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Old 06-03-2012, 12:54 AM   #1
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I need advice!

OK, so I have found a 31' mid bath Air that I went to look at. The trailer has sat for ten years outside. The water heater has blown, the fridge is shot, the windows are fogged, front passenger side has a good dent right where the awning lower attachment is, and the vents are broken. That is all of bad. The good is everything is original and it is close to where I live. The fella wants $5K. I am looking for one to completely restore but I would love to know what to look for. Is there some tell tail signs of a lemon or dead unit? What questions should I ask? Is there anything obvious that I am overlooking? Please help me not to make a hugh mistake. Or, just give me a line on the perfect vintage Airstream. I am very happy I found this site and look forward to being a Airsteam owner.

Thanks in advance for all your knowledge!
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:23 AM   #2
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Hi Gran57,

For $5K you can find better .... there is what you see wrong but no doubts , you 'll discover ( after buying ) a lot of more....

Your first feeling in seeing it, is important... if you are suspicious, don't go !

My advice is to know or to see if the trailer has had a good maintenance during its life ... restauring an A/S is not easy and if you have to replace all parts ( as the axles... ) ,your baby 'll kill your money.... and you need lot of time and energy to do that .

Compare with the classifieds from this site and take a decision only after....

Bruno.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:31 AM   #3
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Lemon test

Quote:
Originally Posted by Granz57 View Post
OK, so I have found a 31' mid bath Air that I went to look at. The trailer has sat for ten years outside. The water heater has blown, the fridge is shot, the windows are fogged, front passenger side has a good dent right where the awning lower attachment is, and the vents are broken. That is all of bad. The good is everything is original and it is close to where I live. The fella wants $5K. I am looking for one to completely restore but I would love to know what to look for. Is there some tell tail signs of a lemon or dead unit? What questions should I ask? Is there anything obvious that I am overlooking? Please help me not to make a hugh mistake. Or, just give me a line on the perfect vintage Airstream. I am very happy I found this site and look forward to being a Airsteam owner.

Thanks in advance for all your knowledge!
LEMON SIGNS
  • has sat for ten years outside
  • The water heater has blown
  • the fridge is shot
  • the windows are fogged
  • front passenger side has a good dent right where the awning lower attachment is
  • the vents are broken.
  • AND he wants $5K
Did you ice pick the floor around the edges to see if it's rotted? Pull the belly pan (or at least one corner of it) to look at the frame. Did you test the axles to see if they had any "travel" left in them?

Here's another "do you have the title?"

Honestly - a new refrigerator $1100, water heater $300, Axles $800 x 2, tires, batteries, $5K is a lot to ask for a unit with that much wrong with it. Especially if you don't know what the frame and floor look like.... which after 10 years of outside storage in the extremes of Montana weather are highly unlikely to be good.

Just from your description I'd be unlikely to offer $1500 for it.

"All original" in this case may mean "no care or maintenance".

Paula
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Old 06-03-2012, 02:52 AM   #4
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Hi again...

You have always the solution to get experience from an Airstream inspector ( see the list on the site too ) and consider his view as the best advice .....

Bruno.
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Old 06-03-2012, 07:55 AM   #5
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Paula points out some very good things, spot on advice. I agree with all of it except the sitting outside part. My trailer has sat outside for it's entire 50 years. Never once has any of the 5 previous owners had it under cover. Not everyone has a barn to tuck in away in and wait for American Pickers to come dig it out
Not everyone is "into" their Airstream so often they sit for years being unused. Sometimes a parent dies and the kids have zero interest. This situation can be a serious win fall for someone who gets lucky.
Try finding an inspector locally to you.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:11 AM   #6
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I agree, with my limited experience (only 1 AS so far), that 5K is too much for that trailer. But it can be a starting point for negotiations. I will tell you that with 3 years into our renovation, and starting year 4, it is A LOT of work to do a complete reno, and from my reading on the forums, even partials take time and money. I think mid baths are a little more rarer than rear baths. It depends also on how much work you want to do. We bought a basket case because we wanted one. Would I do it again? Yes, but with my expectations a little more realistic on time line. I like the idea of having a second opinion from someone who is willing to inspect for you from the forums.

