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Curtis-79MH 05-17-2002 11:51 PM

Advice needed, and perhaps a tip or two.
We have finally decided to drive our '79 MH to Alaska , where it will have to endure the winters as we do! Before I head north I would love to hear from you great Airstream Forumn Folk. I appreciate these forumns, and thanks in advance for your replies.

Here goes:

I want to replace the chair and possibly the "credenza"(which are on the curb side of our motorhome) with a sofa/bed of some sort that will sleep two comfortably. Across the aisle (drivers side, where there once was the original sofa/bed) is a "dinette" which includes a table between two opposing bench seats. The "dinette" is a nice seating/eating area that I would not like to remove. Does anyone know of a quality sofa that makes into a bed that would fit in the curb side area of our motorhome? We are looking for a bed that will fold down so we sleep parallel with the coach (unless you have ideas otherwise). I don't think there is room to do a classic pull out hide-bed.

Is the Univolt system only for using while plugging into a land line?

When running the generator is the univolt system at rest?

I don't mean to sound totally out of it, but I bought the motorhome in September, promptly drove it to Seattle (where it is stored) and then hopped a plane to Anchorage. Now I am headed out to get it and drive it up to Anchorage.

Thanks, and any advice/tips would be wonderful.

ALANSD 05-18-2002 06:48 AM

as for the bed question- there is a "jacknife" style that folds into a bed by pulling the front down, as the back meets it- and unlike a traditional fold out it takes way less room to unfold.
A few manufacturers have these, and I recall a flex-steel dealer in the Northwest, although I don't have their name. One dealer that ships out is Bradd and Hall in Indiana.
Camping World may have these as well. The width would have to be checked, but theyare offered in various widths.
Also do an internet search on RV furniture to help locate.
I defer to someone else on the univolt operation, but as for my motorhome, when plugged in it converts ac to dc as needed for various things, and with generator on I assume it does the same.
Other functions that need the ac power get it as well. I keep mine plugged in to charge the batteries when it is in my driveway.

BobbyW 05-18-2002 07:06 AM

Good luck and have a Safe trip....
Curtis 79MH

From the sound of your post it seems that you are really excited about getting your Motor Home to Alaska. I am sure that I can speak for the rest of the AirStream Forums Family and say that this means WE are excited for you. Were in Alaska are you and the '79 headed?

One thing that you could do to help facilitate some responses to your post is give us a little background on you Coach. Perhaps you have already in another post but a short sysnopsis and maybe a picture would be great.

Before the trip a good service and SAFETY inspection is always prudent. Has the oil been changed, hoses inspected, tires in good shape, lights all working, good brakes... you know. I know this seems routine, but just this week I have seen 2 Coaches along the roads here being hooked up to towtrucks with the families standing there watching. Both of these coaches were much newer that yours. You can't anticipate everything but you can try to reduce it.

Did the previous owners supply you with the User and Service Manuals? How about any service records?

If you plan on using the generator on this trip, make sure it is serviced also. Has the oil been changed lately, is it exhausting properly.

Good luck and travel Safe with your "new '79" coach and please keep us "posted" on your progress.

Best Regards;

thenewkid64 05-18-2002 07:36 AM


Your univolt will be on when you start the generator. You may have a switch to turn it on and off, many do. If you have a regular household light switch that does not seem connected to any thing that is normally the univolt. If you cannot find the switch you may have an AC breaker on you AC panel that performs the same function. Battery chargers/maintainers use only the peak output from the 60 cycle power provided. So if you are running your AC and other appliances on the generator you may want to reference a plug in AC voltmeter. If your AC output is in the 110 Volt range on generator, your univolt will not do much in the way of charging. If you are happily motoring down the road your alternator should be charging both the engine battery as well as the house battery/s.

Enjoy your trip, getting there is an adventure to be savored.:D

PeterH-Airstreamer 05-18-2002 07:48 AM

Finding a sofa for the curbside is only one of the considerations. The triple light switch is mounted to the credenza and would have to be relocated. The 12V fuse box is behind the drivers seat and would be hard to reach with a couch in place.
The curbside wall has a 110v plug, 12V plug, antenna plug and antenna control panel, which would be hard to use and reach.
Since all of the above seems to be a lot of trouble and expense, consider modifying the dinette for dual use.
With the generator running the univolt continues to charge the coach batteries and/or provide 12V to the coach system.
The generator needs 12V to run, unplug the batteries and the univolt and the gen will die.

Curtis-79MH 05-18-2002 09:50 AM

Thanks for the kind, thoughtful, prompt replies.

I'll address a couple of issues:

For a little history please reference my "Airstreams in Winter" post on 3/24/02.

