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Old 05-22-2016, 08:46 AM   #1
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Wife wants a new Class A motor home - I am interested in Airstream

I am an accountant (retired) and I am a cheapskate. I am really interested in an airstream for our first camper. My wife, influenced by close friends, is interested in a new MH. We will be traveling with those friends.

I really like the idea of not losing 25 percent of value in the first year and another 15 percent the next year.

Is an airstream more financially wise than a MH?

It would probably require me to get a new or newer truck but I need one and I can finance it. Mine is a 2004 with 130000 miles.

I will be asking more questions on this post as I learn more.

What is your opinion on an airstream versus class A motorhome?


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Old 05-22-2016, 08:55 AM   #2
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this depends.... Class A moho's are beasts...

IF you buy a brand new, you'll likely be plagued with 6 months of shake down fixes. Some, up to a year..... or you might be the lucky 2% who only needs one visit back to a service center.

IF you buy a used class A, you'll likely be plagued with hidden cover up fixes, leaks, and other junk that generally feels like someone placed a vacuum cleaner in your wallet.

If you buy a gasoline class A, you're going to be plagued with bad handling (fixable for an additional 2 to 5k), and an incredibly noisy, high revving engine at your feet.

If you buy a Diesel class A, you're likely to spend a lot to get it, and be met with several new complicated systems.. like air brakes, air bags, all that junk

If you buy ANY class A, you'll like be facing grandma's house inside.

If you buy an airstream, you'll likely be plagued with people at campgrounds who want to see inside of it, along with "airstream" confessions, where they confess they had wished they bought one, and had the chance years ago but passed it up.

Class a's also take a LOT more research to buy, there's some really crappy builds out there. As a long time member of IRV2.com, I can attest.. plus I downsized from a wallet sucking class A diesel to my airstream, and yes I had to buy another truck... a 22 thousand dollar chevy 2500...

OTOH, class A's have merit. Larger inside. Easier to setup. Higher driving position... it just depends on what you want and like.. the airstream trailers are pretty tight inside.. you both have to really love it or else...

Now.. I know a lot about class A's.... lot's of research, lots of friends.. the first bridge there to cross is "how much can you afford to spend, and then what's 80% of that number!" From there, I can guide you to some of the best buys in class a's for you to look at.

Are you willing to share that number?

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Old 05-22-2016, 09:02 AM   #3
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If your only decision point is cost vs. value, a travel trailer will win every time, even if that trailer is an Airstream.

But some of us have other decision points to consider, which is why we don't all have travel trailers. Variety is the spice of life.
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:18 AM   #4
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

You, indeed, are faced with a major dilemma. We prefer an Airstream travel trailer over any other form of RV, but that is us and we are both on board. In your case, one of you has to convince the other to see it their way.

I am sure that your cheapskatedness will have significant influence. Have a great time with your new motor home.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:22 AM   #5
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Will your friends be pulling a car as well? If not class a's limit where you can explore. A trailer you can drop and go. If you are the only one with a small vehicle you may the taxi driver.
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:46 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Olustee bus View Post
I am an accountant (retired) and I am a cheapskate. I am really interested in an airstream for our first camper. My wife, influenced by close friends, is interested in a new MH. We will be traveling with those friends.

I really like the idea of not losing 25 percent of value in the first year and another 15 percent the next year.

Is an airstream more financially wise than a MH?

It would probably require me to get a new or newer truck but I need one and I can finance it. Mine is a 2004 with 130000 miles.

I will be asking more questions on this post as I learn more.

What is your opinion on an airstream versus class A motorhome?

Why not please both of you? Your wife can have a Class A and you can have an Airstream. There is a wide range of used Airstream motorhomes available, from aluminum Classics to diesel pushers with slides.


Good used Airstream mohos are getting scarcer by the year, so if you browse Fred's Airstream Archives
for a year/model that you like, you'll have a specific goal and be ready to jump when a good 'un comes along.

Happy hunting!
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:54 AM   #7
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MH vs Airstream

We could not be happier with our 27FB. I think a travel trailer gives you more options. There are no reasonable economic reasons for buying an RV so go with what will bring you the most happiness.
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:56 AM   #8
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It depends on what you want to do, where you want to go and how you want to live when you travel. We, too are retired Floridians and spend about 100 nights a year traveling. We usually travel long and far. We never (except once) stay at commercial RV parks. We are state and federal park visitors. Writing to you now from a federal park in Utah where we are dry camping.

