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Old 02-01-2017, 02:07 PM   #1
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Ormond beach , Florida
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Opinions on the value of this AS greatly appreciated!!!

Hi all! My husband and I have been interested in purchasing an airstream for causal weekend use and a further (3 years down the road) cross country trip for about 6 mo with our 4 kids (want to wait until youngest gets older). I have been lurking on here a lot just trying to gain knowledge and see what trailers are running. Since a new model is way out of our $ range we decided to look for a 80s or so trailer that needed sprucing up but not a ton of structural work. We intended to retro fit it with double bunk beds. Then this ad popped up out the blue...not only is the trailer located less than 1 hr from me but it is already 1/2 way completed WITH double bunks.

Being that I am a newbie I am not sure how to interpret this listing...I was hoping a few seasoned ASers would share knowledge with me and weigh in on this trailer. Is this a rare find? Opinions on the value? Any questions I should ask?

(I did inquire about the axles and frame which were recently fixed during a shell off restoration)

Thank you in advance for any help!

http://www.airstreamclassifieds.com/...-29-florida-2/
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Old 02-01-2017, 06:55 PM   #2
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I think it is at best a $10k trailer. There is a pile of work to do there. Personally, I would not be interested in an "all electric" trailer unless it was gonna be set up as a park model.
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Old 02-01-2017, 08:14 PM   #3
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Agreed. I would not pay more than $6000 for this trailer. Also, you are looking at dozens of hours of work and/or thousands of dollars of extra cost to make the trailer camp ready.
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Old 02-01-2017, 08:26 PM   #4
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1972 27' Overlander
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I have a differing opinion. I think a substantial amount of the work has already been done. Frame, and skins. That means no rear end sag. Running propane line is not that difficult at all. A natures head composting toilet is $900.00 or so. If it were me, I'd ask about tanks fresh grey and black water ( if he had the floor off it would have been the time to add those) and most importantly did they replace the axles and tires.

The interior stuff is the fun part of the job, cause now you can build it out like you want it. My swag on value is somewhere around 10k for this trailer as is.
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Old 02-01-2017, 08:59 PM   #5
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Hmm...
Looking at the pictures alone, I would almost be willing to pay another $7500 to have my similar trailer in that state. Which would be still many thousands short of 17,900. That said, I wouldn't trade the knowledge I have and will gain when I reach this point in the process. Trucking that trailer around with 4 kids and only a nominal true insight as to what has been done would make me nervous. You have 3 years to do your own reno on a much cheaper trailer or 3 years to save for a much more expensive trailer.
Good luck in your decision.
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:39 AM   #6
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Ormond beach , Florida
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Originally Posted by Iansk View Post
Hmm...
Looking at the pictures alone, I would almost be willing to pay another $7500 to have my similar trailer in that state. Which would be still many thousands short of 17,900. That said, I wouldn't trade the knowledge I have and will gain when I reach this point in the process. Trucking that trailer around with 4 kids and only a nominal true insight as to what has been done would make me nervous. You have 3 years to do your own reno on a much cheaper trailer or 3 years to save for a much more expensive trailer.
Good luck in your decision.
Did you mean that you are placing the value at about 7500?

Just to clarify, our goal leave date is in 3 years...so we wanted to get the trailer much sooner than that to do any necessary work and "work out the kinks" on small weekend trips before doing a big cross country excursion.

I appreciate everyone's input!
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:34 AM   #7
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I for one don't like buying a gutted trailer, you can get one with all the GUTS intact and modify them to your liking, at not much more cost than the 6-7000 that trailer is likely worth. Then you have a lot lees work and a lot more fun.. But if you are prepared for a total interior build then have at it.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Megwuf View Post
Did you mean that you are placing the value at about 7500?

Just to clarify, our goal leave date is in 3 years...so we wanted to get the trailer much sooner than that to do any necessary work and "work out the kinks" on small weekend trips before doing a big cross country excursion.

