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Old 06-13-2005, 07:41 AM   #1
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1985 34.5' Airstream 345
Jarrettown , Pennsylvania
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Thumbs up Newbie question, 345 water fill?

This is a moderately embarrassing question - but we don't seem to be able to hook up to fresh water in the 345. According to the manual, there should be a fitting at the fresh-water tank fill, but it's just an opening for sticking the hose into. We were told that the hose reel in the roadside compartment is the fill, but it doesn't seem to go anywhere, and wouldn't that be for a hose coming OUT anyway? Perhaps the drain hose for the fresh-water tank, but that would have to be opened and would be pouring out whatever is already in there, as there is no shutoff. Are we missing something obvious here?
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Old 06-13-2005, 07:56 AM   #2
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It is a little confusing the first time. The hose on the reel is you city water connection. That is what you use when you are "hooked up" at a campground. It is a seperate system than your fresh water tank and provides city water to your plumbing without the need to use your water pump or fresh water tank (in fact there is a check valve between the two)

I can't remember if which bedroom configuration you have. Mine is a side queen. The water tank fill is located on the curbside of the coach just below the bedroom window. It's behind a little access door, has a white screw on cap and a little vent plug. This is where you will the fresh water tank. Make sure you leave the vent plug out and don't try and fill it too fast. When it's full it will overflow back up the fill tube so you'll definately know it's done.

Also, check to make sure all of the drains have been closed (below the panel beside the bed). If you see water coming from under the coach then you know you have a valve open.

Once you get the tank full, pressurizing everything is another story.
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Old 06-13-2005, 09:11 AM   #3
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I don't have a 345, just a shorter 280, but I should think that the water hookup that you are asking about would be in the same general area as mine. Mine's in the rear by the tow receiver. It's a small white plastic male cap, screwed into a metal female cap. When you unscrew the white cap off (it hangs by it's own retention line), you can screw on a water supply hose right into the female part, just like a hose nozzle at the end of your garden hose.

When you turn the water supply on, you won't use any of your fresh water tank due to they're separate systems. Hope this helps.

Edit: After re-reading Webster's post, I see that the reel IS the city hookup!

Sorry for the mis info.
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Old 06-13-2005, 09:12 AM   #4
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Steven, is a house near you for sale? I think our 345 wants to be your neighbor! That post very succinctly solved that problem. I had been wondering why the hose reel connection didn't seem to be involved in the tank/pump system, and that explained that.

We now find that there has apparently been a slow leak in the tank corner area for some time. Husband is off to find a replacement for the fill hose, and we have our fingers and toes crossed that that is the leaky spot, and no other. Many of the water tank braces seem to be flopping around loose, with screws loose on the floor area (already picked up); we fervently hope none of them have found their way underneath the tank.

Getting squirrelly now, countdown eleven days until start of cross-country adventure. We are still waiting for some parts for hauling the Saturn behind, and an extension for the installation of the new furnace. Looks like all other systems are go, with some minor adjustments. I have talked John into a laptop for the trip, primarily so we have access to this forum. Here goes!
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Old 06-13-2005, 10:17 AM   #5
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More Airstreams in the neighborhood would be very welcome from my perspective (although some of my other neigbors might not feel the same way )

There are a lot of plumbing lines back there. The plastic tubing is brittle and cracks easily. Fortuntely you can usually find something in the plumbing department at home depot or lowes to "graft" a fix into the plumbing. We found five leaks on ours when I fiirst pressurized everything. It can be replaced with PEX tubing if you get really motivated but there is piece of mind knowing that a trip to a hardware store while on the road can solve most of these problems.

Don't forget to check the water filter and connection (in the curbside bedroom closet) as it can leak A LOT of water in a short time. One way to know you have all of the leaks repaired is to pressurize the system; blead all of the air out by opening each faucet (hot and cold), running the toilet, etc until only water comes out. Then close everything and see if the pump keeps cycling on. If it cycles rapidly then water is going somewhere. It's not always obvious - I had to look under the coach in some cases to fin the general leak locations then attack them from inside.

Use that laptop for a GPS as well. We live by it now in our 345 - one of the best investments we made in our "rig".

