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Old 10-26-2012, 09:33 AM   #1
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Not Sure What To Do - 1967 Safari

We purchased a '67 Safari about 6 months ago with pure excitement and great intentions. Now, the luster has worn off of our diamond in the rough and reality has set in.....we are in over our heads. We know we need to hire out this job. Our question is "Who?" We are in Louisiana and have spoken with one man in Texas who does what we are looking for but he is extremely expensive. We could almost buy brand new for his pricing.

Has anyone used a professional restoration service? What'd they do for you? Was it worth the money? Looking back, would you have gone new?

Thanks for your input.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:31 AM   #2
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I think it depends on how deep you want to go in the restoration process. If you have the work done by a "professional". It will certainly be expensive.
Buying new is also expensive. Especially if you choose an A$.
I bought a now 39 year old trailer 3 years ago. Doing all of the work myself, I have over $10K into the trailer, including the purchase price. The big bucks went to axles, tires, upholstery for the dinette. Just these three items along with the purchase price are over half of the $10K.
I don't plan on making any money if I sell the trailer. I would feel good just getting what I have in it back.
Looking back, it is questionable that I made the right choice in putting so much into an old trailer. But I don't have any doubt that it would not be worth it to pay a professional to do the work. My guess would be that if I had it professionally done. The cost would have bees 3X.
Whether you have one restored or buy new, you will be faced with problems that are typical in RV's. Leaks, floor rot, appliance failure or malfunction. etc..
If I had it to do again. Considering the high cost of a restored unit and also the high cost of buying a new A$. Comparing that cost to the cost of a new SOB unit. I would have to look at it really close.
Let's say you plan to own a RV for 20 years. Let's also say that you are looking at an $80K Airstream. Over that 20 year time span the A$ will depreciate to an estimated 25% of it's original cost. There is no telling what the upkeep cost would be during this time. Especially if you pay to have it done.
There are many " Quality" and I use that term loosely, SOB units out there of comparable size for 1/4 the money.
So in a 20 year period you could have a new trailer every 5 years. Most RV's will go 5 years without major problems.
Of course you wouldn't own an A$.
So, I think one should consider these things when making a decision on buying an RV. Looking back, I know I should have. But I am 67+ and probably won't be pulling a trailer 20 years from now.
Since I have put a considerable amount into this unit. Unless my lifestyle changes and we use the trailer for more than 30 or so days a year. There won't be any changing.
Good Luck on whatever you decide.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:45 AM   #3
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First question is, what do you want to have done? If you are looking to have the shell removed, the floor replaced, and all of the interior replaced or refurbished, then yes, hiring all of this out is going to be expensive, and if anyone tells you they can do it on the cheap, you should be concerned.

As an example, I have spent nearly a year working on my trailer in my spare time, I've completely gutted it, removed the shell, repaired and painted the frame, reinsulated the floor, replaced the bellypan, and put the shell back on. I would guess that I have about another year's worth of work to get the insulation back in the walls, the electrical system rewired, interior skins back on, and the cabinetry/furnishings rebuilt.

The cost of a completely refurbished, customized trailer is going to be close to the cost of a new trailer, because nearly everything except the shell itself will be new, and there is hundreds of hours involved. People pay these expenses instead of buying new for several reasons, some of which may include that they like the vintage body style of the 60's trailers, they want a completely custom trailer that can't be purchased new, or because the shells in the 60's were made of tougher Alclad aircraft aluminum (and the new ones definitely are not).

There may be a compromise that will work for you. You could gut the trailer yourself, take it to a professional and have them replace the floor (if needed), axle, install grey tanks, repair the frame--essentially the heavy lifting mechanical work, and then you take it back and do the custom interior work yourself.

There is a thread on the forums here titled something like "How I spent $30,000 on a $2000 trailer." To do it right involves a lot of expensive materials, and lots of time, even for those who are doing the work themselves.

