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Old 05-14-2006, 01:19 PM   #1
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I am at crossroads

After 3 years of AS experience, I need more space....

the two choices are:

1) Stay with AS. The choice would be late 90's wide body 34', possibly with slideout.

Pros: It looks really cool and likely to hold resale value better.
Cons: Not sure how much space I would gain. Is the closet any bigger than in 32'?
When they did start putting in wood floor at the factory (how easy would it be to find such a beast) and secondly, when were clearcoat problems resolved?

2) Get a Fifth Wheel, 36'. Pros: Lots of space, big increase from where I am now. 2 slides. Cons: They look ugly. Will the construction hold up to long term usage? I keep hearing stories about cracked frames. Plus, does rubber roof need maintenance?

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Grace - When you get what you don't deserve
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Old 05-14-2006, 01:31 PM   #2
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Choice #3 Get A 345 Classic Motor Home. This is a wide body with extra head room. Plus the measurement includes a usable area in the driver's co-pilot's area. You do not need to worry about the slide outs or the rubber roofs. Right now they are holding their value and even look to be appreciating with AS announcement that they will not be built again.
We faced the same dilemma and chose the motor home and never regretted the decision. Now we do not need a big tow vehicle to lug home groceries during the week.

Chaplain Kent
2015 Coachman Freedom Express 19RBS, Chummy IV- Ford Excursion- 7.3 Turbo-diesel
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Old 05-14-2006, 01:32 PM   #3
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Go with the 34' Airstream Classic. Much cooler than any fifth wheel on the road. I think you'll find carpet in most of the 90's Airstreams but wood floors are easy to put down. Others will correct me if I'm wrong but the slide outs add about 18 sq. ft. of floorspace while giving up the overhead storage and putting the couch much closer to the dinette adding additional weight and costing more. You either like them or not.... I don't ,but others like them and will tell you why.
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Old 05-14-2006, 01:37 PM   #4
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Ipso Facto,

You say you need more space, but you haven't said why or to what end or purpose. Perhaps folks could offer alternatives if they knew more about your specific needs/wants. Just a thought.
Mike Young & Rosemary Nelson

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Old 05-14-2006, 01:47 PM   #5
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space - for my books and clothing. I have so much clothing, it doesn't fit in the closet.

I am using the coach as additional storage space... with predictable results.

I could really use extra underneath storage space offered by a 5th, but I do have some reservations about them, mostly in terms of quality.
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Old 05-14-2006, 02:00 PM   #6
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Interesting. So, you want to carry around more clothes and books. Both add weight, of course, so moving up in size presupposes that you will have more capacity. Depending upon the configuration and year that may or may not be true. One thing that is certain, however, is that slideouts add considerable weight without adding storage space. In fact, some slideouts eliminate some storage space in overhead cabinets.

Might you have other ways of redistributing the stuff you carry along? Can you leave something behind to gain space and capacity for more books and clothes. Can you substitute paperbacks for hardcover? Can you have layers of clothing or visit the laundromat more frequently? More questions than answers of course, but before swapping trailers it would seem that a whole bunch of these questions and others too need answering, IMHO.
Mike Young & Rosemary Nelson

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Old 05-14-2006, 02:22 PM   #7
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get rid of the clothing. I went from 2400 square feet to 240. I gave away 1/3 of my clothing and or stored the rest. I have one or two items for each catagory. Working so far. Classic 31 w/dinette
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Old 05-14-2006, 02:36 PM   #8
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Clothes and Books?

Before your next trip, lay out all the clothing you plan to wear, and then put half of it back in the closet. You're camping out; remember?

Take the book, or books, you want to read on this trip. You really won't need your encylopedia or your reference library. If you have a computer, everything you'll need to look up may now be found on the internet. If you don't have a computer, and you find the urgent need for reference material to support your viewpoint during campfire conversations, go to the library.

If these suggestions frustrate or anger you, buy a fifth wheel.

Seriously, fifth wheels are more practical in many ways than Airstreams. They offer headroom, and lots of storage space. When practicality trumps mystique, it's time to get a fifth wheel.
Ken L
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Old 05-14-2006, 03:02 PM   #9
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If you can't pare down then a fiver may be the way to go. If you are looking for a high quality well built fiver take a look at the Heartland Bighorn or Landmark, Travel Supreme Classic and the Double Tree Suites. All are well built and have a decent track record. FWIW a 1994 TS used will run around $20k new is around $60-$70k range. The Airstream really does have it's limitations for fulltiming while still working. I go back and forth on this one in my mind all the time. To me the best way to go would be the fiver for fulltiming and the AS for the weekend getaways, but that brings up a whole 'nother set of issues

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Old 05-14-2006, 05:47 PM   #10
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Call me when somebody builds a 5th wheel (or any other RV) that has an interior like a CCD or Safari SE. OK now that I spit that out, I'm pretty certain that a 5th wheel configuration has towing advantages (hitching and backing up) but they absolutely cannot be more aerodynamic then an AS. Not with those big clipper ship prows. That would translate into decreased MPG and most likely a higher capacity tow vehicle. I'm with Chaplain Kent get an AS motorhome.
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Old 05-14-2006, 06:18 PM   #11
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Check out the double bed 345 floor plan. It has a trememdous amout of clothes storage. You can find floorplans on

We have a queen bed in the back and like it very much. However, the double bed has much more storage; basically a built in chest of drawers in addtion to a large hanging area.

