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Old 04-05-2012, 12:04 PM   #1
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1972 27' Overlander
Hampton , Georgia
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 3
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1970 airstream 27'

I'm new here. I'm looking at an airstream right now for $4000. The guy said it does have a soft spot on the bathroom where it got wet. Is this a huge problem? I know this isn't much or enough info but anything would help. Thanks

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Old 04-05-2012, 12:47 PM   #2
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1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11,170
Images: 25
Howdy and welcome to, Meg! You have found the right place to get online help for your Airstream questions.

A soft spot in a floor might be a small or huge problem, depending on how large it is. If you found one (or if the owner told you about one) there could well be others in the trailer that might necessitate replacing the floor (big job). The owner may not have found them.

On the other hand, if there really is just one relatively small one, there are products that can be used to harden the spot without removing a lot of parts from the trailer to do it.

It's not an easy and simple question to answer, as you can see. What is also very important is the reasons for the wet spot: was the leak found and fixed, or is it still a problem?

One thing to do would be to go to the portal page (there's a link to it at the top of most pages) and find the link on the right hand side about half-way down to find an inspector to come out and help you with your questions.

Another idea is to download (small file) and print out the Trailer Inspection Checklist that our member Janet has thoughtfully posted. If you go over the trailer and fill that out, you will have an excellent idea of what needs repair.

Lots of other answers to follow I am sure, so keep reading and we will do our best to help you out!


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Old 04-05-2012, 02:25 PM   #3
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1975 31' Sovereign
1973 27' Overlander
1977 23' Safari
Palmer Lake , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,881
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Floor repair:
  1. Small spot, use the expoxy wood hardening stuff--it soaks into the wood and, viola, you have a nice hard floor again.
  2. Medium problem, you'll need to take the belly skin off (looks like a big job, but really isn't, especially if it's in an area ahead of the axles or back in a rear bath), cut out the soft spot, sister in a plywood reinforcement under the floor, then cut a matching piece to fill in the hole in the flooring that you cut out.
  3. Big problem, you have to remove the interior furnishings, remove the interior skin, undo the perimeter bolts that hold the shell to the frame, chop out the offending flooring, slip a new sheet of plywood into place, then bolt it all together again. This can be done for a small section, eg, the floor in front of the door, or the bathroom, since you can lift the shell at one end enough to slip the new floor in, without taking the bolts out all the way around.
  4. Biggest problem. Undo the shell all around, lift it up, remove the floor and put a new one in. This is actually faster than #3. Both #3 and #4 require you to remove some rivets up front/in back that attach the shell to the frame. The holddown rivets need to be replaced with bucked rivets, so you'd need to have the ability to do that.
You can learn about bucking rivets at almost any airport. Find someone who is building a homebuilt airplane. These individuals can help with lots of other aluminum problems.

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Old 04-05-2012, 03:50 PM   #4
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1973 27' Overlander
1972 29' Ambassador
St. Paul , Minnesota
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,888
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Can I get a little more primal? Don't be brave about a little soft flooring while 'over-looking' other things... Use your nose - The salts from a leaky toilet pretty much ensure there is metal damage below. And it can telegraph a fair distance, especially if the unit was full-time with an uncaring occupant. And, if smell is off-putting now, you will likely grow to detest it and it can ruin the whole experience (Don't ask how I know).

Are you ready to commit to the structural side of water-damage sight unseen? Spars and outriggers turned into lace, weakened main frame? A cracked black tank can destroy pretty much everything aft of the axles given a few years...

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Old 04-05-2012, 04:56 PM   #5
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,159
You might be able to talk the seller down a little on price. We paid a little less than that 4 years ago for a '72 31 ft. And we know we could have probably gotten the price down but there were mitigating circumstances (like the seller had to store it for us for 2 months till we could get down there to get it - snow melt and all that). Ours needed a full gut job, so some of this will depend on how much work yours will need to get back to functional mode. Known problems can be negotiating points.
Good luck!

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Old 04-05-2012, 08:35 PM   #6
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1972 27' Overlander
Penokee , Kansas
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 339
First ,,,,welcome,, and feel well that you are here.. My search started 5 years ago,, and due to the insight and support and school of hard knocks from others here I leaned what to look out for..

After all,, when one is dealing with a 20,, 30 ,, or 50 year old trailer,, its just going to happen there are problems to deal with.. Mostly due to neglect or abuse,, but no matter what it could be dollars more out of your pocket..

If the seller is wide open about the 1 soft spot,, I would craw on my hands and knees for an hour and search for more.. Its getting warm now and could allow you to fill all the tanks to see if they hold ok,, and other live tests..

Just don't feel this is the last Airstream on earth for sale.. More are hitting the market in the past 2 months then were around we we were searching..

Take a deep breath,, keep your eyes open and make a sound judgement call.. If you have questions,, just ask..


2012 Ram 1500 Tradesman Hemi, 4x4, 6 speed

20mpg empty, 14 mpg with 27' Overlander.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!
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