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Old 09-15-2010, 12:43 PM   #15
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2005 30' Classic
Burlington , Ontario
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My comment relates more to the economics of things rather than the skillset issue - although I don't doubt you'd be up to tackling anything needed as long as you don't get overwhelmed and discouraged by facing too much at once.

Over the years I have restored a few old Brit sports cars - I certainly enjoyed it, and restoring them for me was as much fun as driving them, but I finally learned to believe what many people had told me in that financially, you are far better off to buy a vehice that someone else has invested in major restoration work rather than doing it yourself - provided of course that the work has been done to a decent standard.

I would think that this would apply to buying an older AS as well, as long as you shop wisely.


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 09-15-2010, 01:15 PM   #16
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1958 22' Flying Cloud
San Angelo , Texas
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You can do it!

If you're the kind of person who doesn't mind getting your hands dirty and likes to fix things and make them your own, then you can do this. Just prioritize the stuff you can't do yourself and have a plan for when you can afford to pay someone else to do them. I've done most of the restoration work myself and have only had to pay someone else to do things lik install new water heater, water pump and toilet, some rear frame repair and brake wiring. The rest of the stuff, this forum gave me the info. I needed. Here's what I've done: replaced the flooring, all exterior lights, removed the old toilet (by sawing it to pieces), fixed both sink faucets and other minor plumbing repairs, replaced all window screens and window tinting, gaskets and weather stripping on all doors and windows, removed all the silicone & resealed all seams & possible leak sources. Refreshed old refrigerator and installed new gaskets, fixed all the tambour, mended the torn fabric on sofa and made the bedcoverings. I still have several other projects to finish, but have been camping in it & enjoying it since the toilet was installed! I didn't get to choose my trailer as it had belonged to my parents, so I guess it chose me. Now it's mine and I love it. My dear hubby has helped with anything needing muscle, but he's not exactly a fixit kind of guy. So guess what I'm saying is if I did it, so can you, so just go for it!

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Old 09-15-2010, 01:46 PM   #17
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Broken Arrow , Oklahoma
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To me there is a common thread to all RV's pumps, converters, propane systems, hot water heaters, batteries etc. There are only so many manufactures of these systems and once you understand the function they are all similar.

Yes the older Univolt might be an exception but is still a converter and it's function is the same...provide 12VDC...and easily replaced with a modern 3 stage converter.

The special thing here is the support you get from this forum I don't think there is anything you would want to repair on an Airstream that hasn't been done by someone here and willing to help should you need it.

All brands and all makes of RV' end up having problems that are pretty much unique to that manufacture but the systems used are all similar after all how many brands of hot water heaters are there and a Dometic frig is a Dometic frig.

Owning an Airstream is owning a unique piece of American history and anywhere you camp other campers want to see YOUR camper over all others.
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Old 09-15-2010, 05:19 PM   #18
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1976 Argosy 24
sun city , Arizona
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Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments. I do feel a bit more confident now.

Joy, I'm sure I could do all the things you mentioned that you did. I do get satisfaction in doing stuff myself and do like to at least try. Except I'm not too keen on doing too much electrical except maybe changing light fixtures.

The whole learning process and shopping process is quite a journey in it's self. I do have to tell myself to take a deep breath now and then and enjoy the ride.

A million thanks to you all!! But I'm not through with you yet!! = )
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Old 09-15-2010, 06:40 PM   #19
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There are many members here on the forums willing to help you. Ask the question and you will get answers.


