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Old 04-23-2004, 10:06 AM   #1
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Question Hello, and advice needed

I'm a newbie, referred by Action from another forum on Lincoln cars.

I don't own an AS, just interested in them. Currently I have a 2000 Ameri-Lite, bulit by Gulfstream. I had a water leak caused by the construction methods when built. Gulfsteam would not help on repairs as I wasn't the orig owner and trailer was over 2 year warranty to boot. The rearmost 42" of floor and supporting structure had to be replaced.

So myself and my son-in-law did the repair after I got a $2k estimate from a rv shop.During the tear down and rebuild I came to realize that the reason for light weight was flimsy construction. Believe me, this traler won't last like an AS. Besides,since I bought the TT, I have bought an '03 Chev Duramax Diesel and weight is no longer an issue, not with a 15,700# tow rating!

I have read a bit in this forum about AS monocoque (sp?) construction, etc. This sounds like what I am looking for in construction and should contribute immensely in long term durability. Now I have a few questions, and if there is a place where they are already answered on this forum, please direct me there!
1- Is the AS truly more aerodynamic, with less drag?
2- AS,s I have seen seem to have a premium price, compared to others of equal age and size, are they worth the difference?
3- What are the most frequent trouble spots to look for? I want something I don't have to rebuild before I can use it! I've got enough projects on hand now.
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Old 04-23-2004, 10:20 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by dirty old man
1- Is the AS truly more aerodynamic, with less drag?
2- AS,s I have seen seem to have a premium price, compared to others of equal age and size, are they worth the difference?
3- What are the most frequent trouble spots to look for? I want something I don't have to rebuild before I can use it! I've got enough projects on hand now.
1. Yes. Both for front and side loads.
2. We think so or we would not spend so much time and money on them!
3. The main problem area centers around rotting floors. The entire shell is attached, not to the frame, but to the floor. Do a search on "floor rot", "rear end separation", and "tail droop".

Mark
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Old 04-23-2004, 11:11 AM   #3
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2- AS,s I have seen seem to have a premium price, compared to others of equal age and size, are they worth the difference?
depends on how you look at it...whether you're looking for "new" vs "used", how long you want to keep it, etc.

from what I can see, A/S costs twice as much, but lasts at least 3x as long...longer if you take good care of it. So, if you're buying new, and keeping for...say...40 years, then absolutely!! great deal!!

But they also take a big depreciation hit, if you buy new.

In my price range, the candidates are 1) a fully depreciated, (now, A-ppreciating) 30 year old airstream, in darn good shape, with many, many years left on it, and 2) .....something 10 years old, continuing to depreciate, and quickly nearing an inevitable death. Not ever having owned any sort of camper, and not knowing for sure whether or not we'd like it, use it, etc, I didn't want to get "stuck" with something and lose money. So I went with option 1. turns out, I'm keepin' it. but even if I change my mind, I probably won't lose money.
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Old 04-23-2004, 11:22 AM   #4
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depends on how you look at it...whether you're looking for "new" vs "used", how long you want to keep it, etc.

But they also take a big depreciation hit, if you buy new.

In my price range, the candidates are 1) a fully depreciated, (now, A-ppreciating) 30 year old airstream, in darn good shape, with many, many years left on it, and 2) .....something 10 years old, continuing to depreciate, and quickly nearing an inevitable death.
Chuck called it right. I don't mind buying quality, but I want the biggest bang I can get for my buck. To give you some perspective on the depreciation issue, our coach was $67k new in 1994. We bought it from the original owners last spring. They netted $22k from us (there were some brokerage fees involved). The trailer depreciated $45k in nine years, or to the tune of $8k/year.

Now, we actually paid $24 for the trailer, but according to NADA, it's still worth $23k retail, so the depreciation curve has flattened out tremendously. Recognize also that Airstreams are one of the few consumer items where the condition of the unit is more significant to the price than the age. You can expect a minimum of 30 years out of an Airstream, provided that it's regularly maintained. The shells actually last virtually forever; it's the interiors that become dated and worn.

So, if you are willing to shop around, you can find a 20 year old or less Airstream in near new condition with all of the functionality of a new unit for a very reasonable amount of money, and still not lose your shirt financially.

Of course, there is something really nice about having a brand-new Airstream!

Roger
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