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Old 05-22-2002, 04:55 PM   #1
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And you think you got a deal...

Just a ramble...

On my route to and from work, I pass a RV park that is situated on an old gravel pit lake. For years I have noticed that it had a bunch of old junkers sitting along the lake bank. I never really gave it much thought until recently.

I have noticed over the last 2 years that newer trailers and RV's were starting to line the lake. Being the over curious type I started keeping my eye on the place. Well a couple of weeks ago I looked down the entrance road and saw an older Airstream hooked up to a truck parked next to what I assumed was a rent house/ cabin on the lake. Each day I would look down this road and notice the trailer. Then one day last week I saw the truck disconnected from the trailer. Hmm.. looks like it is getting positioned. Well, last night as I was passing the place I saw that the door was opened on the trailer. I just could not stand it any longer and I pulled over and turned around. Now I am not someone to just go driving down someones private road and I thought to myself, well, all they can do is shoot me. As I got closer to the house and the trailer a van came driving up from a side road that runs along the lake. Uhoh, here it comes. The fellow driving the van parks and sits there eyeballing me. Not getting out of my truck, I may be brave but I am not stupid, I rolled down the window, waved, smiled real big and asked if it was his trailer. He slowly walked toward me and answered yes. I told him that I was currently restoring an Airstream and asked him if he was too. He said that he had recently got this one and was fixing it up for his sister. Then he smiled and asked if I knew anything about them and would I like to see what he was doing.
Well, I spent the next hour and a half with him going back and forth, in and out, under and over while he asked questions and showed me things he had done or found. Things like what is this and were can I find that and look this still works. It appears to be a 1972 Ambassador that is in very good condition. It has no floor rot, he has completely replumbed it (he is a plumber) with all new copper and is currently refinishing the cabinetry. It looks like he is the 3rd owner. It came with a huge ring binder full of notes and clippings that the original owner kept on it. The outside is in excellent condition and ready for a good Vulcem'ing and polishing. The upholstery looks brand new but is the original. He is doing a first rate job on it. Turns out he bought the RV park 3 years ago and is turning it around.

Then he drops the bombshell on me. He paid...$1,700.00 dollars for it. I was dumbfounded. He was grinning. Said the guy needed the money and just wanted to get rid of it. Well, after another 30 minutes of gabbing and getting in my truck to leave twice I headed down the road with these thoughts...

There are still great deals out there and don't be afraid or hesitate to go up to someone and ask some questions. If I had just stopped earlier that trailer might have been mine. Instead I road away meeting a great person and having an enjoyable 2 hours and a good story for my wife.

Ramble off...

-BobbyWright
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Old 05-22-2002, 05:44 PM   #2
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Talking

This is what really excites me about owning an Airstream. I only had the service manual and it gave me insite as to how some of the systems worked but I needed more. Thanks to people in this forum as well as airstreamcentral forum, I was sent to people "in the know" all over the country. I've emailed and talked with them over the phone and every one of them have been helpful. They've provided me with info, owners manual, correct brake controller for the job, pros and cons on various batteries/solar, parts I can't get locally or even in TN. and generally answered any questions I have had. Now that I have all my systems running up to snuff, I have passed this info on to other people who have posed the same questions I asked previously. It really feels good to help others as I have been helped and now realize why some have told me that owning an Airstream is like being in one big family. I also understand how a rally can be beneficial by meeting new people and learning more about your trailer and how to repair it. I never anticipated I would have this much fun fixing up my Excella 500 and it would bring me not only a wealth of knowledge and friendship. Bobby, I know exactly how you feel. Craig
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Old 05-23-2002, 08:28 AM   #3
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When I found my Airstream motorhome ,it was after a few months of searching every place I could think to look. The deal was almost too good to be true for me, as the owners felt like it was tired and needed a "lot" of tlc. To my eye it was clean, and well cared for and needed a ton of little things done, but that was the challenge and fun of it. They even aplogized for the condition.
As I have learned since it truly was a great deal.
Recently I met another motorhome owner who bought his 345 from a listing in a small newspaper and got it for about 50% of its value. When he's finished fixing it up it will probably be worth two and a half times his initial purchase price.
Just goes to show you if you look hard enough the deals are there for those who appreciate them.
I always check the sides of the road and the parking areas for trailers and such that might be for sale.
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Old 05-24-2002, 08:46 AM   #4
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Sad situation...