Wally Byam Airstream Club 7513
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:04 PM   #20
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RV HD Lady~


The searching is really a lot of fun too, look everywhere, Craigs List, Airforums Classifieds, Ebay, etc. It may take time, it took us well over a year to find ours. We thank our lucky stars that the previous owner loved her and Ill tell you there is nothing I wouldn't tackle on her. Search, find one and get out and camp. Worst case scenario you sell it and find something else. Lifes too short, just do it.
Happy Trails!
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:15 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by RV H-D Lady View Post
Except I'm not too keen on doing too much electrical except maybe changing light fixtures.
Don't let the electrical be your limiting factor. With the exception of the 120 volt receptacles, which most likely will not need work, the rest of the electrical is 12 DC. 12 volt DC is very easy to work with just think of it as a loop. Power goes out on the positive wire, often black, and returns on the ground side, often white or the body of the trailer. If you have fused the hot wire close to the battery there is nothing you can do wrong that will result in more than a blown fuse and another chance.
2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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Old 09-15-2010, 07:35 PM   #22
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sun city , Arizona
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Thanks Jezibles for the vote of confidence.

Thanks HowieE, but I always thought red was positive. Or is that just on jumper cables?
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:42 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
There are many members here on the forums willing to help you. Ask the question and you will get answers.
Yes, I might get an answer but that doesn't mean I will understand the answer.
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Old 09-15-2010, 08:30 PM   #24
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One little thing to bring up... shop with your nose. If its not the best summer camp, beach house, neatest country store etc. 'aroma' to begin with chances are you'll never really be at ease in it until you've... well, here is my example:

I've just now made friends with my project trailer... Smell? Scrub everything and yank nasty carpet. Still smells, paint the floor. Still smells, pull bathroom drop black tank & all the plumbing & scrub all those hidden areas. Still smells, yank the galley and scrub all hidden areas. Pull wheel wells & scrubs... still smells (two plus years later) of 24/7/365 windows open - a eye watering allergic noxious waste smell... pull refrigerator and wardrobe built in & find the four 12-inch pantry shelves beside the refrigerator growing little white crystals on the hidden edges, and hidden areas of that aluminum frame with severe corrosion - the hidden steel screws holding it down had vanished from corrosion... found on next to last piece of interior left standing!

So - be patient, there will always be another trailer - and don't fear the normal hassles of ownership, the truly cared for trailer (esp. a SW Desert trailer) will demand a premium price and maybe you'll be inspected too as a prospective owner as you're having the trailer inspected - the right stuff goes both ways

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Old 09-15-2010, 09:33 PM   #25
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Find a desert unit if possible,less rot from moisture. Here is the desicated example I aquired...... Adios, John
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:53 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Stefrobrts View Post
I found a nice little trailer which I could use right away, from a club member who was using it regularly so it was 'ready to camp'. Best decision I ever made, because we got to enjoy it and tackle it's little problems as they came up.

...They don't all have to be a major project. Just take your time picking one out.
Everything she said!
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:16 PM   #27
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good advice

melody ranch offers good advice there! and to add something--my advice is to get the best one you can afford. that means the purchase price plus what you (and others who have experience) predict it will take to get it the place/condition you want it. I used that philosophy with my 56 bubble and am having a guilt-free blast rebuilding it. based on what i see in prices for the small vintage trailers I still have a lot of room before i reach the all important what I have into it ratio to: what is it actually worth. I'm not planning to sell I just want a rational approach to the project. a complete rebuild does cost a ton of money--but you get to build it how you want it. I'd take your time and you'll probably get lucky with a camp ready trailer. Look for one that needs more cosmetic fixes verses structural, major mechanical and complete system rebuilds. Take a look at to see some prices of hardware, appliances, and other stuff. It helps you determine a budget for buying. In all of my shoping--i believe the Caravel model is one of the best "sleeper" bargains in the smaller to midsize vintage models. see if any more come up in great condition. good luck. cheers--ted
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Old 09-16-2010, 07:08 AM   #28
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sun city , Arizona
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Wabbiteer, thanks for the smell test advise. My first thought is always that the carpet is the culprit. But your experience disproves that theory.

Diesel1, You've had quite a journey with your AS. Nice to find another Arizonan here. I've camped at Burro Creek! = )

The544man, all good advise that I will utilize. Thanks. Some sellers seem to think that the new carpet and curtains they put in makes it renovated. hahahahah!!

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