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Old 08-29-2017, 08:42 AM   #1
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Advice on picking a used AS to send to Houston

Just got off the phone with All Hands Volunteers and they have been asked by Texas to setup a Volunteer Rescue Center (VRC) for out of state volunteer help in addition to their normal large stage points. The VRC's are ideally suited to use RV's as their alternative is a large tent for about 15 people and the RV's offer boondocking.

So aside from the obvious heads up to anyone willing to loan a spare airstream to house volunteer first responders, or to point those who want to volunteer directly on site with their airstream as personal housing to a great organization, I'm looking to understand if the $8000 airstreams I see on craigslist around San Antonio and Austin can really be towed to the scene and put to work. While I've followed some of the threads, I've never considered owning one.

There is going to be a serious housing shortage without considering the needs of out of state volunteers.

So if anyone here has any good ideas or leads, please let me know.
They are looking for mobile housing by this Friday if possible but we know the problem will be around for a while.

Please no comments about FEMA and taxes we pay.
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Old 08-29-2017, 09:57 AM   #2
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It is an admirable thought, but the logistics of doing something like this seem daunting.

Good luck, and keep us posted.

Maggie
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Old 08-29-2017, 10:27 AM   #3
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Nice thought but AIRSTREAM's are not really designed for this. There are SOB bunkhouse utility trailers that would be better suited in my opinion.
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Old 08-29-2017, 11:26 AM   #4
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As you might imagine the available bunkhouse trailers have been deployed and the energy companies buying up all the inventory they can find. We are looking to provide for smaller forward teams, not the large teams who bunk in the churches and JCC's, and keep them somewhat mobile. Found trucks and drivers so all I need to understand is what am I looking at when I see a 1970's or 1990's excella, international, etc online.
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Old 08-29-2017, 11:45 AM   #5
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Optimizing space for all the help that is needed an Airstream is not the answer, I think that if the normal dorm trailers are not available, tractor trailers or cargo containers could be quickly modified for short term worker housing.
I would assume that as a week or so passes, most of the fast response teams will be out of the area, and the need for housing them will be greatly reduced.
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Old 08-29-2017, 04:05 PM   #6
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Thank you for your input.
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Old 08-29-2017, 04:31 PM   #7
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I would guess that an $8000 AS is not that likely to be inhabitable, but I do know from recent experience that you can find SOBs from 2005 and newer for under $8k, even in the Houston area. This far south, there are still FEMA trailers left over from Katrina, and they haven't been dragged up to North Dakota. There is a trailer lot just north of PPL on Hwy 59 that is (was) loaded with them--just a question of whether they got high water or not.

good luck!
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Old 08-29-2017, 05:27 PM   #8
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Hi

One would *hope* this is a short term need. Most "typical" used Airstreams you see in the < $10,000 range need some work. How much work and how long it would take is a "that depends" kind of thing. Since you need them to both be road worthy *and* inhabitable, there are a lot of boxes to check. It will take time (a couple weeks ... a month or two ....) to do what needs to be done.

Looking at a "two man" team out somewhere on their own, maybe an AS works. For anything much over that .... not so much. There are a few models that would get you up to four. It's not just the sleeping arrangements. You also have basics in terms of plumbing and "off grid" support. It'll be a chore to keep people happy.

For the same money, I suspect you can find ready to use SOB's in pretty good condition and haul them a ways before you run out of funds. Lugging a this or that from California to Texas is a lot less work than the rebuild stuff on a typical used AS ....

Bob
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Old 08-29-2017, 05:53 PM   #9
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I have researched the bulk housing units and am aware of their business model and offering. Assuming there is an in field rationale for a flexible fleet of RV's that can be deployed quickly for small group needs longer than just a few weeks, what obstacles and considerations would I take into account for taking something like this unit, gutting most of the interior and rigging it with:
- bunk beds
- toilet (replace all bathroom fixtures with new & remove shower)
- add or replace external shower unit to be used in companion with a camping shower.
- functioning water and black tank
- replace roof HVAC
- install or replace fantastic fans
- all weather rubber flooring
- 12v lighting
- dual 6V batteries
- basic 180w roof mounted Zamp solar to makeup vampire and lighting drains
- Honda 2000 on propane to provide recharge power
- new propane furnace
- ?? Axle and/or hub refit to provide reliability

Logic is the unit would undergo something similar to a Depot level refit giving no consideration to aesthetic repairs but delivering a reliable unit. Moreover as similar 30' units become available, similar refits can be done resulting in a ready fleet at a very reasonable acquisition cost with no mechanical maintenance as they are TT but with al the benefits of the aluminum AS.

https://austin.craigslist.org/rvs/d/...275325031.html
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Old 08-29-2017, 09:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lily&Me View Post
It is an admirable thought, but the logistics of doing something like this seem daunting.
. . .
I concur.

Moreover, used Airstreams [like most RV's] require constant maintenance.

Who is going to fix it when [not if] things break down?

Sending any used RV into the incredible mess down there seems myopic and naive IMO, unless requested and cleared by legitimate authority.

Financial contributions ASAP will get the best bang for your buck, again in my opinion.

Peter
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Old 08-30-2017, 09:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirstreamCSH View Post
I have researched the bulk housing units and am aware of their business model and offering. Assuming there is an in field rationale for a flexible fleet of RV's that can be deployed quickly for small group needs longer than just a few weeks, what obstacles and considerations would I take into account for taking something like this unit, gutting most of the interior and rigging it with:
- bunk beds
- toilet (replace all bathroom fixtures with new & remove shower)
- add or replace external shower unit to be used in companion with a camping shower.
- functioning water and black tank
- replace roof HVAC
- install or replace fantastic fans
- all weather rubber flooring
- 12v lighting
- dual 6V batteries
- basic 180w roof mounted Zamp solar to makeup vampire and lighting drains
- Honda 2000 on propane to provide recharge power
- new propane furnace
- ?? Axle and/or hub refit to provide reliability

Logic is the unit would undergo something similar to a Depot level refit giving no consideration to aesthetic repairs but delivering a reliable unit. Moreover as similar 30' units become available, similar refits can be done resulting in a ready fleet at a very reasonable acquisition cost with no mechanical maintenance as they are TT but with al the benefits of the aluminum AS.

https://austin.craigslist.org/rvs/d/...275325031.html
Hi

You probably need to add the stove, furnace, and hot water systems to your list. Replacement tires, brakes, bearings, and batteries are just about certain. Converter / chargers and inverters probably need to be addressed. The 2KW generator isn't enough for a real "live in it" process. Something closer to 3 or 4 KW would be a better bet.

Past that you still have the basic issues of floor rot and rusted frames to deal with. Getting down to that level will take a while. It also will cost a bit of money. Once done, you have a bit of shakedown and debug, just as you do on any new or rebuilt RV.

If you are doing this on a collection of used trailers, you will have a range of models and a range of issues. Each one will be a unique item. Trying to keep up with all the variety as you rebuild a group of them will take a lot of organization. You can't do it on a production line, it's a "skilled craft" process.

Lots of issues, and the big ones hit once you get them in the field ....

An AS will degrade a bit less in the field, but it still develops leaks and other problems. It may not fall to pieces in ten years. It will not be happy after sitting in an open field for a decade ....

Bob
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