I always thought Airstreams were the ultimate travel trailer. When it came time for me to buy one I approached my neighbor, about his Airstream that had been setting in his yard for oh, about 14-20 years. Now mind you, I have never seen this trailer leave the driveway in that time period. The tires are sunk in the ground about 4-6 inches.

I got up the courage to ask him one day, and got a flat out NO! I may use it in the next few years he replied. Well we all got a chuckle out of it because this guy is the king of all procrastinators.

I then started searching the internet for Airstreams. Lo and behold, I found one! Best part of it all, just 10 miles away! A call to the owner revealed that it was sold. Damn! He said call back in a couple of days, in case they don't show up. I called back, and they didn't show. I went out, looked at it and bought it! What luck!

It was in beautiful shape, for a 30 year old trailer, but had it's problems. A new hot water tank, a new water pump, 3 leaks in the copper from freeze bursts. I think it needs new axles, and a few little odds and ends. When it's all done, I think I got a heck of a deal. Better than $60,000 for a new one!
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Old 05-24-2002, 08:58 AM   #5
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Axles (off topic)...

Pick;

Andy, owner of Inland RV , has an article about checking your axles out on his website.


http://inlandrv.com/articles/dura-torque-axle-92001.htm

-BobbyWright
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Old 05-25-2002, 05:10 AM   #6
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Deal?-Appearance and Demeanor can Deceive

We recently met a pleasant appearing individual and what appeared to be a well maintained Classic Airstream 345 Motor home at an unofficial Airstream Rally of Classic Motor Homes. In conversation the individual indicated the vehicle was for sale if we were interested. Ultimately, a sale was agreed upon for the owner's asking price, in cash, based on presentation of a statement alleging prior repairs and maintenance to the vehicle by the dealer where this individual purchased the vehicle, and His "good faith" statement that there were no problems with the vehicle that he was aware of, and that it was in good working order. A handshake consumated the deal, and in due course we travelled ti Indiana to complete the deal and drive the vehicle to SC.
Upon arrival in Indiana, in very stormy tornadic weather, we observed some hints of problems which had not previously been disclosed. An example running lights were not totally operative, the dash A/C-Heater control was broken, the driving lights didn't work, owner had to get a fuse replaced in Air bag system, alternator was not properly charging, all explained away as minor and requiring only adjustments. A round the block driving test revealed that it ran OK, and jerky transmission explained as nothing to worry about. heater switch needed adjustment. We departed in a storm, windshield wipers not functioning properly, and within an hour, we lost all lights (running lights and tail lights) in torrential rains.
Fortunately my wife was following in our car, or we could have suffered a terrible crash on the Interstate. We had noticed that when we initially tried to back the vehicle, there were some inordinate noises associated with shifting gears and there was jerking when the vehicle was placed in drive from a start, but we dismissed this as unfamiliarity with the vehicle. Forced to spend three days making the one day trip because of the loss of lights we could not travel in any darkness. Upon arrival finally at home, we scheduled the vehicle into the shop to look into what had been perceived to this point. When we picked up the vehicle, We had been informed by the owner that the Nutone didn't work, but otherwise everything else
was in working order.
(Message continued on next reply due to length)
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Old 05-25-2002, 05:26 AM   #7
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Continuation of "Deal - LCD"

