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Old 02-10-2004, 03:55 PM   #29
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What Brett said!!
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Old 02-10-2004, 05:11 PM   #30
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I would add that in your original questioning about the storage...if you can spend 60 dollars a month and they will regularly run the engine it would be a good investment. They should also run the generator for 2 hrs or so every 3 - 4 weeks at minimum.
I drive my coach once a week when it is not being used for travel, and run the generator under load while doing that, It has been running very well- engine and gen. and starts easily and quickly.
I also would think the common parts like starter and alternator should be kept handy..and i would go so far as to recommend an upgrade on both the first time there is a failure. Heat resistant starter, and heavy duty alternators save a lot of grief down the road.
You can also stockpile some tune up parts as mentioned above..and things like belts, hoses and such that are easily bought here, but not so easy over there,
Best of luck mate with your new to you Classic! Would love to see it tooling down the road in the UK!!
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Old 02-10-2004, 09:58 PM   #31
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Add radiator recore and a real good cooling system check to your list, especially the heater cores. A little overpressure test might find some soon to appear problems. I would also do the carrier bearing while the engine and trans are out.

John
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Old 02-11-2004, 09:13 AM   #32
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Thanks for all the suggestion so far, fantastic thread here that has really helped me sort out what to do.

I have some shopping list!

Will be in the US at the end of the month so will see and touch this for the first time! :-)

Ill check out this storage place, go for a test run and get a mechanic to give it a check over and price up a new engine and transmission.

Maby Inland RV, I could combine the test run with the trip to down to SoCal.....

I should also get some better pictures of the rig at the same time. The seller has promised to run me through all the buttons/swiches/hook-ups etc.

Ill be sure to update and keep you informed.

Still, if anyone is able to recommend someone to take it to in the Bay area, puerly for the mechanical stuff and a quote for the engine replacement. I would be most grateful.

Cheers, John
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Old 02-11-2004, 03:43 PM   #33
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congratulations.

Hi John, congratulations on acqiuiring your A/s M/h, just 2 say we have had 2 in the past and now looking for a 3rd, enjoy it , it's a disease that's got no cure m8. Based down in Cornwall.

Stuart.
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Old 02-11-2004, 03:54 PM   #34
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What? Cornwall?

In England! Fantastic, I was giving up hope of finding someone over this side of the pond.

What is it like on those cornish roads?

How did you get it over here?

Do you have a mechanic you use?

Jeez I have so many questions. Can I pick your brains a bit?
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Old 02-11-2004, 04:23 PM   #35
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Yes John, the uk's number one expert on classic airstreams Well thats my opinion and sticking to it. Good mechanic, me, my motto is if you want the job doing right do it yourself here in the uk. The guys over there in the states are spot on, you do need to buy a basket of spares, they are cheaper over there but GM parts are available in Europe the next day. GM have a distribution centre in Sweden and supply Europe on a next day delivery. Airstream parts though are a different matter but hasn't been a problem, had a 1980 28' excella diesel for 5 years nearly rebuilt it according to the bank balance!!! The last one which I imported myself was a 1990 290LE, it was awesome, it had a gear vender overdrive.

Send me a pm, we can swap phone numbers, the guys on here don't want to read all my waffle, but I must thank them though for their knowledge and experience over the years on this forum which has helped me in the past.
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Old 02-13-2004, 01:23 AM   #36
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Heya John,

Congrats on your purchase. I'm a Brit myself - Portobello Rd in West London - although California has taken its toll over the years. Heh. I think of myself these days as a British Californian. With the accent to fit I'm afraid. Anyway...

I owned an immaculate 1990 345LE MH for a couple of years and traded up (or on...depending on your point of view) to a Prevost 40ft diesel coach conversion last year. I do miss my Airstream MH very much though....even though the Prevost is a very different beast (everything on it costs 5 times as much to replace but it is designed to drive 2,000,000 miles during its lifetime). The Airstreams have a classic feel to them which is very special.

I lived in San Francisco for 7 years and moved south to Los Angeles last year. I still own an Airstream 1958 18ft Traveler. Look at my pictures on this site for the full trailer restoration saga. A long story...

The best place in the bay area for quality work on your bus is Oakland Truck Center 510 577 5543 (note spelling! not Centre as in Britain) in Oakland. Ask for Joe Allejandre (the manager) and tell him you know me (William Henshall) - they did all the work on my 345LE over several years and were simply the best. I tried others...no no no.

OTC are commercial GM dealers and have no agenda at all apart from getting a professional job done. They will charge you top hourly rate dollar but you will find they are cheaper in the long run because you can really trust them. If they say something needs replacing, it does. They work 24 hours.

I researched importing my MH into the UK to do an extended trip around Europe and have all the info for that still.

Re your mileage - you MUST replace that 454 if it has done 200k. They are really only good for 100K. As previous posts note, motorhomes truly hammer engines and my personal experience is that 80K is pushing it before you need to rebuild. The smaller Airstreams are alot lighter, but you are at the heavier end at 31 ft.

454s are still very common and much of the basic engine plan is exactly the same in much later engines as your 84 model. The GM P30 chassis was used by Fed and UPS so plenty of parts and crated engines still around. In fact they are the power plants for all the old GM muscle cars like the 70 Chevelles..heh!

