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Old 03-06-2016, 06:09 PM   #1
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Golden , Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 17
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ADVICE?? 1989 345 Model

Hello!! My husband and I are full time RVers since July 2015. We are in our early thirties and have 2 kids.

We are considering buying this Airstream 345 tomorrow. We saw it yesterday and can't stop thinking about it.
We own a Montana fifth wheel.... so we don't know much about motorhomes OR airstreams OR vintage models.
We have previously done a remodel on a travel trailer and we think it would be an absolute blast to remodel this vintage beauty.

We could really use some opinions from those of you out there who know a little more about these vintage motorhomes.

They say it's a 1989 Land Yacht 345. I don't know the specific model #. From what I am seeing online it looks like there are two, one with an east-west queen bed and one with a corner double bed. This is the corner double bed.

I'm not sure if this is really a 1989?! It looks more like the 1986 and 1987 models from what I am seeing online. Opinions on this?

The interior seems to us to be in really good condition for its age. Thoughts?

Exterior needs love... aluminum seems to be "peeling" - do you know if this can be polished, or if at this point it needs to be "re-skinned" at the factory?

It has 73,000 miles.

We plan to do more research tomorrow and check it out mechanically. I could really use ANY thoughts and opinions from those more knowledgable than us. They have dropped the price to 21K and still seem negotiable so we were going to aim for about 17K.

We may end up remodeling and reselling, but honestly we are so in love with it, we might keep it. This would be a labor of love for us, but want to know if it's a good buy.

How rare are these? how many were made? how hard are they to come by? They seem really well built. Do they tend to really hold up?

Thanks in advance to these newbies.

We can also be reached at spotthescotts@gmail.com
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Old 03-06-2016, 06:38 PM   #2
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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I used to own a 1987 345, it was overweight on the driver side steer tire when it left the factory. The other tires and axels did not have much weight left prior to being overweight.

Remember, you are considering a 27 year old two ton GMC chassis that has been toting 16,000 lbs plus around since new.

Some things wear out, other things break, and certain things are almost impossible to find and incredibly expensive to repair.

I could not recommend a 345 for full timing, especially for a family.

Classic? yes, Beautiful?, yes, An Eye Turner?, absolutely, but not really practical unless you have incredibly deep pockets or can do almost all of the work yourself.

My opinion only.

Having stated the above, I wish I had the old 87 MoHo in the driveway right now.
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:02 PM   #3
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1965 22' Safari
1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Kansas city , Missouri
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 360
We bought an 87 345 that sat in the Phoenix heat for five years. Ours has 122k. Our interior is the same except for a couple details. We do not have the entertainment center over the club chairs and our cockpit seats are different. We drove to Kansas City from Phoenix in December and I have been working on it since then. I am remodeling the inside. Ours was super dirty after sitting in the desert with an open bathroom window. The one you are looking at looks in really nice condition. We have some stripe and clear coat issues on ours. We have both a vintage trailer and the motorhome. Both seem to have their advantages. I can't offer any opinion as to full timing in it but it is one of the coolest motorhome you will ever have the chance to buy!
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:30 PM   #4
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1979 24' Airstream Excella 24
Tipp City , Ohio
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 495
She's a beauty alright! Many of us here on the forum have fallen in love with these old beasts. Remember its kinda like falling in love with a puppy. Yea its cute and cuddly but, its a huge commitment and a ton of work. Imagine how much work a 27 year old house would need then think of how much work a 27 year old car would need then add them together .... then double it. Most of the folks that are active on this MH site are pretty handy and do a lot of the work themselves. If you plan on having most of the work done be aware that there are not many places that have the desire or the ability to work on these old coaches. Although it is not easy it can be done with the help of the experts on this site. Take the time to read a little bit about them in this part of the forum before you proceed. That being said I wouldn't consider selling my baby for 100k.
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:35 PM   #5
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Victoria , British Columbia
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That's a beauty ! I would buy it, and if you can get it for less than asking, you are in a "win win" situation.

Good luck !
Katoline
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:39 PM   #6
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1984 31' Airstream310
Honokaa , Hawaii
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This site: http://www.viewrvs.com/airstream-for-sale.php is the best I have seen as far as figuring out what models were made in which years.

The upholstery used on these was apparently very high quality, We are about to have the cockpit seats and barrel chairs in our 1984 reupholstered to match the original couch upholstery, which we are going to leave alone.

These came with a plastic clear coat over the aluminum skin. I imagine that the peeling that you are seeing is the clear coat giving out. That was the case with ours when we bought it, and I paid a college kid who was working at a restoration shop to strip the remaining clear coat off. It looks much better now. Some may have figured out how to have the clear coat reapplied, I am under pressure from my better half to polish the bare aluminum.

We're keeping ours.
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:49 PM   #7
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Golden , Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 17
Images: 5
THANK YOU! I should clarify, we would not be full timing in it, we would continue to full time in our 5th wheel. This would be for shorter summer trips if we kept it, but we may also renovate and resell. Thank you for all your input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 87MH View Post
I used to own a 1987 345, it was overweight on the driver side steer tire when it left the factory. The other tires and axels did not have much weight left prior to being overweight.

