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Old 08-10-2008, 02:17 PM   #1
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2006 19' International CCD
Philadelphia , Pennsylvania
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New Airstreamer in Need of Major Help....

Hello All,
Well I hoped my first "real" post would be a happy one, instead it is one where I really need help.

I purchased an airstream (2004 16' International) off (link: Airstream Trailer & Motorhome Classifieds - 16 FT BAMBI INTERNATIONAL CCD (lemon grass) - Powered by PhotoPost Classifieds)

As you can see, condition described as Great and pictures look really good. In communications with the buyer i asked for more details on the conditon, the only issues disclosed were a broken toilet seat and a small dent in top front. Usually i'd never buy something without seeing it but they seemed like an honest older couple and we really wanted to start streaming. given the distance, relative new age, described condition, etc i felt ok.
I wired/fedex'd 16k for the purchase (i thought it was a good deal given the age and condition). I then used Uship to find a great transporter.

The unit arrived on Friday. To my dismay, the condition was far from advertised.

Here are some of the key issues that were not disclosed:
1) floor rotten in 3 areas (below bed, dinette, entry).
1a) musty smell
2) some rust on under surface of frame (not major but for a 2004???)
3) rear window apparently broken at one point and replaced with one that doesn't properly fit (could have contributed to water damage in rear)
4) power jack frozen (not too big of an issue)
5) refrigerator dirty/hinge rusted
6) rusted hinges in multiple cabinets rusted

the cabinets appear good, the cushions smell but dont seem like they have been wet. the mattress is a bit dirty. The exterior aluminum is as described (maybe an extra small dent or two). The interior aluminum looks good excpet for some surgace rust on some ov the removable pieces (ie license plate holder crome, some chrome around taillights). the bathroom looks ok. Curtains a bit soiled but not horrible. Fan works, lights work, stero works, water seems to work.

The trailer towed well (as reported by my hired driver for the 800+ miles trip from GA to PA).

I've tried contacting the seller since Friday but no reponse.

I did email them proposing one of 2 solutions:
1) full refund for purchase price less shipping
2) at their expense, send to Ohio HQ for refurb to bring up to disclosed condition.

I really need the advice of the forum as to how to proceed. I'm hoping the sellers cooperate but am thinking that may not happen.

I appreciate any help/advice that can be offered. If i do seek to have it restored, is Ohio the best place?

My goal is to have what I had hoped for, a great condiiton 16' International.



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Old 08-10-2008, 02:34 PM   #2
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Not sure you have much recurse other than a cooperative seller.

First thing I would do is look inside any compartment you can for signs of a high water mark. With the jack frozen, the floor, and the smell my first thought is flooding.

Did he offer a Clean title?

He has no history as a member of this forum other than the add to sell.

2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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Old 08-10-2008, 02:39 PM   #3
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1961 26' Overlander
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Well- sorry to hear your first Airstream experience is a negative one. Unfortunately the quality control in the factory is a bit under par nowadays and if the trailer wasn't properly maintained a 2004 can start to show its age pretty quickly. We have brought trailers sight unseen and they haven't been what was advertised- however we weren't exactly out $16k. We had a 2005 and sold it- we were quite forth coming about the 2 leaks that had developed- but it happens more often than you would expect on the new ones. Good luck with either getting your money back or getting it fixed. The factory could do the work- or you could use a restorer/repair to fix the problems.
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Old 08-10-2008, 03:20 PM   #4
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16K isn't peanuts, but look at the price of a new 16ft Bambi and check prices on comparable units. Yes, there were undisclosed problems, but frankly I've seen units of that size and age for sale for up to 25K. I doubt they'd get that much, but still most probably go for 18K-20K. You DID not get a totally honest review on the condition of the unit, but it is just possible that the former owners were oblivious rather than dishonest.

More than once I've met folks with older units who just think that Airstreams should be "zero maintenance" trailers. Many appliances are much lighter duty than the household versions. I learned the hard way to never leave a mess on the stovetop overnight. Tomato sauce actually ate a small pit in the "stainless" steel burner surround. It's probably not visible to others, but now I know my stovetop MUST be thoroughly cleaned even before the meal is served.

