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Old 07-06-2003, 09:27 PM   #1
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1969 31' Sovereign
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How much is to much

Bought our AS for $5K and now up to $8K .
I keep thinking there is light at the end of the tunnel but with a new fridg ( works on gas but not on electric and the door dosn't fit very well), awning and axles still on the to do list I am looking at another $4500.
I have completed the rear end droop repair, installed the factory frame reinforcment kit, new water heater , new counter tops, , new carpet, new tires, new windows, fixed leaks, repaired AC and lots of other stuff.

I will soon have a 1971 camper worth around ????? and have over $12,000 invested
Oh yeah it needs polishing......... I'm told that's a labor of love and doesn't count but if you farm it out figure around $3000.
At this point that's a no brainer... I still love my AS.

On the other hand our good friends just bought SOB for $36,000 used !!!

I plan to keep on going, just can't help myself....... but, had to vent and I know you folks know just what I'm talking about.

Garry
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Old 07-06-2003, 10:52 PM   #2
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Keep up the good work. Just remember that stuff like polishing and an awning aren't necessary, they are just things you do to add to your own enjoyment. I hope you are getting some use out of it in the meantime. It meakes it go a lot easier if it isn't all work and no play!

It all comes down to a labor of love. Most people who restore cars end up with way more in them than they can ever get out, but they do it because otherwise they'd have to find another hobby, and it keeps them busy.

Plus it's like a savings account. You probably would have spent the money anyway, so at least you put it into something that has value and can be sold later. Better than drinkin' and smokin' it away.

Most of all, you're doing it for yourself if you don't plan to sell it. I've been through the same thing with cars, and kicked myself for every dollar I spent. I wouldn't do it again, but I'm glad I did it once, because it really was a lot of fun along the way.

Enjoy your trailer! Sounds like you've done a lot to be proud of already!
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Old 07-06-2003, 11:22 PM   #3
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I felt the same way. Spent the whole first year just getting it in some kind of stable condition to use.

Before our first trip I did the following:

Made front windows
New A/C
New Fridge
New charging system
New OPD valves
New upolstry
New flooring
Had curtains made
Repaired all vent mechanics

That was just to get my wife to step into it!

Our first trip the water heater messed up and had to micowave water for the baby's bath water to heat it. Turns out it had an air pocket in it.

We also over loaded the black tank and had black water pouring out from the trailer underbelly over our site!

Second trip had us smelling gas near the water heater. When we got home I hooked up the hose and went inside for a few minutes, I was going to test the water heater. When I came outside, water was pouring out all over the trailer. A hose clamp had come loose on a repair the PO made and flooded my new flooring!

I was really angry Wanted just get rid of the thing right then.

But I ended up replumbing the whole thing. This year I put new tires on it and replaced the blinds.

When we were out last week the new fridge door kept falling off!

So, even with new stuff it's always something.

Just keep plugging away.

My wife says I like talking about it more than actually using it. She may be right
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Old 07-07-2003, 04:32 AM   #4
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Wait a minute!!!!

Don"t give up on the fridge just yet, unless you really just want a new one. I had an SOB a while back and the fridge was just like yours, would work on gas but not electric. I was ready to toss it, but pulled it out and set it up on the picnic table. Got out the brass toothbrush and cleaned the tube that was just above the flame. It was loaded with rust! After getting it all nice and clean, I plugged it in after leveling it.

I saw the current owner last summer and that fridge is still working, going on maybe 7 years now. Try it, you've got nothing to loose.
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Old 07-07-2003, 06:45 AM   #5
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*Fridge Alert*

Folks, if you need a new fridge, consider buying an apartment style 120 V only unit. One of our PO's replaced the fridge in our unit with a 120 V only unit. So far it has not been a problem, even while boondocking, I use the Honda generator. These units can be bought new for in the $300-$400 range, and are trouble free to boot. When I read about all the fridge trouble people are having with the propane units, I am glad I have what I have.
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Old 07-07-2003, 06:47 AM   #6
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Re: How much is to much

Quote:
Originally posted by garry
Bought our AS for $5K and now up to $8K .
I keep thinking there is light at the end of the tunnel but with a new fridg ( works on gas but not on electric and the door dosn't fit very well),
Garry
Garry, your refrigerator has an electric heating element that is replaceable by going throught the refrigerator hatch. It is in a vertical tube. I don't remember the exact specifics any longer as I replaced the one in my '70 Safari in 1988, a long time ago, but as I recall, the part was something like $40. Although it was a pain to get to, it was a fairly simple and straightforward repair.

Dometic ought to be able to tell you how to do it.

Roger
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Old 07-07-2003, 08:53 PM   #7
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Thanks for the encouragement.
It truly is a labor of love and I am looking forward to hitting the road again. Only two trips so far in 2 years.
The only thing I have left that I HAVE to do is the new axles the rest can be done on, as time permits.
The fridge electric is a rust bucket normally I would attempt repair but in this case I took it to a shop and they said what I thought replace or just run on gas. I would use a household fridge but my better half said no it's a camper and we will have a camper fridge ! The bad thing on the fridge is the door has swelled and won't close. Someone told me to always store with the fridge open. Bad advise, it was only difficult to close now almost impossible.

Garry
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Old 07-07-2003, 09:06 PM   #8
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"Someone told me to always store with the fridge open. Bad advise, it was only difficult to close now almost impossible"

I think that is good advice to leave frig cracked open when not running. If you don't, you will have mold growing in there.

