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Old 12-05-2012, 09:31 AM   #15
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1984 34' International
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That's really reassuring news. To be honest, especially the larger trailers have been intimidating the crap out of me.

CanAM RV offer training courses for new AS owners. I think I'll take them up on that offer.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:06 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andreasduess View Post
That's really reassuring news. To be honest, especially the larger trailers have been intimidating the crap out of me.

CanAM RV offer training courses for new AS owners. I think I'll take them up on that offer.
The first time I ever pulled a trailer was when I pulled our 28 footer out of the dealer two months ago. It was really not that big a deal. We went to the empty school parking lot to practice backing up. There's a learning curve, but it's not that bad.

I'm far from being an expert, but in a couple of trips I'm feeling fairly confident.

I'll repeat it. Really not that big a deal.
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:22 PM   #17
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I have been using a 56 Cardinal for two years, with 3 kids, and it is great. My kids are older than yours, they are outside playing all day, not watching TV, no video games. That works fine. We, as parents, are outside all day too, we use this as an icebox, cook stove/oven, closet, small table, and bed, all this on one set of wheels. I'd never own a triple axle. I can tow it reeeaaal easy. 75 mph. In a little mini van!
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:15 PM   #18
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We had the same dilemma last year. MH or TT? We are a family of 6 with our kiddos ranging in age from 3-11. We ended up with a 31ft sovereign and we absolutely LOVE IT! We were new on the whole RV/TT scene. So going with something less complicated with less parts to break/ repair was very appealing to us. Additionally, we needed a larger vehicle to get around town in.... Car seats. It seemed to make more sense to tow our TT with our excursion rather than have a MH pull a van/ excursion. We took Silvia out to some close by KOAs for the weekend to work out the systems. It's been great. So much so that we are planning a 4-6 week cross country trip to see family. Good luck with your decision if you haven't made it yet!
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:23 AM   #19
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I am with you on the video games - we don't even have a TV at home. I love the look of the small Cardinals, but we do need something larger.

I am planning on using the trailer, we won't go the MH route, on unserviced grounds, meaning we will need to be as self contained as possible.

We'll be swapping the toilet for a composting model, and rewire everything for 12 volts so that we can live off as much solar as possible. The old black water tank will become a second fresh water tank for showering and washing bodies only. A simple pump and filtration system will allow us to use water from lakes to fill that tank up.

Lake friendly washing practices (wash dishes with baking soda, vinegar and elbow grease, wash self with loofah and as little camp soap as possible) means no toxic grey water either.
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Old 01-01-2013, 12:14 AM   #20
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I like your approach! I have found 15 ft to be a *bit small, I just got hold of a 1956 Silver Streak Clipper, 23 ft. Now I may need a beefier tow vehicle.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:42 AM   #21
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Just a side note, if you make it to Prince Edward Island, plan on a stay at Bayside RV Campground. The owners have two Air Streams and a couple of seasonals also have AS. I live in mine full time from late May until we close in late September. It is a great family park. Check out their web site. Book ahead so they can have a spot ready for you. If you do make it, look me up, A-27, WBCCI # 4782.
Whatever you chose, I am sure you will enjoy your AS as much as we do ours.
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:35 PM   #22
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I can see the merit in both...but for me it was the AS.

While not the size of your family, I just purchased a 34' Excella to live in full time with my 4 yr old son. I went back and forth considering an older GMC motor home or an AS. In the end the AS provides more in the way of feeling like a real home...imo. Also...I already had an appropriate tow vehicle.

Good luck with your decision. No matter which one...you'l be sure to make great memories!
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Old 01-19-2013, 04:04 PM   #23
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We've put a deposit on a 1971 31' Sovereign. Going to see it on Monday. Very exciting.
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Old 01-19-2013, 04:21 PM   #24
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Take a Checklist...

