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Old 01-18-2012, 09:53 AM   #1
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Advice Needed on Old Airstream

Hello everyone. Please forgive me if I am posting this in the wrong area. I know I have a lot of reading and studying to do on Airstreams before I jump in head first, but I am sort of in a "quick decision" mode.

I have an idea and opportunity to purchase an "old" dilapidated Airstream that I can live in and at the same time remodel. My idea is to do this for about a year but possibly longer. I know there are a lot of things to consider but my main question is this:

I have found a candidate for purchase at $1000. The owner tells me he believes it is a 1971 27' International Landyacht but from comparing the pictures with other models, it looks like it might be somewhere between 1960-1971. The current list of problems that I can visually see are:

Missing main door (screen door has been covered in hard vinyl skin to act as main door.)
Entry floor / frame is rotted / rusted.
Most windows are broken missing.
Entire floor is in bad shape and would need to be replaced entirely.
Interior structure is bad (i.e. cabinetry would be discarded, bathroom fixtures and all. no toilet but shower and sink.)
Mechanicals are all pretty well absent. (i.e. air conditioner is there but likely in non-working order. No fridge, cooktop, oven, no gas tanks, etc....)

There are probably a ton of things that are wrong with this camper that tells me I should avoid this one but on the upside, the shell is is decent shape (other than the door) and I would be able to completely gut it and build it up the way I would like (modern interior / classic exterior.) And, I have the intention to build it up for complete long term boondocking. (which I still need to study up on.)

The biggest problem I see at the moment would be finding a salvage main door that could be made to fit. The other problems are something I have to determine, if and what I am willing to live with while working on it. (i.e. gutting the interior, putting in a temporary floor, cooking, temp toilet, temp shower, temp lighting.)

Can anyone offer advice on the main door issue? Is is possible to locate a door that can be "adjusted" to fit? I am very mechanically inclined and not at all unfamiliar with moderate fabrication however, I realize this may be way more than I want to bargain for and should probably find a more solid candidate.

Thanks for any advice and suggestions.
Chris B.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:01 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cboling View Post
Hello everyone. Please forgive me if I am posting this in the wrong area. I know I have a lot of reading and studying to do on Airstreams before I jump in head first, but I am sort of in a "quick decision" mode.

I have an idea and opportunity to purchase an "old" dilapidated Airstream that I can live in and at the same time remodel. My idea is to do this for about a year but possibly longer. I know there are a lot of things to consider but my main question is this:

I have found a candidate for purchase at $1000. The owner tells me he believes it is a 1971 27' International Landyacht but from comparing the pictures with other models, it looks like it might be somewhere between 1960-1971. The current list of problems that I can visually see are:

Missing main door (screen door has been covered in hard vinyl skin to act as main door.)
Entry floor / frame is rotted / rusted.
Most windows are broken missing.
Entire floor is in bad shape and would need to be replaced entirely.
Interior structure is bad (i.e. cabinetry would be discarded, bathroom fixtures and all. no toilet but shower and sink.)
Mechanicals are all pretty well absent. (i.e. air conditioner is there but likely in non-working order. No fridge, cooktop, oven, no gas tanks, etc....)

There are probably a ton of things that are wrong with this camper that tells me I should avoid this one but on the upside, the shell is is decent shape (other than the door) and I would be able to completely gut it and build it up the way I would like (modern interior / classic exterior.) And, I have the intention to build it up for complete long term boondocking. (which I still need to study up on.)

The biggest problem I see at the moment would be finding a salvage main door that could be made to fit. The other problems are something I have to determine, if and what I am willing to live with while working on it. (i.e. gutting the interior, putting in a temporary floor, cooking, temp toilet, temp shower, temp lighting.)

Can anyone offer advice on the main door issue? Is is possible to locate a door that can be "adjusted" to fit? I am very mechanically inclined and not at all unfamiliar with moderate fabrication however, I realize this may be way more than I want to bargain for and should probably find a more solid candidate.

Thanks for any advice and suggestions.
Chris B.
Main doors are year sensitive.

What is the serial number of the trailer?.

