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Old 05-10-2006, 03:35 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
2000 30' Excella
Johns Island , South Carolina
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 15
First-timers - If I had it to do over again...

If you were buying your first Airstream all over again, what would you do differently this time?

I will make plenty of my own mistakes, but maybe you can steer us first-timers away from some of the ones you made.


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Old 05-10-2006, 03:39 PM   #2
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1966 22' Safari
1979 30' Argosy
Armada , Michigan
Join Date: May 2004
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Don't ever believe that you're done paying after you've bought it. If it's vintage, you'll continue to spend the purchase price over and over again every year.

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Old 05-10-2006, 04:02 PM   #3
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1996 28' Excella
Where the water tastes like wine , Michigan
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,625
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Smile I would have used forum members checklists

What a nice thread idea. I have no issues about our first purchase, vintage Airstream we were lucky, great po great trailer.
I wish before our first trip out I had known about the forum* and that there were great checklists for arrival, departure, things to pack, etc. If you do a search on checklists you can find some great ones. I keep adding to mine as I read.
*Course I was a little occupied with my first--then a month old baby ! We all survived that first trip, but I feel much better having the collective wisdom/experience of forum members along for future rides.
Steph in MI Air# 6996-
I Hockeytown USA!!
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Old 05-10-2006, 04:12 PM   #4
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1982 31' Limited
1953 25' Cruiser
Hamilton , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 563
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Make certain that you can sleep comfortably and that the trailer is large enough to meet the sleeping needs of yourself and your family members.

Seriously try out the bed or beds. Make certain that you can comfortably sleep in what ever trailer you purchase. In some, it may be the width of the bed. In others, it will be the length of the bed or perhaps all of the gyrations that one has to go through in order to make up side positioned beds after use.

On our first trailer, the small double bed was in the center of the trailer and positioned to one side of the isle. As such, it had walls at the head and foot of the bed. My 6'4" frame would not fit on the narrow bed with my wife in it. We were forced to always sleep apart which over time became problematic. We ended up trading a WONDERFUL trailer in order to own the one we have now just because the floor plan did not work for us.

Many of the other items on the trailer can be dealt with such as whether you have a rear bath, split bath, side bath or wet bath and the amount of cabinet or closet space in the trailer. Sleeping arangements aren't so easy to work around.

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Old 05-10-2006, 04:19 PM   #5
1 Rivet Member
2000 30' Excella
Johns Island , South Carolina
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 15
Originally Posted by tin sista
What a nice thread idea.
Thanks! But, credit where credit is due - my wife suggested this as a thread topic. Hope others find it interesting and/or helpful.
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Old 05-10-2006, 04:56 PM   #6
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2003 33' Land Yacht 33
Fort Myers , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 99
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If we had to do it all over again, there would not be one square inch of carpet in the unit, we would opt for the one piece vinyl.
Jan and Al
Sophia and Emilee, the Pugs
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Old 05-10-2006, 05:10 PM   #7
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1994 21' Sovereign
Down on the corner... , CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 995
Images: 9
I would have to say to take someone along with you who is not biased when checking out your new purchase....Even if I did I think I still would have purchased mine even tho it had dings and dents which I'm sure many would have passed on. I was ga ga over it for a few years before I got it. The real deal is knowing what you are getting into and not having any great expectations for things to happen overnight...
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Old 05-10-2006, 05:41 PM   #8
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1975 31' Sovereign
Oxford , Mississippi
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 874
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If I had it to do over again

I would do a water hose test (run water everywhere) to check and see if it leaks and never take the owners word about no leaks. I also wish I had done the screw driver trick all over the trailer floor for soft spots. Besides that pretty pleased. We would have bought it anyway because it was dent free on the exterior. I would not have paid what we did if we had known about the leaks/floor.
75 Sovereign (Peppy)
03 Chevy HD (lil Peppy)
Air# 9552
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Old 05-10-2006, 07:01 PM   #9
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2006 19' International CCD
Calgary , Alberta
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 187
Images: 14
Originally Posted by kudzu
If you were buying your first Airstream all over again, what would you do differently this time?
I would never step into one just to "check it out"...ever. CHA-CHING!

Otherwise, I would very carefully choose the dealer I purchase from and take a full week off to go pick it up, camp in it, find any issues, and take a few days just to thoroughly enjoy the new rig with a few glasses of red.

We love our little trailer and can't wait to spend some nights in it again soon.
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Old 05-10-2006, 07:28 PM   #10
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2004 30' Classic
Field and Stream , PA & MT
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 819
I would never pay and take delivery of a new unit again until it is in new condition. Also, if I were ever presented with another unit like the one I bought 2 years ago (shame on me) I would sue the dealer and company for breach of contract.

And, like Brad said, I'd choose the dealer more carefully, and would place more emphasis on the dealer's reputation for service (obtained from persons here, and elsewhere) than on price.
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Old 05-10-2006, 08:26 PM   #11
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1975 27' Overlander
Twin Cities , Minnesota
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 511
Images: 8
Buy a bigger one!

