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Old 07-26-2017, 04:57 PM   #1
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Dalton , Georgia
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1985 Airstream 345 to buy or not to buy

Hey everyone new to the forum and looking for my first airstream.

I have found a 1985 Airstream 345 one owner and am strongly considering purchasing it. I do have a few questions.

It runs smoothly and looks great all original with a few small issues here and there. It hasn't been on the road in 10 years. Does have new tires, breaks, fuel lines, and airbags.

1. Is it worth buying, or too much of a headache.

2. What should I look for, before deciding.

3 $11,500 seams like a great deal, but is it?

4. How are the Airstream motorhome a on the road, and how does the old 454 perform?

5. I want an Airstream for the construction, but are they prone to leaking?

6 . Any other advice?

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Old 07-26-2017, 05:01 PM   #2
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Dalton , Georgia
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Old 07-26-2017, 05:08 PM   #3
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
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Hi

They don't make them like that any more

If you want a full size AS motorhome, then used is your only real option. Put some money in the bank for repairs and go enjoy it !!! Once you have run it for a while, you *will* find this or that needing fixing. You will dig a long way into the bank account before you are up to 1/4 the pice of a much smaller "modern" AS Interstate.

If you are after 100% trouble free and never a problem, this is a 30 year old vehicle. That's not a realistic expectation. You sound like you understand that part so go get it.

Bob
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Old 07-26-2017, 05:13 PM   #4
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1972 25' Tradewind
Calgary , Alberta
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Never owned one, never even been in one but that looks like a good deal!
Has it been stored inside like in the pictures? If so at that price I'd slap down the cash, start that baby up and drive away...
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Old 07-26-2017, 05:14 PM   #5
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2009 27' FB Flying Cloud
1991 35' Airstream 350
Jay , Oklahoma
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I own one.

They are 30 years old.

They are like complex aircraft. Every hour in the air equals 2 hours of maintenance on the ground.

I like mine, it is cool, we use it some.

I imposed a limit: never drive it further than you are willing to have it towed home.

Be able to fix it yourself, because it will be expensive to get repaired for hire.


Regards,

JD
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Old 07-26-2017, 05:24 PM   #6
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Dalton , Georgia
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I understand it's a 30 year old vehicle, and the possible issues that come with it. I'm more interested in what to expect or look for in Airstream specific motorhomes.

I've looks at several late 90's and early 00's and all have been scary, but easy to tell why I shouldn't buy them. These 80's Airstream seem to be built very well and lack many of the issues with leaking and rotting. Is this an accurate or false thought?
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Old 07-26-2017, 05:29 PM   #7
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Not sure if it was stored inside its whole life, and would doubt it. Currently stored inside though. Spent the majority of its life in FL. Don't see any signs of major rust issues. Maybe a little bit of surface rust on a couple of the outside storage areas. Does appear to be very well cared for, but the sitting for most of 10 years scares me.

All the work listed has all been done recently, since its been moved to indoors permanently.
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Old 07-26-2017, 05:59 PM   #8
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
northern IL , Illinois
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 102
Hello
New tires, breaks, fuel lines, and airbags and the labor is half the asking price. I would look into the Ball joints. Get on a creeper look under it for rust and the new fuel lines.
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Old 07-26-2017, 06:11 PM   #9
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1969 31' Sovereign
1982 28' Airstream 280
Edmonton , Alberta
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Looks immaculate to me.... and a bargain from what you have posted.. I have a 82/280 I've never really had leaks as I can tell it's whole life was in Louisiana my windows are completely non operating because I need new seals still it doesn't leak. The trailers do indeed have floor problems I do not think the motorhomes do tho.

Great point above about towing. Get good AAA and stay within their max distance or what you can afford. I had a $3000 tow bill but that is because my unit is beater lol.

