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Old 03-31-2018, 06:45 PM   #1
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Smile Price Advice for Gutted Airstream

hello and thank you for your help!

I've been communicating with the owner of a 1968 22' Land Yacht but cannot figure out what a fair price is even having done a lot of homework and research.

I can't tell whether it being gutted is value on the seller's side or good luck for me (that is what I want). Did they partially restore it for me by removing the interior and so, leans towards a restored valuation or is it closer to As Found condition which would presume its value has been degraded? The owner started at $10,000 and hs lowered it to 8,500. My initial assessment was it was likely worth $3,500 - 4,000 and so not worth driving to see if he was being unrealistic. I need advice!

If it's likely worth 5,000 (presuming it's on the solid side) I'd feel confident checking it over and make a fair offer based on someone with experience's advice under my belt. I'm going to see it in person with a four page checklist. And my dad. If there aren't leaks and issues. If it is a solid starting point I am estimating 8-9,000 basic finish out, electricity and room for many unknowns. I'm 14,000 in if I paid 5,000 and 9,000 for finish out. I don't want to overpay for the trailer though.

Here is the listing I am referring to https://austin.craigslist.org/tro/d/...510012195.html

The reason I'm looking for a gutted Airstream (22' or shorter) is to finish out into a sometimes extra bedroom at home and to hit the road with also! I'm completely new to Airstream ownership. Please advise!

Denise
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Old 03-31-2018, 07:57 PM   #2
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IMO, That trailer is waaaay over priced.
To me, it's worth less than "as found" since there is so much missing.

I think in the end you will spend twice what you have estimated, or more, in order to get it in working condition.

If the frame and running gear is not in good condition it's value is only scrap metal prices.
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Old 03-31-2018, 08:10 PM   #3
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Okay, here's my take.

A gutted Airstream is a liability. You have know idea of where stuff goes, how it was assembled, where, or how the weight was distributed in the trailer, what electrical does what; you know nothing. If the owner has kept all the interior bits and pieces that you can work with, maybe you have something; if not, then you are starting from square one. As far as I'm concerned, the trailer is just worth scrap value unless they have repaired the frame or replaced axles.

Building up a trailer from scratch is a very daunting task, (which is why so many trailers are for sale gutted, and never finished), it takes a lot more science and calculations, than design to construct a trailer that will be as light as possible and tow correctly; build it wrong and you'll end up with an untowable nightmare.

Restoring a trailer is not for the "dreamer" crowd, (who are the ones selling gutted Airstreams), it is a painstakingly long, arduous and expensive endeavour, that can take years to accomplish correctly. Only the handy, skilled and patient among us usually completes theirs.

Trust me, save your money if you are a dreamer, buy a complete trailer, use it, and if you wish to update it in the future, at least you will have an idea for what can be done, and more importantly, what can't be done by you.

Cheers
Sidekick Tony

PS: Just to give you an idea of how outside the box you must think when doing a restoration; most of the cabinetry that I built in my Classic motorhome have no bottoms, backs, limited gables, (just enough to mount drawer slides), and the top of the cabinets are the counter tops. Every thing I built was to reduce as much weight as possible........and I have a motorhome, not a trailer; renovating a trailer is much harder, for I didn't have to worry about weight distribution.
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Old 03-31-2018, 08:24 PM   #4
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To me a gutted trailer is worth no more than the wholesale price of its metal.
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Old 03-31-2018, 09:18 PM   #5
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Any trailer is worth what you're willing to pay for it. I know I paid more than I thought was normally fair for ours, but I needed to get the project started, it was exactly the model I was looking for, it was complete, and it was close to home.

That said, I think $10,000 is laughably out of line for this unit. A gutted trailer is worth far less than a complete "as found" trailer. Aside from the missing pieces, having the opportunity to gut your own unit has value. Gutting an Airstream takes a couple of days, and you'll learn more in the process about how to build a trailer than you will in a year on Airforums.

The owner has done you no favors in the work he's done to this point. Wiring is supposed to be completed before insulation, and the insulation I can see leaves a lot to be desired. And that diamond plate in the back, to me, looks like a red flag that the person working on this trailer probably didn't know what they were doing. I wonder what other sorts of surprises are lurking in this shell. You'd need to go over this whole shell with a fine-toothed comb, and importantly, need to know what to look for.

