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Old 07-25-2010, 07:53 PM   #1
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1995 36' Classic 36
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Fulltiming in a vintage 345?

Okay, I'm going to post a short intro here and then if it works the rest of my message. Why? because I just spent 1/2 hour typing a post and losing it becuase I was not "logged in", (I was).

Our last kid is now out of the house and the wife and I, being somewhat adventurous and have a nomadic streak in us are looking to dump the house and go F/T in a vintage AS MH. Stay tuned...
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:24 PM   #2
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Okay that one posted so here's the rest... again.

After having checked out the regular boxes we both think doing this is an vintage AS MH would really add to the flavor of this adventure. I love the look of these things, from the outside at least. Having read some of the maintenance threads and just what may be needed to keep one of these beasts properly fed I have some questions for my hopefully soon to be fellow streamers.

1. Are we nuts? Have at it from both the No's and the Yes's.

2. These things look like they take up a lot of your time to keep running, (and maybe not). Most of the owners have the luxury of a garage and full set of tools/equipment and time to source parts and do it themselves. I won't. I like to tinker and am handy but pulling an engine or tranny is way out of my league. How does a F/Ter get the repairs done? At the shop? do you live out or a rented box while it's in for repairs? Will the parks let you replace that generator or polish the unit in your space? do vintage owners get cut some slack because it's all part of the package?

3. To those of you who own one, would you cut your ties and F/T in one? KMPro, I read your great thread on getting your rig up and running and I can jsut see myself on the receiving end of a failed suspension, now what? Your wisdom is much appreciated.

4. How much would you set aside each month for repairs/maintenance/replacements, assuming a shop had to do the majority of the work? I can swing $500 a month considering what we save from not having a stick house any more. Probably could swallow $1K a month but really, would it take that much to keep it running?

5. After about a year we would probably look at modernizing the beast after getting to know what it is we need/miss/want. So to put in new cabinets/applicances/fixtures/flooring, good quality but not high end stuff what are we looking at for a 30+ rig? Pro does the work. 20K in the range or are you LOL?

6. We have a large dog, very well behaved. It stays in the house while we are at work and gets out when we get home. Seems to be okay with this arrangement, no complaints from her yet. Can you leave a dog in teh moho withe the AC on as needed throughout the day? Parks okay with bringing dogs in? F/T'ers with dogs please let me know your experiences.

7. My wife is a massage therapist, and a very good one at that. Do the parks let you set up a tent and hang a shingle in your space? No biggie if they don't just want to see if this is possible.

8. Got my eye on an 87 345 with over 50K in mileage, sounds like it's in very good shape and has been cared for, but I realize there will be things to replace from day 1. Owner has had it for 4 years and had a 310 before that, says take care of the normal wear & tear parts and the rest is not a big issue. Wow, just what I want to hear. Is this really possible?

So one way or another, it looks like we are going to be FTing within the next year. Both of us find this lifestyle very appealing are self employed and are setting things up so we can be absent and still have an income.
We've made plenty of big leaps in the past and while not always successful in one way have been so in others including just the experience of making the leap. So maybe it's all in the frame of mind. You want it to be a burden it becomes one more so than if you take it all in stride and realize it's part of the rules of the game. I guess some forethought into the matter also helps your chances of suceess.

So I hope to be getting to post here more and more with tales of the adventure, but if plan A begins to have more possible pain than gain, then maybe I'll be posting about trailers next. I hope I don't have to go on other SOB forums for advice though.

Gary & Sonja
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:40 AM   #3
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Gary,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pomfritz View Post
1. Are we nuts? Have at it from both the No's and the Yes's.
Probably no nuttier than the rest of us

Quote:
2. These things look like they take up a lot of your time to keep running, (and maybe not). Most of the owners have the luxury of a garage and full set of tools/equipment and time to source parts and do it themselves. I won't. I like to tinker and am handy but pulling an engine or tranny is way out of my league. How does a F/Ter get the repairs done? At the shop? do you live out or a rented box while it's in for repairs? Will the parks let you replace that generator or polish the unit in your space? do vintage owners get cut some slack because it's all part of the package?
I would imagine there are a lot of owners that don't have a garage or a lot of tools to work with on their motorhome. I'm probably one of the exceptions in that I have a large shop and lots of tools. Even so I don't use the shop for working on the motorhome. I do most all of the work on it while it's sitting outside.

Quote:
3. To those of you who own one, would you cut your ties and F/T in one? KMPro, I read your great thread on getting your rig up and running and I can jsut see myself on the receiving end of a failed suspension, now what? Your wisdom is much appreciated.
I doubt that my wife and I would full time partly due to all of the animals (horse, donkey, mule, 3 cats) and all of vehicles, etc that we own. We have spent way to many years collecting all that junk so its probably not an option to get rid of all of it now

Quote:
4. How much would you set aside each month for repairs/maintenance/replacements, assuming a shop had to do the majority of the work? I can swing $500 a month considering what we save from not having a stick house any more. Probably could swallow $1K a month but really, would it take that much to keep it running?
Assuming the motorhome is in good running condition, A/C units work, fridge functions and all of the other major components are in good working order then $500/month should be sufficient to allow you to build up a fund for replacing components as they fail over the years.

