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Old 03-04-2012, 01:12 PM   #1
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1976 29' Ambassador
Nashville , Tennessee
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Is it worth it?

Long story short,
I have a friend who has not used her camper in years and is giving it to me completely free.... here is the catch, she has not seen it in years but knew that a tree/trees had fallen on it but did not know the extent of the damage. Yesterday a received a text with a photo of the airstream, but she did not take a good one of the damage that the tree caused.

So my dilema is, should I try to rescue it and renovate it (I really would love to), or take to salvage and try to get money for it. Either way I think I can get something for it, I just have to put the time and effort to get it. This may be hard to answer with little detail but I just thought I would ask opinions.

Thanks
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:21 PM   #2
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Put it on craigslist.
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:48 PM   #3
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The tree is still laying accross the top of it and it looks to be sinking into the ground. For the money it will cost you to repair you can buy a used one in better condition.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:37 PM   #4
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From the angle of the photo, it makes it look like the tree has gone at least 2 feet into the trailer... that would be a lot of roof and side panels, possibly windows and such... and who knows what's happened to the floor. Hard to pass up free though.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:47 PM   #5
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Thanks for your opinions... Friday, I do not know the extent of the damage, and it is a weird angle so hard to tell what is going on.Hopefully I will be able to take more pics in the near future. I already told the person giving it to me that I will take it off of her hands, now I need to decide what to do with it.

If I do not end up not keeping it, any suggestions on how to make money off of it, where to take it or how much to ask for it on craigslist? I will put the money towards a future trailer.

Thanks again
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:52 PM   #6
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Go get it and bring it home!

Take tires and rims and some towing lights. Once you get it out of the woods you can asses the trailer.
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Old 03-04-2012, 04:13 PM   #7
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Gift horse?

The time I have spent over the past 5 years or longer reading about AS is this.. They are fixable,, and are worth putting time and money into..

In your case how much?

Many huge dents I have see pushed out by just popping off the inside skin and applying the right pressure in the right spot.. Most cases it oil cans back into shape..

The other way to look at it is the salvage value of the alum,,, is almost worth its weight in gold..

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Old 03-04-2012, 04:42 PM   #8
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It would be nearly impossible to repair significant damage and not take a bath if you tried to sell.

Repairable for your love and passion? That tree leaning on it from the right looks like a major smash. If there's any rib damage, I'd say you would be a lot happier paying something more for a less damaged 'Stream. Keep the pictures coming...
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Old 03-04-2012, 04:56 PM   #9
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Thanks for the reply. Do you happen to know the tire and rim size? I want to be prepared for when we go pick it up...(tires, rims, rope, CHAINSAW!)

I believe she said it wa a '72 Overlander
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:01 PM   #10
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I agree CanoeStream, it would be better to pay for a better one, but this one is free. I plan to go get it, bring it home, check the damage and make my decision from there. If the challenge to fix it looks too big and expensive, then I will salvage/sell it and hopefully make some money that way. Either way I do not see a negative side???
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:02 PM   #11
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Restoring an AS takes a lot of work and money. If it is done correctly you could have a great trailer to play with. But at this stage there are lots of safety issues to consider. If the shell is damaged you will have leaks. The leaks in that enviornment will result in a rotted floor and possibly rusted frame. It may have been parked because the frame is broken. If severe, any of these could pose a road hazard if it starts to disintigrate while being towed to your house. If the wheels are iron then they not be salvagable. If it is over 20 feet, make sure the brakes work. Consider having a flat bed on stand by. If things look too bad you may need to use it.
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:16 PM   #12
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Get it! get it!...then when you get it home, take it from there.
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:37 PM   #13
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Even the two 40# Al tanks are valuable, as they are over $200 each, new. If they have the old valves on them, they can be replaced. The tongue jack has value, as well as lots of other parts, like windows, the door and frame, the lockset and often the tail lights and rear bumper. Folks are always looking for bits and pieces of interior trim. If the refrigerator works still, probably it is a $200 to $300 item, used.

So, even if it is not worth repairing due to damage, I can see a thousand dollars of parts on the used market. Then good segments front and back, compartment doors, and finally scrap Al value.
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:56 PM   #14
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Whoa Big Guys Whoa!

