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Old 12-04-2022, 10:16 AM   #1
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1998 19' Bambi
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2022
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Buy and fix or walk away

We are new to the airstream world and trailer world. (We have always loved airstreams and thought they were beautiful but were more than we could spend) fast forward to a week ago a neighbor or is selling their 1998 Bambi.

Trailer has been sitting for 4+ years with nothing done in that time.

We would love any help/advice after receiving the inspection report. We are alittle overwhelmed with everything it will need and just do not have any idea of what the cost for these things are to get it safely on the road for our family.

Some of the tasks are minor and expected in an old trailer:

Caulking needed everywhere, new tires, new propane tanks, new antenna, new battery, wheel packed
Big things or we think?

1) skin was hot - registering 20+ Volts

2)oven didn’t work but stove worked

2) electrical: ground and neutral cables were together? Inspector said need to be required to put red with red, black with black etc.

3). Owners removed A/C unit but did not know how or if the wires were capped/taped.

4) one outlet only measured 30v so losing energy somewhere ?

5) water heater could not be tested

6) dewinterized and appeared to have some small leaks on the outside of vehicle and pump did not hold pressure. The inspector due to this was not able to inspect the water heater However, when winterizing the trailer the pump held pressure and the person was able to get the fluid all the way through the system?

Any thoughts on anything about purchasing this trailer, the repairs, costs, value etc would be appreciated. I am handy with smaller things but those big items it would have to go to a professional, which seems very expensive.

Do we walk away or if it’s worth it what would you offer for this trailer ?
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Old 12-04-2022, 11:08 AM   #2
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Sounds like nothing but problems to me.
Run away fast.

Not a great upside potential on a trailer that size if you do a bunch of work and make it stunning.

A huge downside potential of blood, sweat, and tears to get it even nice. And money. And time.

I wouldn't want that if it were given to me.

Interested to what others think.
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Old 12-04-2022, 12:13 PM   #3
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I think it boils down to asking price and how capable you are at fixing things your self.

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Old 12-04-2022, 12:26 PM   #4
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Warren , Manitoba
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If the price is right, and you can do most of the work yourself or with help of friends, it is possibly a good deal. A/C will cost you 2k. I would check for floor damage (rot) or soft spots. If i was winterized properly you should have no plumbing problems. Might need a new water pump form sitting, new tires and bearings packed. Propane tanks will need new valves and recertified if original, and probably new pigtails. If no floor problems, no bad damaged panels, plan on spending 5-10 K over buying price.
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Old 12-04-2022, 12:54 PM   #5
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2018 28' International
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This might be a good deal for someone experienced on RV repairs. I suspect it will cost you a bunch of $$$ and time to get it up to an acceptable level.
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Old 12-04-2022, 01:07 PM   #6
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Welcome to Airforums! We are glad to have you with us, even if you don't go through with this purchase.

I bought new so I can not add any expertise to the answers you are getting. I will say that the thing that I would most fear about an old trailer would be rotten floor requiring a shell-off repair. Did your inspector give you a good report on the floor? Also axles go bad over time. That trailer is at the age where if the axle is not bad yet, it will be soon--unless it has already been replaced.
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Old 12-04-2022, 01:16 PM   #7
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2002 19' Bambi
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I side with those suggesting looking elsewhere. That trailer has suffered more than just standing for 4+ years. We bought our 2002 19' Bambi new and have never had problems like you mention. Why? Probably because we have maintained it faithfully over the last 20 years.

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Old 12-04-2022, 03:24 PM   #8
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Why would someone take out an AC? That sounds like a started repair that was not finished for some reason. Makes me wonder what happened. If it was a do it your self the owner would know if the wires were capped. Normally I am for a project. I think I could deal with the wiring myself. But that does not sound like an area you are comfortable with. My feeling is that something went badly in a previous repair and the trailer may not have been properly cared for after that. Airstreams do not fair well when just abandoned for a long period.

Nothing on the first step of your list is a problem or a surprise. The storage for 4 years without using it and to some extent the wiring could lead to surprises.
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Old 12-04-2022, 04:44 PM   #9
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Little falls , New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piggy Bank View Post
Sounds like nothing but problems to me.
Run away fast.

Not a great upside potential on a trailer that size if you do a bunch of work and make it stunning.

