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Old 05-04-2013, 12:29 PM   #1
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My first Airstream experience (with pics)

I have recently started my search for an Airstream of my very own. I know almost nothing about them so I'm definitely a rookie. But like many have said here, I know I need to do as much research as possible & actually step foot inside as many as possible. So I had my first Airstream experience yesterday!! PLEASE point out ANY & ALL pros & cons of this model/year & also of the particular one I looked at yesterday. I did not get to speak with the owner as he was out of town & left the keys for me to take a look.


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Old 05-04-2013, 12:38 PM   #2
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Pay the ransom and rescue this beautiful Airstream. This looks like it was just pulled out the field and left there. I would bet that the owner picked this up from somebody thinking he would use it or he inherited it. It looks all original. That does not men that you can just hook it up and hit the road traveling. It will take some TLC but this one looks like a diamond in the rough.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:42 PM   #3
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1984 31' Sovereign?

It looks pretty clean and the body is in great shape. I'm not familiar with the 80's trailers, so I can't say more than that.

On trailers in general, I will say: consider the length and make sure that you will be glad you have something that long. The extra room can be wonderful. The longer (used) trailers tend to be a bit less expensive than the shorter ones, probably because the shorter ones are a bit easier to tow and park. Out west, the older National Parks tend to have few spaces that would fit a trailer that long. Our 25' TradeWind can't fit into many of the spaces in Yosemite Valley, for instance. Just something to consider.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:48 PM   #4
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I know nothing about older Airstreams. However, compared to the used Airstreams we looked at before buying new, from your photos this unit looks like it is cosmetically in really good condition (no exterior dents, carpet and furniture clean and in good condition, etc.). The few older Airstreams we inspected looked like the owner was using the unit as a storage shed, or squatters had been living in it.

What was the condition, when you looked closer? I'm anxious to hear how this turns out.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:50 PM   #5
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Can't quite make out the vin #. It looks shorter than a 30-31'. Seems like a 27. What did seller say it was? For an 80's AS it looks like a real beauty. I would be interested if your not!

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Old 05-04-2013, 12:50 PM   #6
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The trailer looks clean and in good shape for sitting out in a field with the grass growing around it. Looks like a 27 footer. I'd take a chance on it.
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:07 PM   #7
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The VIN is

1STABAJ21FJ502847
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:12 PM   #8
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The trailer looks clean and in good shape for sitting out in a field with the grass growing around it. Looks like a 27 footer. I'd take a chance on it.
Interesting...Airstream doesn't list a 1984 with a GVWR of 6800, but they do have several for 1985.

Airstream, Inc :: Serial Numbers

It looks like it could be a 1985 model, either 25', 27' or 29'. In the 70's, which is what I'm familiar with, the Sovereigns are all over 30'.
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:31 PM   #9
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Looks good. It has Zip Dee awnings.....roll 'em out and check condition. It will need new tires....no ifs, ands or buts. It will need a new battery...I see that itis a single battery model. Be sure the Propane tanks are there....up to date with OPD valves. Can't see the ceiling....is it covered with "Hull liner" or a vinyl looking fabric? The Hull Liner OK! The vinyl...not good. Do the appliances work? AC work? Condition of the window and door seals....are they stuck or torn from being stuck? Title? You could have a real nice Airstream there....
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:35 PM   #10
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What is a Hull Liner?
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:49 PM   #11
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The problem here is not what you see, but what you can't see. Sitting out in a field for extended period is never good for the undercarriage (corrosion) and plywood subfloor (rot). Keep in mind it may need new axles due to age, as well as tires and batteries. Will the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems work properly.

You ought to check these things (get help from someone who knows what to look for) before you make a deal.

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Old 05-04-2013, 01:51 PM   #12
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http://www.airstream.com/file_viewer.php?id=2535

According to this link, it's a 1985. Anyone else had experience good or bad using the above link to decipher VINs?
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:55 PM   #13
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Looks good. It has Zip Dee awnings.....roll 'em out and check condition. It will need new tires....no ifs, ands or buts. It will need a new battery...I see that itis a single battery model. Be sure the Propane tanks are there....up to date with OPD valves. Can't see the ceiling....is it covered with "Hull liner" or a vinyl looking fabric? The Hull Liner OK! The vinyl...not good. Do the appliances work? AC work? Condition of the window and door seals....are they stuck or torn from being stuck? Title? You could have a real nice Airstream there....
Awnings are actually in fantastic shape!! Here are a few pics of the ceiling along with a couple problem spots I noticed. Looks like screws were over tightened, but like I said, I'm a newbie here so that's just my guess!



