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Old 08-26-2011, 09:16 PM   #1
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Thoughts? Paying $20K for 1989 345 LE

Just a quick run down of what I'm buying. Will be paying owner $20,000.00 for this 1989 345 LE. Anyone have any thoughts? Good deal, getting my money's worth?

Thanks, Derek

I keep remembering things owner of Airstream (at some point, that part will change to be ME!) told me today. Let's see if I can remember them all. Told me today, about NOT unscrewing gas cap really quick! While he was on the other side puttering, I did start to unscrew gas cap, whew! lots of extra pressure in the tank, I'll tell you. Gasoline and LPG fill both on driver's side. Never looked to see how much gasoline is in coach, but owner did say that LPG is FULL!!! 125lb tank completely full. We even looked on the little screen that's above the stove and it showed it as being full. No idea what LPG is going for, but that's already saving me some money. Hmmm, wondering if I couldn't rig up something to carburator to run the coach engine on LPG??? The BIG storage area on the curb side at the rear of the motorhome also has an access for underneath the mattress inside. Oh, mattress is brand spanking NEW too. He had it custom made so it would 'bend' in the middle to access underneath the bed. Weird part though, platform that mattress is on, is screwed down, lol.

He showed me that he's installed LED lights at 'major' points outside. At the dump hose area, at the generator area, as well as in the waterhose/electrical cord area. This thing just keeps getting better and better. I noticed some of the clearance lights and running lights have already been replaced with LED's as well. Not all, but it's a start, right? Less work for the alternator when the lights are on.

He showed me that the Generator has a start button on the 'smart' panel above the stove, on the dashboard, in the bedroom, as well as on the generator itself. We couldn't get the generator to start, but I smelled gas after we kept trying, it turned over really easy, so thinking that the carb was flooded. He pointed out that one of the upper cabinets, behind the drivers seat had some issues. The 3 times I've been inside of this motorhome before today, I never even noticed it. Pulling it apart, cleaning up someone else's mess, wood glue and some clamps, and it will be as good as new.

There are two heaters, one in the front of the coach, one in the bedroom. He mentioned one in bedroom can be a bit 'fussy'. He's had it torn apart and worked on, but still, from time to time, it just doesn't like to work. This thing is 22 years old, so I understand that there will be some minor issues here and there. Underneath the dinette, Airstream has installed a heater that is fed by the engine coolant. Guess if I'm traveling down the road in dead of winter, I could heat the whole thing off of the engine coolant. No shower curtain for some reason, will have to be on the lookout for a 'rigid' one. Guess maybe a trip to Camping World at some point is in order. Water pump worked fine. Toilet flushed just like it's supposed to and toilet is porcelain too! There's a switch for water pump in bathroom, as well at kitchen sink. Lights, lights, lights friggin everywhere. 12V and 120V. Jeez, if I turn on all the lights inside of this thing, I'll blind whoever is parked next to me!

His wife and he have promised to get it cleaned up and the small things inside taken care of. One of the wooden window blinds (which I REALLY like) is down. Owners wife didn't care for them, and they had taken it down to measure it, and had never gotten it back up, nor had they found a replacement, thank goodness.

There is a notebook binder for an Owner's Manual. Not some small binder either. We're talking a 3 inch, 3 ring binder notebook. He told me I could read on this thing for days! I probably will for the first few weeks anyhow.

He showed me the 2 switches that are required to be turned on in order for the electric steps to operate. At first, Airstream had installed vacuum operated steps. He told me that's what this one came with, and he got tired of fooling with it, so he had the electric one installed. There IS a doorbell, some of the wires just need to be hooked up in order for it to operate.

He mentioned several things he had purchased for the Airstream, new actuators for the Automatic Levelers (rear) that he had bought, just never had time to install (he's already installed the front ones), and a few other things I can't think of right now.

All new Hydraulic brakes on the front and drive axle, new master cylinder, as well as new actuators for the tag axle (it has electric trailer brakes on it) Dash A/C works because it's all brand spanking new as well! He showed me the front curtains that he made for the coach. Some water stains on them, figuring it's from condensation from inside of the windows, just like the bedroom window curtains. Little gentle cycle in the front loading washing machine, we'll see if that takes care of it. Maybe a soak first before trying the washing machine.

Oh, ALL NEW coach batteries, TWO! and brand spanking new engine battery as well. New inverter to charge all three as well, just some kind of 'kerfluey' thing going on with the inverter though. Can't remember exactly what, but I'll need to keep inverter plugged in separately in order to keep all 3 batteries charged. He mentioned that the engine alternator DOES keep all 3 charged while engine is operating, so I've got to become an electrician of sorts. Guess I've always needed to, but never cared for the sparks I create when I fooled with electricity before, lol.