Quote:
5. After about a year we would probably look at modernizing the beast after getting to know what it is we need/miss/want. So to put in new cabinets/applicances/fixtures/flooring, good quality but not high end stuff what are we looking at for a 30+ rig? Pro does the work. 20K in the range or are you LOL?
Can't answer your questions but I'm wondering why new cabinets would be needed? The 345s typically had very nice plush interiors. At least the 86 that we just picked up sure did have a plush interior.

Quote:
6. We have a large dog, very well behaved. It stays in the house while we are at work and gets out when we get home. Seems to be okay with this arrangement, no complaints from her yet. Can you leave a dog in the moho withe the AC on as needed throughout the day? Parks okay with bringing dogs in? F/T'ers with dogs please let me know your experiences.
Only comment I can make is what happens when the power goes off on a hot day or the air conditioner fails? Both of these are very real possibilities to consider.

Quote:
8. Got my eye on an 87 345 with over 50K in mileage, sounds like it's in very good shape and has been cared for, but I realize there will be things to replace from day 1. Owner has had it for 4 years and had a 310 before that, says take care of the normal wear & tear parts and the rest is not a big issue. Wow, just what I want to hear. Is this really possible?
In my opinion, yes.

There are a lot of full timers on Airforums and hopefully they will chime in with their experiences.

Good luck!

Brad
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Old 07-27-2010, 03:10 PM   #4
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Gary,
Full timing in any older motor home will have it's share of maintenance issues. The Airstream is so much better built than the others, at least structural problems should not be one of them.
The systems in any make motor home are really about the same. Water heater, furnaces, A/C units, etc. are all the same units used in any make, except he ones in an Airstream were always the top of the line
The older motor homes do not have a lot of things that become problems in newer units. Such as slides, automatic leveling, washer/drier, etc.
In my humble opinion, unless you really wanted a slide, the vintage Airstream would be the ONLY one I would consider for full timing.
We travel with one dog and one cat. They seem to like it just fine.
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Old 07-28-2010, 06:48 PM   #5
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Well we are looking into the 345 but a newer Aluminum one is on the radar too if I can just locate one that is within the budget. Been scouring the various for sale sites but if anyone knows of a clean and maintained one for sale, please let me know. Only interior requirement is a Queen bed, (we like to snuggle).
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:41 PM   #6
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Just do it

Hey Gary & Sonja, here's my thoughts to your questions.

1. Nuts? Yes! We pronounce it adventurous.

2. They don't take anymore time to keep running than a TT & TV combined. I'll do tune ups & small repairs, but know when to call the professionals.

3. We've been fulltiming in our 1989 345LE since May 2004

4. We don't budget like that. So far our only major service has been new tag axle brakes & new brake master cylinder installed. Cost around $1100. OUCH! I have the knowledge to do them but limited tools onboard & cost of buying more of the same tools I already own but stored at brother's place would have cost about the same. The service place allowed us to stay in our AS overnight as we arrived midday. Unfortunately we were locked inside their gate. Had no toad so couldn't really go anywhere. Then there's new tires at about $200 each. I run Bridgestones.

5. Modernize or customize? There's only 2 of us. Out came the 2 swivel chairs, television stand, carpet, & couch. In came the hardwood floors & 2 recliners. Did all of this while out on the road.

6. We have a black lab, a shepard/bloodhound mix, & a lab/terrior mix. Yeah, I meant to spell that with an "o".

7. I dunno about the parks. We sell wine bottle lights at craft fairs, outdoor markets, & currently supply 2 craft stores in the Smokies below Knoxville.

8. Bought ours with 87,000 miles on it. Now reads 107,000 miles. The PO took great care of it. I do all routine maint regularly. I change the oil at rest areas. I'll leave the back of the AS MH lined up with the back of the tractor trailers. This way truckers can see you're there & not try to pull in & risk hitting you. This allows you to be hidden when you do it. I start at dusk & am done 25 minutes later. Plus parking this way puts the bed at opposite end of trucks so idling & refers running don't keep you up.

Pleae take advantage of Courtesy Parking. A great way to stay safe for free while meeting new people. I hear the Lagrange Airstream Park (pronounce Loudruff's CP) is a great place to stop. Most Petro & Flying J's will let you dump & take on fresh water with a fill up of gas. If not driving far, only fill 1/2 the gas tank & get more water in acouple of days. We've spent days just driving from 1 rest area to the next to spend the next night. This is 1 way to save $$$ when you have no particular place to go & all month to get there.

Ricky
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:19 PM   #7
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Ricky,

Thanks, all that info is veryencouraging. Now i wish i could just find one for that was not a scam.

Gary
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