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Old 06-25-2002, 08:28 AM   #1
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Griffin , Georgia
Join Date: Jun 2002
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undecided

I am planning to purchase a used Motor Home and the date will be April ’03 or so .
During my searches for Airstream Land Yacht’s I found a picture of an older Airstream
MH and it caught my interest. We, my wife and I, have always thought the Airstream Trailers were the best thought out design. The Key here is that my wife has indicated she would help drive if we were not pulling a trailer. Bye Bye trailer. We laid out a basic plan and that would be to set an amount to spend including an amount for maintenance.
So I found a web site by Fred Hinds that showed me many pictures and descriptions and that has my (our) curiosity up a little more. So while we have not been in one yet to see how it feels. I had many questions, so I fired some off to Fred Hinds graciously answered them and pointed me here.
We want a full or queen bed in the rear and from the descriptions of the older Airstreams
It looks like this would mean that we would need at least a 310 or 325 to find this. I have originally thought 32 feet would be a size I could put most places I have seen so far. I have been known to try to get off by myself and hanging on the side of a hill can be fun. I realize this is a relative term with a motor home.
The older Airstreams look to be stable and that is important especially for my wife who is will to try this out.
So here goes:
1. When I am looking through catalogues I never seem to see a reference to Airstream or even a picture of one. Does this mean that there are suppliers that cater to Airstream or is a refrigerator a refrigerator
2. Another concern was if a refrigerator was to be replaced is the door large enough?. It looks small ….
3. External storage seems to be limited.
4. I have never heard anyone trash a 454 but not being a Chevy fan are there years I should stay away from?
5. On a 325 and above are the rear wheels like the old GMC coach of the 70’ or are they dual wheels and a tag axle. If a tag axle does that make maneuvering more difficult?
I do not plan on a hauling a toad. I feel hertz and other can provide if I plan ahead. I am sure life will teach me if this is the way to go.
I am trying to look at this as a used MH is a used MH and that the quality of the product
Is what I am looking for. Maintenance will not be any different whether it is a ’93 or an ’83 maybe just quicker..
So I guess I am looking for a reason that this is a bad idea so I will be going in the right direction when I do buy.

well this is the short story .
thank you for any help/advice you can share

John
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Old 06-25-2002, 09:03 AM   #2
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1978 28' Argosy 28
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John,

I will attempt to answer some of your questions; I sure other will jump in to fill in the gaps.

With regard to Airstream Classic MH there are not many "Airstream only" interior parts. A refer is a Refer, you just need to get the right size, same with water heaters and furnaces.

External storage is different on each model but you have to realize that the tradeoff is you are not driving a billboard. Meaning there is no basement because your overall height is less than many other motor homes. Also if you are considering a 80's model most of the storage is in a roll out drawer that extends under the coach.

On the 325 the rear is all suspended on air bags, tag axel and main too. This is not done as the older GMC styles but more like a tractor trailer where the coach sits on top of the bag and the bag sits on top of the axel.

The 454 is a workhorse and with proper maintenance will give many years of service. If you can find a used unit with the Banks system or the Jacobs system it will help in the power department. I am not aware of any years to stay away from, but be sure the rig you buy has a 454 not a 350. There were some made with the 350 to deal with the gas shortage and emissions.

In regard to drivability, when my wife first took to driving out 28 ft Argosy (just like an Airstream but pre Airstream) I had to keep reminding her to keep it under 70. She felt comfortable with the size and it is just like driving a large van.

Good luck on your search, you may want to also budget for last minuet air fare as the one you want may not be local and they go really, really fast when they are right price right condition.
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Old 06-25-2002, 09:17 AM   #3
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, Washington
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Undecided No More

