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Old 09-24-2012, 04:35 PM   #1
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1971 21' Globetrotter
Woodacre , California
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Smile Help Me, I think we're buying

Newbie here. Have been airstream shopping for years but have finally settled on a 1971 21 foot Globetrotter. Deciding between two of them. One is polished and recently restored but it needs a heater repair, has no awning or awning hardware, and no rock guard. The other is good on all those points, but isn't as clean and shiny. (Literally)

So we need to know How big of a deal it is re expense and finding the right parts for those fixes (awning, heater, rock guard) we'd be fine with a new awning if it has a nice look to it. Have always heard about the kindness of the airstream community and so here we are, depending on the kindnesses of strangers!

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Old 09-24-2012, 04:44 PM   #2
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1971 21' Globetrotter
Cave Creek , Arizona
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Help me

I also have a 1971 21' GT and love it!

I have not priced or tried to acquire the parts you mentioned, but it seems to me that cleaner and shinier would be easier and cheaper to achieve than buying awnings, hardware etc.

I'm in the process of polishing mine now, and although it's fairly hard work, it's not that expensive or technical.

So, it may come down to time/energy versus money for you.
Either way, hope you enjoy the process and the trailer!

"Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy." Groucho Marx
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:53 PM   #3
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
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Awnings are expensive. ZipDee is very, very good, but expensive.

How do the prices compare? Keep in mind that you can happily camp in a trailer that's not shiny but everything works, I do it all the time.

Zero Gravitas 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. Sir Winston Churchill
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:56 PM   #4
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1971 21' Globetrotter
Arvada , Colorado
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Define "restored" as it means different things to different people. Is there receipts of materials and repairs, or just the sellers word. Check out the buyers guidelines section. I have a 71 GT also but it was in rough shape as seen in my thread below.

Buyer Guidelines - Airstream Forums
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Old 09-24-2012, 05:05 PM   #5
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1971 21' Globetrotter
Woodacre , California
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You are all so helpful thank you. We haven't seen the interior on the fancy shiny one yet and have not seen the other in person yet. That one is a good 4 hrs away and the other is about 2 hrs away but it sounds like those awnings and heaters etc are not so easy to find. Does anybody have a rough idea of the prices for those things? And I imagine the rock guards are made new now?
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Old 09-24-2012, 05:15 PM   #6
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1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
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There may be better prices available, this is just what I found with a quick look.

The rock guard for the trailer in question is $365 plus shipping at the moment.

I don't know that there's a set price for Zip Dee awnings. It'll vary by length of the awning, the material you choose and what hardware is needed I suspect. They'll be happy to quote it for you I'm sure, I've only heard rave reviews of their level of service.

When you say heater, is it a catalytic type? Or a forced-air furnace?

Zero Gravitas 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. Sir Winston Churchill
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Old 09-24-2012, 05:24 PM   #7
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1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
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My wild guess for a Zip Dee installed is around $2000. You do not have to guess. You can check on the internet. Heater, I do not know. Have not had to fix mine yet. You might price a new heater just so you will know. Lots of RV places sell them. Polishing is expensive if you pay for it. I think I saw one estimate of $150 a foot or a little more for polish and clear coat. Take the 2 hour and the 4 hour drive and check them both throughly. If it has the panoramic windows and you are going to pull it much you probably ought to have the rock guards. If these are rear bath models that is a good area to check carefully. I understand it is very hard to take the bath out and work on the floor back there. And I assume they do not have grey water tanks?
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Old 09-24-2012, 05:27 PM   #8
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2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
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Have to say, I wonder about other differences between the two trailers. (First off, you're VERY lucky to have two samples of the same trailer to be considering.)

Did either trailer get any floor repairs? How extensive was the "restoration"? How is the exterior skin on either trailer, beyond just polishing. Does either trailer have a new or recently replaced axle?

I guess what I'm getting at is this: awnings and heaters might not be cheap, but they're relatively small potatoes in the whole picture of a vintage Airstream's condition. You could look at both trailers and the one that seems "less desirable" on paper is actually in far better shape.

