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Old 04-03-2017, 03:10 PM   #1
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PA , Pennsylvania
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Dealer in southwestern PA

Hi. I am a first time buyer. I was looking at renting initially for 8-10 weeks this summer but the cost is between 7 & $10,000. With some trepidation, I am now thinking about buying a used Interstate Lounge. What dealers do you recommend in my area? I will not be able to service anything myself so service is important.

I spoke to someone at Colonial today but I sure would like to find a dealer closer to me near Pittsburgh. If there isn't one close, then I will open my search up nationally and would appreciate recommendations.

I am nervous about inspection of the unit since I am a newbie. So perhaps an area where there are inspectors available from this forum would also be appreciated.

With Gratitude,

Melissa
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:13 PM   #2
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There was a dealer called Airstream of Western PA, just east of Pittsburgh, but they went out of business last year. The sales and service offices have been taken over by this firm I believe:

http://www.rangertrailer.com/

. . . and it is my understanding that the AS service shop crew still works for Ranger, but don't quote me. Not sure what they sell at this point.

At the risk of raining on your parade, buying a used Interstate is a risky proposition for a newcomer in my personal opinion, unless you can buy a fairly recent model which is still covered by the manufacturers' [plural] warranties [plural] -- i. e. Airstream and Mercedes for the drive train.

You don't necessarily need an Airstream dealer to locate such a vehicle. I would check your local and PA Craig's Lists first, and go look at nearby vehicles even if they don't fit the bill exactly. It is Springtime, and pricing will be in a "seller's market" but you might as well start looking.

It would be reasonable to look at at least 15-20 Interstates IMO before you can make a good assessment of what is a "good deal."

Yes, lots of homework but it will pay off in the end.

Good luck!

Peter

PS -- If Colonial has a possible Interstate, you may save all kinds of time and trouble to just go look at it, and bite the bullet. You probably can't do too much better than Colonial near you IMO. Don't expect any discounts this time of year, though.
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Old 04-03-2017, 07:27 PM   #3
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There was a dealer called Airstream of Western PA, just east of Pittsburgh, but they went out of business last year. The sales and service offices have been taken over by this firm I believe:

http://www.rangertrailer.com/

. . . and it is my understanding that the AS service shop crew still works for Ranger, but don't quote me. Not sure what they sell at this point.

At the risk of raining on your parade, buying a used Interstate is a risky proposition for a newcomer in my personal opinion, unless you can buy a fairly recent model which is still covered by the manufacturers' [plural] warranties [plural] -- i. e. Airstream and Mercedes for the drive train.

You don't necessarily need an Airstream dealer to locate such a vehicle. I would check your local and PA Craig's Lists first, and go look at nearby vehicles even if they don't fit the bill exactly. It is Springtime, and pricing will be in a "seller's market" but you might as well start looking.

It would be reasonable to look at at least 15-20 Interstates IMO before you can make a good assessment of what is a "good deal."

Yes, lots of homework but it will pay off in the end.

Good luck!

Peter

PS -- If Colonial has a possible Interstate, you may save all kinds of time and trouble to just go look at it, and bite the bullet. You probably can't do too much better than Colonial near you IMO. Don't expect any discounts this time of year, though.
Peter, Lots of bubble bursting today but that's ok! I am getting closer to giving up this pursuit but not quite yet! I contacted Ranger and they do not have any Airstreams.

Do you know anything about Fretz RV near Philly? I talked to someone briefly on the phone but I was not as impressed as I was talking to someone from Colonial.

I would definitely need someone to inspect since I am a newbie. Perhaps this is not a realistic expectation/request. Hmmm...

-Melissa
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Old 04-04-2017, 07:31 AM   #4
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We almost went to Fretz for a used AS, but then located our current FC20 at the old dealer I mentioned. So -- no experience with Fretz, as such.

Years ago we looked at many RV's and AS trailers at Colonial, including at some RV shows, and I found Patrick Botticelli both knowledgeable and easy to deal with. Once you find a trustworthy sales rep, the extra time and cost of going back to him or her is well worth it, compared to the unknown IMO.

If you can't find an Interstate nearby for sale on Craig's List, I would make an appointment to test drive 1-3 at Colonial and bite the bullet. They might have some Travato RV's which are similar, and I looked at one there a couple of years ago with Patrick. Just a way of getting your feet wet.

Maybe think of embarking on the journey of RV/AS ownership, as the beginning of a process, not a discreet "gotta have one now" kind of expectation?

Patience is often the key ingredient IMO.

Good luck!

