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Old 10-10-2017, 12:44 PM   #1
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WHat are these improvements worth?

We were planning on gutting vintage AS but are new to the whole process so if we could find one with all the technical work done and just complete buildout of interior it would be well worth it since we don't really know what we're doing...yet. Found this (following) listing and wondering what value these improvements are worth as it is over our budget for one we have to do from scratch but if it'll cost us this anyway and saves the time and hassle it may be a good one for us. Are there any other huge jobs ($ or knowledge wise) that have been left off that still need to be addressed? Any advise is welcome... please read listing below...
1969 31' sovereign international
"This is a fully gutted AS, new sealed floor, putting in new axles next month, all windows intact and resealed. I am prepping this shell for a complete renovation without all the hard stuff no one wants to deal with i.e. floors, frame etc. this thing will be the best AS on the road once finished, new 15k AC w/heat strip, 100w solar panel with controller, electric tongue jack, front corner rock guards, curb side and rear awnings, all LED exterior lighting, aluminum tank cover, two fully auto fantastic vents, 3 skylights, and the list goes on. No low ballers, resellers, etc."
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Old 10-10-2017, 12:58 PM   #2
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Should maybe mention...we are planning on full timing for about a year with our 6 & 10 year old kids which is why we are looking at the larger size. Would you suggest 26'-28' instead? Are they any easier to haul or do a few feet really make much difference for living space vs maneuverability?
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Old 10-10-2017, 01:03 PM   #3
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Without seeing/knowing the quality of work, it is difficult to say what the added value is.

Example: if a new floor is installed but the frame beneath it has not been repaired and/or prepared correctly,,,, or if the new wood sub-floor does not extend beneath the walls,,,, it does not have added value because it needs to be done again.

It's the same with the other items, value is added with quality materials and quality work.

I would guess the work is less than 50% done. Lot's of $ to go.
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Old 10-10-2017, 01:04 PM   #4
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The ad didnít list the price, though based off the general tenor of the ad Iíd probably keep progressing in my search. I consider myself a realist and am cautious when all the hard work is supposedly done. It may be a great deal, though. Too much not known, but the asking price would be most useful to someone offering their thoughts on the deal. And again, lots there sounds like a really fantastic trailer, but it costs a lot depending on the details of the work done. Best wishes on your search!
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:01 PM   #5
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In terms of size I travel full time with 3 of us (7 year old). We moved from a 25 to a 30.

The jump was more significant inside than outside. I.e. the 30 doesn't tow much different but offers a lot more room inside.
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:01 PM   #6
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Be nice if the seller could provide pictures before and after during the major parts like the floor. If the frame is not too bad rusty and the floor is in good that would be a big help. As would the axles. I would go look at it for the experience even if I decided not to buy it.

We are lucky enough to have a 32 and a 25. Not much difference in the effort to pull either. If you are going to full time I would look at the longer ones because you can use the room and they are generally a bit cheaper than the shorter ones. It is nice to have a closet and room for more than 2 people to sit. If you are crossing the country stopping every 3 days in forest service campgrounds or parks the shorter trailer has more ground clearance and turns around easier when you make a "mistake" in routing.

My thinking is that it might be cheaper overall to find a newer Airstream that you can use pretty much as is than to rebuild a very old one from scratch. I like the mid to late 80's models myself. But they do not have the classic look of the older ones. Custom interior does not interest me so much. I can adapt to the machine.

Worrisome things on older Airstreams are excessive rust on the frame, rear end separation, long term leaks that rot the floor and cause frame rust, and the tanks and dump valves. Appliances to me not so worrisome. They can be changed.
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:16 PM   #7
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In the current condition of a gutted shell as far as am concerned it is worth the salvage value of the aluminum. Statements about planned renovations are worthless. Sounds like ad written by a con man hoping to catch someone that does not read between the lines.
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMc View Post
The ad didnít list the price, though based off the general tenor of the ad Iíd probably keep progressing in my search. I consider myself a realist and am cautious when all the hard work is supposedly done. It may be a great deal, though. Too much not known, but the asking price would be most useful to someone offering their thoughts on the deal. And again, lots there sounds like a really fantastic trailer, but it costs a lot depending on the details of the work done. Best wishes on your search!
How did I cut that off?!? He asking price is $10k. Many I've been interested in are $3,500-$5000 but need Everything done. So just trying to see if these are $5000-6500 worth of improvements considering time and labor we'd be saved.
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:44 PM   #9
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In the current condition of a gutted shell as far as am concerned it is worth the salvage value of the aluminum. Statements about planned renovations are worthless. Sounds like ad written by a con man hoping to catch someone that does not read between the lines.
I've requested photos. More than half the listings in Florida seem to be scams so I'm very cautious. So much so that I've lost out on 2 so far because they go so fast. The ad sounds like the improvements have already been made. Hopefully I will get some photos- kind of takes the fun out of it always thinking you're going to get taken advantage of.
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:21 PM   #10
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IMO a gutted shell is worth less than the Airstream you started with.