When the vehicle was inspected by our mechanic, the following situation was defined:
(1) A broken speedometer (trip log) which wavered, etc., was replaced at an installed cost of $180.00
(2) A Broken Dash A/C Heater switch - replaced and installed (Very scarce item) $240.2528
(3) Non-functioning A/C (parts included a drier, etc) charging totally with Coolant $185
(4) Aged and improperly functionng Fan Clutch replaced and tested $150
(5) Burned out spotlight bulb replaced $100
(6) Wiper Switch replaced and motors adjusted $78
(7) Emerald Generator which could not be started was totally serviced and tuned up $177
(8) Locate, and eliminate shorts in chassis electrical system and repair circuits $78
(9) Replace broken microswitch in galley exhaust system
and motor (furnished by owner) $90.00
(10) Purchase and Installation of a Factory Re-conditioned Transmission replacing totally unrepairable transmission that had allegedly been serviced by previous dealer. $1350.00
These repairs, total of $2528 do not include the $100. to get the Nutone repaired.
(Continued on next message due to length)
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Old 05-25-2002, 05:34 AM   #8
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Conclusion of "Deal="

When we confronted the individual with this list of repairs and actiions required to put this vehicle into safe operating condition, he "stood by his good faith statement at time of sale" and impuned the capability and credibility of our mechanics and consultants in determining and fixing all of these problems. We asked that we be re-imbursed for at last half of these costs based on the hand shake purchase conditions, however to date, we have had no honest or acknowledging reply to what appears to be a deception on the part of the seller.
Our remorse is that we thought we were dealing with an honest and sincere person, and realize at this juncture that there is no way this individual could not have known at least the the A/C was not functioning, or that the transmission was in a comatose situation. His only defense being that our mechanics were unethical or inept.
SO, if you come upon what appears to be an Airstream Motor home in good operating condition - Beware - the deal is not what you think it might be.
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Old 05-25-2002, 06:46 AM   #9
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If you had known about these problems, would you still have bought it at a reduced price? In my case, I knew about the bum hot water tank, but not the bad water pump,or the three freeze bursts. But in fixing these items myself, I have come to know the innards of my Airstream quite well, and future problems will be easier to fix. All in all I think I got a swell deal.
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Old 05-25-2002, 08:10 AM   #10
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We would have certainly purchased the vehicle anyway! Externally and internally, the coach was and is in beautiful condition. Although we have yet to enjoy it, it is comfortable and fulfills all our needs. We would have wished that the owner would have been candid with us about the problems, and we would have negotiated a favorable price that would be consistent with fairness. As it was, we took his statement in "good faith" and gave him his asking price without any barter - just wrote him a check for the amount he wanted.
That is waat we are unhappy about in the whole deal. We arehopeful that no further problems will develop with the appliances, etc., when we make our maiden voyage in "Silver Belle" which we have yet to do.
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Old 05-25-2002, 09:14 AM   #11
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Yes, in trailers, boats, and cars it is buyer beware. I purchased my trailer over the internet using pictures and speaking to the seller about the unit. The seller is somewhat of a dealer as he always has trailers to sell. My first question was dose the unit have a clear title. I had the trailer delivered as I was very busy and on travel at the time. The seller had his son deliver the unit and the first thing he did when he arrived was take off the license plate and hand me some paper work and get in his truck and leave. Of course the title was not clear and it took me weeks of phone calls and just plain nagging to get it straight. The condition of the trailer was misrepresented and when questioned his defense was I donít know that much about trailers. The real kicker was the propane line to the stove which had a leak repaired with electrical tape and a hose clamp.

When I purchased the trailer I asked that the bill of sale show a lower price than the actual purchase price, (This is done all the time with classic cars and boats due to taxes, not legal but it is done) The seller was almost aghast as he did not want any trouble and he was a Christian, I didnít have the heart to tell him I was also but saw things a little differently. In the process of getting the title correct he had to retitle the trailer in his state which he had never done. He listed the value as $100.00 on his State Tax form, while the bill of sale (3rd) I had dated the same day had a value of many more times listed. The State of Georgia now has those documents. I wanted to be sure he did not get in trouble with the State Of Georgia tax department because of this little oversight.

