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Old 05-25-2009, 10:39 PM   #1
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1983 30' Airstream 300
Weatherford , Oklahoma
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 55
Looking to find a MH but which one? Pros & cons?

Hello all, I've had the idea of finding a motor home for a few years & now I've decided to start serious looking. The airstreams have caught our eye and that's what I'm going after. With my limited knowledge on the subject, my pic is the 345. I think its the classiest. My questions for now are: Whats the diffrence between the airstreams & argosys?
Gas or desiel?
It will be my wife & I, a 6 yr old, & 9 yr old. How big?
Most traveling will be under 400 miles.
What are some of the more desireable things I should look for?
How well do these do in the stiff Oklahoma wind?
Do they ride solid? I rode in a buddy's, not airstream, and with every bump I thought it was going to shake apart.
Would a 310 be large enough for the four of us?

Thanks for all the guidance & help.
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Old 05-26-2009, 01:24 PM   #2
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Speedway , Indiana
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The 345 is a great machine. There is enough room for your family to have a relaxed time. To me, anything smaller for 4 would be just too small. The owners of the 280's, 290's, 310's would probably think differently.
Almost all 345's are Chevy P-30 chassis with a gas 454 V-8. Mileage is about 7 mpg give or take.
Wind is much less of a factor as compaired to a "big box" type of MH. We have crossed the big bridge at Tampa durring high wind warnings with no big deal.
The ride is very dependent on tire pressure. Too much pressure, and you have a harsh ride. Too little, and the tires can overheat. The pressure recommeded by Airstream is really close. I use a pyrometer to check tire temp on the inside, middle, and outside of the tread area. This will show you the ideal pressure for each tire.
We have a 1986 345. Since they made more 345's than any other model, there are more available.
Watch for corrosion on the body arround trim strips, and windows. Make sure everything works, or reduce the price accordingly. The 454 V-8's go about 110,000 miles before overhaul if taken care of.
We LOVE ours, and would never think of having any other type of MH.
Rob
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Old 05-26-2009, 01:36 PM   #3
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1983 31' Airstream310
Cactus Hug , Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robfike View Post
The ride is very dependent on tire pressure. Too much pressure, and you have a harsh ride. Too little, and the tires can overheat. The pressure recommeded by Airstream is really close. I use a pyrometer to check tire temp on the inside, middle, and outside of the tread area. This will show you the ideal pressure for each tire
That sounds like a great idea, could you elaborate?
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:13 PM   #4
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1983 30' Airstream 300
Weatherford , Oklahoma
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Thanks for the info. Any more is appreciated. What is the average price for a 345 in fair condition? I'm pretty handy and enjoy a good project.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:17 PM   #5
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1995 30' Excella
Logan , New Mexico
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There are two 345's for sale on e-bay. Get on ebay and type in airstream in the search box. Something to check out.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:40 PM   #6
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1985 34.5' Airstream 345
Tujunga , California
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I can't speak to the Argosy models, or the diesels, because I have no experience with either of those. But I will say that we love our 345. We had a 24 foot SOB before we got our Airstream. We enjoyed that moho tremendously, but the 345 is so much better. We think that we have at least another 20 years of camping left and we don't plan on ever getting rid of our current AS.
Keep in mind that if don't buy one that is already restored, the purchase price is probably just a down payment. We paid $18K for ours 4 or 5 years ago. We have since put nearly twice that into it. But that was the plan.
It didn't have breakdowns, we just wanted to upgrade.
Now we have a coach that cost a third of what several of our friends have spent, but at the campground, ours gets all of the attention.
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:01 PM   #7
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1972 Argosy 24
1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Heart of Dixie , Alabama
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As with any used MH...you will be making repairs.
Best with the Airstream is that all the repair and improvements will last much longer.
Your not investing in a SOB designed for a 7 year life span.

Under 400 nmiles?
I would get the 345 or 350.
The LE versions have a few extra features, as the boxed side curtains and a better counter top.

