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Old 03-10-2004, 07:32 AM   #1
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Considering 32-34 ft have questions

Hi there. We own a 1970 31ft. Avion ( I know SOB and let's not get going on that) but as much as we love it we'd like to go newer and perhaps larger. I have a Ford 1 ton van with a 460 and lots of towing experience. Some questions about Airstream are:

What years did they go to the spring suspension instead of the rubber torsion type. (my Avion has no springs and rides like a dream)

Are there problems with the triple axel running gear? Like tire wear or alignment. And is the triple axel only on 34 ft? How does that size tow, does it cheat corners a bunch?

I'm thinking a 32 or 33 ft. would be nice and they probably have dual axels right? We like our current one bed, a small full, but hope to find a small queen island. Other advantages we're looking for are holding tank size (plus we don't have grey water holding) and generally newer all around.

I think the year range would be 1985 to 1995 prior to the 8'6" width.

What would be the more specific models I should be looking for? I've done some research here but there's a lot of models and hard to figure out.

We like the best condition and find we're happier paying above market for that well cared for item. Old but nice, that's what we have now.

Opinions solicited, thanks for your help.

Dave and Marcy
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Old 03-10-2004, 07:41 AM   #2
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Welcome!

Good questions all.

The only tri-axle is the 34'. It was first produced in '82 (within a year or so there). It is as easy to tow as a 31 foot, not much different; however the tires will probably wear a little more as they tend to scrub on tight turns, however they back very easily and have no other issues.

I had a '57 Overlander tandem axle with springs and a '61 Bambi with torsion axles, so the changeover occurred sometime between then. All Airstreams since the early '60s use the rubber-torsion axles.

As for model for you, I'd recommend you go out and look at every coach you can find. They're all a little different, and one floorplan may be more attractive than another. That part's pretty much personal preference, IMHO!!! You can find them in all sizes, conditions, trim levels, and prices.

Good luck in your hunt.

Roger
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Old 03-10-2004, 07:58 AM   #3
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Roger

Thanks for the answer on the suspension and tri axel issues. That cleared it up. I've got the room for the 34 and suspected it wouldn't be bad to tow. Now just to look for a while.

I saw on another post you just sold your old trailer and got the new one. Maybe I missed a good trailer? A lot of the fun is in the hunt you know. We have time.

Are the tri axels in general a better buy? I mean do they go for the same or less than the 31-33 ft range?
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Old 03-10-2004, 08:17 AM   #4
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I wouldn't class an Avion with all the other SOBs. Many of us here have a great deal of respect for "the other silver bullet."

The 34 triple axle is wonderful to tow. Very stable, especially on roads with expansion joints which tend to create porpoising. The triple-axle is more resistant to that. It's also nice to have that much weight spread out over 3 axles, and 6 tires and brakes.

It's a big trailer with a lot of overhang. You just have to consider that when turning... swing a little wider and have room on both sides of the trailer. Not much worse than a 31 though. Easy to manuver backing up.

The tire scrub isn't an issue. It's worse on concrete and asphalt than it is on grass, dirt, or gravel, of course, but you'll need to replace the tires due to age before you'll wear them out with the scrubbing. Just keep them inflated to the max.

I don't know for sure, but there may be something to that about them not being that much more expensive. Lots of people are afraid of towing the 34.
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Old 03-10-2004, 08:20 AM   #5
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They're pretty much all over the map as far as dollars go. $20k will get you a very nice tri-axle from the '90s. As Moe said, there aren't as many buyers scrambling for the tri-axles, so used prices may be a little better for lack of demand?

I think that generally the market for tri-axles is a totally different market than say for the 25-28' buyer. The folks looking for 29-32' are probably closer to the tri-axle buyer, but the tri-axle buyer seems to be sort of a special group. For the most part, they're willing to buy a dedicated tow vehicle, and are probably more likely to be full-timing as opposed to vacationing (although we use ours like most folks use their 25s!).

Until I had one, I always (incorrectly) perceived the tri-axles as some huge unwieldy battleship that you had to have a diesel tractor to pull. I thought they'd be a nightmare to use and such a hassle to tow that I wouldn't want to do it. Having the 325 motorhome convinced me that the length isn't such a big deal, (and the MH weighed 16,000lbs), so the 34' trailer is about the same length as our MH with the 'toad' behind it. Once I got used to the length on the road, the 34' is really no different to tow than a 25' trailer. It really does give a substantial feeling of roominess and to me, that extra few feet makes a huge difference in storage and liveability. I don't feel like I'm cramped at all (and I did, even in the 325 as you lose the front five or six feet to cockpit and drivetrain).

You'll find some very nice tri-axles out there, and it seems that there are always a few for sale somewhere. You may have to travel to pick up that 'right one' though. We found ours in Florida, the owners moved it back to New Jersey for the spring, and we met them in Ohio to take delivery. It was fun.

