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Old 08-01-2003, 02:24 PM   #1
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Why is Airstream any better than the other brands?

I'm in the market for an old trailer to live in for about three months. After I'm done living in it, I plan to use it instead of my pop up for the seven or eight "adventures" I have every year.

I am using an old FS Jeep to tow with. It can tow 5500lbs. That includes any gear I throw in the Jeep and all the stuff I throw in the trailer. I'm guessing that between the stuff I toss in the Jeep and the trailer, I will have between 750 to 1000 LBs of gear in it, so I would prefer a trailer that's not too heavy.

There is an ad for a 1972 25' landyacht. I've mostly been looking at late 80's travel trailers from the other brands, but this landyacht (sight unseen) has me curious. Other than the unique appearance of the airstreams, are there any benefits not found in the box trailers? Do they weigh less? Are they easier to tow? Are they nicer inside? What is the attraction?

PS. What makes a land yacht a land yacht?

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Old 08-01-2003, 02:41 PM   #2
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Dollar for Dollar the Airstream is a better buy. In most other brands the construction is made of sticks and wood. This means once a leak starts basically the trailers demise has begun. In the Airstream the outer wall is aluminium along with the interior and the studs in the walls, therefore nothing to dry rot if it gets wet except for the floor. The interior appointments tend to be better in the airstreams as Airstream has always been a high end trailer.
The one drawback to an earlier 70's Airstream is that there is no gray water tank, so you have to get a blue tote tank to drain the gray water in if you are not hooked to a sewer.
When the wife and I were looking for a TT it was for a one time shot and we looked long and hard at lots of different brands. We wond up with a 75 Argosy (painted Airstream); every other used trailer we looked at had dry rot and water damage, not to mention smelling musty. Our one time trip has turned into a love affair with the trailer and the adventures that go with it.


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Old 08-01-2003, 02:42 PM   #3
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All of the above. Airstreams are of a generally better quality, tow extremely well, last (with proper maintenance) much longer than other brands, hold value. The double walls of aluminum with insulation between mean they are truly year round campers, and very quiet when inside.

I have a 2001 Bambi, and because the basic design is little changed throughout the years, only an Airstreamer can tell mine is new. I get questions all the time like "when did they stop making those?"
Rick Klein
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Old 08-01-2003, 02:45 PM   #4
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Originally posted by Rickk48
I get questions all the time like "when did they stop making those?"
And if you keep them clean and Walbernized the question I get all the time is, "that's a brand new one..right?"

Jack Canavera
AIR #56
'04 Classic 30' S.O.,'03 GMC Savana 2500,'14 Honda CTX 700
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Old 08-01-2003, 02:52 PM   #5
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Well ...

A jeep with 5500# towing capacity will only tow a very small and/or very old Airstream, when loaded as you describe. A good rule of thumb is to stay below 75% of the rated towing capacity to have reasonable performance. Airstreams tow quite easily, but they are not very lightweight except the very old ones.

You will not find a lot of folks on this forum that advise towing with a jeep because they are high, short wheelbase, and narrow. I would not personally advise the combination of the jeep and a 25' Airstream regardless of what Chrysler says it will tow.
John W. Irwin
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Old 08-01-2003, 02:57 PM   #6
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One of the most significant differences between an Airstream and most other brands is in aerodynamic design. Because the front, side and rear profiles of the A/S are rounded, the form is inherently more wind resistant. The rounded tail of the trailer is the most important, because this is where drag is created. A form which is square or blocky at the rear creates an area of low pressure just behind it as it moves and this "vacuum" is what drags on the trailer, resisting forward momentum. If you were to look at an Airstream undergoing wind tunnel tests, you would see very little disturbance to the air at the rear of the trailer, thus very little drag. The result - the trailer tows and tracks easier and with better stability.

Additionally, as others have pointed out, the trailer is just constructed more soundly and of better materials than the other brands. Windows are high quality tempered glass, door hinges and latches are automobile grade - slam the door all you want, it won't fall off in your hand. All A/S are leak tested under high pressure spray at the factory ... the list goes on and on.

All in all, you can't buy a better-built trailer anywhere in the world. That's not to say that Airstreams are perfect, but they are alot closer than any other brand. If you want an investment to last you the next 30-50 years or more, than the Aistream is your best bet.
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Old 08-01-2003, 03:16 PM   #7
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Question What makes a Land Yacht, a Land Yacht?

