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Old 06-24-2002, 11:24 AM   #1
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Crazy or not?

The family has had such a blast in rental motor-homes that we're thinking of buying one. We were impressed with the Airstream trailers (and never being ones to follow the herd) and are considering one of their Class A motorhomes, aluminum skinned of course!

Having absolutely no experience or knowledge about these units;
1) what should we look for?
2) where is a good place to buy?
3) are some years better than others?

Thanks for any help you can give.

Philip
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Old 06-24-2002, 07:29 PM   #2
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1985 345's are the best! The 80's brown interior and exterior wood trim stickers set them apart from the rest!

Look at my archives (link below). Different folks have different requirements (# of beds, length of beds). I would keep an eye on rvtraderonline.com. They usually have the biggest selection. Also check the 'For Sale' section of this site.

Buying a unit with the Banks Power Pack is an advantage!

Keep an healthy budget for repairs and replacements. The unit you buy (regardless of what the owner tells you) WILL need some work.

Be ready to travel. These units sell fast (except for the high priced ones). Most of us travelled 500+ miles to buy ours.

Most common problems are:
1) Engine heat (running hot)
2) Engine heat (running hot)
3) and Engine heat (running hot)

The 454 running hot is typical of the Chevy 454 chasis found in MANY other motorhomes. There are ways to deal with it. The Banks system gets more air in and more exhaust out. Installing electric radiator fans, new water pumps, extra vents on the sidewall, new/refurb radiator, etc....
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Old 06-24-2002, 09:31 PM   #3
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1978 28' Argosy 28
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1976 Argosy's are the best! The 70's lime green/brown interior and beige/copper exterior set them apart from the rest!

Most common problems are:
1) Engine heat (running hot)
2) Engine heat (running hot)
3) and Engine heat (running hot)

My mechanic told me that you need to budget for a new fan clutch every 3 years due to the hight rev rates and the 10 degree per year loss of capacity that and the other items Fred mentioned seen to be about it. Argosy's are the same shape but are pre-Airstream. Same basic quality, just not silver, not as many do-dads, and you can get one for 60% of the cost of the same size Airstream. BTW I am planning on painting mine silver and grey just like an Airstream, but no plasticoat worries!
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Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato


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Old 06-28-2002, 04:15 PM   #4
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I fell in love with the aluminum skinned classics the first time i saw them(last year!) Took months to find and buy one, and the only problems I have had are
1.engine heat,
no, just kidding.........actually we have had minimal problems with our 82, although I have spent the 7 months of ownership learning, learning, and learning some more. It has been a fun trip so far, and i am miles form where I began in terms of knowledge, competence, and understanding....but always find new things to figure out and comprehend. I have to say though I am enjoying it all.
The engine in ours has not yet run overly hot--even in the mountains at 95+ degress outside temp. But the heat did effect the inside a/c cooling ad made it less comfortable than it could be.
I suggest learn some here, look for one, and then ask for opinions before buying... by the way mine is a 280 which has a few less features than Fred's big 345, but is quite well equipped nonetheless.
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Old 06-29-2002, 10:11 AM   #5
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Alan,

You've got the Banks on yours don't you? My understanding is the better exhaust removes more of the engine heat.
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Old 06-29-2002, 04:58 PM   #6
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no, mine is stock as to exhaust and all. Wish I had the Banks. If time and money allow later on I want to go to Hedman headers, or some similiar system. I have found the roof a/c is ok, but not great once the temp hits 85 or more while traveling. Standing still its fine...we have 2 fans on the dash area that help, but I have not used my "car" a/c yet, as 7-8mpg is low enough....of course yours has 2 units, so that might be a big difference in riding comfort.
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Old 06-29-2002, 09:36 PM   #7
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I have two roof air's and one big generator but neither A/C works well (just OK). I am still looking for a shop to replace the A/C's and the pan so I don't get water in the coach!

(To get back on Pilip's topic.... we do get off track pretty easy) I think only the 325's and 345's had the 2 roof A/C's.

Philip,

How many folks in your RV'ing party?
Kids?
Tall members?
Any plans to climb mountains?
How handy are you? (not a requirement because I'm not! )

If it's just two of you, you could get away with a 24' or 27' (270) model. If there are four of you, the 300's, 310's, 325's, or 345's might be better. The 325's and 345's have a rear bedroom (twins, full, or queen). If you have a tall member, the 310 with rear King/dinette is hard to find but necessary.
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Old 06-29-2002, 10:19 PM   #8
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If you're crazy for considering a Classic Airstream Motorhome, then I need the padded room quick! I just sold my house and downsized so I could afford to keep my 345! I close on my less expensive dwelling on Tuesday 7/2. Having the RV will make my new 1120 sqft house seem huge!

Hope to see you at the Second Annual Classic Motorhome Rally in April of 2003 in Pensacola, FL. I'm still working on the NASA Astrovan tour. I'll let everyone know if I hear something definite.
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