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Old 05-14-2021, 12:22 PM   #1
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Belmont , Michigan
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Smile NEW MEMBER from Michigan

Hello Everyone -

My wife and I are recently retired and looking forward to purchasing our first Airstream. Looking at numerous AirStream models (under 23ft) on Airstream Marketplace.com and wondering how you get an inspection by a reputable dealer across the country prior to buying a unit online and sight unseen. Pics only show so much and the investment is sizable for just about every unit listed.

Also wondering as a first time trailering person which items are a must like anti-sway bars, etc. prior to hitting the road to be as safe as possible.

Thanks in advance for any assistant provided and looking forward to seeing you on the road.

Jim & Marcia
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Old 05-14-2021, 01:45 PM   #2
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Congratulations on your recent retirement and welcome to your new adventures.
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Old 05-14-2021, 02:17 PM   #3
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

Welcome !!!

First thing I would do is to head over to a dealer and sit in some examples of the trailers you are shopping for. You will not be looking at the exact trailer, but the floor plans don't change a whole lot. What you see on a 2021 will be very similar to what you see on a 2011. If you are like us, the sit here sit there process will change your target trailer.

Next up, I would never buy anything as expensive as even a used AS sight unseen. Part of the used shopping process is (unfortunately) hopping in the car to go look at this or that trailer. After driving 1500 miles, you need to be ready to hand them cash or to walk away. It's not an easy process.

There are folks out there who inspect trailers. I would not trade half a warm glass of beer for the "inspection" done by most dealers. You are much better off with a private individual. There is a section on the forum for tracking down these people.

Right now we are at "peak frenzy" in the RV marketplace. That means you are unlikely to find any super duper great deals. Expect to pay a bit in this market. If you get lucky, maybe you won't pay quite as much as some folks are. We did pretty well on the order we just put in.

Before you get in the middle of a fast decision, spend some quality time talking through just what you are after and what you are trying to do. Also evaluate your ability to do work on one of these trailers. An unfortunately large number of people seem to get in over their heads on "project trailers". Also understand that a trailer in perfect shape is going to be tough to find ....

While this may sound like "don't do it", it's not that at all. You can find the right trailer for you. It is out there. Simply start out with a good understanding of how much work finding that trailer may be. Don't get discouraged and keep on pushing. You will find it.

Bob
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Old 05-14-2021, 03:05 PM   #4
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Thanks

BOB -

Thanks for all the GREAT information. We have an airstream dealer 1 mile from our condo and have been there numerous times so we are pretty certain what were model and years we are looking to buy. Generally want to try and find a 19FT BambiCB gently used 2006-2008 as we really do not want to jump in at $70K for a 2021 and find out its not for us.

Which section of the forum is used for tracking down people to inspect the trailer prior to us driving from Grand Rapids to St. Louis.

Thanks again,
Jim


Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Welcome !!!

First thing I would do is to head over to a dealer and sit in some examples of the trailers you are shopping for. You will not be looking at the exact trailer, but the floor plans don't change a whole lot. What you see on a 2021 will be very similar to what you see on a 2011. If you are like us, the sit here sit there process will change your target trailer.

Next up, I would never buy anything as expensive as even a used AS sight unseen. Part of the used shopping process is (unfortunately) hopping in the car to go look at this or that trailer. After driving 1500 miles, you need to be ready to hand them cash or to walk away. It's not an easy process.

There are folks out there who inspect trailers. I would not trade half a warm glass of beer for the "inspection" done by most dealers. You are much better off with a private individual. There is a section on the forum for tracking down these people.

Right now we are at "peak frenzy" in the RV marketplace. That means you are unlikely to find any super duper great deals. Expect to pay a bit in this market. If you get lucky, maybe you won't pay quite as much as some folks are. We did pretty well on the order we just put in.

Before you get in the middle of a fast decision, spend some quality time talking through just what you are after and what you are trying to do. Also evaluate your ability to do work on one of these trailers. An unfortunately large number of people seem to get in over their heads on "project trailers". Also understand that a trailer in perfect shape is going to be tough to find ....

While this may sound like "don't do it", it's not that at all. You can find the right trailer for you. It is out there. Simply start out with a good understanding of how much work finding that trailer may be. Don't get discouraged and keep on pushing. You will find it.

Bob
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Old 05-14-2021, 03:25 PM   #5
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For inspectors, hit “Portal” on the top left. When that comes up look on the right side of the screen for inspectors. Sorry Bob, but I haven’t made a post all day.
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Old 05-14-2021, 03:32 PM   #6
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Thanks Bubba :-)
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Old 05-15-2021, 07:03 AM   #7
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Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

In a lot of cases a "gently used" AS is one that was used for a while and then went into storage for many years. One would hope it was indoor rather than outdoor storage There can be a wide range of "last replaced XXX " dates as a result.

A 2008 will be roughly 14 years old when you get it.

Batteries last about 5 years so it should have had them swapped several times. It's a pretty good bet you will be putting in new batteries.

Tires at 14 years are well past their "use by" date. Often a "prep to sell" process puts on the lowest cost tires they can find. Those are *not* the tires you want on your trailer. Budget for new ones. If you get lucky, that budget money goes into the camping fund

Brakes likely have been replaced if the trailer did see use. This one is a wild card. Budget for it, but don't count on it.

Wheel hubs are in the same category as brakes. They do need to be lubed regularly so who knows ....

The sealing goop that keeps the rain out of the joints between the roof and stuff like the A/C unit probably isn't going to last 14 years. Having somebody chip off all the old stuff and re-do it isn't cheap. Sorry about that ....

Window and door seals are going to depend a lot on just what sort of use the trailer saw. Seals on various plumbing items are in the same category.

As noted at the start, you really don't know how much of this has been taken care of and how well. An inspector can give you a reasonable idea on most of it. He also can dig a bit into things that fall more into the "needed repairs" category. Everything above is what I would call routine maintenance.

Why go through this now? My *guess* is that a trailer in perfect shape will be selling at a crazy premium. Used trailer at new trailer price is not anything *I* would be interested in ( Indeed that was a choice I was given a couple weeks back ). You may well do better to buy a trailer that has some maintenance needed, but not much repair on the list. Far easier to research the cost of this stuff in your spare time than to do it all as part of a 20 minute decision process.

Repair wise, water damage and floor rot is the big risk. It can be hard to spot. It's not cheap to repair. Any A/C unit that is 14 years old is suspect. If it's still working, fine. Figure there will be a replacement in your future. To me minor damage to panels (a dent here a scratch there) is inevitable. A full repair can involve pulling off the existing aluminum and replacing it, that's not cheap. I'd plan on living with whatever (hopefully minor) scratches there are .... There are a lot more things that *could* be in the repair category.

Have fun !!!

Bob
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Old 05-15-2021, 03:32 PM   #8
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Traverse City , Michigan
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Welcome to the forum. If you are referring to Woodland in GR they are absolutely one of the best dealers around. They are big on restoring so they my have someone to hire to do an inspection (assuming local). They may give you sage advice on what to make sure an inspector based on the model and year you set your sights on.
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Old 05-17-2021, 09:15 AM   #9
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Dayton , Wyoming
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Welcome to the forum-family! We too are still newbies with a year under our belt. I would like to stress the good idea of getting a weight distribution hitch & anti-sway system - makes a big difference! You don't want the trailer to own the tow vehicle, rather the tow vehicle own the trailer!
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