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Old 01-05-2015, 07:19 PM   #1
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New Member Inquiry

My wife and I recently retired, late 50s and want to travel. I am intrigued with the Airstream product and have a few questions that would be helpful to us as we consider our direction. 1) where can we find general info about the many models, such as regarding the features that come into play as the length extends? I feel that a 25-28' might be our sweet spot. 2) how would our 2011 AWD Escalade serve as a tow vehicle? Should we consider any modifications as to breaks, transmission or other? 3) if we wanted to cap our investment around $50,000, where should we focus our search? 4) what type of maintenance issues and cost should we expect on a unit as many as 5-6 years old?

We love to travel, but not camp. An Airstream seems to be a very nice solution to assure safe, clean, top of the line lodging every night without repacking. Is an Airstream for us? Would love to hear many candid responses. Thanks.

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Old 01-05-2015, 07:52 PM   #2
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Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
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Greetingd from the Florida Panhandle.

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

We retired about nine years ago. we have had 2 25FB's, an '05 and a '15. We've spent 1,500 nights on the road and have coved 120,000 miles all over the country. It has been a great experience.

An Escalade would handle a 25 footer. A good place to look around is Airstream USA, Airstream Travel Trailer, Silver Bullet | Airstream. Most of the floor plans have not changed very much in the past five years.

Good luck in your quest.


SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:09 PM   #3
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Just a few data points.

If an Airstream is the product for you, I suggest visiting one of the Airforum rallys because Saturday is usually an open house event where you can see various year/model trailers with a diversity of layouts/features. Most everyone will be willing and able to talk your ear off about what they like/dislike, improved/modified, or otherwise experienced with their rig. It is the easiest way to get a good feel about older trailers.

Monitoring the 'classifieds' (Airstream Trailer Classifieds - Airstream Trailers For Sale) will allow you to understand recent market pricing for what are generally the better kept trailers. Forget the Ebay listings (; they are a poorer maintained set of trailers from what I experienced during my search or owners interested in a figure above what their local market will pay. CraigsList runs the gamut of wrecks to gems depending on the day: you can be successful with diligence. RVTrader is another good source to monitor.

The Airstream web site has technical and layout details for their products across the years under the Service tab. Look for the Document Archive sub-tab.
Document Archive - Airstream

As for an estimate of what stuff costs to repair, here is a list worth reviewing (the numbers are ball park): Price vs. Condition - Vintage Airstream
A 5-6 year old trailer that has been well maintained should not have many problems over the next 2-3 years. However, a lot depends on what you do to keep it operational.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:20 PM   #4
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ALL RV's require maintenance. If you want to keep under $50K you'll probably want gently used - 1 to 4 years old. It sounds like you haven't owned an RV before: if that's true, you might consider renting an SOB (some other brand) and trying it out for a week or so. It won't be cheap but it will be FAR less expensive than finding out you don't like towing or RV living after you've bought one. Airstreams DO tow better than SOB's (Square old boxes: multiple definitions), but the actual towing, hookup, cooking, etc. experiences will be similar enough to educate you. I got my current Eddie Bauer 25' because someone with more money than sense bought one, and apparently never actually USED it. One year old when I bought it.

I will strongly urge you to go beyond looking at layouts on the internet - actually touring different models makes ALL the difference. There are several ways to do this. Go to a Rally - there is a list of all "forum" rallies that are upcoming. Find one in your area and attend - almost all welcome "still looking" people and often the campgrounds have cabins for rent. If there's one close enough, you MIGHT be able to drop in (some have catered events and you must have reservations). Request information of the host. One of the bigger ones is starting this week "The Can Opener" - starting the season in the Florida Panhandle. I'm sure there will be others more in your neighborhood.

WBCCI is an Airstream Only club - and not all of their rallies are "open" - but many do list on this forum. Just ask if "lookers" would be welcome. A BIG Airstream dealer will have a large number of models of new ones, and quite a few trade ins too. I don't know what's available in your area though. The website has a list of dealers. (WARNING: leave the checkbook and credit cards home - duct tape your hands together so you can't fill out loan paperwork - and just LOOK the first time you visit!)

Click on the Classified's tab, you might find something in your area for sale.
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 01-06-2015, 05:34 AM   #5
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Lots of good advice already posted, so i will share my experience. In 2008, on my last cross country solo motorcycle trip, riding across US 2 in Montana, I decided there was another way to view the USA. And, the primary issue was the constant packing/unpacking in a motel room each night along with not sleeping in my own bed.

So, a 2007 Airstream (AS) 25 footer, after about five months, traded for a 2009 27 footer. Pulled these for a total of about 40,000 miles, sold a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, bought 2008 Dodge/Cummins, and had lots of fun. Then, sold the AS and purchased a 2010 Tiffin Allegro Bus 43 QGP, put 51,000 miles on it, sold it about a year ago and ordered my current AS. Love it.

