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Old 08-05-2016, 11:57 AM   #1
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
NorthPort , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 4
Seeking Honest Opinion

I have the opportunity to purchase a 18 year old excella or a brand new other make for same money. Please consider the old electronics in the excella vs the new other unit. I love airstreams but want to make an informed decision. I plan lengthy trips and long stays. Thank you.

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Old 08-05-2016, 12:11 PM   #2
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2014 25' FB Flying Cloud
Hillsborough , North Carolina
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 17
The First RV is probably not the last RV

I like the adage: "The first RV you buy will probably not be the last RV you buy"

I think it common to buy an RV, try it for a while then see other features that work for the particular user and which features they would prefer better. Add to it, as a person ages, the needs also shift.

So if the question is between an 18 year old Airstream and a brand new some other brand, think about how long you would plan to keep it.

The Airstream is very far down the curve of steep depreciation.
So if in a couple of years you decide to shift models, there would still be reasonably high resale on that Airstream.
If you buy new any RV, that first couple of years depreciation will be huge.

So be realistic and are you going to be in a position to want to shift models in a couple of years?

Do you put a high value on everything being new and working just fine right out the gate, then there are some advantages to new albeit new units also have problems, just easier on the mind knowing there is a warranty.

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Old 08-05-2016, 12:49 PM   #3
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2005 30' Classic
Burlington , Ontario
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Not sure ifI am missing something here?!

Seems you already own a 2016 25' FC. How does that factor into the decision to now buy an 18 yr old AS or a brand new SOB?

Are you maybe obliged now to sell the 2016 AS that you own?

As for which way to go I would think it is a very personal decision. As had been pointed out, you are likely to lose a whole lot less with the older Airstream if you re-sell in the short term, unless of course you grossly over-pay to buy it.

Are you reasonably handy at fixing things? Not to say there won't be a few things wrong with a brand new trailer until it settles down - but that will just be an annoyance as it will all be under warranty.

With older trailers my experience has been that more often than not, on almost every trip we go on something acts up and has to be fiddled with - usually appliances and often nothing more than corroded electrical connections that need to be fiddled with.

Usually can be easily fixed - I have been lucky so far and have not had to call in RV repair people, I actually enjoy the challenge - as long as I able to resolve the problems.

Last trip we made just as an example, I had to deal with a hot water heater that wouldn't run either on gas or elec - turned out to be a defective thermostat, a five minute job to replace. Also the drip tray on our AC became cracked, leaking condensate into the trailer. Managed to fix that too. Oh yes, a bolt holding one of of the stabilizer jack arms seized with rust and broke off - had to drive out the broken rusted bolts and a visit to ACE for a new bolt.

It just seems there is always something, but as long as accept that as part of the fun its ok!

Our son in law (An accountant, I was an engineer before retiring!) Doesn't have any inclination to try to repair things so he just trades for a new RV every few years - presently has a huge fifth wheel trailer with multiple slides. Different strokes.

Good luck in your choice!

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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Old 08-05-2016, 02:39 PM   #4
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1991 34' Excella
2009 34' Panamerica
Telluride , Colorado
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Posts: 1,689
I have both new and old... I choose to fulltime in a 91 Excella. Its built like a tank. I travel around.30-50 k miles a year. I have few if any issues in 5 yesrs. My brand new PanAm did not make it from dealer to ho
e without issues.
my vote is to go with a well maintained early to mid 90s Excella!
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Old 08-06-2016, 06:49 AM   #5
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Morrill , Nebraska
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A$'s are not 4 season units. If you plan to travel where it could get below freezing for extended periods. I would look for a 4 season rated SOB.
Knowledge: "A gift to be shared. A treasure to receive."
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Old 08-06-2016, 08:55 AM   #6
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Princeton , New Jersey
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You say the same price as a new SOB. The price range between the same size SOB can almost double depending on the construction and quality. You can buy a new Yugo for the same price as a used Cadillac. You can almost count on an SOB leaking like a sieve in 4 to 5 years where as the Airstream even if it does leak it will be minor.

Now that said you have to consider what you want to carry. Airstreams are not designed with storage in mind both inside and outside. Also space is limited for a rainy day inside. So consider your toys and how they will travel.

Given the same weight the Airstream will tow at a cheaper cost per mile and will be far less susceptible to wind, passing trucks, and low branches.

We hauled an SOB for 13 years while the kids were growing up and bought the Airstream, going on 22 years, when the group got smaller and we were going to travel. Both bought used.
2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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Old 08-06-2016, 09:07 AM   #7
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Battle Lake , Minnesota
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What's wrong with the 2016 FC 25? We travel throughout the country for 6-7 months every year in ours, a good size for both travel and living with a few modifications for each.
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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Old 08-06-2016, 09:51 AM   #8
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2015 28' Flying Cloud
Melbourne Beach , Florida
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Older equipment could mean axle, brake, lights, locks, tire failure at any moment unless these wear items have been recently replaced. If you can verify tires less than 7 years old with good tread, working brakes, and assure yourself it is safe I would go to the next step which is seeing how old the air conditioner and fridge are. if they have not been replaced they will fail soon. These repairs are big $.
The Airstreams can be made to work for decades where the cookie cutter trailers are basically a very short term ownership. They are built for low cost and high volume sales.
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Old 08-06-2016, 09:54 AM   #9
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Do you already have a 25' Airstream? Why not just use it?
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Old 08-06-2016, 10:06 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Larry Cozy View Post
I have the opportunity to purchase a 18 year old excella or a brand new other make for same money. Please consider the old electronics in the excella vs the new other unit. I love airstreams but want to make an informed decision. I plan lengthy trips and long stays. Thank you.

Get an 'honest answer' from the current owner....

Unless you have a lot of prior experience tinkering on mechanical and electrical components... and spending money to restore a well used, if not worn out, tailer... go for SOB new.

When a vintage trailer is brought back to life... it is beautiful. Also when costs are totaled, very expensive and you could buy a new Airstream and eat the depreciation.

There are always gullible customers, buying from current owners who learned their lesson of 'fixing up' a vintage anything. Learned it from cars. Let someone else pour cash into their pride and joy... and buy it for much less than what they have in it.

It is one thing buying and using it. Upgrading as you go. You do not have any initial costs posted, but you may be the live one on this deal.

Human Bean
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Old 08-06-2016, 10:30 AM   #11
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Vintage Kin Owner
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Its a trade off like any other decision.

How many people travel with you? Realistically, even the largest of aluminium trailers are only good for a couple, and are cramped when compared to SOBs (with/without slide outs). If you go off the beaten path and need a trailer that sits higher, want a trailer with large sleeping capacity (or separate sleeping quarters), lots of interior and exterior storage, 4 season compatibility, and an exterior kitchen, etc. SOB is the way to go.

Aluminium trailers obviously look much nicer (you could argue this is subjective), last longer (caveat: except for the shell, they need the exact same maintenance as SOBs), tow slightly better as they are aerodynamic and handle side winds better, give you better MPG (usually 2-3 MPG better) again due to aerodynamic shape, are generally smaller (some people are minimalists), "age" better (most people think my 38 year old Avion is a brand new Airstream), and generally depreciate less.

I guess only you can decide what is right for you.
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Old 08-06-2016, 11:56 PM   #12
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1995 25' Excella
xxxxx , xxxxxx
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I made the same decision when I bought my 1995. I could have bought a brand new SOB for about the same money. Sure, I have had a few minor repairs, but all the major systems are still original and working fine. If something goes bad, I will deal with it. I don't regret my decision.

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