Remember, you are considering a 27 year old two ton GMC chassis that has been toting 16,000 lbs plus around since new.

Some things wear out, other things break, and certain things are almost impossible to find and incredibly expensive to repair.

I could not recommend a 345 for full timing, especially for a family.

Classic? yes, Beautiful?, yes, An Eye Turner?, absolutely, but not really practical unless you have incredibly deep pockets or can do almost all of the work yourself.

My opinion only.

Having stated the above, I wish I had the old 87 MoHo in the driveway right now.
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:50 PM   #8
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Golden , Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 17
Images: 5
I should clarify, we would not be full timing in it, we would continue to full time in our 5th wheel. This would be for shorter summer trips if we kept it, but we may also renovate and resell. Thank you so much for your input. I saw some of your other threads and thought yours looked similar!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kreimer View Post
We bought an 87 345 that sat in the Phoenix heat for five years. Ours has 122k. Our interior is the same except for a couple details. We do not have the entertainment center over the club chairs and our cockpit seats are different. We drove to Kansas City from Phoenix in December and I have been working on it since then. I am remodeling the inside. Ours was super dirty after sitting in the desert with an open bathroom window. The one you are looking at looks in really nice condition. We have some stripe and clear coat issues on ours. We have both a vintage trailer and the motorhome. Both seem to have their advantages. I can't offer any opinion as to full timing in it but it is one of the coolest motorhome you will ever have the chance to buy!
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:51 PM   #9
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Golden , Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 17
Images: 5
Thank you!! I am definitely perusing the forums and checking out what's involved. I think it would be our hobby project for a couple of years!!
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:05 PM   #10
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Hebron , Illinois
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 83
I would look into more than one before you jump all in for that price. Any history on any work done in the last two years.
Anything rubber under the floor should be changed First.
Brake lines gas line trans line heater hose tires all go bad from time.
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:11 PM   #11
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Golden , Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 17
Images: 5
Thank you! They do have a huge book there, original owners, everything that's ever been done to it.. so we plan to take a good look at that tomorrow too. Tried looking at more of them, but don't seem to be any for sale anywhere in the country right now at least from what I am seeing online!
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Old 03-07-2016, 12:17 PM   #12
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
Ham Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 60
That interior looks about the same as our '88 345, except we have the E-W queen in the back.

I will agree that everything needs to be checked before you decide to spend the money. That includes the date codes on the tires. We had to replace all 8 of ours. With a vehicle this old there will be age related problems from time to time, generally when ever most inconvenient. If you can fix things yourself then it's a good motorhome to own.

Check the left front dash area for a manufacture date. Our chassis was made July '87, the body in September '87, and it's titled as an '88. I will try to remember to get a photo for you.
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Old 03-07-2016, 12:55 PM   #13
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
Franklin Park , Illinois
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 150
I agree with EVERYTHING 87MH said
The ONLY thing special about these are their looks
I paid $10000 for ours and rebuilt both heaters lip heaters
Did some front end work myself mostly steering stabilizer stuff
Also replaced front air bags
And do make sure the rear tag axel is in perfect shape on negitive Camber (wheels tilted inward / \
Are you aware you can only run one air conditioner at a time?
My battery box / drawer is in bad shape a LOT of rust and corrosion
If it runs and shifts fine that's good but I'd ask them to remove the engine cover to look at the transmission housing ( mine shifted fine BUT had a LARGE crack in the housing
Are there hydraulic levelers on it make sure they work
My 345 is well used, and I've spent at least $4000 more on it since I bought it
I definitely would NOT use it for full timing
BUT... (There's always a "but") when it's going down the road it is by far the coolest thing on the road, they are real head turners, and every body will ask you about it and if I had a dime for every thumbs up I got on the road or "cool" comment I've gotten I'd be a rich man
I've gone to a few airstream camping events and almost everybody has really nice new looking stuff... then I pull in
My clear coat is about gone and there are quite a few scratches dungs and all out dents on mine
I have no intention on making mine look new, as long as it goes, stops, steers and the toilet flushes (oh ya I replaced the toilet to) I'll keep it
Good luck. I hope the forum and I have helped.
I don't mean to scare you away. it is a VERY cool thing... (When it not broke, or weighting for parts)
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Old 03-07-2016, 03:58 PM   #14
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1989 37' Airstream 370
Howick , Quebec
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 17
345

Hi I bought a 379 le a few years ago, I do almost all my own repair and have changed almost everything mechanical, not the easiest thing to work on but whenever we are on the road with it a thing of beauty,lots of thumbs up and onlookers at parking lots. If the price is a little lower it could a great buy, but be ready to spend. I love mine and am glad I bought it, but there are times when I'm paying for parts I just wonder if it was the right choice. Look around these things usually do not sell very quickly and you should have time to compair shop, good luck Malcolm Peddie
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