I must say every problem listed above was my fault as I didnít have the time to conduct the deal correctly and I let my guard down. I still feel I got a good deal on the trailer and in my case I would of more than likely done all the work and paid the same price. I like to restore, boats, cars, trailers, whatever and tend to go all out.
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Old 05-25-2002, 09:21 AM   #12
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I wouldn't of sold this to my worst enemy, can you say boom.
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Old 05-25-2002, 09:47 AM   #13
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I'm not trying to defend these sellers, but some people are dishonest & others have a lower level of quality. I have two very good friends that we go to RV shows, auto shows, etc. One is near a perfectionist & the other has very low standard of quality in his work on any vehicles. If you bought anything the first one has, you'd get a perfect thing & he might say it needed another little thing. The other, anything he has needs major repair & he'd say it was in perfect shape. I guess thats why you take your chances when you buy anything used. When I buy a used vehicle, I figure between $1K & $2k to bring it up to my level of repair & it almost always works out that way. One thing about having your own repairs done, you know when & how it was repaired. We travel with my friend with lower standards. His 5'ver has 4 different brands of tires on it & two different wheels. His patch work is every where in his life & he is very happy with it. The perfectionest isn't very happy with his stuff. Its never good enough & when ever I've helped him with any thing, he just about drivers you crazy with making it perfect.
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Old 05-25-2002, 10:01 AM   #14
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The Rest of the Story!!

I went back to the garage this AM (Sat 5/25) and was handed another invoice to add to the $2500 I was going to pay.
Background: All thew way from Indiana to SC., the unit was running sluggigly and back-firing and caddilacing every time we stopped. I attributed this to the fact that the previous owner had probably been buring regular gas in it (Book says to use PLUS). Again at the time of purchase the owner provided us with a receipt from a garage in Alabama that purported that new plugs, wires, and fuel filers had just been put on the vehicle a month ago. When my mechanic went over it, he found that the plug wires were not in proper sequence, and were not new, It was necessary to put new plugs, wires, a new distributor rotor, new distributer cap, new points., etc. And a careful tuneup to get the engine running properly. As he did this, I ordered a complete service to include an air filter(the one on there was probably the original) new oil filter, oil change, lubrication, etc.
The only thing we found that was on the receipt furnished by the owner was there were new fuel filters as he claimed.
All of this now comes to $343.44. When added to the previously noted invoice we are looking at total costs (misce item,s not included of Close to $3000.00.
The axiom of " Buyer Beware" hads got to apply to Airstream Rallies and the comradeship associated with the fellowship among Airstream owners(?)
Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Clark
Yes, in trailers, boats, and cars it is buyer beware. I purchased my trailer over the internet using pictures and speaking to the seller about the unit. The seller is somewhat of a dealer as he always has trailers to sell. My first question was dose the unit have a clear title. I had the trailer delivered as I was very busy and on travel at the time. The seller had his son deliver the unit and the first thing he did when he arrived was take off the license plate and hand me some paper work and get in his truck and leave. Of course the title was not clear and it took me weeks of phone calls and just plain nagging to get it straight. The condition of the trailer was misrepresented and when questioned his defense was I donít know that much about trailers. The real kicker was the propane line to the stove which had a leak repaired with electrical tape and a hose clamp.

When I purchased the trailer I asked that the bill of sale show a lower price than the actual purchase price, (This is done all the time with classic cars and boats due to taxes, not legal but it is done) The seller was almost aghast as he did not want any trouble and he was a Christian, I didnít have the heart to tell him I was also but saw things a little differently. In the process of getting the title correct he had to retitle the trailer in his state which he had never done. He listed the value as $100.00 on his State Tax form, while the bill of sale (3rd) I had dated the same day had a value of many more times listed. The State of Georgia now has those documents. I wanted to be sure he did not get in trouble with the State Of Georgia tax department because of this little oversight.

I must say every problem listed above was my fault as I didnít have the time to conduct the deal correctly and I let my guard down. I still feel I got a good deal on the trailer and in my case I would of more than likely done all the work and paid the same price. I like to restore, boats, cars, trailers, whatever and tend to go all out.
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