Hi from England!
Sorry in advance for such a large post.
I have just bought my first Airstream RV! It is a 1984 310 limited. I got it of a great guy in The SF Bay Area through eBay, he has been helpful beyond expectation. The Unit is in great shape and all manuals are present.
Did you know that the (Airstream) caravans are illegal in europe? Too long and heavy. Only people of romany origin or with a special license can tow one. The good news is that there is no such problem with the Airstream RV! Anyone with a pre 1997 license can drive a vehicle up to 8.5 ton, of unlimited length! I cant believe there aren't loads of these RVs in the UK!
I have thrown some pictures up here www.thetreefamily.com/as/
I used to live in SF for a couple of years so have buddies there who went and checked it out and took some extra pics.
I am looking for various bits of advice. My situation is rather unique as I intend to export/import this from the US to the UK. But initially I would like to keep it for a year or 2 in California so I can come over with my family to enjoy this vehicle in its natural habitat!
Before I start asking I would first like to congratulate you on such a great list here. I have lurked and searched but not contributed. Fred's class A archives were a great source of information when starting to look, so, Thanks Fred for that site as well as the numerous posts here.
Onto some questions,
The first and most natural question is, is anyone on the list in the UK and in possession of an Airstream RV? I would love to make touch as I have many question specific to having such a vehicle in the UK that are not relevant to this list.
Storage - The vendor has a storage place that he has used North of SF that is 60 dollars a month, outdoors, and they can for a bit extra, turn the engine on occasionally. From my web searching this seems like quite a good price. Would you agree? Does anyone know anywhere in the SF Bay area that is similar in price? What about indoors? I have followed a lot of the posts on how often and how long to run the engine for, I am not looking for advice on this. Just on places and prices of storage (obviously running the engine is a very important part of storage and any suggestions that take this into account are welcomed ;-)
Export - What would you do? if you were to be away from the US and all its RV resources and Airstream expertise what would you take with you? What would be in your ultimate-Airstream-Emergency-Desert-Island pack? All parts, fittings and even your imperial nuts bolts and rivets will be hard/impossible to source in the UK. As It will be in the US for a while I will have a chance of stockpiling parts/tools.
Your opinion - The pictures are here www.thetreefamily.com/as/
and the eBay item no is 2455406090 anything catch your expert eyes?Picture of the engine here http://www.thetreefamily.com/as/20.html
(sorry for the bad pictures, it was night and wet) Things I may need to start thinking about taking care of? Any early warning signs?
Recondition - Anyone know of a SF Bay area place that can give such a vehicle a complete overhaul? Taking care of any early rust, mechanical problems, all lubes, etc. A total check up. Replacing any parts that may need it, new clear coat. etc. I don't think I will be able to afford such luxury but the exchange rate is rather good at the moment! Are there Airstream specialists/dealships?
Engine - I have read a lot of very educated and informed posts on engine milage, care and lifetime. Mine having 119k it isn't in its youth. It seems that the engine this has is very common and thus parts readily available. Do you think it has a 5th (overdrive) gear? how long would you expect this to run for? I have heard 200k mentioned but that is probably with regular use. I am going to need to get a new engine before this beautiful machine falls apart, right? Can one buy a new/reconditioned 454 easily in the states? How much? With that desert island thought from above would you recommend I buy one and ship it back to the UK with the RV as a bit of insurance. (I have found people here familiar with Chevy RVs so swapping out an engine should be possible) I could always do it myself right? What about the transmission? Same deal?
Questions - Did I miss an obvious question? Is there something I should be worrying about?
I shall be sure to ask your advice on our first road trip, sites and destinations. But for now that is enough I think.
Many Thanks, john