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Old 08-16-2020, 09:01 AM   #1
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2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
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Used Airstream Inspections- Fact or Fiction?

Previously Posted in a Distant Universe: What is your opinion? This is Mine. It is not meant to be mean, nasty, sarcastic or sucking up to anyone... but I have learned this over the years to be true:

I suggest that anyone wanting a COMPLETE INSPECTION OF ANY KIND OF TRAILER OR RV.... take it to the Factory and pay them to fix anything they find after purchasing it out of the Newspaper or RV Advertising.

Or... take it to a RV Service Business in your area, hand them your wallet and have them Inspect and Fix everything THEY find wrong.

Anyone who is familiar with ALL kinds of Trailers, RV's and Hitches must be a Genius and should open up a business and give FREE Advice to everyone wanting FREE Service, as well. That seems to be the Newbie Culture, today.

Used: Buyer Beware. WHY are they selling their 'Pride and Joy'? It is AS IS as it sits. Ask THEM to demonstrate everything works. If not... they are as dumb as a Newbie thinking cheap... is the way to go shopping.

I have discovered that many potential Trailer Buyers are not... PATIENT ENOUGH TO EVEN WALK AROUND WITH YOU POINTING OUT PROBLEMS.

Newbies do not even want the Original Owner to show them around... Been there, done it. They want to hitch up and leave...

You want a Trailer Inspection for the price of a Denny's Double Cheeseburger and Soda? Do it yourself. If YOU have no idea what you are buying... go back to the first paragraphs above.

Get a professional who is IN the Business to fix, repair, solve and do the job you are too LAZY to learn yourself. We all started out Ignorant... and after 14 years of Airstream ownership... I learned that even a Brand New Airstream or Some Other Brand have issues after you tow or drive it home.

Pay More and purchase from a Legitimate DEALER. That is a good start.

Otherwise... accumulate a large selection of proper tools and spend the Winter working on your new toy. You will learn a lot.
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Old 08-16-2020, 09:09 AM   #2
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I offer this response to a Thread bringing up the subject of Inspectors on the Forum.

I keep busy enough tracking down loose screws, hinges, popped interior rivets, cabinet hinges needing adjustment, loose plumbing connections, dust inhalation from fender wells... and windows that need to be adjusted to seal out dust, water and open with... some outside breaking the seal before breaking the tempered window... etc, etc and more etc...

Anyone who expects an Airstream Owner to be gracious and come to you to inspect your or a possible purchase of an Airstream are a among the few.

Any comments? Any experience with professional inspectors, amateurs or scammer selling a dog with cheap tires?

I HAVE had experience in this area. The Seller did not WANT me around. The Buyer had already purchased the trailer, or... too impatient to spend anytime under, over or inside the tailer to give a Royal S%&T.

Call me getting too OLD.
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Old 08-16-2020, 10:06 AM   #3
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Hi Ray,

it's good to see you back at the keyboard!

I think that there is a line that separates someone who is knowledgeable from someone who isn't. What that line looks like can vary as each situation is different. Owners seeking help for a problem and someone who has experience with that, come together and work towards a solution. Sound pretty simplistic but that is how I see it.

In my case, I am very comfortable doing all sorts of construction and getting my hands dirty.

When we purchased our new Airstream ~3 months now, I was very apprehensive about touching it but it became apparent that some intervention was required to fix up a leak so I started down the warranty path which would have meant 800 km round trip and several days at the dealership. Our dealer found a local company that is an RV repair shop and we went down to their shop and had a talk with them. We really didn't have much confidence so I put my technicians hat on and went at fixing the leak.

The "hat" stayed on and I started fixing all the other issues we had with a New Airstream. There were many different things but mostly fit and finish issues. Once I got past this initial confusion about the complexity of the Airstream, nothing was out of the question.

This forum has been a great source of help and inspiration. Without it, there would be gaps that would have made any repair harder.

I think the topic of "inspectors" needing to use this as a resource only makes sense as this is just one more tool in the inspectors tool kit. Like an ever evolving service manual. I also believe that if an inspector didn't rely on this resource, they would have less tools to do a good job.

After all, what is a trailer or an RV but a bunch of basic elements tossed into a shell and just arranged differently for each model.

Many folks are not comfortable jumping in and fixing things so they reply on finding a competent inspector to do the leg work which only helps to protect their interests. During the buying cycle, I can see a seller, wanting to push the sale along and if that were me, I would want to push back until I was comfortable. Otherwise, I inherit their crap!

If someone was to ask me to come and inspect their Sport 22FB, I could do that and provide a very thorough report of the issues since I am quite familiar. I would certainly not sell myself as a qualified Airstream technician! Although it is funny that my dealer has suggested that I come and work for them!
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Old 08-16-2020, 10:43 AM   #4
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Peter... you are one of a hundred! Maybe ten Airstream owners.

Many Trailer owners, not just Airstream owners... have never had an experience fixing their first automobile that needed to be pushed down a hill to jump start, since money was short at the time for a rebuilt starter or a battery.

I have neighbors who could not fix a bicycle and take everything to a shop. They have not handled a hammer or how to pull a nail out of a wall... properly without damaging the wall. This is not taught in school... any more when they had wood shop and metal shop for young teenagers in High School. That is sad being... helpless.