I agree with A W Warn, you're probably looking at double your estimate to get this trailer on the road, at minimum. I might pay $1,500 if I really needed it, but then I've built out one of these before. For $4,000, I'd want to see a complete, unmolested trailer. For $10,000, I'd want it to be mostly camp-ready, maybe with a few minor repairs or appliances needed.

Good luck finding the right unit for your project. I don't think this one is it.
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Old 04-01-2018, 05:11 AM   #6
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Jeez Louise, where has my English grammar gone?

Should have read "no idea" instead of "know idea".

I especially like this line from TheGreatleys, which I was trying to say in my post:

"Gutting an Airstream takes a couple of days, and you'll learn more in the process about how to build a trailer than you will in a year on Airforums."

It's not, how much you can put into a trailer; it's how little, and where it goes is important. Gutting a trailer will teach you this, if you take the time to understand what the engineer, who designed the trailer, was trying to do.

Take many, many pictures, document everything, KEEP everything until the project is complete. I can't stress that enough, KEEP everything, even if you know you're going to replace it; because you never know, you might just reuse it, but recover, or refinish it.

That is not to say there aren't far better products on the market that you can get, like the Coosa board that I replaced my sub-floor with, but finding ones that are lighter will be tougher than you think.

Cheers
Sidekick Tony
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Old 04-01-2018, 05:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by DeniseP View Post
. . .
I'm completely new to Airstream ownership. Please advise!

Denise
I would advise that you learn to crawl before you bolt across the starting line, to run the marathon which awaits anyone doing a full-on restoration.



Great advice so far . . .

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Old 04-01-2018, 07:02 AM   #8
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Dont do this. Just say no.
Good advice above.
I have an old car collection and can relate to the comments above having done a similar thing trying to restore and reuse a butchered 57 Ford wagon because I loved the glass curves until I cut my losses.
Just the weight distribution comments should give you pause enough.
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:42 AM   #9
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Pass on this “deal”. In addition to all the good advice here to not do it, keep this in mind. If you are not really mechanically inclined or have a trusted partner in the deal who is, don’t even attempt a rebuild yourself. You need to have some knowledge of plumbing, electrical, carpentry, suspension operation, weatherproofing, and with an AS metal working to some extent. Oh, and all the tools that goes with these skill. If not then you will need to hire someone to do it for you if you really want it done right. Think $$$ or $$$$ times the cost of someone who can do it themselves. I recommend passing on this one, and continue researching and learning. If you have unlimited income then this may be a moot point.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:36 AM   #10
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Smile Thank you and what about...

Thank you all SO much for taking the time for a stranger.

One thing I didn't make clear: I want to get the interior finished out with electricity, insulation and batten strips/ shell following board and batten walls. I want it to STAY empty and use this as a bedroom where it is parked. I love to camp and so I'd love to take it out on the road sometimes but do NOT plan to put cabinets or kitchen or even a bathroom back in.

I LOVE the advice about gutting one myself to absorb the knowledge therein. Was afraid I could puncture the shell -with my skill level -or not be able to see as much as I'd need to about condition of the shell as one with the interior visible. I'm going to read and re-read your comments. SO much in there. Must learn more about the work the shell does and how it is strong or compromised!!!

If, knowing I don't want to remodel to original at all or add weight (save walls, a bed / couch- which clearly I'd need to understand about how to tow along traveling) it sounds like you'd still think a gutted trailer isn't a better starting point for me?

Denise
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:38 AM   #11
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Thank you SO much for taking the time for a stranger.

One thing I didn't make clear: I want to get the interior finished out with electricity, insulation and batten strips/ shell following board and batten walls. I want it to STAY empty and use this as a bedroom where it is parked most of the time. I love to camp and so I'd love to take it out on the road sometimes but do NOT plan to put cabinets or kitchen or even a bathroom back in.

I LOVE the advice someone gave about gutting one myself to absorb the knowledge therein. Was afraid I could puncture the shell -with my skill level -or not be able to see as much as I'd need to about condition of the shell as one with the interior visible. I'm going to read and re-read all replies. SO much in there. Must learn more about the work the shell does and how it is strong or compromised!!!

If, knowing I don't want to remodel to original at all or add weight (save walls, a bed / couch- which clearly I'd need to understand about how to tow along traveling) it sounds like you'd still think a gutted trailer isn't a better starting point for me?

