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Old 10-07-2011, 11:26 PM   #1
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1969 29' Ambassador
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Question Switching from Class A to AS

I am a full time RV'er, currently I live and travel in a 1997 Allegro 27', with one large old dog, one old cat and me, I love to travel around visit family, fish, sightsee and discover the beauty of our fair country Mexico and Canada. Lately I have been thinking about and looking for an AS in the 30' range to travel and live in full time. I spend a month or two here and a month or two there and having a travel trailer seems to fit my style of travel. My question is those of you who have switched from a class A to an AS trailer what do you wish you had known about before you switched and what advice would you give to someone who is about to switch.

The reasons for the switch are; I could use the TV for errands, sightseeing, Dr's visits etc. w/o having to secure for travel as I do with the Class A, The entry steps of the A/S would be easier on the old dog and this old lady (67), I like most of the layouts of A/S although some seem a bit snug for a tall person like myself I'm 6'2" (but models differ), I am fond of the rear queen or double, of course the alleged towing abilities of the A/S and the overall looks of the A/S. My price range is 10K to 15K plus a TV. So that means a used AS and I am aware that I will be fixing, replacing and fussing with things just like I do with this old thing I'm driving-it is all part of the adventure

I hope I have made myself clear and not muddied up the question.
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Old 10-08-2011, 07:59 AM   #2
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We went from a 40' DP to a 34' Airstream and haven't regretted it one bit. Now we no longer full time but if you will be spending a month or so in a location I think it's a good fit.

I posted our rationale on our blog @ An RV Life | Changing our RV Lifestyle and An RV Life | Travel Trailer Vs. Motorhome .
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:03 AM   #3
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The 34' models are good to live in, and many go for a song compared to the smaller ones. Since you're already shopping for a tow vehicle, you can get one that can ably handle the larger trailer. Since you already own an RV, you know they can be money pits, no matter who built them. The tow vehicle should be cheaper to repair than your class A you have now, as far as the running gear part.
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:29 AM   #4
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Here's a link to a 34 in the forum's classifieds:
1993 34' Airstream Limited - Airstream Trailer Classifieds - Airstreams Trailers For Sale
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:33 AM   #5
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I have looked at the differences and the trailer + TV looks better than MH + toad. When we bought the 30 MH that turned out to be 31 and toad required, making it 50+ ft, l originally figured we would do it without toad, but like you find it inconvenient to get it road ready, plus parking only on the fringes of large shopping centers. To get same living space 27 ft of trailer will give the same layout except for the driver and passenger seat, but by substituting a couple of loungers for the sofa it would be comfortable for two. Good luck on finding the right tow vehicle as it is as important as the size of the trailer. How to find a powerful TV that is easy on fuel will be the hard part, but this group seems to have all the answers.
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:32 AM   #6
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Welcome! I'm a short stay camper at best. I've had two motorhomes over the years. My favorite camper was a custom made pop-up I towed behind my motorcycle. I'm too old for that now. I bought a 1976 Airstream a year ago last June. I bought it with quite a long list of deferred maintenance.

My blog maps out my progress in the abstract. I'm not doing a restore, I'm doing a repair and replace. I'll never full time in a camper. I got too much STUFF!

Good luck with your plan.
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:08 AM   #7
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I checked your blogs and they are well done and very interesting. I agree getting repairs done to a tow vehicle is a lot easier than to a motorized RV especially when your in a remote area.
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:13 AM   #8
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Very nice AS may I ask what TV would be appropriate to tow it?
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Old 10-08-2011, 01:35 PM   #9
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Welcome!

I'm sure you'll enjoy having a TT/TV combo over a moho & toad. Life with but one drivetrain to keep maintained is much easier. Mentally less taxing, if nothing else.

My choice would be a trailer of 28'-30' if I were single. It's just that much easier to maneuver these around than a 34'. If length is not felt to be a problem, then I'd search for the one in the best condition overall without regard to size. A rear bedroom is important to my wife and I, and I'd recommend determing basics of the floorplan important to you as you do a national search. Somewhere around here is a thread asking how far would one travel to get the "right" trailer. The answer, IIRC, was 1,200-miles.