Peter

PS -- As Steinbeck said in Travels With Charley -- In Search of America:

“Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
[emphasis added]
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Old 04-04-2017, 09:40 AM   #5
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Hi

Great long time RV dealer in Ducansville, PA - Altoona. They took the line on this year, have sent technicians to the plant and have Airstreams in stock. I've known the operation for years, bought a Motorhome from them and traded it on an Airstream which they got for us long before they became Airstream dealers. Airstream of Western PA is their name for the Airstream part of their business.

I'd suggest you give them a call 1-800-231-9817, ask for Marc Ansley, he is one of the two brothers who are second generation owners. If you want tell Marc Bud sent you, it might help. If you want any more info PM me.

By the way the former dealer in Greensburg went out of the Airstream business and are no longer a certified Airstream Servicing dealer either. The technicians are great, but they can't buy parts from Airstream.

Bud
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Old 04-04-2017, 09:42 AM   #6
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Maybe rather than renting something for the summer, prohibitively expensive, rent it for a week or two and take a trip in it.

This dealer is not as close as you would like, but may be an option....we had dealt with them a couple of times over the years, and had no problems, they also billed themselves as having the largest selection of Class B motorhomes in the country.

http://www.carolinacoach.com/--xalli...e&vc=class%20b

Maggie
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Old 04-04-2017, 10:31 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by paiceman View Post
. . .
By the way the former dealer in Greensburg went out of the Airstream business and are no longer a certified Airstream Servicing dealer either. The technicians are great, but they can't buy parts from Airstream.
. . .
Thanks for the clarification to Post #2. I had been wondering about that, as Carl was very helpful when we got our FC20 a couple of years ago.

Melissa, here is the link for the dealer to which Bud is referring IMO:

https://www.ansleyrv.com/

Good luck!

Peter
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Old 04-04-2017, 10:32 AM   #8
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Thanks for the clarification to Post #. I had been wondering about that, as Carl was very helpful when we got our FC20 a couple of years ago.

Peter
Carl and Alex are the best in my opinion. But things change. I have confidence in Ansley's.
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Old 04-04-2017, 12:16 PM   #9
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Airstream dealer southwest pa

I'm from the pittsburgh area. I got my airstream interstate from arbogast in dayton ohio.. Good people excellent service
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Old 04-04-2017, 04:26 PM   #10
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Has anyone had any experience with any service work done by https://www.ansleyrv.com/?
I bought from Colonial in NJ and have had warranty work done there, but it is over 4 hours away. https://www.ansleyrv.com/ is only 1/2 that distance.
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Old 04-04-2017, 05:19 PM   #11
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Melissa...remember also that it's not a bad drive to the factory in Ohio if needed sometime.
Dave in northern WV
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Old 04-04-2017, 07:36 PM   #12
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Has anyone had any experience with any service work done by https://www.ansleyrv.com/?
I bought from Colonial in NJ and have had warranty work done there, but it is over 4 hours away. https://www.ansleyrv.com/ is only 1/2 that distance.
See Posts #5 and 7.
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Old 04-04-2017, 08:28 PM   #13
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I would make the trip to Colonial. They are very good at what they do and worth the trip.

I looked at units up an down the east cost including Airstream of Western PA. In fact I flew from Boston to see them.

I'll keep it short and say I did the right thing with Colonial, a shout out for Patrick as well, he genuinely cares about the Airstream brand.
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Old 04-04-2017, 09:22 PM   #14
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You are looking at RV'ing so I'd suggest a change in mindset and embrace the whole distance driving thing. We checked out several dealers for B units before buying a Travel trailer from Airstream entirely by chance. There is a reason many people here recommend Colonial and I am in that camp as well. Family business and they take the time to fit you into the correct unit. I was there to buy a much more expensive B but after their counseling which involved truly understanding my needs, left with a unit at half the MSRP and a great deal to boot.

Buying a used car is fairly simple because the downside is easily understood and rectified. You are out money but any decent town has several people who can fix it at an easily determined market price. Plus, your car can be towed anywhere fairly easily.

The RV, however, is a mobile home that flexes as you drive it and what worked the prior evening, didn't fare well over the last pothole. Repair shops are few and far between and there is nothing like a market price to fix anything. The dialogue is more like a "please help me and don't bankrupt me" as you do it kind of relationship. Plus, this is supposed to be fun and you only have so much time to RV unless you are retired. Add in some kids and or dogs to the mix when broken down and it becomes a chore albeit a teaching moment. Point is, think long and hard about about matching correctly the $ savings of an older used unit with your mechanical and patience skills to maintain what will eventually go wrong. Also remember that the inspection/survey is an opinion at a point in time. The old boater story about ignoring the hull surveyor who suggested replacing the sinks because he was so new he didn't understand the implications comes to mind.

