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Old 03-06-2013, 05:01 PM   #1
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Good years-bad years ?

Starting to look for a used 16-25' AS and wonder if there are certain years/models that have better workmanship and fewer problems than others.
Ideally, I'd like to find vintage that is already completely restored but they seem to be hard to find. So, probably looking for something between 1993 and 2003.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:35 AM   #2
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Hi, and welcome to the forums!

In your vintage Airstream search, I think you are taking the correct approach--try to find one that has already had the work done, so you can spend your time using your trailer, rather than restoring it. You might try monitoring the AirForums classified ads, as you may have a better chance of finding a good trailer there than Craigslist. Be sure you have a complete idea of what full "restoration" entails. Fresh carpet, upholstery, interior paint and exterior shine do not a Restoration make.

As far as good years/bad years I can make some generalizations:

Pre-1969 trailers are generally considered by the vintage crowd to be better built, and at least less prone to floor rot in the rear of the trailer (body style changed in 1969 that promotes water draining into the rear of the trailer). They are also constructed of 2024 T3 Alclad aluminum, which will take a nice mirror shine and is tougher (less prone to dimpling in a light hail storm).

1970's and newer trailers generally have the same body shape and design shortcomings that result in problems like floor rot in the rear and rear end separation. Airstream has experimented with different alloys of aluminum ever since ~1970. It is a common belief that as time has gone on, the aluminum has gotten less tough, and more prone to damage, and less beautiful. If you look around the forums, you will find owners reporting floor rot in trailers that were built in the last 10 years, so be careful about thinking a newer trailer will eliminate the worries about leaks and rot.

I would recommend you choose the genre of trailer based on what you like (length, width, features, etc.), and then try to find one that has already had the work done.

Good luck!
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:51 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mountair View Post
Starting to look for a used 16-25' AS and wonder if there are certain years/models that have better workmanship and fewer problems than others.
I don't think workmanship has varied much. The 1970s-era trailers, especially larger ones with a rear bath, have the problems with rear-end separation. But then, in most cases people contemplating a 40+ year old trailer intend to perform a complete restoration and so initial condition doesn't matter much.

Quote:
Ideally, I'd like to find vintage that is already completely restored but they seem to be hard to find. So, probably looking for something between 1993 and 2003.
Fully restored trailers do come on the market but they are expensive and you'll be conducting a region-wide if not nationwide search.

Condition of late 1990s trailers varies widely depending on how they've been used and stored. Gently used and kept inside they can be like new. Some are basket cases. Be careful.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:38 PM   #4
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Mountair,
Welcome to the neatest forum on the 'net. Our son graduated from ASU in '03. We love Boone! Like you, Lin and I started looking for our AS by combing the internet, both the Classifieds here and the listings at RVTrader.com seemed to be about the best. After months of looking and refining our want list we looked at a few gently used units. We found her in South Carolina, and feel in love in Spring 2011. We are still in love to this day. Also, like you, I thought I wanted a short one. Don't be shy about length. Our 30 pulls like a dream.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:42 PM   #5
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I don't think workmanship has varied much. ... Gently used and kept inside they can be like new. Some are basket cases. Be careful.
I would respectfully disagree based upon a recent purchase... PM if you need details.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:18 PM   #6
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What about all the bad frames in the 2003 and newer CCD trailers. I would think those would be ones to stay far away from.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:40 PM   #7
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i have a 1971 29 ft and pulls good would not trade or sell it we love it
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post

As far as good years/bad years I can make some generalizations:

Pre-1969 trailers are generally considered by the vintage crowd to be better built, and at least less prone to floor rot in the rear of the trailer (body style changed in 1969 that promotes water draining into the rear of the trailer). They are also constructed of 2024 T3 Alclad aluminum, which will take a nice mirror shine and is tougher (less prone to dimpling in a light hail storm).

1970's and newer trailers generally have the same body shape and design shortcomings that result in problems like floor rot in the rear and rear end separation. Airstream has experimented with different alloys of aluminum ever since ~1970. It is a common belief that as time has gone on, the aluminum has gotten less tough, and more prone to damage, and less beautiful. If you look around the forums, you will find owners reporting floor rot in trailers that were built in the last 10 years, so be careful about thinking a newer trailer will eliminate the worries about leaks and rot.
Thanks for all the good comments. The search for a used unit seems like a corn maze...lot's of potential wrong turns.
What are the beatrice years specifically ?
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:05 PM   #9
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The Beatrice years were from '67 to '79. There are plenty of folks who think those are "bad" years for material quality, but I think its way blown out of proportion. The main problems seen with this era of trailer is rot in the rear end flooring, and tail end droop, sag, and separation. All of these problems are specific to the design (both the shape of the trailers, and the length), and are difficult to simply blame on "poor quality materials." As mentioned above, there are trailers built since 2000 that have cracked frames, and floors made of particle board that disintegrate when they get wet. At least the Beatrice trailers had plywood floors.
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:26 AM   #10
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Year Airstream changed the clear coating

Can someone tell me when Airstream changed the clear coating? I was told it was 1999 or 2000. Does this eliminate the clear coat peeling?
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:42 AM   #11
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The current trailers use Alcoa aluminum panels with a plastic-cote by Akzo. This started in mid 1999. I have heard plenty of anecdotes concerning the current plasticote eventually aging, degrading, and peeling, so it would not appear that it is a permanent solution. I replaced one of the segments on my trailer with a new one with the current plasticote, and so far it has proven resistant to any stripper I have thrown at it, if that is any reassurance.
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:16 AM   #12
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Alcoa aluminum with plastic-cote by Akzo

Thank you for this info. We are looking at a 1999 Safari. I will ask current owners if it has this. I understand it is not perfect solution but trailer appears to look good and has supposedly garage kept.
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:27 AM   #13
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There are some other threads with similar discussions. One thing I remember reading that i did not see mentioned is the materials besides the shell that one refurber on here shared

60's wood inside
70's plastic inside

Comment on CCD frames. I do not believe that all CCD frames of 2003+ are bad. I thought that was only an issue with one model- the 22'.

