Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-07-2012, 08:50 PM   #1
New Member
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2
Any years to avoid? Newbie questions...

My wife and I are looking at getting an Airstream. Primarily because we think they are so cool looking. My mother-in-law has a 25' Safari and we've decided that's too small with our two kids. So we're looking at a 30' or 34'. Which models are the wide-bodies? In reality, a regular old 30', boxy, bunkhouse would make more sense, but we really like the Airstreams and are okay with paying more for something with both quality and personality. It looks like there are deals on models roughly 15-20 years old. Since the quality is supposed to be so good, I'm not worried about that. That being said, are there years to avoid? It seems like every brand has a period of ownership change, etc where the quality takes a dive, then picks up.

I know ACs and refrigerators have about a ten year lifespan. Do Airstreams have any special equipment or will any standard RV Norcold or Dometic fridge work? Any cost estimates to add a second AC (we're in Texas)?

I've seen some deals on Airstreams with banged up panels. I assume that's because it's crazy expensive to have them replaced? One in particular looks like the guy had some issues backing it up and just ran into something. Everything else looks great, but the banged up panels would drive me nuts.

That's it. We'd appreciate any advice to avoid any pitfalls.



Bryan72D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2012, 09:03 PM   #2
Rivet Master
c_lewis77's Avatar
1982 34' Limited
Brunswick , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,084
Images: 22
Welcome to the forums! I have the 34' and have really enjoyed it. Once you get used to the size, towing and backing aren't really a big deal.
I like having the back bedroom separated by a hallway; it is nice to have with kids. I have two little girls under 5, they love camping in the airstream!

1982 34' Limited
2000 Excursion V10 4x4
WBCCI #3321
TAC #GA-24
c_lewis77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2012, 10:29 PM   #3
Rivet Master
2006 22' International CCD
2007 Base Camp
Elk Valley , British Columbia
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 657
It isn't so much a matter of years to avoid, as identifying severe problems. Getting someone familiar with Airstream to inspect a used model is a great idea. The biggest, major potential problem is water damage to the floor. A lot of the floor is hidden, and being able to spot the typical signs of floor damage is essential. You can have a 20 year old trailer that is good as new, or a minor leak in a 2 year old trailer that went undetected and requires substantial repair.

Panel damage is not usually a big deal structurally, but you are right - it looks bad. The panels themselves are ~$500 for end panels, but require quite a bit of time and the proper tools to replace correctly. My dealer just estimates $5K per panel as a rough guideline. If you are a bit handy, and invest in some good tools, you can do a lot of it yourself.

Fridges, water pumps, A/C... all standard RV issue gear. Plan on around ~$1200 or so for a new A/C...

If the trailer is more than 10 years old, you'll want to be thorough in checking axles, brakes, frame... as the shiney shell can detract you from looking at the running gear...
Friday is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2012, 10:39 PM   #4
Rivet Master
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,592
The early 70's long AS are maybe not the best of the units they made. Frame sag and rear separation issues are common. Floors can be an issue with most any of them, be very sure to take a sharp pick to any floor where a leak could have occurred. That means anywhere on the trailer.

The appliances are all standard RV, other than the large units that had a stove top and an oven in two different locations. Those are special and not real available anymore I believe.

A second AC unit may cost you close to $1000 to install it. The bigger problem is running two AC units on a single 30 amp electrical hookup. That is iffy at best.

Yes, banged up panels are very expensive to repair/replace. You might even do it yourself, that is bang one up...LOL. Tire failure can aslo make an expensive mess of the wheel wells and side walls. Put good new tires on when you get one, and replace them about each 6 or 7 years (some say 5).
idroba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2012, 08:06 AM   #5
New Member
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2
Thanks for the info. This jogged my memory. A few years ago I worked with a guy who's an Airstream FREAK. He has retired and spends a lot of time on the road, hopefully I can get in touch with him. If anybody knows a guy named Kerry in central Texas who's interested in old Airstreams, kindly put him in touch with me!


Bryan72D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2012, 08:57 AM   #6
Rivet Master
Silver Otter's Avatar

1999 30' Excella 1000
Nellysford , Virginia
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 957
Images: 6
Blog Entries: 1
Linda and I were in your place about two years ago. We *really* wanted an Airstream, so we started the research. After reading a LOT here on the forum, talking to people who owned them, and going to visit dealers and sellers, we settled on a floor plan we really wanted. That made *shopping* a lot easier. We found ours on which has the facility to search for just Airstreams in April 2011. YOUR perfect AS is out there, just keep looking.

Greg and Linda Heuer
'99 Excella 30 w/HAHA - The Silver Otter
'08 Chevy LTZ 2500HD 6.6 DuraMax
TAC VA-18 | WBCCI 1927 - Unit 149 | AIR 53869
Silver Otter is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:14 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.