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Old 10-24-2007, 07:39 PM   #1
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Good reasons for trading '99 Excella for new 34' Classic????

We live in our AS from October until May or June and may be going full time soon.... What are the pros and cons of the 34 SO??? We love our Excella but with two fur-kids and us it gets a bit tight sometimes. Thoughts???? Thanks...

Phil & Edee
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Old 10-24-2007, 07:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil/Edee
We live in our AS from October until May or June and may be going full time soon.... What are the pros and cons of the 34 SO??? We love our Excella but with two fur-kids and us it gets a bit tight sometimes. Thoughts???? Thanks...

Phil & Edee
Pro's: lots of room, lots of room, lots of room, room for everybody
Con's: financial commitment, heavy to tow, requiring HD tow vehicle, needs more time cleaning.
Personally, I love 34's. Just don't have any need for it...
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Old 10-24-2007, 07:54 PM   #3
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Like Uwe said, it will be like night and day towing a 34 from a 25.

Not impossible, but you'll sure have a lot more trailer behind you and a huge amount of weight.

The room is great. It's a judgement call that only you can make.
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Old 10-24-2007, 07:58 PM   #4
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Forgot to mention our tow vehicle is a 1996 Ford F250 with towing package and Lariat Pkg which we love....
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Old 10-24-2007, 07:58 PM   #5
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not quite the same ... but

We have a 34 foot Motorhome with 2 dogs and a cat and would not travel far in anything smaller (qualified "far" because the hubby would love a 20 foot argosy MoHo
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Old 10-24-2007, 08:23 PM   #6
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Just my thoughts..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil/Edee
We live in our AS from October until May or June and may be going full time soon.... What are the pros and cons of the 34 SO??? We love our Excella but with two fur-kids and us it gets a bit tight sometimes. Thoughts???? Thanks...

Phil & Edee
Phil,
There's no doubt the 34' SO is unique.
I will share this with you. While I have never owned one, I was in/out several at a dealership I worked at many times.
While the SO is KEWL, it depends on just which year model you are talking about. The earliest ones had problems~The locking gear pin on the SO was prone to breaking and, the fix was a disaster. I witness one at the factory being repaired and, it wasn't a pretty sight. This was beefed up in later year SO model. In all cases, the unit has to be perfectly level, and supported before the SO is open. (DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE.) What often would happens if you don't level it??
The SO would not close completely and, had to be returned to the factory to be fixed.
It's much heavier due to the shell of the SO, which adds approx 900 lbs extra to the overall weight of the unit. You knew that.
For some reason, Airstream adds electric operated stabilizers to these SO unit. I have yet to see one, that was trouble free for any period of time.
I don't recommend them.
Good luck on your search.
ciao
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Old 10-24-2007, 09:09 PM   #7
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hi phil n edee...

-the 34 slide unit has a tad bigger bathroom than the 34 without slide...

-the kitchen/galley layout is better in the slide unit and there is more counter space...

-the slide model has LESS cargo/carry capacity.

-while the electric stabilizers are standard on the slide model, they can be ordered on the non slide...

-regardless, they MUST be used before the slide can be moved out, or it won't come back in...

-with the slide in, the dinette is sorta in the isle, but still useable...

-the windows and overhead locker space is different (less of them) on slide units.

-the 34 can be ordered without carpet but i think the slide unit still relies on a carpet'd section...

i'm sorry to suggest this,

but i think either unit is TOO MUCH for your tow vehicle...

the ratings are right at/just below the trailer weights...

an older narrow body 34 or the early widebody 34s are within the '96 ford towing capacity...

you could probably manage a new 34 (but it would be close and a slug) but the slide unit would really be pushing it...

cheers
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Old 10-24-2007, 09:45 PM   #8
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Phil. We made the move from a 1993 29' to a 2006 34' non-slide. The thought was we would like the layout of the 34 more when retirement came. For two people, the 29 was a nice size but the 34' had the dinette. Our first long trip (5 weeks) was just completed and the two of us really enjoyed the space to hang out. The storage space inside is generous. It was the right move for us. I haven't really noticed the additional 5 ft from a towing prospective. You will be amazed at how much bigger it will seem going from the 25. Mine seems very big (visually) compared to the 29 narrow body. Good luck.
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Old 10-24-2007, 10:15 PM   #9
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We had a 2005 34 SO - loved it. Towed with an Excursion many thousands of miles, no problem. Traveled with two kids minimum, always a dog - room for the crate. We never found towing (or backing or anything else) to be a problem. In fact, with the Hensley hitch it was really a dream to tow.

Our only issue is we have since downsized our family (daughter off to college), and it won't be that long before our son will stop going with us, so the extra space became less important.

The other issue was the carpeting - keeping the unit clean. We have since gone to a 27 Intl, and it is definitely a lot less work to keep clean.

It was interesting to us to see how much extra stuff we had packed in our 34 when we were getting it ready to trade in. A ton of it we had never used - I mean there is just a boatload of storage in the 34 SO.

Great machine - I'd recommend as long as you have a decent hitch and TV, which it sounds like you do.
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:19 AM   #10
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Hoooooo Boy... Guess I was asleep when I wrote about the tow vehicle... It's a 2006 Ford F250.... I must have been feeling old last night...sigh

Sorry....

Edee
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Old 10-25-2007, 10:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 53flyingcloud
I have yet to see one, that was trouble free for any period of time.
I don't recommend them.
Good luck on your search.
ciao
53FC
I think the issue has been making sure the unit is level and the stabilizer jacks are down before extending or retracting the slide out. I know when I picked up my trailer, the first thing the fellow giving us the familiarization tour said was the fact that those stabilizer jacks must be down. He said if you don't follow that rule, you will cause damage.

We thought long and hard and most folks were leery of the SO in their advice. So far ours has operated flawlessly along with the power stabilizer jacks. This is our 4th season with this particular unit. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a slide (at least from 2004 and beyond).


I'm pulling mine with a 3/4 ton GMC van with a 6 liter gas engine and a 4.10 axle. Obviously if I were pulling a 34' trailer with slide I'd probably be looking at a diesal TV.

Hitch weight was significant on my unit and I had to scrap the factory receiver and go with a Class V receiver and hitch.

Jack
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Old 11-07-2007, 08:15 PM   #12
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I will throw in my 2 cents worth here. I have lived in my 1983 34' excella for the past 11 years and have had as many as four dogs. It is probably the only airstream with a doggy door built into the screen door. I would go with a regular unit instead of the silde out. Mine is the L-Lounge config and has more than enough room for two people to be comfortable. Best of luck no matter what you decide.
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Old 11-07-2007, 08:40 PM   #13
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"It is probably the only airstream with a doggy door built into the screen door. I would go with a regular unit instead of the silde out..."

Wow! Do you have pictures??? Sounds great... we have a foundling dog and cat... wouldn't necessarily need the dog door but it would be fun to see!

Edee
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:25 PM   #14
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I have a 2001 34' with slide. The couch is on the slide and the front of the unit is a set of cabinets with a work surface. I use the cabinets to store paperwork. I enoy the extra seating room forward. My narrowbody 34' did not have space to sit 6 comfortably, with the side I can sit 6 to 8. This was an important consideration for me. In time I can see us downsizing to a 28 or 30 without a slide but for now it works. I see no difference in difficulty in towing, it is heavier but is no more difficult to manuver. We love it.
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