Also it's been mentioned 1000 times the purchase price is the down payment.these were about 100g new in the 80's or more so I think they are great value. I'd vote to get it if you have the ability to do ongoing maintenance work either yourself, friends or your wallet.
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Old 07-26-2017, 06:33 PM   #10
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Alliance , Ohio
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Posts: 251
Grandall1972, this looks like a solid unit. As others have stated be prepared for some repairs. Being 30 years old and sitting in storage for the last 10 years will undoubtedly raise a few problems. There is a wealth of information and experience on the forums. You'll find just about any problem you encounter was experienced by someone else. The price looks very good to me. I have an '86 345 and paid about 50% more nine years ago. I've put some work into repairs, modernization, and things that I just wanted. If you allow for this work either thru your sweat or wallet you won't be disappointed. What ever you decide, welcome to the forums.
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Old 07-26-2017, 07:34 PM   #11
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Menomonee Falls , Wisconsin
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Posts: 418
Hey,
Buy it, the body looks solid. Inside looks great, yah, you ll need to go through stuff, but if you bought a new hmm you ll be looking at things in 2 years. So. Spend 11,5 or 60 grand, and still need to look at little things. Nothing on these units is really tough to work on, if your mechanically able to fix stuff. Are you?. Do it. Then. They are very cool units, and it think for all the little build quirks, they are still a better built unit than anything today. Solid oak cabinetry, all the stuff I see today is cheap plywood or partical board. Unless you move up to 300K units. Good luck. If I didn t have this unit I got, I'd buy that on in a heartbeat.... DJ
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Old 07-26-2017, 09:03 PM   #12
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1984 31' Airstream310
Honokaa , Hawaii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandall1972 View Post
I understand it's a 30 year old vehicle, and the possible issues that come with it. I'm more interested in what to expect or look for in Airstream specific motorhomes.

I've looks at several late 90's and early 00's and all have been scary, but easy to tell why I shouldn't buy them. These 80's Airstream seem to be built very well and lack many of the issues with leaking and rotting. Is this an accurate or false thought?
It won't leak like rubber roofed motorhomes. It may leak, though, and if you search here you will find posts from members who have had to replace sub flooring, mainly in the cockpit area. OSB sub flooring won't hold up as well as plywood, so you may want to poke around in the cockpit to see what's under the carpet and what shape it is in.

The other issues that I have with our '84 are that it was designed to run at the national speed limit of 55 mph, and it was built to run on gasoline that did not boil as easily as today's blends. There are fixes for those issues, but not always cheap fixes.

It sounds like a good deal.
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:45 PM   #13
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
Franklin Park , Illinois
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 181
I have replied to several of these inquiries about buying an airstream motorhome, I own one.
I paid 10,000 for mine it was in rougher shape than what you're looking at
If I known then, what I know now. I don't think I would've bought it.
I personally don't think that they are built any better than any other RV they are built on a Chevy P 30 chassis like everybody else's
they run a 454 V8 like everybody else's
I will say this they DEFINITELY have the "COOL" factor going for them.
When going down the road everybody looks at you! Usually gives you the thumbs up...
If they're pointing at you it's probably because somethings about ready to fall off!
As with any old vehicle "it's all about parts" and there are parts of these things that are obsolete, and very hard to find.
Jdalrymple has a very good point.
I agree with EVERYTHING he says!
I have had a $2000 tow bill
I have fixed windshield wipers, fresh water pumps, two furnaces, rear bed support, Vanity mirror lights, fluorescent bedroom lights, install the new toilet, install new brakes on the tag axle, installed our bags on the front suspension, installed "steer right" springs on the front suspension, replaced my marker lights with LED lights (because all those lights running through that headlight switch burns up the switch real quick) of course replace the headlight switch, I have only replace rubber coolant hoses as they have leaked or broke (this scares me because there are a lot more hoses that I have not replaced I just don't have the time to do all of them)
I have had a transmission rebuilt and installed (by Shop too big of a job for me)
These are things I've replaced I have a List and three sheets of paper of things that should be replaced I would like to fix.
All this being said I do use mine, maybe every other weekend. It is stored near a state park and I take It there a lot.
It's only a 5 mile trip from the storage to the state park
One other thing if you do go to the airstream events you're likely to be the only motorhome there...
The trailers have a lot in common with The motorhomes but the motorhomes are a different breed.
The airstream events and get together's are always fun and I have learned a lot from the "trailer people"
Some people pull their airstream with a car, I pull my car with my airstream.
yes I've towed my Honda CRV behind me. But usually I have my wife driving the CRV behind me as a "Chase" vehicle
Yes my lengthy response is supposed to scare you away from this beast
But it probably won't so I hope you enjoy it and if you're ever out near Franklin Park Illinois you can stop by and cry on my shoulder because "I'll feel your pain"
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Old 07-27-2017, 04:40 AM   #14
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Richmond , Kentucky
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If you're a half way decent shade tree mechanic then go for it. If you're not and you buy it be prepared to pay because repairs and fixes will cost.

