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Old 10-31-2004, 01:34 PM   #1
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Looking to buy a fixer up

I am looking at buying an older trailer to restore/fix up. I have a lot of years experience with owning trailers, but this is my first time owning an airsteam. I was looking at checking out a 1969 overlander. Can you give me some pointers of what I should be watching for, common problems, ect... I don't mind a complete overhaul, but I don't want to over pay for it. Pete
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Old 11-01-2004, 02:48 PM   #2
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Some thoughts about what to look for...

Some observations about what to look for:

One of the potentially biggest ticket items for replacement would be the axles. So you should check them out carefully. Look at Inland RV's website and click on the Axles button. Then click on the "click here to read our article" in the upper left area to find out more about axles and what to look for. The axles are pretty easy to replace its just that they are relatively expensive especially if you did not anticipate having to replace them.

Doing a full floor replacement is probably one of the biggest repair jobs that you could undertake. Replacing the floor itself is not really all that hard its just that there is an auful lot of stuff that you have to take out to get to it and put back in when you are done. In my opinion the easiest way to fully asses the overall condition is to take off at least some of the belly pan. Otherwise about the best you can do is to look for obvious soft spots in the floor or signs of water damage at the base of the walls or cabinets. I think most of the worst damage occurs around the edges and is sometimes hard to see from inside the trailer simply because there are so many things in the way. The current owner may not even be aware that there are problems.

Replacing or reparing aluminum on the outside of the trailer can get expensive too. Replacing any of the belly pan is pretty easy and not horibly expensive. The aluminum down there is a less expensive type than the upper skin. The most expensive panels to fix are the ones at the ends of the trailer that have comound curves in them. You can buy replacement panels that are already formed to the correct curve but it is a lot more expensive than buying the correct type of aluminum to replace panels with a simple curve. Drilling out rivits and putting in new ones is not all that hard if you are generally handy with tools.

Getting the body of an AS to shine can be a lot of work depending on the condition. An alternative that some people like is to paint the outside with a shiny silver paint. There is less long term maintanence but the initial cost can be higher unless you can do the job yourself. Also painting aluminum requires special preparation.

Airstream specific hardware such as window latches, door latches and etc. can be expensive if you can find them new (Inland RV is a good source). Some items are no longer available as new though. You can buy new rubber for around doors and windows and that is likely to be something you will want to replace on an older trailer.

Pretty much all of the appliances can be replaced with new ones if that is necessary. Most of them are pretty generic and still available in the same sizes as original.

Most all the rough wiring and plumbing can be fixed with parts that are generally available. Some of the finish fixtures might be harder to replace with exact replicas if they are more AS specific. Whether or not that is a serious issue to you depends somewhat on how you feel about maintaining exact original condition. You can find something to replace pretty much everything - it just might not look exactly the same as original.

Hope this gets you started. You can find other suggestions if you do some searching in the posts. Also feel free to ask specific questions and even furnish photos if you find a specific unit and want advice. Someone on the forums will usually respond. There might even be someone in your general area that might be available to look at a unit with you.

Malcolm
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Old 11-02-2004, 10:11 PM   #3
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Looking to buy a fixer up

Greetings Pete!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kees
I am looking at buying an older trailer to restore/fix up. I have a lot of years experience with owning trailers, but this is my first time owning an airsteam. I was looking at checking out a 1969 overlander. Can you give me some pointers of what I should be watching for, common problems, ect... I don't mind a complete overhaul, but I don't want to over pay for it. Pete
Malcolm has given you a good starting point. If you are looking for a source in assisting with establishing a value for a particular coach, the data on R. J. Dial's website can be quite helpful. If you haven't already done so, try investigating the Price vs. Condition webpages.

Good luck with your search!

Kevin
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