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Old 10-19-2017, 09:29 AM   #1
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2015 27' FB International
Oro Valley, Arizona
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Thumbs up Buying a 2014 prior to ducted AC

Good morning kids, Iím in the process of purchasing a 2014 Flying Cloud FB twin from a private seller near my home. Iíve been cautioned by new Airstream dealers to avoid the units built prior to 2015 as they do not have ducted AC. Say the dealer, ďthis is a game changer and you wonít be pleasedĒ.
While ducted AC would be a plus this otherwise clean and beautiful coach with extras such as an Anderson hitch and many useful camping items in the coach included, at a mid 50ís price point, is certainly more palatable. I plan on having it inspected by a RV service Center close to home this week.
My question to yíall is should this AC issue be troublesome or a negative in the future should we decide to sell and beyond the specific question, anything else in a unit such as this to be watchful?
Iíve been RVing for 4 years, (Lance 23ft TT) have always fancied owning an Airstream and am excited if not a bit intimated by moving toward my dream. Any advice, concerns, warnings and of course encouragement is appreciated. Thank you. db
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:34 AM   #2
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It might depend on where you live and how much you would use the AC - plus how much you care about it being quieter when the AC is running. In our case it was important, so we purchased new.
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:48 AM   #3
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Apollo Beach , Florida
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I had the same decision in April 2017. I could have bought a used 2014 for about $17k less than a new 2017. It didn't have the three sided awnings, which I would have added, so that brought the difference down to about $14k. I decided it was worth the extra cost for a new one with ducted air.

Its a tough decision. You'll probably be OK with whichever you choose. A 2014 will always be worth less than one with ducted air, but you're $14 to $17K ahead from the start. I will say that the ducted air is really quiet and the cool air is distributed really well. I live in Florida and almost always use air conditioning so I'm glad I bought the ducted air.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:59 AM   #4
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We have a13 classic, it is fine....
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:00 AM   #5
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Hi - my 2 cents for what it's worth. There is no doubt that a traditional in-cabin A/C creates a ton of compressor and fan noise and can even make it so you can't carry on a regular toned conversation or easily watch & hear TV. The ducted approach lowers the interior noise significantly. If I could choose one over the other I would choose a 2015 or later model for that reason if that were the only consideration. In reality, for most people, it is a minor item in the overall decision. The well made point made above - it depends on the climate you will be using the trailer most often in. Here in Colorado we run the A/C in the summer afternoons to knock out late day heat and stuffiness but then it doesn't run at all after sunset. In south Texas the A/C would be running non-stop and could be a factor particularly for sleeping - but - the vast majority of RV's including Airstreams that are in use have the traditional set up with AC including ours and we are fine with it as it is.
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:23 AM   #6
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Lithia , Florida
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We had to make the same decision about 6 months ago....a new 27FB International or a 2014 in brand new and barely used condition without ducted air. We chose the used because we saved >$30k and aside from the ducted air have a brand new AS. Further, we live in Hot Tampa and have it on all the time. Yes the ducted would have been quieter, but not $30k quieter. We also had the very big benefit of the original owners getting all the inevitable kinks out. We've had zero issues and are beyond thankful we bought the broken in AS. Good luck with whatever you chose!!
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:24 AM   #7
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I can only speak re the a/c in an Interstate. The a/c in our 2013 Interstate was so loud that we could not run it at night...would just keep us awake. So, this time around, looking to buy a trailer, we bought new so that we'd have the ducted air.
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:49 AM   #8
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I own a 2014. It was the last year they made the recliner model. So having to choose between recliners and ducted AC, I chose the recliners.

I like my AC noise.
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:00 AM   #9
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We use AC only on rare occasions. Yes, the ducted air models are preferable. However, unless you intend to us AC on a regular basis or are sensitive to noise, it is better to own than to wish. If money is no object, buy new. If you value your investment, it's not a bad trade off. The important thing here is that you absolutely have to decide what your RV life style should be to make you satisfied going forward. Trading later will cost you in the long run. Do it right this time for you and your family. Pat
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:34 AM   #10
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We own a 30' 14 FC with Dual air. There is a very definite difference in the noise level. There was also a significant price increase for the 15s as well. If your unit has dual air conditioners you can mitigate some of the noise by running the air in the room your not it. It's really a personal choice and depends how and where you camp. We have no regrets with our 14.

We were more worried about the way we like to travel vs resale value.

