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Old 05-17-2003, 10:24 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Should I buy and How much?

Advice please: I have always wanted an Airstream and have found one for sale. It is suffering from serious but not terminal neglect. Rotton floor, three windows broken out, vandalized heating and cooling units, a very questionable bathroom etc... Interior cabinets fair to good. It is #24244.

Can someone tell me the year it was manafactured and aproximately what cost a fairly major restoration can be? Exterior is in good shape and still bright. Thanks. Kraxa
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Old 05-17-2003, 11:38 AM   #2
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Tradewind ?? Robot talking now, "need more input"

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Old 05-17-2003, 11:53 AM   #3
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Don't bother, unless the owner gives you money ( lots of it) to take it away.
It's an extra rare model
You need a major project
You have money to burn on restoration
You've been very bad and need to punish yourself

You can buy a trailer that is in decent shape for a few thousand dollars, much less that what a major disassembly and re-assembly would cost. You then have a basis to work from.
Rotten floors and broken windows alone can render an older Airstream a "total loss".
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Old 05-17-2003, 12:24 PM   #4
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Should I buy and How much?

Greetings Kraxa!

Welcome to the forum!

It is difficult to decipher what model trailer you have found based upon the number that you have indicated. Is the number that you have listed the large red or black numbers on either or both the front/rear domes of the coach? - - is it a number found on a plaque on the "A" frame hitch? - - is it a number found on a metal tag rivited to the side of the coach near the entrance door? The most useful information would be a serial number (found on a tag near the door - - usually along with the model name). The number of segments or panels in the front and/or rear domes can also help to point to an era of manufacture if the serial number cannot be found. The length of the trailer, number of axles, and shape of the wheel opening cutout can also help to point to era of manufacture as well.

What you are facing, almost regardless of actual Vintage, is a project that could get costly very quickly especially if you are not planning to do most of the labor yourself. In my case, I started out with a very nice '64 Overlander and had most of its retoration professionally done - - some costs that you might be facing, assuming professional services, could include:

1. Stripping plasticoat (if present), polishing, and re-applying plasticoat - - approximately $175.00 per foot measured from coupler to rear bumper.

2. Interior restoration/refurbishment - - new drapes, mattresses, foam cushions (in lounges), new upholstery, refinishing existing cabinetry, refinishing walls, new floor coverings, restoring light fixtures, and accessories such as pillows and bedspreads - - $4,000 to $6,000.

3. Refinishing/restoring bahtroom fixtures $575 to $1,000. This is a service that even most interior restoration shops seem to shy away from. I eventually found a local profession (through my regular plumbing contractor) who completely refinished my bathroom fixtures in a very pleasing antique pewter finish.

4. New appliances such as air conditioner ($600 to $800), new furnace ($400 to $800), new RV refrigerator ($900 to $1,500), new water heater $375 to $575, new fresh water tank and pump ($250 to $450), new univolt and coach battery ($300 to $400), and new range/oven ($475 to $775).

5. My experience with replacement of some of the floor in my coach was that a patch with an area of less than 3' x 3' ran in excess of $1,750 (it was in the rear streetside corner).

By starting with a reasonably solid coach, many of the costs can be reduced as the existing fixtures can often be restored/refurbished at slightly lower cost than total replacement. Not only that, with a solid coach in working order, many restoration projects can be stretched over a period of years while you are able to use the coach. I purchased my Overlander in 1995 and used it with very minimal changes until 2001 when my major resoration work included professional polishing by the Ruth's of P & S Trailer Service in Helena, OH; and interior restoration/refurbishment by Arlene and Henry Fowler of Fowler Interiors in Symsonia, KY. During the time period from 1995 to 2001, Ace Fogdall RV of Cedar Falls, Iowa replaced most of the appliances as they failed or became too costly to keep in operable condition.

Good luck with your investigations!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
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Old 05-17-2003, 12:58 PM   #5
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Airstreams are great. Just make sure you get one with good structure. The floor is a major repair. Also look at the axel condition. If you can't see a couple inches of tire above the rim in the wheel well, you will need new axels. 1-2k depending whether you do it and to what degree of upgrading. Look at the back of the trailer. Make sure the bumper isn't sagging below the trailer. Jump on it. If you can find a trailer with ugly shag carpet or nasty seat cushions for a while, but find a solid trailer, then get it. Most people are going to want to change that anyway to fit your style. But the repairs on the trailer you are looking at may be more than the trailer itself.
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Old 05-17-2003, 03:07 PM   #6
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The floor is likely a major issue. The body sits on a formed aluminum channel that bolts TO the floor, not the frame. To replace the floor means removing the body - not for the faint of heart. To have this done is major $$$. To do it yourself is a major headache.

The windows may be a major issue as well. Some Airstream windows are no longer available except as salvage from other vintage units. It depends, of course, on which windows are broken.

A good exterior skin is a real plus.

A faithful interior restoration is again very expensive - say $5,000 as a starting point. Appliances will be extra, but you may be talking about a stove, heater, and small refigerator only and careful shopping could make that as little as $1500.

The unit you describe could easily be a candidate for rewiring. Another task for the bold owner with deep pockets.

Somewhere I once read that a proper complete professional restoration of an Airstream will be approximately the price of the equivalent new current model. That may be a bit pessimistic, but not by much.

Price? Probably anything you pay for the title should be nominal - $100, say. As pointed out above, even that will be too much to pay unless it is a rare and desirable unit.

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Old 05-17-2003, 11:12 PM   #7
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I agree with UWE.

If you have time and money to burn, great, but given the costs Kevin has shared, I'd be inclined to run, not walk.

Just my .02

Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq and millions of others are by far the most popular with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form. -NY Times 11/91
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Old 05-18-2003, 10:39 AM   #8
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Thanks for the response. I wish I had known what to look for when I spoted the unit. I will be back in area next month and will look closer at the unit. Everyone has been most helpfull. I think that I should run (away) and find a working used unit for sale. Thanks again. Kraxa

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Old 05-18-2003, 10:50 AM   #9
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Should I Buy

Thanks to all for the the responses. Good advice from all. With a solid group like this I know it will be an Airstream, just will have to keep looking. Everyone has been most helpfull. I think that I should run(away)for now and find a working used unit for sale. Thanks again to all. Kraxa
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