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rigger4343 12-15-2019 04:00 PM

Found a possible project
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Hey everyone. I am new to the forum and thought this may be a good place to ask some questions.

Had lunch with an old friend of mine that I had not seen in years and in his back yard I run across this old Airstream that belongs to his father. I am considering getting it from him for a restoration project but I have some questions and maybe you guys and gals can advise me on.

It is a 1970 model 127T Overlander. It has been sitting in his yard for years and his Dad used it as a hunting camper when he was still healthy enough to hunt and play outside. It does have a few dents in it. On the top, rear left there is a dent that looks like a tree limb fell on it. It is not that bad and I am sure it could be pushed back out. There are a few other miner dents but nothing major that I saw from a quick glance just before dark. Walked inside for a minute and it was very full of stuff so it was a bit hard to really see much of it. My friend and I both agreed that it would pretty much need a complete gut and rebuild everything.

1. What is this trailer worth? Neither one of us have a clue what would be a fair price if I were to buy it from him or if I pass on it and just help him sell it?

2. What would it be worth if I did a rather nice job bringing it back to life? Maybe not showroom perfect but back to very nice condition.

3. How much does this old girl really weigh? I found a few specs that said 4500 pounds but it just does not look like it would be that heavy.

4. Are old Airstream parts still available? Say if it needed a window or just something specific to an Airstream.

There is nothing on the trailer I could not fix. Designing and making an all new electrical and plumbing system would be nothing. I could build a new interior too.

I already have a nice little one and half year old TT now that works well for our family. I really do not need another project but I always enjoy one. I drive a Toyota Tacoma with a 6500 pound trailer tow rating. And I probably do not have room for a 27' trailer in my yard but I bet I could get it back there.

So what do you all think about this trailer? Not the best pictures attached here but it is all I have at the moment.

Foiled Again 12-15-2019 05:04 PM

I can't offer much help, but I think the wing windows (side front windows) are now regarded as "inobtainium". If they have the original glass, give yourself the lucky dog pat on the back.

You never get back the time and money you invest in a major rebuild, but as your kids get bigger, they'll love the space. This size is a "keep for life" model.

Value as is? Clueless. If selling it as is is the goal or backup plan, wash it, cart the junk outside and list it on craigslist. There is a sucker born every day. You might get $1000 to $3000...and more if the buyer is impulsive and inexperienced.

Since you have many of the skills, and another camper you can use now, solve the "where can I work on it?" and well, why not do it and keep it for the 20+ year lifestyle payback.

A W Warn 12-15-2019 05:21 PM

Good advice from Foiled Again. I agree on the price range.
Invest if it gives you joy. It will not make you $.

bweybright 12-15-2019 05:27 PM

Your post contains some well founded and realistic concerns/hesitations. If you are really looking for support to walk away then consider me one more vote in that direction. You have a usable trailer, you have a family, you have space constraints. so maybe this point in your situation is not ready for a project this big.
To get an idea of what you would likely be up against search for the
"Found Wally Baums 55 cruiser" to see what they needed to do with a historical treasure they found.
Good luck in your decision.

GCinSC2 12-15-2019 05:27 PM

Got a title for it?

rigger4343 12-15-2019 06:24 PM

As far as I know, he does have the title.

I would honestly prefer a slightly smaller one. I have seen some around 23' and for us, something around the 20'-23' range would be more ideal. But I love projects and this one caught my eye.

I am probably trying to find more reasons to talk myself out of it. I kind of want it but at the same time, I certainly do not need it.

At the minimum, I would at least like to learn some more about it and maybe help my friend try to sell it.

mytehawk 12-15-2019 07:14 PM

And some small pros. '70, I believe, is the last year with the standard hardwood interior but they're post '68 and have the nice rounded windows. Yours has the smaller vista view windows above the regular ones. Airstreams aren't that heavy and tow nice, but I would use a truck if you're really gonna pull it on trips. Looks like a nice trailer.

tjdonahoe 12-15-2019 07:33 PM

Yep it was running when we parked it a hundred years ago....leaverrite.....leave it tight where you found the newest you can..,and use it...