Take the time and go look at both.

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Old 09-29-2012, 02:06 PM   #9
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Good luck on your search and purchase of you "new" vintage Airstream ... please be cautious, don't be blinded by the shiney metal. Be sure to take a good flashlight and coveralls with you to search in hidden areas (especially inside rear corners for rotted wood subfloor if it's a rear bath model). Hidden water damage to the plywood floors will be a major headache, original axles would require replacement ($1300 aprox) due to age, Give the underside a close look, corroded sheetmetal / frames under the holding tank(s) will indicate damage that will require work. Run water systems: both street hook up and holding tanks( look at the underside during / after using to check for leaks. Look closely at the tires (check inner and outer sidewalls for cracks).

I love my old AS, but the guy that I bought it from was not very honest in it's assesment. I wish I had known about this site and researched it to know what to look for. Probably more shysters out there than honest Abes!
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:35 PM   #10
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We have had our trailer for 7 years and only used the awning once. We may not be the norm as I know many others who swear by them. If the afternoon sun happens to be on the awning side of the trailer it will keep it cooler, but I find it to be a nuisance. You can't go off and leave it if there is a chance of rain with accompanying wind, or damage could happen. You are then into awning up, awning down. Finding a space in the shade will have more cooling effect than pitching the awning. Just my two cents, Pat
Sun City Center, FL
1988 25' Excella
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:12 PM   #11
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I'm not willing to pay for "clean". I will discount for dirty. I won't pay anything for homemade curtains and slip covers. I am willing to pay for condition and fresh components. I can always clean and polish one. An awning and a front window rock guard rings up around $2,500.

Number one on my list is a straight, no dent, no ding body, and a solid frame. I don't mind some segment floor replacement and I don't pay premium for working 30 year old fixtures. I removed a working refrigerator, cooking stove/oven, furnace, and water heater on my trailer. My wife wanted new and I wanted safe. It was all easy to decide.

I don't want a bunch of foggy double pane windows either.

Trailer has to smell good too. I looked at two I passed on because of smell. There's musty odor . . . that goes with a rotten floor. Then there's pet urine and smokers odor. Odor doesn't show up on pictures. That's a BIG reason not to buy a used RV sight unseen.

What's overlooked, or worse . . . ignored, at the time of purchase, will be paid for later at a much higher price, both in terms of time and money. If money's no object . . . buy better and newer. If money is an object . . . buy smarter.

Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:53 PM   #12
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Grand Junction , Colorado
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Furnace prices seem to range from $400-800, and assume you'll need a new one unless it is a minor fix.

You really have to look at them to tell what else is wrong or right. Have you looked to see if there are inspectors available near these trailers? And what is the price difference? I don't think this era trailer goes for all that much, so I doubt there will be much difference between them in price. Thus, the money to be spent for the items you want could be more than you pay for either trailer.

If you are good at installing and fixing, the shiny one might be a good deal if the price is substantially lower than the one with everything you want. If not, you can use the complete one and polish when you get around to it.

And do check carefully for rear end separation and floor rot as well as old tires and sagging axles.

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Old 09-29-2012, 09:19 PM   #13
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1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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Very good advice has been given thus far.

Even if the furnace works, it you are planning on using it much and keeping the trailer for a while, I would plan on replacing it for safety and reliability reasons. Also if you boondock, the new furnace will use less of your battery to operate it.

I suspect the axles are original, so you should plan on replacing these, if you are going to keep it for a while.

Don't hurry into buying an Airstream. Look at lots of them, and buy the best one that you can afford. You will be glad you did in the end.

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Old 09-29-2012, 10:00 PM   #14
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1956 16' Bubble
Dallas , Oregon
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A shiny polish Job costs plenty of $$$$$ if someone else is doing it right? I've heard that is a back breaking awful task. Thousands right? You gotta keep that value in the mix. No trailer will be perfect just choose one that you feel you can complete and realize it will probably cost twice what you thought it would to finish. Good luck and shop hard. Cheers. Ted

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