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Old 07-15-2009, 08:38 PM   #1
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Help! evaluating, towing new AS

Greetings,

I have chemical sensitivities and am overjoyed to have found an affordable Air Stream ($10,000) that was gutted and rehabbed under the direction of Tad Taylor to be as nontoxic as possible. I am a little concerned about the condition of the trailer, and definitely have some decisions to make about how to get it home safely. The seller said it is a 1972 19' model (I couldn't find reference to a model from that year of that length). All new insulation, interior walls, appliances, electrical, no leaks. I don't think the layout is typical - it has a full washer and dryer for instance, and a tub. One window needs some plexi.

The seller suggested moving it on a flatbed "as the bottom could be iffy for long distances on bumpy roads". When I asked for more information about why it isn't towable and what needs to be fixed, this was their answer:

"It is towable...just not registered in Massachusetts. We had it towed from AZ and so it still has the 07 AZ tags. We towed it for about 30 miles last year with no problem. We just don't advise using it as a travel trailer since it is not air-tight and would pick up road fumes (asphalt and diesel, etc.) that would need to be aired out for a day or two...depending on sensitivities.

On its trip from AZ to MA, part of the underside metal skin came loose--the rivets popped. We had it repaired on the road and then rechecked and riveted some more once we had it in MA. The tires are good, the brakes are good. For longer trips, perhaps repack the wheel bearings. We had them repacked in NY when it was being repaired."

We would need it to travel 322 miles from MA to upstate NY where we live. Eventually we may want to use it as a travel trailer, and it would be nice to know how much work it would need to make that possible. For now, I want to concentrate on identifying any major issues that the trailer might have, and how we can get it home. Once we get it here we will not need to tow it any more than two miles maybe once or twice in the next few years, as it will be serving as an auxiliary living space while we build a house.

Would it be legal to tow it home as it is, unregistered? Based on this information, do you think that it is safe to tow it if we borrow or rent an appropriate tow vehicle and take the trip slow? How would I go about moving it with a flatbed - would that be very costly? Are there other important questions regarding the condition of the trailer that I have overlooked and should ask?

Thanks so much for your advice!!
Hope Fox
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Old 07-15-2009, 11:07 PM   #2
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Hello Hope and welcome to the forums,

There's alot here to digest! It sounds like your in the process of buying this trailer or seriously considering it. Have you considered having it inspected by one of the volunteer inspectors possibly in your area? Sounds like it has had some intensive remodeling especially when you mention a full size washer and dryer. Seems like they might take up a bit of room in a 19' trailer. If you could post some pictures of this trailer it would be easier for us to give our opinion on how to transport. I wouldnt be too worried about having it travel down the road behind a vehicle if your biggest concern is sensitivity to gas, diesel etc... If it was on a transport chances are that it would be subjected to even more fumes from an even bigger vehicle?
Try to seek out some help so you dont make the wrong decision here.
Best of luck..

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Old 07-15-2009, 11:27 PM   #3
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Unhappy OMG... Sounds worrisome...

This sounds like one of the horror stories from e-Bay or Craigslist that finds its way into Airstream Life magazine each quarter.. Sellers and buyers having very different ideas about "refurbished"... If it isn't airtight and watertight, it won't work as a camper, regardless of how well it travels on highway. "Fumes" claim is smoke of different sort..

If it has frame or axle or brake problems, those could be $thousands to fix... If it leaks air or water, the plywood floor and maybe fabrics will get wet and develop mildew, spoiling your clean environment..

If you haven't purchased it yet, do not do so until either a professional appraiser or a relaible Forum member has seen it, sent you digital photo's, etc to really verify condition.. A 19' trailer from 1972 is small, even with open floorplan, and I also agree a washer and dryer won't fit without seriously impairing sleeping or eating space in the trailer...
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Old 07-15-2009, 11:37 PM   #4
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Warning signs?

Hi, post some pictures of the inside and outside. When they told you they wouldn't recommend towing it, I would be very suspicious. Does it have bad axles? This will beat it to death on a long hard drive. Is the frame rusted to the point of falling apart on the highway? You might have to scoop up the parts and take it home or to the dump in a dump truck. Is the hitch/coupler bad? Is this trailer going to disconnect from the tow vehicle and cause a deadly accident?

If you have a bill of sale proving that you just bought this trailer, I wouldn't worry too much about the trip back home. I also wouldn't worry too much about fumes from this journey. But I would be concerned about something really bad happening on the road since the seller stated "could be iffy for long distances on bumpy roads".
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:02 AM   #5
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There were no 19' Airstreams in 72, the 21' Globetrotter was the shortest. Have the owner send you the VIN, that will tell you what it is.

The owner's story is all over the place. Full size washer and dryer, that's a little hard to believe, but you never know. I would proceed with caution at this point.

