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Old 08-12-2008, 01:04 PM   #1
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Avion trailers

I'm not too sure where else I could ask this question, so I figured here might be a good idea.

What are the general impressions of Avion trailers? Are they even closely related to an AS? How are their construction techniques as compared to an AS? Do they happen to use the same axle setup?

I've found a local dealer that has an Avion trailer that appears to be in reasonable shape. I've got to go do the full walk-thru on it, but I'm more curious on what everyone thinks.

I know that everyone has an opinion, and I shouldn't rely on others to make my opinion for me, but I do like getting feedback whenever I possibly can. Give me some ideas! Thank you!

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Old 08-12-2008, 01:09 PM   #2
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Some argue that they are better built. I'm not a fan of their interiors, but that's just my taste.

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Old 08-12-2008, 02:38 PM   #3
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I mean, we're all 'streamers here...well, not really. Among our members are owners of Avions, Silver Streaks, and on and on.... One of my early finds of aluminum trailers was an 80's era Avion: dropdead gorgeous and sturdy as a rock. You'll find some responses here that will probably verify that Avion made a fine trailer, great attention to detail and construction, and good lasting quality. Searching you should be able to find an Avion owners forum much like this one where you can find lots of information about many Avion issues. Best wishes in finding your trailer...~G
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:05 PM   #4
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My 1964 Avion seemed to be better made than either of my 1961 or 1995 Airstreams. An example is the hinges on the closets doors which ran almost the full length of the door for great strength.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:21 PM   #5
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My Dad had the last year, 89 9.6 meter he bought new. I agree the build quality was second to none, excellent metal work and engineering. The biggest downer in my opinion was the wieght from mostly the interior. The furnishings while great quality, all hardwood, dovetail drawers, hardwood paneling added sick weight. I think his GVW was like 9500lbs for a 31 footer.

What was really neat on the Avions was the plumbing was ENTIRELEY inside the botome skin. You had to open a door to get to the sewer hose fitting which was really nice. I think when Fleetwood bought Avion, it nosedived.

Cayo RV still sells alot of parts
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:27 PM   #6
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I'm not sure what model year you are looking at but in my quest for an Airstream I came upon an Avion as was a 1989 30' model. I gave it a good look through and went home to think about. The one thing that really bothered me about it was the lack of character of the was just boring. I thought the exterior looked pretty cool..and it was definitely built like a brick $h!thouse, but I couldn't imagine myself being satisfied with it long-term (I'm known to favor quirky things). And FWIW the floor level seemed really high off ground level to me. I probably would have bought it if the circumstances played out simply because the price was ridiculously low (for resale profit) and it was just 10 miles away from my house. I figured it would fill the void and allow me the time to find the Airstream I really wanted.

It didn't matter because the owner was too indecisive about selling it and I wasn't certain that my Tahoe could pull it (it was heavy). As things turned out I bought a 1976 Argosy 26 and drove 545 miles to pick it up. It oozes character just sitting in my driveway.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:31 PM   #7
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I was told that Argosy and Avion where built from the parts that didnt meet Airstream specs for quality.?????? When Airstream got rid of that dept those other trailers went by the wayside also. I guess this will always be the folk lore of Airstream.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:39 PM   #8
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I think Avions are great trailers in their own way. I owned an 83 model 10.3 meter tri axle before my current trailer. I have owned older airstreams as well (71 and 79). I honestly believe the Avions were better built in many ways. They are solid like a house....however, they are heavy like a house. Just like AS, they have their own strengths and problems. I would not shy away from an Avion if I liked the trailer. I liked the 80's vintage cabinetry, but don't care much for the anodized skin. I really don't think you can go wrong with a good Avion.
With that said, I love my Airstream.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:40 PM   #9
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Avion was not built by Airstream or any of its previous parent companies. They were built in Pennsilvania not Ohio. I think Avion was purchased by Fleetwood in like 87 and they ran the aluminum construction until mid 89. Interesting fact in the difference in construction, the avions were not true monocoque construction like our Airstreams. That is you cannont remove the aluminum fuselage from the steel frame on an Avion.

The exterior was anodized not polyurethane or clear coated like an airstream and they have held up great. Look at a mid 80s Avion and you will see that they do not have any peeling or sign of surface decay. The trade off is the body is not as "shiney or polished".

Nice rigs, but they are getting older now for those who do not want to repair or restore anything.
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Old 08-12-2008, 04:12 PM   #10
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Here's a couple Avion sites I've had bookmarked for a while. I don't know how active they still are but it's a good place to start acquiring info.