Sounds like you're going to be ready for your trip. If you're in the neighborhood drop me a line and stop by. You can always visit Churchhill Downs (they have a special RV parking area) and who knows - maybe you'll pick a winner and pay for your trip
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Old 06-13-2005, 10:57 AM   #6
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I believe that my 345 had a valve under the bed that allowed you fill the tank from the city hook-up. Many new RV's have the abilty. I never tried it. It was just easier to shove a hose in the fill door. Yes, I did have more than one occurance of the overfill backsplash. It does dampen you spirits!

I had to prime my pump for the white water tank by first running the city hose connection. I bonded with my hose reel. See "Fred vs the hose reel" for some humor.
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Old 06-13-2005, 11:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbnjsellers
Many of the water tank braces seem to be flopping around loose...
Your "slow" leak could be in either the shore hookup section, or the pump (self contained) water system - you need to check for leaks when pressurized both ways.

The fill and overflow vent on mine were WAY to short on my 345 (crossways rear queen) - the vent hose had actually come off of the exterior (fill) fitting.

You may want to check the condition of the hoses prior to filling.

Remove the inspection plate above the air pump (on rear curb corner on the Queen bed), get a flashlight and mirror - be prepared to position your butt in an unusual position to view the "innards" while looking upside down.

Also, if you remove the drawer from under the bed (remove it all of the way - put it on the couch) you will see the "front" of the potable water tank.

The shore power/generator main line (definite purpose contactor) interface is located to the curb side of the drawer cavity, under the bed.

If you are getting a laptop anyway, consider getting a "DeLorme" GPS/Street Atlas" - or other - moving map type of program. Do a search on DeLorme. Some people like it, others suggest alternative programs.

If you do not have experience with a toad, be forewarned that you will NOT be able to see the Saturn from either of the side mirrors, nor from the rear view mirror through the rear window. I installed a "baby monitor" type of camera/receiver that works in 12 volts - I also sometimes carry bikes mounted on the rear of the Saturn - I can just see the top of the handlebars in the mirror through the rear window.

Be sure to schedule enough time to take the "loaded" system out for a shakedown cruise (if only for a couple of hours) prior to your departure.
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Old 06-13-2005, 11:55 AM   #8
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When hooking up to city water it is best to use an inline water pressure valve to regulate the pressure coming into your unit. Some campgrounds have very high water pressure and this will save you having to put pipes back together. You can find a regulator at any camping store and they are not expensive.
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Old 06-13-2005, 09:26 PM   #9
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Unhappy May buy '84 345 motor home, need advice

Please let me know anything you can about the Airstream 345 motorhome. I'm looking at a 1984 with original equipment. It needs work, flooring in bedroom needs replacing and a few problems with the engine that I can take care of.

What price range should I expect? What is a good deal? What hidden things unique to the 345 should I look for? How much do you like yours, etc.?

Thanks,
Sherry
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Old 06-13-2005, 09:44 PM   #10
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Dennis,

Good point on the power unit by the water tank. While redo-ing my bed frame, I noticed the screw holding the power box was rubbing against the tank. I unscrewed the box as soon as I saw it. Not sure why airstream would use a wood screw right next to the water tank but they did.
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Old 06-14-2005, 06:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbnjsellers
... I have talked John into a laptop for the trip, primarily so we have access to this forum....
Recieved an internet offer today from DeLorme - GPS and software interface to a laptop - includes Earthmate LT -20 AND StreetAtlas 2005 - a hundred bucks.

http://www.delorme.com/earthmatelt20/

Cheap enough - I continue to use StreetAtlas (and Topo - the US topographic version of StreetAtlas) - as PeterH-79MH says - "Once you figure out how to do it, the instructions actually make sense".