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Old 05-04-2013, 02:10 PM   #14
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The problem here is not what you see, but what you can't see. Sitting out in a field for extended period is never good for the undercarriage (corrosion) and plywood subfloor (rot). Keep in mind it may need new axles due to age, as well as tires and batteries. Will the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems work properly.

You ought to check these things (get help from someone who knows what to look for) before you make a deal.

doug k
I am well aware that there are many things I can not see & am not knowledgeable about that could be wrong! Luckily there is another member that's husband is an inspector & they actually camp in the area where this is located! So I would definitely have someone thoroughly look it over.
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:19 PM   #15
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Awnings are actually in fantastic shape!! Here are a few pics of the ceiling along with a couple problem spots I noticed. Looks like screws were over tightened, but like I said, I'm a newbie here so that's just my guess!
These cracks could be the smoking gun for a trailer with bad axles. The suspension on these trailers isn't on leaf springs (not since the 60's), so any cushioning of the ride depends on the rubber parts on the axles themselves. This rubber hardens over time. Without that cushioning, any road bumps go straight into the trailer, cracking plastic, popping rivets and generally loosening everything up. Make sure that the cabinets and the bulkheads (walls that stick out) are all still solidly attached to the trailer.
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:48 PM   #16
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:20 PM   #17
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Some of these appliances are not from 1984-5, and look to be current or from the past couple of years. If you are lucky, this Airstream has already been refurbished; and the axles, brakes, flooring, etc., have already been replaced. This could be a hidden gem...

If you can have someone verify this, and the price is right; you could be looking at a real bargain!
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:49 PM   #18
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Some of these appliances are not from 1984-5, and look to be current or from the past couple of years. If you are lucky, this Airstream has already been refurbished; and the axles, brakes, flooring, etc., have already been replaced. This could be a hidden gem...

If you can have someone verify this, and the price is right; you could be looking at a real bargain!
It looks like everything in this trailer is original. I doubt if anything has been done on the axles to a mid 80' model. They may need to be replaced at some point but that can be done if need be. The tires are bad for sure. The interior curtains, carpet and fabric looks pretty good. I would not worry to much about the little cracks in the plastic trim. I am not sure what the 2 patches are in the front. There should not be anything inside the skin at that point that you would need to get to by cutting holes and then putting on a patch. Maybe just skin damage of some kind.

There are no license tags so check on a clear title so you can get it transferred without any problems. The next point is to find out what the owner wants for it and try and make a deal that will allow some room for the things that need to be serviced. It is a good looking Airstream, not that old as far as Airstreams go. Good luck
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:06 PM   #19
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Expect that a near thirty year old TT needs all new appliances. That, to me, is just good sense from both safety and performance perspectives. Original appliances to me means low use (a good sign), in other words. Best original condition is tops on the list for a purchase.

Demonstration of system integrity (plumbing & electrical) is the main inspection past:

No skin tears (serious) or evidence of flooding. Walk away.

A reasonable expectation of spending on a TT this age (even younger) is $10k past the purchase price . . and we all hope to spend that on our schedule versus making one emergency repair after another (which is far more expensive).

Tires, brakes, bearings, axles are the start. Non-optional. (Cosmetics/furnishings are dead last).

I don't/haven't owned an A/S trailer but that one looks good to me both for condition and layout.

Very best of luck to you.

.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:19 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
Some of these appliances are not from 1984-5, and look to be current or from the past couple of years. If you are lucky, this Airstream has already been refurbished; and the axles, brakes, flooring, etc., have already been replaced. This could be a hidden gem...

If you can have someone verify this, and the price is right; you could be looking at a real bargain!


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The stove/oven looks like it is original. According to AS specs for that year. It still has the folding stainless still cover.

Something makes me feel like the cabinet doors were replaced at some point. I was a cabinet designer for over 6 yrs & these look 90's to me. Additionally the kitchen doors don't match the cabinet door of the cabinet between the beds & the fold out table & shelves in the living room area. Those would have been consistent throughout, right? What do y'all think?
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