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Old 09-29-2014, 03:51 AM   #1
New Member
Oakland , California
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 1
Soon to be Newbie owner from the Bay Area!

Hello airstream community!
My name is Xavier, I'm a woodworker/metalworker/handyman, approaching 30, located in Oakland, CA.
I'm quite possibly about to embark on the exciting adventure that airstream ownership seems to be!
I have my eye on a 1978 Sovereign, on Craigslist, that seems like a great deal, but then, they always do to me :/
They're asking $10500 for the airstream, plus a '96 Suburban, fully equipped to tow it home (which will be wherever I choose!).
It has a few known issues, but supposedly is in overal good condition. It's all original, with apolstry redone in the 90s. All the appliances/pumps work.

Two immediate questions.

1. The only major known issue is that it has some rear end separation going on. Apparently it only happened recently, and is not too bad... but you can see light from the inside.
How major is the fix for that? I have read about bulletin #29. Has anyone made the reinforcement plates themselves?
I have actually helped with an airstream renovation before, so I have a fairly good idea what the work entails, and will be attempting to do most of it myself.

Second question: Have airstream values gone up much in the last 2 years?
I found a post from Jan 2013 (here) which would answer many of my questions about value if they haven't changed much.
Searching SF Bay Area Craigslist, either prices have gone way up, or people are just crazy.

Valuing the suburban at a conservative $2500, and assuming they'll take slightly less than their asking price, does $7000 seem like an okay price.

Lastly, if there are any members in the Bay Area, especially near Santa Rosa/Navato, I would be extremely appreciative of any assistance in inspecting this old gal.

It's getting late, and I'm probably saying too much/rambling a bit for a first post... so I'll leave it at that.


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Old 09-29-2014, 10:53 AM   #2
Rivet Master
Belegedhel's Avatar
1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,514
Welcome to the forums!

As to your questions, I would say that you want to download the inspection checklist from the portal page, and go through the trailer thoroughly. Working appliances, are nice to have. The upholstery redone in the 90's is still approaching 20 yrs old and isn't worth a heck of a lot. Rotten floor in the rear probably means rotten floor elsewhere tool. This is your primary concern. Every previous owner will tell you that the trailer is in pretty good shape, and they might not even be trying to pull a fast one.

Rear end separation repair means replacing the rotted floor in the rear, and possibly doing sheet metal and frame work as well. This is no easy task, and requires removal of the entire bathroom, or whatever is in the rear of the trailer, the interior skins in the area, and the bellypan/banana wraps. I would be very hesitant about paying $7k for a trailer with rear end separation, and possibly other issues common to 40+ year old trailers (sagging axles, rodent infestations, rusting frame, rotting floors, etc.).

As to value of trailers, it is usually the smaller ones that are in demand, but vintage Airstreams have been gaining popularity, and with popularity comes demand, and demand suggests increased price. Don't jump at the first trailer you see, though, there really are plenty of 70's vintage trailers, especially the larger ones, to go around.

Good luck!
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