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Old 02-24-2006, 09:30 PM   #1
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Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Newbie, and I said I wouldn't buy sight unseen.

And not only that, I should have done research in this forum too.
Anyhow, after spending several months searching in the Pacific North West, I decided that I may need to do some traveling to get the right AS. I missed out on what might have been a couple of good deals but overall the North West, and west in general seem somewhat void of Airstreams. The thought of having to travel to Florida or Texas just wasn't appealing. Did I mention I'm a newbie, and I don't own a towing vehicle?
Cut to the chase, I bought this:
Sight unseen, like I said I wouldn't.
Is it overpriced? Well, a real average one just went for $7500 on Ebay and this one was above average in my opinion. In fact, from the pictures, it appears to be one of the cleanest I've seen regardless of price.
But there several undeniable selling points for us.
1. It's on the west coast.
2. They included a towing vehicle for $500, one that the original owners used with the AS. an 1988 Ford club wagon with 60K.
3. It's from a dealership and they are vouching for it's roadworthiness.

Regardless I'm nervous. I've never done anything like this before, but my logic was that If I was going to find the right AS I was going to have to travel and spend a bit on it...

We'll be flying down to San Diego on Friday and I can't wait as we'll get to spend a couple of days camping on our way back home. Unfortunately, we won't be to get the AS outfitted for the trip, we'll just pack blankets and pillows and wing it.

So any suggestions, recommendations, or warnings?

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Old 02-24-2006, 09:46 PM   #2
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2005 30' Safari
Chandler , Arizona
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Looks sweet......

I'm a newbie too and have the same plans of buying an AS soon and there aren't very many in the West so I'll roadtrip for mine. I have however purchased high tickets items sight unseen you have to trust your gut....and that one looks like a beauty. Congratulations!! Purchasing from a dealership does allow some additional recourse but with a vintage AS in that price range anything not perfect becomes "the project". Have a safe trip and take pictures.
Remember speed does not get you there quicker it causes you to miss things....
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Old 02-24-2006, 10:09 PM   #3
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Sight Unseen Anxiety

I purchased my Argosy off the E Bay auction site. I looked at the pictures that were offered, asked for a few more pics to be taken, and chatted with the owner on the phone for 2 hours. When I arrived to pick it up, it was even better than I had hoped for. Congratulations, hoping the best for you.
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Old 02-24-2006, 11:18 PM   #4
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Portland , Oregon
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Thanks for the encouragement from those in the same boat as me.

I uploaded a couple more pics.
Can anyone comment on what it would take to repair the scrapes in the side?
I thought about paintless dent removal, but don't know if it's feasable with AS's.
Also, Are those stock hub caps? Is there a place I can find out what the diference was with the "International" package?
Thanks again,
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Old 02-25-2006, 04:54 AM   #5
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1972 25' Tradewind
Willis , Texas
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newbie purchase

