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Old 09-15-2015, 02:22 PM   #1
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1993 34' Excella
Austin , Texas
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Probably dumb question but please someone answer :)

Can a regular plumber and electrician work on airstreams--including replacing some electrical and plumbing where needed or should I hire an RV/Trailer technician?
thank you.

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Old 09-15-2015, 02:43 PM   #2
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Atlanta Burbs , Georgia
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Just my opinion, but the theories of both trades are the same. However, the "where" some components are located and the "best" work methods for fixing issues can be different. A generalist will take longer to figure out those details in your coach and do the job a bit differently.

So, it all depends on per hour cost and RV Tech versus electrician/plumber availability in your community, plus whether the tradesman will have the right parts in his truck to avoid unnecessary trips for on-site work. I'd go mobile RV Tech unless there isn't one within a reasonable distance if the nearest RV shop has a multi-week backlog.

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Old 09-15-2015, 02:43 PM   #3
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Weatherford , Texas
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It depends...
How willing is this "regular" electrician to research the differences in RV panel wiring? There's a lot of difference between "ready to learn" and "you can't tell me anything."

Lots of owners do their own plumbing work. No reason a plumber couldn't do it if he/she is patient enough to work in the tight spaces involved. You might consider the DIY approach on this one. PEX water lines are very easy to install--snoop around the plumbing department in your favorite home improvement store. The drain side of the system is plastic pipe--also pretty easy.
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Old 09-15-2015, 02:49 PM   #4
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1961 19' Globetrotter
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Of course that is very possible and not dumb at all.

With electric they might need to understand, 12 V, 30 amp, 50 amp and 110 and 120 and that many appliances run on propane in addition. It's not house dryer electric.

With plumbing a knowledge of gray, black and fresh tanks along with hepvo filter and venting.

That's a really basic answer but most of your answers are right here in the forums. Google your question with Airforums in the search line as that helps.

Come right and ask them if they are knowledgeable about trailers, comfortable looking up answers if the get stuck and telling you if they aren't.

Lots of the trailers being renovated now are using pex for plumbing.

Good luck.

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Old 09-16-2015, 10:34 AM   #5
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Apache Junction , Arizona
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The key really is the ability to take apart an RV (especially and Airstream) to get to the components that you wish to work on. Sometimes there are tricks to RV's that a traditional electrician or plumber might not be aware of.
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Old 09-16-2015, 01:09 PM   #6
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Hillsboro , Texas
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I live in Round Rock... I know we aren't a 'weird place', but have some experience with Airstream gremlins...

PM if you want to chat.
Peace and Blessings..
WBCCI# 30676
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Old 09-16-2015, 01:57 PM   #7
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For major work the learning curve on Airstream specific items is fairly steep. On the major items (AC's, appliances, fridge, propane, toilets), be sure to let someone do it who has done a similar repair or replacement.

There are several reputable technicians in your area (do a thorough search of the Forums on similar repairs that others have done).

It will be almost impossible to find someone willing to come to your residence to work on the trailer.

Expand your search to the Houston or San Antonio areas if you have to in order to find experienced craftsmen.

Be prepared to spend around $100 per hour for quality technicians.

Luck, your best source of information is to spend hours here on the Forum researching specific items and topics.

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

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Old 09-16-2015, 03:10 PM   #8
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1978 31' Excella 500
Barrie , Ontario
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NBJ1972, I took my AS to one of the biggest RV dealer and repair places close to where I live to get some plumbing and electrical repaired on my 1978, I told them they could take their time because I wasn't planning on using it for a couple of months . Their bill came to almost $5000.00 most of it for labour. When I tried to use the stuff that had been "repaired" nothing worked, I took the bills and the AS to CanAm RV and they redid the work, the plumbing wasn't hooked up properly and most of the electrical was done incorrectly switches put in backwards etc. Be very careful who you let work on your AS ! You can get an Airstream Service manual from the company that tells you how to take the whole trailer apart. If your handy it shows you how to do every thing. I got the book just to familiarize myself with the hidden components ,,,,,but I would never take it to any where but an AS shop for repairs. Good luck, and happy trails.
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Old 09-16-2015, 03:12 PM   #9
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NBJ1972, There are no dumb questions ! Only people who are too dumb to ask questions!
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Old 09-16-2015, 03:14 PM   #10
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Bev, curious, why take the previous bills to CanAm?

Do you know what a learning experience is? A learning experience is one of those things that says "You know that thing that you just did? Don't do that."
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Old 09-16-2015, 03:20 PM   #11
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Princeton , Iowa
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Of course they can work on it, hell I can. I think it comes down to what is available. In my caseIt think the handy man I use for my house is so much better than the RV place close by that he would do a better job, but Jackson Center will beat them all.
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Old 09-16-2015, 03:26 PM   #12
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IMHO a generic RV tech, plumber and electrician are in the same category.
Airstreams are put together differently and are a breed apart. Best practice would be a tech who is familiar with Aistreams. Don't take thier word, get references. It would help if you post what exactly needs work.

And, I believe there are no service manuals for a 2004.
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
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Old 09-16-2015, 04:58 PM   #13
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1958 22' Caravanner
not shared , Nebraska
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Books available "Plumbing for Dummies" and "House Wiring for Beginners" unless you can't bake a cake or change a tire yourself. Otherwise you can read, learn and DIY.
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Old 09-16-2015, 05:38 PM   #14
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1958 22' Caravanner
not shared , Nebraska
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No I changed my mind. Girls can't do anything mechanical, read books or learn to read a wiring diagram. "If it ain't broke don't fix it" Since you know it doesn't work, take it apart cause you can't break worse ( in most cases) and if you do harm, take it somewhere. And sometimes it doesn't cost any more. You'll soon learn when to stop or when you are in over your head. Leave propane stuff to an expert until you complete a few evening adult HVAC classes. Piezo ignition or standing pilots and thermocouples are not rocket science. Gas leaks are easy to test for. Yet be extra diligent if you do propane yourself. Go for it girl!!! DIY

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