I know one woman who swears she was cheated when she sold her 1978 and only got $1500 for it. The stovetop was a rust bucket, the oven didn't work, virtually all of the plumbing was non-functional due to freezing, the awning was rotten and its springs were broken, the TV antenna didn't work, the axles were toast and it had that dreaded rear end sag from the frame cracking. It also looked like it had never been really "deep cleaned" in it's lifetime, plus there was so much stuff in every nook and cranny that I'm sure she had mice or other vermin. Your sellers might simply have said "what does he expect, it is USED and 5 model years old.

The licence plate lights and plate holders in 2004/2005 were crap, but cheap to replace. Getting the back window re-replaced and the floor fixed are going to be issues, but the frame rust is probably only a surface issue, so even if the seller refuses to cooperate, I'd say make the repairs and move on.

You really have two choices, mourning or camping. In the long run camping will make you happier.

Good luck and see you down the road,

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 08-10-2008, 03:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
Not sure you have much recurse other than a cooperative seller.

First thing I would do is look inside any compartment you can for signs of a high water mark. With the jack frozen, the floor, and the smell my first thought is flooding.

Did he offer a Clean title?

He has no history as a member of this forum other than the add to sell.
Agreed. If not a flood, then the interior has gotten pretty darn damp with no opportunity to dry out, allowing rust and mold to take over. The frozen jack makes one think that it's been underwater however.

Probably not a whole lot you can do about it but consider it your 'Stupid Tax', try and clean it up and move on (We all have our own 'stupid tax' moments). At the least however, I would contact the Attorney General's Office consumer protection division in the sellers state and ask if there's any recourse you can take. Most states don't take too kindly to the selling of flood damaged vehicles to unsuspecting folks, and I imagine an rv would be no different.
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Old 08-10-2008, 03:38 PM   #6
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welcome to the forums eric...

bummer about the trailer.

the problem with pictures like the ones attached to that sale, is who knows WHEN they were taken...

those pix could have been captured on the maiden voyage 4 years ago.

DID THE SELLER send you more/other pics too, like of the dent and so on?
__________________________________________________ ______
1. the first step (after recovering from the shock) would be to phone the seller.

(my approach would be to DRIVE directly to their residence with trailer in tow)

-ask to cancel the transaction.

-offer to return the trailer (at your expense) by shipping or personal delivery

-offer a 'cancelation fee' of 500$ to 1000$ for the mistaken purchase.

the goal should be to find terms agreeable to both parties,

and without spending too much time on just how FRIGGIN' disappointed u are.

because IF you can get out of this unit for 1,500$ or so, that is money well spent for the education

IF the seller isn't agreeable to some sort of "RETURN IT" terms...

2. you will need to hire legal representation and assistance.

u need to act quickly, copy all communicatons, photos and so on...
__________________________________________________ _________
this could very well be a flood trailer, hurricane trailer or water-leak-from-the-broken-window trailer...

or just a REALLY REALLY WET georgia/florida/alabama humidity soaked trailer...

but IF the sub floor has been totally soaked in this unit, repair is gonna get expensive FAST...

yes the factory could disassemble the unit and replace the sub floor and vinyl...

but that is a labor EXPENSIVE process and who knows what else they will find that needs replacing.

a call to the factory service center will get u a starting estimate for "total subfloor replacement"...

most newer 'streams have marine grade plywood subfloors that can tolerate a little wetness a few times...

but the 16s and 22s are different in this regard and any water is evil inside these 2 lengths.

here is a quick reference to the issue...

or read from post #37 on, in the thread...

if it's not too painful, please keep us upto date on the resolution...

otoh is the SELLER reading here too?

