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Old 03-12-2014, 01:35 PM   #15
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So...
You may still buy a trailer in the future, just one that needs less work?
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:11 PM   #16
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Unhappy

I WANT ONE SO BADLY!!! I am obsessively looking but nothing in my price range ($5,000) Well there are, but if i am going to have to start replacing axles and stuff I can't afford it.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:58 PM   #17
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Keep looking and saving.
Maybe you will find a good trailer.
Maybe by the time you find one you will have more money saved up.
Don't give up.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:18 PM   #18
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This is the one I am looking at tomorrow.
He will do it for $4,000. It has new tires. Any thoughts?
1966 Airstream project.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:45 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by emmabowles View Post
This is the one I am looking at tomorrow.
He will do it for $4,000. It has new tires. Any thoughts?
1966 Airstream project.
Hi. Well, yes. I have some thoughts and will share because you asked. I would quote the wise person who said:

"I am obsessively looking but nothing in my price range ($5,000) Well there are, but if i am going to have to start replacing axles and stuff I can't afford it."

The person who wrote that understood something important. :-)

The seller even calls it a "project". I don't think you can look at this as a $4000 trailer - more like a $14,000 trailer and even that might be on the shy side.

As always, you have many options, all of which have pros and cons, including but not limited to:

- buy a different brand trailer in your price range which may be roadworthy now so you can enjoy camping. At any site I've been to, 99% of the campers aren't Airstreams - they still love camping!

- take on debt (I personally wouldn't recommend this)

- keep searching for that diamond in the rough, it's possible one's out there...

- talk with a local vocational high school or community college to see if they have a program that would lend itself to significant travel trailer repairs and either a) enroll and learn what you'll need to take on a project like this and/or b) see if they (and you) would be willing to take on your trailer as a student project for a significantly reduced fee

- sell unneeded items and/or wait and save more money (I know - no one likes this option...). If you're passionate about camping, you can gear up for that in any number of ways very nicely with a $5k budget. If you absolutely must have an Airstream but can't afford a "project", then honestly, you can't afford it. Best not to drive yourself nuts over it :-)

I hope any of that is useful. Be well!
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:09 PM   #20
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Very helpful!!!
Well I have a basic mechanical knowledge as I was an automotive journalist for ten years and I wrote for car mags in the UK like Top Gear magazine - I am English. And I am quite handy.
I do have a monthly income aswell as what I earn as a freelance journalist. I am going to be renting some land here in Ojai so I am not necessarily going anywhere yet!!! So I can take on a project, I want a project, but nothing I have to throw thousands at right off the bat.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:38 PM   #21
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Hey there! I thought I'd chime in as another lady streamer I bought mine in pretty good condition... but I also jump into things with both feet when I really commit. So once I started customizing it (it was originally just going to be paint and flooring!) I couldn't help myself and one thing led to another and right now I have a half gutted trailer. I alternate between "omg... what on earth did I get myself into??" and "this is gonna be amaaazing when I'm done and I'm learning so much on the way!" Of course I am living in it (haha I know right) but it's a great way to know what you want and will need every day. But almost four months in I would say count the cost... make sure you're willing to put in a long-term relationship and it's ok to get frustrated- as long as you take a break and come back and work out the issues. Take one thing at a time (for budget and sanity), starting with getting it waterproof if there are any leaks since the rest of your hard work will be for not if it gets rained on! When you do have repairs use this amazing resource here in the forums and do it right the first time! Your future self will thank you for an awesome trailer
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:35 PM   #22
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Wow!
That trailer would be a project!
The seller states he won't take half price, but maybe he will take less than $4,000, more than $2,000-
Try haggling.
I think it easier to find trailers here- more available.
I might be tempted to walk away...
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:17 PM   #23
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Thank you lady streamer - you are my inspiration!!! Great advice.
And thank you m.hony for all your advice too.
Unusually for me (if someone tells me to do something, I tend to do the opposite) I am going to follow your advice and proceed with caution. Its wonderful feeling like I have some support though and am not dangling out there all on my own!!!
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:45 AM   #24
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You are never alone when you have the forums! The amazing people here are a treasure trove of information, advice and encouragement. As for your small budget and big dream, keep looking. The perfect Airstream will come along for you, so be ready! I, too, am the kind who dives completely right in. During my long and messy divorce, Airstream dreaming kept me going. I researched everything to death and searched every possible listing for affordable (under $6,000) Airstreams in reasonable shape. I found mine on Craigslist in northern Minnesota (I'm near Chicago). Although I was still skeptical even after harassing the seller with millions of questions, I decided to make the drive and take a chance. So glad I did! Turns out, mine happened to be in better shape than I expected and the seller generously negotiated a cash price. As it was, his rural location kept most of the competing buyers away. He told me he had a few calls, but most didn't want to make a long drive to have a look. (hint - check listings in rural areas!) Although I had a few surprises and unexpected repairs after bringing her home, bartering some of the work helped keep some of the repair costs down. There will always be some quirks and items on the to-do list, but the freedom, joy and pride of being an Airstream is worth every last penny and hour invested.
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:34 AM   #25
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I'm relatively new at this myself, but extensive reading on this forum combined with an extensive search for a trailer of my own has led me to believe that the following rule of thumb is correct:

It will cost about $10,000 to create a safe, comfortable and reliable camping trailer when you start with a project trailer.

