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Old 01-11-2020, 12:09 AM   #1
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Lake Charles , SW Louisiana
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34'vs more conventional 30's - Seeking Advice

We're in the process of moving from previous Class A MH ownership into a Airstream TT and have found a really clean, one owner tri-axle 2003 Classic 34W w/o slide. We believe if a PPI determines it as a good candidate we can purchase it for somewhere in the area of the high 30k's, but not more than $40k. The particular AS TT is not presently listed for sale in any public form or forum and is being offered to us by its private owners.

From initial appearance it seems to be in semi-excellent condition for it's age with clean body skin, no dings, dents, rust, etc. and no signs of prior water leakage/damage. The owner does have a fair amount of maintenance history available and states "everything works" albeit We do plan to have a professional PPI performed prior to making an offer or more, purchasing it should we decide to move forward on it.

We (better I) have read through most if not all of the threads in the 2001-2005 Classic Threads here in the forum but understandingly, there is not a lot of information to be found on the particular older generation 34W model.

Question we have is with respect to the overall utility of the 34' vs. a 30-31' Classic in terms of towing including dragging due to its length, and access to State and Federal Parks, i.e. as well as parking in general, i.e. Pros/Cons (more so any Cons).

In terms of anticipated use, We will not be "full timing" and such trailer will be ultimately used for frequent seasonal "recreational" travel across the lower 48 states. We are a married couple of 2 in our mid-60's and typically travel ~ 6 mos per year (early Spring - early Fall).

Our tow vehicle will be our new 2019 Ford F250 FX4 CCSB 6.7L PS diesel which by spec should be able to properly handle a trailer of the stated size.

Seeking advice from knowledgeable others with respect to the 34' length vs. 30-31's.

We know the obvious is space but that in itself will not necessarily compete with overall GVWR, cargo, etc. vs the 30-31's and as well, the tri-axle setup is likely to be more of a challenge to handle in terms of parking and close quarters maneuvering. We are also concerned that the 34W with its 30 amp electrical and single non-ducted 13.5k Air conditioning may be insufficient for warmer climate use.

Financially, we can afford quite a bit more than the price of the '03' Classic 34 in terms of a 30-31' (or even a 33), but do not particularly care to spend more as our expectation is that a moderate level of updating of the 34w interior will still keep us within a reasonable budgetary amount vs. say a later model, i.e. 2012-2016 Classic 30-31 which is the competing range we're also considering. (budget outlook ranges between $55-75k with or without need for "updating" of which will be dependent upon the actual year model we end up with).
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:28 AM   #2
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There are a lot of state and national parks that limit trailer size, so there are quite a few parks where you simply won't be allowed to camp with a 34. If you aren't full timing I would move down to a 30.

And while I am a huge fan of the dual axle setup (I won't even look at single axle trailers), there is definitely more cost/maintenance with a three axle set up, simply because there is more "stuff" (tires, brakes, bearings, the axles themselves, etc).

For $75k you should be able to get into a custom built Airstream that meets any and all of your *specific* needs.

P.s. You also mention that the 34 you're looking at has only one a/c unit... that will leave you sweating in any of the south Eastern states, not to mention the Midwest in August.
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:34 AM   #3
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What did you end up doing?

We bought a 2001 that we thought was a 34 in good shape. No dents. Everything worked. Seemed like a bit of water in one front corner visible. So far we have black mold in 7 places, dead mice between the skins, leaks everywhere. Patches done by professionals to the tune of almost $20 grand 15 years ago where they put screws through wires and failed to replace the insulation. We will have over 5K in wheels, axles and tires. It has become a full gut job. We are now hoping to only put 10K in parts and maybe one year of full time restoration into fixing it. It takes a special addict to still love AS after all this. But to be fair I now lurk on multiple RV owners blogs trying to see if anything is better. They all have problems so itís kind of the nature of RVs and whether privacy and a home place when traveling is valued over hotel rooms!
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Old 01-27-2020, 03:52 AM   #4
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Moved on. Going with a M30RQB.
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Old 01-27-2020, 05:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidjedi View Post
There are a lot of state and national parks that limit trailer size, so there are quite a few parks where you simply won't be allowed to camp with a 34. If you aren't full timing I would move down to a 30.

As an add on to this, there are a fair number of national parks (mostly out west) where even 30' can be problematic.
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by kidjedi View Post
P.s. You also mention that the 34 you're looking at has only one a/c unit... that will leave you sweating in any of the south Eastern states, not to mention the Midwest in August.
A interesting comment: we're looking for a 34' to live full-time in SW Arizona and every one I've looked at has ONLY ONE roof air! What's the story, were they all made to live in the Northwest Territories? We had duals in all our other AS (31' trailer, 28' MH and 31' MH) and loved the fact we could run the rear while being up front and avoid the noise of the overhead. Color me confused!
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:36 PM   #7
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A interesting comment: we're looking for a 34' to live full-time in SW Arizona and every one I've looked at has ONLY ONE roof air! What's the story, were they all made to live in the Northwest Territories? We had duals in all our other AS (31' trailer, 28' MH and 31' MH) and loved the fact we could run the rear while being up front and avoid the noise of the overhead. Color me confused!


Most of the years for the 34ís were single air. We promptly added a second one onto our trailer. Best improvement we did.
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