Are you comfotrtable with checking your own fluids on your new tow vehicle? If so keep an eye on them as you go and travel slow but sure. (55 to 60mph on the highways) Make sure all your tires are inflated correctly on both vehicles and go by the sticker on the drivers door jamb (that's the usual location)and not the maximum pressure printed on the side of the tire's. Last but not least drive with the transmission with the overdrive off (usually a button on the gearshift lever with a corresponding indicator light on the dash) i.e. if you have a choice of "D" encircled with an "O" indicating overdrive, drive in "3" with overdrive off, if applicable. Good luck and enjoy! P.S. after about 20 miles remind yourself to relax the "deathgrip" you will surely have on the steering wheel!
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Old 02-25-2006, 05:39 AM   #6
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Belleview , Florida
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I've also purchased high ticket (relative $) off eBay. My AS MoHo was up in MD. I flew up and drove home. The price was right for my budget and I've been working on it since.
I would want to know when the last service on the wheel bearings was done. Check the age and condition of the tires and if at all weathered replace with new. Tire blowout damage will spoil your experience for sure.
Keep and eye on the temps, both oil and coolant. Think about installing real temp guages soon.
Oil temp starts at $39. Coolant at $49. You'll be happy you did.
Glen Coombe AIR #8416
1984 28' Funeral Coach
Former Rolling Showroom & PuttLab (now party bus)
"I'm not an expert. But I did sleep in an Airstream last night."
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Old 02-25-2006, 06:32 AM   #7
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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Nice looking trailer there. Not sure what you paid for it...there wasn't a price listed on the website. No those are not orginal hub caps they should look like These but they serve the purpose. The scrapes/dents on the left side look pretty creased to me, I doubt paintless dent removal is going to be able to do anything with them. If it were me I would just live with them for the time being...consider them beauty marks, The trailer is 40 years old and I have yet to see a 40 year old person without a few wrinkles here and there I would check out your axles, I suspect they will need replacing ASAP I have yet to see a 60's vintage trailer where the orginal axles were still in spec. But you want to do it to save the trailer from self destruction. (run a board search for axles and you will read for days ) I have pictures of a 1968 Ambassador in my Photo Gallery I did not end up with this trailer, the owner would not budge on the price and it needed too much work for what they wanted for it. It will give you an idea of what is out there. This one is what I would call unrestored in Good shape.(and I am an optimist) It needed plumbing work, axles, and some minor frame repair.
The van should be a capable tow vehicle...obviously it worked for the previous owner.

Good luck with your purchase and we expect to see you on here on a regular basis asking questions

__________________ many little time...
Why are we in this basket...and where are we going
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Old 02-25-2006, 04:52 PM   #8
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1975 31' Sovereign
Oxford , Mississippi
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We drove 500 miles one way to pick up our Airstream, we also had the "What if's" all the way there. After we got there our nerves were put to ease. The seller went over everything for us and was just a great guy. We also camped on the way home. We took towels, sheet's, blankets etc. The funny thing about it out Airstream had been winterized and when we got to the state park it had to yikes NO WATER in return means no bathrooms. Just like our old tent camping days. So be prepared. Good luck on the trip and let us all know how it goes.

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Old 02-25-2006, 05:14 PM   #9
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1965 20' Globetrotter
Yakima , Washington
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
If it were me I would just live with them for the time being...consider them beauty marks, The trailer is 40 years old
Very nice trailer! I just love the mahogany interiors, very good shape. And I agree with wahoonic about the beauty marks.
Cory Harrington
AIR 7834 WBCCI 2105/VAC
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Old 02-25-2006, 05:27 PM   #10
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Chandler , Oklahoma
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Hate to admit it in public like this, but I bought my Argosy "sight unseen" from El Paso, Texas. Mark, at Horison RV, was honest and agreed that I didn't have to pay for the trailer if I got there and didn't like it. I sent him a deposit and money for new tires and wheel bearing work and set off to drive over 700 miles to pick it up. I have to say this is the greatest trailer I could have asked for. I paid a little too much for it, but it was what I wanted. It is a 78, so there were certainly things that needed some TLC. It has been a joy to work on and terrific to camp in. Of course now I'm addicted (as you will be) and have purchased a 58 Overlander I saw sitting all alone in Southern Oklahoma. This one needs lots of work, I bought it anyway. Good luck with your new toy.
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Old 02-28-2006, 06:11 PM   #11
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Welcome to the forums from another Portlander.

It looks to me like you got a good one. Mine is still in pieces and will need a lot of work before it is done. It might help you feel better about yours if you take a look at what mine looked like inside when I got it.

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Old 02-28-2006, 06:25 PM   #12
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1968 17' Caravel
Battle Ground , Washington
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Welcome to the forum! That looks like a really nice trailer. So, how was the trip home? Uneventful, I hope!

You can show that beauty off at the next NW forum rally - we have them all the time

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Old 02-28-2006, 06:41 PM   #13
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1967 28' Ambassador
Rockford , Illinois
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And WE say WELCOME to Ambassadorland!

We have a 1967 Ambassador!

