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Old 01-31-2003, 08:23 PM   #1
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Lightbulb About to buy first RV!

Hello people!

I'm about to buy my first RV, and I think its going to be an airstream! A 1981 28' Excella MH, to be specific. I've read through a bunch of threads, and checklists and all, so I've got some idea of what to look for, and it looks OK.

I've got some pictures up here , if anyone wants to check it out and comment. I'm pretty excited, but also rather nervous. Anything specific to early 80's airstreams I should be looking for?

Thanks!
-sam

ps- Anyone know how hard it would be to converrt (or swap out) the twin beds for a queen? I can probably jury-rig something, but this has to be something thats been done before.
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Old 01-31-2003, 08:44 PM   #2
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Hi Sam,
I looked at your pictures, looks good besides the usual cosmetics on the exterior.
The new generator and rebuilt motor are a plus.
Here are my thoughts about quick twin to full size conversion (blocking access the bath).
A piece of plywood stowed under one of the twin beds. Two pieces of foam, which are the backs of the twins during the day. I am sure you can imagine the rest.
On my 79 the fresh water tank is under the roadside bed and the generator housing under the curb side. This makes it difficult to convert to a permanent queen bed with access to the bath.
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Old 01-31-2003, 08:52 PM   #3
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Thanks! That was about what I was thinking for jury-rigging something up. Didn't really think about the storage tanks under the beds, your right, that would make major re-arranging pretty tricky

And yeah, I'm not too worried about the little cosmetic things, like the crackling on the blue stripes outside.

Took her for a test ride, and it seemed pretty solid, not too many creaks & squeeks.
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Old 01-31-2003, 10:16 PM   #4
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Looks pretty good for a 20+ year AS

If you can get it for a decent price I say go for it. It sounds like you have looked it over pretty good and if the mechanics are alright. Check all the appliances, refrigerator, furnace etc, these are pricey to fix/replace. Same goes for body and water damage. Plan on some repairs and leave yourself some extra cash reserves. I agree with PeterH, trying to convert the twin bed into a permanent queen will open a whole can of worms you were not planning on. The classic Airstream motor homes are so unique, there is nothing else like them on the road. You will be glad you got that "silver bullet" over one of those "generic boxes" you see populating our highways and byways.
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Old 02-01-2003, 02:09 PM   #5
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I am sure if you read through our threads you have picked up on most of the common areas to be concerned with. i have an 82 28 footer, and my interior was similiar to the one in yours. I redid the upholstery which improved the look and comfort quite a bit. The big items like appliances, a/c etc are a major concern. Tires, and exhaust sysytem,as well as the starter (!) a common failure, but one that is easily remedied and prevented from future problems with newer technology.
I wish you a lot of luck, and if the price is right...just be sure to put back some bucks for the unexpected that will invariably occur.
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Old 02-01-2003, 08:32 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input all... The price is $10k, which from what I've seen seems to be about average for its condition?

There are two small leaks inside, one by the driver side window, and one by the ceiling vent in the kitchen. It doesn't appear that these have done much damage (visibly,at least!), and the dealer is going to re-caulk all the seals before I pick it up.

We're closing the deal on monday (unless I notice something drastically wrong).

thx,
-sam
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Old 02-01-2003, 09:09 PM   #7
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Sam, thats a good price at the low end of the spectrum. Cost of ownership will catch up with that in no time.
I would think twice about letting someone recaulk anything. They may use silicone, which will give you grief for years to come.
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Old 02-01-2003, 09:57 PM   #8
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at 10k if you put in another 5k to make it look and work right it will still be a good deal.
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Old 02-01-2003, 10:17 PM   #9
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Hi sam,
saw the pictures and it looks ,like the 1981 I purchased las November.
Mine has a sofa curbside over the generator and a double wardrobe/dresser roadside. when the sofea is down it is a double bed leaving a narrow walkway to the bath.
the price sounds good and as stated before allow more money for the unexpected.
I think my previous owner took decent care of the one I bought but I still have a list of things that need attention as long as my arm.
good luck !
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Old 02-02-2003, 11:28 PM   #10
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cool, glad to know there are others running the same model. The layout on yours sounds good, I could never have too much storage space.
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Old 02-03-2003, 10:56 PM   #11
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Well I beleive this really is a small world where A/S Motorhomes are concerned. I think I walked around your '81 last Wednesday. The wheelwell ding looks familiar. Does it have two large casters on the rear?

