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Old 03-07-2007, 12:15 PM   #1
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What bad things happen when a trailer sits?

I am going to be looking at a 28' S/O that has sat almost its entire life of 5 years on uncovered ground, under trees, near a lake, outside, and very rarely used. Besides the tires, what kind of problems can I expect? Will there be rust issues, brittle rubber gaskets, plumbing issues, stuff not working anymore for lack of use? Assume the worst: Brand new trailer sits unused in the harshest sun, and the hardest winters, for 5 years. What happens?

I once bought a 4 year old Mercedes with only 20k miles on it. It was spotless. It was beautiful. It was a piece of junk. I put 80k miles on it, during which I had installed three new transmissions, three new radiators, new brake lines, new window lifts, two new batteries, and a power antenna--all done at MB prices (think Chevy x5), I called it quits when the shop told me the broken a/c needed to be replaced in its entirety at a cost that exceeded the value of the car.

Is there a parallel here? Should I stay away? Any idea how much should I hold back for repairs or maintenance?

Thanks in advance. Great forum!!!
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Old 03-07-2007, 12:34 PM   #2
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Look at the trailering arms form the axle to the wheel spindles. They should be tilted downwards towards the rear of the trailer. If they are level or tilted upwards the heat has gotten to the rubber in the axles. My trailer sat for 3 summers in Fl before I bought it and they were gone.

If possible test the water system to see if it will hold pressure. If they did not use the trailer that much they may have neglected to winterize and it only takes one good freeze to bust some hidden pipe or the hotwater heater. If water and temperature are not available when you go consider taking an air tank and adapter to connect to the hose cock and chargeing the system with air. If it holds pressure for 10 or 15 minutes your most likely good.

Water is the thing that will do an Airstream in. Look for any sign that thw floor may have been wet and thus soffened the strand board underlayment.

Beyond that there are Airstreams that have set for a lot more years than that and are still on the road.
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Old 03-07-2007, 12:39 PM   #3
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Thanks Howie. I have no experience in this so you gave me enough to be concerned about that any deal needs some kind of dealer pre-purchase inspection.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 03-07-2007, 12:48 PM   #4
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Texas Heat

Hi,
I am glad to see that your leaning toward the 28 footer.
Tires have to be replaced...they may look good, however, are not safe.
Dirt dauber blockages. Any rodent problems..ie., knawing or odors.
Foam in the cushions deteriorates.
Battery. Its shot after that long.
Seals in the dump system may be ok after a few lubricating ops.
Check and lube all window/door seals.
A good soap wash down to get the crud off...check for any leaks while your at it. Any thing suspect, Vulkem it now.
Wash and check the awnings now.
Rubber hose connections in the Propane system (check the OPD valve currency) then ops check the appliances.
replace batteries and check ops of the smoke and gas detectors.
Make sure you have spare keys.
Stock the fridge, put music on, kick back and get set for the ride of your life.
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Old 03-07-2007, 01:56 PM   #5
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Not sure I would go so far as to take it to a Stealer. There are lots of Airstreamers that would take a look at it with far less profit motive in mind.

There is a list of members that will inspect a trailer but I don't know how to bring it up. Maybe the next one to read this post will show us how to access it.
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Old 03-07-2007, 02:33 PM   #6
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Use the WBCCI website(WBBCI.ORG) to look up a member or officer near there. Usually somebody in the club will help you in hopes of recruiting a new member.
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Old 03-07-2007, 04:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melody Ranch
Hi,
ody
Foam in the cushions deteriorates.
Battery. Its shot after that long.
Seals in the dump system may be ok after a few lubricating ops.
Check and lube all window/door seals.
A good soap wash down to get the crud off...check for any leaks while your at it. Any thing suspect, Vulkem it now.
Wash and check the awnings now.
Rubber hose connections in the Propane system (check the OPD valve currency) then ops check the appliances.
replace batteries and check ops of the smoke and gas detectors.
Make sure you have spare keys.
Stock the fridge, put music on, kick back and get set for the ride of your life.
Not much more to say! Good job Melody
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Old 03-07-2007, 04:45 PM   #8
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If you can't find a volunteer inspector

Consider taking the unit to a nearby RV dealer or repair shop that works on Airstreams and pay to have the unit inspected. An estimate for repairs should be a great negotiating tool for pricing it. Of course, determine ahead of time what that inspection will cost and who will pay for it. I'd guess in the neighborhood of $350.

I think all of the posters above have given you a good overview of what to expect, and I do hope you do find an experienced volunteer. Since it's a slide out, I would definitely operate the slide too.

Paula Ford
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Old 03-07-2007, 08:32 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for all of this information. I am glad I asked. I will keep you posted once I see the trailer and have it checked out.
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Old 03-08-2007, 12:21 AM   #10
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Another thing to look for....
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Old 03-08-2007, 07:19 AM   #11
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I picked up a Sovereign last year that had sat, unmoved, in the hot Big Pine sun for 25 years. Fridge worked, but couldn't get the doors closed due to warpage of the inner plastic. I managed to fix that (a thread elsewhere on the Forums). Took the wheels off, battled the black widows, and packed the bearings (didn't really need it), checked the brakes, put in a new battery, and viola! New Airstream. The only casualty seems to be the heater--it's pretty rusted and won't light.

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Old 03-08-2007, 09:08 AM   #12
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Torsion arms do not always tell the story right - Andy at Inland provided this helpful tip.

Rubber can take a set at any angle if the trailer sits.

Both our single axles had the arms where they were suppose to be.

Now jack the baby up and see how the arms react - yep if they do not move an inch you know you have a set axle - and she is in need of replacement. Petrified or rock hard rubber is like not having an axle.

But not to worry - there are way more expensive things than an axle replacement - don't know why people get so scared of that part of the trailer.

Why the black and grey areas are more hmm shall we say frustrating than an axle would be and can cost a lot more in labour to get the job done right.
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