WE LOVE her, and even though the Bambis are VERY cute, I wouldn't give up my Flamingo Motel for all the world.

We don't have to sit on top of each other; I can read and Gary can watch TV, and we have lots of room for the dogs :-)

Contact us sometime :-)

Gary and Rachelle Holmberg
Rockford, IL
I'm just a pink flamingo on the great lawn of life :-)
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Old 02-28-2006, 08:50 PM   #14
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Hi, that looks like a clean trailer.
The hubcaps are from a mid 70's Delta 88 or Cutlass, the trailer weighs MUCH more than 4005 pounds (our Overlander is 2 feet shorter and weighs over 5000). I like the clock over the front gaucho. Does it still work? And do you know yet what the little red switch by the fridge is supposed to control?
If your new van has a 460 engine (7.5 liter), don't expect to pass many gas stations, as they are thirsty engines. They also tend to run hotter than most comparable engines, you may want to have the cooling system checked out before going over a lot of mountains with the Ambassador in tow. Congratulations on your new purchases, and good luck with them.
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Old 02-28-2006, 11:29 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the support and advice. We pick her up on Friday.
Yes the clock sold me. I havn't seen any others with a clock like this. I wonder if it is stock.
We paid $11,500 for both the trailor and van. I really didn't want a project and even though the price was on the high side I'm hoping it will be a decent deal.
One issue I could use advise on. The trailer and van were a consignment and the dealer is now saying that the owner can't find the title.
We were going to drive the to Yuma Arizona to commit the transaction to avoid paying sales tax. Now that the title is missing the dealer said they would pay the tax and avoid us the trip. I did a carfax and everything looked alright with the van (carfax didn't find anything on the AS).
So should I be worried? I sure am happy to avoid an extra 5 hours of driving.
Oh, Also, since we planned on driving from yuma, we made reservations in Palm Springs. We were going to make our way up from Palm springs to I5 and avoid LA area at all costs. Can anyone recomend a good route from San Diego/Santee that would avoid LA. If we can avoid staying in Palm Springs I'd like to find another campground mid-California. Any suggestions?
We have reservations in Sacramento Sat. night.

The van is an e150, what kind of mpg do you think we will get?

Thanks all...
Planning on taking lots of pictures...
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Old 03-01-2006, 12:00 AM   #16
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2002 25' Safari
Dewey , Arizona
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Which title is missing, the trailer or the van? Either way I would not complete the deal without title in hand. Once you pay for the combo, the title becomes your problem. Make it the dealers problem by holding back untill they can deliver. The dealer is motivated by one thing, money. I think you need to use that to your advantage at this point.


Wally Byam Airstream Club 7513
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Old 03-01-2006, 12:00 AM   #17
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Battle Ground , Washington
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I would need to know they have the title in hand before I made a trip anywhere. That's a big deal-breaker. Gosh, we just had a thread about a guy who bought a trailer from a dealer who never got him the title, and now he was trying to figure out what to do about it after months of waiting. Title is pretty important!

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Old 03-01-2006, 05:51 AM   #18
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1968 24' Tradewind
Russellville , earth
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No title, no deal, no discussion.

Visit my photography and painting website
Instagram is r.w.roosevelt

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Old 03-01-2006, 06:02 AM   #19
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1953 25' Cruiser
Hamilton , Texas
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As Gen Disaray said, "No title, no deal, no discussion."
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Old 03-01-2006, 06:52 AM   #20
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Chandler , Oklahoma
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I also have a seller you has lost the title to his trailer. He has sent the paperwork to California to get a duplicate title. I am waiting to pay. I have checked with the State DMV (dept. of motor vehicles) and been told that I can title this with a Bill of Sale after they make a stolen property check and I pull the trailer to a tag agent for a visual inspection of the VIN number. Check with your state to see what they require. It may be an alternate way to get a new title on the trailer. Personally, I'm waiting for the duplicate title before I pay. I got a duplicate title from my state when I sold an old trailer just last month without a problem.
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