Denise
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:47 AM   #12
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5000.00 tops . restore or renovate ? I own a renovation shop so am able to give you a lucid idea of the real dollars involved . 1968 was 50 years ago . this was built as a camper ! go to beach for weekend ect. not the taj ! interior / no interior who cares ?
full restoration is horribly expensive . to build that trailer back to full service in my shop = minimum 15000.00 can go lots more depending on equipment .
68 is a cusp trlr , may have alum wiring . aluminum wiring should be replace .
main concern is condition of body ! skin work is expensive and qualified people hard to find . finished out and on the road with polish 22' safari worth roughly 35000.00
if restoration is your goal ? vintage clubs photo archives will give you the needed info . my shop is at 90.00 ph so less than most and what these #s are based on .
lots of shells out there , various vintages . they come from folks who realize late that they don't have they needed skills to do the job .
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:56 AM   #13
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Full disclosure - I have never taken on a project with a fully gutted travel trailer or any brand or manufacturer. However, my suggestion is to assume you will need to replace the axle, wheels and tires ($1,500 - $2,000). If you want the exterior polished and clear coated estimate $200 per foot ($4,400). Even if there have been no water leaks, you will likely want/need to seal all the seams, joints, etc. You will not want to chance ruining your new interior. Contact a couple of businesses specializing in restoring Airstreams. Get their estimates to restore your interior.

Also, in the 1960's there was only one holding tank (black water). If you will want black and grey water tanks add that cost to your ledger. You will likely need to replace the black water tank anyway.

I do not know you skill set when it comes to doing some or all of this work yourself. You will need to access that for yourself. Be brutally honest with yourself about that, however. I do not mean to discourage you but want you to have a realistic picture of the task ahead both in terms of economy and energy.

If you are at all uncertain, don't do it! You may then want to consider shopping with your budget for a unit not needing very much work. They are out there. Just hard to find. Good luck to you!

David Parker
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:57 AM   #14
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If your looking for a bedroom/shed for your property. Look for one that shows very little water damage inside, your going to have to seal all the roof penetrations regardless. Roof top a/c unit that works. Keep the 12volt system, to power up running lights and 12volt interior lights, and ceiling fans. Look for good windows and frames. curved glass is expensive if you can even find it.

I wouldnt pay more than 3500.00 for the trailer.
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:28 AM   #15
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AC/roof consideration

Gutting the interior removes the room dividing plywood. When I did this the Roof AC settled about 2 inches before I discovered it and put in a temporary support.
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:31 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeniseP View Post
One thing I didn't make clear: I want to get the interior finished out with electricity, insulation and batten strips/ shell following board and batten walls. I want it to STAY empty and use this as a bedroom where it is parked most of the time. I love to camp and so I'd love to take it out on the road sometimes but do NOT plan to put cabinets or kitchen or even a bathroom back in.
If you just want an empty shell when you're finished, gutting it yourself is less of a concern. If you got this trailer, you'd have some skin repairs to do, you'd probably want to pull out the insulation, check every rivet and seam for leaks, and wire it up before reinsulating. If it's ever going to be on the road, you probably want to pull the belly pan to look at the frame, and you'll most likely want to replace the axles.

This might be the right trailer for that sort of project. Certainly your vision is more attainable than fully refitting this trailer. But the advantage to buying a trailer like this should be price. Again, I think $1500 is fair for a shell in this condition. If the seller is at $8500, they probably need to stew for a while before they're ready to entertain a reasonable offer.

Maybe drop them a line and let them know how far off you are on price, and ask them to contact you when they're ready to consider a lower price point, then keep looking. I'd be willing to bet the seller overpaid for this trailer in the first place, spent a bunch of money and time to get to this point, and is going to have a hard time coming to terms with the idea that they've got nothing to show for all that work.
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:32 AM   #17
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EDIT… OOPS, I wrote this long, sincere response, then saw your last posts… Board and batten?? Buy a shipping container or a Home Depot shed… Stay away from vintage trailers...




The following is still my Vintage advise to others than you...


Do you understand your Jungian temperament type?? An Airstream dream cannot be executed effectively by everyone. That's why you found an abandoned project. While dreaming is an important part of the process for all of us, there are ten time more research, acquisition, lay-out dry-fit, contemplation hours to add to the thousands of working hours required. Without the stamina of a seasoned hard laborer, the romance of restoration can wane.


There is a finite number of 1968 Safaris, They're not just any old Airstream, they have added value, in that they are the last year, end of an era, and have very unique and endearing features not found in newer and older ASs. They're rare, You'll probably never find another. If you don't intend to restore it within its vein of glory, Find a cheaper, ie 73 ambassador shell, which will make a wonderful canvas on which to explore your pallet of dreams. Leave the 68 Safari to someone that knows what they're doing. There's responsibility associated with vintage restoration. I had to undo, and correctly repair everything that the PO “fixed” on my 68GT.