Good luck!
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:48 AM   #4
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Reality is some times hard to recognize!
Nice summary.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
I think it depends on how deep you want to go in the restoration process. If you have the work done by a "professional". It will certainly be expensive.
Buying new is also expensive. Especially if you choose an A$.
I bought a now 39 year old trailer 3 years ago. Doing all of the work myself, I have over $10K into the trailer, including the purchase price. The big bucks went to axles, tires, upholstery for the dinette. Just these three items along with the purchase price are over half of the $10K.
I don't plan on making any money if I sell the trailer. I would feel good just getting what I have in it back.
Looking back, it is questionable that I made the right choice in putting so much into an old trailer. But I don't have any doubt that it would not be worth it to pay a professional to do the work. My guess would be that if I had it professionally done. The cost would have bees 3X.
Whether you have one restored or buy new, you will be faced with problems that are typical in RV's. Leaks, floor rot, appliance failure or malfunction. etc..
If I had it to do again. Considering the high cost of a restored unit and also the high cost of buying a new A$. Comparing that cost to the cost of a new SOB unit. I would have to look at it really close.
Let's say you plan to own a RV for 20 years. Let's also say that you are looking at an $80K Airstream. Over that 20 year time span the A$ will depreciate to an estimated 25% of it's original cost. There is no telling what the upkeep cost would be during this time. Especially if you pay to have it done.
There are many " Quality" and I use that term loosely, SOB units out there of comparable size for 1/4 the money.
So in a 20 year period you could have a new trailer every 5 years. Most RV's will go 5 years without major problems.
Of course you wouldn't own an A$.
So, I think one should consider these things when making a decision on buying an RV. Looking back, I know I should have. But I am 67+ and probably won't be pulling a trailer 20 years from now.
Since I have put a considerable amount into this unit. Unless my lifestyle changes and we use the trailer for more than 30 or so days a year. There won't be any changing.
Good Luck on whatever you decide.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:32 AM   #5
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The best option I can recommend is to split the job into groups.

Group 1 - the bare minimum amount of work necessary to make the trailer usable. Running gear (suspension, hitch, etc.), safety equipment, basic structure (frame, leaks, floor, etc.).

Group 2 - The bare minimum amount of work to make it comfortable.

Group 3 - Everything else to make it perfect for you.

Make a list of everything you want done to your trailer, and decide which group each task falls into.

Contract to have the first group done professionally. Defer everything else. Take care of the Group 2 items and Group 3 items when you have tima and can afford them.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:10 PM   #6
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It sure looks like a nice trailer from the picture shown. It does look like it needs a new axle. With that you get brakes, shocks, brake wiring done, hitch checked.
I have neither a classic old Airstream or a new one. I look at the new Airstreams and they have a nice layout, look good. But I am not willing to spend what they cost. Ditto polishing and restoring a classic like yours.

What were your plans when you bought it? Does it need more work than you estimated or have you sorta changed goals in the last few months? Think about in what way are you in "over your head". Skills wise? Time? Money? Interest in working hundreds of houjrs on it? If it was restored perfectly is the size and layout what you would want longterm? There is no shame or downside to changing you mind now. But part way into a resto might be a bad time to decide not to do it.

If you decide to keep it I like the idea of the list above and taking it to a shop for the axles and a frame inspection and re-enforcement, etc. Maybe a welding shop that builds trailers. That way you could get it mobile and find out what it may need down the road. Not sure you would get all your money back if you decide to sell it after that, but I am sure it will add quite a bit to the sales price and make it easier to resell. I would take pictures of everything at every stage to be used in an eventual sale evaluation of what it started like and what was done.

I have an Airstream because I really want an Airsteam. We are WBCCI members and go on the caravans and rallies, etc.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:49 PM   #7
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Hello JJSawyer - You sound a bit desperate. You haven't mentioned what problems you are having, so I'll just try some cheering up.

I have the same airstream as you. A 1967 Safari. When I purchased it the owner told me it was in perfect condition. I later talked with airstreamers that knew of my trailer and informed me that a group of people purchased my trailer (new) only to have something they could take turns making the trip up to Alaska. (They didn't want to use their own 31' airstreams). Alcan Hwy. was really rough in those years. I purchased it in Los Angeles but this group was from Phoenix, AZ. I never could find them after they had my money. (Dealer service told me I paid $2000 to much).

My family and I started out on a trip to Yellowstone but overnighted in Las Vegas. I was surprised to see blue water dripping from under the trailer. The black tank was cracked. We found so many things broken, but we somehow managed this 1st trip.

I couldn't afford what was estimated for repairs. So, I being angry at my own stupidity for buying this pile of junk decided to fix what I could. I was told the black tank couldn't be fixed and my tank wasn't available anywhere. I read up on plastics at the library, and found a way to repair the un-fixable crack, etc. (no computers then). I'm now quite comfortable with fixing the un-fixable.

I had to replace the axle 40+ years ago. The local dealer charged me $2000 to have it shipped to his business. I picked it up and installed it. I believe only 4 bolts holding it in. It came with new brakes too. I just did it again last year, and the info on this site led me to dealers that sold it to me for around $400. There are lots of choices for replacement parts now.

