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Old 01-01-2011, 08:06 AM   #1
New Member
1985 32.5' Airstream 325
here , Illinois
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 1
Preparing for a new life on the road

Hi, I'm Ron. I have just purchased a 1985 32.5 classic motor coach and will be full timing starting the end of March. I'm new to all this. I did some trailer park van camping back in the 60's but have no experience traveling in a self contained vehicle. The benifit of access to a community forum like this went a long way in my choice of an Airstream, thank you all for the ability to call on your expertise and feedback.

Downsizing my life to fit into a 32.5 involves a lot of compromise and self evaluation- a challenge I reluctantly but full accept. I will be taking to the backroads of the country visiting old and making new friends.

My Grand Adventure will for the most part, be in the role of, Executive Director of the Infrared Camera Manufacturer's Association, IRCMA. I will be participating in and creating opportunities to educate and inform small business in the construction, remodeling, energy efficiency, health, safety and maintenance industries, on the use, application and benifits of Infrared Thermal Scan Technology as a diagnostic tool. My efforts will be directed to professionals in small cities and towns accross the country.

I have two key problems to solve that I would welcome feedback and suggestions on.
  • Storage space - I will require space for presentation, exhibit and marketing materials. I need to have a perminent roof rack mounted between the AC units on the roof. This could be as simple as a long aluminum rail or channel with tie down access points,mounted (rivited?) the lenght of the Airstream, on either side of the AC units. Or something more elaborate with removable or drop down cargo railings that stand approx.12" high the length of the 32.5. Thus far I have not be able to find either. (I will be conducting a shake down trip, heading down from Chicago to Florida January 24th to attend a conference. If you know of someone that could fabricate and install something, I can plan my route accordingly)
  • A small,inexpensive,used,street legal, city vehicile that I can tow. It needs: to accomidate 2 people and two midsize dogs, be functionable in all weather conditions (roof,windows,heater), to have automatic transmission; 4 wheel drive or good traction control. I need something that is easy to tow, easy to hook up and unhook.(I was thinking to acquire a vehicle outside of the rust belt) I have even been researching street legal side by sides, motorcycles /scooters with side cars, etc.
Your thoughts and sugesstions on these two important topics would be greatly appreciated. Thank You

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Old 01-01-2011, 08:19 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 8,812
hi ron welcome...

1. roof top storage...skip this approach, look at other options.

2. small toad...these mohos have limited towing "specs" primarily related to the receiver which can be REenforced.

the 454 is plenty capable given the right gearing,

fuel economy is gonna be very very single digit.

so the 2 approaches to solving BOTH problems are...

-tow a small minivan/station wagon/small truck (wheels down) and use the interior space for storage,


-tow a utility trailer that has storage space inside and roll whatever u want up on it for driving (pick any small car)

there are many many threads here on toads, towing issues and solutions for the classic mohos.

enjoy the trip


all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 01-01-2011, 09:09 AM   #3
Rivet Master

Southwestern , Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,621
Hi, Ron,

Welcome to the forums, and Happy New Year!

Just a comment, if you had asked for advice before buying a rig, I would have suggested a pickup truck or van towing one of longer Airstream trailers. That way you would have the storage space in the tow vehicle, and your stuff would be all ready to go in the vehicle you are going to drive to your business destination.

But since you already have the motor home, I can recommend the Chevy (formerly Geo) Tracker as a toad. I bought my Tracker planning to use it as both my daily driver and as a toad. But then we decided we liked the Airstream trailer better than a moho and have been towing the trailer ever since. The nice thing about the Tracker is that you can shift the transfer case into neutral and tow it without making any mods to the driveline. (I think this is true of most 4WDs.) I have now had the Tracker for 10 trouble-free years and I absolutely love it, especially in the kind of weather we've been having lately!

Like 2air says, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the Airforums main page to find lots of threads about toads, storage, and your specific model motor home!

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Old 01-01-2011, 11:29 AM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 69
having lived in our 34.5 classic mohome for the last 6 years. the most important thing to remember is you will constantly downsize your life as you go. don't worry about it so much as you will soon realize what you don't need and more space will open up. clothes and cooking/eating/drinking/silverware seem to be what disappeared swiftly for us. plus we have only one chair and have a credenza for storage in the living room. mare now in alabama not mn
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:20 PM   #5
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2007 31' Classic
Kansas City , Missouri
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 299
I don't full-time but after a 25-year Army career, I have lots of experience with temporary and longterm storage, which usually resulted in lots of damage to the stored items. I'm thinking that a small apartment in a carefully chosen community would be a good way to store those bulky things that you want to retain and would give you a retreat in the event of ill health, major repairs or to wait out unforseen events on the road. And an apartment might have the added benefit of establishing residency. Best wishes on your full-timing. I think each of us would like to try that life-style at least temporarily.
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roof racks, storage, tow vehicles

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