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Old 07-15-2004, 11:43 AM   #29
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I say buy it!

I think the photos look awesome.... and besides, there's plenty of help here from those before you! I think the 7500 price seems a good starting point (even better if you get it down a bit). I'm looking forward to another MH saga.. keeps me prepared for when I eventually do it.
Marc
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Old 07-15-2004, 01:06 PM   #30
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I'm getting an insurance binder and will give it a test drive on Sunday. Gardenerville does not have ANY hills nearby except one...and that one is Hwy50; If I get on 50 I can't turn around until I'm at Lake Tahoe. I suppose I'll try some freeway speeds and take it to a big lot and play a little... Other than the possible pulling from mis-aligned tag tires are there any suggestions about the handleing aspect of my driveing critique?

As it looks right now, if things go right we'll close the deal with $7,000 with sale being contingent on my test drive, my wife's final opinion, and hopefully a professional mechanical inspection.

I do need a good excuse to buy more tools...looks like I found a 32 foot reason! A 10 ton floor jack!? How could you carry that thing!!?!!

-Logan
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Old 07-15-2004, 01:17 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 74Argosy24MH
MH-motor home

It started life as a 74 side bath according to the serial number. My sn is 0217 so they weren't built very far apart.
John,
If this one is V24D4V0219 Does that mean that it was literally consecutively 2 units down the line? What exactly is a side bath? And how can you tell that from the #? (bear with me I'm learning!)

-Logan
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Old 07-15-2004, 01:19 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pillageTHENburn
A 10 ton floor jack!? How could you carry that thing!!?!!
Logan,

I carry a 12 ton bottle jack so I can change a tire if need be. I hope I never need to, but be prepared is my motto.

Driving characteristics:

Should run smooth at idle. once you start it I would get out and listen for exhaust leaks. For more negotiating power Transmission should drop right into gear. No Hesitation. Listen for vibrations in the drive-line. They normally show up as harmonics at speeds between 40 and 60 MPH. These can be a sign of needing u-joints, or a carrier bearing, or yokes on the Differential or transmission. Drive it gently while warming up, but do some WOT from a standing start and let it run through all 3 gears. This will help you to determine if the distributor is doing the proper advance as well as the carb acting correct and transmission shifting properly. You could also do some slow starts to approx 30-35 and then hit it. The secondaries should open smoothly and there should be no hesitation.

Pulling, wheel shimmy, vibrations that are constant all mean suspension or drive-train needs attention. All the parts are readily available, but you need to factor that into the the final price.

One thing to think as you are driving, will the rattle or squeak I hear drive me nuts as I spend 6-8 hours behind the wheel. Finding those can sometimes be a bear. Eliminating the cause is always the best bet because vibration is bad for the shell as Andy from Inland RV has said.
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Old 07-15-2004, 04:16 PM   #33
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Sounds like you have a thoughtful plan. $7K is cheap. If it checks out, buy it with cash. If you have any doubts but still want it, offer less.

I'd check the fridge to make sure it works. They are slow to cool initially. Should work on lp gas and 110v. Unit has to be level to operate. Operating on nonlevel will quickly cause the unit to fail (vapor lock or worse it burned up). Fridges cost around $1k? If it's shot you can always use a large cooler for a couple of years. You're not going to have a lack of space. Don't forget to join the airstream club. goodluck.......................
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Old 07-15-2004, 04:26 PM   #34
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there's air bags in the rear suspension, check those to see that they inflate from the onboard pump..................if you still have SLAMMING, JARRING, and other mechanical shock sounds coming from the rear, then they have not pumped up. Could be something a simple as the fuse located at the pump or worse............

