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Old 01-23-2013, 08:05 PM   #29
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1984 34' International
Toronto , Ontario
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Originally Posted by RoverOwner View Post
Just remember, like Series Land Rovers, they all leak.
Landies don't leak, they mark their territory
I left my 1964 Series II SWB ragtop behind when we moved to Canada ten years ago. I still miss that truck.

But back to Airstreams. I am beginning to see a pattern here, I think.

I lived on a boat for a while, an old canal boat in the UK. Looking in from the outside, it was a pain in the butt. The shower was a drizzle. Everything I owned, myself included, smelled of either fuel, damp, wood-smoke or any combination thereof, at any time. Laundry was a 20 minute walk away at the other end of the marina, the galley was tiny, my bedroom had no headroom worth mentioning etc, etc.

Still, it was an incredibly happy time. I suspect that owning an AS might be a similar experience.

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:07 PM   #30
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1999 23' Safari
Perrysburg , Ann Arbor
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I think you're right ... it's a lot like a boat. They all need upkeep. Bought my '99 used and went camping in her. Made a bunch of upgrades, but literally nothing that was original has broken or worn out. (Oh, maybe a bulb or two before I went LED and the battery.) But I've replaced a bunch of things with other things I like better. Fantastic Vent. LED bulbs. New tires and wheels. Solar charging system. Bigger battery bank. New entry steps. Etc. But, like a boat, I consider these "improvements" and long term investments in having fun. You will find what you're looking for if you take the time and look carefully. Took me nearly two years to find mine, and I've loved every minute of it. You will too. Oh, and like the older Land Rovers, you can actually work on them and do useful things to keep them running!

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:51 PM   #31
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Five years ago I bought an old Airstream. It was my first travel trailer, and I expected it to be a "learner" to be traded in later on a new Airstream when I sold my house. As it happened the old trailer was so nice that I lost interest in trading. I full-timed in that trailer for 4 years with no surprises. It will continue to be my summer residence for the foreseeable future.

I bought the trailer from a long-time Airstream dealer with a good reputation. It came with a 30 day warranty, and they demonstrated that everything worked before I left. There was a 100-year rainstorm the next day, and I found one leak which was quickly fixed. I later became concerned as to whether a furnace recall had been addressed, so 6 months later the dealer performed the recall service without complaint. Everything else worked as promised. I've since done maintenance and an occasional repair and upgrade, but nothing major, and for quite a bit less than what I'd been spending on an equally old house. So, it is possible to buy an old Airstream that is not a money pit.

I figure I paid a $2500 premium to the dealer over what I might have paid a private seller, but it was well worth it to avoid any unpleasant surprises. I would do it again. Unfortunately that dealer is no longer selling the Airstream line.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:54 PM   #32
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1992 29' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Morrilton , Arkansas
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We have a 1992 Excella Classic 29' and a 1987 Excella 32'. Love them both. They require the same maintenance as any other travel-trailer. Bearings repacked, new brakes on one, new tires on both when we first got them.

The 1992 has lots of cosmetic flaws but she has been a perfect angel. We dragged her 8000 miles in just one long, long trip last summer. We've probably pulled her over 25,000 miles in the three years we've owned her. Not one single breakdown or problem on the road. Every single thing in her works. Inside, she's pretty. Outside- well, she's been down lots of road, got beat up by a blowout, and seriously needs polishing or a new clearcoat.

Everything that was wrong with her - some rotten floor in the usual spots, which we replaced - was due to some previous owner not maintaining seams and gaskets. After sealing she does not leak- anywhere at all.

Our 1987, proud long lady that she is, has ONE small dent above her left "eye" and is pretty perfect in every way. Even intact clearcoat with no oxidation. No rotten floor. Previous owner kept the floors great, stored her inside, etc. She needed new caulking. We had the bearings packed because we didn't know when it was done last. We replaced the tires for the same reason.

Previous owner removed the furnace & put in electric baseboard type heat. I'd rather have the furnace back. Oh, and this baby has an original Amana Radar Range microwave that works like a top.

We haven't had any serious problems with either of our old Airstreams- and we use them and live in them about half the year. They both tow like dreams and either one can be hooked up and taken camping- anytime. One thing we've come to terms with - they will both eventually need new axles. If SOBs held up as long, they would, too. And the other thing, a spot of rotted floor is not a big deal unless you want to make it one. I wouldn't buy one with all rotted floor, but if I had more skills & equipment, I would. Not that big of a disaster. SOBs get rotten floor spots, too, but again, usually aren't in use long enough to get fixed. Houses, by the way, get rotten wood, too, if it gets wet.

We're in Florida now with the 1987. The trip down was as uneventful as trips with the 1992 have been.

