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Old 11-13-2010, 09:14 AM   #1
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surrey , British Columbia
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Posts: 16
used or new

I am new so not sure where to post. We are brand new to RV's and what an airstream for the best quality. We have narrowed it down to a 19 ft either international or flying cloud. What we are unsure about is whether to buy new or used. We would LOVE some feedback from people who know what they are talking about. We are in Canada.
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:28 AM   #2
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
Spokane , Washington
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Welcome to the forum.

New or Used, that is the million dollar question. For me it was a matter of finances. Buying new is a great way to go and you can get just the trailer you want. Buying used, on the other hand, is usually more affordable and a nice challenge as well.

We decided on a 25 FB when we started looking. It took a couple of years all told but we finally found one in our price range within a days drive from home. There were a few minor issues that we dealt with easily and now we have something we really like. We found ours on Craigs List but also followed the classifieds here on the forum as well as Ebay. We quickly got a feeling for the price of what we were interested in and since we were looking at a fairly new trailer, most of them were in decent condition. We drove 5 hours to actually see ours and were not disappointed.

Buying used will require lots of patience on your part. We approached the whole thing as a challenge. We had an SOB at the time so we were not missing out on camping and knew that retirement was a couple of years off so looking for our trailer was almost fun.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask here on the forum. There are many out there with 19 footers who will gladly assist you. Best wishes in your hunt.

P.S. We also watched our local dealer. They had a 25 FB on their lot for about a year and a half and winter was approaching. It was deeply discounted to the point where we could "almost" afford it. We ended up passing on it and bought a unit that was exactly the same setup, 2 years older and about $8K cheaper.
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:29 AM   #3
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1991 34' Excella
Princeton , New Jersey
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This is general advice I offer to anyone considering RVing. NEVER buy your first rig NEW. No matter how much investigation you do you will never be completely satisfied with your first rig and there is no reason to take the hit that a new rig will cost.

If you think you like a given size and make look at an older one and go camping for a season. You will learn what you like and what you need. The used RV lots are loaded with rigs that individuals used once and some one hated something about it.

It took me 40 years to get to an Airstream. The sand just got too hard under the canoe.
2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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Old 11-13-2010, 09:47 AM   #4
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1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
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Listen to episode 125 of TheVAP: Welcome to the Frontpage - The Vintage Airstream Podcast

Although they are somewhat prejudiced since it is The Vintage Airstream Podcast.

Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
Just my personal opinion
1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:18 AM   #5
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surrey , British Columbia
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new or used

Thanks everyone
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Old 11-13-2010, 12:17 PM   #6
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2006 25' Classic
Newport Beach , California
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There is also a big difference between used and vintage.

We bought both our Airstreams 'slighty' used.

Our Bambi was about a year old and the owner had another, larger trailer that he used almost all the time. We got a very nice deal one that one.

And when we were ready for a bigger trailer, we knew which floorplan we wanted and we waited until we found one gently used. That owner took it on one trip and realized they needed more room. We got such a great deal on that trailer that we keep thinking it was a swindle!!

So slightly used was the way to go for us, in fact, our first SOB was slightly used as well. We really prefer to have someone else take that big hit on buying new.

Good luck, the search is lots of fun!

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Old 11-13-2010, 01:35 PM   #7
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Morrill , Nebraska
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I'd price a new unit. Then find the same or similar unit that's a couple of years old. Just to give you an idea about how much they depreciate. If you can afford or justify the loss. I priced a 3 year old unit a year ago and it was selling for about 60% of the new price. It looked brand new. I hear the best place in the country to buy RV equipment is Texas. There are huge numbers of "Winter Texans". Lots of RV's down there.
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Old 11-13-2010, 04:21 PM   #8
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2009 23' FB Flying Cloud
The Woodlands , Texas
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I wholeheartedly agree with the others about used. We purchased ours one year old trailer for about 65% of the list price for a new one. Saw the original purchaser records and even with the "discount" they had negotiated the first year depreciation was >20%.

This is our first RV, but we did own a small sailboat that we would frequently "camp" in. When you look at the price of these things, that's a lot of risk to take if you not 100% sure of what you want, or how you will use it. Good thing about the AS is that the depreciation appears to slow considerably after the 3 yrs or so.

The most valuable lesson we learned from our boat, was that no recreational craft can really be considered "low maintenance" in the way we think of cars & homes. The fact is that are all built on a much smaller scale, so the pool of truly skilled builders & repair persons is fairly limited. So you have to factor in the real value of "warranty" in the consideration of new. In the case of our boat, the dealer's warranty service cost me considerable time & money due to their ineptitude and lack of commitment.

One of the great things about a used AS is that when you do run into a problem the quality of the community & advice fro this forum will keep you rolling.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:03 PM   #9
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2006 19' International CCD
Olathe , Kansas
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Unless you have a ton of cash I would buy used. I wanted to pay cash so I wouldnt have to worry about payments so I had a set price and it took months to find the right one and I'm glad I did. I found a 2006 Bambi CCD that was used 3 times by someone who found out the hard way that camping wasnt for them. It didnt have the colors I liked but with @ a 50% savings I could add what I wanted and change the colors etc it also came with EVERYTHING! The WD hitch, brake controller, all the cables, cords, hoses and even the dishes and silverware. She looked brand new and I didnt have to finance her for 5 years although I am still looking to change some minor things I'm very happy with her.
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:14 PM   #10
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2010 27' FB Classic
N/A , Texas
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I like to buy new. My first trailer was a new one, and so was my second one. I have no regrets with either. I knew where it had been, and didn't have to second guess about what some "weekend know it all" who may have changed around the plumbing or electrical wires, or what he had done to the trailer when he was bored.
The same previous owner (PO) could have been a bad driver and hit every curb from NY to California. You just never know what the PO has done to the trailer before you got it.
With a new one you get a 2 year warranty and some peace of mind.
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:31 PM   #11
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1976 23' Safari
Chauvin , Alberta
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My two cents is that you have to decide what you are using for. If you are an occasional camper, new is lot of money to have tied up, if you are full time then I could personally justify buying new. You will never get all of your money out of a new unit if you decide to sell in the future. I only camp 3 to 4 weeks a year, my old girl does the job just fine and with a little elbow grease I have actaully increased the value, until that magical day that I can go fulltime it will always be used for me. Good luck
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:38 PM   #12
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2006 25' Classic
Newport Beach , California
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Yes, as Bluto stated, there can be problems with used goods of any kind. If you do not have the skills to examine a trailer properly the best investment you can make is to hire someone trained to examine a potential purchase for you.

