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Old 09-25-2015, 05:13 PM   #1
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Possibly buying a 1972 Excella 500 30ft.. without seeing it first??

Hi all,

I'm looking for an Airstream to full-time live in. I wasn't having much luck at all looking in Los Angeles area, nothing reasonable in my budget was coming up at all. So I ventured my search further, now I've found a potential buy in AZ. Still too far for me to drive over to look at. Plus my car can't tow, so I'm going to have to have it shipped to me.

What's the best way to ensure this is a good trailer? I called and spoke to the guy a little bit ago, he says it's all original, works, the fridge probably needs to be resealed, and the AC needs some work (it blows, but not cold). That's all he had to say that was bad about it. But he did keep saying it needs some TLC, but said that was all basically it....?

I've checked out a number of them in the area here, and found a lot of issues on most of them. So I'm nervous to buy one without seeing it first. Anyone in Phoenix, AZ area willing to take a look for me maybe?!

Also, anyone had much experience with UShip? Thoughts?

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Old 09-26-2015, 08:41 AM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,709
Welcome to the forums!

Be very afraid....

That being said, there is a lot of information we need in order to be able to give you any sound advice. Here are some questions:

What is your total budget (purchase + repairs)?
What is your intended use (take it on the road, or park it permanently)?
How handy are you?
What is the timing (ie., how soon do you want to move in)?

If you look on the "portal" tab at the top of the Forums page, then scroll down and look on the right side of the page, there is a utility for finding volunteer inspectors. Try using this to find someone near your trailer who can give it the eyeball.

I looked around on Craigslist, and I think I found the trailer you are considering. Based on the ad and the information in your post, I have the following comments.

-The only thing you have working in your favor is that the trailer is in a dry environment and may be less likely to have rotting floors and a frame that is rusted completely away.

-1972 Excellas are not super rare

-"original condition" means that everything is 40+ years old, and "needs some TLC" usually means there are a lot of known issues and a shell-off restorarion is in order.

-AC not blowing cold air--you might as well assume worst case and that it needs replacement ($700-$1000)

-I have yet to find a source for parts to "reseal" an RV style fridge. Replacement is ~$750-$1000

-Axles (and most likely tires) need to be replaced--think ~$2500

-They all leak. The current owner may not be conscious of leaks because it doesn't rain that often in the desert.

As you search for an Airstream, manage your expectations. Imagine if you bought a car that had been sitting in someone's driveway for the last 40+ years. You wouldn't expect to be able to hop in and go on a road trip, and the same is true of these trailers. The older, and more "original" a trailer is, the more work you are going to have to do to make it safe/liveable.

good luck!
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