Kay
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:42 AM   #7
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31 footers are not very sought after. and 5k is way to much for what he has. He has bought into the "Airstreams are worth a fortune" thing. Only if they are restored...;-)
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:01 AM   #8
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31' mid bath is a more desirable unit. If the water heater is blown, most likely because the water froze in it, the rest of the water system is questionable as well. If 5K is the asking price, offer less.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:03 AM   #9
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Boy I bet he would do a back flip if you payed him that much for this kind of package...and then he would look back over his shoulder and see you standing there with the word SUCKER hoovering over your head,...don't do it.
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purman View Post
31 footers are not very sought after. and 5k is way to much for what he has. He has bought into the "Airstreams are worth a fortune" thing. Only if they are restored...;-)
I notice a lot of sellers here in NV/CA have this fever... every ad reads like they're just "giving it away" ... many similar situations to what Granz57 describes - most equally over-priced IMO.

Probably the best advice given is to get help inspecting the trailer. There is a list of volunteers from this site available: use the "Airstream Inspectors" search box at the bottom, right side of the Airforums home page. There are (4) listed in Montana - maybe one is somewhat close to you!
http://www.airforums.com/forums/members/list/

Also, there are some GREAT checklists available to aid you in assessing value and give you some idea of all the items to inspect. Also, use the "Search" function on the top bar of this site using terms like: checklist, inspection, value....

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f138...ist-43294.html

Price vs. Condition - Airstream Values

Good luck.

Laura
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:38 PM   #11
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Paula's list of warning signs speaks of poor maintenance by someone in the past. This means looking closely at the other things—floor, axles, tires, for ex.—that may have been ignored.

An inspector is a good idea and the list of broken things gives you the advantage in negotiations.

Have you every done anything like this before? Are you good with tools and have a lot of them? These are not a good investment as you will never get the money you put into it, so a rehab has to be for you to use it and do so for quite a while. Then it is a good idea, if you get it for far less than the asking price. Or if you are in love, maybe it is worth it to you—may be close to where you live, may be just the model you want.

Gene
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Old 06-03-2012, 07:20 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone for your info and confirming my thoughts. If anyone knows a good deal on a vintage unit feel free to let me know.

Thanks again,

Tony
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Old 06-03-2012, 07:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Granz57 View Post
Thanks everyone for your info and confirming my thoughts. If anyone knows a good deal on a vintage unit feel free to let me know.

Thanks again,

Tony
Tony - I didn't say WALK AWAY I did say $5K was way too much. The mid bath unit is desireable, but $1500 would leave you $3500 to put into renovation. If you're a first timer, this could be a LOT bigger reno than you're interested in doing... or if you are a tinkerer could be a great hobby. It WON'T be $2000 or $3000 and done. If you want that get something much newer.

Just look inside and honestly ask "how much am I willing to do myself?" How much time and how many skills do I have? Will this adversely impact my family life? If the whole family wants to pitch in, then woohoo. If not, find a nice 2003-2006 Airstream (still inspecti the floor!) and go camping!

Best wishes, Paula
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:46 PM   #14
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Don't walk away, but if all the stuff you list is obvious, as someone else said, there will be more you can't see. An Airstream inspector would be money well spent, to determine which of the things you can't see are faulty and how much time, trouble and money they'll take to fix, after which you can determine the value the trailer (and experience) would have for you. After my 10 year odyssey with our vintage trailer, I still love it, we're finally using it AND getting enjoyment out of our little Globetrotter, but I would never do it the same way over again, buying a fixer.
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:12 PM   #15
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The center bath models are not as common as the rear bath units but 5K seems pretty steep. We paid 6k for our 76 center bath in 07, and while was no cream puff, it was road ready.

Appliances are big $$ items. Replacing an AC, refrigerator, water heater (10 gallon on ours), stove/oven can easily run several grand plus installation costs if you're not the hands on type. Broken vents mean potential water damage which is the bane of RV owners everywhere.

This sounds like a real project, which is fine. The thing to consider is model desirability and purchase price. You did not state what vintage this unit is, but if it's a 70's era rig the 31'ers are a dime a dozen. Even the center bath rigs can be found with minimal effort and for less money.
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:21 PM   #16
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There's one on e-bay right now for buy it now $1,500.
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