All NINE of the tires look to be in great shape. The spare is basically brand new! All of the other 8 tires just need some TLC to look good. Will find some way to cover them from the sun when I get it home.
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:40 PM   #2
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Just remembered one more thing. Fans in shower and bathroom are new as well.
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:52 PM   #3
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Howdy, crazeevw!

I can't really comment on a moho, since I really have no experience with one, but:

From reading your description, it looks like you have found the vehicle you have been looking for. I hope the generator starts, the upper cabinet gets fixed, the bedroom heater works, that you find the doorbell wires, and that you figure out the 'kerfluey' thing going on with the inverter.
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Old 08-27-2011, 07:22 AM   #4
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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If $ are not an issue. go for it.

If having a full tank of LP. is a Big deal ??? Hmmm.

the only way to find out is to purchase the unit and use it.

To many nice units sit unused because the owner became disillusioned with the work and $ associated with actually using and enjoying these fine Classic units.

If you want to leave it in the yard and use it as a getaway.
that is nice. and can be fun.
But the unit will deteriorate and loose value. to you and to future owners.

commit the $$$ up front and Use the Unit, get down the road and enjoy. but service, service, service.

some, many on here spend $5,000 to $10,000 a year maintaining, updating their units. in serviceable, dependable condition.

when I look for a M.H. to purchase. I like for it to be activley used and maintained.
still realizing that I will want to personalize the unite. and continue to update.

there are continually Post's that visit very openly about the cost of ownership and maintaining these very fine units.

My brither in law buys a new car, Two of them. every 3 years.
Because he Nor his wife will pay for an oil change or service fees.

So they always tell us how they save all these $ with the free sevice they get with new ownership over the years.

while I drive vehicles 200,000 to 500,000 miles and service and maintain continually.

So to each their own. remember, You have a Truck chassis and a House on top with 3 forms of power and 2 engines drive and generator to service.

new tires every 5 years 1,600 plus all else. maybe at the least.
another 5,000 every 5 years. Plus the personal additions, changes.

So if one is not accustomed to some hefty service bills and see them as normal daily maintenance. annual service.

like 26 or so grease zerts. flushing the coolant each season. winterizing, de winterizing cost's ? or time. etc. etc. etc.
steering, brake and engine fluid annual changes.

go for it. enjoy. it will be the best $$$ spent.

But will take allot of it.
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Old 08-27-2011, 08:16 AM   #5
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Nice one Crazee!
Price is reasonable for the year, and condition by the sound of it.
I have seen them for sale for twice that, and bought mine for less than half that, but mine needs TLC.
I love the idea that the PO has been so involved... has he been the only owner?
Wish I had more history on mine.
I agree with John, on the usage issue... I am seeing things deteriorate on mine through sitting about.
As John says, get out there and use it if its working... stuff will break, wear out and fail, just see these moments as a chance to Upgrade!
What I am learning here is that everyone has had the same problems years before, and most of the info is here... just wading thru and finding it is tricky!

Oh... if anyone had noticed... I love pictures... so post plenty of your new baby!
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Old 08-27-2011, 08:41 AM   #6
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Welcolm to the wonderful life of a 345! Agree hole hartedly with John about the using it and be forwarned, the maintenance and repairs can be pricey. But I think it's all worth it. Mabe we will run into each other in FL as their are great places to camp all over the state.
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Old 08-27-2011, 10:14 AM   #7
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Thanks to all who have responded so far. At times I think this is the craziest thing I've ever done. But, as an owner of a 1964 Buick Skylark Convertible, I do know what it's like to start from scratch and keep an older vehicle on the road (with the occasional break-down) Being handy is one of my better 'vices'. Know my way around a set of tools, and definitely not afraid to get dirty once there. Not too much knowledge about previous owners. This owner really bought this unit as a basket case almost 2 years ago. Think a college student used it for a 'home' for a few years, never once putting it on the road. As well, with this owner being a serious fisherman, the Airstream really isn't getting a lot of use now, which is the reason for selling. My money has FINALLY hit my bank account this weekend, day off on Monday, so off to the bank to get my cashiers check to do the deal. You can surely bet there will be TONS of pix posted with my 'Mobile Retirement Villa'. Raveson, I'm certain we'll see each other out on Florida's roads. Ever make it to Lake Kissimmee State Park? Beautiful area there, of course, not until after November, lol. Thanks, Derek
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Old 08-27-2011, 10:29 AM   #8
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Congratulations, and welcome to the community.
You'll fit right in, and never have another day with nothing to do.
Doing the crazy things is what makes life fun.
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:30 AM   #9
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Derek, I believe you said the inverter (12 v to 120 v) charges the batteries, but I think you mean the converter (120 v to 12 v). Sometimes a new converter lasts a short time and it may be toast.