Belegedhel 12-15-2019 08:27 PM

Looks like a fairly typical "field find" 70's era trailer. This means that it needs a complete shell-off rebuild, new subfloor, repairs to the frame, and a few years of work. If that is what you have in mind when you say that you like projects, then proceed full speed ahead. Otherwise, take a pass.

good luck!

A W Warn 12-15-2019 08:39 PM


Originally Posted by rigger4343 (Post 2316000)
As far as I know, he does have the title.

I would honestly prefer a slightly smaller one. I have seen some around 23' and for us, something around the 20'-23' range would be more ideal. But I love projects and this one caught my eye.

I am probably trying to find more reasons to talk myself out of it. I kind of want it but at the same time, I certainly do not need it.

At the minimum, I would at least like to learn some more about it and maybe help my friend try to sell it.

Sounds like you may have aluminitis already. ;) Careful!

That year does not have a gray waste water storage tank. You will need a portable tank to catch it, add a grey tank, or always camp with hookups.

A link to an owners manual>

Other documents>


pricing info> ( fairly old documents, but helpful in understanding value)

loony 12-16-2019 06:40 AM

We are very new to Airstreams. We bought a 1970 Overlander in "mint"condition about 8 months ago. We did not want to gut it, but need it functional. We started with new axles, suspension and lifts. All the windows resealed. We are both handy and like projects but we did not do that work.

Towing it home we took a rock to a wing window.Yes you can replace for about $350. We then got a rock guard. $800. Several good supply places for parts and lots of ideas on the forum.

I think gutting it might be better, but we want to use it and see what we need to do.
We have the nice walnut paneling throughout and it is in good shape. Bathroom looks 50 years old but works! No grey tank of course.
Who will use it how and where seem to be big topics on restoration here and the answers make a big difference on cost. We are trying to keep it simple and low tech, since we would like to go a few days with out plugging it in.

Ours actually came with the parts of the owners manual and some of the specs. We think it weighs about 4200Lbs

Good luck! It will be a project. You can see lots of people who rehab these and sell on line. They have websites and blogs....

Isuzusweet 12-16-2019 07:32 AM

First off,
It will need new axles, shocks, brakes and hubs.....$3000
Unfortunately parked over grass and soil most likely means frame work needed, but cross your fingers, maybe just rust converter and a couple coats of POR-15.
Redo subfloor with Coosa board $2000.

If you do the work yourself you'll have a real sense of accomplishment but you'll most likely just break even, if you sell. You'll never get your labour back.

JRF0st3r 12-16-2019 11:15 AM

Welcome to Air Forums! We've gutted and rebuilt a 1967 22' Safari so have some idea of the scope, labor and cost of a similar project. We did the work ourselves, took 4 years to compete but others have done it much quicker. We paid to0 much up front, not realizing what condition it was in. The price range of $3,000 sounds about right. We tended to invest more than a basic function level with each new item at an approximate cost of $25,000 and we hope to get that back if we sell it some day. Labor won't be recovered. Oh, and there was also the cost of building a structure in which to park it, making it much easer to work on and then use it as a guest cottage.

Look at the Forums for others who have experienced restoring your particular model and year. Be informed of what you are getting into before you acquire it.

Tongue weight after loading with all camping stuff is one of the factors in determining if your tow vehicle can safely pull and stop the trailer. Look for the sticker showing payload for your vehicle. Let's suppose that the loaded trailer comes in at 5,000 lbs. Tongue weight should be in the range of 600 to 750 lbs. Subtract that from vehicle payload to see how much person weight, camping gear and other stuff can be safely hauled. You might need to buy a new tow vehicle on top of trailer project cost. :blink:

Good luck!


rigger4343 12-16-2019 06:17 PM

Thanks for your advice everyone. Seems like everyone has pretty much said what I was thinking already.

