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Old 12-21-2010, 06:11 PM   #1
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Port Orchard , Washington
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Hi Folks!

I have been looking around the web to start rv'ing. I am almost 60 and somewhat disabled. We had a 26' Jayco and a 350 Chevy years ago and I loved it. I always wanted an Airstream and am looking for the right one now. I have worked with the military for many years as a tech and like diesels. I don't know what size Airstream to look for, it is Me my wife and a happy fat dog. I want recliners and comfort to watch tv and be able to use the internet. We also sleep together so twin beds is not an option. I even saw that you can get a sleep number bed for an Rv. I will admit freely that I don't know much about any of this, but I could sure use some advice from those who do.
Thanks in advance,
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Old 12-21-2010, 06:38 PM   #2
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1974 31' Excella 500
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All of those things are doable. Are you looking for something finished or something to work on/with?
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:27 PM   #3
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Either way, I could fix up one that is not in too bad of shape. I would prefer one that needs some work. It would save me money and honestly give me something to do, I am new at retirement.
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:13 PM   #4
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They are out there.. Thing is, everyone's experience is different, and all trailers are in different conditions.

Stuff that I have encountered so far..

It seems like the biggest problem is floors rotting out and frames rusting out (water issues). These problems are sometimes hard to spot. If you read on here there are plenty of instances where bad floors showed no sign until all of the junk was peeled back.

Chassis issues.. worse case might need to be prepared for a shell off deal for frame repair/replacement. Kind of scary, but more dirty work than rocket science. Not a ton of money involved, but a lot of aggravation and nasty work.

Along with that you have axle issues. Original axles are probably shot on older Airstreams. Issues of whether to replace and if so with what brand.

Look and read up some here on what issues people deal with with the main components.. electrical, shell, chassis, axles.

I think the better feel that you get for what sorts of issues that you want to deal with, the better position that you will be in to get something that is what you want. I know that sounds obvious.

EBay is ok, but Craigslist may be better for a good find. It is definitely a learning process..
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:46 PM   #5
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Welcome here!

Hello - I'm on the East Coast so we may not meet down the road anytime soon, but you've come to the right place to meet a lot of nice people and get a lot of advice.

First piece of very serious advice - take your time and look around. Buy in haste, regret at leisure.

Looking on websites at floorplans can be helpful but you really need to see the units in person to start making judgements. "Vintage" is so cool, but... high maintenance. Newer units have lots of conveniences like water heaters that turn on at the flick of a switch - rather than going outside at 6:00 AM with a match!

Visit a dealer or two if there are any near you. Leave your charge card, check book and cash HOME and have your hands duct taped together so you can't sign anything on impulse.

Try to make a lot of notes about the pros and cons on various sizes and layouts. Some very small units have dinettes or gauchos (couches) that are the only bed - and have to be made up daily. Rear bath units often mean that guests will have to traipse past you to use the facilities - at 2:00 am it's a bit distracting. Develop a list of must have and must avoid features. If you like to do a lot of home cooking the smallest kitchens with 2 burner hobs may not suit you. The unit that is perfect for me may be a waste of space for you.

For most dealer list prices new you can get at least 15% off, 20% if you're persistent, more if the unit has been sitting on the lot for a long time.

Having bought 2 new ones myself, if I do it again it would be gently used. The first year or two is a huge hit on depreciation. A lot of people make a mistake on the first one and either upsize, downsize or decide RV'ing isn't for them. Of course some health issues force people to sell them too.

Look here under "Rallies" - bottom of the home page, and under the Classifieds tab. Air Forum rallies are generally open to anyone. There is a club WBCCI which has rallies and caravans - but some are not open to non-members. (There has been a dramatic drop in membership due to some internal issues. Don't want to bore you with all that stuff, but they are recruiting new members and I believe the unit in your area is one of the better ones. Check here, send a message and see if a looker would be welcome.

At rallies almost everyone shows off their unit. You'll be invited in, and can discuss the merits and drawbacks of each floorplan. Sitting in someone else's Airstream for 10 minutes can be worth it's weight in gold.

If you want recliners you'll probably end up customizing a unit or buying very large! Lots of us get rid of the dinette or a couch to have recliners. It limits the number of sleepover guests, but is that necessarily a bad thing?

HAVE FUN looking and buying.


Oh, and before you fall in love with vintage, search on "mouse poo" and "the full monte"
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:22 PM   #6
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Wow, I'm very happy.

Thank you folks for the info, I tried another site and I recieved a buch of negative feedback. Appearantly I should know the answers to my questions before I ased them. I think I am looking for a 30 or so ft model, ifg it has a couch than i can replace it with lazyboys. I think sleeping capabilities for myself and wife and dog is enough. God made motels for relatives. We cook quite a bit and will use a kitchen constantly so I look for that. Being able to comfortably sit together and watch some stupid movie and eat a nice meal would be a good thing. If I ever see You folks out there, I promise a good meal and some interesting conversation.

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Old 12-21-2010, 09:42 PM   #7
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

We are also retired and about the same age as you. We got into Airstreaming about 4 1/2 years ago. It is the best thing that ever happened to us. We have a 25FB (front bedroom), named Lucy. Since we have had Lucy, we have spent almost 800 nights in her and have towed her 70,000 miles. Lucy has a walk around queen bed and a floor plan that we are quite comfortable with for as long as 7 weeks straight. Here are a few shots of Lucy and her interior.
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SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2020 Silverado 2500 (Vivian)
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