People have more trouble with newer ones than we have with ours, and people with brand new SOBs have LOTS more trouble (blowing over in the wind for one thing!). I can't imagine paying good money for something that doesn't even have a belly pan! Or tows like a giant box.

We'll probably sell one of ours someday- can't use them both at the same time! But we haven't yet cause we love both these reliable, classy ole ladies! It's going to hurt!

The real truth, as far as I'm concerned, is that an Airstream, old or new, whatever one wants & can afford- is the best trailer. Period.
2004 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins HD
1987 Excella 32'

"Besides, I'm a gypsy at heart
and I like to travel around."
Reba McEntire

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Old 01-24-2013, 04:46 AM   #33
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1984 34' International
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Thanks for that. We're now looking at a 34' 1984 Sovereign that is looking promising. Needs cosmetic work, but all the underpinnings seem solid.

I am comfortable with a certain amount of work, that's how I have always bought houses. Looked for good bones and never mind the wallpaper.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:33 AM   #34
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I figure that $10k -- beyond purchase price -- is the opening budget on most any TT past 15-years. New appliances, etc. Cosmetic concerns will take it higher. With that, I hope to do it on my schedule rather than as a series of failures while in use.

The latest TT has problems not on "my schedule". Irritating, in main. But all of them "live-able" until I get around to them.

Old houses, I'd say, are the worst. The highest amount of money/time and aggravation. Old cars after them. Travel trailers can fall in between if one is depending on them.

Prioritize, according to importance. Most issues of comfort are psychological after this:

1] All issues have to do with mobility (road performance, safety)
2] Water system (and all kinds of leaks)
3] Propane
4] Electrical
5] Cosmetic

Importance is defined as what is necessary to the TT's highest function. And that is shelter here . . or there.

How well it does is seen in a descending order of that importance.

Sort the feelings about a particular TT accordingly. It's only a machine, after all. This brand is good (A/S) and some other brands were better (AVION, STREAMLINE, SILVER STREAK).

The full range of what work could be expected is seen in these forums. One's trailer choice will fall between the ends. So, at what end will it be?

As said above, a well-chosen TT from the higher end of purchase prices will likely have fewer problems. What problems a TT from the lower end has that are acceptable to the owner sorts the well-chosen from the poorly-chosen.

1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 12-cpm solo, 19-cpm towing (fuel)
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:51 AM   #35
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1980 31' Excella II
Ocean View , Delaware
Join Date: Dec 2010
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We have a 1980 31ft Excella and love it! The interior is original except for a new water heater, faucet and soft furnishings (floor, upholstery, window coverings). When we first bought her I planned a major interior redo, but then life got in the way and we couldn't do anything for 6 months. During that time I actually came to like the beige vinyl walls, harvest gold Formica, silly big floral wallpaper in the bath and lighter toned fake wood bulkheads.

Someone before us, bless them, had epoxied the plywood subfloor so we found zero rot when we ripped out every inch of the carpeting--it was even inside the cabinets. We replaced two of the ceiling light/vents with Fantastic Vents and redecorated. She seems to be problem free aside from a wonky second step and a skyliner antenna that needs encouragement to return to its resting position.

Most importantly, we bought her on eBay after being just a bit "over served" at a holiday party. Hence her name---The Accidental Airstream. She was at a dealer in Michigan. We live in Delaware. And as god is my witness I truly believed my husbands Ford Ranger could tow her when I placed that bid.

I feel so sad when I read the heartbreaking stories here from folks who thought they had their dream trailer--new or old--and they find so many huge issues. If I had found the forum before my impulsive buy it never would have happened. Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss.

Good Luck! And for heavens sake don't follow my example!

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Old 01-24-2013, 07:04 AM   #36
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I haven't yet found that "perfect" Airstream and my search continues. With that said, I have had great luck with other brands of trailers, buying them gently used and doing a little expected work myself.

My last example was a 22H Artic Fox that I found for sale by owner with a little damage from a blown tire. The rest of the trailer was sharp as a pin and I ended up having a great little trailer for a little less than $1000 in repair over the purchase price. I sometimes think that I enjoy the project more than the finished product, which is why I don't keep things very long.

Don't be afraid of a little work here and there. It is to be expected and sometimes is a very nice part of the ownership process.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:50 AM   #37
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1966 24' Tradewind
Albuquerque , New Mexico
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Short Answer to Your Question

Find pictures of the these Airstreams in my Registry
Old #1: 1976 Safari 23 purchased in 1996 needed tires, battery, and new water lines/pump. Used it for three trips back and forth between NC and NM. Sold it in 2001 to by Old#2.

Old #2: 2000 Safari 2007 purchased lightly used in 2001. Zero problems. Used the heck out of it all over Southwest and Southern CA. Added solar panel. Sold it in 2006 to go vintage.

