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Old 03-16-2010, 12:03 PM   #1
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1973 25' Tradewind
Beautiful , Oregon
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The work goes on, the dream is not accomplished, keep me strong. 90's lite n up ?

Hi good folks, your information continues to be a real blessing to so many others and me. I read, and read, and read posts about things and issues and fun and disappointment and love of AS. I am sorting out the dollar and sense things right now. I started to say to myself take all that great advice and buy the best you can afford and look around for it until you know you YES this is the one is the way to go. Even if I have to call the credit union if the yes comes before all the money is saved. So it was looking like stay away from vintage and go for something in the 2000ís.
Then I read an 18-page thread on mid to late 2000ís and the problems of the frame cracking because of the square bends and the cracking (with pics) of the hatch frame even after repairs cracked and the poor responses from the dealer and Airstream.
So I started looking at SOB of high quality, relatively speaking. Arctic Fox, Lance and a new one, Evergreen. They were good. The Arctic Fox too heavy. Then my wife and I drove 3 hours to Eugene Oregon to George M Sutton RV, seemed to be nice people, and got into some new AS. Well, you know the rest of the story. Back on the trail of an AS. My wife is a reserved person but showed a real attraction to the AS model that was described as more European styling. Some of that is knowing I donít like faked or lousy woodwork, being a furniture maker.

There is no way I could or would buy new. I was raised by a depression baby and remain a working guy (skilled perhaps and state college educated but still a working guy, you know take my shower after work not before) along with a wife raised by dust bowl folks who studied and worked her way into a profession. We get up work and earn and pay and pay and save. Every two weeks money goes into the AS account. I will say that acts as consolation prize to a long search, that the bank account grows incrementally pay period by pay period little by little.


Since I have turned back to AS after a temporary month of disillusionment and joyful return to the search I was hoping I could run my evaluation to date by you wise folk and see if it is on track. I absolutely do not want to have to do a full frame-up restoration. I donít want to deal with frame problems, aluminum wire and I am not inclined to doing things like axle replacement myself, although after some time I would pay or horse trade to get it done. I would like to have a grey water tank. I am more inclined to change things out as needed and get on the road in a relatively short time. When we were at the AS dealership in Eugene Oregon it became apparent that new and newish 25í is probably too heavy for our TV. We like the extra two feet. Especially in light of what so many have said about not cutting oneself short due to discomfort about So I guess as I write I see cents if I end up so lucky in buying a owned trailer by one of you all that has been used and loved and restored with the pex and the axel etc. and who love their AS but are reluctantly trading up for size reasons. I like the twin model of the 70ís Trade wind.

My question is what makes the 90ís vintages so much heavier? Is it mostly the solid wood cabinets, corion and ???. Can I strip it out and build my own lighter weight cabinets and use plastic laminate to lighting it up to around 70ís vintage. I would like the newer model to limit the amount of work that I am not too comfortable doing. I need a coach I can tow with my 2004 135Ē wheelbase AWD Chevy Explorer 5.3L 373 with slip differential. Rated at 6600 and be either a 23 min. or a 25í. Any thoughts would be great. Tony Rogue River Oregon a nice are to travel to.
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Old 03-16-2010, 01:13 PM   #2
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1988 29' Excella
Collinsville , Illinois
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80's would probably work for you. New enough to not need frame off or axles, but old enough to be affordable. We have an '88 excella 29'. Dry weight is 5600 so a 25 should be lighter and well within the limits of your TV. We paid $6500 for it last year. So far we have replaced the frig, twin mattresses, converter and the microwave and we still have less than $10k invested. We need to seal around a couple of windows yet and complete a few other minor repairs but overall we are very happy with it and it does not have a payment.
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Old 03-16-2010, 01:14 PM   #3
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1988 29' Excella
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Forgot to add. Ours has a 50 gal fresh water tank, 35 gal black and 35 gal grey so we have plenty of boondocking capacity.
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Old 03-16-2010, 01:51 PM   #4
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1978 Argosy 27
Lacey , Washington
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Tony S,
Well, you have done your research that is for sure and good for you. If you like the 70s AS have you thought about a 70s Argosy? They are buile by AS, look like an AS (except for the paint) and have some featurer that were placed in AS several years later (Argosy used by AS to 'test the market'). My wife and I bought a 78 Argosy 27ft and it is plenty big for two people, rear bath two full sized beds and I pull it with an 05 Durango (towing range up to 8700 lbs and the Argosy weighs in at 6200 lbs loaded. We have an AS friend who took his 76, 24ft Argosy and gutted it and he being a cabinent maker redesigned the whole interior to look like a new AS (inside) and he then painted the Argosy and his TV (a 1950s 1ton GMC) the same color. It is a real beauty. You can see his rig on page 36 in the Gallary. Mine is on the front page of the forum.





