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Old 04-14-2016, 11:55 AM   #1
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1979 31' Excella 500
Charlevoix , Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 256
Does it ever end?

We've been renovating our '79 Excella for almost 2 years and are finally near the end... or are we? I mean, the inside is done (well, almost), the outside is polished (most of it) and all the loose ends are taken care of (for the most part). But when you renovate an airstream, is the work every really done?

It seems like the items on my to-do list get crossed off, but more always get added on... I just notice little things and think "Oh yeah, I should finish that" or "I should really redo that before we hit the road" or even "it would be better if I did x this way instead" and of course the "well, if I knew then what I know now I would have done x differently; probably should replace it".

For those who have done complete or extensive renovations to their AS's, where do you draw the line? When is it "good enough"? I started this project to create a means for me to ESCAPE that kind of mentality, but it seems to have followed me into this new season of life (moving family of 4 in AS full time, selling everything, September 2016).

I'm guessing the advice I'm going to get will apply to other areas of my life as well. I'm 32, so those older and wiser lay it on me.

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Old 04-14-2016, 12:15 PM   #2
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2016 20' Flying Cloud
Centennial , Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,068
I think you draw the line when you have the peace in your mind that your Airstream is safe and comfortable. It's like owning a house. There will always be something to do. You are young and have lots of time ahead of you. Your Airstream should appreciate in value as the years go by. Take a break when you are ready, get on the road and enjoy it. It's a good time to step back and re-think what has to be done and to prioritize everything. Go to rallies and see what others have done to their Airstreams....enjoy life

Steve "Centennial Man"
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Old 04-14-2016, 12:44 PM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,901
Short answer is "If you are asking that question, then no, it is never really done." To wax philosophical, Airstream ownership is like a sound relationship with your spouse or kids. You have to pay attention to it every day, you have to nurture it year after year if you want it to stay healthy. It isn't like a car or some other random possession, that just wears out eventually and gets replaced.

I have read many threads on these forums where the poster asks the existential question: "Should I spend the cash and buy a newer trailer that is ready to go on day one, or should I buy a cheap old vintage unit that I know will require a lot of rennovation?" My asnwer is usually "Do you want to spend your time camping, or spend it working on a trailer?" In your case it is apparent that you want to spend your time working on your trailer, as this is the decision you have already made, consciously or not. I can't offer any solution to it as, I am almost 4 years into my total

Only you can decide where to draw the line and call it "good enough." It is like the story about the millionaire that was visiting his friend the billionaire. The billionaire was bragging about his massive estate, his 100 ft. yacht, and his trophy wife. He kept asking "don't you wish you had more money so that you could buy all this stuff too?" The millionaire responded by saying "this is all very impressive, but I have something you will never have...enough money."

Good luck!
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Old 04-14-2016, 12:49 PM   #4
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1978 25' Tradewind
Metro Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,398
Owning an elderly Airstream is not a destination to be arrived at; it's a journey to enjoy.
"Between what matters and what seems to matter, how should the world we know judge wisely?" - E.C. Bentley, Trent's Last Case
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Old 04-14-2016, 01:00 PM   #5
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1965 24' Tradewind
1962 28' Ambassador
Mesa , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Agree to the good answers posted....... It will never end till you sell's an ongoing process........a work in progress....strive for safe, good, great, fun, full of memories but not perfection.

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Old 04-14-2016, 01:36 PM   #6
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1976 25' Caravanner
Salt Lake City , Utah
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 292
And the good part is you and your family are young enough to do it all and enjoy it!
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Old 04-14-2016, 08:40 PM   #7
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1979 31' Excella 500
Charlevoix , Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 256
Originally Posted by Hittenstiehl View Post
strive for safe, good, great, fun, full of memories but not perfection.

Full of memories, but not perfection. I like that. Thank you
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Old 04-14-2016, 08:58 PM   #8
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1966 24' Tradewind
versailles , Kentucky
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 185
I asked this very same question about my kitchen renovation a few years back. There were and are still things I think about doing but now in using the new space with all the changes and upgrades I have put aside some of those outstanding things to enjoy it. Living in it has softened the need to do more . . . If your trailer is safe for travel and comfy for your family then start enjoying it. There will always be time for projects.
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:43 AM   #9
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2006 23' Safari SE
Biloxi , Mississippi
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Trailers and boats have at least one thing in common. They break sitting still. There is always something that needs to fixed, adjusted or replaced. My to do list always seems to have a couple of projects on it.
WBCCI 10656 Southeastern Camping Unit
Associate European Unit
2006 Safari LS 23 ft
Formerly 1964 Bambi II

"I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell"
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:01 AM   #10
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1974 Argosy 26
Joshua Tree , California
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 32
Treckerboy, you have something now that will slip through your fingers in the future...time to build memories with your family. Every moment with your mate and children is precious. And I mean "every!" Do you want them to remember your backside as you work on the AS or your smile and theirs as you sit around the campfire. If it's safe and sound get out and start enjoying it!
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:44 AM   #11
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1989 32' Excella
Sharon Springs , New York
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 59
Laying it on you,
You could start by quitting your whining. What did you think you were getting into? Most "vintage" cars, trailers and even people need continuous upkeep to remain functional. Not sure what your endstate is with your AS but if you are looking to camp now, just do it with what you have and let the little things go. You have to ask yourself what makes you happy, is it in just finally owning an AS (my case) or having the perfect TT. Most folks will tell you that you need to own several RVs to see the good, bad and ugly in RV ownership. The great thing about AS's is that you can change them as your needs/wants change. Appreciate what you have, instead of wishing for that level of perfection you may never find. Good Luck in your travels...
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Old 04-15-2016, 12:15 PM   #12
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Kernersville , North Carolina
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You might think this is crazy but once you hit the road and meet others you will look back with a selective memory, of all the accomplishments here, and want to fix-up another. Then you will realize that part of your soul is in this 31 and so you will have to get another.
Dan Brown
High Point NC
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Old 04-15-2016, 03:52 PM   #13

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 10,802
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Does it ever end?

New or Old.... it never do.

I never considered 'restoring' our '63 Safari....just get it ready to Camp, constantly, again & again & again.

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 04-15-2016, 05:25 PM   #14
2015 25' Flying Cloud
2016 30' Flying Cloud
Blenheim Ontario , Ontario
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 440
I agree with "Centenialman".
Once everything works as it's supposed to, and it's safe for the road; "THEN leave it lay where Jesus flang it." and enjoy the trip.
My first trailer was a Starcraft 'Centennial,' and right from the factory it had so many snags that I spent ten days of my vacation time to make the damn thing roadworthy.
And then in Newfoundland, the door popped open, and the lid raised a bit; took me two hours at the campground shop to make it work properly.
After that, everything worked OK until I traded it on a Hi-Lo. And THAT was good trailer.
Too bad that they went out of business.
My 25' FC? Lots of snags to address before it worked as it should.
Now I view my new 30'er FC with trepidation with the new season coming up.
I want to spend my time enjoying the ambience of the 'camp', and not spending it on idiot snags!
In the past few years, I have purchased two Subarus, one Toyota 4-Runner, and now a Ford F-150.
EVERYTHING worked from the get-go.
Why can't the R.V. Manufacturers do the same? Many RVs cost much more than the tow vehicles.

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