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Old 07-26-2004, 10:17 PM   #1
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Value of '89 370 LE

I have an opportunity to purchase an 89 370 LE from a family member. It has 15,000 original miles, everything works (although not perfectly, but seems to be more a matter of lack of use requiring maintenance more than repair), and exterior was completely repainted and coated 2 years ago by Airstream. Interior is original, but is virtually unused. New front and rear curtains. Upholstery is only thing showing a little age. I've always towed trailers, so this thing seems to be the size of my house. In fact, it's 2 feet longer than the width of my house! Anyway, I can get it for $15,000. Is the vehicle so exotic that I'll be spending my retirement time AND INCOME making repairs, or are these units fairly reliable? Can't get Airstream Inc. to even answer questions, so I assume they're not much help.
Comments from owners, advice, suggestions, would all be greatly appreciated.

noiva
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Old 07-27-2004, 06:15 AM   #2
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15K for anything in the 31 foot plus range is very reasonable for a functional coach with no major problems. The 370 is a bit of an odd ball since it's on a Gillig chassis and is powered by a Ford (460 I think). My understanding is that AS only made a small number of these coaches with this chassis so support from anyone will be hard to get. If you are mechanically inclined and don't mind getting your hands dirty then dig in. Everything above the floor is pretty much the same as other Classic AS MH's and parts/replacements are readily available.

One note on the low mileage. Many times things go wrong on a MH because they are not used enough. Major components like your engine/trans/drivetrain could be in worse shape than a higher mileage coach because they weren't used enough. Pay special attention to these.

My coach suffered from lack of use for two years prior to me purchasing it. I spend the first year of ownership cleaning contacts, changing filters, replacing exhausts, etc. but now I have a fairly reliable coach and everything works.

Again, if it's n decent shape it's pretty hard to go wrong at that price.
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Old 07-27-2004, 06:25 AM   #3
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Novia:

As great a deal as $15,000 is for the 370, please remember, for the most part, the majority of us with motor homes here have found them to be maintenance hogs. Just peruse the Motorhome sections of the Forum, and you will find that most of the posts revolve around problems and fixes.

Having said that, many of us have found 15+ year old Airstream Motor Home ownership to be just the ticket - others not. I know of at least three Forum members who moved up to a heftier Diesel Pusher, and at least one who went back to pulling a trailer.

It's like Saturday Night Live's Rosanne Roseanna Dana's mother used to tell her -- "Rosanne Roseanna Dana.....it's always something....".

If you have a bit of mechanical ability, or enjoy with "tinkering", life with the Motor Home could be really enjoyable.....however, if you would have to pay a mechanic to do every bit of the maintenance and repair, I would suspect that owning the 370 would soon become tedious and really expensive.

Having said that, you could always try ownership......if you could get into the 370 for less than $20,000, you could own it for a year or two, and, barring an accident, if you find life with the 370 does not appeal to you, you could turn the unit around for a bit of a profit. I would think that even with a blown engine, a 370 as nice as you describe would go for at least the low 20's.

Good luck whichever route you decide to take.
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Old 07-28-2004, 04:45 PM   #4
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The other point on the maintenance issue, is that once you get the usual failing items replaced or upgraded, the maintenance goes way down. Then again if its a very solid coach mechanically it may not even require much attention. My own has had no major problems of any kind since I got past a starter and alternator replacement.The other repairs I did were upgrades of my own choosing and could have been left as they were.
In the past year or more of fairly regular usage, including two rather long (1000 miles plus) trips, I have had nothing but fun. This past week we did a shorter trip, 350 miles round trip....and had a blast with, again no problems at all.
I think the 370 sounds like a heck of a deal...and I would be one who would be possibly ready to buy it from you if it does not work out! But anyway---good luck, approach it like any major purchase of a used item, with a good inspection and some extra cash put back for the unexpected.
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Old 07-28-2004, 05:54 PM   #5
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'89 370

Thanks for the encouraging response. Even though I've trailered for over 30 years, the prospect of driving a 37' motorhome is strangely intimidating. You've summarized my thoughts very well. To me, this is one of those opportunities that I won't likely see again. I hate to part with my old faithful 30' '83 Avion, and especially my new 3/4 ton Suburban, but I taught school and definitely can't afford to feed all 3. I'm thinking if I get into the situation for a year or so and find it's just not for us, I can sell it for certainly more than I'll have in it, and go back to trailering. This coach is the "ideal" we've so often wanted, but couldn't find. I've always admired the AS motorhomes, and now that the opportunity has sort of been put in my lap, I think I should go for it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Thanks, Noiva

Quote:
Originally Posted by ALANSD
The other point on the maintenance issue, is that once you get the usual failing items replaced or upgraded, the maintenance goes way down. Then again if its a very solid coach mechanically it may not even require much attention. My own has had no major problems of any kind since I got past a starter and alternator replacement.The other repairs I did were upgrades of my own choosing and could have been left as they were.
In the past year or more of fairly regular usage, including two rather long (1000 miles plus) trips, I have had nothing but fun. This past week we did a shorter trip, 350 miles round trip....and had a blast with, again no problems at all.
I think the 370 sounds like a heck of a deal...and I would be one who would be possibly ready to buy it from you if it does not work out! But anyway---good luck, approach it like any major purchase of a used item, with a good inspection and some extra cash put back for the unexpected.
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