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Old 06-27-2009, 07:21 PM   #1
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Grosse Pointe Park , Michigan
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Few price questions for 1982 280

Hi all:

Some things might need attention soon but we are trying to prioritize based on safety and then cost.

How much for a new chassis A/C system? Ours has major freon leaks and two service places have been reluctant to try to fix based on its age and condition. I figure that means new one or cotton covers put on the leather front seats. I imagine this will be pricey and not going to happen this year, I'm just trying to figure out how long it will take to save up for this one.

They also suggested a brake test to see if brakes can be bled. What does that mean and should I do it?

While poking around underneath I noticed the propane tank is covered with rust--how much to replace the tank with a new one and should I bother? I don't know when a tank is too rusty or if that's something you can test or if those things simply last forever.

The storage drawer under the driver window is covered with rust, too--are those even replaceable and if so, how much? It's really, really bad, big rusty chunks falling off. I don't think any amount of Rustoleum will help.

How much to replace the water heater with a new unit (not instant tankless, I'm too cheap for that)? That's giving us problems starting and anything propane and ignition related scares me. I see the prices for the Atwoods/Bowens run from low 300s to over $400 or so but how labor intensive is the replacement? Is the AS factory a good option for this?

The bottom line is that the undercarriage is really rusty all over. I imagine that's typical for a 27 year old unit, but when does it become a problem? Is it sufficient to Rustoleum as much as possible and hope for the best?
If it had been bad enough would the service shop that replaced the engine last year have done something about it or mentioned it (obviously just an opinion here)?

I've found that hourly labor on RVs is in the 90-114$ range with the exception of the mobile guy who was just $65/hr but he doesn't do anything chassis related and I'm not too sure he'd ever set foot in an AS motorhome before ours. The jaw was dropped a little too much, too often.
He's more of an installation guy for TVs, sound systems, interior stuff and that's the stuff I'm comfortable with doing myself. While he knows his motorhomes, I need someone who knows the chassis and the peculiarities of an Airstream.

Anyone have experience having work done in Jackson Center? Thoughts, opinions?

Anyway, thank you to anyone who can weigh in on any of these questions.

Audrey (yes, I finally drove her and she handles GREAT!)

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Old 06-28-2009, 06:47 PM   #2
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,150
Pictures of the rusty areas would help us in determining just how bad your rust problem is.

There are better products than Rustoleum for combating rust, POR 15 for one.


Air forums # 1674
1974 20' Argosy Motor Home
1974 31' Excella trailer (parting out, as of 4/1/2015 I have wheels, brake drums, windows & holding tanks left to sell)
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Old 07-06-2009, 05:09 PM   #3
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ppl motorhomes is a good place to price replacement appliances and parts.

There is really no cure for rust, all the replacement parts cost the same whether you put them on a rusty chassis or one in good shape. Spray on rust stoppers only slow down the rust there is no spray on repair.

Unless the unit is a total steal I would look for one with out the frame rot.
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