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Old 01-22-2007, 08:18 PM   #1
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1970 27' Overlander
Houston , Texas
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Getting Discouraged, Did Yall?

Hi All
1st off, this forum has been a wealth of information.
Well, we bought our AS last August, 1970 Overlander and I'm getting discouraged. I knew it was going to be a project but I'm beginning to wonder if I bought the right one? I've always wanted an airstream but never owned any type of RV. When I bought it I just did a walk-through only, (rookie). I was mainly concerned about the floor?, which seems to be okay and the interior seemed pretty sound. It had two dents in the skin at the rear bath that I guess I will never repair$$$.I think for the price, I got what I paid for. Items that were OK were the stove, oven, water system and water heater and seems to be structurally sound, but had a few leaks, since repaired except one I can't locate but I think its around the front street side windows which I plan to put a sealer around all of them.
We have made the following repairs ourselves.
Major scrub and clean outside and inside.
Removed and installed new AC unit. Removed furnace and installed catalytic heater. Installed new water pump and checked for leaks. Installed new sink faucet. Installed new fantastic fan. Have replaced gaskets on all but 2 windows and main door. New tires. All seems to function well so far but haven't gone anywhere. Total spent so far. AS $3500, AC $500, WP $60, Heater $350, FF $240, Sink Faucet $100, Gasket Material $100, brakes check and repaired $500, Break-away switch $45, new tires $400, misc $500.
Now I realize I need new axles and I haven't even gone anywhere yet, so I have to spend another $1600 for those. I guess I'm realizing this is a long term restore rather than a buy and use deal. What do yall think, how long have your restores been? and what has your experience been, similar? did I get a bad deal? Should I bail-out and buy another and try to recoup expenses? Any information, experience is appreciated.

James (down in the dumps) Flint
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Old 01-22-2007, 08:39 PM   #2
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Stop your belly aching and get to work.

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Old 01-22-2007, 08:59 PM   #3
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1963 26' Overlander
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keep your chin up!! at the end of the day you have a classic and a one of a kind.... i was in the same state of mind as you, then i drug it out camping one time and i forgot about all the down times.... a vintage airstream is like owning a harley davidson in many ways.... either you own one or you wish you did

and like i have posted before in this forum:
"thats why when you are parked in a campground in a sea of white full of pop-up, pop-out, pop-apart trailers you can say to your self "what a bunch of sissys"
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:00 PM   #4
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Sounds about right to me. I bought my Caravel for 4k and put 6k into it before I even left the driveway. This will very likely be the very last short trailer I will ever buy.

Meaning, I really like it and the long trailer I am on the lookout for won't fit in the small campgrounds.
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:04 PM   #5
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James, it sounds like you've put a lot of time and resources in your Overlander. I don' know what you paid for your coach, but I will tell you what I've learned. Even though I paid pretty much what my Tradewind was worth according to Vintage Airstream's value guide , I have spent again in the first 6 months nearly the purchase price in replacing, repairing, and maintaining. My list of things to do is never complete. I can't completely understand how you feel, but I have sense of it.

You didn't necessarily get a bad deal. Vintage trailers can be needy and high maintenance in nearly everything from the frame to the roof vents. I think I've finally figured out. If you choose to go vintage you will spend the same amount over the course of ownership as you would had you bought a recent model. I'm not sure one can ever recoup all their time, effort, and expeditures. It truely becomes a labor of love. You will have to decide if you love it enough to continue, or if you want to cash in your chips and go for coach with less problems. But hey, if all you have left is axle replacement, your probably in better shape than many. Good luck.
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:08 PM   #6
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I am at 14K total invested in a 73 model, but I had someone do alot of the work and I rebuilt the entire interior. When I look at what a new Safari 23 goes for compared to what I have in mine it makes me feel better Sounds like your making good progress and keeping your cost in line, at least better than mine.
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:11 PM   #7
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Maybe this picure will make you feel better

It could look like this....
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:13 PM   #8
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You are more than half way there - so if you like the trailer which the Overlander is a nice size - not too big not too small in comparison to a lot out there.

Axles don't have to be $800 a pop two 3500's should be around $400-500 - talk to Colin at GSM he might be able to hook you up with a set with shipping for a bit cheaper than say the other other coast. But 1600.00 is fine too if you can lay out the bucks.

Then you have to add it up again!!! and say to yourself - can you buy a new one for that??? or say get an SOB - and is it going to be on the road for another 46 years like the one you have - I highly doubt it.

If it is the 70's look that you are tired with - (not sure if you have the one that still has some nice wood veneer but with the plastic tambers or if it is all plastic stuff) You can paint or cover the plastic stuff with just about anything on the market today. , or restore the wood by sanding and say giving it a new stain colour - or paint the frame and refinish the wood to give it some contrast. Give it a face lift once you have everything sound. But don't give up on it now you have all the big appliances in! and working - that is half the battle - the other half is floor and leaks which you are already there on that too. So if it is just the axles - that is a no brainer. And changing out a dual axle is a lot simpler than a single!! just as Peter.