We live in Anchorage and have for many years.
The prior owner did give me the owner's manual and the service manual; which I should have brought home with me. Darn.

Without sounding too naive or clueless let me say that I bought the motorhome at a better than fair price, and was told that everything worked except the ice maker. I trusted the seller was honest, I paid him, turned the key and headed to Seattle(I needed to get back to Anchorage ASAP).

I checked out the running gear (the 454, tranny, brakes, etc) and it was fine. No major problems, a few minor ones: dash air is weak, engine uses a little oil. But overall the engine runs cool, has great power, and with the Banks exhaust is rather economical (11-12 mpg).

Potential drive train problems don't bother is waking up to the dead batteries in Sacramento (something leeches the batteries unless the terminal is removed), the "how do I" turn the hot water heater or furnace on without blowing up, what should the refer run on while driving down the road, are the air bags automatically inflated, etc. It is the unknown stuff that I really need to get familiar with and that is my goal while in Seattle preparing for the trip north.

I have decided, after months of debate, to get intimate with the M/H and thoroughly check out it's appliances, water, and electrical systems (who wouldn't). If they check out, I'll hit the road. Owning a 23 year old money pit wouldn't bother me too bad, but my wife's "should've kept it in Seattle" mantra will kill me!

Peter, thanks for the advice on the "stuff" and potential problems with putting a sofa curb side. I can probably modify the dinette to sleep two cofortably.

If I desire a second opinion of the coach and its many systems can I take it into a Camping World to have them check it out? I have never been to a Camping World , but know they have one in Tacoma.

Again, thanks to you all for your replies, and enduring this long-winded post. I'll try to post some pictures as well.

ALANSD 05-18-2002 04:01 PM

My limited experiences with Camping World have been that their prcies are very fair on accessories, although older Airstreams require some specifics, they won't stock. The service is always busy, but they run a number of special deals that generate a lot of business. The two I visited in Florida were knowledgeable and stocked with anything I could possibly need ,outside of the above mentioned AS specifics. I understand they own Motorhome magazine, trailer Life, and a slew of other related RV stuff so that accounts for the size of their stores. Actually the Lazy Days place in Florida had over 1000 motorhomes on the property, and a park across the way as well. Quite a place, but I had the only silver bullet motorhome in the whole place.

PeterH-Airstreamer 05-18-2002 07:59 PM

May be someone on the forums can guide you to a airstream person in the Seattle area?
Which batteries were dead, the coach or the motor?
Depending on your model refer, you could run it on 12V, gas or 110V driving down the road.
I personally do not like to drive with the gas turned on, but many people do. If you do, make sure to turn it off, before pulling into a gas station.
The 110V option abviously only works with the generator running.
If I do not run the generator, I always use the 12V mode. You need good coach batteries and a flawless charging system, to run all day on 12V.
Never leave the refer on 12V for more than a refueling stop. With the motor not running, the refer will discharge the coach batteries in no time.

PeterH-Airstreamer 05-19-2002 06:12 PM

road trip
1 Attachment(s)
these are some very inexpensive items to protect your radiator, condenser and oil cooler from
70 mph projectiles.
The 1/8" mesh is galvanized and sold at lumber stores. It can quickly be fastened with plastic straps to the grill. You will be amazed at the amount of bugs you will catch and the occasional small rock.
Oh, did I mention the JB Weld? It got me home from Florida (750 miles), where I cold welded my radiator after finding a small leak.

LKappenman 05-19-2002 09:16 PM

We live just north of camping world and close to Fife. There is a guy there Fred Tveten who we say is the Airstream guru. Also next door to him is the new Airstream dealer. zLet us know if we can be of assistance. Dave & Louise #2852

PeterH-Airstreamer 06-11-2002 08:13 PM

Curtis just called me from Seattle. He flew in early this morning and is taking off for Alaska tomorrow. Let's wish him good luck and a safe journey.

PeterH-Airstreamer 06-14-2002 01:48 PM

Greetings from Curtis.
He is close to Prince George, BC today. He had a small electrical problem, which he solved. He says the 79 is running great and he is getting close to 11 mpg with the Banks headers. Wow!

bhayden 06-26-2007 01:43 PM


Originally Posted by LKappenman
We live just north of camping world and close to Fife. There is a guy there Fred Tveten who we say is the Airstream guru. Also next door to him is the new Airstream dealer. zLet us know if we can be of assistance. Dave & Louise #2852


Just wondering if this info is still good. I'll be headed down to Tacoma this weekend and would love to find a source for the bolt/bushing to repair the step on my Argosy. If I can find a dealer I'm told the parts should be in the neighborhood of $5-8. That would be fantastic! -Bernie

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