And, you're right, the hunt is half the fun!

Roger
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Old 03-10-2004, 12:53 PM   #6
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Question for all you 34' triple axle owners ... what about the simple chore of washing or waxing? Do you ever wish it was a 28' just so you'd be done quicker? (Signs of laziness on my part?)
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Old 03-10-2004, 12:58 PM   #7
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You would have to step all the way down to a 19' Bambi to even get close to taking half the time to wash/wax. I'll stick with the 34.
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Old 03-10-2004, 01:35 PM   #8
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Not an issue...

Quote:
Originally posted by DreamStream
Question for all you 34' triple axle owners ... what about the simple chore of washing or waxing? Do you ever wish it was a 28' just so you'd be done quicker? (Signs of laziness on my part?)
Quite frankly, I wish all my vehicles would just wash and wax themselves... but...

It's really not an issue for me either...

Roger
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Old 03-10-2004, 01:42 PM   #9
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Thumbs up

We very much enjoy our 34' and don't have any experience with smaller so it seems just right.
The washing and waxing wasn't all that bad, but I do fear the tire replacement and even dislike the lug tightness checking and the the tire pressure check and fill chore.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 03-10-2004, 02:17 PM   #10
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First of all ... nothing wrong with an Avion ... in some ways they are built better than an Airstream from the same year. I almost bought a late 80s 30 footer ... but the owner wanted a king's ransom ... way more than what I thought it was worth.

I'm a complete newbie in the first degree ... absolutley no experience towing something as large as the 34 Airstream ... and we bought one anyway ... and I'm glad we did. RoadKingMoe and a few other members gave me some good advice on the 34.

With the Hensley hitch it seems to track nice and tight on the turns ... but I am still aware to give it enough room ... so far no problems there.

Still haven't been able to practice backing it up yet ... so I'm still apprehensive about that ... but I am confident that will pass with experience.

As for towing ... it's a dream ... I'm really comforatable with it.

I guess what I'm saying is ... If I can do it .. you can do it.

My only advice is to consider the widebody ... the extra 6 inches makes a huge difference.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 03-10-2004, 06:41 PM   #11
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WOW, I go away for a couple of hours and come back to a wealth of information. You folks are great

More info on our lowley Avion. It's the I-30 ULTRA model. We're the second owners. Bought it about 11years ago from a fine older couple who bought it new. They travelled with it a lot the first ten years or so but were always based in AZ and we found it in a park here in central AZ where they were using it for a Summer home. We Winter here and the trailer stays here year round so it's pretty much been an Arizona trailer. We did a lot to it right away, used it a bunch at first and have kept it well maintained. We're planning on using it a lot more next Winter so that's why we're thinking of making a change.

I'll have to look at the Hensley hitch and see why it makes a difference on the turns.

I think the Avion is about 6,000 lbs empty. It looks like the wider 34's are about 1,000lbs heavier than the earlier ones. (8000+ vs &7000+) I think another 1,000lbs is ok for me but I'm not sure about 2,000 more. I don't want to replace my Ford 1 ton van. Of course if I did it would be with the same thing only deisel. Plus what about that extra 6" on the narrow roads in Mexico? As I said I've got a lot of experience in towing long trailers, not travel trailers other than the Avion, and backing is not an issue for me. (unless of course I decide to tag my Samuri Toad on the back. Legal in AZ.

My 31 is the closest to camping I'll ever get so nothing smaller. We usually don't use the trailer unless we're going to be out for at least three days. Otherwise too much hassle to load etc. So a 34 is the same hassle and we'd use it the same way just that it would be newer and more comfortable. We'd also like to take some month long trips or more.

One thing is that the anodized finish on the Avion never really looks dirty. It just looks better if it's washed. And there's no need to wax!

Roger I could go to $20k, maybe, but I've seen some 85-90's vintage for lots less. Guess I''ll just have to look a bit. Is there any benefit to getting say a 90 to 95 vs. a 85 to 90 model year? Bigger tanks etc?

Thanks to all
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Old 11-07-2004, 05:22 PM   #12
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I got a '32 unit and then decided that what I really wanted was 34' wide body, due to more space.
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Old 11-08-2004, 07:51 PM   #13
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Hi Dave,

I have recently purchased an '82 Limited 34' trailer. My previous trailer was a '78 31' Sovereign. The 34 tows easier and the backing is a breeze. I, too, like the extra axle carrying nearly the same weight as the 31'. I moved to the 34 because when I take pictures on the road, the dinette makes the work soooo much easier. I travel with my wife and two youngest making the rear twin (soon to be converted to queen) and front couch very liveable. If I up late I don't have to utilize a sleeping area to work. I love the peace and harmony that brings! Poker on the dinette is great also!

Take care,
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