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Old 07-16-2011, 09:38 AM   #1
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Classic Airstream motorhome

Looking at a 1985 34.5 Airstream motorhome. 89,000 miles. Can anyone give me suggestions on what I should look for? Specifically, mechanical, drivetrain, skin?
For some reason, a PO has painted the roof with a silver roofing paint. Are any of these rigs prone to water leaks?
Rear end 'sags' a bit, don't know if it's the rear suspension air bags, or that 12v pump isn't working, or even that by sitting so long, air has simply leaked out of system. Current owner states he hasn't driven I'd camped in motorhome in a bit over 2 years. Anything I should be on the lookout for concerning unit being idle for so long? Thanks.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:03 AM   #2
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If it's been in FL, frozen plumbing is probably a long shot but it's a good thing to check.

Leaks are always possible, so you want to check the condition of the floors as well as you can (search for soft spots with a flat-blade screwdriver.)

This checklist is a great resource, I used it when I was looking for a trailer. Another good resource is your fellow forum members. If you're not confident that you know what to look for after reviewing that checklist, look for someone in your area (or the area near the moho, if that's different) who has volunteered to help with inspecting.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:38 AM   #3
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Look for items you cannot repair... as in your not able.
If you can repair plumbing, don't spend all day looking for leaks, your going to have them someday.
I would check whats most expensise to repair...
Engine
Trans
Tires
Glass
Suspension
Fridge
ACs
but mostly only as a bargaining chip.
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:03 PM   #4
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Brakes...if you can, pull the tires off...if you can't, take the unit into a reputable dealer and insist that they pull the tires off to inspect the brakes...yer gonna have electrical problems, and, oh, about a thousand other little quirks of fate, but when it gets you down the road, there isn't a finer vehicle...pull in, park it, and yer there...consider solar power, as it affords you a freedom...we have 2 Kyocera 130 panels, a Blue Sky controller, and 2 29 series AGM batteries...I want 4, but won't be able to do that for awhile(pricey puppies)...I would recommend Good Sam emergency road services...we have had to use them twice in our 5 years of ownership, and the savings far outweighed the fees...a flat bed tow sent 100+miles to a mechanic another 50+ miles made it worth it...I signed a piece of paper, and was done...I was AAA for 25 years, and NEVER received the timely service GS has given us. Carry a spare fuel pump, filters, water pump, fuses to fire up a small town, and a flashlight is often helpful.
LED's are a good way to go, as they use about 10% of the energy of conventional lights...these are also kinda pricey, at first, but will prevent that empty set of batteries in the long run. If you can find a hub for your front wheel, GRAB it...we spent 10 days in a motel trying to find one(found 2, bought both of them)...and the point of a RV is to avoid motels...I'm sure there are many more things to consider, but it's a start...
Oh, yeah, if you plan on a toad, reinforce the tow brace...there is a thread on the forums, and if you burn a copy, the folks with the hitch company should know exactly what to do...m
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Old 07-17-2011, 05:16 PM   #5
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I would say your typical engine stuff. How far are you going to travel with it to get it to where you will store it? Tires how do they look? What year were they manufactured? Depending on distance of travel maybe just replace front tires for time being to get home. The airbags in rear probably are due for replacement. Not a huge expense. My 87 345 had leaks around from driver and pass side cab windows maybe check around there. Plumbing stuff is pretty simple for most part. Where are you? I am in GA.
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:02 AM   #6
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@DKB - Have the checklist printed up, thanks for the heads-up. Wish I had had it when I went in April. New to Airstreams, but have ALWAYS wanted one. Guessing the 'halo' around this rig went to my head, and all I did was just stare, lol

@ Klattu - thanks for the suggestions. I'm a fairly good wrench when it comes to most things, electrical, plumbing and mechanical. Transmissions, not so much, so will be sure to pull trans dipstick to see if fluid is pink.