A huge downside potential of blood, sweat, and tears to get it even nice. And money. And time.

I wouldn't want that if it were given to me.

Interested to what others think.
A trailer that size huh? Not everyone wants a Klingon battle cruiser sized pickup, and enormous glamper and 12 tons of crap for a “vacation experience”.
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Old 12-04-2022, 06:26 PM   #10
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Depending on how handy you are, how much free time you have to work on the trailer, your expectations for its final finish, and whether you have a place to store the trailer at home while fixing it. Sounds like the plumbing and electrical require some sleuthing and repairs, but this will be mostly labor (except the missing AC). Like any project, the more you look its scope tends to increase.

I'd be tempted if the price was right as long as there's no floor rot, bent or excessively rusted frame members, otherwise I'd walk away. Given what you describe this trailer may not be road ready for camping for some time assuming the average demands on the typical family parent.
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Old 12-04-2022, 07:30 PM   #11
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2019 27' Flying Cloud
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Quote:
Originally Posted by civeng99 View Post
A trailer that size huh? Not everyone wants a Klingon battle cruiser sized pickup, and enormous glamper and 12 tons of crap for a “vacation experience”.
I agree that not everyone wants a larger rig.

My comment may have sounded flip, but I will expend on it if I may to clarify my thought process:

Overall, smaller rigs have a smaller secondary market value than the 25 foot size, simply due to versatility and desirability.

Yet the costs and work to bring a used unit in the conditions mentioned would be nearly identical for the rig under consideration, vs a 25 foot model if it were in the same condition.

My comment was meant to convey that the return on investment, both time and money, might be too low on a trailer that size.
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Old 12-04-2022, 08:10 PM   #12
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1972 25' Tradewind
St Clair County , Michigan
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Does Not Sound Too Bad

You don't mention the condition of the Interior or exterior so one has to assume everything is clean, in decent condition, and usable (except the oven)


However, there are a couple clues in your list:

a) The owner removed the AC, but doesn't remember what he did with the wires.

b) One outlet only tests at 30 volts.
c) The trailer's skin tests at 20 volts (!!!)
d) The ground, neutral, and hot wires are somehow interconnected all wrong.


It sounds like when the AC was removed, the wires were not capped. They may or may not have been taped or just left bare and are now in contact with the skin, maybe each other, or both. OR EVEN WORSE, he thought the 110V AC positive black wire was the trailer's 12V negative ground and connected it to the skin or a rib. Whether it's accidental or intentional, it will completely screw up the electrical system and perhaps he tried fixing it by connecting other wires incorrectly . Truth be told, that's probably why it sat for the last 4 years because they couldn't fix it and didn't want to pay an electrician to find the "short" that's probably buried in the now vacant AC hole.
With that in mind, an electrician (or someone with a little electrical knowledge) could solve the problems pretty quickly and easily. But you wouldn't want to risk buying the trailer to see if I'm right.
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Old 12-04-2022, 08:35 PM   #13
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If you're not an avid DIY person walk away.
You would have to get it for a low price as there are many potential expensive items that may need attention. RV appliances are expensive. Axles are nearing the end of life, refrigerator is a crap shoot, tires, propane tank, AC unit, etc..... Floor rot? I have done all of this stuff to Airstreams and I didn't know how when I started but I was willing to learn.
For the right price it would be a fun project for me.
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Old 12-04-2022, 08:43 PM   #14
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1972 25' Tradewind
St Clair County , Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piggy Bank View Post

Overall, smaller rigs have a smaller secondary market value than the 25 foot size, simply due to versatility and desirability.

My comment was meant to convey that the return on investment, both time and money, might be too low on a trailer that size.

My experience is quite the opposite. The "smaller rigs" have a HUGE secondary market demand. Depending on the year, they can get as much for a 19' Bambi as a 30" in similar condition. Reason being, you don't need a $48k 3500 truck to tow it; the 19' will fit on ANY site in any campground; and they are much easier to maneuver and back up. Gas stations are a breeze; storage requirements are smaller and cheaper; maintenance is... is somewhat cheaper because you only wear out two tires instead of four or six, less surface area to wash and wax, fewer light bulbs to change, you get the idea.