I am the other half of Dave and Louise and we have a 1983 310 Diesel. In 1995 we were visiting our son in Blaine Washington and while out for a errand I saw our MH in a storage place with a for sale sign on it (we were looking at 5th wheels then) for some wierd reason I was drawn to it and went back so our sons with the phone number. Dave said it would probably be real expensive because it was a Airstream but we called anyway. We met with the previous owner and went for a drive we loved everything about it and decided to buy it. After first having a inspection from a local motor home dealer we settled on a price. There were a few things we had to do that the inspection didn't catch. Nothing major our microwave would cut off after about a minute (we since replaced it with a micro/convection which is much better for me) other issues were the bed that was aactually 2 couched in the back that folded down and to say it was uncomfortabe would be a understatement. We put them both down and placed a 4 inch foam pad over it, bought some tee-shirt knit sheets and hooray we had a very comfortable king sized bed.
We have since added on such things as hydraulic levelers (nice feature for Dave) put new tires, and wheel liners fixed a couple of screens and a few cosmetic things. As for storage we planned a little differantly. For pots and pans I got the t-fal ingenio set that the handles come off and they fit inside each other so eliminating those handles sticking out, we took a diamond plate chest (the kind you buy at Camping World) and made a holding tray that fit into the hitch on the back and mounted the "caboose" to that it works like a charm and holds a lot of stuff propane bottle for BBQ, outside carpet and the other things that don't really fit well in the out side storage drawers. We did take the carpet out of the galley area and put vinyl that made a real differance in cleaning. The built in vacuum is kind of useless since you can't find bags any more so I purchased the Euro-pro bagless stick vac that converts to a hand held and it has a ton of power I was impressed. Our tv rides in a chair then we made legs that we can slide onto the extra table section and it sits between the driver and passenger seats when we are parked. We have obtained through e-bay and other sources all (or most) of the attachments for the Nutone built in unit on the counter I love it as since there is not much counter space it makes chopping and blending a breeze. But most of all we just love the coach there is a feeling you get with a Airstream that is hard to explain but you know it when you have one there is a community of us out there that are passionate as seen in the pictures of the National rallies. When Dave asks me if I wouldn't rather have a MH with tip outs and all the other things I just look at him NO! You rarely have people stopped at the lights and say "what a cool MH" when you are driving the boxes. and that happens to us a lot by all age groups. So if I helped with your decision great. There are mechanical things that can and do go wrong but that is true with any coach.
Good luck with your quest
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Old 06-25-2002, 10:01 AM   #4
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Griffin , Georgia
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 210
Images: 28
undecided

Thanks for the info especially the driveabilty as that is a big question and alot of anxiety for my wife....



Quote:
Originally posted by thenewkid64
John,

I will attempt to answer some of your questions; I sure other will jump in to fill in the gaps.

-----snipped text -------

In regard to drivability, when my wife first took to driving out 28 ft Argosy (just like an Airstream but pre Airstream) I had to keep reminding her to keep it under 70. She felt comfortable with the size and it is just like driving a large van.

Good luck on your search, you may want to also budget for last minuet air fare as the one you want may not be local and they go really, really fast when they are right price right condition.
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Old 06-25-2002, 10:04 AM   #5
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Griffin , Georgia
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 210
Images: 28
Re: Undecided No More

thank you for the reply this helps because I have seen a couple of 310's that had rear lounges and that caused me to pass them by maybe if they are still around they will work out for us also






Quote:
Originally posted by LKappenman
I am the other half of Dave and Louise and we have a 1983 310 Diesel. In 1995 we were visiting our son in Blaine Washington and while out for a errand I saw our MH in a storage place with a for sale sign on it (we were looking at 5th wheels then) for some wierd reason I was drawn to it and went back so our sons with the phone number. Dave said it would probably be real expensive because it was a Airstream but we called anyway. We met with the previous owner and went for a drive we loved everything about it and decided to buy it. After first having a inspection from a local motor home dealer we settled on a price. There were a few things we had to do that the inspection didn't catch. Nothing major our microwave would cut off after about a minute (we since replaced it with a micro/convection which is much better for me) other issues were the bed that was aactually 2 couched in the back that folded down and to say it was uncomfortabe would be a understatement. We put them both down and placed a 4 inch foam pad over it, bought some tee-shirt knit sheets and hooray we had a very comfortable king sized bed.
We have since added on such things as hydraulic levelers (nice feature for Dave) put new tires, and wheel liners fixed a couple of screens and a few cosmetic things. As for storage we planned a little differantly. For pots and pans I got the t-fal ingenio set that the handles come off and they fit inside each other so eliminating those handles sticking out, we took a diamond plate chest (the kind you buy at Camping World) and made a holding tray that fit into the hitch on the back and mounted the "caboose" to that it works like a charm and holds a lot of stuff propane bottle for BBQ, outside carpet and the other things that don't really fit well in the out side storage drawers. We did take the carpet out of the galley area and put vinyl that made a real differance in cleaning. The built in vacuum is kind of useless since you can't find bags any more so I purchased the Euro-pro bagless stick vac that converts to a hand held and it has a ton of power I was impressed. Our tv rides in a chair then we made legs that we can slide onto the extra table section and it sits between the driver and passenger seats when we are parked. We have obtained through e-bay and other sources all (or most) of the attachments for the Nutone built in unit on the counter I love it as since there is not much counter space it makes chopping and blending a breeze. But most of all we just love the coach there is a feeling you get with a Airstream that is hard to explain but you know it when you have one there is a community of us out there that are passionate as seen in the pictures of the National rallies. When Dave asks me if I wouldn't rather have a MH with tip outs and all the other things I just look at him NO! You rarely have people stopped at the lights and say "what a cool MH" when you are driving the boxes. and that happens to us a lot by all age groups. So if I helped with your decision great. There are mechanical things that can and do go wrong but that is true with any coach.
Good luck with your quest
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Old 06-25-2002, 11:17 AM   #6
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Griffin , Georgia
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 210
Images: 28
undecided