Good luck and safe driving.
jjairstream
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:54 PM   #5
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1973 25' Tradewind
Beautiful , Oregon
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Yes I failed to mention my interest in Argosy. I do one of my around the world searches every couple of days on the Argosy and everyday basically on the Airstream. And when my fix is not filled I go on to Avions and Silver Streaks for grins and giggles. I looked at most pictures of 24' Argosy and Trade Winds on the Vintage site. There is a 78 Trade Wind currently in Grants Pass Oregon. I believe a pretty fair body the kid was originally asking $4000. I knew more than him. I told him that I didn't know much but.... Told him to me it was a gut job and if someone offered him $2000.00,and that I was not, he should take it. I just looked two days ago to see if it was still there and a month later. He was off to Arizona. If I wanted it I would low ball him in case he needs the money. BUT you all have educated me about field cured AS. Tony
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Old 03-16-2010, 03:25 PM   #6
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1979 31' Sovereign
Toronto , Ontario
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Hang in there, Tony. Your the perfect AS is out there.

In our case it took about 3 years of looking to learn exactly what we wanted: a mid-70's, 31ft center bath/rear bedroom International that was CLEAN CLEAN with a dent-free body. Once we knew, it took just another 2 years until we found it... on eBay.

Our '79 Sovereign International is exactly what we wanted, from the estate of a 1-owner couple with no kids, no smoke, no pets who were both active in the Florida WBCCI. It was lovingly cared for and professionally maintained all it's life. It had recently received a new interior "sponged" paint job, new carpeting throughout, new hardwood floor in the galley, toilet and more, all very professionally executed. We bought it last year when prices were definitely lower and circumstances made it possible (and fun!) to go down to Florida and get it.

Added to our initial purchase costs were many new transport/safety items like new tires, bearings/brakes, umbilical and new hitch, brake controller and wiring for the TV. Once it was back home, I did spend a lot of time, effort and bucks replacing the main fuse panel, all plumbing (with pex lines) and all new propane lines incl. rebuilding the water heater and a brand new furnace.

The end result however is that for less than a third the price of new, we have a perfect "last of the vintage 70's" models with a rear bedroom which besides our layout preference I believe is also less suceptible to rear floor rot/separation since there's no sink/toilet/tub and plumbing back there. I did have to do some work to the mid-bath floor but it was minor, and was able to replace the plumbing without ripping the interior all apart. I have no concern that with the quality service work now complete, this trailer can easily, affordably deliver another 30 (or more) good years of service looking forward. We may never sell it but it's also nice to know our hard costs will be easily recouped as the depreciation stage is long passed.

There is a lot to be said for buying old, then filling it with new good stuff, all done in your own way and attention to detail. I'm sorry for the long post but fewer of us take the time to post about our good experiences, so this is just to let you know that GOOD ol' Airstreams are out there!

Keep the faith!
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Old 03-16-2010, 03:40 PM   #7
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1969 23' Safari
New Orleans , Louisiana
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Paul above makes many good points in relation to what you're seeking...

