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Old 01-23-2013, 12:44 PM   #15
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1981 27' Excella II
mays landing , South Jersey
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No problems

We got our 81 Excella in 2009 and other than regular maintenance such as re-caulking and brakes have had no real problems. Maybe a couple of broken 31 year old cabinet hinges which were easily welded and replacing perfectly good carpet with laminate because I wanted to. And replacing the 31 year old vents with Maxi Fans cause ther'e better. 60 to 100 days a year and around 6,000 miles a year. Sal

Sal & Nora
Let us live so that when we die even the undertaker will be sorry. Mark Twain
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:00 PM   #16
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1999 34' Excella
NE Central , Kansas
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 319
I got my 1999 in 2010. The only unexpected issue I've had was the skylight in the lounge blowing off as I was bringing it home. The hot sun in the Southwest will eat any exposed plastics given time. Everything else that I've done has been routine age/use based maintenance. Except the converter. Wild power fluctuations in an RV park due to a loose neutral 6 sites over. Get a surge protector!

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Old 01-23-2013, 01:24 PM   #17
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1968 17' Caravel
Battle Ground , Washington
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I agree it is all about expectations. We bought our trailer in ready-to-camp condition, and it really was. We enjoyed it for two years before deciding to do something about the rotten spots in the floor. The repairs didn't bother me, I enjoyed the challenge. I have also done a lot of work on old cars so spending a winter improving the trailer was not a big deal. Didn't miss a single camping trip because of the repairs! Now it is ready to go another 40 years Every year there's some little thing that needs fixing, but it's no big deal. Every year my car needs something fixed too!

Frankly, the entire experience has been better than I expected. My husband (who initially thought this was the craziest idea I ever came up with) thinks it is the BEST idea I ever came up with, and this year we're celebrating 10 years with our adorable little trailer. My trailer is older than I am, and I would do it again in a second.

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Old 01-23-2013, 01:25 PM   #18
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1984 34' International
Toronto , Ontario
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Just to clarify - I am not looking for zero maintenance. Just for some assurance that there are trailers out there, used and sold at a reasonable price, that don't require instant frame-up restoration to be useful.

With three young kids in the house, time for hobbies has all but disappeared. There's always a diaper that needs changing, a story that needs reading, a booboo that needs a band-aid, a mouth that needs feeding.

I love the little monsters but boy, do they require time.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:34 PM   #19
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1999 34' Excella
NE Central , Kansas
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Just think of your new-to-you Airstream as one of your kids (except no higher education costs to look forward to) and you won't go wrong!
AIR 57698, TAC NM-9.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:00 PM   #20
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What do you consider a reasonable price? 10K, 20k, etc....
If you are thinking of spending 5k you will be disappointed. If you plan to spend say 10k-20K, you might have a chance, spend 30K and you will have no problems until you use it a year or so.

Most folks that like to purchase things without problems tend to live in condo's and even they have problems when the power goes out.

It's like when I ask a buddy of mine about my truck with 300K on it about breaking down, his reply: "What you don't think new cars break down"

Paul Waddell
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:50 PM   #21
Len and Jeanne
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2005 16' International CCD
2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
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Andreasduess, we bought our 2005 Bambi in 2007 from the CanAm RV dealership in London, Ontario. The roof was actually leaking during a rain storm when we bought it! Yes, they fixed it prior to our taking ownership, but then a lot of other this-and-that went wrong during the first year or so. BUT-- because they sold their used Airstreams with a one-year warranty, we took it back as-needed and they fixed it for free.

We are in awe of all of the do-it-yourselfers who have the skills to do major repairs and restoration work themselves. We don't, so you might do what we've done. Find a gently-used AS at a dealer with an in-house AS mechanic (including in the US--but London really isn't that far from you) who will offer you a service warranty. But minor repairs, winterizing, &c can be done at any decent RV service center. If you're lucky, you'll have a handy neighbour to help with the minor stuff, &c., as well.

No doubt we've paid more to get mechanics to do a lot of our work, but then we save money in other areas of our life, so it all evens out.

A RV is a lot like a swimming pool, a boat, an antique car, or cottage on the lake. Yes, they are money sinks, but if you get a lot of enjoyment out of them (as we have with the Bambi) then it is money well spent.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:38 PM   #22
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1984 34' International
Toronto , Ontario
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Our budget, at this time, is around 20k. From what I've been reading that should be ample for a used but well looked after model from the early to late 1980's.

Again, I am not looking for zero maintenance. I know too much about vintage cars to make that mistake. I am also quite handy and know my way around a toolbox, so smaller repairs don't worry me. My issue right now is time, or rather, a shortage of time due to the kids. That's the reason I prefer to buy a trailer that we can just use at this stage of my life.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:51 PM   #23
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2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
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Originally Posted by andreasduess View Post
Our budget, at this time, is around 20k. From what I've been reading that should be ample for a used but well looked after model from the early to late 1980's.
I think you could even do better than that. Looking through the Classifieds here on the site, there are 4-5 late-1990s 25' Safaris that fit that budget. A lot of them look to be actively-used trailers too.

There are pros and cons (newer Safari vs. older Excella/Sovereign/Classic with solid wood and fully-opening windows) - but you can get a fairly newish trailer for that coin.

