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Old 06-07-2016, 09:21 PM   #1
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
Fairmont , Minnesota
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Question Tell I'm crazy - please

We have a newer travel trailer which we like but we always drool when an
Airstream goes by. I have an opportunity to purchase a mid 60's AS 25 foot. (I don't have all of the details yet). Its been sitting outside for quite some time and is used for storage. The interior is gutted. there is no obvious sign of leaking but I don't know about the floor, the frame, or axle. I assume electrical, appliances, and plumbing are toast. The good news is that there are no obvious dents, all the windows are in place, and the price is $300.
I could use a reality check. My Mr.Fixit skills are fair but I like a good problem. How much time and money am I probably looking at? One option is to buy it and sell it to someone with more of a fever than me. I'm thinking the typical price would be $1000-2000.
Finally, how can I tell that it is safe to tow?
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:38 PM   #2
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Well the price is right. You want to repack the bearings, ensure the tires are sound, (maybe fix the brakes before moving it too far), and get the lights working temporarily before moving it. Otherwise, the budget is probablely closer to 10K rather than less, and many months of play time before it would be ready to camp. In the end, you would have a classic piece of aluminum and envious friends.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:10 PM   #3
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Years and $20K+ to do the job right. That's if you do the work yourself.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:13 PM   #4
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Disagree

The price IS certainly right, and again you're not mistaken that you could probably sell a nice shell for $1000 - to the right buyer.

where I disagree is in spending $10K. For that you could get an "aluminum tent", not a whole lot more.

First any "field find" has leaks and mice - and probably major frame rot if the climate isn't dry. So to get it safe for travel beyond getting it home, you'll need:
  • new axle(s) including brakes
  • a lot of rewiring, a new converter
  • safe propane lines, tanks, regulator
  • major frame work if not a new frame
  • replace the subfloor & cover it
  • replace all gaskets, vents, door and window seals
  • reseal all seams and rivets
  • "rough-in" for plumbing

And those are the big ones. Being "semi-handy" won't weld up a new frame if that's what's needed - you'll pay someone for it. Ditto for the converter, the battery and possibly the wiring or propane.

Getting it DONE - because more always presents itself to be done - could cost $30 to $50K. So IF you take your time and do not cost out your labor at say $20 per hour - and you start camping long before it's finished you could have a very nice experience....

BUT IF YOU aren't someone who thinks of this kind of work as an enjoyable hobby in and of itself, you might be far better off getting something much newer that you could enjoy today and for years to come.

As I said, for $300 you can't go wrong - so buy it - but then take the time to read some "full monte" threads here and if possible to meet some people who HAVE restored vintage before you dive head first into that activity. There's nothing harder to sell than a half done camper.

Happy trails and good luck whatever you choose, Paula
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:08 AM   #5
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Am I crazy?

We have a newer travel trailer which we like but we always drool when an
Airstream goes by. I have an opportunity to purchase a mid 60's AS 25 foot. (I don't have all of the details yet). Its been sitting outside for quite some time and is used for storage. The interior is gutted. there is no obvious sign of leaking but I don't know about the floor, the frame, or axle. I assume electrical, appliances, and plumbing are toast. The good news is that there are no obvious dents, all the windows are in place, and the price is $300 (false economy).
I could use a reality check. My Mr.Fixit skills are fair but I like a good problem. How much time and money am I probably looking at?
One option is to buy it and sell it to someone with more of a fever than me. I'm thinking the typical price would be $1000-2000.
Finally, how can I tell that it is safe to tow?
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:15 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice. I think I can do most things myself but frame repair is beyond me. Are there any clues to the frame's condition without taking up the floor or belly pan?
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:25 AM   #7
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Click on the "portal" tab at the top of the page. Scroll down and you will find the "buyer's inspection checklist". If you go through the checklist, you will know how best to check for rot, rear end separation, etc..

It is likely that there will be rotten spots in the floor, and the frame underneath may be rotting away as well. The axles are probably the originals, and will need to be replaced, but will probably survive a reasonably short drive home. The trailer signal light wiring may not match modern standards, so you will need some temporary signal lights with a long enough wire to make it from the back of your vehicle to the back of the trailer. Make sure all windows, hatches and doors are firmly fastened shut. Tape them with aluminum tape if there is any doubt at all.

good luck!
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:44 AM   #8
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Yes?



Really a maybe . . . So many variables . . . Hard to imagine you don't have better things to do.

Life is short!



IMO
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:52 AM   #9
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Another question. It turns out this is a 1959 trailer. Assuming we refurbish it to good running condition; frame, axle, brakes, etc. Is it reasonable to take it on cross-country trips or are they intended more for weekend local ventures? I wouldn't plan on using a 1959 Impala as a regular road car. Is regular use asking too much of a 60 year trailer?
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Old 06-08-2016, 12:06 PM   #10
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I don't know why you couldn't use the trailer as often as you want after refurbishment.
It will be as new again.
Yes, they require constant ongoing maintenance.
That is true even of a new trailer.
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Old 06-08-2016, 12:31 PM   #11
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If I had access to a 59 Airstream for $300, It would already be in my driveway.

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Old 06-08-2016, 01:29 PM   #12
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do it

I agree with the last post: it would be in my driveway too, swapping tales w/my Bambi. So just get it... you're not crazy, you got lucky. Lucky sometimes feels like crazy....
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Old 06-08-2016, 02:32 PM   #13
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The fact is, that refurbishment for trailers of this age is much more like rebuilding it completely. You will spend lots of time and money on it, and in the end, if done right and completely, it will be every bit as good as a new trailer. So it is no problem to take it cross country, just don't plan on doing it this summer, as it will be in pieces in your driveway for quite some time.

To your original question of "tell me I'm crazy," I would say that at least you are crazy for dragging your feet on the purchase. What you do with it afterwards (sell it vs refurb it) may take some hard thought.

good luck!
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Old 06-08-2016, 03:15 PM   #14
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Euless , Texas
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Clear Title?

Does it have a clear title? Can you get a title? Do the numbers match the trailer? Check the title laws in your state and do that before you invest a lot of time and money. In Texas if you buy with a bill of sale but no title and the owner of record shows up they get the trailer regardless of how much money you put into it.
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