...wait until you can find an already-renovated trailer, done to high standards and workmanship. you will pay more but save SO much time and, believe it or not, money... go camping immediately!

vintage.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:12 PM   #8
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1973 25' Tradewind
Beautiful , Oregon
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A pic of what happens when you look too often

I will hang in there and keep looking here is what happens when you look too much. I attach a couple of pic of an experimental (prototype) media cabinet I recently built. It is not my usual style. I don't know I think my design was subconscious influenced by my AS search. It wasnít done on purpose and took a couple weeks to see the arch resembled (roughly) the shape of an AS. In actuality I knew I was slightly influence by the windshield of a Chris Craft
Behind the arch goes the center speaker for home theater set uplwood boat.

So it goes to show you must watch out for the suggestive influences of your environments.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:51 PM   #9
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1955 22' Flying Cloud
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony S View Post
I will hang in there and keep looking here is what happens when you look too much. I attach a couple of pic of an experimental (prototype) media cabinet I recently built. It is not my usual style. I don't know I think my design was subconscious influenced by my AS search. It wasnít done on purpose and took a couple weeks to see the arch resembled (roughly) the shape of an AS. In actuality I knew I was slightly influence by the windshield of a Chris Craft
Behind the arch goes the center speaker for home theater set uplwood boat.

So it goes to show you must watch out for the suggestive influences of your environments.

That's beautiful Tony. May we all be blessed with such graceful curving influences!

Rich the Viking (and fellow cabinetmaker)
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:35 AM   #10
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1973 25' Tradewind
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Thanks Rich, The wood is curly Lyptos and Wenge if you were wondering. Work Safe Tony
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Old 04-21-2010, 06:32 PM   #11
1972 Travelux Princess 25
 
Cobourg , Ontario
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If you didn't live on the other side of the country I would offer to swap work. You help me build a new interior for my Airstream and I will help you do brakes, axles, etc on yours.

Possibly you could find a skilled mechanic Airstreamer in your area to help you find the right Airstream and bring it to perfection when you do.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:24 AM   #12
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1973 25' Tradewind
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Nothing would please me more. I am a labor trader from way back. Always worked out good all around. I did offer to trade furniture, with examples, on Craig's List locally for an Air Stream. It was a shot in the dark. Thanks for the encouragement. Attached are pics of my latest furniture that went to Bay area gallery in California call Made in Pescadero. Need to sell a couple sets to get me to where I want to be with the AS saving account. The wood is Sapale and wenge accent in Peruvian Walnut handles. The sapale would be nice in a coach if not too dark. Tony
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:30 AM   #13
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1979 31' Sovereign
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Tony, the results of your work and talent look exquisite. Would love to see what you could accomplish in a full re-do of an Airstream interior. Yes these trailers are designed for travel, camping in rugged outdoors, use by families, pets, etc. but also (as in our case) by couples who appreciate fine coachwork too.

The engineered oe panels AS uses are light weight, durable, flexible, save space and I suppose they are environmentally friendly, but in the end... there is only so much plastic woodgrain a room can take.

Even after 10 years as a daily driver I am struck by the beautiful amber polished sycamore trim Audi used in my A6. I like the luminance of light colored wood integrated with polished metals, it would be amazing to see that sort of design consideration applied in an Airstream.

Tony - You might know this - Are there any attractive natural woods that might also be selected on a basis of strength and low mass? Maybe veneers are still the best compromise, but would real veneers stand up to use?
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Old 04-24-2010, 12:40 AM   #14
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1973 25' Tradewind
Beautiful , Oregon
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Thanks for the complement. I love the wood interiors of pre 70's AS. I will probably, eventually, change out a 70's trailer plastic for wood interior. There is nothing wrong with high quality plywood (veneer) in a trailer to my way of thinking especially if it is edged with a solid wood. For lightweight and strength in an AS I have considered the same construction method as my cedar strip canoe with or without the fiberglass and wetted out with epoxy and then a few coats of varnish. It would be over kill but would give it a bit of the feeling of a yacht. The cedar strips are ľ x ĺ inch thick and conform to curved shapes nicely. I have attached a picture and if the mountain scape doesnít distract too much the canoe and paddle show some nice wood. The canoe is about 12 years old and is heading for the shop for a varnish update after 5 years of service in the sun. It is amazing the difference when you put a couple fresh coats of varnish. Maybe it is a bit like a polished verses an un polished AS Tony
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