Look at the trailers that you find. Buy a moisture meter. Look at overall condition.

My unit, as far as I know has no floor rot but it had other issues as any used item may have. The original owner drove off once with the awning not locked down. It blew around and caused some denting and scratching as the brace piece came loose and the top spring castor bounced around on the top roof area. Aside from surface abrasion it is ok. Things happen. I paid a lower price. You will find something.

The changes in the shell carry a good and bad. I really like the all clad and it will last but it should be polished. I do not know the years specifically but after the all clad came the ones that have clear coat that peels- needing refinished every so often. Then finally the newer style aluminum that is coated in like a thick plastic (I was told it is not clear coat [looks clear to me!]) but they suffer from between coat corrosion known as filliform- not like rust but just ugly. The positive is that it requires the least maintenance (aside from chasing filliform with Corrosion X!).

The '99 sounds like a good shot. There is also reference to OSB flooring instead of plywood. Some have said that is a Safari thing- not so, at least on my Safari.
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:44 AM   #14
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Thank you for this info. We are looking at a 1999 Safari. I will ask current owners if it has this. I understand it is not perfect solution but trailer appears to look good and has supposedly garage kept.
Our early '99 peeled badly. The factory refinished it under warranty and they said, at the time, they changed chemistry just a few months later. SO THE LATER '99s supposedly don't peel. But don't bet on it.
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:52 AM   #15
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I think they changed the aluminum alloy also, hence filiform corrosion.
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Old 07-01-2014, 01:32 PM   #16
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Good years-bad years ?

Could be r Carl on the alloy though it is a natural reaction for coated aluminum that moisture gets to.

So, is there a perfect year? I say not. Yes there is floor rot and first few year pano window leaks and 70's frames And the 22' late model frame joints but not sure of bad years.

Oh and leaks at seams or riveted windows seems potentially to impact any year. I have not heard of Safari type rv windows the herr windows leaking
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:53 PM   #17
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Sometime in the 80's they put OSB floors in trailers. My 81 has plywood floors. It also has a center bath which is a great idea. The center bath units have less structural problems and they are much easier to repair since you don't have to rip out the bathroom to fix rot problems. They have larger holding tanks located over the axles where they should be. The bad is that my trailer has no real wood in it. Everything is plastic coated plywood crap. Sometime in the 80's they went back to wood interior. Rot in Airstreams is very common at the back where a plate that that holds the lid to the rear bumper storage is attached. This plate funnels water into your sub floor rotting it and the frame out. The really new trailers have half as many rivets and plastic coated skin that corrodes around any edges and breaks in the coating. Other places where rot can occur is around the door and at all four corners where the straight sections meet the curved sections. Also in the late 70's-early 80's the frames got stronger by using a box beam behind the wheels instead of an open channel beam. Plan on 70's trailers to be money pits. There are lots of hack job restorations over rotted floors and frames. Sometimes the deception is deliberate and sometimes it is just plain ignorance. Laminate flooring, electric only fridges and other appliances are sometimes red flags. It takes more money to put gas appliances back in a trailer as opposed to going all electric.

Perry
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Old 07-01-2014, 04:08 PM   #18
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Many people think all years are bad years for Goodyears. That's why they switch to 16" wheels.







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Old 07-01-2014, 07:59 PM   #19
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I have a 66 Trade Wind and an 86 Limited. I see lots of differences in their construction. The 66 has Alclad aluminum, which is a real plus. The softer aluminum on the 86 shows hail dents. The 86 has beautiful hickory cabinetry that still looks great. My 66 plywood rear floor was rotted out, I believe due to a leaky toilet. My 86 only had one small spot of OSB floor rot due to diligent leak repair on the shell. Dry Airstreams last longer. OSB flooring was about 1983 till 2007. The 66 had copper plumbing, the 86 has poly. The 66 furnace and water heater were shot, same in the 86. The Dura Torque axles started in 62 which is a real plus. Airstream still uses them. The insulation is crappy in both trailers. My 66 has strong fiberglass bathroom fixtures, the 86 has ABS and develops cracks. The 66 has risky aluminum 115v wiring where the 86 has proper copper wiring. The windows are unique on the 66, but nicer in the 86. The 66 looks like a silver twinkie where the 86 is the larger, more rounded body style. My 66 frame was in good condition for being a Minnesota outdoor trailer. My 86 was good also except for some rust on the rear cross member due to water leaking into the belly pan from the rear bumper and not being able to drain out. The 66 is 48 year old RV design with outdated systems, the 86 is considerably better, and new ones are better yet.

A good condition 90s trailer would offer more travel time and less fixing while you learn all about Airstreams. But there will be fixing. It likely would be cheaper than a renovated vintage trailer. If you enjoy projects working with your hands, then renovating or even restoring a vintage Airstream will fully indoctrinate you into all things Airstream. The renovated vintage Airstreams are lighter, usually have updated systems and tow very well with smaller tow vehicles.

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Old 07-03-2014, 09:35 AM   #20
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"Sometime in the 80's they put OSB floors in trailers. My 81 has plywood floors"

This is something that bothers me on the floor type- OSB versus plywood. Originally I was told all Safaris had OSB but that is not the case on mine. Then, like posted here that Airstream used OSB in all models from 1981-2007 or such and such. Does anyone know this info. I just know that my '06 Safari, built in June 05 has plywood.
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