It is like buying a house, hire an inspector if you do not have the ability to do it yourself.

But keep in mind that many used trailers are still under warranty--ours was only a few months old --and we saved about 70% off of sticker.

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Old 11-13-2010, 10:11 PM   #13
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2005 25' Safari
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We bought new.

Hi, we spent close to three years on deciding exactly what we wanted. We searched for used trailers first. We wanted a 25' Airstream with preferably a queen bed, or on second choice, the same with twin beds and I would change it to a queen. After seeing so many disappointing trailers, we thought that maybe we should shop for a new one. We got a great deal and are very happy with our choice. We never plan on changing.

So, I agree that you might find a great deal on a used one, because they are out there, from time to time, but not for us at that time. I bought new, got a great deal, no payments, and I don't plan on selling it, so depreciation means nothing to me. See if you can find a good used one; Or make sure this is exactly what you want, when you buy a new one.
Bob 2005 Safari 25-B
"Le Petit Chateau Argent" Small Silver Castle
2000 Navigator / 2014 F-150 Eco-Boost / Equal-i-zer / P-3
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:03 PM   #14
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2008 23' International
Keremeos , British Columbia
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Hi Jillya,
We are also from Canada and we both work full-time. That means the warranty on our new trailer meant nothing, so don't let that be a deciding factor. If you are retired, and plan to travel south for the winter, then you may make use of your warranty. I think a gently-used trailer is a smart way to go. It is a welcome savings. You can do a lot with the extra money (like put it toward fuel for your vehicle!).

Having said that, I really don't regret buying new. This trailer is the only "new" big item we've ever bought. We always buy our cars second-hand, and our 2 previous trailers, and our house is from the 1950s . . . it's older than we are! But that trailer still has new-trailer smell, and I know no one slept in our bed or used our shower or messed up the stove or did nasty things to our toilet. Yeah, all those cost a lot, and it's foolish, but I love that trailer. So I guess it's a matter of whether those things are worth the price to you.

Best wishes on your search. The 19 foot models are very practical. You'll love it no matter what. Also, this time of year the prices at dealerships are drastically reduced so that they don't have to store them over the winter.

Lisa and Paul

2017 30' FC | 2002 Chinook Destiny | 2008 23' Int. CCD (written off: hail!)
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Old 11-14-2010, 10:23 AM   #15
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surrey , British Columbia
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used or new

Did you buy at the dealer in Saskatoon?

We aren't retired we do a lot of fishing and will do even more on better lakes with an AS because I am not a rough it camper.

We like the 20 ft flying cloud so are going to look around. We aren't wanting to go across the border if possible.
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:29 PM   #16
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St. Hedwig , Texas
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Howie hit it on the head. At least the 1st purchase should be "used". All my AS's have been used. Our current 25'FB was like new and we saved thousands of dollars. When a good used one is located you need to be ready to move on it because others are also looking for that really good deal.

My Airstreams have been purchased off AirForms and I, personally, would not purchase off Craigs list. Thats my personal choice.
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:10 AM   #17
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1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
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Did you have a look at the TRAVELAND LEISURE VEHICLES in Langley? Next Canadian one from there is the guy in Calgary, BUCAR'S RV CENTRE.
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
...John Wayne...........................
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Old 11-15-2010, 11:43 AM   #18
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2006 19' International CCD
Olathe , Kansas
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I got mine on Airforums as well. I also used an inspector from Air forums to check it out since it was 1300 miles one way! Don't be afraid to travel to save thousands! I've seen ones just like mine sell for over $4000 than what I paid. Have fun with the search.
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:18 PM   #19
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2007 20' Safari
Montrose , Colorado
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We bought our 2007 20' Safari SE from an ad on Craigslist. We knew what AS we wanted based on size and floorplan, so when we were planning on a trip from Colorado to Florida to visit friends, we did a search in all of the major cities that would fall within 200 miles of our route. We found our trailer in Florida, two hours from our friends house. So after e-mailing the seller and getting him to send us bunches of pictures, we talked to him on the phone and negotiated a price. When we got there, we had a very pleasant visit with the seller, spent our time looking the trailer over and checking the systems, and drove away with our very lightly used AS. And we have been very happy with it. And the savings were substantial when compared to the new price that the PO paid.
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:04 PM   #20
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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We bought our '07 Safari 20 SE new, but it had been in the dealer's inventory for almost two years. That saved us money because they were anxious to sell it, and it was also a few thousand less MSRP than an identical current model.

It's our first Airstream, we like it and probably will buy another some day. If we had bought this used, we would have little idea what to look for, and there are plenty of them on the market with problems. For that reason I would be comfortable buying the second one used.

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