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Old 05-12-2014, 08:07 PM   #1
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North Miami , Florida
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Compare A/S 345 motor coach vs. 36' Classic

Been looking for '82 - '89 345 a/s motorcoach. During search, I've come across several '92 - '95 classic pushers. How do the older 345s from '82-'89 compare to more recent '92-'95 36 classic pushers? Different features? Is one more reliable than the other? Other qualatative differences? Opinions from current and former a/s owners greatly appreciated. Thx

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Old 05-12-2014, 10:21 PM   #2
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Cleveland , Tennessee
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The 345's have a chevy 454 gas engine. when you hear "pusher", it usually refers to a diesel engine. Although there are a few 345's with diesel, but they were special order from the factory.

"Sometimes I wonder if the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it." Mark Twain

AIR 22749 WBCCI 2349 NOVA TAC TN-6
1989 345 LE Classic Motorhome
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:43 PM   #3
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1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
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Cost to buy and cost to own.
A 92-95 pusher could set you back $45-$100,000 but may save you money in cost per mile as with the Allison and diesel will be cheaper to run than a 345 gasser. You noticed I said "may"….maintaining a diesel or buying parts for it could get expensive, fast.
That being said, beautiful coaches and I wished I owned one, but I'm happy with my 83 310 turbo diesel.
As for the 345, if it's a gasser you're looking at 6-8 mpg depending on terrain and condition of the power train. I'm partial to the single rear axle myself and have gone on record stating so. I'm not alone saying that the extra weight, maintenance, cost of a trailing axle do not, IMHO equate to the extra 1.5-3.5 feet gained over a single axle.
Also the initial purchase price of a 345 will allow for a lot of vacations before you reach the purchase price of a 360 pusher.

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Old 05-15-2014, 10:46 PM   #4
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1982 34' Limited
1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Sausalito , California
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FYI, Sbb, after much deliberation we've decided to sell our 1986 345 and keep the '82 Limited trailer we just bought. We love the mh but don't plan to do much more camping and are more likely to use the trailer for other purposes. If you're interested, pm me.
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:44 PM   #5
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1994 36' Classic 36 Diesel
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Overall it comes down to this: you cannot beat the reliability of a diesel, you cannot beat the efficiency of a diesel, but you can beat the price of a diesel with a gasser.

Gassers require more maintenance period. However an improperly maintained diesel engine will break your bank account. When they break, they break big.

Gassers will break your bank over a five year period when you add it all up. Worst thing you can do to a diesel is fail to change the oil, or try to strech the oil change duration.

Think about it this way a gasser needs a tune up annually (plugs, wires, cap, rotor, filters) on top of the oil, and a diesel needs oil since it does not require an ignition (maybe a valve lash on the cummins). Combine that with the fact airstream used the cummins diesel in the pushers and they do not require glow plugs due to the fuel heater and block heater.

If you are mechanically inclined you will scoff at the added maintenance of the gasser, however if you apply that mechanically inclined talent to a diesel you will find all the $$$$$ repairs are actually inexpensive because the hourly rate of a diesel mechanic is ridiculous, and parts are about the same with a diesel. The only exception is the high pressure fuel pump. So break out the youtube videos and learn how to rebuild it on your own.

If you still are not sure stop and think about what fuel source industry and military uses in equipment for 'reliability,' 'efficiency,' 'long term cost savings,' and 'ease of maintenance?'
1994 36' Classic Diesel Pusher
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:05 PM   #6
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Sausalito , California
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Thumbs up This is why I love Airforums

Vycan's post is just another example of why I love this forum. It's thoughtful, thorough, clearly expressed, helpful, and good-natured. Thanks!
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Old 06-05-2014, 04:34 PM   #7
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1995 36' Classic 36
Boulder , Colorado
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Compare A/S 345 motor coach vs. 36 classic

I've never even set foot inside a 345 or any other AS motor home. My experience is limited to our 360. A few years ago we rented a Class A for 3 weeks in Alaska. It was a 28 footer with a triton V10 up front. It really roared to the point of not being able to carry on a conversation if there was any load on the engine. We got about 6 mpg.

When we started looking we drove a few diesel pushers and knew right away that would be a requirement. The newer front engine coaches are really sweat but beyond our price range.

We bought it with about 64k on it and the clock reads 83k after our spring trip. It's run flawlessly. I've done several modification to the engine including a Banks Powerpack, new turbo cartridge, and redesigned the induction system. I've found it easy to work on and parts through Cummins have been inline with anything for a gas engine. I've learned a lot about its care and feeding. You need to understand how to operate it or you can overheat it and do damage. The driving instructions from Spartan are pretty comprehensive.

We get a reliable 12 mpg with it. Click image for larger version

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