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Old 08-19-2014, 05:56 AM   #21
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
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I probably have more in my trailer than it is worth but I know what I fixed will stay fixed and I know the trailer inside and out and can fix most things on the fly if I have to. I have spares for all the stuff I fixed. Even a new trailer is going to take maintenance.

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Old 08-19-2014, 06:19 AM   #22
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2012 30' International
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Bad Axe , Michigan
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Our first Airstream was a very used 1977. We were able to use it after a few minor fixes. We worked on it and enjoyed it at the same time. We did not full time, though.
We then purchased a more gently used Airstream that had some options we wanted.
Our current AS we bought new. Knowing what we know now, we might have opted to keep the old one and do a total renovation. At the time we didn't have the time or money to do that.
There are plenty of ways to do it and you will find one that works for you.
Welcome to the forums.
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Old 08-19-2014, 07:10 AM   #23
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1959 26' Overlander
Powder Springs , Georgia
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a voice of dissension:

"Is buying vintage and fixing it up worth it?"

If you have to ask if it's "worth it" then maybe it's not.

For us, there was no question if it was "worth it."
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:05 AM   #24
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Everything Shari says is right on. My biggest thought about any aging steel in Illinois is it's rust rotted. For a place to park there is a fair RV park in Marengo with a few full hookup sites available. It's mostly a park model park.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:31 PM   #25
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1969 29' Ambassador
brooksville , Florida
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1969 Ambas Is it worth it?

I have a 1969 Ambassador mid twins. If you look at my threads you can get a good feel for what may need to be done. Feel free to IM me if you want to chat, I'll give you my phone number.
Some things to look out for, and noted above. Rear end floor and frame rot. The back seal between the bumper trunk and body leak, letting water seep into the floor. I had to replace the about three feet of the main rails back, and out riggers, and 4 feet of floor. Also the front Frame from the front door forward. The big question for any of these is what kind of shape is the frame in. The inside will look great, but if the floor and frame is rusted out it will be a bunch of work.
To check for rear frame separation/ Rot, put you foot on the rear bumper and push down. Is there is any movement between the body and bumper then there is problems. They should be bolted together tight and move as one.
Now with that said, if you are living in a camp group with bath house I would not worry about it too much. Just make sure they are ok with you working on it in their camp ground. It can get messy.
Looking back, the most import thing to look for is a clean shell. As few dents as possible.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:39 PM   #26
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1967 24' Tradewind
Alameda , California
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I also want to point out that vintage trailers are becoming all the rage, and the value of a finished trailer will be much higher than it was just ten years ago.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:52 PM   #27
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And while it's been ten years since we bought it and we're just now getting ready to finally get our act together and put the shell back on (life got in the way) I can tell you from experience that you'll meet cool people and have SO MUCH fun. We went on a trip to Disneyland, and one forums member came to pick my family and me up from the airport and drive us shopping and to our hotel and hadn't met us in person ONCE. I've been to many Airstream rallies, the Vintage Restoration event, and just had so much fun in general. We have not been able to travel in our Airstream once yet. It's like having a low-paying job that's fun. The benefits aren't necessarily visible. Look how many friends you've already made!

From my experience the members are very supportive here to those who don't know what on earth they're doing.

I don't know how long you are willing to wait, but attending this would be perfect for you. www.vintagetraileracademy.com. the 2014 one is over but there will probably be another one 2015. We went, and got lots of great information and you will get a first-hand look at what it takes to fix one up.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:40 PM   #28
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1972 31' Sovereign
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We had our AS appraised this spring: she appraised for $16,000 more than we had spent. And, we're not even done yet. Is it worth it? Financially, if you do it right, YES. We have done full monty, and don't count our labor as part of the cost.

Kay
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Old 08-20-2014, 02:55 PM   #29
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I totally appreciate what everyone has said. I have no intention of staying in Chicago for the winter my work season is typically April to early December. I do have a tolerance for roughing it but I have no desire for a frame off restoration. I went and looked at the 69 Ambassador and for what they used it for it worked for them but for me I saw a few to many fixes to make it what I wanted. I think I really would like a master bedroom instead of a rear bath as well. It's a hard balance to find an airstream in my price range that has what I want in the right condition. I like the idea of buying new too, but with all the talk of filiform corrosion and problems I am scared to drop $85,000 on one and have major issues. The one good thing is I'm in no rush to buy so if the right deal comes up great and if not well I can wait.

Ideally I would have enough money to just buy an old shell and have someone like Timeless Travel Trailers remodel the whole thing exactly how I want it down to the wiring and the generator and some awesome interior design. I think ideally we all would but most of us don't have the cash for something like that. Maybe I should start working all year.
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:27 PM   #30
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1992 25' Excella
Leamington , Ontario
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We are new at "streaming" also. We share concerns. The problem my wife and I have with a new AS (besides the cost of course) is that we want to personalize everything we owe, but are not sure what we ultimately would want or need. Living in one for a period of time will tell all the things we want and need. Plunking down a lot of money for a new one does not make sense until we know exactly what we want. Some changes we are sure of, like lounge chairs instead of bench seating. We are not even sure what size would be ideal for us. So we decided to buy a good used one, do some of the changes we wanted, then evaluate whether this would be desired in a new one. If we do not like the streaming life, then it will be sold for hopefully no loss.

The trouble is we got more than we bargained for. The floor at the rear was rotted due to water leakage so we did not plan on replacing some of the subfloor. (I'm at the stage of cursing Airstream). I sure hope it will be worth it.
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Old 08-21-2014, 05:36 PM   #31
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Cramer,

It will be in the long run. Fix it right, make a few improvements, and it will last another 30+ years easy.


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