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Old 08-02-2017, 05:29 PM   #1
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Help? Is this a good deal?

In looking at a 1970 AS Sovereign.
The exterior shell is 90% solid shape
The interior is so so at best. Floor seems solid. Tires need replaced. The belly pan is all there and in good shape. Windows are in good shape.
They are asking $3200.
Is this a good price for my 1st AS
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Old 08-02-2017, 05:59 PM   #2
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It's a descent price for a unit that needs overhauled/restored. Expect to find problems. I would check the rearend very closely. Step on the rear bumper and see if the whole trailer moves up and down or if the frame moves and the body stays still. If the body stays still the unit has rearend seperation. Also check the edge of the flooring, where it meets metal, in all of the cabinets, and closets paying special attention along the rear wall.

I paid 3000 for my trailer 16 years ago and have never regretted it, although it took it a lot of time and a good chunk of money to have something I am proud of.
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:10 PM   #3
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Kinda depends on how good you are with tools and a lot of DYi, how familiar you may be with Airstream restoration, how much you plan to spend restoring it and how much time you want to spend. The resale price of 1970 Airstream can vary greatly so without pictures and knowledge appraisals it's kinda impossible to say.
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Old 08-02-2017, 07:32 PM   #4
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Hi

Consider that a rebuild can be $50K or more. The initial purchase cost is only a small part of the total. Your goals and your rebuild plans are what really drives this. The "right" trailer for a total gut and redo may not be the "right" one if you want to be camping this year.

Bob
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Old 08-02-2017, 09:51 PM   #5
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It's a good deal.
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Old 08-03-2017, 01:59 PM   #6
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We paid $4000 for our 1971 Sovereign 31'. Spent less than $5000 to replace everything that needed replacement. Did all of the work ourselves. We've been full-timing in it for almost a year and absolutely love it.

Honestly, I can't imagine how anyone could possibly spend $50,000 on a restoration. Maybe gold-plated faucets. Just joking folks.

It does depend on your goals. Do you want a museum quality showpiece, or do you just want a nice, fully functional trailer to do some traveling and camping.
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Old 08-03-2017, 02:34 PM   #7
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I bought my 1972 Overlander 2 years ago for 4,000 right now we are into it for close to 20k and maybe 70 % finished , we have almost everything purchased that we need to install just need to find more time to finish but when we decided to start this project we were going all out on luxury items and were no hurry as wife has a few more years to retirement
Items replaced so far
Water heater,new larger refer,new cook top,air conditioner with heat pump,new furnace ,new axles ,new tires with aluminum wheels , partial new sub floor,2 large optima batteries ,new converter ,new ceramic toilet ,new custom wood kitchen cabinets with maple butcher block top, all new Uphostery ,new bed mattress ,new window tint ,new furnace,all new pex plumbing , all new fixtures for bathroom and kitchen ,bamboo tiger stripe flooring ,etc etc etc
We need to have new cabinets built for bathroom area and I'm sure there is plenty that I forgot to add to my finish list !
One thing people don't consider - all the extra tools you need to buy
I have a fully equipped shop but I had to buy lots of tools I didn't have and I thought I had them all .
Bob
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Old 08-03-2017, 02:45 PM   #8
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It would be helpful if all you Resto folks could approximate the total labor hours you have invested in your units, and the total time of ownership so far, if not stated already.

IMO most newcomers have very little idea of the total time commitment required for a restoration, and only those with first-hand experience can be realistic.

For instance if you have worked on your AS 20 hours a week, for ten years, that is about 10,000 total labor hours. If that sounds daunting to a new owner, the reason may be because it is daunting!

Good luck, jbknowso!

Peter
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Old 08-04-2017, 05:21 AM   #9
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No question she'll have issues. I'm looking forward to buying our first AS.
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Old 08-04-2017, 05:42 AM   #10
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I stepped on the rear bumper as you said and the whole trailer moved together.
I guess that's a good sign (:

JB
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Old 08-04-2017, 06:53 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
It would be helpful if all you Resto folks could approximate the total labor hours you have invested in your units, and the total time of ownership so far, if not stated already.

IMO most newcomers have very little idea of the total time commitment required for a restoration, and only those with first-hand experience can be realistic.

For instance if you have worked on your AS 20 hours a week, for ten years, that is about 10,000 total labor hours. If that sounds daunting to a new owner, the reason may be because it is daunting!

Good luck, jbknowso!

Peter
Hi

..... and .... you could have worked at the local McDonald's for those 10,000 hours instead. If you took home $10 an hour that's $100,000. We could go on for a long time about hobbies and invested time. I've put a *lot* of hours into hobbies. You get a lot more out of something like that than you do flipping burgers. If instead of "fun work" the objective is only to get on the road, it's no more fun than flipping burgers. The real hourly rate would be what you need to pay somebody else to do a similar level of work. I'd bet for most of us, that'll be way more than $10 an hour.

Even for a hobby project, your time has some value. A trailer that takes 5,000 hours instead of 10,000 is one of those choices you make. In the context of the purely hypothetical case given, it's also 5 years sooner on the road. Again, if rebuilding stuff is the objective that's fine. If camping real soon now is the target ... hmmm.... If it's $5,000 more on the trailer is even hobby time worth $1 an hour? "That depends" is the only real answer.

