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Old 12-06-2018, 02:02 PM   #1
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1991 35' Airstream 350
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1992 Airstream 350LE - Looking to buy

Hello all. Ive been actively in the market for a classic Airstream motorhome. The early 90's 350's have really caught my eye. I have found one a few hours from me in Florida for sale. It appears quite clean but it has a couple of issues.

First issue is there is a salvage title - owner claims the unit froze in storage causing water heater and pipes to burst resulting in all the subfloor needing to be replaced. Not a deal breaker for me but I am not sure about how this effects the value of the unit. Im questioning it so I am sure any future buyer would do the same. I did run a car fax

Second issue - the 454 uses oil. Claims a quart every 1000 miles or so - In the land of 454's this is not totally unusual but the motor also tends to blow smoke when warm going down the highway - suggesting maybe rings? Unit has just under 40k miles.

They are asking $35k

Input would be much appreciated.
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:09 PM   #2
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Check craigslist Santa Barbara. One came up today for 12.5. Not sure of model
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Old 12-06-2018, 03:14 PM   #3
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Those are both big enough issues to warent a considerable reduction in value.
And the seller is over looking the condition, as the price is approapreiate for a nice one with out either problem.

Lots of experienced folks on the Classis Motorhome thread to run this buy, as well as the classic motorhomes for sale thread that is worth a look, to see the listings over that have turned up over a period of time.

Cheers Richard
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Old 12-06-2018, 03:21 PM   #4
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1991 35' Airstream 350
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There are a few other 350's on the market - One needing work with over 100K on the clock for $20k - One with about 10k original miles and looks pretty clean for $59k - And a restored one for $65k -

So at $35k this seemed pretty decent - but after running the carfax the sellers story isnt quite lining up.
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tevake View Post
Those are both big enough issues to warent a considerable reduction in value.
And the seller is over looking the condition, as the price is approapreiate for a nice one with out either problem.

Lots of experienced folks on the Classis Motorhome thread to run this buy, as well as the classic motorhomes for sale thread that is worth a look, to see the listings over that have turned up over a period of time.

Cheers Richard
I agree with Richard. Keep looking, you'll find one that doesn't have these rather big question marks. You really have no idea what quality of work was done when replacing the flooring (was the furniture all removed, was it all replaced, what did they use as replacement, etc). You didn't mention the mileage but I'd count on a new motor soon. Salvage title always scares me, and it stays with the vehicle regardless of improvements and repairs so resale is affected.

Keep looking and try to be patient, the right one will come along. IMO, the number one factor in buying a used Classic is that it's recently been used and traveled in. Have they recently been camping and driven some distance in the unit. That in itself answers a lot of questions.
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:47 PM   #6
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
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Some thoughts concerning a salvage title vehicle.

I always look for salvage title cars. All that means is that the insurance
company totaled the car. Now understand that can be really bad. The
car might have been flooded and then dried out. Wouldn't touch one
of those.

The most recent car that I bought with a salvage title has some front end
damage. Not to bad; bent hood, grill smashed and bumper dented.
The seller had pictures of the damage but repaired it all and it looked
good. No frame damage, that would be a killer!

It was an older car with low miles. Turned out to be a great
car that I put 200K miles on and sold it running and looking about
as good as when I bought it.

A salvage title scares a lot of people away which makes for a good
price. You have to be confident in you ability at evaluating such
cars.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:18 PM   #7
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1991 35' Airstream 350
Merritt Island , Florida
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Here is the carfax that I paid for - it doesn't quite jive with the sellers story that it froze in the tampa area of Florida (which honestly is hard to believe as it is). I also found a previous ebay listing from when it was in Michigan.

Here is the current sellers story (copy and pasted from the ad)...

While in storage a few years back, we got a deep freeze and the coach was not winterized. Needless to say, the water lines broke and flooded the floor. Insurance helped us replace the flooring. We didnít go back with carpet, but rather LTV. (Luxury Tile Vinyl) It looks great and very durable. (See pictures) We considered hardwood flooring, but we have kids and thought it would get scratched up with gravel on shoes, etc. when camping. That said, since we got the insurance company involved, they said the coach now has a salvage title. We tried to fight this with the state because the coach has never been in an accident, but they would not correct the title. So the coach now has a salvage title. For the record, this coach has never been wrecked, or received any major damage except for the pipes bursting. Talk about a hard lesson learned. Always winterize your coach even if you live in Florida. All of the pictures attached are within the last year and you can see there is no damage to the coach.

Here is what was said on an ebay listing for same motorhome from what appears to be a different seller (backed up by carfax history) in 2015 in Michigan (copy and pasted from the ad)

new paint and skin refinished, new upholstery, new fridge, mechanically fit, new suspension, tuneup, new flooring, entry step not working,Vehicle is salvage rebuilt because unit was left without heat and froze the hot water tank which has since been repaired. Very impressive unit!
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:42 PM   #8
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What you are looking at is the epitamy of motor homes..... I have always wanted a 92 350.....and itís in my color. I have seen this motor home before but I cannot remember where. The first concern is correct with the water damage, the insurance company totaled it and the owner bought it back, salvage title is what it is.....doesnít bother me at all. As far as the second issue, could be valve seals or the engine could be shot. If it werenít in Florida I would diagnose it for you. My guess is valve seals but even if the engine is shot itís still worth $30,000 all day long. Remember it has the newer furnaces, the overdrive transmission etc. I think itís all correct and if your deal falls through PM me with his contact info...,,Iíll buy it. P.S. any more pictures......????? Regards, Bon
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:53 PM   #9
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1991 35' Airstream 350
Merritt Island , Florida
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What you are looking at is the epitamy of motor homes..... I have always wanted a 92 350.....and itís in my color. I have seen this motor home before but I cannot remember where. The first concern is correct with the water damage, the insurance company totaled it and the owner bought it back, salvage title is what it is.....doesnít bother me at all. As far as the second issue, could be valve seals or the engine could be shot. If it werenít in Florida I would diagnose it for you. My guess is valve seals but even if the engine is shot itís still worth $30,000 all day long. Remember it has the newer furnaces, the overdrive transmission etc. I think itís all correct and if your deal falls through PM me with his contact info...,,Iíll buy it. P.S. any more pictures......????? Regards, Bon
Sent you a private message
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:54 PM   #10
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Ahh....thatís where I saw it, Michigan. Let me do some research.....Regards, Bob
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:39 PM   #11
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There has been a '92 350 on Baltimore Craigslist for awhile, you may have already seen the listing. Much lower price but probably not as clean.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:45 PM   #12
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Just an fyi, that motorhome has been for sale for about that price for over a year


For a reference point, I paid 32.5k for mine, for a brand new engine, new all appliances (- microwave), and the toad jeep included. Maybe i got a great deal, maybe that's market value, hard to say

Not trying to say run from the coach, it looks like it could be very nice, lots of potential, I love those 350s, just take a very thorough look and possibly negotiate down a bit based on the smoking engine. If you have to pay to have it removed and reinstalled it'll cost you about 10k in labor, plus parts, so beware

Good luck hunting!

Edit to say, +1 not caring about the title, also I forgot it's got some nicer tech than mine as it's 10 years newer, higher value... So maybe 30k ain't terrible, just keep some cash in your back pocket for that engine!
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Old 12-07-2018, 06:22 AM   #13
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1991 35' Airstream 350
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There has been a '92 350 on Baltimore Craigslist for awhile, you may have already seen the listing. Much lower price but probably not as clean.
I have seen that listing - I agree it doesn't look as clean but the price is more attractive. Thank you for sharing though.
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:46 AM   #14
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