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Old 03-20-2012, 03:48 PM   #1
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1963 19' Globetrotter
Seattle , Washington
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 266
Airstream search: 27' compared to 31'


thanks again for everyones input regarding my airstream search. my goal is to find a decent airstream and use it as an office/guest room behind our house.

i do want to find one that has a very good exterior and as little issues inside as possible but as everone has pointed out, most all of the 31' sovereign's i have looked at need floors, axles and have rear sag.

**was wondering what everyone thinks of the 27' overlander w/rear bath & middle double bed? are these as prone to rear sag?
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:14 PM   #2
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Wentzville , Missouri
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Any of them with a rear bath tend to have floor problems. The problem is the longer the trailer the more hangs out past the axles. The trailer flexes as they get pulled and the more thats hanging out back is more that gets to bounce. That bounce the rear end gets is worsend by a old leaky bathroom that make the floor soft. A soft floor lets things bounce more. Put all this bounce together with a few years of not so top notch steel and years of rust on the get sag.
When I was looking for my AS I did as you have done,read,read,read. I stoped looking at anything is those years with a rear bath and shorter trailers.

Just my thoughts good luck with your search

Oh yeah if yo
I have read about the evils of drinking beer so I quit reading.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:04 PM   #3
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1972 27' Overlander
Penokee , Kansas
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Posts: 339
Like you but for a 5 year search

First,, good luck,, found a lot of trailers in our search,, but most had hidden issues.. Bad axles,, sag, bent all to heck inside or outsidea and priced over what I can make in a year for income..

Like you the warnings about the rear bath and the biscuit years,, and long trailer problem had me spooked for years.. Well the first thing I learned is the longer trailers seem to sell cheaper once over that 25 foot mark. I'm sure $5 gas will add to that fire discount some more, and lower them another notch. So I gave up on a single axle search as both the wife and I like the extra room offered with a longer trailer and we went ahead and looked at some longer models anyway.. ( but with some wisdom)

I read a post on this site some time ago,, have no idea how to again find it,,, but it was first to see if the wheel well area showed any bowing out,, and then a bumper bounce test.. If the rear bumper moves more than the trailer,, run away as fast as you can,.. Or you are not afraid of some major work and repair..

We ended up getting a 72 Overlander about a month ago,, Cant say I can find any "sag" issues at all. Floor is solid, and frame rails are not rusted or show any bends/sag at all,.. So for the money,, and the wisdom gleaned off this site you should feel safe to search in a wider and cheaper market area like we did..

Good luck and don't let the emotions cloud good sound judgments.. For us,, to have and drive 6 hours to just look at an older Airstream,, the going home empty handed was a feeling I had to shut out..

Sodbust NW Kansas
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:39 PM   #4
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1963 19' Globetrotter
Seattle , Washington
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 266
SODBUST i appreciate your input. i am very much into porsche 356's and have purchased and restored several and finally kept my baby which is a 1959 super sunroof coupe. its a very rare car as it has the larger motor and sunroof.
i learned how to search for these cars and did my homework. like most older cars there are certain areas that get affected over time and rust issues are among the most common therefore causing several issues to the doors, battery box areas/etc.
my point is that the airtsream search has similar issues due to age and i totally understand this...the search is fun for me and hopefully the 27' overlander i look at tomorrow has an owner who is somewhat understanding of the issues with these trailers. just like with the old porsches, if the owner is aware of what he has it makes it so much easier to negotiate. it seems like a lot of 31' sovereign owners(i've looked at 4 so far)are very attached to their trailers and not willing to sell for the $2000-$2500 i've offered. when you factor in the axle repair/rear sag and floor repairs the cost will reach $8000 in no time.
if this overlander has good solid floors, no rear sag and the only major repair are the bad axles (which i can see from the photos) i would buy it at $3000. not sure if the seller will let it go for that but i'm hoping he's reasonable.

i'll keep you posted...wm
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:42 PM   #5
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1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
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If the trailer is going to be parked and not towed. I wouldn't do anything with the axles. Most of the floor rot issues have to do with the structural integrity when you are towing. Again, if it is going to be parked, unless you just have tons of time and $$$$ to put into it. Fix what is needed to make it solid to live in.
I would start by checking for and fixing all of the leaks. Making it rodent proof. Make sure the electrical system is sound and SAFE. Along with the heating system.
Don't know if you will have an operating plumbing system, if so, winterizing may be a requirement.
If it has a little rear end sag, just put a couple of jack stands under the rear frame. Again only if you don't plan on towing it farther than just getting it to the back yard.
It is very easy to put $10K into an older unit to make it "road" worthy. It would only take a fraction of that to make it "yard" worthy. If you know what I mean.
Good luck on your search.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:05 PM   #6
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1970 27' Overlander
Sumner , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 113
I've got a 70, one owner, well maintained, one small rot spot and no sag, bought it for $2500 and towed it home 300 miles, rebuilt the brakes and installed a new water heater, am resealing everything, installing a new A/C unit next week, will be fulltiming in a month. love it, put over 9000 miles on in the last two years.....
Favorite Bumper sticker:
Yes, this is my truck...
No, I won't help you move....
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:16 AM   #7
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1963 19' Globetrotter
Seattle , Washington
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 266
thanks for the good advice. this trailer will sit on my property however when it is time for me to sell it, i want to make sure it is desirbable for the next owner. this will be many years down the road however the thought is always in the back of my head when i buy something.
i'll take my time and replace whats necessary to make it road worthy and in the meantime enjoy it as an office/guestroom.

i assume like the boating world, trailering an airstream at $5 per gallon is not as popular these days and most of these trailers sit.

looking forward to finding a good example and it might just be the trailer i am looking at this afternoon. i'll update everytone on my search as it progresses.

thanks all.
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:05 PM   #8
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Pittsfield , Maine
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Most of the Airstream crowd would probably take exception to your comment about the trailers "sitting!" Perhaps the SOB crowd would agree - but Airstreams are meant to travel - even if it's just 10 miles to the nearest campground.

2003 GMC 3500 D/A, CC, LB, 4x4 and 2000 Airstream Excella 30. WBCCI 7074
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