Monday, August 31, 2009

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Originally posted as part of my marketing efforts when I sold the Airstream:

In the interest of full disclosure, and saving everybody time, here is everything I can think of that you should know.

The good

First, it’s an Airstream, and Airstreams rock!

This is even truer of vintage Airstreams--in my opinion up to circa 1980.

This trailer has sound fundamentals, no floor rot, new axles, newish tires (2007), new vinyl floor inside, all systems work. I spent a lot of money and time to get it to where it is, it could be better, but there is always the budget issue. All of the electric now goes through some state of the art fancy box--can't remember what you call it. It wasn't cheap and the electric has worked fine since Colin Hyde added that upgrade.

All exterior running lights were upgraded to LED lights, but are in the original 1973 style. Brighter lights, seventies style--can't beat that combination.

Most of the rest of this web site covers the good, so on to . . .

The bad

Of the three roof vents, the forward vent has given me a lot of trouble. Ultimately I zip-tied it shut from the inside. I know that it’s fixable but it was beyond what I wanted to do, and the three shops that looked at it never permanently fixed it. One of them had it working for me for almost a year. The problem, it doesn’t stay down, so it pops up and could fly off while driving. It’s amazing it never did come off because it came up on me a couple of times.

Once, while driving north on I-15, a California Highway Patrolman was waving at me. Being a confident Airstream owner I assumed he was just admiring my trailer and saying hi. It wasn't until I stopped that I noticed my roof vent was up again. Colin Hyde recommended zip ties (since I was sick of dealing with it). You may want to just put in a Fantastic vent and handle it that way. For now, it is semi-permanently shut and doesn't leak.

There is a piece of aluminum trim that is on the lower part of the exterior that came off when I was driving in Idaho. It goes all the way around the bottom of the trailer and is about 2 inches wide. This is the kind of thing I would be unlikely to even notice, and in fact I rarely think about it other than I have been hauling around the trim that came off, hoping to find a person to put it on. This is cosmetic and can be fixed for little money. It needs straightened up some and riveted back on. The whole piece of trim did not come off--it's about a six foot section from the water heater to the front.

The shower head—I am on my 3rd in 2.5 years. It works great but currently doesn’t attach to the wall so you have to hold the wand up.

The sleeping arrangements—because I lived in the trailer alone, with my dog (no it doesn’t smell inside, also remember there is no carpet in this trailer—and I strongly discourage wall to wall carpet in any RV). I would love to rebuild the front bed so it sleeps two in a pullout as it originally did. When I got the trailer there was nothing there at all—so a friend and I built what’s in here now. It works great for me, but wouldn’t for a couple that wants to sleep together. This trailer currently just sleeps two. A good carpenter could redo the front bed, but such things aren’t cheap, unless you have the skills yourself.

There are other little things, but this is what comes to mind right now.

The ugly

That’s subjective. I love my trailer and see nothing ugly about it. It is a vintage trailer and it's one that's had the $12,500 makeover, not the $100,000 makeover (yes, you can spend that much, people do, and the end result can be spectacular).

If you go for the flash of a "new" boxy travel trailer, you will get what you pay for--a POS trailer that may last ten years before it either becomes non-functional, or just looks terrible and is on the fast track to becoming non-functional. This Airstream is 36 years old--very, very few trailers manufactured today (even Airstreams, yes, they still make them) will still be around in 36 years. This trailer, by contrast, could be around for another 36.

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