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Old 05-07-2014, 12:32 PM   #1
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1961 16' Bambi
Avinger , Texas
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Replace or restore?

Question about appliances in general: when do you say no to keeping original appliances on a 50+ year old Airstream? Do the original appliances add a whole lot to the value, or is it advised to replace the appliances with modern ones to increase efficiency and safety?

I am starting a remodel on my 61 Bambi. Original stove and Dometic M16 refrigerator still intact. There is some rust on the burner assembly of the stove, but otherwise pretty clean. The fridge - I have no idea if it works. I will have to hook up a propane line to it and see if it fires up. But is this really worth it, knowing there will be problems with getting parts and repairs in the future?



What to do, what to do...
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Old 05-07-2014, 12:45 PM   #2
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1960 24' Tradewind
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Some people like the idea of living in a working/functioning "museum".
Some people don't want to worry/fuss about old things breaking down, and likely don't appreciate (as much) or otherwise get a kick/thrill out of living w/ "history" in this fashion.

If you're going to have a long term relationship w/this trailer then do what you want (I say).

If you're going to restore and sell (thinking you're going to make a profit - highly unlikely, but possible) then I think you'd be better off keeping it historically correct.

There is value in those "parts and pieces". Someone will probably give you one of their limbs for that refrigerator and/or cooktop. And if you can get the Refrigerator to work it'll probably work another 50 years.

Just my Dos Centavos.
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:11 PM   #3
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50+ year old pressure regulators?

Do you REALLY think you will get a sound sleep knowing that there is Propane being controlled by REALLY old regulators?


All rubber cracks and degrades over time...update, even if it's just the regulators.


I have become much more cautious since I crossed the 60 line - I realize that some things are just not worth taking a chance on. Pressure regulators and tires are two of those things.
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:21 PM   #4
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The only part of your trailer that it is universally agreed to have value is the shell itself. Many times with trailers this old practically everything else is ready to be thrown out anyway.

The only recommendation I have regarding replacing RV appliances, is to replace them with RV appliances. Whenever I see a trailer with a fresh coat of paint on the interior, and the refrigerator replaced with a $100 "dorm" fridge from Walmart, all the warning flags come up (ie., that this person did a minimal and superficial job of sprucing up the trailer in an attempt to "flip" it and cash in).

Good luck!
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:42 PM   #5
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I'd recommend that if you decide to replace your appliances, at least hold onto the old ones until after you've successfully installed the new ones. Problems always arise, and it's nice to have options, or at least the ability to look at references.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:00 PM   #6
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We just pulled out the appliances from our 1973 Travelux. Mud dubbers and wasps had made a mess of them and the fridge was iffy. I love vintage (using a 1951 Tappan gas stove in my kitchen right now) but we don't want to put the old ones back in and possibly have them die on us later down the road. Especially after building new cabinets around them. (Yes, the cabinets went too).
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:11 PM   #7
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One advantage of the old appliances...... You won't have to endure down time due to a blown computer board. That has its own intrinsic value.

That said, I replaced all of my appliances, but with the most simple units I could find to do the job.

My water heater uses a computer board as does my heater.

Stove/oven, no computer, refrigerator, I don't think it uses a computer.
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:09 PM   #8
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Great replies, thank you all. This is a trailer that has been in the family a long time and is not meant to be sold - it is meant to be used and enjoyed. Therefore, trying to preserve value by hanging on to the older appliances doesn't make sense.


Anyone interested in a nice vintage refrigerator and/or stove can check the classifieds for my ads.
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:21 PM   #9
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I am with you there, these trailers should be used, pick your replacements well. Research for reliability.
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:26 PM   #10
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"One advantage of the old appliances...... You won't have to endure down time due to a blown computer board. That has its own intrinsic value."
Now that's an interesting thought. The PO of our Argosy replaced the refrigerator in 1992, do you think the "new" one from 92 has a computer? When did Dometic start using circuit boards or computers, and for that matter, is there a difference?
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:38 PM   #11
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Well I can say for sure that the appliance failures I have noted with my my and my families appliances are near all due to computer board failures as of late.

There is something to be said about simplicity, especially in a travel trailer.
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:41 PM   #12
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I mean really, does a stove or refrigerator really need a computer?
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Old 05-09-2014, 02:41 AM   #13
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Some of the old stuff is better than new. Some stuff can be restored and function as good as new. Other stuff is unsafe and should be tossed. If a stove is cosmetically ok there is not reason it can't be used. Most components are pretty generic.

The older fridges can run for decades. Mine still works in my 81 but is it ugly and rusted etc. It does not need electricity to run but the new fridges do which I think it silly.

Things that commonly need replacing are furnaces, water heaters, plumbing and rusted metal fresh water tanks.


Perry
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:27 AM   #14
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Several years ago when front load washers and driers were all the rage I took the bait and bought a pair.

Both units suffered several board failures Buford I replaced them with the last of the real top loading Maytag's just before the Whirlpool buyout. I gave the front loaders to my son, they have continued to suffer computer failures.

My parents oven, refrigerator, stove, and furnace have all failed at one point or another because of brain failure. $200 to $400 each to fix.
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