The single axle late sixties five segment trailers are stout, lightweight, narrow, nimble, super roadworthy, and should never be degraded into a hot dog stand, nail boutique, hair salon, pizza wagon, coffee cart, or a "sometimes spare bedroom" in the backyard. Additionally, I've noticed that those intending to hobble a trailer capable and designed for worldwide travel, get very little support from this site's membership.


The CL link you provide didn't work for me, I'm blind to its condition, so if you can upload images to this thread inquiry, some could better advise. Without seeing it, if it's a “roller”, I would value its re-buildable core value at $5000, IF… All the glass has Corning etched on them, the skin has no major dents, the original vinyl interior is unpainted, the original interior endcaps are good, all the plastic in the bath is present and intact, the floor is good enough to not require much replacement, and if the frame requires only shell-on, minimal repair. Original appliances, wiring, plumbing, heating, is worthless. 1968 electrical system is just awful by today's standard. It's likely to have unmentioned leaks. Leaks happen, get sealed, and shouldn't factor negatively.


The difference between $5000 and $8000, amortized over the years of ownership, and the end investment of $25,000, is negligible. Go look, walk around it, and if it “speaks to you” buy it, then start your love affair... 1968 Safari is pretty close to one of the sweetspots in Airstream's history. It's an opportunity for someone.


AS mentioned upthread, furnishing correctly will require serious cabinet skills. If you don't already have tools and skill to dowel, biscuit, dado, rabbet, mortise, tenon, plumb, wire, HVAC… acquire them. It costs a fortune to hire a fine cabinetmaker to site-build your furnishings, so become that person. The Airstream will introduce and teach you many skills, be excited. There are countless ASs that are refitted by people that live too close to Home Depot. You subtract value and waste money if you stack up and paste that junk into a “Vintage” trailer.


A high quality re-fitment of this trailer by a widely skilled, experienced DIY craftsman will be $20,000 in material cost. Not everyone cares if they stay ahead in the value vs investment game. Plan on losing money if you sell it soon, unfinished. It'll be a lonely, everyday job for years, be sure it's within your personality and lifestyle… It's a commitment and a rewarding education.


I budgeted $500 a month to restoration. Seven years later, I wonder why I didn't take out a loan back then, with a $500/month payment, buy my dream AS, and go trailer camping immediately.


Well, actually I do know why…



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Old 04-01-2018, 01:10 PM   #18
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Board and batten?? Buy a shipping container or a Home Depot shed Stay away from vintage trailers...



There is that........you will find certain people quite upset at your lack of commitment to restoring a pre 69 Airstream, as pre 69 is pre Beatrice, IIRC. "Sacrilege" will scream the angry mob as they storm your trailer, pitchforks and scythes in hand as you attend an AS rally with your "bedroom".

They keep the pre 69'ners in special paddocks at rally's; if you let them loose around the general population, they can be found sniffing, snorting, tut tutting and casting baleful glances at any option, up to, and including grey water tanks. Don't get them started on AS motorhomes; even my Classic motorhome is an abomination on wheels.

Cheers
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Old 04-01-2018, 01:59 PM   #19
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Desireable year and size. Body panels look good unless the pic of the front end cap shows a dent, probably a shadow. Door and window frames appear good. You don't know if the frame is good, many have put down new plywood on a shot frame. $700.00 just for the steel. Common sence says the axle is no good, 650.00 plus install. 10K was a fishing expedition, 8.5K is a joke. 4K maybe if it is EXACTLY what you want. Then only if you have the experiance / ability to build it. OR money to throw at it. Odds are he ran out of commitment or found a serious problem. It would be reasonable you could offload it for 2K. With that back stop you could leave him a cheerfull 2000.00 offer and walk away. Who knows he may call. Keep looking, they're harder to find every year, but there's still few out there. Good luck.
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Old 04-01-2018, 04:15 PM   #20
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"Sacrilege"
IMO, if it's yours, do what you want with it. These units are not that rare, and if they were, those who care could set up a foundation to buy up these trailers and put them in museums. Until then, yes, it's nice to save and restore a vintage unit, but there's nothing wrong with buying a cool vintage thing and putting it to use.

It's not like the particular unit we're discussing is much of a museum piece anyway. If OP wants to save it from the scrap heap and make it into something useful, good on her.
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