That said, even Colonial ignored the payload issue insisting my TV could pull it. While the Sequoia could pull it by the numbers, nobody explained that it would have to be virtually empty to do so. When doing the research, don't ignore tow vehicle payload capacity.
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Old 04-05-2017, 05:38 AM   #15
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Peter, Lots of bubble bursting today but that's ok! I am getting closer to giving up this pursuit but not quite yet! I contacted Ranger and they do not have any Airstreams.

Do you know anything about Fretz RV near Philly? I talked to someone briefly on the phone but I was not as impressed as I was talking to someone from Colonial.

I would definitely need someone to inspect since I am a newbie. Perhaps this is not a realistic expectation/request. Hmmm...

-Melissa
Hi Melissa,

Wondering if you are still hanging in here, or have moved on? AirstreamCHS's recent post gives some good food for thought IMO.

Cheers,

Peter
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Old 04-05-2017, 11:49 AM   #16
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Gratitude

Hi Peter and many others!!

Sooo many great replies!! I read the replies last night and honestly didn't know the best way to respond.

I wanted to give a little bit more information. Initially, I plan to use the RV within 1-2 hours from home mainly for sporting events and day trips. My son travels for his baseball team and I thought this would give us (including my younger daughter) a lot of options. And it would give us a way to transport my aging mom and in-laws to games too. We will not sleep much in the RV. And finally, I have to be able to drive this myself (all 5 feet of me!!) and I am not comfortable driving a trailer.

For these reasons, I thought the best option was something like the Interstate Lounge as new as possible because as many have mentioned, the last thing I want is to buy something that needs a lot of service. I cannot service anything myself.

My kids will be grown before I know it and I want to have some darn fun!! haha

Colonial doesn't really have anything in stock right now. I will probably call Ansley next per a recommendation earlier. I have either called or looked online at 20+ dealers and they either do not sell AS or they don't have what I am looking for right now.

Much Gratitude,

Melissa
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Old 04-05-2017, 12:01 PM   #17
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Hi

Great long time RV dealer in Ducansville, PA - Altoona. They took the line on this year, have sent technicians to the plant and have Airstreams in stock. I've known the operation for years, bought a Motorhome from them and traded it on an Airstream which they got for us long before they became Airstream dealers. Airstream of Western PA is their name for the Airstream part of their business.

I'd suggest you give them a call 1-800-231-9817, ask for Marc Ansley, he is one of the two brothers who are second generation owners. If you want tell Marc Bud sent you, it might help. If you want any more info PM me.

By the way the former dealer in Greensburg went out of the Airstream business and are no longer a certified Airstream Servicing dealer either. The technicians are great, but they can't buy parts from Airstream.

Bud
Bud, Thank you so much! I just left a message for Marc Ansley. We'll see what happens when he calls me back hopefully sometime tomorrow.
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Old 04-05-2017, 12:34 PM   #18
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Sounds like a good plan, Melissa!

The Interstate is a fairly complex machine, with many functions squeezed into one package. Just a reminder -- having the original transferable warranties in place will serve you well.

To replicate the driving experience, you could rent a large van like the Ford Transit. I see lots of the low roof cargo van models on the road from Enterprise and Hertz. I think they also rent the medium/high roof models in a passenger version, especially near major cities. If you have never driven such a large van, it might be a good "learn to crawl before walking" trial run to see how you feel.

For your needs (son and Mom), you might not actually need a full RV super-van, but instead would find a large passenger van preferable. We have always had vans as tow vehicles, and a couple of coolers, portable BBQ's, beach chairs, etc., go a long way for family fun together. If you want to have a real toilet on board, this would of course suggest an Interstate or comparable RV.

Good Luck and Happy Trails!

Peter
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Old 04-05-2017, 03:37 PM   #19
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PS Melissa -- you might want to peruse the list of topics in the Sprinter and B Van forum, as a number of issues with used Interstates seem to keep cropping up, notably battery management:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240/

Good luck!

Peter
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Old 04-06-2017, 12:08 PM   #20
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PS Melissa -- you might want to peruse the list of topics in the Sprinter and B Van forum, as a number of issues with used Interstates seem to keep cropping up, notably battery management:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240/

Good luck!

Peter
Thank you... I sure will!
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