I assume when you say, "The bad thing on the fridge is the door has swelled and won't close," you are talking about the 'gasket' that is swelling, not the door itself...

If it is the gasket, scrape it off and replace.

I always leave the door open when not running frig.

I agree with Roger that the repair of the burning tube is straightforward.

Give it a try!

Steve
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Old 07-08-2003, 09:25 AM   #9
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The material inside the door has swelled pushing the plastic out to larger than normal, gasket is OK !!!

I think I will give Dometic a call before I tear it all apart.

Garry:
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Old 07-08-2003, 10:29 AM   #10
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How much is too much?

We're in the same boat...or should it be Airstream?
Paid $3,000 for ours two years ago. So far, it's been..

New Dometic Air Conditioner
Complete New Copper Plumbing Throughout
Several new batteries until we figured the Univolt was shorting out (hubby was able to repair the Univolt)
New generator for when we're boondocking or at NASCAR races (old one was too loud!)
A trip to the A/S factor for A/C installation, complete door lock build (as opposed to have a new one installed...by the way, not sure if it was worth the almost $400 they charged...it malfunctioned while we were in Myrtle Beach this past June).
New Toilet
New Pergo floor in bathroom (haven't tackled the rest of the unit yet...still living with ugly dark brown, stained carpet)
New Tires
New Hub Cabs
Repair of refrigerator...by the way, found a really good guy in Hillsboro, OH if you need an older unit repaired...just let me know if you need contact info
New Curtains (after we figured out we hated the vinyl mini-blinds we bought & installed)
New AM/FM/CD and speakers (the original 8-track was missing...darn!)
New gaskets around all the windows to stop the leaks...

and a list about that long of things we still want to do. I'd hate to even add up how much we've spend besides the original purchase price. It's either a labor of love or insanity...we haven't figured out yet!
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Old 07-08-2003, 11:10 AM   #11
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How much is too much??

Well, just take a visit to your local Airstream dealer and price a new one. In my case something similar to my 27' in a 25' Classic would probably run what, around 50k?

I gave $3200 for mine and have spent probably another $4000 in parts. Haven't figured the labor but am sure it in the thousands, so just to be fair say I have got $10,000 in it.

Just about what it would cost to get into a new cheapie "white box".

Chas
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Old 07-08-2003, 11:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chas
How much is too much??

Well, just take a visit to your local Airstream dealer and price a new one. In my case something similar to my 27' in a 25' Classic would probably run what, around 50k?

I gave $3200 for mine and have spent probably another $4000 in parts. Haven't figured the labor but am sure it in the thousands, so just to be fair say I have got $10,000 in it.

Just about what it would cost to get into a new cheapie "white box".

Chas
Chas...

$10k is just about what it takes to get into a 'cheapie tent trailer'. A 'cheapie white box' is gonna cost you $20k minimum any more!!! A nearly useable (ok, we're being a TAD snobbish here) 'cheapie white box' is gonna be $25k or more!!!

Roger
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Old 07-08-2003, 11:35 AM   #13
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I have a 76 and now a 78 Argosy Motorhome.

Our 76 I have close to 12K in it, that is in documentable fashion. Number of hours , no clue. If I had kept track I would be depressed. I was preparing to spend another 5-7K to have it painted when the 78 came along. I know I will not get it back when I sell it.

The 78 I now have close to 12K in, and I have not touched drapes, flooring, upholstery, window seals, Water heater (it needs a new one). By the time I am done I will have spent close to 16K on it. Still a bargin as I now have a new drivetrain.

The thing is, I have a unit unlike many others. It is a classic that always starts conversations wherever I go. I could spend 35K on a white box and be one of 10,000, and have it last for 5-7 years if I am lucky. Not my cup of tea.

I justify the expense by thinking about what I have paid in the past to go on a cruise for vacation. Sure they cook for me, but I don't get to set my own schedule and I pay thousands to do it. I cannot come up with a way to assign value to the sites I have seen or the things I have experienced having owed an Airstream or Argosy.
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Old 07-08-2003, 04:53 PM   #14
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Value

Dont hold me to this but........

I watch the ebay religously and you can get a decent indication of what the return is on an Airstream.

I have seen completely restored, vamped, customized, glorified and down right redone with the creme de la creme.

I have seen 100k dollars requests for trailers and lately an 18k dollars sales pitch with ZERO bites.

Long story short, I believe it is safe to say that a unit that is average size 25 to 31 feet average, average to good condition

1970's do not sell for more than 8k to 12 k.

1980's models do not sell for more than 9k to 15k

1990 to 1994 sell for around 12k to 20k

1995 to 1999 is hard to say, I have seen them sell for as much as 24k

These are optimistic prices in my opinion.

So with that said, I think you can enjoy spending the money and not worry about getting your money back out of it.


Confuscious says "buy low sell high"

I am restoring and "glorifying" a 1979 unit that I paid 3500 for and I have around 2500 additrional cost. I would not take less than 10k for it today. Mine is almost completely replaced with:

new Airconditoner
completely reupholstered through out
new carpet
new reefer
new countertops
new curtains through out
new shades through out
new maxxair vent covers
new marker lights and tail lights
new hub caps
new dinette
new TV
new stereo
new amplified Winegard TV antenna
new microwave
refinished stove and range top
refinished bath countertop
new switches on all light fixtures

Wanna buy one that is already done?

Enjoy it while you can

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