I appreciate everyone's input!
I was saying (if rather vaguely) that I'd almost be willing to pay an additional 7500 on top of what I paid for my similar airstream to just have it in that condition which totals much less than the asking price of this trailer. If I were to put a value on the one you are looking at, I would seriously consider what has been purchased and how much value it is to me. Do I want these particular items? Does that value translate? Do I want electric only (no)? Without all the extra stuff, I'd pay around 7,500-9,000 depending on what has been done and how much I'd have redo according to my particular needs and wants. A leak free (I'd be skeptical if I didn't do it myself) coach with a fully fixed frame (again, skeptical) would be of great value to me. I prefer to do it myself, as it's the only way to truly know my airstream.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:24 AM   #9
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Don't rush to buy. I paid 15k for my gently used 1999 excella 30,' three years ago on Craigslist. Airstream started making 6'' wider trailers in '95. It sleeps 6. It did need cleaning, had some scratches, and has a 6'' crease near the beltline in the back. All the systems worked, except one light switch by the door. Set aside funds for tires and gadgets. You live in Florida, so the prospects are plentiful. If you live near the Airstream only campground, there's a bulletin board with units for sale. If nearby, make a day trip to this campground. If you come up empty, leave contact info and find a restaurant along the way as plan B. Remember... cash is still king, and shopping for it... is half the fun. Good luck
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:35 AM   #10
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I might have been mistaken I didn't see that there were some improvements already made. That changes the picture somewhat.
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Old 02-02-2017, 12:03 PM   #11
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All excellent advice, especially those regarding whether axles and floor have been replaced. But the key question I would ask myself is am I able... and willing....to spend a large amount of time diligently building out this camper, including all electric, gas lines, and plumbing. If I were honest with myself...despite my usual jumping into projects with boyish enthusiasm...I'd have to admit THIS much work isn't worth my time. Just be honest with yourself on that issue to avoid subsequent regrets and then bitterness. Good luck, either way. jon
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Old 02-02-2017, 01:00 PM   #12
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1964 22' Safari
Ramona , California
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Exciting that you are getting into the Airstream club and are exposing yourself to Aluminitis (it is a permanent disease!). It is probably less about the cost (but to me about $8K-10K would be in the range) and more about what you are able and willing to do and how much time you have before you really want to enjoy it. I expect you would have another $5K +/- into it if you were willing to do all the work. Nice that the frame and floor is good (based upon the seller but you should verify that, I assume they have many pictures they took during the process.

I have purchased 2 Safari's. A 1963 that was completely redone with a very nice art deco upfit. Stainless counters, custom cabinets, the works. The seller put in excess of $40K in outside work (yes he definitely paid to much). I purchased the trailer for less than $10K. My other one is a 1971 Safari in 100% original condition. Inside is almost as it came off the showroom (which was crap since they built with cheap materials during that phase). Outside is a skin in good condition, no significant damage and no corrosion. That one was about $13K. So to me $17.9K ask is very high on this add. But no doubt is a fair ask from the sellers perspective because they too probably put a ton of time and money into what they have already completed. Just know that you don't necessarily have to be the one to pay for that. You spend the money to restore these because you love it and want to preserve a piece of history. It rarely will turn out to be a cash flow positive investment.
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Old 02-02-2017, 01:05 PM   #13
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With four kids I would seriously consider getting a longer trailer. We too have four kids. We started with a 1964 Overlander (26') which was okay for a while, but as the kids got bigger became too crowded for six people so we bought a 1974 Sovereign (31'). Our longest trip in the Overlander was 2 months when the kids were 7-12 years old. I found very little difference in towing 31' compared to 26', but it made a huge difference in interior space. We still have the Overlander too, but if I had it to do over I would start with the larger trailer.