Will any rebuild take 10,000 hours? Who knows. I'd *hope* it doesn't. I've certainly seen projects like this that *did* take that kind of work to complete for a first timer. I'm next to an AS that is being used *and* is a work in progress. I'm sitting here in the rain in a brand new trailer that needs a bit of work. There can be a lot of gray areas ....

Bob
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Old 08-04-2017, 02:01 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by TxDave View Post
We paid $4000 for our 1971 Sovereign 31'. Spent less than $5000 to replace everything that needed replacement. Did all of the work ourselves. We've been full-timing in it for almost a year and absolutely love it.

Honestly, I can't imagine how anyone could possibly spend $50,000 on a restoration. Maybe gold-plated faucets. Just joking folks.

It does depend on your goals. Do you want a museum quality showpiece, or do you just want a nice, fully functional trailer to do some traveling and camping.

You are spot on. The folks that put 50 grand into a Sovereign will likely never get their investment back. I have seen some fabulous Airstream resto jobs that don't approach that.

And Jerry that lack of movement on the bumper jump is very good.
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Old 08-04-2017, 02:32 PM   #13
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My restoration was done over a period of 10years, let's face it I'm still kind of in resto mode, but I'm under 15 grand total investment. I figure if I had a shop do the work I'd be into it for around twice that amount. The great thing of Airstream ownership is that there is always something that needs fixing or tinkering with. Mine is a Argosy and is right at the point of another paint job, last one was 14 or 15 years ago.
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Old 08-04-2017, 02:34 PM   #14
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Sounds good. Get it watertight and then wring out all the systems -- AC electrical, DC electrical, fresh water, waste water, reefer...

Then go camping. Figure out what works for you, think about changing what doesn't.

Go camping some more. Decide if the changes you contemplated are really worth it.

Lots of folks grab up a project, tear it apart, buy a few parts and then are overwhelmed by the scope of the project or by other things in their life and they never finish.

Don't do that. Go camping instead.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:29 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shineybullet View Post
I bought my 1972 Overlander 2 years ago for 4,000 right now we are into it for close to 20k and maybe 70 % finished , we have almost everything purchased that we need to install just need to find more time to finish but when we decided to start this project we were going all out on luxury items and were no hurry as wife has a few more years to retirement

Items replaced so far

Water heater,new larger refer,new cook top,air conditioner with heat pump,new furnace ,new axles ,new tires with aluminum wheels , partial new sub floor,2 large optima batteries ,new converter ,new ceramic toilet ,new custom wood kitchen cabinets with maple butcher block top, all new Uphostery ,new bed mattress ,new window tint ,new furnace,all new pex plumbing , all new fixtures for bathroom and kitchen ,bamboo tiger stripe flooring ,etc etc etc

We need to have new cabinets built for bathroom area and I'm sure there is plenty that I forgot to add to my finish list !

One thing people don't consider - all the extra tools you need to buy

I have a fully equipped shop but I had to buy lots of tools I didn't have and I thought I had them all .

Bob


Hi Bob.

What kind of air conditioner did you put in your 72? I was thinking of getting a Coleman Mach 1500

Jb
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Old 02-21-2018, 07:17 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by jbknowso View Post
Hi Bob.

What kind of air conditioner did you put in your 72? I was thinking of getting a Coleman Mach 1500

Jb
Love my Coleman Mach. Have had ours on board for seven years now without the first hiccup. We went with one that had heat strips and now can't imagine life without them. While on shore power the heat strips really help with propane consumption when cold weather camping/traveling. Our Coleman is much quieter than the new domitec units, ours is a standard height unit.
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:38 AM   #17
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jbk...,

Welcome to the forums and good luck as you search for your project. We also installed a Coleman Mach, but opted for the PS (Power Saver). It has what some refer to as a "soft start" which allows us to run the air conditioner on our 2200 Ryobi inverter generator. If you think you'll enjoy being off the beaten track and boondocking where temps may require AC, there are lots of great threads here about running ACs with a generator.

If interested, here a link to our most recent project, https://www.airforums.com/forums/f39...er-155180.html . It includes discussions and some photos on the Mach III installation and the generator installation.

Most important, enjoy the project and have fun with it,

Roy and Marie
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:22 AM   #18
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Not sure in your case, but getting a tt that you can camp in immediately and while your restoring/upgrading is a good idea, even if you pay a bit more. We paid $13.5k for our 1989 Excella and have put maybe $7.5k into upgrading/repairs in the last 3 years, but have traveled cross-country and up/down the East coast several times while doing it. She is nothing special and if we lost our AS today, she wouldn't owe us a thing because of the memories she has given us... Good luck!!
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:29 AM   #19
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Yes the price sounds fair. I've Had two sovereign /excellent 31 footers they are great trailers and I never spent anything near 50,000 crazy bucks to restore to a level where they were useful and attractive. Take your time with any work you do on it and look here for help. Don't let the voices of the unreasonable scare you away.
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