For our travel style, the 25' Airstream is perfect. Why? It's just the two of us with two small dogs. We fit in here and can live for months (this trip is 8 weeks). We have only had one park we wanted to visit where our size prevented it. Class A motor homes can't fit in lots of the places we go. Our tow vehicle is my daily driver, so it gets exercise and maintenance and is ready when we want to travel. When we get to a place we want to explore, we unhitch the trailer, lock the dogs in it (with heat, ventilation, water, etc) and drive off in the truck to explore. The 25' uses 30 Amp electric and many campgrounds we go to don't have more than that, if we had a bigger rig we'd not be fully capable in those places (eg: only run half the AC) or we'd have to find places where the support services fit our greater needs.

If we ever decided to full time, we'd probably go to a Class A diesel pusher and pull a car or mid sized pickup. That would buy us room, conveniences (the Mrs. would very much like a washer and dryer) and the ability to bring a grandkid or two along more often (the 25' trailer gets plenty cramped with more than two in our opinion). We'd give up going to some of the places we really like or we'd have to hold our noses and park in gravel parking lots with the words "RV Oasis" or something over them versus spots like we have rserved in Long Key State Park in Islamorada for this winter where we back up to the Atlantic and open the hatch on the trailer (and where most of the spots are 25' limit).

So, what you get should really be determined by how you want to live and travel. The two choices you are considering do some of the same things, but in my opinion they are not the interchangeable without getting a different travel result. Both are great choices... But not necessarily for the same people.
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:13 AM   #9
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With either one, you'll be towing something (vehicle or trailer) but with a MoHo, you'll be dealing with maintenance on two drive trains and engines...

With that being said, we started out with tents, pop-ups, a 23' then 30' Airstream then 2 motor homes (a Foretravel and a Country Coach). We're back to an Airstream and find it far superior in the long run.

There's far less maintenance, breakdowns, expense and headaches with an Airstream. A well appointed motor home can be mighty impressive but not when it's in the shop - a motorhomes systems are pretty complex....

Just my opinion but it is based upon some good experience.
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:41 AM   #10
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As a previous owner of a class "A", I totally agree with "Plasma800", in the 2+ years we owned the MH, there was always something needing attention, and after the first year under warranty, it's like a vacuum cleaner in your wallet.
We have also owned (2) Airstreams; a '93, 25' Classic, and presently, a '02, 30' Classic. We have been well pleased with both Airstreams. They cost more up front, however, the cost associated with the class "A", never ended - a lesson I learned the hard way. We both are now are in our 70's, and the time has arrived for us to consider selling the '02 Classic. It has been fun camping for the past 46 years, however, we're entering another chapter.
Good luck to you on your decision - enjoy which ever unit you decide on.
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Old 05-22-2016, 12:01 PM   #11
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Good luck with that one, Wife holds the keys to Happiest and the Magic Garden.

We did 9,000 miles last year and with a AS you can go anywhere with out and problems, you should sit down and plan were you want to travel too and see the difference of traveling with a Class A (cost) and a AS.

You will fine that everything is open to a AS and not a Class A, like State Parks, National Parks and much more.

But, like I said, Good luck with that one, remember who holds the keys.
David & Nancy Ames
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Old 05-22-2016, 12:14 PM   #12
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Another consideration is, if you finance it you can deduct the interest. Unless you already have a second home that you are deducting.
There might be a limit on interest deduction if you go whole hog on the class A, but you're an accountant so you know more about that than I would.
Just trying to talk you into making your wife a happy camper.
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Old 05-22-2016, 12:18 PM   #13
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All great replies.......

Or you can do what I did and buy an Airstream 310 turbo diesel motorhome. Buy it, put some money and sweat equity into her and watch her appreciate in value. If you do the work on her yourself you end up knowing more about your moho than anyone else and it gives a special reward knowing everything about her.

Nothing better than crusing the highways and byways, way above everyone else, at a leisurely pace while your wife gets you something to eat and goes to the bathroom....and you didn't have to stop.

It is one of the only Class A moho's that are increasing in value.

Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

Its a recession when your neighbor loses his job; its a depression when you lose your own. "Harry S Truman"
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Old 05-22-2016, 12:21 PM   #14
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MH V Trailer

Opinions are like ....well you know everyone has 1. I have had tents, trailers 5thwheel & now a 30' AS MH. length lets you get everywhere, comfortable on the road & not a lot invested. I have a 2000 F150 I hope to never replace (see $ on new P/U's? I'd spend the $ on a new truck instead of a new trailer, if I was pulling.), a jeep tj toad to play when we set up. Do ALOT of looking & don't buy anything (especially as a 1st timer) because someone said so. There are + &- galore & they are not an investment they are for fun. Enjoy & good luck!

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