Now: 2007 Safari SE 23' "Anne" towed by 2011 Dodge Durango "Herman"
Before: Argosy Minuet and T@B, towed by various Honda Odysseys
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:54 PM   #24
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1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
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Unless you have your heart set on an A$. Not many are designed for a family with children. IMHO
Given the fact that you are looking at spending $20K. And that you have young children.
I would look at buying something new. That is more suited for traveling and camping with kids. Arctic Fox has one; I believe it is called "bunkhouse".
If taken care of, a unit like this will last until the kids are grown.
Then go shopping for your A$.
I didn't think to look to see what you have for a tow vehicle.
Knowledge: "A gift to be shared. A treasure to receive."
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:10 PM   #25
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1984 34' International
Toronto , Ontario
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No, it's an Airstream or nothing. I have zero interest in SOB models. Yes, that's an emotional decision but so is driving canvas top trucks when there's other options that are so much more practical.

From what I've been reading there are many, many families who happily use an Airstream trailer with kids in tow. What we might decide doing is to defer the purchase to next year. I like buying toys for cash, so this would give us some more time to put money aside, making a larger budget available.

Having said that, and returning to my Land Rover analogy, most Landy drivers will tell you that you need to spend at least $20k on a usable car.

I bought my first LR truck, ex army, for $2000 and never had an issue with it. It is still in use to this day by a friend of mine with no major repairs except regular maintenance. Actually, thinking about it, the most money I ever spent on a truck was $6000.

I remain optimistic that we'll find something at a decent price
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:45 PM   #26
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1976 27' Overlander
Missoula , Montana
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Posts: 377
I've said this elsewhere ( - start about the tenth post).

But, to summarize, we were fortunate to find a great, well-cared for, 27' Overlander that was first advertized here on the forums by a forum member. This member is similar to many on here - handy and skilled with all things mechanical, electrical, and otherwise. He told me that when they purchased the trailer as the third owners, that they were fortunate to find little wrong and they purchased it the day they saw it. He also said it had been used regularly by the owners. We feel the same about his use and maintenance.

I think a key point that happened was that the trailer never really sat unused. It was used regularly by our previous owner, several times (4-10 trips) a year, and thus, regularly maintained. That included sealing and re-sealing to prevent leaks and quickly fixing items or systems that had problems. Over the time he had it, he re-did the original water pump, converter/inverter, hot-water heater, re-built the commode, re-placed some (not all) of the original copper plumbing, and put in a newer air-conditioner. Mainly, he maintained it in the 12+ years it was theirs (thanks, Ron and Caroline!). In truth, they were a little sad to see it go (although there was a 2006 25' Airstream sitting nearby!).

Our Overlander is 95+ percent original. We have the original, "Airstream" tagged soft-goods such as the hamper bag, drapes and the mattress covers. We also have the "vintage" sculpted 70's carpet, the brown (and tans and such) color scheme and the orange-yellow "pop-art" vinyl wall covering in the bathroom; even the brown wears-like-iron fabric on the gaucho. But, it all allowed us to camp our first few times without any additions or repairs. And, after those few first times all we did was put in a new group 27 battery, even though the old one was still good (holding its amps/volts but 5 years old) and put on 4 new Michelins because of the 5-year old Toyo trailer tires.

Oh, we've had our adventures already (see ) but we are very pleased and, considering we looked at investing tens of thousands of dollars in SOBs over the past few years, we are nowhere near our first "ten" of those dollars - although we will get there this spring when the two new axles go on! But, this has not been a money-pit; nor a maintenance night-mare; nor a fixer-upper in any sense. Nor has it been a regret.

We're very pleased! And, with all the research you're doing, I'll bet you'll be as well!
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:09 PM   #27
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1997 34' Limited
1970 27' Overlander
South of Atlanta , Georgia
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We camp with two teenagers and our largish dog (Weimaraner). We have never felt that an Airstream wasn't the trailer for us. We are even now actively searching for a smaller vintage unit (1966 or older 26-24 footer for those reding...hint hint) and feel that will still work very well for our family.

The idea of a tenish year old regularly used Airstream should fit your situation nicely. Be sure to look for one in regular us because that usually equates to regular maintenance. Just like a vintage car or airplane sitting and not moving s bad for any equipment.
Craig and Carol
1997 34' Excella 1000
1970 27' Overlander, International
2009 Ford F150 5.4L
ProPride hitch with 1400# bars

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Old 01-23-2013, 07:53 PM   #28
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1961 28' Ambassador
Sherburne , New York
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 160
You've had old Land Rovers, so obviously you are able to deal with things that are not quite perfect. I drive a 73 109 and a 68 88. Both are far from perfect, but they work well for my intended use. Sure I get we when it rains. Sometimes one brakes grabs a little too hard. The heaters are ineffective. All things that are "faults". I live with them and upgrade and improve as time and money allow. You can do that with an Airstream, as well. I bought my 1961 Ambassador as a project, and went in knowing that I would not be camping in it for a number of years. I have 4 kids, so time is more valuable than money to me. After working on it for 4 years, I should be able to finally use it this coming fall. I could have used it as it was, like I do my Land Rovers, and improved things as I went along but i was looking for a project. Just remember, like Series Land Rovers, they all leak.

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