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Old 09-07-2010, 06:41 PM   #1
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Question Factory vs. Home restoration

I am going up to the Airstream Factory in Ohio to go through their tour which takes a couple hours. I have a newly acquired 25' International 1986 which I am considering updating but I am a newby and am wondering which is the best way to go, a factory restoration or a do it yourself? Anyone's suggestions or past experience will be of great value to me at this point.

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Old 09-07-2010, 06:53 PM   #2
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How deep are your pockets and how much time and skill do you have. I'm not trying to be a wise guy, but answering those questions will point you in the right direction.
Good Luck with your project.

Bruce & Rachel
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:31 PM   #3
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Lots of work and $.

We found and restored/updated our 65 22' Safari ourselves. We replaced and updated everything but the bathroom. We did all the polishing and installed new Zip Dee awning all the way around. Total cost of restoration to date is over $12,000.00. We feel it is worth every penny. To have this all done by the factory would be at least twice the amount we spent. This has been a labor of love for us and would not sell it for twice what we have in it. Best of luck....Tim
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Old 09-11-2010, 09:54 AM   #4
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That is a great looking trailer Tim. Good job.
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Old 09-12-2010, 06:12 AM   #5
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After going through the Airstream factory last week and finding out that it cost $50.00 up front for an apprasial for any work to be done and $98.00 per hour for repair/restoration/upgrade work I quickly realized what 68TWind meant when he asked, "How deep are your pockets...."

It was a great trip though and I learned a lot. I would highly suggest the visit to anyone who is considering a restoration or thinking about getting a new one.

These trailers are not meant to last just for a life time but for generations.

Now, to count the cost (time and money) before I get started....
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:09 AM   #6
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David G, what do you want to have done to the trailer? Starting at that point can help you decide if you can tackle it yourself or if the factory should do the heavy lifting.

There are also many restoration shops that are an alternative to the factory and might cost less in the long run.

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Old 09-12-2010, 01:32 PM   #7
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We did our interior ourselves, but hired a mobile RV repairman to install LP lines, tanks, furnace and ref, as well and checking out the plumbing systems.

Our coach had been modified for commercial display, therefore much of the mechanicals were removed.

Good luck,

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Old 09-13-2010, 03:55 AM   #8
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Thanks mutcth and triplenet for your replies. I think my biggest challenge will be to put down a new floor and have a professional look at the AC unit. I am sure I can remove the interior and install the 5/8" plywood floor. As I looked the trailer over more closely after getting it home, I think that it has had water in it, maybe just a couple inches above the floor because there are cracks in the panneling where the wood absorbed water in the past. This will require repair and or replacement.
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:02 AM   #9
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I'm confident you could simply replace the AC with a brand new one bought at discount for little more than the cost of servicing the existing one.

There are definite advantages to both paths, but the knowledge gained, and the confidence in knowing what you have and that you can fix everything is what pushes me in the DIY direction.
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Old 09-20-2010, 09:35 PM   #10
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Tkasten: Your airstream is stunning! Can you post more pictures and tell us what you are glad you replaced.... if you were to do this again, what would you do the same? Differently?

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Old 09-23-2010, 07:59 AM   #11
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Personally, I find many restorations are only as good as the person who does them. And if they are "under a clock" (sort a speaking), they tend to cut corners &/or do "less then perfect" job. re: Focus on completing on time instead of high quality on mind. If you have the skills and high quality levels, then by all means, do the work yourself. Contract out the things you must (like installing gas or appliances) but for the high quality focus areas, I'd recommend the restoration project is done themselves. Works for me and my many repair/restoration projects.

Also... Remember what the old turtle keeps telling us... re: "Slow and Steady is the secret in winning the race". Thus, pace yourself during all restoration tasks. Works for me...


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