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Old 10-14-2015, 09:02 AM   #1
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Possible to restore in 3mos?

Hello everyone,
This is my first post here. My husband and I recently fell in love with the airstream rv and the community of airstream enthusiasts. We are looking to buy one to live in full time. We were planning on taking a year to search and restore one, but my husband just got a job offer in Oregon and we might need to leave Feb 1st, 2016. We have two small children and two dogs that will need to have a safe home to travel in by that time. Is this feasible? We have $10k to spend but I was hoping to use some of that for restoration costs too. There is a 31ft Excella for sale near us that we are going to look at. The frame, panels, axels- overall body is in good shape. The interior still has all the walls and appliances but the owner says its a gut job. It looks like the walls and flooring def need work. He is only asking $2,400. Obo.

Am I crazy for considering this excella, knowing our time limit? I do have to say that it will be sitting in my dad's warehouse garage with plenty space and tools to use. He is retired and will be able to spend time working on it everyday. We will work with him a few evenings and weekends every week. We just need it in livable condition to get us from FL to OR. Once in OR we can continue cosmetic repairs.

Here is the link: https://daytona.craigslist.org/rvs/5180754568.html

Any thoughts, suggestions would be great.
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Old 10-14-2015, 09:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PuraVida567 View Post
Hello everyone,
This is my first post here. My husband and I recently fell in love with the airstream rv and the community of airstream enthusiasts. We are looking to buy one to live in full time. We were planning on taking a year to search and restore one, but my husband just got a job offer in Oregon and we might need to leave Feb 1st, 2016. We have two small children and two dogs that will need to have a safe home to travel in by that time. Is this feasible? We have $10k to spend but I was hoping to use some of that for restoration costs too. There is a 31ft Excella for sale near us that we are going to look at. The frame, panels, axels- overall body is in good shape. The interior still has all the walls and appliances but the owner says its a gut job. It looks like the walls and flooring def need work. He is only asking $2,400. Obo.

Am I crazy for considering this excella, knowing our time limit? I do have to say that it will be sitting in my dad's warehouse garage with plenty space and tools to use. He is retired and will be able to spend time working on it everyday. We will work with him a few evenings and weekends every week. We just need it in livable condition to get us from FL to OR. Once in OR we can continue cosmetic repairs.

Here is the link: https://daytona.craigslist.org/rvs/5180754568.html

Any thoughts, suggestions would be great.
The following items would need work and/or replacing, unless they have aleady recently been done.

Clearcoat paint job (clearcoat only lasts about 5 to 6 years), axles (torsion axles last about 25 years or less if not moved some what often, like once a year), all the exterior gaskets, especially the sewer vent pipe cover gaskets, possibly an AC shroud, a water heater, the furnace overhauled, new internal gaskets for the water pump, drapes, water filter replacement, shock absorbers, and who knows what else as determined by a physical inspection.

Andy
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Old 10-14-2015, 10:13 AM   #3
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Oregon can be pretty wet and cold in February. I can't imagine living inside and restoring a trailer at the same time under those conditions, especially with kids.
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Old 10-14-2015, 10:29 AM   #4
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It will probably cost you a lot more than $7600 to restore. If a trailer has been anywhere near salt water, like Florida, serious frame rust is a real possibility. If you have not done restoration work before you are taking a big gamble.
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Old 10-14-2015, 10:53 AM   #5
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I live in Eugene, OR, and welcome you to the forum and soon to Oregon!

Living full time in a trailer anywhere with two small children and a dog is challenging (which I'm sure you've thought of ). There is a forum member going by the name of "BoldAdventure" who is full-timing with his wife and two small children. He would be a wonderful person for you to connect with as he is living it!

My experience: Having had an excellent contractor do an extensive remodel of our large home, while living in it with our two children, I vowed to never do so again. It was so stressful living amidst a remodel. There are no words for it. And I'm a patient guy and don't stress easily. I would never recommend it to others and imagining a remodel going on inside a trailer of 275 square feet or so with children is truly not something I would ever consider. I'm not mincing words because that wouldn't be helpful to you.

It seems to me that dealing with the strains of moving, a new job, new routines, finding places to get food, finding health care providers, meeting new people, etc....seems like enough to handle for anyone! Perhaps renting an apartment for a few months, buying an Airstream once you are settled in Oregon (there are always Airstreams for sale, like anything else) would be an idea.