Your tow vehicle will also be a consideration. When our kids were smaller we towed with a Suburban, which didn't leave a lot of room for cargo behind the third row of seats. With our current tow vehicle, a crew cab truck with 8' bed, we have much more cargo space, but with the disadvantage of having to sit three across. So as the kids got bigger we not only had a larger trailer but also much more cargo space in the tow vehicle.
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Old 02-02-2017, 01:10 PM   #14
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Pay no more than 7500, assuming the holding tanks are still intact. Ad says they are, but haven't been tested. Unless the tanks have somehow been damaged, they should be ok, or at least easily repairable. RUN, don't walk from the composting toilet. The amount of water you use in a regular RV toilet is small when compared to the amount of water you would use trying to clean the pseudo-composter, let alone getting yourself cleaned up afterwards. And then there all the other negatives associated with them. They do not save water in the long run.

Sorry for the diversion from the subject at hand. Sore spot for us. We've had one. For $17,900 you could buy a pretty nice trailer and convert to bunks. With a trailer like that you could make cosmetic adjustments as you age with it and other repairs as needed.
With the advertised trailer, you have some heavy duty work ahead, although I will say that if they have done what they say they have done, sandblasting etc. they are to be commended. It's just too much money. I also noticed that the cabinets they have built, while appearing very solid, also look VERY heavy.
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Old 02-02-2017, 02:59 PM   #15
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This trailer is a perfect example of the question of whether the money you put into a refurbushment is an investment, or just an expense.

The seller here is considering all of the work that has been done an investment, and expects to at least break even on the materials, plus get paid for all the labor. Most of the viewers of the ad struggle to see a trailer worth $17k.

I have seen plenty of used trailers for under $17k that are in good condition, ready to camp, and don't have any peculiarities (design choices) like electric only systems or yet-to-be-installed composting toilets. Having done a shell-off on my own trailer, I understand completely the amount of work involved with a floor replacement and frame repair. I don't ever expect to get paid for it, though.

If you are willing to spend $17k, there are some great trailers out there (though you must still proceed with caution). What is tough is finding a trailer for under $5k that is in good shape.

good luck!
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:37 PM   #16
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Rethink your children's age when it comes to the best time to buy. Our's were 5 1/2 and and 8. After we started camping we realized we should have started when they were much younger. When they get older they won't want to go camping because they miss their friends. Invite their friends and take tents in lieu of extra length if necessary. One time, when bad weather sprang up one night, we had 8 adults in our present trailer. The floor is a good bed in a weather emergency. If you want to redo an older trailer buy one that has an OK shell (aluminum tent). Go camping and refinish as time permits. You are going to experience many years of happy camping. We still do after 47 years and now our kids and their kids do. What a great investment the three aluminum trailers have been.
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:42 PM   #17
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This advice will be thought of as heresy but here it is. If you're really going to spend 6 months traveling with 4 kids, get a 35 foot or more 5th wheel or motorhome with slide outs. Even the largest Airstream is going to be a war zone shortly after departure due to lack of personal space.

If you take a look at the people camping in Airstreams, they are predominately couples and singles. Families are in fivers or big motorhomes.

Start the Airstream project after your return from the 6 month adventure. It will be a lot better for everyone.
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:45 PM   #18
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And no one has mentioned the "all electric" aspect. You are severely limiting yourself. In my mind, an all electric trailer is one you park somewhere with hookups and take the tires off.
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:42 PM   #19
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And no one has mentioned the "all electric" aspect. You are severely limiting yourself. In my mind, an all electric trailer is one you park somewhere with hookups and take the tires off.
I mentioned it in post #2....just sayin'...
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:09 PM   #20
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A '79 is likely going to need new axles; I don't see that they have changed them!. Can you live with all-electric...no propane for heating, cooking, hot water when there is no or limited electric...i.e. 15 amps.
Note about the weight of cabinets is valid... I wouldn't be happy with the look of fir-ply cabinetry! This might make a good park model for someone if they could actually find a park to accept its age!
Keep looking
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