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Old 10-28-2018, 07:25 PM   #1
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looking at two 25'airstream trailers one is 1990 with a couple of exterior panels damaged( curved) and a 1975( no skin damaged). both original interiors, both around $10,000 both would be gutted and renovated, with one makes better sense?
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Old 10-28-2018, 08:14 PM   #2
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Hard to say - what's the frame like on the 1975? Also '75 will probably require new axles. Not familiar with 1990 - others on forums can chime in on axles of that era.

From what I've read dents in panels can get pricey to repair. No real experience there.

My thoughts are unless most of the appliances/components have been replaced or upgraded then $10,000 for a 1975 seems a little high.
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Old 10-29-2018, 08:52 AM   #3
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As far as price goes, it all depends on the condition. Either trailer is worth more if it has been routinely used and maintained. Either could be worth a lot less than $10k if it has sat in a field neglected and rotting away for the last 20 years.

Torsion axles have a useable life expectency of around 25 years, so I would say both trailers are going to need new axles. If you pay someone to replace those damaged curved panels, expect to pay in the ballpark of $1000 per panel for the work. If you plan to do the work yourself, expect to pay in the ballpark of $500 apiece for parts+shipping alone.

Both trailers are equally likely to have rotting floors--you won't know which is better without a detailed inspection. The '75 is probably more likely to have a rusted/rotted frame. Hard to tell without disassembly. Both have similar propensity for rear-end separation, but the '90 is likely to have a beefier frame. Again, you won't know until you do a detailed inspection.

But, there are other things that might recommend one over another. For example, if you have any intention of reusing the bathroom components, the '90 is likely to be useable, whereas the '75 plastic components will crack during disassembly. Does the '90 have the wrap-around panoramic windows? Do you care? The '75 might be made of 6061 T6 aluminum, whereas the '90 will probably be 3003 or 3005 H18. The 6061 T6 is less soft, and less likely to show rock dings and hail damage.

As the saying goes, regarding vintage trailers, when you buy one of these, you are really just buying a shell. All of the "soft goods" will likely get replaced during the renovation, as well as anything made of wood. You really need to think about how big of a project you are ready to tackle. Are you planning to lift the shell off the frame and completely repair and repaint the frame? Are you prepared to tackle a complete subfloor replacement? Do you want to spend the next (potentially) several years on this project, and many thousands of dollars?

Good luck!
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Old 10-29-2018, 09:03 AM   #4
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For me, neither one. I would not want to get into the expense of replacing curved panels on the exterior. And the 75 is too old to interest me because it has no gray tank and possibly frame problems. And I know how much work renovating a Airstream really is.

Between the 2 you listed I would go with the 1990. We travel and camp in a unrennovated but fixed up 1988, 25', and love it. I managed to pull some dents out of one of the curved end caps so that it looks nice enough to use. The 25 footers of this era are in sorta scarce supply and are very desirable.

Look for one you can camp in without completely taking the interior out of. You will still have enough work to do if you need a hobby.
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Old 10-29-2018, 11:07 AM   #5
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I'm on hold for the 75 as I to think $10 grand is to much, but the owner is holding out. The only reason I like the 75 is the skin is a better material and shape. The 90 most likely has a better frame. Both would be stripped down to the interior framing and a complete redo, nothing would be reused. I'm in no rush and have figured it's a 2 year project. I don't drink but I thought this project could be a good test. The good think is I have another trailer to travel with. Prices in general seem out of line for this aged used AS.
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Old 10-29-2018, 02:05 PM   #6
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Prices have definitely been climbing in recent years, with Airstreams now popping up in all kinds of advertisements and so on. With increased demand comes increased prices, but sometimes it also creates sellers who are pricing their trailers aspirationally, because they think their trailer is worth more than it is. If you want to get an idea, check eBay for completed listings, and you might be able to see what people are actually willing to pay for an old trailer.

Just taking a glance at completed listings, I see an '87 25' trailer that sold for $12,200, and claimed to have been remodeled, and also a 25' 1975 Argosy that sold for $8600, which is described as "salvaged" and "already gutted". Seems like a pretty small difference between what someone will pay for a remodeled trailer vs. a gutted aborted project, but I guess it is a matter of the right buyer coming along.

good luck!
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