.. and a volunteer Airstream Inspector if you can find one.
Go into this with your eyes open.
Check every item on an extensive, pre-purchase checklist.
Keep track of everything that doesn't work.
Take a break from the negotiation to add up the cost of parts and labor to make your new Airstream roadworthy, safe and comfortable. Check back in with this forum if you have time.
You will most assuredly need:
New tires
New batteries
New converter-charger
New wheel bearings
New brakes
New propane tanks
You may also need:
New refer
New AC
New Furnace
New Water Heater

Also keep in mind that Airstream has no gray-water holding tank, and it may have frame separation and tail droop.

Don't let your urge to own a dream set you up for a nightmare. Take an unbiased, third party, Airstream owner with you.

Hope this helps. All the best!
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:39 AM   #25
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Thanks for that, very useful. Part of the attraction of the AS we're seeing is that it is a trade in, sold by CanAm here in Ontario. It comes with a performance check, meaning CanAm have gone over the trailer and checked that everything that needs to work does work, that the frame is straight and undamaged, that all systems work, all windows come with new seals etc. If anything does need fixing, they will supply a quote.

I am used to driving, and servicing, vintage cars (Land Rovers in particular) but I figured that as an AS virgin I'd be better off to buy from a trusted source. If the bug bites me, I can always go for the barn find the next time.

I also got the year wrong, it is a 1979 model with grey water. Tires are new-ish and the running gear recently serviced. The trailer has been in frequent use, the family selling it is upgrading to new model, as a result it has been maintained and serviced well.

Having said that, I will print your list and take it with me to make sure that all of the potential issues you're mentioning have been taken care of. Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to post it.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:38 AM   #26
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Airstream Inspection Checklist

Thanks for the feedback and good luck.
Just remember, even the most honest dealer is not an impartial third party.
AS for "newish" tires; trailer tires should be replaced between 3 and 5 years depending on how they have been maintained. If they have been protected from sunlight and prolonged, direct with concrete you can keep them up to 5.
The attachment contains the checklist I use when I do an inspection for someone. There is also an excellent checklist somewhere on this forum, but I can't find it right now.
All the best in your coming Airstream Adventures. You will be making memories your family will cherish as long as you live. My wife, her parents, and her 9 brothers and sisters traveled all over the U.S. and Mexico in a 26' Airstream when she was a child. As a consequence, I am doomed to tow an Airstream for the rest of my days.
Attached Files
File Type: doc Airstream Checklist.doc (69.5 KB, 56 views)
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:04 AM   #27
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I've got 10 year old twins and a 1 year old lab, plus the wife - and we've got a 27 foot 1999 Safari, with twin beds in back and a lounge that converts into a king sized bed in front.

I would say the trailer is spacious for the kids and I, and reasonable for the four of us plus the dog. I would want a different configuration if we had a third child - there isn't really a logical way for five people to sleep.

I'd really be pondering this as you look at the 31 footer you are considering - what is the sleeping configuration, and is there enough storage and pantry capacity for all the gear and food you need for five people. Really look hard at this while you are checking out the trailer.

Also - as you look at the 1979 model - note that over the years, Airstream made the trailers wider, and I believe a bit taller inside as well. A 31 foot model made in the 2000+ era is going to have more square and cubic footage inside than a 1970's trailer given the same length.

To me at least this was an important consideration and tipped the scales to a later model trailer in my decision making process- we camp a lot and here in California it is not always easy to find spots for longer trailer - which is why I stayed away from an older 30 or 31 foot model.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:18 AM   #28
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PS - As an active family, we are very happy with our choice of a trailer instead of an RV - for lots of reasons, but first and foremost for flexibility.

With a family, the ability to unhook the tow vehicle and leave the trailer camped is huge. Kids come home and power down all of the milk you brought for the entire trip? No problem to unhook and run to the nearest store. Family decides they want to take a side trip that requires some driving - same story.

The other thing is spontaneity - we take the trailer to tailgaters, we take it to kids soccer tournaments - because it's not another motor vehicle, and particularly since I added solar, I don't have to worry about it being ready. I can just hook it up and go. No planning and no maintenance and completely reliable.

I can imagine an RV is more like a home on wheels, and might even be preferable if just the wife and I were full timing. But for our lifestyle with kids a trailer seems to really work well.
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