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Old 12-04-2019, 03:21 PM   #1
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Dunbarton , New Hampshire
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Newbie considering '64 Safari Fill-time

Hello Airstream world,

I'm in my early 30s and with personal events that have happened in my life, including the loss of my brother and a stressful "corporate" job I am going to take life by the horns and life full-time exploring. My first trip will be Alaska, followed by where ever in the lower 48 might call my name, currently, I'm located in the Northeast.

To be honest I wasn't looking at Airstream, but I came across a 1964 Safari and well... it is something I'm seriously considering. To start, I don't need a ton of space, but I do competition action shooting and do need room for that gear, plus a trailer that can handle some weight. I tow with a 2017 4Runner (which has been a big issue finding something that she is compatible with).

My concerns are a few, Airstreams seem reliable, but towing a 50+yr old trailer gives some concerns... are there things I should look out for? Are they really that reliable even with age? I'm single and can't handle constant issues.

Is a single axel fine, or will I "feel it"?

Price... they seem all over the place!! I've seen 45k-10k. What is reasonable? And resale?

This is the description of the listing I'm looking at:
22 feet + 0r - 3500 lbs. Complete rebuild in 2013. Frame OK & painted, new Dexter #11 axle, 45 down & 2" lift, new 3/4" fir plywood floor. Body, inside skins removed, new insulation & wiring, prime & paint, window frames resealed. All new 30 amp electric with 2 new batteries. Plumbing new copper & pex. Water heater original bowen, works but not used. tub/shower works but not used, toilet / black tank works not used last 2 yrs. Furnace works not used last 2 yrs. gas /elec fridge oversized works well. Stove / oven works fine. Interior cabinetry original no faults, both bed/couches not original. Exterior skins & door last polished in 2013, looks good but ready for a rebuff. Rope & pole awning as new. Faults, jealousie windows need new seals, they allways do, seal kits now available from VTS (vintage trailer supply). Vinyl floor covering shows wear in traveled areas. Stove top has rust. Comes with hitch, bars & sway bar, external gray tank, all hose and hookups, level jacks, wheel chocks, ect.

The seller told me the windows need new seals, new seal for the front door, apparently that is common? The floor is not insulated, there is no gray water tank, and he doesn't trust the hot water heater. I'm not sure of the costs of these items or if it is "easy to fix" and worth it.

The price is 13k. Any advice is appreciated!! I'm looking at it Friday so on a bit of a time crunch. Thank you all

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Old 12-04-2019, 10:53 PM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Welcome to the forums!

First off, it does not sound like you want to rebuild a trailer, or even to spend a lot of time futzing with it. So I would recommend buying something that is ready to camp in. The trailer you describe might need very little to put it on the road, but the huge dependency is on whether the rebuild was done correctly, or whether corners were cut. The only way you are going to know is to get someone who knows what they are looking at to help you inspect it. If you go to the Portal tab at the top of the page, and then scroll down, keeping your eyes to the right of the page, you will find a link to the Trailer Inspector's checklist, and a utility for finding volunteer inspectors.

Door, window, and hatch seals get dry and cracked on any trailer you buy. They are a maintenance item. Once done, they may last 10 years before you need to look at them again. the Jalousie windows are a horse of a different color, but none of this is rocket science.

But to your questions: Is a 50+ year old trailer reliable enough to consider? As mentioned above, it mostly depends on how well it was rebuilt 6 years ago, and how well it has been cared for since. If it was left outside in the pouring rain, with leaking windows, you might already of new floor rot.

Is there anything wrong with a single axle? Lots of folks prefer the security of the double axle, but there are plenty of out out here towing on a single axle. I personnaly like the single axle, because it allows me to spin it 180 degrees in my driveway--would be tough with a double axle, but this isn't something that many people need to do.

The prices are all over the place. In general the smaller, older trailers fetch a higher price, as they are more in demand. $13k doesn't seem a very high price for this trailer, considering that it is smaller, and older, and they claim to have done an extensive rebuild. Sounds almost too good to be true...Beware of trailers that have had a very superficial fix-up, but are rotting away beneath the fresh flooring. We have a name for these--"polished turd." But maybe the $13k price tag is because there is a lot of stuff that was not "rebuilt," and is not in working order. There is a suspiciously long list of "never used" items in that description.

A new water heater is around $300, not a big deal to replace. If the furnace is original, it is probably ready to be replaced as well--another $500 or so for that. You should ask how many of the appliances (water heater, furnace, etc.) were replaced during the rebuild, or at least try to get an estimate of their age.

If you could post the ad for it, or some pictures, I am sure the folks here on theses forums could pick out a variety of issues at a glance.

Good luck!