You will gain alot from adding a Banks Power muffler and header system. With UK gas prices 4 times the US you will get that investment back very quickly in better mileage. Remember you will only get 7-8 miles to the US gallon stock despite what anyone tells you. And that will go down to mabe 6 if you are towing a vehicle and are hitting the Sierras. The Banks will give you another 2 miles or more per gallon and another 20% horse power.

Storage - if you can manage it do not store your coach within 10 miles of the ocean if you do not want to get more weather damage. I learned about this the hard way. Even parked inside this affects the aluminum drastically.

One word of warning - I kept my bus at a place in San Francisco called Affordable Self Storage. THEY ARE TOTAL RIP OFF PEOPLE! Bad. Not to be recommended. $60 a month is very reasonable. I was paying $175. They treated me very badly when I moved away and didnt need them any more - stole my deposit and other stuff.

My email is willy@williamhenshall.com - feel free to write and I will give you my phone number if you like. Happy to talk about what you are about to get into!

Will

The thought of driving a left hand drive MH through the center of London though...blimey!!
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Old 02-13-2004, 01:29 AM   #37
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And Inland RV - yes Andy is great

He is an opinionated pain in the butt who really knows his stuff*. I talked with him regularly during my Traveler restoration last year and bought a lot of stuff from him.

Every time I chose to ignore his advice I ended up in deep doo doo. There you go. I don't know how much he knows about the motorhomes though.

W

*PS Andy - if you read this...I mean in good way
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Old 03-03-2004, 08:04 AM   #38
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Update

Hi

Just to update everyone who was so helpfull here.

My wife and her dad have just come back from the states and have been for a short run in out new family member.

All went basically well, we had to do a lot of mucking around with insurance, registartion and driving licences. But at the end of it all it is ours.

The seller was a great help and spent a day showing us how everything works.

The 3 day trip north into a storm revealed a couple of things, there was a small leek in the roof, that was patched up by my wife before leaving. Good job she got stuck in a storm!

The biggest thing was the steering handling. The fluid for the power stearing was low and once topped up this seemed a lot better. However it still seemed very "bouncy" at the front end, maby new shocks are needed. It was also quite wavy on the road, maby this was inexperience, storm, roads or a combination of all! Is this something unusuall? or do these things require a "knack"?

We had Wills recomended mechanic in Oakland have a quick look at it and he was pleasently surprised at the quality of the underlying mechanics, especially the engine. So that means there is no ugency in doing anything in that department.

There were a bunch of other small things like some parts of heating lighting not working.

Overall all looked good. Although my wife felt it was BIG... hard to stop of at the local mall to pick up supplies without destroying everything in your path, sort of big!

It is in storage now with a solar panel keeping the batt happy. We will try and get over as a family this summer and do a bigger trip.

Long term we may keep it in california for a while before bringing it over. The cost differenc of gas for a long trip over here is probably the same as 4 return tickets to the US!

Thanks again for all your help. I have kept all your recommendations and will find them invaluable.

John
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Old 03-03-2004, 08:37 AM   #39
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Hi John

Glad to see all is well over there with only one or two hiccups. I did mention before that they handle like a 70's truck. I don't know whether the front coil springs have been changed on your motorhome and the inner air bags are inflated to the proper pressure 50/55 psi, on my 2 previous classics I changed the coil springs and the ride improved dramatically.

We have just become new owners of a 1982 turbo diesel 310, hoping to get it on a boat this month.

Can you give me a call this evening, I have lost your number.

Regards
Stuart
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Old 03-03-2004, 10:55 AM   #40
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I will agree with checking the air pressure in the bags, and it is quite likely you will need new shocks. My experience is to find a good set of Bilsteins and out them on, as well as for the steering horizontal stabilizer. It makes a big difference, and they can be found quite readily.
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Old 03-03-2004, 04:10 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally posted by ALANSD
I will agree with checking the air pressure in the bags, and it is quite likely you will need new shocks. My experience is to find a good set of Bilsteins and out them on, as well as for the steering horizontal stabilizer. It makes a big difference, and they can be found quite readily.
ALANSD.

dont know if you can help I have been trying to source for some aftermarket upgrade bushes to fit the front and rear anti roll bars I think you may call them sway bars, I have in the past replaced them with genuine rubber ones but on both occasions still found them to be too soft.

What I am looking for are some made out of polyurethane or polypropelene if thats the way to spell it , I did speak to a manufacturer over there but they dont make them big enough to fit the P30 chassis dont know if you have come across any.

stuart
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Old 03-04-2004, 11:56 AM   #42
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Rolling and bouncing...

...on Airstream motorhomes is almost always due to the front shocks needing to be replaced...

i had problems with the factory spec shocks on my 345LE - which are in fact Bilsteins. I had one new one break off completely. I had them replaced with standard P30 chassis shocks which are much heavier duty. The ride is a little more robust but totally worth it in longer term reliablity.

The anti sway bars etc will help, but if you are getting the feelin gthat you are in a boat in heavy swell, then that is what you should look at first.

Good luck with it!

Will
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