The smaller ones have an extremely high demand and when they are for sale, they do not sit around long.
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Old 12-04-2022, 09:10 PM   #15
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2000 30' Excella
Shelton , CT
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FYI, There is a mechanic in Denver that we had a great experience with in our travels across the US. His name is Mark at Master Tech. 303 557-2214. His expertise is electrical but performs other work. My wife and I just reworked our 2000 Excella that had been sitting for 18 years. My only advice is do not pay more than salvage value or walk away. It will still be there next year.
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Old 12-05-2022, 07:02 AM   #16
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I'd have no problem with offering $5K for that year/model, provided straight shell (no dents), good glass, and awning intact. (If AC removed, was hole sealed up?) Another $5-$6 K invested and I'd have a $20K + trailer.

I would ask them how much they wanted before you offer....might get it for less. But I can't imagine giving much more than $5K

But like a lot of others here, I'm a DIY person with skills/tools/experience to avoid paying a shop professional.

Most all of those skills/tools/experience were gained with Airstreams and boats. Full Disclosure: Everything took longer, cost more, and was more difficult than I had anticipated. (Many surprises along the way...not the good kind)

Without the requisite skills/tools/experience or willingness to acquire them (as well as workspace to do it), you could be upside down very quickly outsourcing your renovation.

This is old but gives an idea of value.

https://www.airstreamforsale.com/199...n-montvale-nj/

"A man's got to know his limitations." & "Do you feel lucky?" both come to mind.

Unless you're willing to take on a prolonged project (6-12 mos depending on a few factors) requiring time/tools/parts and new skills, probably best to walk away.

But if you're up for an adventure, have the space, time, and money to acquire new tools and skills.....go for it.

This forum is great source of information and many members have been exactly where you are.

P.S. - Having grown up in Lakewood, the saga of the current Broncos team is reminiscent of the pre-Craig Morton era. Very sad!
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Old 12-05-2022, 07:42 AM   #17
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It’s a money pit. How much are you willing to throw in there?
The tires and AC are three grand right from the get go. Broken plumbing, VERY sketchy electrical, and those undiscovered issues that will come along all make this a non starter, at least for me.
If you can find someone competent to fix it, who knows how long it will take and how much it will cost?
You won’t be camping in it for, what, possibly 2-3 years, depending on funds and repairman’s motivation.
I would keep looking, unless you could get it for scrap price and work on it yourself.
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Old 12-05-2022, 08:11 AM   #18
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1968 20' Globetrotter
Canandaigua , New York
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For the right person, this is a great opportunity. If you are a person that would sub out all the repairs, it may not be for you. I also find Bambi's are in high demand in my area. Wish it was closer. Sounds like a rewarding project.
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Old 12-05-2022, 08:25 AM   #19
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Little falls , New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PizzaChop View Post
I'd have no problem with offering $5K for that year/model, provided straight shell (no dents), good glass, and awning intact. (If AC removed, was hole sealed up?) Another $5-$6 K invested and I'd have a $20K + trailer.

I would ask them how much they wanted before you offer....might get it for less. But I can't imagine giving much more than $5K

But like a lot of others here, I'm a DIY person with skills/tools/experience to avoid paying a shop professional.

Most all of those skills/tools/experience were gained with Airstreams and boats. Full Disclosure: Everything took longer, cost more, and was more difficult than I had anticipated. (Many surprises along the way...not the good kind)

Without the requisite skills/tools/experience or willingness to acquire them (as well as workspace to do it), you could be upside down very quickly outsourcing your renovation.

This is old but gives an idea of value.

https://www.airstreamforsale.com/199...n-montvale-nj/

"A man's got to know his limitations." & "Do you feel lucky?" both come to mind.

Unless you're willing to take on a prolonged project (6-12 mos depending on a few factors) requiring time/tools/parts and new skills, probably best to walk away.

But if you're up for an adventure, have the space, time, and money to acquire new tools and skills.....go for it.

This forum is great source of information and many members have been exactly where you are.

P.S. - Having grown up in Lakewood, the saga of the current Broncos team is reminiscent of the pre-Craig Morton era. Very sad!
Is that the actual listing?
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Old 12-05-2022, 09:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
Is that the actual listing?
No, that was a 98 Bambi that sold in 2019 I think. I included for potential value in restored, usable condition.
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