I have an '85 325, noticed a 310 Turbo on a dealers lot last Tuesday and stopped by to snoop. I learned that the 310 was there for service but they had a smaller '81 up at a shop for a new thermostat. The price was $10,500. They told me where the shop was and I went to take a look.

The small world part of this is that there was a thread called "Almost a 325 Owner" started by JerryT94. I was about to offer to send JerryT94 some '85 325 when I learned the unit sold and he was looking for a smaller unit. I informed him in a PM that I knew where there was an '81.

So is this Forum now so wide reaching that we'll be able to track each and every unit that is for sale?

P.S. I agree on not having the dealer do any sealing. My 325 was resealed by a dealer and they really gooped on the sealer. I'm going to have to spend some time to reclaim some of the clean lines on the top -- I don't think a lot of folks appreciate the finesse required to maintain to purity of the A/S design.

Let me know if I can be of assistance or if there are actually two '81 28's for sale on dealer lots for $10,000 in the Seattle area.

Jim
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Old 02-04-2003, 07:23 AM   #12
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caulking

Sam, you may have found this already:
Tell me more about caulking
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Old 02-04-2003, 12:31 PM   #13
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Turbo 310

Bronze Dancer,
What shop did you see the 310 in We had our 310 at a repair shop for warranty work (they forgot to hook the cruise control back when they did our alternator rebuild) there was a older airstream MH in there for furnace work just seems a small world as you say. We live in Federal Way and belong to the club in Lacey/Olympia.
We would like to get together with some of the local guys here. Our Neighbor up the street has a 28 ft 1982 we found them by going by and stopping, you know how it is they are "door openers" No one minds answering questions about their Airstream
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Old 02-05-2003, 12:30 AM   #14
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I saw the 310 Diesel and now see the '81 28 at Baydo's in Olympia. I noted an exchange in a thread about a west coast rally between someone in Fife and another MH in Federal Way (You?). We bought our 325 about a year ago after first seeing it at A-1 in Silverdale. We were on our way home from Squim having test driven an '88 29' unit up there.

I exchanged e-mail with a fellow in Belfair who just bought his A/S motorhome and was trying to figure out some stuff. Now we have the fellow in Seattle buying the '81 28.

We looked at an '84 310 diesel in Tacoma before we bought our 325. That was the first A/S we looked at and by the time we figured out we wanted it it was sold to someone in Gig Harbor.

We also looked at an early A/S '28 at the Yacht Harbor in Lacey (where I suspect you belong) in our search. I notice the Yacht Harbor has several other MH's as well (have you seen the one at the Yacht Harbor with almost no windows and two curbside doors? It is for sale but I couldn't figure out how to convert from its former commercial us).

We wander thru the Yacht Harbor from time to time to look. Last summer we saw a newer (early to mid 90's?) AS MH in the storage yard with BC plates on it. We walked around it, noticed it had very few rivets in the side and appeared to be a pusher??? I came back a few days later with a camera to document the find but it was gone.

Sounds like between One Seattle, Two Federal Way, One Fife, One Belfair, Gig Harbor if we can find him, us in Olympia and whoever we can get from the Yacht Harbor we could pull off a pretty good rallly at the Yacht Harbor with very short drives.

If we all took advantage of the free 1st year in the WBCC we could do the rally as a "free test" at the Yacht Harbor.

Something to think about.

P.S. I saw another 310 turbo a few months ago at a Lacey shop on Martin Way just east of Carpenter. Was that you?
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