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Old 05-24-2015, 04:46 PM   #1
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Annoying new guy with annoying new guy question (major panel replacement)

Hi all,

I've been looking at airstreams for a few weeks now after secretly admiring them for 15 years. What's changed? I got a truck.

I am not in a position to buy a new one, and I'm really not in a position to buy much of a used one. However, I am halfway handy and too dumb to be afraid of major repairs. I found a heavily damaged 1975 31' beast within about 75 miles of my house and spoke with the owner. He claims a tree fell on this camper a few years ago and has had it covered since then. He also claims the floor is in good shape and the camper is 100% original.

He wants $1000. I'm tempted. My biggest concern is where I'd store and work on it, as the idea of having it in my driveway is probably not great for neighbor or spousal camaraderie.

What say you folks? Pass on it and wait three more years to afford a camper, or take a chance on a thousand bucks?

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Old 05-24-2015, 04:59 PM   #2
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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I would guess $10 to $15 thousand to repair what we see in the photos. And the trailer is still 40 years old. And the angle of the tongue looks funny, possibly the tree bent the frame. If so forget it (my opinion). Then there are things like tires, axles and all of the interior things that need repair or more likely replacement on a 40 year old rig.

Just understand the $1000 is only a cover charge to get you into the show.
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Old 05-24-2015, 05:02 PM   #3
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1993 34' Excella
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Estancia , New Mexico
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And now for an annoying answer:
Certainly don't pay more than $1000. I might take it as a give away for parts. The price is not the issue. You will end up spending a lot of money and tme. Take your best guess and triple it. As a DIY it is not really a money saver. As a first restoration project you could do a lot better. If it has the rarer mid bath i's worth more. Your best deals are projects other people have started and are selling cheap for one reason or another. I would run and not look back. Does it have a salvage title?
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
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Old 05-24-2015, 05:07 PM   #4
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Broken Arrow , Oklahoma
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IMO You could buy a 1975 in good condition for what you would end up putting into this one.
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Old 05-24-2015, 05:10 PM   #5
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Biloxi , Mississippi
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Not sure scrap metal value would even be $1000.

Do you know what a learning experience is? A learning experience is one of those things that says "You know that thing that you just did? Don't do that."
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Old 05-24-2015, 05:12 PM   #6
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No offense taken at any of the answers, you folks have the knowledge base! All very good points, I appreciate the answers! I'll be back with more annoying questions soon (I hope).

Ideally, I'd be better off with a 27' or less from a weight perspective anyway. Towing capacity of my truck is 7200 lbs, so this one with water and other stock is going to be closer to that capacity than I like.
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Old 05-24-2015, 05:40 PM   #7
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70's era 31' Airstreams are a dime a dozen. Don't let the $1K asking price sway you. This is major damage and I would not give unit a 2nd look. You can do much, much better if you can look at units in the $2,500 to $3,000 range

You'd have at least $15,000 in panel repairs on this one based on the photos.

"One of the best lessons I've learned is that you don't worry about criticism from people you wouldn't seek advice from."

William C. Swinney

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Old 05-24-2015, 05:43 PM   #8
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My opinion is you would not even be "taking a chance" at $1000. You would just loose it outright. We camped in a Jayco pop up for years before we moved up to an Airstream.
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Old 05-24-2015, 05:51 PM   #9
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Believe it or not, I've looked at popups as well. Most are too much cost vs. the value, imo. My family also requires a commode for some medical reasons. They would certainly have the added benefit of fitting into the garage, though.

I'm reading everything I can get my eyes on in the meantime.
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Old 05-25-2015, 05:40 PM   #10
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Run don't walk away it is a nice leverite, leave it where you found it
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Old 05-25-2015, 05:46 PM   #11
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San Marcos , Texas
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this is a nightmare. i learned from building hotrods and my airstream. you need to start with something really good. the extra you pay up front for a solid, straight rig the more you save down the road. what you would spend to fix it is way more than buying something in reasonable condition. not only that but the effort required would be outrageous. you would start using in in 2025.
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Old 05-25-2015, 07:36 PM   #12
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1991 34' Excella
2009 34' Panamerica
Telluride , Colorado
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Put the $1000 towards a better example! It will never be the same again.... The time invested will be huge! There are deals out there. Save up and be able to make an offer in cash before someone else. Often times a filthy dirty old Airstream sells for very little. Soap and water and a sewing machine are cheap.
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Old 05-25-2015, 07:38 PM   #13
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2009 34' Panamerica
Telluride , Colorado
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I guess what I meant to as is "that's a parts car"!
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:50 PM   #14
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2014 30' Flying Cloud
Los alamos , New Mexico
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$35,000-50,000, by the time Alumiholics gets under control. When you are handy, you do more, and eventually spend more. By a bunch of lottery tickets and wait for you Airstream to come in.
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:47 PM   #15
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1960 28' Ambassador
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Avonton , Ontario
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Really, you think you can fix this . Much better chance to win the lottery with the money!
Doug & Terry
60 Ambassador Int.
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Old 05-25-2015, 10:16 PM   #16
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Voice of Crazy here: Model year 2016 just came out. There are some VERY nice 2015's sitting on dealer lots around the country - 30% off retail.

AND you CAN finance them.

NOW, I am a HUGE fan of paying cash for almost everything, but when you can get an RV loan at 4% or less, well DUH. If you can afford $10K - put $5K down, keep $5K as an emergency fund, and make the monthly payment. If you're paying monthly you obligate yourself to get $400 per month in usage of the unit. And you don't have to do conventional camping.

Visit your in-laws, but sleep in their driveway (they'll like it & so will you!).
Got kids playing athletics in High School, stay the night after an Away game. (Far from the stadium - no school colors). Going fishing - cook OUTSIDE, wash OUTSIDE, but enjoy the comforts of home at night. Outlet Malls - three women with charge cards sipping mimosas, soothing sore feet and comparing bargains after 4 hours of power shopping.

Got visitors - give them your bedroom with no regrets. You're sleeping in aluminum.


Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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