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Old 07-22-2016, 10:35 AM   #15
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1984 27' Airstream 270
Scotia , New York
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,081
I have had two 77 Argosy MH's My first was a 20 footer and the second a 24 footer, and now I have a 84 Excella 270 MH
I seldom drive more than 150 miles from home, but that is all the range I need so far, that may change when I retire next month.

So far, I have never needed a tow, but I have broke down a few times.
The Qjet float on the 20 footer sprung a leak and flooded the engine but I limped to my destination. I keep all sorts of tools and spare parts when I travel, and on this trip I had a soldering iron with electronics solder, so I pulled the lid off of the carb, pulled the float, put it in a cup of hot water to force the gas out and find the pin holes, then I soldered it up, and it worked fine. When I got home i bought a plastic float.

The 24 footer was a junker and the worst road problem I had was the starter solenoid not engaging when it was hot, usually at a gas stop. For that I kept a long screwdriver and I would climb in the right front wheel well and make contact between the bat wire on the starter and the solenoid start lug. Works all the time.

On the Airstream I had two breakdowns, first was a aftermarket inline plastic heater valve that self destructed on the NY Thruway, I lost half of my coolant, so I had a hose splice and clamps in my parts, cut out the bad valve, spliced the hose, filed the radiator with water from the fresh water tank and back on the highway.
I though the second breakdown was a bad fuel pump but it turns out it was a bad fuel gauge reading more than was in the tank. The engine was cutting out on curves, I filled the gas tank and back on the road. I replaced the fuel sender when I got home.

Again, Keep tools, spare parts and fluids handy. Make sure you have good tires and good pressure in them, and your are doing the best you can.
No matter what you prep for, there is always that worry for the unknown failure around the next curve.

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Old 07-22-2016, 10:58 AM   #16
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Ebro , Fla Panhandle
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,145
These beasties seem vintage by today's standards. But by the late seventies vehicles were pretty relieable if not particularly fuel efficient.

If yours is as sorted as you say, you should pack up some tools, spares, a good tow plan. And hit the road.

The classic motorhomes are great touring machines. Good to drive (once the brakes, steering, and cooling etc are sorted ��). Great viewing from the cab, and comfortable once you get there.

I totally understand you concerns. I full time in my coach and dread the thought of having to leave my rig/ home on the side of the road while sorting repairs.
But so far the coach has shown that my worries are not justified.

Get out and enjoy the gem that is in your hands, that's it whole reason for being.

Cheers Richard

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Old 07-22-2016, 12:26 PM   #17
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
topeka , Kansas
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 81
Images: 26
1986 345

I'v had my 1986 about 5 years and each year I've taken long trips 3000 plus miles. With a properly maintain Airstream you can go any where your heart leads you.
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Old 07-22-2016, 12:27 PM   #18
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1977 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Colorado Springs , Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 732
Images: 9
For almost 25 years my daily driver was a 1955 First series Chevy pickup. It made several 1,100-mile trips while I owned it. When I sold it in 2004 the new owner asked if I would drive it to Chicago from Colorado Springs. I told him even though it has never left me stranded, I don't drive it further than I intend to walk back from. :-)
Royce (K0RKK) 146.460 simplex
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AIR# 3913
'77' Minuet 6 Metre, behind a 2005 stock Jeep Rubicon with Equa-L-Zer hitch.
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Old 07-22-2016, 12:45 PM   #19
2 Rivet Member
1994 36' Classic 36 Diesel
Morton , Illinois
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 56
Two years ago, I flew into Dallas, TX and bought a '94 Classic 360 pusher. I had to drive it to Oklahoma City for new tires, then on the road to Illinois and home. Keep in mind, it was two middle aged women in this rig, hubby couldn't make the trip. I had driven a 28' Class A for a few year, but no experience like this. The trip was white knuckled at time, I openly admit that. But is was also filled with laughter and amazement of this beautiful machine that I hope to call home for a few years when we retire. Last year, we went to the Spartan factory in Michigan, and got a thorough check up. We were relieved to hear the mechanic tell us she's in amazing shape. We take her on shorter trips now as time allows. Next year, we plan on beefing up the brake system and seeing how she does across the Mid-West into Colorado (we were in the Smokies last year, again, white knuckles). Yes, we have great towing and roadside assist service, a tool box, and a toad we can unhook if we ever need to drive somewhere for help, if we are out of cell phone range. We know it won't always be smooth sailing, but we love her, and I wouldn't trade for one of the new monster rigs! I hope you enjoy yours now and for a long time to come.
Looking Forward to Days on the Road
Connie 'n Bruce
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Old 07-22-2016, 12:57 PM   #20
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1979 28' Airstream Excella 28
Spring valley , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 8
Images: 1
Just got back from south dakota to central Illinois with my 1981 Excella motorhome. I had no problems,just kept it below 60 mph on the interstates. Drove a lot of state roads to avoid traffic.
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:06 PM   #21
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2009 27' FB Flying Cloud
1991 35' Airstream 350
Jay , Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,673
I agree with slow and steady. The P 30 based rigs are very low geared, and don't like anything above 60 mph.