We had the frame break while on a Western Canada Caravan. I had to drop the belly pan, but found a large truck repair business in Calvery that welded it together for me. it's been perfect ever since. We caught up with the caravan after taking two days out for the repair.

What I'm trying to say is lots of people are willing to help. You are not alone. I imagine you purchased your trailer to use and have fun going places with it. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just functional. If you have camped in a tent, this is a giant step up in comfort. Hey, if it rains and your airstream leaks, just buy a tarp to cover, enjoy the trip and make the repairs when you get home.

This pile of junk I bought those many years ago, has given me years of new enjoyable experiences. Your '67 Safari will do the same for you.

I noticed your profile indicates you're female. I know many females that are very capable and do much of their own work. Many gentlemen would be happy to assist you with your projects if you were inclined to let them.

Don't get discouraged because problems you didn't expect arise. This is the nature of most things, including the home you live in.

Everyone can improvise. You will be better off from having the satisfaction of getting your Safari on the road and knowing that you did it! - Happy Trailering!
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:12 PM   #8
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All good advice...

Lots of good info provided in this thread...

One thing not yet mentioned is the theraputic value of working on your own Vintage Airstream.

Most of my "real" work was office related, and I derived much enjoyment from working with my hands after office hours while resurrecting the Aluminum I have worked on.

If you break the total work down into one square foot areas the job does not seem nearly as insurmountable and provides much satisfaction after completing each segment.

Having stated the above there is a HUGE learning curve for quality Airstream work - much more akin to working on small airplanes than SOB white boxes. Quality workmanship far outweighs a cheaper non-professional quick fix. If you hire out any work make sure the "professional" does not need to learn the howto of it on your unit.
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:14 PM   #9
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Ya'll are great - lots and lots of hitting the nail on the head.

Love the thread about spending $30K on the trailer. It hits a little close to home.

Unfortunately, doing this work ourselves, at this point in our lives is just not gonna happen. That is a reality that's smacking me in the face and I'm accepting it. So financially the right thing for us now is to sell her and pick up an SOB that's ready to camp and move on down the road. I'll be sad - the cool factor goes with the older than me A$. But a new SOB (half the money we were estimated to repair our A$) will get us back to camping with our kids and not worrying about much with the camper for a while. And that's what's important to us right now.

Thanks for all the great advice and so much optimism!
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Old 10-28-2012, 04:11 PM   #10
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Paint on the inside of the Airstream

My husband and I are bringing a 68 LandYacht up to par. There is paint on the inside (almost a primer). Why is it "sticky" and how can we repair it? Do we paint over it with enamal?

We live in Iowa and now we will put heat in there to keep it warm while we paint. HELP!
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Old 10-28-2012, 06:22 PM   #11
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May I suggest before selling the Airstream you put in a call to Area 63 in Orange, Ca.

Uwe is a very nice man and will be able to shed light and explain options. Your Airstream may be able to be saved for you.
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tucumcari View Post
My husband and I are bringing a 68 LandYacht up to par. There is paint on the inside (almost a primer). Why is it "sticky" and how can we repair it? Do we paint over it with enamal?

We live in Iowa and now we will put heat in there to keep it warm while we paint. HELP!
I can think of several possible reasons why the existing paint is still tacky:
1 - The paint was applied too thick, and dried on the surface without drying all the way through. Several thin coats are usually better than one thick coat;
2 - If multiple coats were applied, they applied the second coat before the first coat dried well enough;
3 - The surface was moist/damp/wet when painted, and moisture was trapped in the paint;
4 - The wrong type of paint was used for the surface being painted.
5 - The paint was thinned with the wrong type of thinner, or too much thinner.

A question: What kind of surface are you intending to paint? Aluminum? Wood? Plastic? Not all paints are created equal, and some paints work better on some surfaces than others. Simple example, latex is good for wood. Not so good for metal or plastic. Since you specifically mentioned enamel, you would have to choose what kind of enamel; oil-based enamels are good on wood, but alkyd enamels are better for metals. They're not the same, even though both are enamels.

Manufacturer's recommendations should always be followed with regard to paint application remperature, dew point, and paint coating thickness. Without knowing the type or brand of paint you intend to use, general guidance would be: surfaces to be painted need to be completely dry before you start; air temperature has to be over 45F (either ambient or heated) from before you start painting until the paint has completely cured; air temperature also has to be at least 5F above the dew point from before you start until the paint has completely cured.

Don't use too much heat, though; too much heat causes the paint to cure on the surface befor it can cure all the way through. A temperature where it's just comfortable for long sleeves, without a jacket, it about right.
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