My experience has not been cheap. Enjoyable, but not inexpensive.

So, do lots of research, go to the Rallies as suggested, and purchase from one advertised on Air Forums Classified, a WBCCI member, or a dealer folks here on Air forums suggest is reliable. Lots of folks will help out if you need a unit inspected.

Before buying anything, as suggested, try out the idea of towing. While the Escalade will tow, a big 3/4 ton diesel truck does it with more ease, IMO.

There will be maintenance on an AS. But be grateful, as on a motorhome (moho) the cost factor is about three times as much....(about $3.25 per mile over all costs for four years, 51,000 miles)

However, if you finally get into traveling in a AS, you will find a whole new world. Not only are Rallies available virtually every week of the year, but the WBCCI community is IMO a great group of folks. The ease of towing an AS is much better than SOBs (some other brand) and when ever you are stopped someone will come over and say, "Gosh do they still make those?" or some other silly comment...LOL

Hang around this forum, you will find yourself becoming educated beyond anything you really can imagine.

Good luck, and feel free to contact folks with a private message if needed.
Happy trails and Good Luck
Ms Tommie Fantine Lauer, Greensboro, NC
AIR #31871 KQ3H
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Old 01-06-2015, 03:07 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. Would appreciate any others. We were members of the aviation community for awhile and found a very supportive fellowship of owners and pilots. Glad to know the same exists in the AS community.
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Old 01-06-2015, 03:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Johndews View Post
Thanks for the replies. Would appreciate any others. We were members of the aviation community for awhile and found a very supportive fellowship of owners and pilots. Glad to know the same exists in the AS community.
As you can see, we all have had that AS bug at one time or another, and most of us still have it! This forum is a great education if you have the patience to use it and review all the posts. Chances are, if you have a question, it has been asked already several times over! We all have opinions, albeit some stronger than others!
We have owned the 25 Class A motor home, the large "pop up" tent trailer, and now, 3 25' AS's over the past 25 years. I agree with all the advise; spend time inside several AS's; imagine yourself "living" within your environment in each size; check out storage, etc. Most importantly, I agree that renting one for a week or 2 would give you the most feedback on weather you really like this life style. Many folks still will buy an AS (or other brand) and use it very little; few years down the road they sell it and loose money! Even though we are happy with our current 25', we still find ourselves visiting the AS dealer and checking out different can learn a lot about the right size for what you think will fit your needs by visiting more than a few times, for sure. The forum folks are more than eager to reply to your questions along the way....good luck!
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Old 01-06-2015, 04:45 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum. There are folks from many walks of life here, including aviation.

I kept my Bonanza for a few years after the FAA declined to ever issue me another medical. I kept hoping there was a way I could fly again, but sadly there was not.

So, I bought a gently used 31 foot Airstream Classic, and we started traveling at a much slower pace. I have to say, we love it. We are seeing country that we missed seeing from the air. Our home is right behind us, and we can stop anywhere we want and stay as long as we want. (No, 31 feet is not too big. It tows like a dream behind my heavy half ton Chevy pick up truck.)

We're not really campers, either. It's more like staying in a high class metal hotel that goes everywhere we go. (The good news is I get to sleep with the gal who changes the sheets.)
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Old 01-10-2015, 12:33 PM   #9
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TerryV, how do I communicate offline from the Forum? I owned Bonanzas as well and would like to follow with you up but not
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Old 01-10-2015, 01:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Johndews View Post
TerryV, how do I communicate offline from the Forum? I owned Bonanzas as well and would like to follow with you up but not
Welcome to the forums!

To send a private message, click on the person's username in the upper left corner of the post and select the "send private messge" option.
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Old 01-10-2015, 07:17 PM   #11
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Hi and welcome. When my wifes folks retired, they purchased a 34' Limited and had such a great time traveling all over this beautiful country. Texas in the winter, Mississippi and other points south east in the spring, Canada in the summer, Vermont in the fall. They enjoyed Airstream caravans and saw a lot of the country that way. We just retired and now have the same Airstream. We've taken a few trips and have more planned. We like being "gypsies" and just head off either west, south or east. I enjoy tinkering with the Airstream, keeping it in good shape and all of that. I appreciate having my "own place" when we travel, even using the trailer at rest stops. No more dirty bathrooms for us. We like the twin beds and I like my recliner.

You might like the Colonial Airstream website. They have a lot of information on the various models of Airstream trailers.

I enjoy the driving, the hitching up, the backing into a challenging camp site, meeting other Airstreamers, taking a rest day when it's raining out, or solving a problem with the trailer.

It's smart to shop for a late model used Airstream. Your potential tow vehicle is likely good for 7500 pounds, but not much more.

It's a nice way to spend the retirement time.


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