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Old 01-23-2015, 04:32 PM   #1
Currently Looking...
Washington , Washington, D.C.
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 5
Newbie needing advice!

I am about to enter the world of Airstream. It has been a dream for quite sometime and as a recent retiree I am ready. Planning cross country trip this summer from DC to Seattle. I need help with decision on a trailer. Have settled on a 19-20 ft. Bambi (Flying Cloud or International) and have looked at new and used. I do not mind either but the thought of an older model is appealing. I have found a 2000 model that fits the bill, however it is far away (owner will deliver). Spoke to owner, have seen pictures, believe in great shape and priced right. Have called Airstream Service Center locally and spoke to Manager. He says I should buy and have him do an inspection and assures me he can have in excellent condition quickly and replace old frig/stove, brakes, wiring, propane lines etc. I am confident this would make an awesome trailer and save a lot of money. At same time family is pressuring me to go the new route or slightly used. I like the older model, its basically the same floor plan and even if I spend several thousand on updating still come out way ahead by about $25K vs. buying a newer model. Once I get the trailer to the Seattle area it will stay on the west coast for family use. Mostly small camping runs no more than 1 week at a time.
This is a great interactive community and looking for advice from some folks who have chosen an older vs. new model. I do not think I am looking at a money pit and believe this trailer is in solid condition and good as is. I am willing to make it extra nice with a bit of refurbishing.
One more question, I have been searching all over for trailers and supply is very limited and sell fast. I am not in a major hurry but getting the feeling if you find something should not pass up in hope something similar will show up later! Does spring time bring more trailer to market? Also, not much available on pricing and dealer websites are all over the map on MSRP/Discounts/Fee/Hitches etc. I do not mind paying "fair" price just do not want to overpay! Do Airstreams sell close to list? How much should I offer?
Thanks for any advice. ole57

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Old 01-23-2015, 05:04 PM   #2
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2012 27' Flying Cloud
W , New England
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 5,743
Welcome - how fun!!

How handy are you? If you are confident in your mechanical, electrical and plumbing skills, a used trailer can be a great price advantage. If you don't have (or want to dedicate the time to use) those skills, new gives you a 2 year window to work out the bugs on Airstream's dime (of course - if the used model has been well taken care of - the bugs might already be worked out).

Well - I'm glad I could help :-p

Seriously - welcome. If you're handy - go used. Good luck!!

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Old 01-23-2015, 05:58 PM   #3
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2014 27' FB Eddie Bauer
Chelsea , Michigan
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,792
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I can't believe that a 15 year old trailer needs as much work as you outlined in your original post, if it does, it might have a lot of other latent issues.


Take advantage of one of the Airforums members in the vicinity of the trailer who will give it a once over for you before you make the trip to finalize your purchase.

Use the drop down menus on the right hand side of this forum's main page to find someone near the subject trailer's location and proceed accordingly.