Old #3: 1976 Sovereign 31 purchased worn out in 2006. Many issues. Spent more time fixing it than using it. Sold it at a loss in 2007 and decided Caribbean cruises would be less expensive.

Old #4: 2007 Classic Ltd 30 purchased barely used in 2011. Lovely Airstream. Zero problems except need for new tires. We are using the heck out of it. In fact, I type this response ensconced in our Airstream in Mesa, AZ.

Our conclusion: Purchase nearly new, lightly used for best outcome.
Ken L
1966 Tradewind 24
2007Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax/Allison
Four Corners Unit WBCCI #8654
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:39 PM   #38
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Scottsdale , Arizona
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Hi from AZ. . . Bought an 05 Safari 25 from re-seller/service center in Tucson in 2010 & had NO problems. They really had everything in fine order, sold me & set up WD hitch deal, & we pulled it back East. The following May we did 8k miles to YENP, etc. without drama ! (this was my 1st tt experience, came from SOB class C).... Not exactly vintage I know but EXACTLY what I wanted & could afford. regards, Craig
WBCCI 2851,4CU
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:21 PM   #39
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
1959 26' Overlander
1954 22' Flying Cloud
Salem , Oregon
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For us I guess ignorance was bliss. We bought our 1953 Flying Cloud knowing absolutely nothing about Airstreams. My husband thought he could flip it but I fell in love with it. It had been sitting in a sheep field for 15 years. We bought it for $400 and have only put about another $2500 max into it. We started using it 5 weeks after it came home. We've now had it 5 years and camp all the time. Here's what we did: new tires, replace about 2/3's of the floor that was rotten and put down flooring, reupholster the dinette seats, paint, curtains, replace 50 year old original mattress with a futon mattress, oil the wood, install a couple of light fixtures, and many many hours of polishing (over time, that doesn't have to be done immediately to enjoy camping in it). Since it is a park model we didn't have to mess with tanks or 12 volt system. We now have 3 others, 2 projects in waiting and a 1959 Overlander that we purchased for $2000 and put another $2500 into. So, it is possible to find vintage trailers that only require a minimal amount of cost and work to enjoy.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:09 PM   #40
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2006 25' Safari
St. Augustine , Florida
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I do not have an AS that is too old but it is 7yrs out. I will tell you that when I purchased it, there was quite a bit of corrosion around the beltline and the radio antenna was missing and the rear bumber was bumped out in the middle and there was a scratch next to the door on the side but aside from that (unless there are some unknowns) I am happy. Everything works. I fixed the corrosion. It was work but it is sealed and the somewhat blemished area is covered now with the classic trim. The radio antenna was replaced. Those things I knew and they were, for the most part, "use marks" rather than defects. From other components' condition, I would summize that the trailer sat in storage outdoors at least partially if not totally the previous six years. It has come to life with some cleaning and polishing! The rear area still has the plastic over the carpet in the rear and under the beds in the compartments. I did a moisture check on the floor with negative results so, hopefully everything is great. As far as the corrosion thing goes, I have learned that any metal that is coated has that potential. All it takes is a place for access and, in the case of aluminum a chloride of a type - salt, etc. So, understand that any product that you follow on a forum will be littered with complaints and ah ha items. They make us aware but it may or may not be an overall issue plaguing all models and owners. I picked Airstream as a used choice as a potentially lasting RV. Hopefully that will be the outcome.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:22 PM   #41
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1997 25' Safari
Yakima , Washington
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I don't know what you mean by old, but here goes: a few years ago I bought a '97 Safari. It has been trouble free, the money I have put into her has been upgrades from the original; removing old carpet, changing the cabinet over the bathroom sink, and cosmetic types of changes. As far as physical condition, floors, electric, plumbing, appliances, etc., not a cliche to speak of, other than needing to clean up the grounding for the license plate light (5 minute job).

As far as tools, buy as many as you can afford, you'll never be sorry to go to your tool box for the one you need and find it, but you will be sorry to be in the middle of a project and need to stop, get in the car and drive somewhere to buy the tool that you need. Tools are good.

1997 25' Safari
2012 Chevy Silverado HD 2500
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:14 AM   #42
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2006 25' Safari
St. Augustine , Florida
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I am with you on this one; however, remember you are reading from a forum of owners who are working on and maintaining their RV. I believe that many of the issues you would find are common to all RV owners BUT that at least, the Airstream clan has an advantage in that they are able to relate to any issues as the product is so similar through the years. I found that there were major issues for owners of other brands too. If nothing else, you can take note that an RV owner takes on a project upon purchase- regardless of what one they buy or even how new it is!

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