I went from a slide-in cabover pickup camper to my 27' Overlander.
At the time there were two Airstreams for sale in a reasonably close proximity to me - the one I bought and another similar vintage 31 footer that was advertised for about $1500 more. At the time I couldn't even concieve of needing more room than I have now. But 3 years of accumulation of rods and reels, life jackets, hunting clothes, more cooking gear, a couple of fold up chairs, a little vacum cleaner, books, that super cool trash can I had to have, etc. etc makes me wish I had at least Looked at the other one.
There is a 31 footer that sits at a camp ground that I pass by on my way up to where my AS is parked. In four years I've never seen anyone use it.
Increasingly as I drive by I wonder: if I looked up the license plate and contacted the owner would they sell it? That extra 4 feet would really be nice.
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Old 05-10-2006, 09:10 PM   #12
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2004 30' Classic Slideout
Colleyville , TX
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,535
First we would have located Airstream Forums and studied for months, taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge on these threads. We'd have felt much more informed and confident on our first venture out on the road.

Second, we'd have laid down on the bed (rock) for a period of time so that we would have known to replace it with a Sleep Comfort bed like we sleep on at home.

Third, did someone mention "no carpet"? Our next project will be to rip the carpet out of the living room and dinnette and replace it with one of those fabulous imitation wood/vinyl products on the market these days. We still like putting our feet on something soft in the bedroom.

Those are three things that come to mind immediately.
In dog years, I'm dead!
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Old 05-10-2006, 09:32 PM   #13
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1967 30' Sovereign
Leavenworth , Kansas
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 382
Images: 3
Cool Research, research, research.....

I was not aware of the forums when we purchased Moby a couple years ago.(I found the forums a month later). We did not know how much the trailer was really worth for the shape it was in. We only knew how much we wanted to spend on any kind of trailer for retirement.

At the time, what we paid for the trailer "seemed" reasonable, but after towing it home and really getting into the knitty gritty of refurbishment, we realized that all we really bought was a silver shell, with some really nice wood cabinets, a kitchen sink, and a semi OK bathroom. So my recommendation would be to research what other trailers are being sold for based on comparable condition. And if it is vintage, expect to pay much more for upgrades.

But we wouldn't trade ours now for anything.......Moby's part of the family.....and has cost almost as a kid getting braces. Hey, they're silver too!!!
Beth and/or David

67 Sovereign, double bed, rear bath-"Moby"
2005 Dodge Ram 2500 Hemi, Quad Cab-"Ahab"
"Vintage trailer, vintage owners"
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Old 05-11-2006, 07:18 AM   #14
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1963 16' Bambi
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Yreka , California
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,313
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Part of the adventure is the questions. Remember the first time your decided to jump in and swim. You stood there forever and thought and thought. And then you jumped. It's the adventure. Enjoy getting wet!
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Old 05-11-2006, 08:35 AM   #15
Vintage Alum. Enthusiast
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1959 24' Tradewind
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: I currently do not own a 2nd Airstream
Posts: 4,340
Images: 40
Having owned our trailer for almost five years now, we couldn't browse ASForums because the it wasn't up and running yet. I guess we're 'pre-forums.' I did my research and was thoroughly happy with our purchase and have only one regret. That is not securing the entry door enough. As most of you know, it flew open on the freeway and then came off leaving a dent on the side of the trailer from the handle. Idf you have a vintage trailer with a suicide door, take every precaution to keep it closed during transport. Install a deadbolt.

4CU 2699 / AIR 10 / TAC AZ-1

I'm haunted by aluminum.
Charter Member of the 4 Corners Unit.
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:03 PM   #16
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1979 31' Sovereign
Auburntown , Tennessee
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 99
Images: 17
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We would have spent a little more and bought a beter AS trailer, we've already doubled what we spent on a vintage 79' model. Also do a complete systems check on all the water, electric and battery systems. Like a house go on a rainy day, our unit leaks.
1979 Airstream Sovereign International, 31'. VIN# I31T9J0162

1992 Buick Roadmaster Wagon, 5.7L - V8, stock 5000# tow rating, posi, aux trans cooler, rear coil over shocks, 2" rear spring lift kit, flowmaster exhaust.
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Old 11-09-2006, 12:02 AM   #17
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Currently Looking...
West of Fort Worth , Texas
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Posts: 6,698
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My SOB was a 1979 that had dry rot issues of it's own - the skin/side panel was seperating because the srews could no longer find a good purchase point.
I found a real nice '98 Safari that had a top-notch solar set up, a catalytic heater and some other nice improvements. I have never looked back. That trailer was totaled - we got hit by a semi - and we found a vintage GT in real nice shape. We love it!
Between the two Airstreams, we found the forums. This site kept us out of trouble on at least on potential purchase, allowing me to recognise some indicators of a failing sub-floor. Thanks to all who post here!
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