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Old 01-12-2021, 10:41 AM   #1
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Lexington , Kentucky
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Newbie build

Hiya! I am on the front end of searching for an Airstream trailer. Most likely for a project build. I am trying to get basic information that a more seasoned Airstream enthusiast would know. Ie. Are there certain models or years to stay away from? Where is the best place to look for buying a trailer? etc...I can fill in the details of what I am hoping to accomplish--but my hope and the general idea is to find something affordable in the 7-10K range and make sure it doesn't have roof leaking or sub-floor issues. Then over the course of 5 yrs remodel the inside of it with guidance from this forum and a friend that remodeled one in Kauai. Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:50 AM   #2
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
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There are so many models from the early fifties until now. I would narrow it down a bit. What size would fit your family? Do you have a tow vehicle, if so, what length will it handle? What length do you feel comfortable towing? How far into a renovation are you willing to undertake? If you undertake a renovation, the cost is relative to the condition itís in when you purchase. The Beatrice Food years seemed to be the most problematic due to the rear end separation. But, many have renovated the 70ís trailers with great success. As far as some places to check for Airstreams for sale are the Airforums Classifieds, Airstream Hunter, and Tin Can Tourist Classifieds. By the way, welcome to the forums. Take care and be safe. Let us know.
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Old 01-12-2021, 08:21 PM   #3
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
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Bubba L is a vintage Airstream expert. He always offers good advice. I would add from my experiences that all old Airstreams have lots of problems. Renovating them is enjoyable and expensive. The body, or "shell" of the trailer is the most important item. Don't buy one that had a tree fall on it and crush it all up. Most of the vintage trailers have a rear bath floor layout.

I think the 60s trailers are good candidates. Airstream switched to "Dura Torque" axles in 61 from the old leaf springs. The 66 - 68 trailers had unique windows that can be hard to replace or repair. The body was redesigned in 1969 and looks like a modern Airstream, not so vintage. I think the 70 to 72 trailers are also good candidates for renovation.

The 73 to 79 trailers are more work to renovate due to rear floor rot, frame rust and "light weight" cabinet construction. The end result can be very nice, but just more work. I have a 75 Overlander 27' that had all these problems.

80s and 90s trailers are more modern, less problems, and can be had in good condition. My wife's 86 Limited is still original and in good shape.

Hope this helps a tiny bit.

David
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See my 1966 Trade Wind Renovation Documentation:
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See my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
Knowledge Base Airstream Trailers

See our 1976 Sovereign Renovation Project:
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:09 PM   #4
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Good notes from both Bubba and David. The early trailers (50's and 60's) will require more updates than later models. Mainly electrical and plumbing (or lack there of back then). I'd focus on Bubba's notes first. What meets your needs: # people, pets; what type of use; short/long trips, boondocking, full hookups for water, power, sewer.

Post your thoughts as to use, plenty of experience out here to make suggestions.

Looking forward to following your progress.
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Old 01-13-2021, 10:54 AM   #5
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Lexington , Kentucky
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Thanks you all! This is exactly the kind of input I'm after.

I'll lead with the caveat that I don't know as much as I should about Airstreams as I consider this project. But always a dreamer--yet knowing the realities that come with most any project! I just finished a cafe bike that I ended up selling due to stage of life. I'm trying to get as much info in as possible before the Airstream launch. That said I will probably be "building the plane as it's flying" so to speak I've always been drawn to the shiny silver bullet silhouette that represents adventure and repose. Ok. enough poetry haha. My wife and I have two little girls age 4 and 8 and are wanting to create something that we can use to get away--mostly for camping etc...and occasional road trips but probably not that far. My hope would be that eventually we could retire, sell our house and maybe "plug in" near wherever the girls are (if they'll have us) But a lot can happen between now and then. So I'm trying to focus on what we would utilize for the next decade. (And what's semi-realistic and doable) We have a V8 Touareg at the moment for towing--7,700lb tow capacity with 300lb of torque. However, I've been thinking about something in the 24'-27' range. The only up close experience I've had was with the guy I mentioned in Kauai who basically gutted and retrofitted a 27' outlander twin. The couple at the end of my street has what I think is a Bambi from the 90's maybe?--he let me walk through it and I was secretly hoping he would sell it to me--but alas I think he is still holding on to the dream haha--however, it hasnt moved from under his awning in the 3 yrs we've been here. Anyway--all that to say--thanks for your help as I go--I'm just trying to define reality as I try to make this happen.So your input is helping me put a plan together .
So--mostly short trips. We live about 45 mins from Red River Gorge--good camping and climbing. But if I ever wanted to attempt a trip from say Lex to Disney World (12hrs) I'd like to know it could make it. Or perhaps a 9 hour trek to a state park near the ocean in South Carolina. My dog is 19!!( hes a border collie) but he most likely won't be around for the reveal Therefore, it will need to sleep just the 4 of us humans as we will probably take a pet break for a while to mourn properly. I'll throw in a few of the pictures from Kauai guy's build as I really liked the simplicity of it.(& he did a lot of the work himself to save money and from what he said to ensure safety as they had a baby. Ok, sorry if I'm babbling and please as any direct questions or input you think might be helpful,
Appreciate you all.
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Old 01-13-2021, 07:31 PM   #6
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
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Your tow vehicle might suggest a 25' Airstream tops. They weigh in the 4500 pounds loaded for travel, with a tongue weight of maybe 600 pounds. Add 4 people in the tow vehicle with all your fun stuff and you could be overweight. And SUVs have shorter wheelbase and less weight than a truck which makes swaying more difficult. But people do it all the time with little difficulty.

Sleeps 4 comfortably is a requirement. Actually a mid bath model with twins in the rear and mom and dad make up the front pull out lounge for the night. With my Overlander, you gotta walk through the bedroom to get to the bath. There are very few mid bath vintage trailers. It was an option in the long trailers during the mid seventies. A longer vintage trailer from the 60s could be configured that way but you would be building everything yourself.

There is a bunk bed option for my Overlander where the kids sleep over the twin beds. But the overhead cabinets are removed for this option. I may do this so my sons and their kids can enjoy adventures in the Overlander. Otherwise we pull out and put a sleeping bag on the front couch.

David
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VAC Region 11

See my 1966 Trade Wind Renovation Documentation:
Knowledge Base Airstream Trailers

See my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
Knowledge Base Airstream Trailers

See our 1976 Sovereign Renovation Project:
Knowledge Base Airstream Trailers
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