So, we're coming up on the first anniversary of purchasing our 2014 27FB International Signature. We're still working, so trips have been limited: only 3,000 miles this year, and nowhere near enough nights in it. We love our Airstream, we really do.
We upgraded to our AS from an inherited 26' B+ Motorhome built on a Ford E450. It had a small slide for the dining area and we could park it pretty much anywhere. We thought the moho was awesome, but we didn't care for the floor plan. We also felt the handling was poor. Driving it was something of a white-knuckle experience, as we had to constantly focus on keeping it on the straight and narrow. Maybe something was out of alignment, but the mechanics said it was fine.
So, after spending roughly $2K on general maintenance, upgrades and repairs, a 2K mile road trip across the Southwest and camping in it quite a few times, we started looking for a replacement. The parents had been airstreamers for many years before moving to the B+, so AS was a natural direction to investigate.
We also happen to have an airstream dealership within 30 minutes of our home. Thus, we went to look a few times, while also looking at new B+ motor homes. We fell hard for AS in general and our model in particular.
At this point, overall we're extremely pleased with our trailer. We love every minute we spend in it or fiddle with it. We're not particularly handy, so we bought new. As you can see from this linked post, our trailer was not exactly perfect and took most of this year to discover and eliminate bugs and add a few improvements: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ml#post1513458
So, a few thoughts:
- If you buy new, expect to build up a punch list of warranty issues and then have a dealer fix them for you. Expect to keep finding issues for a while.
- Expect to make more than one warranty trip to get all the bugs out. Since our dealer is so close, it was a simple matter to drop the trailer there on the way home to get them fixing the latest batch of issues we had found and then pick it up again the next Saturday after the repairs had been made. In some cases, expect to have them attempt to repair the same problem more than once. Our leaky forward storage door required 4 attempts at a fix.
- I agree, a gently used AS that's one year old and still under warranty for another year seems an awesome idea. That way, someone else has spent the first year getting the bugs out for you, and in the bargain you get a gently depreciated price. If you find the right trailer in that category, it could be a wonderful opportunity.
- For any trailer you buy that's still under warranty, check everything on your walk through. Don't assume it's perfect. Rather, assume the opposite - walk through expecting to find problems. Check every door, every drawer, every light, etc. Turn everything on and off again to prove it works. Run the water, try the oven, check the batteries, etc. We had shiny "oooh, it's so beautiful" eyes when we first toured our trailer. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Put on your "60 Minutes" face and expect to find some dirt. If you don't, you're probably not looking hard enough.
- If you're far from your dealer and you're buying a trailer under warranty, plan to camp somewhere nearby for a couple of nights. Again, expect to start building up a list of things they're going to have to fix before you're willing to tow it all the way home. If you're in this category, consider camping nearby after every round of repairs.
- If you're so far from a dealer or the mothership that you won't be making warranty repair trips, consider a gently used AS that's out of warranty and find someone nearby who's great at repairs...or if you're a handyperson, do them yourself.
- With Airstream, older trailers are an option and there are some beautiful vintage units out there. However, be careful - here you may find dragons, hiding in the form of leaky seams, rotted floors, axles that require replacement, mouse-infested walls, etc. If you're not The Marco (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f7/i...lp-122767.html), find someone knowledgeable who can join you for an inspection and help you decide whether you can handle whatever that trailer may demand before you can enjoy it.
- Alternatively, there are some fine vintage trailer restoration / remodeling folks out there, and you could buy a beautifully repaired / restored and perhaps nicely updated AS from one of them, or hire them to take on your project trailer. This option won't be cheap, but it may still cost less than a new one and you'll have the enormous satisfaction of owning and camping in a beautiful vintage trailer.