Vandersteen Model 3 owners- I have a couple Q's...

I am currently looking for a pair of model 3A signatures, but have decided the cheapest way may be to buy a used model 3 (or 3a) and have them upgraded. My questions are-
How much do the Vandersteen model 3's cost to ship? Does anyone have a good idea?
Also, do you know if Vandersteen completely replaces the end caps when they update? For instance, if all I could get was a used Model 3 (or 3A) that had black end caps, would Vandersteen be able to switch those to the standard (oak?) endcaps they normally ship with, at no extra charge?

Last question: Is an upgraded model (from 3 or 3A to the signature) just like a brand new model 3A Signature?

I plan on asking my local dealer these questions, but I thought I would try to get an idea through the forum first.
If you can think of any reasons why doing this would be a bad idea please let me know.

Thank you for any help

Hi Wberdan; I owned Vand. 3As for 2 years and had them up-graded to 3Asigs (I have Vand. 5s now). The 3As/sigs are excellent speakers. It cost $100-120. to ship them UPS from Oregon to S. Calif., but you can look up estimated cost on the UPS site. I believe they each weigh about 100-110 lbs. packed.

Richard Vandersteen told me that when speakers are shipped UPS to them, a high percentage of the time there is internal damage. The factory repairs them, does the up-grade and return ships them via a commercial freight company who handles them much better.

As to the end caps, I'm sure you would have to pay for new ones if you wanted them. BTW, Vand. also said not to try and change the end caps yourself-- they use special tools to do it.

Vandersteen will use the latest parts when up-grading the speaker. It seems they are constantly making small improvements as they go along, even w/o advertising the changes. So, yes it is a good idea to buy 3s or 3As and then have the upgrade done. Plus you'll have the benefit of better quality return shipping. I agree that it is a good idea of talking to your dealer before doing this, or if not them then call the Vandersteen factory. Good Luck, and Cheers. Craig
Craig is right. I think new end caps cost about $80.00. I will say that the total cost of 3s + upgrade usually seems to be more than the price of a pair of 3Asigs, but then you are getting many new parts.
Vandersteen has you ship them UPS in their original boxes, guaranteeing that if they get damaged he will repair them. He then uses a professional shipping firm to return them to you strapped to pallets. You pay the up front UPS, the return shipping is included in your upgrade price.

When I inquired about this, the upgrade came with new socks but NOT new end caps.

The upgrade from 3 to 3Asig costs $1600. Add this to the price for used model 3s (~$900) - be certain to have them shipped from the previous owner directly to Vandersteen.

Upgraded 3Asigs are routinely available on Audiogon for $2800 plus shipping
I bought a pair of Model 3's on ebay for $749 and it cost $115 to have them shipped from Nashville to Detroit. They weigh around 100lbs ea. DO NOT use UPS or FEDEX to ship them. FedEx caused over $400 damage to one of mine and it took over 1 month to settle the damage claim. Vandersteen recommends you use a commercial motor freight co. to ship them. The upgrade costs $1600 and includes return shipping from Vandersteen, but not shipping to them. They also sell new boxes for $40ea if you need them to ship the speakers to them. I don't know if the upgrade is worth all the trouble because I've never heard the 3Asigs.