these items broke during the drive home when I bought mine:

speedocable (lack of lubrication), onboard pump for rear axle (seized), exhaust leak at manifold developed, lost some hubcap pieces, power button on radio broke, tachometer quit, it was an interesting ride home......................got pulled over by a highwaypatrolman because I did not put temporary tags on it.............guess airstreams are not invisible................hahahar
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Old 07-15-2004, 06:21 PM   #35
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Quote:
This is the kind of thing I need to hear. I am far from apposed to doing 90% of the work myself; I can swing most repairs for a lot of vehicles but I admit this is probably the biggest endeavor I have taken on as far as chassis size/engine size/unknown territory.
When I bought our MH a little over a year ago the biggest thing I had ever worked on was a Ford Van. While the parts are certainly bigger than a Honda...it's all the same basic systems for the chassis. The good thing is that parts for Chevy P30's are plentiful and cheap.

The coach is another matter. Lots of new things to figure out. Many times it's simply tuning, tinkering and chasing grounds to get things working again...but each system is replaceable and pretty standard.

Lastly, let me echo the previous posts about DIY RV ownership. I've come to believe that if you're going to own an old AS MH you need to be handy. Actually a little more than handy. The folks who have already replied to your post, as well as many others on this forum, have helped me navigate through the last year or repairs, upgrades and modifications. I simply could not enjoy owning my AS as much as I do without this forum.

All that said, what a cool coach! I would certainly seek out proof that this was a factory modification. This could represent the difference between a good coach that rides comfortably and safely and something out of "Monster Garage".

In any case, this coach or another, it's about the the experience more than the equipment. You'll have a blast.
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Old 07-15-2004, 06:51 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pillageTHENburn
.......
As it looks right now, if things go right we'll close the deal with $7,000 with sale being contingent on my test drive, my wife's final opinion, and hopefully a professional mechanical inspection.-Logan
Logan --

7 grand is more (or less) than a fair price.......I wouldn't try to "nit pick" the deal to death after a test drive - it's a given that the test drive will expose some anomolies......and the mechanic will surely find something wrong with the chassis...that's what you're paying him for.

The unit looks as if it has $7,000 worth of new woodwork in it....I'm sure your wife will love it.......take her to see ANY 25 year old SOB (or any RV priced less than 10 grand) before you stop in to see the Argy.

...........

"I do need a good excuse to buy more tools.."
.....You betcha'...


"A 10 ton floor jack!? How could you carry that thing!!?!!".......
10 ton minimum......they have wheels on 'em.

Also, a set of 6 ton minimum jack stands....go ahead and buy a 100% guaranteed starter - you will need it.....

Heck, just do a search on Motorhome Spare Parts......

Be forewarned, you are about to embark on a passionate and expensive addiction.
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Old 07-15-2004, 09:33 PM   #37
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sorry...

Quote:
Originally Posted by pillageTHENburn
A 10 ton floor jack!? How could you carry that thing!!?!!
I suppose I didn't clarify that I tend to have a dry sense of sarcasm...I usually carry a mop to sop it up.



I do like the jack idea...when I was a kid I always loved "using" my dads huge floor jack (was my grandfathers 50+ years ago). "Using" meant typically sitting on the plate and having my dad jack me 4 1/2 feet high, then listening for the sound and looking forward to the ride when he let out the pressure.... heh good times being 7!!!


-Logan
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Old 07-15-2004, 10:06 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pillageTHENburn
John,
If this one is V24D4V0219 Does that mean that it was literally consecutively 2 units down the line? What exactly is a side bath? And how can you tell that from the #? (bear with me I'm learning!)

-Logan
The 'D' denotes a side bath. Originally the galley was directly across from the door. The bath was just behind it, and there was a couch/bed in the rear, cabinets where your kitchen is now, minus the 8 ft.

I would guess they were 2 apart when they were built. The V in the serial number means it was built in Versailles, OH, so were the Argosy trailers. I don't know how the mix was when building, could have been another mh or a trailer between them.

John
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Old 07-15-2004, 10:27 PM   #39
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Hey John,

Completely off topic, but does seeing this one make you want to get yours finished?
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Old 07-15-2004, 10:35 PM   #40
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I want to get it finished bad, but then I read threads about picking out upholstery and I sympathize with Rog0525, too many choices.