I'm sure that will vary quite a bit depending on how much of the work you do yourself and how much work is required, but they all seem to need most of the following: new axles, new tires, new sub-floor, new appliances, new furnishings, new batteries. You could probably do the work incrementally in such a way that you could use the trailer as an aluminum tent as it progresses.

Find a way and do it though! The Airstream community is remarkable and you will receive all of the help you need along the way.

Poppy
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Old 03-13-2014, 12:19 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emmabowles View Post
Thank you everyone SO SO much for your advice and encouragement.
I decided NOT to get the Sovereign. After reading and researching extensively through this wonderful website, I realized I was biting off more than I can chew. I just don't know enough about Airstreams yet and I need to learn more and also hopefully get one of you experts to come and take a look.
I have a tendency to jump in head-first and go with my heart not my head. Which as I have discovered on here, is not the way to go unless I want to be throwing thousands of dollars at it right off the bat.
Y'all rock my socks off - thank you!!
Good decisions all! Learn baby LEARN. Until I got my first Airstream I never seemed to notice how many trailers, fifth wheels and motorhomes are sitting outside abandoned after a couple of uses. Now I see them all the time, and here in wet wonderful tidal basin Virginia they are covered with green algae - and if you open them up WHEW. If I had $100 for every piece of "trailer yard art" I've seen in the last eight years I'd be a millionaire.

A great trailer fits you like a wonderfully comfortable pair of sneakers - supportive & comfortable. A bad one is like a pair of shoes that pinch - irritating you with every step.

Take your time, go to a rally or two, visit a local campground and introduce yourself around. Talk to people who actually DO spend a lot of time in their RV's. That will get you pointed in the right direction. Even if you decide you DO NOT want an RV that can still be a great choice.

And by all means hang out here. Figure how you plan to use your future Airstream. Full time, long trips, weekends only, etc. If I were a weekender I'd get an Oliver or a Casita (Fiberglass egg trailers) that can be pulled by a midsize van and parked in 2 spaces in a grocery store lot.

Paula
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Old 03-13-2014, 12:37 PM   #27
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really LOOK at the pictures of that "project" trailer. The first thing I notice on the curbside is that there is ONE tire showing - on a dual axle Airstream. Now you can drive a dual axle Airstream on three tires - slowly for a limited distance to get to a repair shop... but once you get there you put a new tire or even a new rim and tire on. It's also possible that there's a lot more wrong than a missing tire and rim - broken axle? If it's been sitting for months or years on three wheels without a jackstand supporting the axle mounting plate, the frame has flexed in a very bad way and may be permanently bent. (English translation - money money money RUN!)

I also noticed that the rear bumper was bent backwards on the curbside - that's probably minor from snagging a fence post or guy wire on a telephone pole - but you should check for any other low damage (like the missing tire) on that side.

One thing no pictures show you is what the trailer smells like - in semi-arid California it's less of an issue than in "liquid sunshine" states like Virginia, but there's a very strong acrid smell of rotting wood and mouse droppings that is always going to be a deal breaker for me - even if we don't have hanta virus in this area. This one doesn't look like it's been cherished. That ancient rotten subfloor (and a 60's trailer is ancient) is a very good predictor that you'll be facing:
  • frame off floor replacement
  • interior skin - completely remove, scrub, re-insulate, re-wire, reinstall
  • probably heavy frame rust - replace whole trailer frame, or have a major welding project

Any 60's trailer with it's original axles will need new ones. That's a "cha-ching" item right there.
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:49 PM   #28
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I had up until 11/15/13 only pulled a 16 foot bass boat trailer....then a 30 foot new airstream on a near 6 hour drive upon pickup.

If you have never pulled a trailer ever, that could prove to feel a bit weird and anxiety producing....

Turn wide on corners for sure....be aware of not taking a narrow turn and wreck into a curb with your tires or worse scratch side of airstream into say a stop sign or street sign....what have you...just program your mind to take pretty much widest turn possible at first ....

This adjustment after pulling the bass boat was easy as I had experience pulling a smaller trailer, but its not a big deal...you'll get it....and if you dont you have insurance

For me the most awkward thing at first with this big thang is the subject of what the heck to do if you need to pull over somewhere on the road to get gas or food....you cannot simply pull off that 30' trailer into any ol' gas station or restaurant....this part for me is still a bit anxiety producing, which now we have started planning on exactly where we will stop ahead of time....I have my newB thread on this sub-topic for your reading leisure:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...es-112390.html

As far as backing up....it was honestly pretty easy for me and the wife....me driving, her with walkie talky making sure to alert me if I was getting too close to this or that and giving me some direction....but if you have never before backed a trailer, you will need practice or something....my boat trailer days made this part honestly easy for me...it tracks true, whereas my boat trailer is finichy as all get out...
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