We put 4200 miles on one trip. Eastern edge of Oklahoma to Burning Man and back, with a small excursion into CA.

They seem to be a lot like airplanes..maintenance is your friend.

Keep things repaired in between trips.




Jeff & Cindy
'09 27FB Flying Cloud
'91 350 LE MH
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:16 PM   #22
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
Franklin Park , Illinois
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 172
How far?

I bought my 345 on Craig's list and the owner drove it from Fargo ND to Rockford IL to me
I've done a LOT of work on it and a few weeks ago went on a 300 mile round trip.... BUT I threw a belt and it overheated 60 miles from where I store it.. the tow bill was $1500.00!!!!
But when it was running it was awesome
And I was "pushin it" 70 mph when traffic allowed
I'm not sure what happened with the belts I jot it running again but my oilpressure isn't what it used to be...
(See my recent posts)
Right now I agree with Bakhler.... In be happy to get it around the block
Once any vehicial lets me down I have a hard time trusting it again
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:31 PM   #23
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Currently Looking...
belen , New Mexico
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 191
our 1st year with the 78 dodge landau (2014) we went from NM to CA and it did fine and the people in the rv place in san diego loved it.
Next time out we were only going 55 miles and the starter croaked at a gas station and we sat for 8 hours till i got the starter replaced after dropping the exhaust system bla bla.....

next time we wanted to go on a long trip, I bought the 40 foot D.P. and have been fine since
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:49 PM   #24
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2002 25' Safari
1977 20' Argosy 20
northern valley , new jersey
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 531
Originally Posted by martin300662 View Post
JM2 bought his 20ft in California and set off for New Jersey to drive it home.....just don't expect the trip to be uneventful.
here's our $.02 about tires on a motorhome you're buying. nothing beats crawling underneath yourself to read the date numbers off the back of the tires... shame on me for not doing so, and instead taking the words of the seller and the next PO before him. talk about boldface lies! we spent 3 extra days in LA sourcing new 16" tires and wheels. I trust that Karma will have taken care of them for us.

we covered about 3600 miles over 23 days, and the only other real issue was that the GearVendor OD was falling out of top gear. GV tech support on that 20+ year old unit was outstanding! one five minute phone call, and remade two wiring connections at the transmission tailpiece, and all is well since.
Joseph & Gabrielle

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo da Vinci.

WBCCI 2087 - AIR 3144 - TAC-NJ2
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:56 PM   #25
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1969 23' Safari
Taos , New Mexico
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 566
Not exactly the same thing but - 1) I have a Jeep Cherokee with more than 250,000 miles on it and I would not hesitate to drive it all day long to go somewhere 300-400 miles away. It is as likely to break down on a 5 mile trip to Home Depot as it is going 400 miles and so far it has served us well for both types of trips. 2) we tow our 23' AS with a 1997 2 door Tahoe LT with 125,000 miles on it. Like your motorhome, both my Jeep and my Tahoe are well maintained and I have confidence in them. My thinking is a new car (or motorhome) can also break down - in fact the newer cars tend to break down spectacularly due to the integrated nature of the systems now. On my Jeep and my Tahoe I pretty much know what's wrong if something stops working and it can always be fixed. Maybe not cheaply but it can be fixed. I'd say go for it and more often than not you will make it there and home just fine!
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:57 PM   #26
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 9,390
Just keep taking longer and more challenging trips, while increasing your distance from home.

Over time, the scared chicken will become a soaring eagle!

And don't forget the old adage: "I'd rather be a scared chicken than a dead duck."

Happy trails . . .

Originally Posted by cdufault View Post
My 1977 28 foot Argosy motorhome starts, runs and stops well. It keeps its cool on the hills, the tires are new and all of the coach camping features work fine. The chassis has less than 50,000 miles on the clock, all fluids looked good but were recently changed; still I'm *too chicken* to drive it over the passes or further than 100 miles from my home in Southern California.

What is your experience with reliability and driving long-distance in a vintage rig?
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Old 07-22-2016, 02:33 PM   #27
2 Rivet Member
Mission Viejo , California
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 90
Hey Neighbor!

My MH is a 1991 but I bought it with 135,000 miles on it. These things are on truck chassis designed to go a few hundred thousand miles.

I have taken mine to Arizona, Northern California up to Chico, and all over Southern California including Santa Barbara.

As long as the mechanicals are sound why not? And even though older in years, your rig is much younger than mine in miles.
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Old 07-22-2016, 02:43 PM   #28
4 Rivet Member
1973 31' Sovereign
Middletown , California
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 424
An old chassis should be easier to fix than a new one. As long as all the essential rubber parts are in good shape there should be no real limit on how far you travel. You can always have a breakdown no matter how new or old the vehicle. It's all part of the adventure.

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