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Old 06-13-2012, 09:03 AM   #1
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1975 25' Tradewind
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What is your limit?

We got into our 1st Airstream a few weeks ago when we found a 1975 Trade Wind for $3500. I spent a good amount of time looking and poking and prodding around inside thinking I knew what I was looking for. I was a bit off. We took it for a quick weekend trip to learn what needed to be done. Turns out the frame has a good bit of rust and needs a lot of work. This is going to involve removing and re-installing the rear part of the interior (rear bath, double bed design). I do not have the time to do the work myself, so I it down at an AS shop near me. I got the estimate yesterday, that totals to about $8000 to complete what needs to be done. There is the concern of the shower cracking, though, that would add more. And who knows what else. When I purchased it, I had in mind that it was just the beginning and had extra cash set aside to "continue" my purchase. This is going to go a couple thousand over what I had planned at this point, so I am a little torn. Getting this work done will get it to the point where I can do what else needs to be done as needed. So my question is this... How much is too much? We did not buy it to sell, but to use. When do we go overboard and go beyond what we should put into it?
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:30 AM   #2
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Well, for the good price of $3500 I would be expecting to strip the inside fix the floor and frame and build a whole new inside, but thats me. I can't stand the dark interiors anyway. I have a 1968 and when finished including the price of the AS I will have about $20,000 into it. This does not include my time, as I do all the work myself.

I Figure I will basically have a New Airstream at this point and it's a lot cheaper than a new $50,000-$100,000 Airstream. So if you want it to last another 37 years there is going to be some work. And there is always more than you think..

Just remember that a used SOB (some other brand) would cost you about as much as you have into this one, and would probably have issues either right away or in the future and you would be putting more money into it.

But you will have something that is better than any other brand out there. And it looks so much better than a white box going down the road.

You need to find a friend or relative who is handy to work on it for you!!!!!!
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:35 AM   #3
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1975 31' Sovereign
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A new Airstream in that size range and trim level is going to be in the $45,000+ range...

I have a 1975 31' Sovereign. I will have a total cash outlay of somewhere around $15k when I get done, add in a reasonable cost for my labor and you would probably hit around $45k. A brand new Airstream in my size would set me back $70,000-$90,000. As an added bonus I KNOW everything that has been done and done right.

Everybody is going to have a different tolerance level for what they are willing to spend or put up with. I know if I had spent the money on a new one and had some of the warranty issues I see discussed on here I would be highly disappointed.

On the plus side your unit is a short one and one of the more desirable units. You may not be able to get out of it what you put into it, but you will come a lot closer than I would.

Aaron
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
A new Airstream in that size range and trim level is going to be in the $45,000+ range...

I have a 1975 31' Sovereign. I will have a total cash outlay of somewhere around $15k when I get done, add in a reasonable cost for my labor and you would probably hit around $45k. A brand new Airstream in my size would set me back $70,000-$90,000. As an added bonus I KNOW everything that has been done and done right.

Everybody is going to have a different tolerance level for what they are willing to spend or put up with. I know if I had spent the money on a new one and had some of the warranty issues I see discussed on here I would be highly disappointed.

On the plus side your unit is a short one and one of the more desirable units. You may not be able to get out of it what you put into it, but you will come a lot closer than I would.

Aaron
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:58 AM   #5
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Aaron, would it be possible to breakdown the 15k you spent restoring. I have been reading these forums for a month now and 10,15,20 and even 50 thousand dollars have been mentioned as "what I have put in my Airstream." How that money is being spent is something that would be very helpful to me and maybe others.

Thanx,
Russ
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:08 PM   #6
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Man, every time I read one of these threads, I shudder and wonder what I'm missing. Aside from the frame being destroyed, polishing, and the rear end separation, what other repair cost over $3k when outsourced?

I bought mine for 3k, and I've invested another $3k into it but I'm darn near done. I've got another grand or so in fit and finish work, but knock on wood, I'm done otherwise. Note I had no frame damage, my axles are good and there was no rear end separation work to be done.
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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Everybody has their level of perfection. Mine, for example, sure could be prettier ( the odd dents, " male pattern baldness") but it is watertight, everything works fine, the running gear is sweet and, best of all, it is paid for.

We half- time in it and have towed it about 50000 miles. Dollar for dollar about the most fun a boy can have...

You can have a perfect restoration or something simply functional which explains the great disparity in cost.

Mike
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:24 PM   #8
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I didn't keep track the first go round but my axels, shocks, and balancers installed at Inland RV on my trip through there was nearly 4k. New range, sinks fixtures, rivets all add up, plywood and wood to redo the whole interior was $700 by it's self. flooring $200 it adds up quick. It's the little things that add up. New vents, window trim etc.

So far on the second go round:

Lumber to build gantry's $200 and I used some I already had as well
Por15 to paint frame $200
Ply wood for floor and paint to seal it $300
Metal for frame repair and tank brakets $155
two more tanks $415
various supplies $75

I have already spent $1200 and not even bought plywood and lumber to redo the inside. Plus there will be new cushions and fabric to cover them. I was hoping to do it all for around $2000. but looking more like 4-5k
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:08 PM   #9
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From my experiences with 2 trailers, the sky is the limit, and it all depends on what you want to do with it. If you want an all new interior, new appliances, etc., i.e. a brand new trailer, a frame without holes, figure on the 10-15K... and that is on the low side.

I have $3600 in to my 77' 31' Sovereign so far. That includes (what I can remember so far)

Trailer purchase of $800
New axles (complete)
new tires
steel for new outriggers
Misc. plumbing parts, valves, etc. for waste tanks
Rust neutralizer and spray on rubber coating
Lots of wire for my wire feed welder
Lots of grinding wheels
New front crank jack to replace power jack.
Some tools that I needed but didn't have.
Shock mount bolts
My labor... PRICELESS!

That pretty much covers it... so far.

Fortunately, the trailer came with a 3 year old AC, an Iota 55 amp charger, newer Shurflo water pump, a newer water heater, and all electrical functioning properly as well as all waste tanks and water tank solid. I have a working 3 way fridge I picked up off of CL for $25 (long story, but great deal) With all of that, I expect to put in at least another 6k before it is all over. And, have a brand new trailer... eventually.

I am certainly no expert at Airstream repair, but you do not know the extent of the work needed unless YOU PULL OFF THE BELLY SKIN! My first trailer was a 72 Overlander. The frame appeared to be perfect... until I removed the belly skin and dropped the water tank. There was a hole in the frame to the side of the water tank that was 2-1/2' long that would have compromised the entire structure. The water fill had been leaking for years and there was no way to detect it otherwise. Some welding fixed that scenario.

The size of your trailer is very desirable. If you put money in to your trailer and plan on keeping it, it will pay off in the long run. Of course deciding on how deep your pockets can go is the big question. Only you can decide. Good luck with it. You have plenty of support here to make sure you are "investing" in repairs wisely.
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:54 PM   #10
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I'd rather do the work myself and pay someone to go camping for me.

My trailer had minimal water damage, a good frame, nice body, all good windows complete with screens, all good electrical, new converter, new tanks, and good axles. I'm replacing floor covering, tires, battery, awning fabric, range/oven, refrigerator, air conditioner, water heater, furnace, plumbing, sinks, cabinets, counter tops, drapes, bed, sofa, and adding a rock guard. I bought a new hitch, and rock busters for the tow vehicle.

I have stripped and polished the exterior.

I had hoped to finish at $14,000 over purchase price, but the 14k won't be enough. Parts only. Doing all the labor myself.
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