At the least you need some pictures...
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:36 AM   #6
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We are no experts at all,but we can not see how you could have a washer/dryer in a 22'. We have a 22' Safari, and I would love a washer/dryer and a dishwasher too. But don't think that is happening any time soon. boohoo
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sempi2 View Post
We are no experts at all,but we can not see how you could have a washer/dryer in a 22'. We have a 22' Safari, and I would love a washer/dryer and a dishwasher too. But don't think that is happening any time soon. boohoo
Hi, we have two dishwashers in our trailer; And the one that gets used the most is me.
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:14 AM   #8
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pics

Hi,

Thank you all for taking the time to consider this with me.

I hope the attachments come through. It has organic wool insulation, eggshell colored enameled walls, tile floor, a fridge, washer/dryer, toilet (never used), bathtub, aluminum sink/counter, fridge, microwave, track lighting, lots of outlets, shades. One end fits a double futon bed nicely.The remodeling style is spare- that's fine with me as long as it doesn't present any structural problems etc.

I have thought about using the volunteer inspector network through this site, for sure... I will look into this.

I am not concerned about fumes getting into the trailer (people with chemical sensitivities can get very sick from small amounts of gas fumes) because we will not be using it as a travel trailer, UNLESS that is an indication that the trailer is not weather tight and could leak. The owner said that there is NO MOLD and there is a special fan to circulate are inside the walls. This is what the owner said about whether there were current leaks:

"Not that we know of. We placed a new layer of silicone caulking on the outside seams before each winter. There was one very small leak over a year ago after one storm, but we found the spot the next morning and sealed it. If the windows or door are not pulled tight, the rain can blow in.

The windows work and don't leak. One end window needs a piece of plexi (we have) to really seal it up properly."

And there was the skin of the underside coming loose in their last long trip, that was repaired to some degree or other.

I've attached pics - Just so that ya'll know, this trailer would be used as a place for me to sleep and escape to when I need to recuperate - for people with MCS, having a 'safe space' that is as nontoxic as possible to retreat to when having a reaction really helps the recovery process. It will probably not be used for full-time occupancy. I would be interested in taking out the Washer/Dryer to make more room.

Thanks everyone


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Old 07-16-2009, 09:19 AM   #9
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HOPE FOX
Warning WARNING WILL ROBINSON
RUN AWAY HOPE FOX
THERES SOMETHING THAT STINKS HERE.
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Old 07-16-2009, 10:44 AM   #10
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Well, Roger may be overstating his concerns a bit, but there are concerns.

I think the key here is that this Airstream has been remodeled to be a toxin-free stationary home, not a travel trailer. The bungee cords around the washer/dryer would obviously need to be remedied before using this as a travel trailer. The ceramic floor, while great for maintaining a toxin free environment, isn't exactly durable while travelling, due to the natural and normal flexing of the Airstream's plywood floor. For this reason alone, you may want to flatbed the trailer to your house, rather than taking a chance on towing it over bumpy Maine and New York roads.

If the gutting and remodeling has really been done under the direction of Tad Taylor (or his company, as he passed away in 2006), then they would be aware of, and have remedies for all the standard issues that might set off your chemical sensitivities.

One thing you must be ready for, in your forested environment, is the possibility of infestation in the belly pan and other areas open to the outdoors from field mice, moles, or variants. Bumpers, stairs, cracks, etc, are all other places subject to gapping.

Best of luck!
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Old 07-16-2009, 11:30 AM   #11
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Yes, this trailer is for a particular purpose - MCS safe space - so it needs to be evaluated a little differently than one would your typical airstream travel trailer. Trailers renovated for this purpose that are in great shape sell for ~$40,000 - $60,000, which I can't afford... they don't come on the market as often as 'normal' trailers, and Tad Taylor's business has a 3 year waiting list right now for custom renovation work. So while the relatively low price tag has me wondering, I am seriously consider buying it.

I agree that if an inspection goes well, it may still be prudent to transport it on a flat-bed trailer. I would like to avoid this extra expense if I can... but wouldn't want to tow it if it's more likely to incur damage. I called around to local rental places and am having trouble finding a business that rents flatbeds large enough to haul a 22' AS. Any tips for hauling on flatbeds?
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:20 PM   #12
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I also think that you will need to have this trailer transported on a flat bed trailer. I you tow it, the is a very good chance that the ceramic tile floor will be ruined.

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Old 07-16-2009, 03:53 PM   #13
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Exclamation Condition red! Toxic Seller, IMHO

Since the whole issue for you revolvesa round it being re-furbed as what you need (chemical-free) I would contact the source, and verify with them exactly what was done. Taylor Design Healthy Homes, safe environment living There's a phone number on that site...

It certainly does NOT look habitable to me in its current condition.
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:49 PM   #14
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Great link Aage,

I dont think this Airstream that Hope Fox is looking at has completely gone through the whole process decribed in that site... Hmmm
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