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Old 10-27-2002, 03:10 PM   #1
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Question Models to avoid?


I have been Airstreaming for ten years in my 1974 27' Land Yacht and lately I've been bitten by the bug to move into a motor home. Because I LOVE my trailer, I want to get a classic aluminum motorhome (if I can afford it!).

There is a ton of valuable infomation in this forum. Yet, I am wondering if anyone has any general feedback on models to avoid? My dream MH would be a classic model in the 27 to 30 foot range. Are there certain years to avoid? Models to avoid?

I ask this because in the trailers there are some models that are more susceptable to problems than others (i.e. tail sag).

Also, are there certain engines/transmissions to avoid?

Thanks for any feedback.

Dave Robertson
Flint, MI
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Old 10-27-2002, 05:17 PM   #2
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LOST , Hawaii
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Check this thread about an 87 Ford overheating. A 4 core radiator is a must. I don't know how many Ford's are out there, but it is not usally a problem with the right setup. Fred's site has an engine trans matrix which lists the ones available. These are all GM. The P30 is pretty reliable and there is not a lot difference other than length. No 350's. Some have Isuzu diesels, the majority 454's. Both are pretty good engines, but an older diesel will cost more to maintain than a gas engine. Parts will also be easier to find on the road. Maintenance and overall condition are the most important factors.

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Old 10-27-2002, 06:22 PM   #3
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1994 30' Excella
1992 35' Airstream 350
Austin , Texas
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Hi Dave,
When I started looking for an Airstream Motorhome, my first criteria was size, just like you are stating. (Besides the obvious $$)
I really didn't want anything over 28 feet, but may have settled for 300 or 310
I personally do not like the 30amp limitation on the longer coaches, which does not allow you to run both A/C's on shore power.
I love the newer (86 on) 345's and 350's, but the extra weight from the solid wood cabinets reduces your gas mileage.
I really don't think that there are any years to avoid, because of known problems. Sometime in '82 some structural changes were made and a few luxury items were added, like slide out drawers in the outside compartments.
Also, accessibility to the engine compartment was improved.
The bigger problem is finding the coach you desire, for the price you can afford.
I found my 79 only 100 mi from Austin for a reasonable price but it had many problems. The good thing about my MH was the fact that nobody ever messed with it. It was almost 100% original. That was an important factor for my restoration plans.
It took me almost 2 years to bring it back to life, but now I have a good looking rig that is mechanically in top condition.
1994 30' Excella Front Kitchen Trailer
1990 25' Excella Travel trailer
1992 350LE Classic Touring Coach
AIR #13
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Old 10-28-2002, 12:56 AM   #4
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i havn't been around any of the motorhomes.......did they use an exsisting maufactures chassis like a chevy or ford. if so what chassis did they use (make and waight rating) did the motor homes have any serious problems?
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Old 10-28-2002, 04:35 AM   #5
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From Fred's site, all are GM P30's, but I know there are some Fords. Both are good chassis, both the big block engines and hd transmissions were used for many years not only in these but medium duty trucks. The weight is going to be based on length of the chassis, my 24 ft is 12,300lbs, empty it is 9,600 lbs. so there is a lot of cargo capacity. A lot of manufacturers build the coach just a few hundred pounds short of the GVW which means little onboard without being overloaded.

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Old 10-28-2002, 08:38 AM   #6
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1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
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All the older Classics, pre 1988 were Chevy's chassis to my knowledge, although the Isuzu (now a Gm product also) engine was a good option. I have to agree the cost of the diesel maintenance and parts are quite a bit higher and probably offset the better gas mileage.
The P-30 Chassis was ( and is in it' s newer form) used by a number of manufacturers.
The beauty of it is that as said- the parts are readily available and cheap. i.e.- alternator 30-40 bucks, belts 4-6 bucks,etc.
Their are "deals" out there on Classic Motorhomes, and you may find a great one, but I would suggest that you hold a reserve of 2000-3000 dollars above your purchase price for restoration and repairs, at the least. This cushion will give you enough to correct the usual problems, and upgrade to make it "your own".
The main thing is to check out the engine and trans,and front end components, because if they are ok, most of the other repairs will usuallyl be less significant.
As wiht peter it took me some time to get mine where I wanted it, and it is an ongoing process to keep it up and improve the working systems, but I can tell you that I have enjoyed 99% of it!
The other 1% was the unexpected and unprepared for that always will bite you in the caboose.
By the way from the look of the market, this is one of the bettr times to buy, as the variety of selection is very good.
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Old 11-01-2002, 08:03 PM   #7
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thanks for the info

I've been seriously considering getting rid of my overlander with the money i get from it i'll use to get an air stream MH........ hopefully next summer.....the air stream motor homes look really good! i like them alot. i am a chevy fan and if i can get one that is a GM that would be a great plus!
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