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Old 01-17-2016, 05:13 PM   #1
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1997 31' Land Yacht
greenfield , Indiana
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Questions about buying used

I have never owned any type of rv or camper. I am looking at a 1997 Airstream Land Yacht with a 454 engine 37,000 miles. It is in very good shape and has had a lot of maintenance done to it recently. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should look for and do you think a motorhome this old could have many more years left. I have checked out the forum it looks like there is a lot of good information. If I buy it I am sure I will be checking out this forum a lot.

Thanks
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Old 01-17-2016, 05:24 PM   #2
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You might want to look for an "inspector" on the site here who could voluntarily help you to check it out before you buy. Good luck!!
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Old 01-17-2016, 07:09 PM   #3
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You can expect maintenance issues as motor homes are very complex to repair. If you are a do it yourself person it could be a love relationship if not, a money pit.
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Old 01-19-2016, 01:43 AM   #4
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Last April I bought my first Airstream, 1997 Land Yacht diesel, 45k miles garaged since new. I was very fortunate to get all original manuals and previous owner kept it in above average shape mechanically. If you have mechanical skills or maybe owned collector cars in the past, you probably realize that just because the miles are low does not mean it will not need repairs. Lack of use can sometimes be as bad as abuse for some vehicles.

I recommend starting with the roof and check everything from top to bottom, front to rear. Make sure everything works and nothing is leaking from water and holding tanks to the engine compartment. On my purchase, only thing I did not check was the furnace and rear heater. Ultimately, that's the 2 items that did not function mainly due to non-use over the life of the rig. Furnace needed a new computer board and I still do not know whats wrong with the rear heater. It needed new shocks and tires, tune up, and 2500 miles later, a $150 pump in the transmission that took 6 weeks and $2100 to be repaired. That said, unexpectedly I got a job transfer to Montana in October so it was packed up and I pulled my Jeep cross country. Zero problems on the trip and I have no regrets.

Think of your RV as a second vacation home. Your always going to be doing something to it, upgrading equipment, etc, so its not exactly a money pit but anything you do to relax or enjoy, will have a cost. The goal is to travel in it and enjoy a lifestyle that is not burdensome. Keep us posted.
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:14 AM   #5
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It could end up being a19 year old money pit..or it could be a good deal, you'll never know unless you jump on it and don't look back...you only live once..
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:10 PM   #6
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Find a seriously qualified AS Motorhome technician. As was offered, Motorhomes are complex and costly to operate. Larry "Dallas" Hagmen stored his AS Land Yacth in the same place in the Dallas area that I used during his last year or so when filming "Dallas." Never saw him, however, techs were always working on it to fine tune something. Last thing they did was add a bunch of solar panels before his death. He was BIG on low energy usage on the Planet per the tech.
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
You might want to look for an "inspector" on the site here who could voluntarily help you to check it out before you buy. Good luck!!
I agree, & have that pre-purchase inspection (PPI) done - even if you have to pay a modest fee for it, & since it's got a drivetrain, you may need both a mechanic & a trailer/RV expert look it over.

Depending upon how much it was used or how long it sat between uses since `97, & how well it was maintained & how recently, you may need change out most or all fluids, & possibly all soft lines (rubber & plastic) which can deteriorate over time - aside from miles. Treat the engine/trans/brakes & other driveline components as you would in buying a used car or truck, which you probably have some experience with.

Good Luck!
Tom
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Old 01-19-2016, 06:30 PM   #8
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To set the record straight; All RV's are a maintenance problem. new or old. The difference is who pays, the warranty or you fix it yourself.
Imagine your home going down the road at 70 MPH over potholes, construction and 40 year old roads. Everything shaking and rattling around, no doubt you'll have some problems after it takes that ride after sitting neglected and alone for 9 months. Kind of like the guy who never jogged entering the Boston Marathon. Problems happen!
Now if you saved over $100,000 in buying a used RV, expect to have to fix a few or a lot of things, it's part of the fun of RVing. The RV community is made up of many "do it yourselfers", welcome aboard.
We're not RV experts, but we've stayed with it for over 26 years and the newest we ever bought was 10 years old, the oldest was 27 when we sold it. We''re still using our 1994 Airstream Land Yacht diesel pusher, which should last a long time with regular care.
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjdonahoe View Post
It could end up being a19 year old money pit..or it could be a good deal, you'll never know unless you jump on it and don't look back...you only live once..
I agree. You can pick a new vehicle apart too . Used has it quirks and new one do to. Basically if you get it, you know you are in love with it. Beside any misfortunes it will bring you the good memories of enjoyment. Preventive maintenance it the best tool. Enjoy- stop being a worrywart. Have fun with it. They are not that hard to figure out.
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Old 01-20-2016, 06:50 AM   #10
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^^ All very good advice up there. The only thing I would add is that finding a decent inspector is easier said than done. We hired someone to inspect our Airstream motorhome prior to purchase and they missed every problem in the book (and it was only 8 years old, with about 26,000 miles on it). Fortunately we are DIY people because motorhome service in our area is $120 per hour no matter which shop is chosen, and in our case for the extent of problems we have had, the ownership would have been financially unsustainable if we had to hire for the repairs.
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Old 01-20-2016, 03:26 PM   #11
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Honestly, its a love/hate relationship.. I bought my 99 Land Yacht with 64,000 miles on it. Ours looked like almost new on the outside, and tenderly used on the inside. The previous owners just KOA'd and Plug & Played every time. Now theres nothing wrong with this except that the coach water pump never got used, the generator only had 140 hours on it when we got it. So with that being said, the 1st time we rolled out and set up at a primitive camp sight and went to run the generator, I learned how to dissemble a carburetor and clean it, then had to take apart the water pump under the bed and RTV it so that it would quit leaking. in the end I have learned a lot and have had a lot of fun in my lil land yacht. My advise would be to personally run the generator, all the water faucets, toilet and then check the front and rear roof main seals. after that then take it to a good mechanic and have the tranny flushed and oil changed. Thats my food for thought.. Good luck and have fun..
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Old 01-20-2016, 03:29 PM   #12
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Well said sir!!
after every camping adventure, I am constantly going thru and checking all the screws and pop rivets. you'd be amazed how much stuff comes loose..
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Old 01-22-2016, 02:36 PM   #13
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1997 31' Land Yacht
greenfield , Indiana
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Thanks

Thanks for all the comments. I bought it and my family can't wait to use it. The owner before me had it for 1.5 years and 2000 miles. He went bumper to bumper. Belts, hoses, fluids, bushings, brakes, tires. Every time I look at it I think it looks better. I have been reading the manuals and trying to remember everything the seller told me and searching online to learn more. I do have one question. When I plug the shore line in I don't get power. Does the battery switch have to be on when using the shore line?
Thanks again everyone I do appreciate the comments. It made my purchase easier.
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:00 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=tw369;1739433] "Thanks for all the comments. I bought it and my family can't wait to use it."
Welcome to the Airstream family. I'm sure we'll hear from you again as you discover the RV adventure. Please use the Forum SEARCH to get lots of past opinions and cures. We've been Airstreamers for 12 years now and 14 with SOB's before moving up to our 35 foot Land Yacht diesel pusher.
We've had a lot of help here and even offer some if we're experienced in your problem.
It's a small Internet community, but knowledgeable. WELCOME
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