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 08-10-2008, 04:01 PM   #7
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Kenton , Ohio
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Depending on how handy you are with repairs, etc. you could always fix the problems (if you get nowhere with the seller). You could take the carpeting/vinyl up and see what you have in the way of floor could be minimal. Replace affected pieces of the floor or use epoxy on the rot and re carpet. You could re carpet a trailer that small with a remnant from a carpet store. We did that rather inexpensively a few years ago. Repair the window correctly and give the trailer a thorough cleaning. A new electric jack is a few hundred bucks. Good luck...keep us posted.
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Old 08-10-2008, 04:43 PM   #8
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howie: i looked at the base of cabinets and they seemed fine. also, the heater on the floor was fine and the wires for the stereo were fine. they did have an incredible amount of "stuff" crammed under the bed. Perhaps something wet there or...a faulty latch/seal in the storage compartment? i also called where it was stored and they said it was in dry storage, and when in use it was on sites that did not flood. it was, however, in a park that was close to the ocean. Title is clear.

Folied: i'm doing my best not to mourn...i just want to camp! i'm leaning toward a trip to OH, just not sure how severe the bill will be.

2air: no other pics sent b/c they live in VT and trailer was stored in GA. Just their word and description of the issues (toilet seat and dent). Numerous unreturned calls over the past 3 days....perhaps they are away for the weekend? I'd love to drive it there expect it is 400+ miles.
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Old 08-10-2008, 05:14 PM   #9
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The "stored near the ocean" part tells a lot. There have been a couple of hurricanes rolling through that area since '04-'05. Also the salt air and sea fog will corrode stuff in a hurry. Add to that a window that was broken (probably while they were "out"), that may have been a few weeks before it was noticed and repaired. This area has daily deluges during Summer, and it wouldn't take many of them to saturate everything in sight.
So, it could have been ignorance on the part of the sellers (they are not living where the trailer is, right?) rather than an attempt to get one over on you. That said, time is short as far as Doing Something. There are many options to consider rather than just money back and a canceled sale. They may, for example, offer to share the cost of reasonable repairs with you. They may also simply take your money and run with it.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 08-10-2008, 06:42 PM   #10
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
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That unit was subjected to something extreme or it was neglected. It's only about 4 years old. To rot floors as you are describing makes me think it's been in some sort of situation.

Bottom line, the seller is willing to work with you, I'd take him or her up on it, whichever is the lesser of two evils in your opinion.
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:13 PM   #11
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thanks again.

i just went to see her again...
looks like the seal on the front door was not good. i bet this was the source of some moisture that found its way to the area below the table and the entrance. i checked and it does not appear it had ever flooded. probably just a consistent amount of moisture over the past few yrs.

also, a broken window, no doubt was the source of the rear moisture.

walls are in good shape. cooktop cleaned up ok. refrige may need replacement.
also, the water tanke in the front under the dinette seat looked like there may be some "growth" in it. can that be flushed or is replacement the solution?

ok, now what are your best estimations for replacing subfloor, vinyl, mattress (better to be safe than sorry) cushions, curtains, h20 tank, misc metal parts, some hinges inside, fridge, adjusting/resealing door/windows and getting a thorough cleaning?
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ericwarren View Post
...ok, now what are your best estimations for...
$ 7,250.13 which includes parts labor and donuts ....

u are joking right about us providing estimates?

buying site unseen is one thing, but estimating unknown repairs ALSO site unseen is silly.

besides u left out the window, dent, tongue jack, brakes, wheel bearings, tires and new deep cycle battery...

so add another $489.61 for those items.

drop it off at a dealer (colonial in joysey comes to mind) and let them do a through once over...

they can also start to take it apart as needed and estimate the repairs.

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:08 PM   #13
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Any Airstream trailer that has been stored near salt water, for an extended period of time, can have very serious problems with the chassis.

It is not uncommon to find a rusted out hulk chassis, once you drop the underbelly for inspection.

It only happens about 99 percent of the time.

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Old 08-10-2008, 10:12 PM   #14
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Tom mentioned an epoxy for the floor? I too have some stains in the plywood where it seems that water entry came through the two front battery compartments. The plywood doesnt seem soft but when the screws came out for the front couch they were rusty.. This is not marin grade.. its just plywood. I dont think it has to be replaced as it feels fine but what about the epoxy layer that might penetrate it and strengthen it? I will make sure those doors dont leak going forward.


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