Fleetwood Avion Travelcade Club Travel Fifth Wheel Fleetwood Trailer RV Cayo Motivator LeGrande Indiana Unit


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Old 08-12-2008, 05:49 PM   #11
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Thanks for the input everyone! Yeah, I found a 1983/1984 Avion M34W with the rear queen bedroom setup. The exterior is in excellent shape, except for some seal issues around some of the windows and what appears to be remnants of glued on velcro from a rock shield up front. Everything is there in the interior, and like Duff says, it's pretty boring compared to an AS.
This is the triple axle design. The GVWR is around 9600, but for me, that's about 4k less than my 5th wheel, so it's nothing. My diesel will pull it. The interior is a little dated, but overall isn't too bad. it needs new tires, I suspect that it'll need new shocks, and maybe brakes, but otherwise, the exterior is good. No dents or dings at all. All the awnings are in great shape and all of them work.
I'll have to verify that mechanically everything works, and it appears that the lot has the refrigerator torn apart, but at least I can verify that it'll work. I like the looks of the Avion. I like that with a little TLC, I could get an older trailer up and working again and have a nice unit(that sounds horrible...).
Overall, I looked in all the compartments underneath, and the outside edges of the subfloor look good. The floor feels good in the bathroom.

Tom Nugler, I already found the page and it's good. I found a brochure for a 1984 model, and it's exactly the same as the 1983.
I like that the exterior is anodized, because it appears that it's in great shape. I've got to take my wife out to look at it, but if everything works mechanically, I think that I'll try to make a deal. What I don't like is that the dealer is asking like $6000 over book value for the trailer. If they're willing to accept a reasonable amount for their trailer, and give me a reasonable trade on my 5th wheel, I may be owning a Avion here soon.
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:05 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by FlytoFish View Post
What are the general impressions of Avion trailers? Are they even closely related to an AS? How are their construction techniques as compared to an AS? Do they happen to use the same axle setup?
While similar, they are different. Axles are slightly different design, furnishings are real wood rather than veneer (real wood looks great, but it is HEAVY), and, perhaps most important, they are no longer being built. If something manufacturer specific breaks, it is going to stay broke, unless you find a donor coach, or somebody that is talented and knowledgeable enough to fabricate new parts.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:05 PM   #13
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Half Right.

Originally Posted by mustang View Post
I was told that Argosy and Avion where built from the parts that didnt meet Airstream specs for quality.?????? When Airstream got rid of that dept those other trailers went by the wayside also. I guess this will always be the folk lore of Airstream.
Argosy = painted Airstream. Lower priced version, many experimental things done with Argosies first. I have heard that scratched aluminum that couldn't be used in the Airstreams would be sent down the road to the Argosy factory. Argosy also had one piece steel end caps, one more reason why they had to be painted... but they didn't ding up nearly as easily as the Airstreams still do.

Avion - totally separate company. Again I've heard that some dissatisfied managers from Airstream broke away and founded Avion. They are definitely well built, and their aluminum is anodized so it cannot be polished without taking off the anodization. I wouldn't do it myself. I view them as "pewter beauties" rather than silver bullets. The interior is definitely somewhere between 1950's French Provincal and New Orleans baudy house elegant... but much of that can be updated simply by replacing drawer pulls, getting the marbled mirror tiles (projectile vomit) off the walls, and doing some judicious replacement of upholstery. Oh and the shag carpet (lets have a "dirty jobs" hurl for that stuff!)

Avions are much heavier and are higher off the ground - but they have a massive frame - not "monoque" other than the look.

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Old 08-12-2008, 10:20 PM   #14
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Thanks Paula! I'm getting some great information here! Thank you all! Yeah, I'm really digging this Avion. I guess it's the 1983 M34W with the rear queen bed setup. It looks like everything works as intended, but I can't test it mechanically just yet. The batteries are not in it, and the refrigerator is completely torn apart as it's getting a new cooling unit.
All the wood looks to be in good shape. I didn't notice any bad subflooring, and the carpet looks in good shape. When walking around through it, it didn't bounce at all, which indicates to me that the suspension is in relative good shape. It's a lot different than an AS suspension, but still looks good.
It'll have to have new tires, and most likely shocks, and maybe a new mattress in the bedroom, but otherwise, it's perfectly livable right from the get-go. I'll need to check the brakes as I suspect that they might need to be replaced, but we'll see.
From the looks of things, it appears that some of the rubber stripping around the main body has shrunk, which could be filled with some relatively close material. All of the windows work. It appears that there'll need to be some minor sealing done to a couple of the windows, but otherwise, it appears to be fully waterproof. No obvious leaks on the ceiling, which is important.
Anyone have any input on where these items are selling at in comparison to the book values? It books for around $4000, but the dealer is asking around $10900. I figured that if my wife likes it, we'd probably offer around $6500. We're trading in our Jayco 5th wheel, so I'm expecting around $20k for that. Does this sound reasonable? I mean, trade value on the Jayco is at $20635, and it's worth every penny and then some. The Avion is nice, and in good condition, but do people generally pay significant amounts over book to own a reasonable one? I mean, I'm going to have to put some work into it, which with the trade difference, I'll have plenty of money to do, but what's reasonable? I'm curious...

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