No matter what vintage you get out there - in the long run it is going to cost you between $8 - 15K. it is just that the Airstreams last longer if looked after. The cheaper airstreams out there mean they have been neglegted longer - and will need the top dollar put back in.

Chin up, sleaves up and get to it - or just be satisfied for now and go for some short jaunts and get camping!
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kneal
It could look like this....
or like this....
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:15 PM   #10
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PS.

We bought ours in the same range and put in the 6500 too - all the same issues, but had lots of fun doing it. Just sold it and looking at another one. But also have our overlander that is getting some serious thought and planning right now -but will be on the driveway for a few more years before she makes her big trip.....
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:22 PM   #11
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1970 27' Overlander
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Cheese with my whine!!

Yes I'll have some cheese with my whine!, thanks for the input. I guess its the grey, rainy, bummer winters we have in Houston. I am unable to do much now with all the rain. . . but we need it! Thanks so much!
James
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jsflint
Yes I'll have some cheese with my whine!, thanks for the input. I guess its the grey, rainy, bummer winters we have in Houston. I am unable to do much now with all the rain. . . but we need it! Thanks so much!
James

That all ya got - is stinkin rain - I'd kill to have warm weather and stinkin rain at least I could get a lot of things done inside the trailer - all we can do is sit back and wait till the winter is gone - unless someone drops about 20K our way for a heated garage!!!
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:40 PM   #13
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Yep, been there, done that earned the t-shirt!

Hang in there...

Shari
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:46 PM   #14
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Old 01-22-2007, 10:56 PM   #15
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Possibly the best therapy for the spot you find yourself in as a trip or two. If your axles are bad, you don't have to take it far - but take it.

You have made most of the repairs/upgrades that make it usable, now it's time to pay yourself for your efforts so far. Do a little work on it at a time, use it in between projects. My 2 cents.
Dave
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Old 01-23-2007, 03:06 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut
Yep, been there, done that earned the t-shirt!

Hang in there...

Shari
I am still waiting on MY t-shirt
Mine is going on it's 3rd year of rehab. My biggest problem is I am never home enough to work on it...

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Old 01-23-2007, 03:55 AM   #17
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I am still waiting on MY t-shirt
Mine is going on it's 3rd year of rehab. My biggest problem is I am never home enough to work on it...

Aaron
Amen to that! When you're still working full time, and your husband works out of town full time, you envy those folks who can either work on their baby or camp in their baby. My Argosy is still at the RV doctor getting new plumbing because we just don't have time to work on him. Bob is in MN and I'm here in Oklahoma, with 4" of ice still in my yard. Our beautiful lake property was hit with a horrible ice storm that left almost every tree destroyed, no water and no electricity since the 19th. Oh my, talk about venting WHEN IS SPRING ANYWAY. Keep working on the AS, they are worth it when you actually hit the road and camp. Nothing is better.
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Old 01-23-2007, 04:32 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgregory13
keep your chin up!! at the end of the day you have a classic and a one of a kind.... i was in the same state of mind as you, then i drug it out camping one time and i forgot about all the down times.... a vintage airstream is like owning a harley davidson in many ways.... either you own one or you wish you did

and like i have posted before in this forum:
"thats why when you are parked in a campground in a sea of white full of pop-up, pop-out, pop-apart trailers you can say to your self "what a bunch of sissys"
How well said, tgregory. I spent $4400 for my 26' Argosy. 472 hours and about $8500 later my shell is not even on my brand new Stainless Steel frame. If you want AS you have to sacrifice. If you love Airstreams you will.
If you want to camp, buy a tent. My goal is having a best for my wife, and there is no complaints because I have the best wife. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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Old 01-23-2007, 05:21 AM   #19
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T&R Trailer in Colorado is another source for axles. Great prices, and service. www.TandRTrailer.com Home 800 441-5250. Family owned business, they will be replacing the axle on my Minuet when it needs it.
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Old 01-23-2007, 06:28 AM   #20
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$10,000.00

I've said it before and I'll say it again....

Nobody gets out for less than $10,000.00!

Having done it twice (almost through with #2), I know exactly what you're going through. On the bright side, as kneal said, you couldn't touch a new one (and might not want to) for what you'll put into this one, and if you do it good and thorough, you'll know what you have when you're done.

Don't cut corners, deal with every issue when it's apart, and you'll have peace of mind. A good restore takes at least 12-18 mos, unless you're unemployed.

While it's apart, be sure to update the bathroom as it's probably the best thing we did. It was work, but so nice now that it's done. New laminate countertop is nice as well.

Stick with it, you'll get there.
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