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Old 12-04-2019, 11:05 PM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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I think I found the ad for that trailer (Vermont?). Says the title is missing, but that "Vermont doesn't title trailers this old." Do your homework on what it will take to get a title for that trailer. It may end up being a bigger hassle than advertised. Price still seems almost too good to be true. There are lots of scams out there, and usually if something seems too good to be true, it is...

Good luck!
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Old Yesterday, 07:49 AM   #4
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Thank you for your thoughtful response! I looked at inspectors in my area and sent messages, we shall see if I get a response. The seller is a life long Airstream enthusiast and seems knowledgeable, he claims the rebuild of the floors was better than new and wasn't a full shell off but all the electrical, frame painting, axel etc was done. I do question the leaking seals and if that affected the floors, good thing to look out for. Also with the "not used" items.

I like the idea of being able to do a 180! I am staying away from long trailers because maneuverability is important.

Thank you for the feedback on pricing, I'll keep a close eye out to see if it is indeed "too good to be true". I assume it is because it is in the middle of no where. Really. But who knows.
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Old Yesterday, 07:50 AM   #5
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Yes! Thats the one

Note taken about the title
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Old Yesterday, 10:35 AM   #6
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Heath , Texas
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Welcome! Sounds like a great adventure. We’ve had a 1967 for several years and prior to that another vintage trailer. We love taking it to off grid interesting places. That said, however, as much as I love our vintage, when I read your post my thought was that maybe you should try to find something that would be easier for you to take care of? Vintage airstreams are so cool....but my husband and I are constantly repairing or working on something and we have one that is already redone. Long road trips are hard on our old AS—seems like something is always coming apart from the jarring or other things. We do all our own work because we’ve had a hard time finding someone to work on the vintage—they just aren’t used to them. Also, we don’t insure ours so if something catastrophic happens we’ve lost our investment (we are ok with that) so that is something to consider too if you need to have something you can insure you might have to buy newer. Anyway, I’m really not trying to talk you out of it—I’m just letting you know some of the downsides to balance when thinking about your new adventure. The upsides are also great though and we adore ours despite all the effort that goes into it!
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Old Yesterday, 10:42 AM   #7
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IMHO the wisdom from above I completely agree with...
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Old Yesterday, 10:43 AM   #8
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I would start off with some shorter trips before heading to Alaska. I would put money into as much solar and battery capacity as possible. Look at a Goal Zero 3000. I just drove over to SC and parked 2 nights for zero dollars. I kept the fridge and freezer running with no problems. Look at Gone With the Wynns- they have 1200ah capacity. Also, I'm a guy with a lot of tools. Here's a recent acquisition: Milwaukee 18v site lights. I bought a compact site light with flood mode and a 9ah battery. It will run a very long time. I also bought a compact site light. These are professional quality and very sturdy and put out a more balanced light. They are much better than my Makita 18v lights. Here's something else: I just ordered a Boosted Rev. Although I don't have it yet, it should be much more powerful and useable than my Ninebot ES1 which is on its way out at 300 miles. Look at For winterizing, look at this: Viair 450P-RV. Keep us posted on the journey. Here's mine- @coasttocoastphotoatl
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Old Yesterday, 12:51 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by nh3gungirl View Post
I am going to take life by the horns and life full-time exploring.
Sounds like a nice change of lifestyle - one that I hope you will enjoy! I have two things you may want to consider:

First, have you thought about what it means to live with "there is no gray water tank" in a full-timing, rambling lifestyle situation? It would mean either using full hook-ups for disposal of all your wash water (showers/sinks) or toting around an external (heavy when full) gray water tote daily as you can't legally just run gray water on the ground.

Airstreams before 1973 did not come with gray tanks - which may be fine for a short-mid length trip, but full-timing might be a whole different story. You can always retrofit a permanent gray tank into the trailer (we did), but that may be more work than you are willing to do.

Second, is your comment "My first trip will be Alaska...". If it's in the winter months, you will definitely be "chilly". Airstreams are not really intended as 4-season trailers. Not to mention driving conditions in the snow...

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Old Yesterday, 02:01 PM   #10
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Buy a cheap SOB (some other brand) and use it for 3 to 6 months. Then sell, trade or burn it. If you still think an Airstream would meet your needs... start looking.

Oh, and look at OLIVER travel trailers. Not as sexy as Airstreams but ruggedly practical.
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Old Yesterday, 02:05 PM   #11
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An absolute steal at that price IF the restoration and subsequent maintenance were done correctly. Get an experienced helper to go with you to inspect if possible. Lost title may also be a huge headache and warrants further research.
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Old Yesterday, 07:30 PM   #12
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No AC?

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