They have a screwdriver, a hammer and a level in a 'tool bag'.

My parents could not fix anything. I did it at 15 years old. They needed to take the single car garage to be made into a Family Room. I did it while visiting and never did construction work, but did have the equipment to manage. They used it for forty years.

Some members on this Forum can step up and TRY to fix somethings. Just build the confidence. I did after owning a 2006 23 foot Safari for eight years. What an education and the most useful tool was my battery operated hand operated screwdriver and ratchet set. That 2006 had the strongest interior every to roll on the planet!!!

Like you, I am not afraid to change out screws, hinges and use 'unorthodox' hardware that is not appropriate in anything that moves on the highway or off road. I am currently upgrading hardware to hold cabinets to the floor, wall and together as I type.

Original Hardware ONLY in your Airstream? Not for me. If the screws back out once... I fix that immediately with tougher screws and nuts/bolts. The average person would not even notice... and may never need to wonder where some screw on the floor came from... again.

Most owners may use their Airstream less than a Month a Year. We are 100% Retired and get out of our way if we are packed and off to nowhere particular. No Reservations. Just a direction and that can change if necessary... in the middle of a Rest Area.

When they retire... they should know how to disassemble a cabinet, use better hardware and if it works... that is good. If not, keep tinkering.

Some cannot understand WHY and HOW we can avoid RV Parks... it is easy. We just do and after a trip on your own... you understand that most can change their fears into courage in one week.
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Old 08-16-2020, 11:05 AM   #5
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I have owned several trailers (still own 4) and a class C. I’ve always been a tinkerer and was the kid taking things apart to know how they go together. That and the fact that I’d rather learn to do something than pay someone else (I also have trust issues, but that’s another story) has seen me through all kinds of various repairs and major undertakings on most things towable.

I offer my help as an inspector and have looked at many different TT’s for people and a couple motor homes as well. Riveted, SOB, canned ham... they all share similar systems and problems.
An inspector knows what things can go wrong and how/where to look for them as well as what to look for that’s right. They shouldn’t know why something is wrong necessarily, just that it is and they knew to look for it. Trailer leaks, seller claims it doesn’t, a tell tale soft spot behind the dinette says otherwise. One can guess as to where the leak comes from but they aren’t there to fix the thing, just for a general diagnosis.

My passion as well as growing knowledge has led to a nice side business of working on select trailers. I have the tools, the drive and the curiosity to do it and do it right.
Many answers lie within this forum as well as SOB forums and even van life forums, we are fortunate to have a universe of knowledge to draw from and I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t know very much about everything but I have gotten good at learning to learn...

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Old 08-16-2020, 11:05 AM   #6
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When we bought our current home about 25 years ago, we paid for an inspection as required by our mortgage company.

I think the cost was $295 back them and we got a nice 3 ring binder full of pages about the house. Later that year in the winter, the roof leaked and destroyed our television!

Should I have gone back to the inspector and asked why?

We replaced the roof and carried on! I think that fancy binder would up in the bottom of a box and was recycled.

It seems that we were charged by weight of the binder for our inspection.

Is it good to get an inspection? I guess if it is dependant on say a mortgage or something like that.

If I were to get an inspector to look over my Airstream, they would tell me that it is New and shouldn't have any problems, then I would get the trailer home and find a puddle on the floor. How is a qualified inspector going to be able to identify a problem like that without a pressure testing system and rain bars. Pretty hard to tell at first glance.

If I got home and found the puddle, I would call the inspector and scream at them because I got a lemon and they didn't see it and warn me about it.

Well not really, but that is the position most buyers would take if they used an inspector. You are really putting your neck out there.
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Old 08-16-2020, 12:35 PM   #7
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Nice posts. You have to know something in order to do... something. This is all learned by FIXING things yourself. Some times... it works.

What is the worse thing that could happen fixing your small problems yourself? Nothing. It already needed to be repaired or replaced anyways. If your water pump is bad... which I have any issue with a water pump in 14 years... take some photos to 'recall' how the pump goes together and tape labels onto each part as you take it apart. You can always take it into a shop and save the labor for removing the old pump.

Although some places charge the same with or without the part attached. Part of the Flat Rate Scam. Ask a Dentist or Doctor to check you out for a 'courtesy inspection'.

If you buy a new or used tow vehicle from the dealer's lot, you get to test drive it. Not so with trailers. Maybe because you may not have a clue that a trailer in tow cannot cut corners as well as your tow vehicle can.

Buying USED. Have the current seller, owner, sales person, hustler or front yard sales person attach the trailer to their vehicle and go for a fifteen mile ride. Stopping a few times helps... the more often.. the better the brakes... might be. If you can attach YOUR tow vehicle and it has the push button Trailer Attached... try the same idea. Maybe that 34 foot Airstream is more than your Range Rover can handle.

Offer to take the trailer to the Blue Beacon Truck Wash at YOUR Expense. If the trailer has a leak issue... read my lips... the guy will 'not have the time'. Our three Airstreams since 2006 did not leak, anywhere.

I have 'trust issues' as well. Stick it to me once... bye bye. Same with Auto Dealerships, parts shops and add to the list over a lifetime. A friend offers to help and assist. Buy him a Denny's Double Cheeseburger and Fries. A good friend is a keeper...
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