Anyway, there are my thoughts. Sounds like you are on a great life adventure with whatever you decide. I wish you the absolute best with your move and Airstream whenever it all happens!
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Old 10-14-2015, 10:53 AM   #6
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People spend years and thousands over budget on restorations and still never finish. Many eventually give up, sell out and move on to the next endless project.
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Old 10-14-2015, 11:06 AM   #7
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I'm thinking you will be under budget since the current owner has given you a heads up that it is a gut job. I don't see how one person with occasional help can get the basic restoration done in 3 months. You might want to spend a little more and buy a used unit that has everything working.
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Old 10-14-2015, 11:14 AM   #8
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Drive up to OR and buy one there. Then you don't have to wonder if your trailer will make it from FL to OR.
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Old 10-14-2015, 11:26 AM   #9
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Have you seen / read this thread..?
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f7/i...lp-122767.html

I do not know your husbands' "skill set" regarding metal work, wood work, electrical, LP or applicable plumbing skills, but, a professional could take 3 months with a 'helper' to pull that project off... In my unworthy opinion....
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Old 10-14-2015, 11:33 AM   #10
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Welcome to the Forums!

Just a calibration point, I bought a '73 on the Florida panhandle with the hopes of doing dome cosmetic fix-ups and then going camping. Cosmetic fixups revealed rotting floors and disintegrating frame and ultimately a shell-off. It has been three years with this as my "full-time" hobby, and I am finally to the point of rebuilding cabinetry. Every project takes triple the time and double the budget, and I will make the very broad brush statement that nearly every vintage trailer that has not already had a shell-off probably needs one.

If you want to be living in a trailer in three months, then spend your entire budget on a trailer that has already had all the "heavy lifting" done. Spend your 3 months identifying the best trailer you can find. It should have solid frame and floors, axles replaced, and functional appliances. Ask for documentation/pictures/receipts. The cosmetics can all wait until you save up some more money. Rennovating a 40 year old trailer is not cheap! You will burn through $10,000 really fast.

good luck!
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Old 10-14-2015, 11:38 AM   #11
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The proposed price for the "total gut" project trailer is fair based on other similar sales I've head about.

However you will never finish the restoration job in three months for $10,000 less the cost of the trailer. Successful trailer restorations of this scope (total redo) take more time and more money then you say you have and are generally only successfully completed by individuals who actually enjoy the restoration process and are not just looking for a "cheap" Airstream to get into.

If your total budget is really only $10,000, and you need it in three months, I suggest you try a different plan.
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Old 10-14-2015, 12:54 PM   #12
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I wish I could tell you it was possible...

In July I bought a1973 Airstream Ambassador from the original owners. I was told everything worked and there was no floor rot etc.
After spending a few hour looking it over We found that there was floor rot, and lots of work ahead of us. That being said I had no idea...😥
I have spent 3 1/2 months working everyday at least 8 hours or more, and ours was not a total inside restore!
As others have said it takes a lot more money and time than you think it will.
We have taken it on a "dry run" camping a couple of times, however it really was a dry run because we still don't have running water. 😂
We have months of work left to finish sealing all the windows, doors, vents...
Having said all of that, I really love our Airstream. I just want you to realize that it is very time consuming, and a lot more expensive than you can imagine. I don't want you to be unhappy and stressed out by your Airstream experience. By all means buy an Airstream...when you have plenty of time and $.
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Old 10-14-2015, 12:58 PM   #13
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We replaced every single appliance, including toilet, blinds/curtains, A/C and furnace. Replaced all lights with LED ( inside and out). Painted everything including countertops, and replaced carpet with cork-like vinyl. Re-upholstered everything. Put new graphic and moldings outside, and had a new propane tank cover made. New tires and aluminum wheels and had it polished. We did all of the work ourselves (except A/C install and most of the polishing), and we spent close to $12,000. That is on top of the !2,000 we paid for it. If yours is a 'complete gut job', you will have to forego something to get it done for $10,000. Ours was totally useable from the day we bought it (except for bad fridge), but we just wanted something nicer. It could be done in 3 months if you worked on it every day. We took a year because of still working full time. Don't get discouraged, but be realistic. it sure is worth it when your done!
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Old 10-14-2015, 01:47 PM   #14
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wow I wasn't expecting so many responses. Thank you everyone for your information and encouraging words. We understand that full time RVing alone is challenging, but RVing with children becomes a true adventure! And we are excited about it. My husband is a USCG marine mechanic veteran and grew up helping his father with the family's home renovation business. My father built his garage to restore classic cars. So both are very skilled craftsmen and there is no doubt they are capable of restoring the airstream. Time is are only problem.

Thank you Meeks for letting me know about "BoldAdventure" I will definitely reach out to them .

I guess we will continue our search for an airstream without SO much work even if it costs a little more. And keep in mind the possibility of buying one in OR. I was just hoping to have our little home on the road somewhat put together before we left so the kids could have the comfort of their own things.
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