@ Scrap - WOW! Tons of suggestions and hints. When you say 'hub for the front wheel', exactly what would you be referring to? Haven't really given much thought about a toad, probably still would reinforce hitch, maybe a scooter on a rack? Know from other friends experiences, GS would be purchased before the motorhome, lol.

@ Myrtle - I'm in West Central Florida, Airstream is in Southern Georgia, about an hour west of I-75. Looked at it in April, too many other situations prevented me for making a move on it then. Know I need to do more checking on basics before making the plunge (ie engine, transmission, rear end, chassis)

Won't be able to get back to view Airstream for another 4 weeks, will write down all suggestions.

Thanks, Derek
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Old 07-18-2011, 05:51 PM   #7
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Hub

@ Scrap - WOW! Tons of suggestions and hints. When you say 'hub for the front wheel', exactly what would you be referring to? Haven't really given much thought about a toad, probably still would reinforce hitch, maybe a scooter on a rack? Know from other friends experiences, GS would be purchased before the motorhome, lol.

The hub is the thing that holds yer wheel bearings...another source of chassis parts (it's a P 30, or P 32, depending on the individual point of view...I don't really care as long as I can find the parts)...found the boxed hubs in Ames, Minnesota...went to the Barthmobile forums to find them...much like AS Forums, they are knowing folks willing to share...flat tow is best, and a scooter might sag your frame...some vehicles require a 5-10 minute run on the engine to pump the tranny every 200 miles...some require a dislocation of the driveshaft. We have a manual tranny Nissan Maxima(kinda heavy), and had a 4WD Geo Tracker(AT) before I wrecked it...still want another, as they are light and will go almost anywhere...the price of our tow system was about $700, installed...Roadmaster...m
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:13 AM   #8
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so how is it going ???
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:52 AM   #9
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Hi John,
Unable to get back to see motorhome in Georgia for another 3 weeks (my next long weekend off from work) Sifting through all the information I can find on the forum, and taking notes for everything I need to go through. Had thought a 28 footer would be nice, but to be honest, an Airstream is something I've dreamed about for years, and thinking now that if I can find a clean, decent condition 34 footer, I may just jump into something like size. Why not, right? Have a full-time bed, a dinette, AND a sofa with two chairs all in one rig. We'll see, not bringing home a basket case, under no circumstances, lol
Thanks, Derek
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:19 PM   #10
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Well Good Luck Derek

there are some Potential. good finds out there

the Polished one in Florida comes to mind. all ready to goo it looks Like.
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Old 07-22-2011, 09:19 PM   #11
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Hi John, have you given the one in Florida a 'good-lookin' over? This guy really has done some great things, and NOT so great things to this Airstream. And, with the price he's asking, I really believe I can find something closer to original, which is what I'm interested in purchasing. Thanks, Derek
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Old 07-22-2011, 09:41 PM   #12
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Like the Mercedes Emblem ? now that is cute. HaHa

No, I was referring to the Mechanical process from front to back.
there are a few , quite original ones Listed also.
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Haggard
Like the Mercedes Emblem ? now that is cute. HaHa

No, I was referring to the Mechanical process from front to back.
there are a few , quite original ones Listed also.
I like it. Kind of funny.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:38 AM   #14
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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I'm not sure about your use of space, but the barrel chairs across from the couch were mainly used for dumping stuff on as you entered...I finally pulled them out, got rid of the tv and stand, and put in a Singer sewing machine(pedal-type) for a computer desk...got rid of the sewing part of the machine...an Office Depot desk chair resides in front of it, and it doesn't wander...we may put in a fold-down flat screen over the 'desk' sometime, but we have one in the bedroom, and one is sometimes too much. Satellite tripod is what we use for the winters in the AZ desert, and we just disconnect the receiver from home and haul it with us...LORDY!!! I wanna go full time, but 9 months is about it for now...give me LOTS of money, and you can have our home-without-wheels...???m
Oh yeah, another handy haul-around is an extra serpentine belt...
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