Guess I will still consider it some but I think I may lean more towards just helping my friend sell this one. This trailer is a little bigger than I would really like anyway. I am not afraid of the project and there is nothing on this trailer I could not rebuild but do I really need another project??? Not really. If this trailer was around 23' or slightly smaller, I would have already brought it home!

I would really enjoy rebuilding an Airstream one day but maybe this is just not the one. Even though I can probably get it for just about nothing.

tbashin 12-17-2019 06:30 AM

I would guess $1500-$2500 max. It would be worth more for parts than it is as a fixer-upper. It’ll take time and money you will never recoup if you want to keep it and be able to comfortably and reliably use it for your self.

stevefoltz 12-18-2019 09:37 PM

After buying a 1970 Globetrotter I learned a couple of cool things about 1970 Airstreams that make them kind of special. 1. It is the last year of real wood cabinets before vernier started getting put in. 2. It is the first year of the vista windows. The one your looking at has the optional upper windows.
This make's it special and adds to the value to people that know Airstreams.
You would be happy with this when it's finished
and would make a very nice vintage Airstream.

Spartan Rick 12-22-2019 09:28 AM

All very sensible, but I was thinking, maybe spend a bit of time poking around (literally) underneath. Maybe the frame and floors are just fine.. Axles; both my Spartans, '48 and '50 were checked out and axles / brakes were just fine.. re-grease bearings, set up brakes, and of course I replaced the old split rims.. a bit hard to get any tire shop to deal with them.
The Spartans have the Birch interior. I would say yours would be valuable just for that. Mine are 33 foot.. I wonder if the difference to your 27 foot might not be that bad, plus you might just get to like the extra space.. Also depends how long a trip would be common for you.
Mine were pretty original, so yes, someday I will have to re-wire etc. In the meantime I've been having fun.

Don't forget, by the time this is ready you may be onto another tow vehicle anyways.
Aside; were the old AS's 2 inch ball or 2 5/16? My Spartans are sti;ll 2", on the edge in a picky jurisdiction, but I found a forged 2" ball rated at 7500 lbs. Woo-hoo, I can keep thew Slimp hitch ;-)
Good luck whatever you do.

Jungle Rot 12-22-2019 01:27 PM

Found a possible project
I have the same model only a 1977, found the same way. I had it restored to usable condition and it is still in use today. I did change the brake system from hydraulic to electric. I did change the fridge, AC Unit and the toilet, other than that it is very close to original. I would not get rid of it today for any reason. Good luck in your restoration and enjoy it for many years to come....

Eric 26 Argo 12-22-2019 01:30 PM

The curbside looks pretty good. It would help to see the street side as well when giving suggestions on pricing. If the dents you speak of are in any of the radius panels or if one of the ribs are bent you could be looking at so serious work. Based on the photo the axles are shot, the camper should be showing most of the upper tire sidewall. So you would be looking at $2000 - $3000 for axle assemblies. The nice part about axles are, that they are bolt on with only four bolts per axle. Based on the description and final use from the prior owner I would probably offer $500 - $1000. The key for me is hunting camper, most never make it back out of the woods and the ones that do are usually because there are threats of legal action or violence by the landowner.
What you should expect is all the plumbing will need to be replaced. It's very unlikely the copper survived without spiting somewhere. The interior will need to come out so you can remove all the mice mummies and associated nastiness that have displaced most of the original .

StevenD 12-22-2019 06:44 PM

Greetings. I am on year 3 of a restoration of a ‘73 Safari 23 ft and while rewarding, I have to concur with the advice already posted. What I have learned is that your heart really has to be into these projects to succeed. If you would prefer a shorter trailer, take the time to shop and find one that fits your needs;(and buy the best one you can afford, newer trailers are also worth a look),it may cost more, but by the end of the restoration, that won’t matter. Gutting interiors, replacing axles, replacing rotted flooring, updating electrical and plumbing, installing gray tanks, etc, etc suck up a bunch of time and money. You want to love it when you’re done!

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