There's a point in the 1980's where the trailers were narrower than those of today, though I don't remember the year model change.

A pickup truck is the generic, default tow vehicle (TV). But it is by no means a requirement. Much depends on where one is camping (no offroad, for example). Posts and threads by AndyT (Andy Thomson) of CAN AM RV can set up quite a few cars to tow quite a few trailer sizes. Search here and online. A Ford Expedition would be an option for us if the truck we have did not have other purposes. As would a sedan, properly outfitted. Especially if the trailer is sitting for long periods in which case I'd go to the trouble of making a car the best TV for it.

The general rule of thumb is: Choose the TT first, get the best TV for it, second. That way there is no inappropriate mismatch (to what you really need).

Someone may correct the following: on a used trailer (1972-1995, say) I expect that I will spend about $10k-plus past the purchase price, all told (new tires, axles, disc brakes conversion, VPP hitch included) to bring the trailer to a high level of performance, reliability and use-ability (in which I include the cosmetics important to any of us) consonant with a permanent purchase. In fact it's a bit of a low number.

An A/S may need new axles, an inspection for shell separation, and leak detection. Some of this may be "expensive", relatively. Think of it as a nice house in a nice neighborhood but that nevertheless needs new central A/C and a new roof. Once done I am good to go for the better part of a decade. I would go into it expecting to have to replace every appliance (including A/C) so that this does not color my choice of one trailer over another. A bit of money, but nothing compared to serious problems.

Many changes -- including floor covering, awnings, upholstery, window covers, etc -- can be done as one goes along, obviously. But the componentry of road performance and safety should be done ASAP. It's no fun to try and find an electrical short in the 7-way TT to TV cord on the side of the highway. Best to make that sort of thing new from the start, before the budget shrinks. Same for LED marker lamps, breakaway switch, new safety chains, etc.

There are no end of threads here offering three different ways to fix any problem encountered. There are members who will inspect a potential purchase. Etc. Much, much help available in other words.

Enjoy

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Old 10-08-2011, 02:38 PM   #10
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Kayjulia,
I support most of what Rednax says. We've owned both MH's and TT's since 1970, my preference is a 30' AS, which we presently own. We had a 1993 25' Classic for over 15 years - it was ok, however, we had been looking for a preowned 30' for over 5 years as we felt it would allow a little more room, especially when weather prevented outside activity.
We really like it and it's not too much to haul around. Although a 34' is only 4' longer, I think the 30' is easier to maneuver.
You might also try RVTrader.com or RVTraderonline.com. I sold my 1993 25' Classic on this website. We found the 2002 30' Classic in Indiana, roughly 1500 miles round trip.
Our TV is a 2003 GMC 1500 extended cab with HD tow package, which we've had no problem, however, I might consider stepping up to a 2500 on my next TV.
Good luck
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Old 10-08-2011, 02:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayjulia View Post
Very nice AS may I ask what TV would be appropriate to tow it?
Something like this would probably get the job done:
SUPER NICE SUBURBAN 4X4

http://rapidcity.craigslist.org/cto/2607512213.html
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Old 10-08-2011, 03:00 PM   #12
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I have two tow vehicles. Both 1/2 ton General Motors 4 wheel drives. One is a Yukon XL, the other is a 1/2 ton pickup. I have two other tandem trailers. My total Airstream towing experience is the two mile tow it took to get it home after buying it from my neighbor.

When I visited Airstream Park by St Cloud Minnesota, quite a few of those folks were towing with 1/2 ton Suburbans and pickups. A few towed to Texas for the winter and back to Minnesota every spring for the summer with no complaints on the 1/2 ton vehicles.

Both my vehicles are called heavy halfs, equipped with extra springs, dual shocks, transmission oil coolers, and beefed up cooling systems. The Yukon has the optional towing package with the trailer transmission selector.

I'm an occasional flat land tower so my rigs may not make sense for full time towing.
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