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Old 05-09-2016, 01:00 PM   #1
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Airstream 345 vs Prevost

I've had my heart set on an Airstream 345 motorhome for full timing. But, in sorta thinking I'd like to get an older Prevost from the 1980-1990 date range. I'm seeing Prevost's from that vintage for about 60k to 100k. Thoughts?

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Old 05-09-2016, 01:17 PM   #2
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1986 31' Sovereign
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This is almost equivalent to saying "I'd like to own a dog or take up hang gliding".

Their both great, but worlds apart.

I guess to be more fair to you, it's like comparing a nice restored f-100 to a vintage Porsche. They will both get the groceries!

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Old 05-09-2016, 01:18 PM   #3
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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The P O of my 345 moved on to a Prevost of early 90s vintage.
It's a very impressive rig, no doubt.
Some of the comments he has shared, are that the cost of ownership is
MUCH HIGHER, and the weight / height is a factor in back road route planning.

Family health issues have kept them from using it as much as they had hoped,
So I haven't heard the raves about how nice it is to use. Other than it's very nice to drive on the open high ways.

Cheers Richard
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Old 05-09-2016, 02:03 PM   #4
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Prevost = commercial chassis in the class 8 truck (think 18 wheeler) category. Airstream 345 = very well built moterhome on a commercial/recreational chassis (think UPS delivery van).

Both very well built, but designed for a different purpose. If you are going to drive a lot, load your rig heavy, and possibly tow heavy; then go prevost. If you only going to drive from long term spot to next long term spot, go 345. The Prevost is safer (passenger rated rollover body, class 8 tires) however you will pay for those premiums. The Prevost will also have a better power plant (Detroit series 60 diesel, depending on the year), better generator (10,000-12,000 watt diesel 240/120 generator) again the price.....

Like others have said, figure what you want to use it for then make your decisions within the constraints of your budget.
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Old 05-09-2016, 02:09 PM   #5
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We parked next to a Prevost once in our 1970 safari. He was headed to get new tires. The cost of the new tires was more than our trailer!
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Old 05-09-2016, 04:01 PM   #6
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Please re-read the posts above concerning cost of ownership of a real bus conversion, and budget accordingly if you buy the Canadian coach or the one that used to be built in Texas and resembles our national bird............. I know several owners, and desperately wanted one for several years. I am now a CDL bus driver and I can tell you those things cost $5k+ easy per year to maintain. That's if nothing major breaks. Also, any sub-2000ish Prevost will have most likely an 8v71 or 8v92 or similar 2-stroke Detroit. They all seep gallons of oil, are loud, and most conversions you look at will say "recent rebuild" because they never get driven often or hard enough in a MH conversion to avoid blowing up due to heat and/or lubrication issues..........

That said, they do make a beautiful, heavy-duty, you'll never really wear it out, you'll just re-decorate it coach........ Sigh, I really did want one................ Thank the Lord my wife is more sensible than me and talked me out of it. The 2000 Dutchstar pusher we had cost $3k a year to maintain and that almost whipped us............

We sure do love our Pete with no drivetrain, no hydraulic jacks, no transfer switch, no built-in generator, no $499 each tires, and an easy tow with a properly-spec'd 1/2 ton................

But you asked!
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Old 05-10-2016, 12:53 PM   #7
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I think you could buy my 86 345 for a bunch less than a Prevost :-)
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Old 05-10-2016, 02:18 PM   #8
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Palmer Lake , Colorado
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sounds like it's a decision of which way you want to go - you own the motor home and get good use out of having fun or to have a motor home that essentially owns you
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Old 05-10-2016, 07:00 PM   #9
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Prevost was on the list of high quality coaches back when we were researching, but at that time (three years ago) there weren't any available for what we could afford. We bought a Foretravel with a Detroit 6v92 in it. I don't find that it is very noisy at all, but then I'm 30+ feet in front of the engine. Bluebird Wanderlodges were also on the list, and are much more available than a Prevost and have similar construction. The difference is that the Wanderlodge was designed and built to be a motor home, while the Prevost is a bus conversion.

Owning a diesel pusher MH is not cheap, true, but you do have some big advantages. I sit up high, looking semi drivers in the eye, yet my coach isn't as tall as their trailers. On hot days I run the generator so we can have one or both rooftop a/c units running. On cold days the furnaces are on. Either way, the coach is the same comfortable temperature on the road as it is in the campground.

A couple of things to consider: the better motor homes use the air bags not only for the suspension while driving but also for leveling. Others use hydraulic jacks, which have been known to punch holes in campsites. The better coaches also have side radiators, which makes engine access much easier. Check out the empty weight, gvwr and the gcvwr. Do you have enough weight capacity to carry all you need/want? Can you tow your vehicle? Case in point: my Foretravel has an empty weight of about 27,500 pounds, a gross weight of 30,000 pounds, and a gross combined weight of 36,000 pounds. That means that I can carry about 2500 pounds of people, pets, and stuff inside the coach and still tow up to 6000 pounds. The next model down has a gross weight of 28000 pounds (don't know the empty weight) and a gross combined weight of 30,000 pounds, meaning it can only tow 2000 pounds if the coach is at gross weight.
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Old 05-10-2016, 07:14 PM   #10
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A pre 1987 Prevost would not have a 60 series as original engine. If you go with a bus conversion I would strongly recommend a conversion done by a conversion company ie. Marathon, Featherlite, etc. A home built conversion should be inspected very carefully. My 1993 Newell has an 8V-92. It is a later engine with electronic controls. It runs great, produces almost no smoke even at start-up and does not leak a significant amount of oil. You could buy a very nice Newell in the price range. They a bit rare but offer the advantages of an aluminum body with the safety of bus-type construction and use common heavy truck type mechanical components.
Another consideration is that you will not be able to fit into some places with a bus but will probably appreciate the extra interior room, especially if you are fulltiming.
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Old 05-10-2016, 07:37 PM   #11
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Having owned 3 pushers and worked on hundreds more, I rank Newell at the top of the pack. Purpose built as a motorhome with top quality components and construction.

Prevosts, especially the custom conversions from companies like Marathon, Millenium, Liberty, Vantare, etc. are grossly over complicated and are a real nightmare to work on. They are a bus........not a motorhome.

I also was quite surprised at the quality build of the Foretravels. I had a 1998 36' U-270, which was the base model, but it still rode and drove like a dream. It was thoughtfully constructed with features like easy access components, hinged dash and multiple extra wires in places where you might want to add components.

If I was in the market for another, it would be either an older Newell or Foretravel.

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Old 05-10-2016, 07:38 PM   #12
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Did airstreams for years and went motorhome due to health reasons and am now in a 40 foot diesel pusher! (fleetwood revolution) It was a huge leap and I never looked back. Get used to spending a couple grand after every big trip to fix all the things that break on the road! Last trip one of our slide covers was destroyed from a very windy I-40. I wanted a prevost but the BOSS wanted slide outs and a 1/2 bath. I wanted no less than 400 HP. we both got what we wanted! Fueling up the beast can be a challenge when it takes 150 gals and the card stops at 75.00! No regrets!
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Old 05-11-2016, 08:46 AM   #13
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Pervost bus conversions started having the Detroit Diesel Series 60 during 1995. I believe that all 1996 Prevosts had the DD Series 60 engines.

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Old 05-11-2016, 10:42 AM   #14
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I considered moving to a Bluebird coach when I sold my Airstream 280. The cost of ownership was a big issue for me, and that changed my mind.
I even visited the Bluebird Plant to learn more about them. Not as high end as a Prevost but still a great one.

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