Welcome, Narnia!

There's a lot of confusion over the term "Land Yacht," because Airstream's use of that term changed over the years. For example, in the early '60s, each model had a name (i.e., Bambi, Overlander) AND was described as a Land Yacht. In the early '70s, Airstream used the term Land Yacht to describe a specific "option package" for the various models (i.e., you could get a Tradewind with the "Land Yacht package."). At some point, they used the term as a model name.

Often, you will see a trailer for sale that is advertised as a Land Yacht, but the trailer really has a different model name. There's a trailer on ebay now that is listed as a "25' Land Yacht." It's really a 1962 26' Overlander.

In 1972, Airstream made two 25' trailer models. One was called "Tradewind," and one was called "Caravanner." You could get the Land Yacht package on either, or the International package. I couldn't tell you what was in each option package--maybe someone else can.

BTW, you may be interested in reading the prior threads on this Forum relating to the suitability of Jeeps as tow vehicles. I'm guessing your "FS Jeep" means the Cherokee model (The USFS's rig of choice). If you're committed to the Jeep, you'll want to research how big a trailer you can safely tow. You may want something shorter (lighter) than 25', and maybe older (the older models are lighter). There's a beautiful '64 Globetrotter (19') on ebay right now.

Good Luck!
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Old 08-01-2003, 03:36 PM   #8
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Hey Narian,
I asked a similar question the other day. You might want to take a look at " which A/S can I tow with my jeep gc" (some one might be able to show you the link) I don't know how..
I am really suprised what my Jeep can tow safely. We started looking at 22' and with the advice of many others are now only looking in the 19' range. The more I read about my jeep the more I think that jeep over estimates the tow ability (IMHO)
Good luck with your information gathering!!!!

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Old 08-01-2003, 06:06 PM   #9
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Let me try to clear up any confusion on my Jeep

FS means full size Jeep, made by AMC. It's nothing like the Jeeps made today. It is between the size of a Durango and a Suburban and has a 5.9L V8 (360). Here is a photo of my Jeep in Colorado:

The Jeep dealership actually told me 6000# towing. My friend has an old 23' box travel trailer that I weighed down with sound equipment and pulled back and forth from Cincinnati to Columbus. It did fine towing the load, but the temperature would consistently rise 20 degrees on the long steep hills. I figured in real mountains it would be working pretty hard. After talking to the guys on the FS Jeep board the general consensus was 5500. If I can get my total load under 4000Lb I'd be real happy.

As an alternative, I also have a Jeep J20. It's a 3/4 ton truck like the one parked behind my Jeep in the photo. It can tow 8500. I just don't have it set up for towing (no hitch, wires)

How much should a 1972 25' A/S weigh?
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Old 08-01-2003, 06:41 PM   #10
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I just got a photo of that 72 and compared it to the archives. It is actually a 22' Globetrotter. Anyone know what that should weigh?
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Old 08-01-2003, 06:50 PM   #11
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Go to this page. Scroll to the bottom to 'General Information'. Click on 'Trailer Weights' and a PDF file will download.

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Old 08-01-2003, 07:02 PM   #12
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Very nice!

at 3380 dry, I could easily tow it. Now I guess I need to find out if it's trashed. Anything in particular I should be worried over?
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Old 08-02-2003, 06:16 AM   #13
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Take an icepick or similar sharp object and check the floor in the rear "if you can " about 3 to 4 inches in from the wall ,this is a common spot for floor rot but it is very repairable ,the other place to look for floor rot is around the front window area esp under the vista windows ,again its not the end of the world if it is rotted it is fixable also ,check to make sure the tambours are all in tact ,ask if the gas bottles have been updated ,check the axles make sure they or it has not sagged past 0 deg there is a good explaination of this on Andy's site at http://www.inlandrv.com , dont let these things scare you .......just be aware of them . I hope this helps Tom
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Old 08-02-2003, 06:35 AM   #14
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I went to that site but I couldn't find the information you were talking about. What is a Tambours?

The Airstream I was interested in has been sold

I can see a few reasons to keep looking for one though. I noticed the Avion on Ebay. Are they about the same as the Airstreams? Are there other brands that copied the Airstream design successfully?

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