A rotted floor usually requires gutting of the trailer and removal of the shell.

That would make it rather difficult to live in.

In my opinion, the owner should pay you $1000.00 at least, to haul a piece of junk away.

For example, and basing that on a 1969 or newer model, a new door might require shell modification, and costs over $2000.00.

New windows cost at least $400.00 each.

Your reported condition of the trailer would also suggest that all the appliances would need replacing. That's another $4000.00 or better.

And the story goes on and on.

Andy
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:44 AM   #3
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lots of things to consider. almost any roadworthy, livable airstream is worth about $15000 The hard way to get there might be to spend 1000 up front and try to do the rest in repairs. not impossible though.
do you have a place to park it for the year? sewer hookups?
as a minimun you are gonna need to seal the leaks and replace most of the floor and deal with sewer and plumbing issues. That can be done in segments with the shell on if need be.
how far do you have to move it to your parking location? probably need tires, bearings, etc to tow. check frame for rust. I bought a fairly good looking trailer and ended up replacing the A frame in fron due to rust.

Do not know what your situation is. I have bought two older trailers. For me, spending more up front to get one in better condition is the most cost efficient way to go.

I agree with Andy. The seller ought to have to pay a fee for being stupid enough to part out the door.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:54 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
A rotted floor usually requires gutting of the trailer and removal of the shell.

That would make it rather difficult to live in.
With no windows, rain has been getting inside this thing for quite a while. It is likely the whole floor needs replacing, the frame may have serious rust, and this trailer sounds impossible to live in for some time.

This trailer has been badly mistreated and probably was parted out already. If you have nothing else to do, thousands of dollars to spend, are very handy, and can get the price way, way down, and have somewhere else to live for a year or more, do it. Living in a space which is undergoing major remodeling makes the remodeling very hardójust remodel a bathroom in a house and see how cramped the space becomes even if you are not using that bathroom. This is much harder to do if you live in it.

Gene
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:08 PM   #5
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Could you? Yes. Should you? I think not. LJH
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:09 PM   #6
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My basically uninformed opinion is: Move on, keep looking until you find "your" Airstream. Sounds like this one will cost you several times the value just to get it on the road.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:24 PM   #7
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If you eventually will be traveling in this trailer you can expect to spend $10,000 to $15,000 to make it livable and road worthy. If you are willing to put up with the inconvenience of living in it as you restore it in lieu of paying rent somewhere it would help offset the cost.
I'm sure you could find a better deal out there.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:33 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for all the input. You all are basically voicing the same opinions as the guy sitting on my right shoulder (voice of reason.) I am very impulsive sometimes thinking I can do anything but the more I take into consideration all of what you have mentioned, I know deep down, it would be a miserable venture that would eat me up financially. Doing this alone even with the decent job I have, would be disastrous I am sure. Maybe down the road, I will find one that is within my budget and I can pursue it. Until then, the ideas and daydreaming will continue. (not to mention reading and learning.)
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:21 PM   #9
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Here's my 2 cents. I was lucky enough to get a trailer in great condition, for $3,500 and I've still dropped almost that much into it. The AC that I want is close to $1,000. Paying $5,000 for a usable trailer is a better deal than paying $1,000 for an unusable trailer that will need $3,000 in parts. Sure, you save $1,000 but you'll be working at $2.00 an hour to fix it up, and spend a lot of money in tools and time. There's no special education that you can carry through life for having the experience of drilling out 2,000 interior rivets. You'll see people do that, but only because they found the trailer of their dreams, or one that is very rare and has an extremely high value. $1,00 for a simlar 50 era's bambi? sure. But not this one. Save your money and buy one that's in decent shape. Trust us, there is more than enough work to do on any trailer that's been made to satisfy your remodeling bug. Mine looked almost perfect when I got it. It looks almost exactly the same today, but has new water tank, tires, wheels, rims, seals, vents, plumbing and electrical. You walk through it, and other than the shiny rims, it looks almost the same as the day I bought it, but I've put hundreds of hours and dollars into it.
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:26 PM   #10
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Good decision Chris.

Gene
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