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Old 05-29-2006, 08:08 AM   #1
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Parsons , Kansas
Join Date: May 2006
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Airstream Fever

Good Morning from Kansas!!! We're looking to buy, and there happens to be a 31 ft. Airstream for sale about a mile down the road. Too good to be true??? That's what we're wondering. It's been covered and stored and only used a few times in the last 17 years, and is a 1977 model... I think (need to look at it in daylight this time). Hot water heater doesn't work and the plumbing is history, but they say it's never leaked. Does anyone know if that's workable or a nightmare in the making. For the record, my husband is a saint and BEYOND handy. The inside looked pretty retro in the dark... original turquoise couch and this swivel chair to match. Twin beds in the middle and the original appliances that are supposed to work. I would be so appreciative if anyone could write and tell me what to look for before my husband dives jumps off the nearest Airstream cliff. We used to have a pop-up camper with NO AIR and 4 children and camped every weekend for years, all through the blazing hot Kansas summers. Eventually it got down to my husband and sons going around Thanksgiving to fish for trout at Roaring River in the Ozarks, and rumor has it the water actually freezes to your pole that time of year. Let's just say, we were always jealous of the folks who had the Airstreams. Maybe our time has finally come!!! Thanks much and Good Luck to you all.
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Old 05-29-2006, 08:24 AM   #2
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1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,944
Check out the frame for rear end droop. It can be the most costly to fix. Find someone local with real Airstream experience and (pay them if you have to) to go over it closely so you will not go over buget to get it usable for your family. Local chapter of WBCCI might be a good place to start as well as the inspecters that volunteer on this forum.
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Old 05-29-2006, 08:28 AM   #3
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
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Posts: 10,477
I'd also be a bit weary of what the cover did to the finish. It's not recommeded to cover an Airstream because of the coatings on the aluminum. Of course, far, far smaller issue than the rear end sag that was more prone to the 70's Airstreams.
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Old 05-29-2006, 08:33 AM   #4
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1977 23' Safari
Hillsboro , Oregon
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Welcome to the forums and good luck on your impending purchase.
2009 F-350 FX4 Crewcab 4x4 6.4l
former '78 Argosy 20' Minuet owner
former '77 23' Safari owner
former 25' Fun Finder X-250BHS SOB owner
current 26' Komfort Trailblazer 262BSLE SOB owner
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Old 05-29-2006, 09:15 AM   #5
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1995 28' Excella
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Hi Rick,
Hey, I'll be traveling between Dallas and Prairie Village, KS this week. If I am anywhere near the AS you're look at I would be happy to give it a good going over for you.

My schedule is tight so I can't stray to far off I-35.

Good luck,
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Old 05-29-2006, 10:45 AM   #6
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Sunnyvale , California
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Use the search feature..

Welcome to Forum, and good luck with your potential find...

As a new member, your primary challenge is learning to use the search tab above in the blue bar, to find key phrases and then the messages in which they're addressed...

Rear Sag is defined as frame problem common to longer trailers in late 70's particularly, where frame was weak and separated from trailer structure. Symptoms include wrinkled skin to rear of wheel wells. Having someone satnd on rear bumber and bounce will quickly show if there's a problem, and fixing is possible, but expensive and time consuming.. (search on rear sag repairs..)

A bad water heater and plumbing problems are relatively easy fixes, as water heater might cost $500 installed by a dealer, and less if you did it. Plumbing is hard to reach, but pretty basic pvc piping with some brass fittings for sport. Even refrigerators and stoves are not hard to replace.

Two other major concerns should be: axles and brakes and tires (could be in need of expensive replacement) and dry rot in floor (can be checked with ice pick in sensitive areas like front under windows and near door, and near bathroom. Small sections can be pieced in, major damge can be a challenge. Finally, trailers that have sat that long may become home to critters, and critter remains can be health and odor hazards. Removing these may mean unriveting and re-riveting the interior walls to get at fiberglass insulation, which is major work...

All that said, unit may be good deal, but avoid temptation to overpay so you'll have budget left for fixups, including new interior if you aren't a fan of turquoise...

John McG

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 05-29-2006, 12:25 PM   #7
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1994 30' Excella
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Milwaukee , Wisconsin
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Welcome to the forums. The worse part of your story is that the trailer has not been used for quite awhile. These wonders of engineering need to be used often to be kept in pristine condition. I would suspect you are looking at mold, dry-rot, musty odors, complete replacement of all fabric and hopefully not the insulation. Pull back the carpet under the front window, around the door, bath, and kitchen areas, check for rot. Jump up and down and check for soft spots. Don't let the owner fool you into thinking a trailer which has not been used is a better buy than one that has been used hard, it is just the opposite. They need to greatly reduce the price for the years that it has sat.
Good luck to you, do not be discouraged many of us have purchased a trailer in similar condition. You will not be alone here on the forums.
Chaplain Kent
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Old 05-29-2006, 06:38 PM   #8
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1975 31' Sovereign
Oxford , Mississippi
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My 2 cents.

I take it is stored inside if so be prepared to re-seal the whole top, above windows etc. When we bought ours I asked does it leak and the past owner said no it's stored inside. The first time we took it out, it rained and it leaked.
If it has a tarp over that's bad for the trailer, after we found the leaks we had a tarp on ours for maybe 2 weeks and now I have some damage from the tarp.
75 Sovereign (Peppy)
03 Chevy HD (lil Peppy)
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Old 05-29-2006, 06:50 PM   #9
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1998 31' Excella 1000
South Berwick , Maine
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A 1977 most likely came with factory installed hydraulic barkes unless they were converted to electric by the PO. Most likely, the brakes will not be functioning, don't know if repair parts are available, operation requires a vacuum line run from the TV with a QD for the trailer, conversion is expensive. My advice is to see if the brakes are operational, and take that into consideration when negotiating a purchase price.
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Old 05-29-2006, 09:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by artlink
Hi Rick,
Hey, I'll be traveling between Dallas and Prairie Village, KS this week. Michael
hey guy are you gonna be at the p.v. art fair?

i'm headed to arkansas soon, but so close to this spot i can walk!

what does your display look like?


oh yea........
the trailer in question needs to be pulled outside for inspection....
do not inspect it in the barn....

and read any of the many threads here on buying/inspecting and so on.

why not post some pictures here and we can all take a 'look'.....

i wouldn't worry about the cover.....since the unit is 30+ years old, the finish isn't gonna be intact anyway.

"never had a leak" that i would NOT believe....

they've all had water inside some where.....
windows, shower, sink, toilet, pipes, vent covers, a/c, the door........
come on THEY ALL have leaks...

now that doesn't be the skin isn't structurally intact.....

all trailers are projects......
older units are usually bigger projects, when it comes making it fully usable,
but newer trailers are projects too.....just waiting to happen.

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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