Buy what you think meets your camping needs best and enjoy your AS.
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Old 10-20-2017, 07:26 AM   #11
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More on buying a 2014 Flying Cloud, 25í FB twin

Wow, thanks to each of you for your insite and thoughts. This is a great forum Iíd initially joined in 05 when first we considered Airstream. We moved in an other direction and indeed didnít get into RVing until 2014 with a nice Lance which has served us well.
Now comes the time I can move toward owning an Airstream, I guess youíd call it RV self actualisation, the options are many and my thrift and conservatism bubbles up.
The coach weíre considering is beautiful, looks for the most past new and aside from a few things like the ducted AC, window blinds instead of the shades is indistinguishable. Weíve yet to make a firm offer and I like to ask you experienced Airstream owners what you feel is fair. I do believe it will need new tires and moving to 16Ē wheels and tires would offer an expensive yet safer addition.
Talking to dealers and looking at NADA website is like picking the fly poop from the pepper. Any suggestions? I know that when one day I go to sell or trade there will be many more used units with ducted ac pulling on the then resale value of a 14 but Iíve got to convince the current owner of a good deal for he and me, now. Again I ask you for your considered suggestions and help. db
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Old 10-20-2017, 08:14 AM   #12
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Buying a 2014 prior to ducted AC

Hi! Fun times!

I recommend you search airstream classifieds for similar year / floorplans to see what others are asking, and that will give you an idea of what the market value is.

Then negotiate from there based on how bad the seller wants to move the unit vs how bad you want to buy it
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Old 10-20-2017, 09:17 AM   #13
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I had a 2005 19' foot Bambi and while i lovedthat it had A/C, I hated the roar of it when it was on and was always relieved when I could turn it off just to have the quiet again. This is how I know my next Airstream will have ducted air.
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Old 10-20-2017, 09:40 AM   #14
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Sherwood , Oregon
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We had our used 2014 International 25FB for two years and only turned on the AC three times when traveling through Northern California. Upgraded this year to a 2015 Classic 30 twin mainly for the additional room and twin beds. We had a series of 90 degree plus days even on the Oregon coast and used the AC everyday for a week, could not believe how much more quiet the ducted air is, a bonus for us and makes our plan to travel in hotter climes more likely to happen. Good luck and welcome to Airstream!
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Old 10-20-2017, 09:41 AM   #15
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We have ducted air and it is nice. I would not in any way say it's a "game changer". Like most of what AS does, it is an incremental improvement. Like the Alde heat, it's got some definite advantages. People lived without those "advantages" for decades before they came along. One thing is for sure, this is *not* something you will retrofit into an older trailer on the cheap

Best bet, find a dealer that will fire up the ducted AC in a similar model for you. Sit and try to have a conversation. See how the noise impacts you. Do the same thing in a non-ducted trailer and see how it goes. Both will bug you when trying to sleep. You will only know how big a deal that is after you have spent a few weeks in both.

You don't mention how big a trailer you are looking at. If it is one with dual AC's, the ducting helps a bit in spreading out the air in "single AC" mode. If you are on a 30A shore power line with duals, single AC is a common thing to do.

Coming up with an accurate price on any used AS is a bit of a chore. Fall is a better time to buy than spring. On any used trailer, be careful of ones that went under water in the storms.

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Old 10-20-2017, 10:14 AM   #16
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The issue is not used 2014 without ducted air vs. new with ducted air. The issue is used 2014 without ducted air vs used 2015 or later with ducted air. So what's the incremental difference between similar 2014 & 2015? And how much is that difference is due to ducted air vs. being one year newer?
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Old 10-20-2017, 10:18 AM   #17
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FREDERICK , Maryland
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What, when and where?

Several factors come into play. What length trailer and one or two AC units?
When and where will you use your trailer?
One of the primary reasons we upgraded from our 25’ FC with one AC unit, was it would NOT cool the rear bedroom to a comfortable temp. when camping in the Southwest in the summer. It would often take a good while just to get the main cabin comfortable in those conditions. And yes we had to play our TV at maximum volume when using the AC. The noise at night was Ok with us as we need background noise to sleep. We now have a 30’ footer with 2 AC units and ducted air and often only one AC is needed. For us it was a total game changer, but not everyone is camping in AZ or NV in July and August like us. It is much quieter as well.
If you have only one AC, you might ask if adding a second one is feasible. Having rear and street side awnings definitely help as well.
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Old 10-20-2017, 10:24 AM   #18
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On a related note

On a related note, and this only has to do with the startup noise and not the running noise of the AC, but ours starts up much quieter since we added the Micro-Air EasyStart, which helps at night when you have the AC running. We no longer get the loud bang every time it starts up.
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Old 10-20-2017, 10:36 AM   #19
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2011 25' FB Flying Cloud
SW , Colorado
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We have a 2011 Flying Cloud and the lack of ducted AC makes little difference for us and certainly wouldn't be worth the extra cost. We do not need to use the AC very often because we avoid traveling to places with hot weather.

On the few occasions we have used the AC, it has been pretty loud. If you plan on traveling to places where you expect to use the AC A LOT, the ducting might make a difference. All depends on your personal needs and financial situation. For us, I can think of many better uses for the money we saved by buying a used Airstream and after more than two years spent living in our trailer, I can count on one hand the days where ducted AC would have been nice.
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Old 10-20-2017, 10:44 AM   #20
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I don't have ducted air so I'm not sure how this relates, but when I went to add solar I found a good location within an interior wall and drilled a roof penetration to run the wires. Had there been an air duct there I doubt I could have done that. Just a thought.
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