Box and I don't envy your position.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:16 PM   #6
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Thank you all for your time and input. Wow - 1,000 hours is a huge commitment. I had (naively) imagined that 12 hours in windows and removing rotted panels and I'd be halfway there. Then on to the summer camping
I also got an email from a member who sent some encouragement - made me feel a bit better. I can definitely now understand that this will/would be a labor of love, and that I'd better be ready for a significant investment of time and money before I even open the door.
I'll take the weekend and think about it, climb around underneath the thing, poke at the walls, spend some time getting to know the trailer so I better understand the challenge.
I appreciate all of your feedback.
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Old 06-12-2015, 03:36 PM   #7
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A new update, for anyone interested in seeing pics. I finally got inside of the trailer this week to get photos. There are windows broken out all along the "back" side of the camper (the side that would face the opposing lane of traffic). The back window is also smashed out.
The floor didn't feel soft, but there are some large-ish dents in the body, and one hole that looks like it may have held an antenna? My ultimate goal is to park this and use it as a camp - maybe being transported once a year at most, if I'm lucky. It will need six new windows, if I count correctly, and the cover is off from the AC on the roof. Is there danger from having that back bumper storage open to the elements? Anything else stick out to you folks?

https://goo.gl/photos/xn5H61hFAovEbnp2A
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Old 06-12-2015, 04:12 PM   #8
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I thought I posted a link, but it doesn't seem to have made it. I'll try again, and also post some actual pictures:
https://goo.gl/photos/xn5H61hFAovEbnp2A
Stove


Furnace:


Fridge - broken hinge on top


Front electric panel?


Air conditioner:


All four windows smashed:


There's a BB hole visible in the bottom left of that window.


Rear window smashed out.


Missing AC vent cover - an easy fix, or is the unit probably ruined?


Roof dent - smooth, should come out.


Bigger dent


Antenna hole in front?


Everything behind the bumper is exposed...
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Old 06-12-2015, 04:57 PM   #9
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I would buy and flip, but wouldn't dare try to restore.
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Old 06-12-2015, 05:21 PM   #10
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Run Forrest, RUN!

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Old 06-12-2015, 06:17 PM   #11
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Old 06-12-2015, 08:47 PM   #12
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The only thing of value in your pictures is the refrigerator (if it works). This thing will takeover your life and bank account even if you get it for free. RUN.
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:21 AM   #13
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I'm really hoping you didn't pay $2000 for the trailer. If so, use it as a very expensive life learning tool.

The subfloor will most likely have water damage from water streaming in from the windows and will most likely need a full replacement. Windows are very expensive as they come with the frame, so maybe $500 per window from Vintage Airstream supply, Inland RV or Airstream Supply. I won't even try to imagine possible frame rot as in 71+ the frames were shrunked down to 3" from 4" and the 31'+ trailers were susceptible to frame droop.

Your dream of turning it into a camp trailer is okay if you can live with floor mold and the smell of damp but I wouldn't if I were you for health reasons.

As for transporting once a year.....on a flatbed trailer would be your cheapest option as new axles for the trailer will be costly.

I personally would part out the trailer and keep what I felt I needed for a future project.

One last thing.....you're not the first person to buy an old hulk of an Airstream with big dreams, only to find out the nightmare they can be in money and time, but at least mine has a great frame, windows and all the bits and pieces.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f311...me-106269.html.

You were very smart to post and ask the people that have been down that road; be smart and cut your losses and find one in better condition. We would like for all Airstreams to be saved and restored but understand that some shouldn't be saved.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 06-13-2015, 01:12 PM   #14
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Thank you again for all of your input. I really appreciate it, and it gives me greater confidence in the Airstream community - and the type of people I will have to interact with when I do find the "right" trailer. I'll keep reading here and watching prices for the right trailer for me. It's certainly out there, just sad it wasn't this one.

Ethan
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