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Old 09-04-2014, 01:21 AM   #1
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Lisle sur Tarn , France
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performance diffs between 280 and 345

Hello. I have found 2 Classics , an Excella 280 in france and a 345 in Holland and I have to visit them... Is it some big difference of performance ( speed ) between these models ? And fuel consumption ? What would be the best choice for the same price and state ? Thank you. Marc
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:26 AM   #2
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1984 31' Airstream310
Honokaa , Hawaii
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Our 310 model has a rear bedroom, which we like. Most 280's that I have seen have a rear bath instead.
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:49 PM   #3
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1984 31' Airstream310
Honokaa , Hawaii
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About performance and mileage: these are old vehicles. Differences in performance and mileage will probably be more a result of the condition of the drivetrain
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:44 PM   #4
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You would have to be a bit more specific on the power train in each coach.

The performance difference between the 5.8L Isuzu diesel and the 7.4L 454 could be considered substantial at new, but equal if the 454 is completely bafted. What year of coach will dictate carb or fuel injection which will affect performance.

I wouldn't be surprised if one's an Isuzu.

But let us say for arguements sake that both coaches have the 454 in very good condition (compression check a must, as pulling these engines cost mucho $$$$$). One coach a 280 with single axle, loaded with fuel weighs in on the low side of 12,000 lbs. The 345 on the other hand has 6.5' of extra bodywork, frame work, cabinetry, windows, flooring, insulation, another roof A/C, and on top of that an extra axle with rims and tires. I'm only taking an educated guess as to weight but my buddies 325 weighs in at 15,300 lbs so a 345 would be hitting on the high side of that.
Now if you were to drive a truck with a 454 and then add almost 4000 lbs into the bed. How do you think it would affect performance? You could tow a toad behind the 280 and still be faster.

Cheers
Tony

PS Getting parts for the tandem axle in the 345 could be very dicy in France.....I would go for the 280 and have an easier time driving it around the countryside.

PSS KEEP YOUR 310 as it is the very best of both worlds. Small enough to be easy to manuver, big enough to live in.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:18 PM   #5
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I would vote for the 280, as the tag axle on the 345 is a problem. Andy at inland RV has a deal to have them replaced, but I am sure it would be very very expensive even here, say nothing about France.

They are both big rigs, doubt that the fuel economy would be much different on either if they both have gas engines. Maybe 10% more for the larger one.

I second the suggestion to check the engines carefully prior to purchase, if 7.4 L (454) gas engines.
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Old 09-06-2014, 01:27 AM   #6
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Lisle sur Tarn , France
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Thank you for that. I understood the 310 would be "the best".... I am going to look for this model in USA for import . In France there are only 2 AS for sale: 1 Excella 280 and 1 Argosy 280.... In US, what is the average price for a 310 ( max year 1984, no more ) in very good condition ?
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:24 AM   #7
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The term "very good condition" was used and did refer to my 310 turbo diesel. The main frame was almost new and the metal gridwork which supports the floor was in excellent shape. The diesel turned over lickedly split and purred like a kitten. However PO's had not kept up sealing windows and the subfloor was badly rotted under a pile of 1/4" luan and foam so I've been replacing it and restoring the interior, which I have been able to do myself with a little outside help.

My coach cost me $19,500.00. Was that a lot for a 30+ year old diesel 310, I don't know or care, but it was what I was willing to pay for mine. I could have done a lot worst. I have seen a number of 454 310's for sale in the $70,000+ range, so I don't feel so bad.

A 310 454 in very good condition with everything working but unrestored would be in the mid 20's by now with the diesel commanding a $5,000.00 premium.

Shipping a 310 to France can't be cheap

Cheers
Tony
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Old 09-06-2014, 12:17 PM   #8
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I like my 280 for the shorter length and for the fact I don't have to deal with a tag axle, but if I had a choice, I would love to have. 310 single rear axle with the bedroom in the rear!


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Old 09-07-2014, 01:08 AM   #9
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Lisle sur Tarn , France
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Thank you for these good news My budget is about 35000€ ( 45000 $ )with the shipping for a perfect AS and I would prefer, I think, a 310 / rear bed and single rear axe also ( in France we have a taxe for twin rear axes in highways ) I hope to find my baby soon....With the price of fuel it is crazy but "amour, amour" ...
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:45 AM   #10
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Remember if buying a 310 in NA to access our network of Classic MH owners to do a pre inspection of any MH you should find available for sale. Most Classic owners will do this inspection for you for a nominal fee. This will include pictures of the metal framework and any damage found.

Good hunting
Cheers
Tony
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:40 PM   #11
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Our 280 was shipped to the UK some years ago. It seemed to work for them on the roads there. The 345 is simply BIGGER!
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:33 PM   #12
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We are having our 20ft Argosy rebuilt to use in our retirement, when we will use it to tour the US before taking it back to UK (we are from the UK and still have a house over there), and there are quite a few things to consider.
Firstly remember the differences in power voltage - all normal shore/generator powered systems installed in the US will be 110-120v, but that means you have up with 110-120v on the generator and need to run a transformer down from 220-240v shore power when you are in Europe, and you need a big transformer to power an AC, even more if you have two, and the bigger RV tend to have two.
Second and something that was a big decision for us settling for a 20ft Argosy, is a larger RV is classified as a 'Coach' on many toll roads and on certain toll tunnels even a 28ft RV costs x10 that of the 20ft. I would check out the pricing differences between a 310-345 as part of your decision making.
For the UK (and maybe Europe) you may also have to change out exterior lights (not just so they dip to the left, but also color of the blinkers etc to get the MH registered). Check out if replacement units are available for the sizes your are considering.
Also remember European RV sites are not kitted out like US ones with regard to dump stations etc (many only having passive systems) which means things like cassette toilets and portable waste tanks are common (I am trying to import a Thetford cassette toilet to replace my black water tank and even Thetford in the US think I'm crazy!). Bigger RV will make access to the dump sites challenging.
Lastly, and one problem I am still working on; most European RV have propane cylinders (portable like a trailer) not tanks. This will be a consideration as very few places recharge propane, and also many roads require the propane to be in an isolated tank. My propane tank was already rusted-out but I am still working on a solution (maybe a new tank but also an Extend-A-Stay).
There is actually a very good knowledge base that is a sub-section of the UKAirstreamers site including a couple of supporting members that import and convert MH if you do an online search, but importing a MH into Europe is only the first of many steps, for example one of the reasons we are having the Argosy built whilst we are in the US is importing 'personal property that we have owned and been using, has a much lower (hopefully 'zero') duty rate when it arrives in the UK in a few years time.
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Old 09-09-2014, 12:35 AM   #13
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Lisle sur Tarn , France
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In France we have a way for these old MH ( more 30 years ) to register in "collection" and avoid all the rules as lights, brakes,... and to make the Technical Control with the caracteristics of the period of the vehicle.
Thank you very much for the link UKAirstreamers 5 years ago I made a MH with a 4x4 truck of 12 tons ( les zaventures de BigBidule | en Amérique du Sud ) ...a big job
Sure to run with an AS MH in Europe is not reasonable but so fun
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