you mention a roll out drawer. are the bottoms of the motor homes enclosed like the travel trailers?

thanks for the info about the drive line and suspension.



Quote:
Originally posted by thenewkid64
John,

I will attempt to answer some of your questions; I sure other will jump in to fill in the gaps.

With regard to Airstream Classic MH there are not many "Airstream only" interior parts. A refer is a Refer, you just need to get the right size, same with water heaters and furnaces.

External storage is different on each model but you have to realize that the tradeoff is you are not driving a billboard. Meaning there is no basement because your overall height is less than many other motor homes. Also if you are considering a 80's model most of the storage is in a roll out drawer that extends under the coach.

.
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Old 06-25-2002, 11:30 AM   #7
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My wife and I started searching for our classic Airstream motorhome in early 2001. We found that almost as soon as we found one (on the internet) it was gone. When we finally found exactly what we were looking for we shot off a good faith deposit to nail it down. We flew from Orange County, CA to Kansas City, MO, bank check in hand for the balance, to inspect the unit prior to purchase. We had a few prerequisites based on our own preferences and experiences:

+ Rear bath as the center bath is like a small closet.
+ Pre 1982 1/2 as Airstream changed the skin from alclad and the
later alloy cannot be polished successfully.
+ Diesel power for mileage and durability (even my car is a
Diesel).
+ Less than 30í as 30+' are not allowed in CA state parks.
+ Well maintained, especially the running gear and skin.

We drove from Kansas City to Tulsa, OK and dropped it off with a well recommended aircraft and Airstream detailer for repair, polishing and detailing. We are going to pick it up the week of July 7th and bring it back to Orange County, CA to prepare it for full time living. I retired in February and we are in the process of selling our home. Iíll post pictures as soon as it is ready to show off. Check pictures on our website. http://members.cox.net/rldienst/page2.html
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Old 06-25-2002, 01:50 PM   #8
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Griffin , Georgia
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 210
Images: 28
undecided

wow more choices , tougher decision and now I need to budget for a library this is going to get interesting....Barnes & Noble is just up the street....
well enjoy the retirement...
I'm stillworking....
waiting to see the pictures.....

Quote:
Originally posted by dienst1
My wife and I started searching for our classic Airstream motorhome in early 2001. We found that almost as soon as we found one (on the internet) it was gone. When we finally found exactly what we were looking for we shot off a good faith deposit to nail it down. We flew from Orange County, CA to Kansas City, MO, bank check in hand for the balance, to inspect the unit prior to purchase. We had a few prerequisites based on our own preferences and experiences:

+ Rear bath as the center bath is like a small closet.
+ Pre 1982 1/2 as Airstream changed the skin from alclad and the
later alloy cannot be polished successfully.
+ Diesel power for mileage and durability (even my car is a
Diesel).
+ Less than 30í as 30+' are not allowed in CA state parks.
+ Well maintained, especially the running gear and skin.

---snipped text-----

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