Since it sounds like it hasn't been driven much lately, how old are the tires? They may look good, but may be at or near the end of their life.

It sounds like you are in love, but it might be a good idea to have a good RV mechanic look it over before you close the deal.

To convert a gas engine to a liquid natural gas engine is old technology, but somewhat expensive. Whether you can do it with off the shelf items for propane needs some research. You may need more than the coach tanks to be able to drive some distance.

Sorry to be the voice of doom, or something like that, but actually hoping to make sure you check everything. I hope this is just what you want and it works great for you.

Gene
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Old 08-27-2011, 01:47 PM   #10
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Is this the one you posted an exterior picture of last week with the blue trim? If so it sure looked good there. From the way you describe it here and in earlier posts I'd say 20K is a good buy as long as you are able to take it out and enjoy it.
I'm retired though my wife wants to work a few more years so using our 345 for extended trips are limited to her vacations right now but we do take day drives 4 or 5 times a month that are very enjoyable. While using these drives to always learn new things about the MH and have learned, as mentioned above, that sitting not being used is one of the worst things for any motorhome.

No matter how much I whittle away on the 'to do' list it just seems like I add two items every time I finish one, just like my old Harley.

Keep us posted and Enjoy!
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Old 08-27-2011, 07:21 PM   #11
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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HaHaHa, yes, this is a good one. service, service, service
http://www.buybyebluebird.com/enlarg...2320342692.jpg
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:12 PM   #12
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Saint Petersburg , Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Derek, I believe you said the inverter (12 v to 120 v) charges the batteries, but I think you mean the converter (120 v to 12 v). Sometimes a new converter lasts a short time and it may be toast.

Since it sounds like it hasn't been driven much lately, how old are the tires? They may look good, but may be at or near the end of their life.

It sounds like you are in love, but it might be a good idea to have a good RV mechanic look it over before you close the deal.

To convert a gas engine to a liquid natural gas engine is old technology, but somewhat expensive. Whether you can do it with off the shelf items for propane needs some research. You may need more than the coach tanks to be able to drive some distance.

Sorry to be the voice of doom, or something like that, but actually hoping to make sure you check everything. I hope this is just what you want and it works great for you.

Gene

Hi Gene, guess I meant converter, not inverter, that's what current owner keeps calling it, and I keep trying to correct him, oh well. As far as converting powertrain to LPG, not wanting to do that. Would like to convert the generator though. Have friends with 5th wheel who've recommended the conversion, simply because easier to deal with LPG on generator. That will happen down the line. Honestly, would like to pitch that HEAVY genset and find something (aka Honda or Yamaha) and install instead.
Thanks, Derek
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:18 PM   #13
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 345bill View Post
Is this the one you posted an exterior picture of last week with the blue trim? If so it sure looked good there. From the way you describe it here and in earlier posts I'd say 20K is a good buy as long as you are able to take it out and enjoy it.
I'm retired though my wife wants to work a few more years so using our 345 for extended trips are limited to her vacations right now but we do take day drives 4 or 5 times a month that are very enjoyable. While using these drives to always learn new things about the MH and have learned, as mentioned above, that sitting not being used is one of the worst things for any motorhome.

No matter how much I whittle away on the 'to do' list it just seems like I add two items every time I finish one, just like my old Harley.

Keep us posted and Enjoy!
Definitely plan on driving this beauty weekly. Keep 'warning' those at work to make space for the Silver Bullet on Saturdays at my workplace. More than likely will get her out on early Sunday mornings when there is less traffic around here just so I can get used to driving such a large vehicle. Used to drive a postal truck that is about the size of a UPS truck, but that was a few years ago. Thinking maybe more mirrors up front. Gotta love mirrors.....
As far as tires, friends who are full-timers have advised the codes on the tire sidewalls and what to look for. At this point, don't really think I have much leeway with haggling. This owner has put over $7000.00 in upgrades to moho, and I feel like I'm coming away with a bargain at times. At this point, I'm just pinching myself, simply because owning an Airstream, much less an Airstream motorhome is a lifetime dream come true.
Do realize that any vehicle requires maintenance. Just like owning a home, there is always something to be done. Love to putter around in my yard, inside of my house, so this will be right up my alley.
Thanks, Derek
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:20 PM   #14
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Originally Posted by John Haggard View Post
HaHaHa, yes, this is a good one. service, service, service
http://www.buybyebluebird.com/enlarg...2320342692.jpg
Not quite what I plan on hauling for 'spares' but close. Already checking local parts stores for belts, alternator, and hoses. Will get into engine compartment as soon as I get Airstream home and start checking over every single inch.
Thanks, Derek
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