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Old 09-15-2010, 09:28 AM   #1
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Would I be getting in over my head?

I'm getting the sense that one needs to be an accomplished plumber, electrician, carpenter and mechanic to be a happy Vintage Airstream owner. None of which I am. I find myself getting discouraged and browsing Craig's List for an ugly, white SOB box instead. I'm a pretty handy little woman, but I wonder if I'd be getting in over my head with a Vintage unless it's been completely updated. I can't afford a new AS.

Any words of encouragement?
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:38 AM   #2
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Even the new Airstreams require work.There should be a statement with the literature that comes with the new units stating "that some assembly may be required". Having said that, any older unit usually requires something. Just the nature of the beast.
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:44 AM   #3
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There are lots of inspector listed on this Forum that would be available to inspect any Airstream you are considering.

Short of a trailer that needs to have a Frame off or axle rework you should be able to get the advice you will need on any project right here and complete it if you have basic hand tool capacity.

Go For It
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:57 AM   #4
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you just need to find a well loved airstream. it takes a lot of looking we looked for over 2 years for our 1po 1972 overlander ten years ago. but they are still out there. the airstream inspectors are a great idea, they know what/where to look for. things pretty much only and airstreamer would think of. we of course think it is well worth the trouble and love our 2 airstreams. one isn't quite enough.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:04 AM   #5
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It is good to have some abilities in those areas,. but certainly not all vintage owners do. You can get by leaning on friends, pros and other of us "streamers"..
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:08 AM   #6
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I replaced a few year old converter in a 1999 motorhome years ago with no problem. But the converter I saw in a 1976 Argosy the other day was very intimidating and scary looking. I've changed slide valves before but I wouldn't have a clue how to even get to the slide valve bolts on that little Argosy. I even had a heck of a time getting the battery out of that tiny little battery compartment on the Argosy to check the water.
So,aAre you all saying that I wouldn't have to travel hours to get her to an experienced vintage Airstream repair shop? Anyone who knows about modern day RV electrical and plumbing systems should have no problem figuring things out on a vintage, even if they had never worked on one?
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:09 AM   #7
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define "pretty handy".

a used white-box SOB isn't going to be any better; they'll have even more problems, if anything.

IMO, they're like miniature houses. The same "handy" skills you use around the house apply in the 'stream, as well.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:13 AM   #8
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That's the false idea that Home Depot and Lowes sells to homeowners through their TV commercials and I can't tell you how much work I've corrected over the years that they've insisted could be done by anyone with basic skills. Truth is some people and tools of any kind are as compatable as oil and water and they're simply dollars and frustration ahead paying someone qualifed and skilled to do the work. Doesn't mean that you can't find an older unit in good shape. but anything with the systems of an Airstream is going to require work at some point and not every owner can do that work for any number of reasons. It's true that you can find great guidance on this forum but you will either have to attempt the work yourself or be willing to pay someone to do it.




Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
There are lots of inspector listed on this Forum that would be available to inspect any Airstream you are considering.

Short of a trailer that needs to have a Frame off or axle rework you should be able to get the advice you will need on any project right here and complete it if you have basic hand tool capacity.

Go For It
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:38 AM   #9
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My name is Julia, and I have a 1962 GT that I have done a full frame off restoration with. I had no experience with metal, so I contacted a local company that works on airplanes, and they did the metal work with me "helping" and learning as they went. It has been great fun. While the trailer was at the airport, I went through all of the forums and printed out any forum item that I knew I would need to get to someday. I put all of the information into binders. Then I started a detailed list of the work I would need to do. If you tackle one item at a time, it is really doable and you don't get overwhelmed. This winter I will get the plumbing done and the tanks mounted, and then next spring the trailer will go to a carpenter and get the inside finished. It is doable, if you break it down into manageable parts.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:42 AM   #10
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WOW, I'm impressed Julia. I'm hoping to find something other than a total restoration. My main goal is to go camping, and repair as needed.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:55 AM   #11
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I have been watching your searching for an Airstream posts for the past few weeks. All along I was glad you were looking...however, I felt like your were approaching what I call a "feeding frenzy" and were going to buy something that would eat you up. Don't do that!!! Take a deep breath and keep looking....and asking...you will find a nice reliable Vintage Airstream. Structure is most important. Don't get involved with a floor replacement. There is no such thing as an inexpensive panel replacement....and I am guessing that would be beyond your capabilities at this point. The systems are simple. You can do anything there. Seal all the seams and windows first thing.....again, a simple job. The cleaning up and decorating...supplying..etc., are the fun things you do as you go. End of Summer....the best time to buy your "Baby."
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:08 AM   #12
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I have been watching your searching for an Airstream posts for the past few weeks. All along I was glad you were looking...however, I felt like your were approaching what I call a "feeding frenzy" and were going to buy something that would eat you up. Don't do that!!! Take a deep breath and keep looking....and asking...you will find a nice reliable Vintage Airstream. Structure is most important. Don't get involved with a floor replacement. There is no such thing as an inexpensive panel replacement....and I am guessing that would be beyond your capabilities at this point. The systems are simple. You can do anything there. Seal all the seams and windows first thing.....again, a simple job. The cleaning up and decorating...supplying..etc., are the fun things you do as you go. End of Summer....the best time to buy your "Baby."
Thanks Melody Ranch. I do know to look for and stay away from floor problems and panel replacements. I like your statement that the systems are simple. That helps assure me a bit that either I can do many repairs or easily find a competent person to do them for me. But I haven't been RVless since 1992 and hate the thought of selling my current SOB and then spending years looking for the "right one," or at least a "right enough one."
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:36 AM   #13
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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. Eventually we had someone replace the axle, and I replaced the front half of the floor, and there's been very little electrical work, except for replacing that scary-looking converter with a modern one. The only plumbing work has been fixing a leak and replacing a section of pipe that froze when I didn't winterize as well as I should have. There's been 7 years of fun between all that stuff, and I plan on keeping it for many many more. An SOB would be falling apart by now!

There are good trailers out there that won't even cause you that much trouble. They don't all have to be a major project. Just take your time picking one out. This is a good time of year for finding end-of-season bargains - people who want them gone and don't want to store them another winter. Spring is better for selection but there's more competition. Good luck!
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:40 AM   #14
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Thanks Stephanie.
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