Before any judgement is passed on this one the very first thing to do is get it out of the "Forest"! It is very hard to determine damage based on one phone photo. Take a few items with you before you spend a lot on an unknown site and trailer condition. Make sure you have a title and a bill of sale... $1.00 is acceptable to the State DMV to show ownership.
Here are the few items I would take for a first visit to determine condition.
1.) Chain saw and fuel to carefully remove all obstucting trees.
2.) 12' or longer extention ladder to access roof. Be sure to lean ladder over a rivet line for a side bow or on the awning (if one is installed) to decrease the probability of bending a panel. Never lean on the end caps as they are lighter weight aluminum and will bend.
3.) 4 or more cans of inflate-a-flat at least one per tire. The tires will be bad after sitting more than 5 years so inflate them just to pull it to a solid surface area where the tires can be removed.
4.) Hydraulic bottle jacks (2) or floor jack rated to at least 2-1/2 tons capacity plus boards to have a solid jacking area on the "forest floor" we call it ground! Remember to only use a jack to lift along the main frame rails behind the rear set of wheels. Look for rivet lines from bumper to axle. Use boards to build up under th tires to level ground and use 1/2" plywood 12" wide to make a path to solid ground or pavement.
5.)Don't worry about hooking up the trailer to a tow vehicle wiring. Wiring set ups are different now and easier to go to Harbor Freight and buy a tow light set @ $15.00 or so.
6.) Once on solid ground pull 1st Front tires on both sides up onto boards set up high enough to lift rear tires off the ground for easy removal. Check the condition of rims. If they are not too rusted you can use them to install new tires on. Make sure to balance the rims with the new tires.
7.) Return to trailer and install the two rear tires and back off the wood. Reverse the process and back up with the new tires on boards to raise the front two tires off the ground and have new tires installed. Voila' safe tires to travel on!
8.) Make sure door is closed and locked if you have keys and use the tongue chains to secure the trailer to the tow vehicle.
9.) It is always best to have a pilot vehicle behind when towing a temporary moved trailer. Registered and licensed if it's a keeper before you move it on a street or highway.
Hope this gets you started. Happy Trails, Ed
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:59 PM   #15
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By the way, in about 1982 I was in Dawson, Yukon when a tree fell on my 21' 1969 Airstream, the first one I ever owned. Put a diagonal 14" crush from the door back, really messed up the inside. But, we were loaded and did not want to try to get all of our stuff back home without the trailer, so we fixed the door enough to get it to open and close, and towed it back the 1800 miles or so, including a lot of the then unpaved Alaskan Highway. We slept in it every night. Nothing worked quite right, but it was watertight, and still towed fine. Airstreams will take a whole lot of abuse, if push comes to shove. Had that same tree fallen on a conventional trailer, it would have gone right down to the frame.

When I got it home, the insurance company even dispensed with my deductible, saying that it would have cost them a lot more to write it off up in the Yukon, had I left it there. They paid me $1300 more than it cost me when I had bought it, several years previous.

So, I bet your salvage tow will go just fine.
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:13 PM   #16
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Wow, BIG ED thank you very much for all the info. This will help a lot. Can I bother you for another question? Do you know the tire sizes off the top of your head?? Thanks again.

idroba, thanks for the encouragement. It may be an adventure getting it out but hopefully worth it.
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:38 PM   #17
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Your Welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by RSantiago View Post
Wow, BIG ED thank you very much for all the info. This will help a lot. Can I bother you for another question? Do you know the tire sizes off the top of your head?? Thanks again.

idroba, thanks for the encouragement. It may be an adventure getting it out but hopefully worth it.
Yep, Best place to get them is a Sam's Club if you are a member. Size and rating are as follows: Bias ply LT 7.00 X 15". The ones I bought were 8 or 10 ply Goodyear. That is possibly the cheapest tire you can start with and will hold up well for 5 years. If no Sams' is an option then Tires Plus will work too! Meant to tell you to be sure not to jack up the trailer under any axle tube. Ed
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:00 PM   #18
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That looks bad... but I agree with "Go get it" IF you have a place to store it...
Then, find another one that's around the same year and you'll have parts!
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:14 PM   #19
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Ed, you're the man! It will be a few weeks before I can get out there, but I will update. In my head I see only minor dents....maybe Im an optimist! We will see what reality says when I see it.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:26 PM   #20
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No problem!

If you are lucky the tree on top fell over slowly and has done very little damage. From what I can see it isn't too large a diameter so damages may be minimal. Remember to cut from the top a small segment at a time to prevent further damage to the trailer. If the trunk is still in the ground it may raise up off the roof by cutting away the top sections. Make sure you check that it won't spring up on you when you are cutting. Tie it off if you are not sure and have a good solid place to stand before cuts are made. Be Safe and report back here if you have any other questions. Glad to be of any help I can. Ed
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