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simonla 11-07-2013 02:52 PM

Cost to replace floor
I apologize if this has been asked but I can't find the answer. I am interested in getting a 1950's 22ft to renovate. Most of the ones I find need floor replaced. Some the frame is rusted.

What are my best and worst case scenarios in terms of cost if I bring it to someone that specializes in Airstreams? I would bring it to the shop already with interior gutted out.


Aerowood 11-07-2013 03:41 PM

I suggest that you contact Uwe at the address below for your skin and floor

Area 63 Productions

aquinob 11-07-2013 03:42 PM


Originally Posted by simonla (Post 1376990)
I apologize if this has been asked but I can't find the answer. I am interested in getting a 1950's 22ft to renovate. Most of the ones I find need floor replaced. Some the frame is rusted.

What are my best and worst case scenarios in terms of cost if I bring it to someone that specializes in Airstreams? I would bring it to the shop already with interior gutted out.


I'm not sure I could even come close to a guess on something like that. Essentially what you are asking is for a shell off the frame, then whatever repair and refurb and preservation of the frame needs, new floor and then to remount the shell and go through the work of bolting it all back down and then connecting up the plumbing and electrical. How many hours would all that take and at what labor rate? Several hundred at least? 50 bucks an hour for service time? Lot depends on the condition of the frame as well, if it needs welding and beefing up, that will increase the cost. Don't forget to replace axles if its all open and apart. All in all it would probably be as much or quite a bit more than you pay for trailer just to start. Thats probably why most folks do it themselves.

Frank's Trailer Works 11-07-2013 03:59 PM


There is a lot more to it than you might think. Taking it all apart to lift, sanitizing the shell, lifting it, sand blasting the frame, repairing the frame, altering for tanks, treating and painting. Insulation, wiring(knowing the plan so everything is wired where it needs to be), putting the skins back in. I doubt you would find anyone that would do it with out rebuilding the running gear and wiring for indicators and brake lights. The liability of a shell leaving with out it being safe is a big killer for the bare bones as I think you are seeking.

There are a lot of variabilities I might add, but that is probably the low end.

lonewolf1977 11-07-2013 04:55 PM

Frank--I see you mention sanitizing the shell. What's your best recommendation for that process? (not trying to hijack this thread)

Frank's Trailer Works 11-07-2013 05:27 PM

Simple green concentrate straight on with a tank sprayer. Lots of nastiness no matter how you look at it is hiding in the horizontal ribs.

pbearsailor 11-07-2013 05:51 PM

One other big issue on 50's trailers is windows. Pretty hard to find Hehr windows for a trailer that is missing one or more. That can make the task much harder and more expensive.

steve :)

Frank's Trailer Works 11-07-2013 05:53 PM

yep, that is a for sure...

Foiled Again 11-07-2013 05:57 PM

I flirted briefly with getting an Avion and having an east coast guy renovate/restore it.

(Then I went back on my medications and... but seriously folks..)

Everything I have seen or read about people who do their own full scale frame off "Full Monte" restorations convinces me that:
  1. you will spend at least 5 times more than you estimate
  2. a "do it yourself" renovater with lots of skills and a good plan will probably spend north of $20K to do everything that needs to be done - and 1 to 2 years
  3. Matthew McConoughy spent about $60K to have one professionally done for him.
  4. if you don't have lots of time, some serious skills, enjoy doing this kind of "hobby" - and a history of finishing projects - don't start!
  5. you're probably better off buying a project than a finished work done by someone who could be a HACK - and who has made a pretty looking unit that has major hidden problems. Guys like UWE do quality work and can show you pictures or videos of the whole sequence - plus you can talk to their prior customers!
  6. even if you only paid yourself $10 per hour for your own labor - it would probably take you 3-4 times as much time as a pro would spend doing each task and 60K would start to look really reasonable.
  7. ONE nice thing is you don't have to "finish" to go camping. Get your running gear-frame-axle-brakes-lights safe to go, and take your aluminum tent out!

And another thing I've found is that good restorer/renovators usually have an inventory of "ready to start" trailers - looking for good buyers. They pass up some that you might be tempted to buy. Anything CAN be restored... but some are really suitable only as parts donors.

I truly admire people who do these projects - but I'm so glad I didn't rush in and start something that would, by now, either be $17K spent and sitting in a yard with weeds growing up around it for 3 or 4 years... OR something that I flatbedded to Overlander62 and paid him $75K to undo my mistakes and finish the project.

Interest rates are low and you can get financing on new or nearly new units. No one wants to go deeply in debt, but if you're otherwise free and clear ... You're not going to be any younger tomorrow! Carpe Diem.

I don't want to be a Debbie Downer - but I get sad seeing "yard art" Airstreams that have been abandoned. It's not so bad out in the desert but here in Eastern Virginia a half finished renovation turns into a wreck with a year or two of humidity causing rust and rot. Take the time to do some research and some soul searching and whatever you decide will be a wise decision. And for heavens sake go visit Area 63 but carry a towel to catch the drool.


Melody Ranch 11-07-2013 06:08 PM

Here is the surprise , unfortunately, many new buyers jump into. What Frank says is true. The 8000$ is a fair estimate…then the other work comes in on top. Fun and expensive if you do it yourself….not fun, still really expensive if you try to find someone else to do it. REALLY expensive if you choose the wrong bunch to to the work and you end up with a mess.

simonla 11-07-2013 11:36 PM

Wow, this forum is amazing, thanks guys for all the advice!

68 TWind 11-08-2013 07:41 AM


I used to own a plane so I have read a lot about this issue as much has been written. The regular formula Simple Green is not recommended for use on airplanes because of bad things that it does to aluminum, the main one being corrosion problems. The Simple Green folks now have a new forumation called "Extreme Formula" that is safe on aluminum and states on the label that it is safe for use on aircraft. I figured you knew this but I wanted to share with others who read this thread and might not be aware of the potential problem with plain old Simple Green and aluminum.

Wabbiteer 11-08-2013 08:56 AM

I'd searched & found the link to share w/ y'all before I read 68 TWind's #12 post here...

This is a big thing. Simple Green plain (and many, many other degreaser/detergents) will interfere with things like long term adhesive & caulk bonding let alone paint or other coatings. And that's before unintentional long term 'acceleration' of corrosion blah blah...

Extreme Simple Green aircraft and precision cleaning product.

The ESG topic should be its own 'Sticky' somewhere, I wish I would've known earlier, an Aircraft Owner clued me in when I was describing problems I'd just encountered prepping my shell...

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