Don't leave home without it.
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Old 06-14-2005, 07:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherry
Please let me know anything you can about the Airstream 345 ...
What price range should I expect? What is a good deal? What hidden things unique to the 345 should I look for? How much do you like yours, etc.?
Sherry
Sherry- welcome to the Forums. There is a ton of onfo here on what you might expect to encounter with an older Classic MH. The range of reliability and such is totally dependent on the particular coach you buy. There are those of us who have had very reliable and enjoyable rigs, and others who have had nightmarish problems. This is true of any MH though and we do find in general that the AS Classics are sturdy and well put together.
The engine and chassis problems you MIGHT face are numerous, and the systems for the coach need to be looked at carefully before you buy, or it will easily suck up thousands of dollars to get it right.
Look up the what to look for before you buy threads, and read some of the older posts on the motorhome forums pages.
As for pricing...without knowing the year, the miles, the condition, its a shot in the dark to estimate. 345's are in a really big spread of prices.
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Old 06-14-2005, 11:59 AM   #13
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1985 34.5' Airstream 345
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As always, good info quick, falling on hearing ears. Up until now, we have been using the tank filled from a hose, but on this trip we anticipate being hooked in, so now we know how! While we were playing around with the plumbing under the bed (roadside queen), we found another leak in the drain hose just out of the fresh-water tank. It's a bear to get to! The whole T connection seems to be skewed off to one side; I don't know how that happened, unless the tank has shifted since it's apparently not anchored well. We have our fingers crossed into charley-horses that once the new fitting is attached back to the tank, it will hold.

As far as viewing the toad, we have the rear-view camera system operational, and also the sticky-on magnifying window in the back. We'll be watching closely, as the kayaks and bikes will be riding behind. I do wish it had been easier to just carry them on-board the AS roof, but it didn't lend itself to kayak support well, and we would have needed a ladder along anyway.

Can anyone tell me how exactly the baseplates attach to the Saturn? To the bumper supports, or underneath further, on the frame? Is this a complicated DIY for a reasonably talented husband, or will a Saturn dealer be involved? We have found a good deal on a Roadmaster towbar and Apollo braking system, but is there a large time commitment in the installation? Do they just U-bolt on?

Fear not, we will take many around-town draggings of the toad before setting out. Husband is a veteran tractor-trailer driver, so is quite used to the specifics of hauling. The countdown continues . . .
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Old 06-14-2005, 01:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbnjsellers
....Can anyone tell me how exactly the baseplates attach to the Saturn? To the bumper supports, or underneath further, on the frame? Is this a complicated DIY for a reasonably talented husband, or will a Saturn dealer be involved? We have found a good deal on a Roadmaster towbar and Apollo braking system, but is there a large time commitment in the installation? Do they just U-bolt on? . . .
There are two types of base plates - the "hidden" - small rod like protrusions through the grill, and a “standard” mount – the base plate is permanently mounted to the frame/body (bolted directly, no u-bolts), and the extensions are hitch-pinned (and removable) underneath (just in front of the frame mounts in the area under the radiator. Coming up in front of the bumper, the extensions have female hitch receptors on the front end, and the actual draw bar is then pinned to the extension. At least that is the setup on the Blue Ox system I use on the 345/SW2 (Saturn) connection.

I would schedule no less than two FULL days (maybe more) for the entire setup. You have to (should) install diodes in the Saturn wiring system for the running/brake lights, unless you install a separate lighting system (mounted on the bike rack?). And the umbilical wire receptor must be mounted on the front end of the Saturn for the lighting system.

The electrical installation for the braking system took me the better part of a day. The control unit and wiring installed in the 345, the charge line must be tied in to both the 345 and the Saturn, the tie-ins for the 345/Saturn umbilical cord mounted, and the brake actuator mounted to the brake pedal, plus the wiring installed from the Saturn umbilical receptor to the brake actuator. Nothing complicated, just a bit time consuming, especially for a “first time” installer.

On the matter of mounting tow system to the Saturn – I definitely would not take it to a Saturn dealer….this, also, has a certain learning curve, and should you decide to outsource the installation I would strongly recommend taking the Saturn to someone with previous experience on mounting an identical unit. If someone charged $80 to $100 for the install, I would jump on it and let them have at it. Lots of “under the front end” work involved in mounting the extensions – even with the Saturn on ramps or up on jacks there is a limited amount of room to work, and your husband will be laying down on his back in uncomfortable positions and muttering profanity towards his offspring and the Saturn engineers during the install…..I know this to be true.

Good luck, good humor, and keep us posted.
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