John
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Old 07-15-2004, 11:06 PM   #41
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so many questions...

Do you think it is unwise for me to purchase this without having a "full run-though" by a motorhome mechanic? Maybe it's "new car fever" but I really don't want to try my chances by adding at least a few days to this process...
In my area there are no mechanics that will travel... Also do I need to take it to a motorhome place? Would les-schwab know anything about the tires and such?

In a way I am thinking that I should just act on it and buy it now to secure it, then deal with the problems as I can, in my own time. I know I will run into issues...but i$$ue$ can be dealt with. I just don't want to do something stupid. The Engine starts and runs great. It sounds really good, exhaust looks normal and doesn't smell wrong. The rest of it has obviously been taken care of and cherished. Based on that, the fact that it is basically a single owner unit (only 4 months with current owner) and the milage on the engine is so low makes me more confident in the engine and drive train. That may be a stupid thing to base it on...

A mechanic friend told me that a 454 can be expected to last about 120k Miles...but not much beyond. Does that sound right?

The seller seems to want to get it off his hands (or get money in his hands) sooner than later because he is leaving the state again on tuesday or wednesday so I feel a little rushed myself (and I'm excited). The problem with this is that he might be reluctant to let me take it for a day or two to get it checked out...should I give him all the money and get the title first and try to return it if a mechanic says its a heap? should I give him just $100 then ask if I can take it to a mechanic? AAAGHHHH!!!

Sorry for all the questions, I hope I don't sound too ignorant, I just don't want it to go anywhere!! Well I'm sure this will all work out. thanks again for the help everyone!!!

-Logan
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Old 07-15-2004, 11:40 PM   #42
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If you can't get a mechanic to look at it at least check a few things. Pull all eight plugs and check their color they should be brown. White = too lean (can be bad), black soot = too rich (can be bad), black oily = just bad. If you can, perform a compression check while they are out. You should get above 120 and all eight readings should be close together. I ended up buying a compression gauge and test every 5000 miles or so. (I got 160 - 165 last time and I'm on a rebuild - I think)

Pull the air cleaner and check for standing oil or big oil spots on the filter. This could indicate excessive blow by which is bad. Also pull the radiator cap and check for oil in the coolant. Pull the trans dipstick and check the color. It should be red and translucent. Brown and opaque is bad. Smell the trans fluid...if it smells burnt then it is. Do the same check on the engine oil dipstick. Fire it up and check the oil pressure.

Take it for an extended test drive. Do a few low speed "lock to lock" S-turns in a parking lot. Listen carefully for groans and pops. Take it out on the highway and run it up a hill or two. Run it long enough to get it to temp and then run it in stop and go traffic...make sure it doesn't overheat. Check the engine temp and oil pressure at idle and at speed.

Fire up the generator and turn on the roof AC. Turn on the fridge, run the water heater, the furnace(s), the water, the shower, etc. Check and run every system in the coach.

Check for quality, cleanliness and maintenance. These are all signs of how a coach was cared for.

One note on low mileage engines. Low mileage on an old coach is not always a good thing. While a 454 can go to 120K miles and beyond, lack of use will kill a MH engine faster than miles. In fact I just looked at an 89 AS 345 with only 36,000 miles on it that gave up the engine on a test drive off the dealer's lot. The funny part about this was that in big white letters on the windshield it said "Low Mileage!".

Lastly, many of us consider our AS's as much more than truck chassis and bolts or coach systems and homes on wheels. Engines can be replaced, transmissions can be rebuilt. If this was truely an Airstream modified Arg then you will have a unique coach unlike even our own "rare" AS MH's. If everything checks out and the coach "just feels right" then it's hard to get to torque up about spending $7,000 on a One of a Kind, Luxury, Class A, Airstream Motorhome!
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