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Old 05-14-2006, 07:02 PM   #12
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Life Laundry

REALLY - look at your stuff. Now pretend you've sold your trailer and have only three cardboard boxes to put your stuff in. Edit, edit, edit!

We all have clothing we rarely if ever wear, books we enjoy but haven't read in 10 years, etc. Get a small storage locker if you absolutely can't bring yourself to give anything away, or better yet, call the local fire department. They will absolutely know someone who was burned out and has no insurance. Giving a really nice dress (or suit) that doesn't really fit you to some poor working person will make your day!

Paula Ford
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Old 05-14-2006, 08:40 PM   #13
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hi ipso and others

we'd all like to solve your space issues....
how many people/pets?
are you full timin'?
how many miles towing per year?
what climate?
still working?
got a 1 ton truck?
still got a stick house to use?
books for professional needs, collecting, reading or just because?
how many years will you want/need the bigger trailer?
are you gonna just park it somewhere?

these are just a few of the questions we need answered to give ya the best options

otoh, if you've decided you need more space......
who are we to disagree?

-could the truck bed be converted into a giant walk in closet and book mobile?
-what about a shed/annex or another small vintage unit as a library?

-the 34 does offer more closet space for hanging items. and drawers and so on..
-newer ones (05+) have uprated axles and greater carrying capacity for books...
-some late 90s and early 2000 34s have very small carry little as 900lbs...
-wood floor models were available for just a few years, tend to be the heaviest models the front kitchen model. they also have lower ncc.

so a longer airstream will not mean MORE carrying capacity unless the choice is carefully made.....

-a narrow or wide body 34 could have the interior reshaped for more closet space....
-the streetside credeza/table and the curb side table/chair storage area could be removed and
-built in book shelves placed along both walls, 3-4 shelves high along each wall...
-sofa could be removed for a euro/stratolounger chair and more storage added.
-queen or single.....many twin bed models have a little more storage and if
-one bed is removed.....bam!
-do you use the shower?
-i put a closet rod in my shower and shoe racks in the tub...when i was parked full time with a nice bathroom nearby.

-dinette could be redone as office/eating/book space...
but the standard dinette arrangement is pretty versatile...

-if ya found one at the right price,
newer axles with greater carring capacity could be added along with the interior redo....

while ccd and safari interiors are cool they still aren't designed for full timers...

-you could look for a sqaurestream 5er....they are out there.

nothing airstream offers
will provide the interior volume or
storage space of a modern 5er with 2,3,4 or 5 slides.

yes they are generic looking from the outside but so what....
some have great interiors....and all of that space!

a 80-90s bluebird moho
has much of the exterior charm of an airstream
with storage approaching a 5er...
a classic air moho will not fit your needs imo.

cheers and tell us more!

now that i've looked at some of the other threads you've started on this topic.....hmmmmm.

books in the microwave?

so could it be you have a case of packratitis?

at least adding books long all the walls will help insulate and absorb condensation...

space heaters, stacks of books and clothes everywhere not a good combo....
you may need a 'got to much stuff makeover'

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 05-14-2006, 09:26 PM   #14
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As I recall, you are more or less full time, right? And I think I also recall that you set up for long periods of time - moving maybe once or twice a year? So the gas milage while towing is of little consequence.

First, the airstream has served you well. It is likely worth more today than when you purchased it! Certainly no less. What other RV brand could have done as well? So if you move on it should be with no regrets.

Second, I think you will find little new storage in a 34'. Most of the space is given over to living and galley areas.

Yes, fivers have mantainence and logevity problems that make the ones on these forums appear trival in nature. People do full body-off restorations of Airstreams in their back yards, but nobody pulls their own motorhome slide out for repair! But there are quality fivers that can give many, many years of service, HOWEVER - these models are seriously heavy! Even the smallest of the quality full-time rated fivers require one ton trucks, and something in the Ford 450 or 550 range is much, much better. And that is before you load it full of books!

Yes, rubber roofs do require mantainence. Estimated life is in the 10-15 year range, which is not bad, if you stop and think about it. Few house roofs last 20 years.

If you spend any time on the other RV forums that deal more with full timing, you will see that even the biggest 40' five slide motorhome owners are complaining about space! And "accessible" space does not go up much with these behemoths. You could carry your books and clothes, but you would have to box them up and put them in the basement storage. Which sort of negates the point of having books at hand anyway.

Good luck,


'85 Sovereign, 25'
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