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Old 08-20-2007, 07:40 AM   #1
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1966 17' Caravel
Waterbury , Vermont
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2
Help for bumbler

I posted this on new members when it should have been here.

My Airstream is in drydock and that's the problem. I know nothing about the renovation of an Airstream and frankly, I have very poor aptitude for repairing or building anything. So I placed it with a service that renovates Airstreams.
So far, the renovators removed everything inside, stripped it down bare and cleaned the inner shell, removed the bellypan and old floor (rotted)
,welded the frame where it was weak, installed a sub flooring. This cost slightly over $6,000. They then changed the aluminum wiring. Cost: $1,500. A designer came in and billed $1,400 for picking fabric and floor but I have not seen any plans and the floor has not been done.
Total cost: $9,214.36.

I was told $60 an hour, more for design. I gave money in advance and it sure disappeared. Seems as though, at this rate, I I can see the cost equaling a new one and far beyond the amount of my bank account.

I need some advice on how to proceed. Perhaps there are other renovators that are less costly or am I just in over my head? Thanks for the advice.

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Old 08-20-2007, 08:36 AM   #2
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Posts: 521
I have an idea...send me you AS & checkbook. I'll restore it, then camp in it for a while to see if it's "functional",then give it back when I'm questions asked. ! ) Then my wife wouldn't/couldn't complaint about me spending our $$$ and time on our AS. I'd be doing it as an act of "kindness" for another. (read sarcasicly RRRRight)

Hope you find a more reputable way to have your dream w/ your AS come true.

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Old 08-20-2007, 08:36 AM   #3
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1972 27' Overlander
Longmont , Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 951
hi Peter- unfortunately, most of the cost in repairing/refurbishing these old coaches is in the labor, and if you're not able to do it yourself, you will have to pay others to do it. Skilled American labor and know-how is not cheap, but since you still have quite a ways to go in your renovations I would suggest shopping around a little. It may turn out that the shop you are using has very competitive rates, and does beautiful work, which is worth it. Or you may find other "freelance" craftsmen that can help you for a much smaller hourly wage, or fixed bid. You might try advertising for this work, in the free, or in your local paper, or by asking around in your local lumberyards, mechanics, and hardware stores. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress! -tim
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:08 AM   #4
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
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Welcome to the Forums, Peter. We are glad to have your with us.

As the others have said, you may be getting a fair deal if the work is done correctly. There's a lot of shoddy work out there, some of it for a high price.

You can take solice in the fact that a 17' Caravel is one of the neatest and most desirable travel trailers ever made.
SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:21 AM   #5
Site Team
, Minnesota
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I think Zamboni has the right drift on this.

If you used a service that renovates Airstreams (and you did check their portfolio, didn't you?), then they should have given you a real good idea of what would be required.

Nobody in the "business" would expect to renovate an airstream of that vintage without doing major frame repairs, floor replacement, and rewiring. You haven't paid yet for the new axle. The amount you have into it so far seems reasonable for the work accomplished so far. I'm not to sure about the designer charges, that might be high or low, depending on your own style.

Here's a heads up: I've spent more than you have on my '59 Tradewind for materials and appliances. All labor was my own and cost $0. You might be less than halfway in at this point.
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:34 AM   #6
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2005 30' Classic
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Welcome to the Airstream world.

Cost of renovation is all relative: there are so many options and materials, the sky is the limit.

I will have about $35,000 - $37,000, mostly in material cost, when I'm done. If you don't do the work yourself, and add labor to that (figure $60 an hour?), you could have much more into it then if you had bought a new TT. There's a lot of work in redoing one of these babies!! Like any other project of restoration, it really is a labor of love and usually not a money making ordeal.

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