The frame and subfloor are not "all the hard stuff." They're just the hardest things to fix after you build out the interior.

All things being equal, I'd rather have a complete unit in "as found" condition than someone else's failed reno. That way I can inspect the tanks, I can repair and coat the frame to my satisfaction, I can select the running gear I want, I can use the subfloor materials I want, and I can be confident in the quality of my work.

Don't reimburse someone for the sunk costs of a failed project. If they're not sufficiently competent to finish it, that doesn't give me much confidence in the work they've done to this point. This unit should be sold at fire sale prices.
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:42 PM   #11
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Above is exactly my thought. Well said.
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:17 PM   #12
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If as you say ďyou donít know what you are doingĒ I recommend buying a used Airstream that has been well cared for. I always say to buy the best one that you can afford. Look at lots of them so you can learn the value of them and can figure out what you want.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:02 PM   #13
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IMHO, if you are planning on living in something full time with your family you will either want a trailer that's as close to new as you can get or something that's fully renovated.

$10k will get you a fairly decent non-airstream trailer or possibly an older, well cared for airstream. If you're not comfortable doing the "hard" work then it may be better to buy something turn-key rather than thinking you'll be able to complete a renovation by the time you plan on moving in.

Putting a puzzle back together that you didn't take apart is hard, adding in the very real possibility of sub-standard work done by someone who's just trying for an easy flip (selling a non-finished project) is a recipe for heartache.

Bottom line, keep shopping.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:23 PM   #14
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Thank you so much for all the replies. I tend to jump right in and needed someone to talk sense. Think we'll keep looking for now. Don't want to buy the wrong one just because I'm eager to get started.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:43 AM   #15
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It is all about managing expectations.

Ask yourself this question: Do you want a massive rennovation project, or a trailer you can camp/live in? A full gut-and-rebuild project can take years. If you want to start your full-timing adventure soon, then you should be looking for a trailer that is pretty close to being ready to go.

$12k ought to buy a vintage trailer that is in sound, campable condition. Paying 10K for an empty shell with a questionably replaced floor seems high. As someone mentioned above, if all the "hard work" were really done, then why doesn't this seller just do the "easy" stuff and double or triple his money. Its because an empty shell is still a mountain of work, and the difficulties are multiplied if you don't even have the original furnishings to use as a template.

have a read through some of the "full monty" rennovation threads on these Forums. Subscribe to the Vintage Airstream Podcast (The VAP). Buy a DVD
with all the old episodes, and you can absorb a lot of information as you do your daily commute.

good luck!
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:08 AM   #16
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If it's the same ad that's been posted for a few months - it's been there for quite awhile and it must continue be available for a reason. Same story with real estate - some houses sell in hours others sit for months for a variety of reasons. I have to believe you can find a ready to roll Airstream for ~$10K and you can get on the road having fun before your young ones are teenagers ...
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:23 PM   #17
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The person doing the work may be no more competent than you are to do this work. Unless this person has a reputation for renovating Airstreams, I would be very cautious of any claims. I'm in agreement with many other posters, look for something complete and in working order. Your enjoyment of you full timing experience as well as your family's safety depends on a good ,sound Airstream.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:42 PM   #18
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you should be able with persistence to find a 31' or 32' sovereigh or excella for 10,000 that won't need tons of work. I had two, now have an older 26', which would not work for fulltiming, its simply too small inside. a gutted trailer would be a ton of work, and still cost a fair amount to complete to your liking.
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Old 10-11-2017, 02:20 PM   #19
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What they said! And I say,Run from that P.O.S. You will save-money by spending more? No it is true get something that's all there and works. We all want to know how this works out for you. Hope you find a good one!
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Old 10-11-2017, 11:15 PM   #20
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You might want to broaden your search to include Avion units. I really like mine, and they tend to be the (larger) size you are looking for. There is a bit of history behind them, and I don't want to bore you, but they are quite similar to airstream; a bit heavier and a bit taller, so more room inside and so you lose a bit of the fuel efficiency, and you will want a substantial truck to pull it. There seems to be more supply than demand, and the folk at this site are generous enough to consider them 'sisters' or at least cousins, and welcome me with my unit.
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