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Old 09-18-2016, 06:34 AM   #1
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Oldsmar , Florida
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Shopping for a 27-30' Airstream (Used)

In December, 2015, I purchased a 40' MCI coach. It was converted to an RV around 1990 and has all of the basic systems. Not fancy and I've used it about 5 times for weekend camping.

My wife has never taken to the bus. She wants a TT with slides and nice features. We've looked at the "stick and staples" variety of TT's. Cheap but I do not see quality. Sure, they look nice. I just don't see a good resale market (these things sit on Craigslist forever). And, I have read enough stories about mis-aligned frames, electrical fires, leaky windows, poor cabinet construction, etc. that makes me want to give Airstreams a close look. They have 2 of the 3 things my wife wants (TT and nice features... no slides). For me, they offer durability and good resale.

Which leads me to the candidate Airstream I am investigating: 2005 30' Safari. The seller is going to send me more pictures and information (hope to get it today). What impresses me also is the construction quality; it is comparable to my 40' bus with the riveted exterior panels on an aluminum frame.

I have a 2014 Chevy Silverado High Country 1/2 ton with 5.3L, 4WD and 3.73 gears (355hp/383tq). It has the nice tow features (towing package, tow/haul mode in the 6-speed trans, trans cooler, brake controller and both electrical plugs at the hitch). And, it has a full 2nd row seat and locking bed cover for needed storage and cab space for long trips.

Objective: TT that we can take on 1-2 week vacations and that will last into our retirement years with normal maintenance (ie. next 15-20 years).

I will be selling my 40' bus once I have spruced it up a bit and have a TT that we can enjoy.
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Old 09-18-2016, 07:27 AM   #2
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1979 31' Sovereign
Spring , Texas
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Welcome to the community! In case you haven't had much time to explore yet, there is a feature which will connect you with someone in your area who can go with you to inspect your prospect. We went alone when we were shopping, but that was after lots of research and looking at nearly everything else available, both new and used.

At the risk of stirring up controversy, don't let anyone tell you Airstreams don't leak. All RVs leak. They often get pulled down some not nice roads. We've driven over plenty of horrible pavement including on interstates. Use your RV frequently and things get loose. I see you live in Florida. Humidity may or may not be an issue for you there, but the sun can cause issues. Where has the AS been stored? If it's been sitting in the sun, window and door seals can shrink and crack. High temps don't help either. Check all seals on every opening in the trailer including AC and ventilation. Look hard underneath sinks for signs of leaky plumbing. You'll have to get down on the ground and look underneath. Not everything is aluminum. Are there any signs of rust? Including the torsion axles? Test the flooring in every nook and cranny you can reach. The most vulnerable parts of the plywood subfloor are going to be near openings, the outside edges of the walls and under the plumbing. Don't forget to check around the fresh water pump. There are ways to test if there is any separation between the shells and the chassis. Sit on the rear bumper and look for sagging. Be suspicious of heavy fragrances. Most importantly ask the current owners if they've kept records of all maintenance, repairs and changes made to the trailer. Do they still have the service manual? Our '79 not only had a service manual but came with copious notes from the PO. The documentation sealed the deal for us.

By the way, I'm the wife. I understand the desire for plenty of storage space. Floor space can be nice too. Won't deny it. On our last trip (5 weeks) we traveled with 5 dogs and 4 rabbits. Would slides have been nice? Sure. But they have their own issues. They're moving parts - opportunity for failure usually when most inconvenient. If your trailer is for close-to-home camping, how cozy are the campsites? Is the trailer still comfortable with slides closed? We've had plenty of issues with campsites not being quite the right size for our 31', especially if we didn't want to unhitch our BAV (big ass van, pardon my French) while there.

In the event you can't find someone to inspect the trailer, look up the e-book by the Long, long Honeymoon folks on buying a used or vintage AS. We read it and found it quite helpful.
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Old 09-18-2016, 07:34 AM   #3
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Your making the right choice. Congrats and welcome!
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Old 09-18-2016, 08:00 AM   #4
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Great info. I appreciate it. Am endeavoring to look at a 2004, 28' Airstream near Tampa (I live in Tampa Bay area). The 30' Safari is in Miami so it would be a DRIVE just to look at.

Some really nice to have's: queen bed in back, mwave/convection, A/C, heat, dinette, sleeper sofa, sufficient hitch/sway hardware, electric jacks, etc. Of course, any comfort/amenities that can come inside the trailer are a bonus. Hoping for lots of storage and quality cabinets.

Will be sure to check all windows, seals, plumbing, flooring, electrical, A/C, heat.
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Old 09-18-2016, 08:29 AM   #5
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I'm also in Tampa. I got my 30' from Colonial in New Jersey. 1200 miles.

It was worth it.
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Old 09-18-2016, 08:55 AM   #6
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Starstream- at the end of your trip were there 5 dogs and 8 rabbits?

Susan
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:06 AM   #7
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1979 31' Sovereign
Spring , Texas
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Can understand about driving to see something. We live just north of Houston and found our trailer in Dallas, 4 hrs. away. Amazing what you will do for the right one. Ours was a very fortunate find, previous owners obsessed with keeping water out of it. They sealed every seam they could find. Ours became a renovation, but not shell off inside or out. 1979 was just lookin' tired.

Because our trailer is a reno and we're non-conformists, we have recliners. For some reason not big about eating at a table. The twin beds had been replaced by a full bed by the POs. We're finishing up a new queen with lifts so we can access storage. Had really hot weather this summer and had to take a hiatus from trailer projects. If you're interested in seeing our blog PM me. It's not hosted here, so there are rules about mentioning it.
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:10 AM   #8
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Hi there. If you're seriously shopping, you should really post an ad in Airstream Classifieds (airstreamclassifieds.com) under the category "WANTED | Trailers (All Years)" as this is where folks wanting to sell an Airstream will also be looking.
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Old 09-18-2016, 02:43 PM   #9
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1979 31' Sovereign
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Hi Duncans. All of the animals made it back home, believe it or not. The younger daughter is itching to take 2 of the Labs off our hands as soon as settled. That will make us slightly less like a traveling circus.
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