Keeping up with traffis is not a problem with these.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:43 AM   #8
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1983 30' Airstream 300
Weatherford , Oklahoma
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I'd like to find one that needs some work. That way I can justify re doing it how I want it. I'm in the appliance/floor covering business so I have some resources available to me that will make it a little less painful. Do you guys know of any magazines that would be good to get ideas from?
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Old 05-27-2009, 01:08 PM   #9
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Speedway , Indiana
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Tire pressure
I set my tire pressures on the 345 the same way I do on my road racing car. The amount of load on a tire must be balanced by it's pressure. This relationship can be checked using a pyrometer.
After running a few miles at highway speed, pull off in a safe place and check each tire the same way. You need to get your data quickly before the temps even out. On each tire, use the pyrometer to check and record the temperature at the outer edge, middle, and inner edge of the tread.
In theory, if the tire is at it's optimal pressure for the load, the three temperatures would be the same. In real life you will be looking for an even spread from one side to another. Like 145 outer, 147 middle, and 149 inner. This is due to camber.
If you see the middle temperature higher than the edges, the pressure is too high for the load. If the middle temperature is lower than the edges, the pressure is too low for the load.
I run my Tag tires about 10 psi lower than the duals as an example.
Using this method to determine pressure, you can arrive at the proper pressure for each tire.
Good luck, Rob
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Old 05-27-2009, 01:15 PM   #10
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1983 31' Airstream310
Cactus Hug , Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robfike View Post
Using this method to determine pressure, you can arrive at the proper pressure for each tire.
Thanks, Rob, I'll file that great information and put it to use beause I have (not always) smelled tires after some runs, though the pressures have been checked.
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Old 05-28-2009, 03:29 PM   #11
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1972 Argosy 24
1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Heart of Dixie , Alabama
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Finding a Airstream that is in need of work ?
Whew...now thats going to be tough to find.
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:32 PM   #12
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2005 30' Land Yacht 30 SL
Oakland County , Michigan
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We bought a 2005 Airstream Landyacht 30 footer w/ slide in August, 2007 and love it. It has the Chevy big block 454 (8.1 l) engine. The motor starts up beautifully and runs like a top. The body is fiberglass and has a beautiful finish to it. It's not aluminum and not as contoured as the 345, but still has awesome curb appeal and get's great comments when out on the road. The fit and finish inside is very much up to Airstream standards. Nonetheless, we have had to do some work to it. No matter what you buy or how much you spend on it, there will always be something you need or want to do to it.
Our unit has a queen bed, sofa and table with 2 chairs, so the 2 kids would have to share the sofa folded flat. Probably, you would do better with a dinette that drops down into a bed, along with a sofa and bed for sleeping.
Be sure to inquire about water leaks and inspect carefully for signs of water damage, (rust, water lines, rotted wood, mildew, etc.) Also, look carefully at the windows. Some are dual pane and oftentimes the seals break and fog collects between the panes. The only solution here is to replace the windows which is very expensive.
Good luck on your search and don't rule out the newer Land Yacht line.
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:01 PM   #13
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We purchased our 345 around two years ago. Though the wife wants to work a few more years we use it frequently. Short trips, weekends, exc. and one 5000 mile round trip last summer. It's our first ever MH so I don't have experiance to compare with but I can honestly say the 345 has always provided every comfort of home, surprisingly easy to drive, it's on a chevy P-30 chassis w/454 gasoline and expect around 7 mpg. It's a "keeper" for us and sure glad we became part of the AS world.

I see the costs of buying one vary greatly just do your homework and you'll find anything you need to learn right here on these forums!
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Old 05-29-2009, 01:19 PM   #14
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1983 31' Airstream310
Iowa City , Iowa
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We have a 310 and like its size...

We've had an '83 310 since late 2006. We looked for a unit small enough to fit into National Forest Service campgrounds and other places with limited pad sizes. Also, we can park it at home where anything bigger would not fit at all.

I think the extra length of the 345 is used mainly for a dinette and a wider kitchen counter but don't know for sure. Our seating across from the couch works fine as a dining place, so for us the extra dinette space isn't so important.

We spent $15,000 to purchase and another $25,000 on fixups. The most expensive fixup was stripping and recoating by P & S, a well regarded shop in Indiana.

Luckily, the engine and drive train were in very good shape and we were able to invest our efforts in new flooring, upholstery, curtains, captains' chairs, genset repairs, and a Gear Vendors overdrive/underdrive.

Also had to spend about $3000 on steering and tires.

Other nice features of the unit we bought were that it already had engine and transmission auxiliary oil coolers, a 'steer-safe' stabilizer, air bag leveling called Jet Air, and lots and lots of manuals and service records.

I'm not saying this to brag, but to indicate there are some really good values and some lemons out there for the shopper--and we were very fortunate.

We strongly believe in looking at serveral units before you buy, and in considering your impressions of the seller and how they used and treated the unit.

One caution: It's 25 years old. Any vehicle that old might bring an unpleasant surprise. We were SO lucky recently that our ignition module failed while the coach was in the driveway -- we had just got back from a 4 week 2000 mile trip from Iowa to the Great Smokey Mountains!!

We love our 'Ernestine' (named after the seller) and have really enjoyed RV-ing in this American classic, with ameneties of a much more expensive and newer type of unit!
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