Best of luck!
Bob Martel
WBCCI# 5766
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Old 01-23-2015, 07:32 PM   #4
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Sioux Falls , South Dakota
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David Lininger, kb0zke
AIR 54240
Heartland mpg 181 (sold)
1993 Foretravel U300 (for sale)
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Old 01-23-2015, 07:50 PM   #5
3 Rivet Member
2005 25' Classic
1986 32' Excella
1965 22' Safari
2006 22' Interstate
Newark , Delaware
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 136
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It may not be your only Airstream. Spoken from experience. Save the money, buy used, camp in it and see what you like and dislike. Next trailer will be the perfect one for you.....or the one after that....or the one after that ......
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Old 01-23-2015, 07:52 PM   #6
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2017 25' Flying Cloud
Denville , New Jersey
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,029
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2006 Bambi CCD ("EireStream!!")
2010 Funfinder
2005 T@B
2001 Teardrop, Mountain Hardware Tent
For some perfection takes a little longer...
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Old 01-23-2015, 07:53 PM   #7
Currently Looking...
Washington , Washington, D.C.
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Posts: 5
Thanks for the feedback. I just spoke with my daughter and she advised the same. Never buy unless you (or someone else) can visually inspect. Great advice.
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Old 01-23-2015, 08:26 PM   #8
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1999 28' Excella
New Orleans , Louisiana
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We bought a 1999 Classic and did not need that kind of work. Still loving it..made some changes but got real lucky that it is the right size for full-timers and the right layout. Never know year we might think differently.
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Old 01-23-2015, 08:32 PM   #9
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1978 31' Sovereign
Hot Springs , Arkansas
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 572
Caveat Emptor. I am the second owner of my 78. I bought it for less than a song, and even with it's issues, it is awesome. New is nice, old is cool, and both have their individual appeal. When I'm done with mine, it will be like an Embassy Suites on wheels, circa 1978.
No matter the outcome, you are getting an Airstream. If you don't like it, you can sell it and get the one that you really like. From what I have seen, Airstreams hold their value quite well. I have the original documentation on mine and it was purchased for 15,600 in 1978. Today, as is, it would bring 5-6500.
However even with improvements, you can reach a fiscal point of diminishing returns. (Look up PanamaReds thread about " How I spent 20,000 on a 2,000 dollar trailer) I am at 1,200 on a 1,500 trailer. And counting. But mine is a keeper. Not a flipper.
If you have the financial resources, you can get anything you want. A vintage or new AS, restored or ready to go. It all is personal preference.
Either way, if you are not comfortable inspecting the AS, you can hire someone to do it, or ask for help from a forum member in the area where your find may be.
There are a bunch of nice people here that will make sure you know what you are buying.
Airstreams sell fairly quickly here in Hot Springs. So much so that there are signs on a couple of trailers that declare "not for sale". Don't feel pressured that you are going to miss the Big One. The perfect AS is out there and has your name on it. Right Now. You just have to find it. Happy Hunting.
Welcome to the forums!
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Old 01-24-2015, 07:24 AM   #10
Currently Looking...
Washington , Washington, D.C.
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 5

Wow. Thanks to everyone who has offered advice. The used trailer is fully operable and by no means needs a major overhaul. I was just contemplating having new appliances, air conditioning, et al, to upgrade its appearance. get it al. l done upfront and not have to do piecemeal. Like buying a new home and doing some remodeling. I was figuring that all these things will eventually need replacing anyway. I agree with the advice about inspection and will make certain to follow that recommendation. This is a wonderful community. .
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Old 01-24-2015, 09:52 AM   #11
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Hey 57…..Welcome and all that good stuff

I think that it's a good and healthy thing for you to take on such a challenge. Keeping active is important at our age. You have the free time to do your homework and leg work. BUT… don't have too much time, if you are planning to take a cross country trip, towing a trailer, this Summer. Like most things, there is a learning curve.


And then DO DO DO ……..before the big trip

Oh yeah, be SAFE SAFE SAFE
( not yelling, just trying to convey friendly conviction )

P.S. I have a 20 footer, and I think it a great size, excepting for use as a stationary RV park situation. But great for short weekends, or long road trips. The thing is, a lot of people want the small models, and it seems that prices reflect that.
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:45 AM   #12
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Obrien , Florida
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,439
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Good luck in your search! Hope you find exactly what you're looking for. We bought a derelict '74 Sovereign. Rear eight feet of floor was completely gone when I got her, along with a lot of the frame. Lots of welding, carpentry, plumbing, metal cutting, riveting, plastic tank repair, riveting, and swearing, along with quite a few longnecks and dollar bills, and we got her back on the road.

Lots of great advice in this thread. Have her inspected before you buy, especially if you're going to pay someone else to do the work. Read all you can in here before buying also. Some year models have different issues and some have extra benefits.

Just to set the record straight, I've only spent $7,500 so far on The LoveStream.... I'm sure by the time I'm done (late in the summer of 2065) I'll have $20,000 in it. Its nice the way it sits, but I'll be replacing all the kitchen cabinetry one day. So, for $7,500 I've got a nice Airstream that I'm using the stew out of. Love this thing.

Now, if you count my labor that I have in her at the rate I normally bill, I have just under 13 million in it...

-Red, pretty darned expensive per hour...
Somebody ought to clean these windows. There is a tremendous buildup of gook all over them...
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Old 01-24-2015, 03:23 PM   #13
4 Rivet Member
2007 30' Classic
Ayr , Ontario
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 273
I bought one a few years ago. My sister looked at it for me and video taped the entire unit not missing one thing and then posted it on you tube. That made my decision easier. The unit was also inspected at a local AS dealer and necessary maintenance was done prior to me arriving. In the end I picked up the trailer and had a hassle free experience. I think a video is worth a 1000 pictures. So see if this can be done and then talk with a local dealer where the trailer should be inspected and repaired prior to any deal.

Good luck.

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