Brad
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Old 07-27-2017, 05:21 AM   #15
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1982 31' Airstream 310
champaign , Illinois
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That looks like a very nice rig at a very reasonable price. We love our 310TD. We've traveled over 10000 miles in it in four years, from Penn to Colorado. Sometimes things break, you fix it and move along. Do your best to make it safe and dependable while it sits in your driveway. Carry some spare parts with you. I wouldn't own it unless we could travel as far as we want whenever we want. Can't say enough about comfort, style, and fun in these old beasts. Aaaand the help you will receive here on the forums is priceless, better than any AAA card that's for sure. I'd snatch it up if I were you.
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Old 07-27-2017, 12:18 PM   #16
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Looks like a nice unit at a fair price. One thing to check (since it's a bear to fix) is whether the overhead compartments with the tambour doors are sagging. Another is the state of the Kohler generator. If the Kohler is on its last legs, it can be serious $$$ to replace.

The propane tank has probably aged out, but an identical replacement can be ordered from the original manufacturer. (You can save $$ by ordering yourself, with delivery to whomever you're going to have do the installation.)

If you want to see a list of repairs/upgrades, take a look at our (former) '85 345 at
http://www.viewrvs.com/motorhome/air...home-345-f.php

We loved the old girl, but age and infirmity (ours, not hers) led us to our 2001 LY XC 360.
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Old 07-27-2017, 12:26 PM   #17
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1974 31' Sovereign
Society Hill , South Carolina
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If you decide not to buy it, please let me know. I have been looking for one. Thanks
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Old 07-27-2017, 12:47 PM   #18
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Springfield , Ohio
Join Date: Dec 2016
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That is a sharp unit and looks to be a very good deal. I've had my 87' 345 for 12 years and love it. Indeed, I've done a lot of primarily preventive maintenance on it which any used unit should have.
I don't know why one of the posters said parts are hard to come by. You can get ANY part for the chassis at any Pep Boys, Auto Zone, O'Reillys, etc. They made a ton of Chevy P30 vans and many motorhomes are built on them. There are very few specialty parts like tag axle parts that can present a little challenge but folks here can help with those.
You will find that adding a Gear Vendor's overdrive unit will be very helpful in many ways. You can do that at any time.
Read the posts here on Classic Motorhomes. You'll get on top of what you need to know quickly. Bottom line to have it in top shape, including purchase price, plan on having about $18K all in. Good luck!
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Old 07-27-2017, 08:27 PM   #19
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1994 30' Excella
1992 35' Airstream 350
Austin , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandall1972 View Post
Hey everyone new to the forum and looking for my first airstream.

I have found a 1985 Airstream 345 one owner and am strongly considering purchasing it. I do have a few questions.

It runs smoothly and looks great all original with a few small issues here and there. It hasn't been on the road in 10 years. Does have new tires, breaks, fuel lines, and airbags.
If it has what you say, new tires, brakes, fuel lines and Air bags, you have a real bargain. Those items alone represent almost 4k. Rig looks nice and original on the inside and someone already spent a lot of time stripping the pinstriping and the rest of the clear coat looks fairly decent for a 85.
If you have another 5k or so to fix the stuff you will find, you will have yourself a nice 345 with a good resale value.
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Old 07-28-2017, 05:05 AM   #20
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
North Kingstown , Rhode Island
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Well if that one doesn't suit you, I am selling mine as well. Currently in the process of removing the decals but otherwise is ready for the road. I'll second what everyone has said earlier about maintenance, but I'd say that maintaining a motorhome (any motorhome) is very much like maintaining a boat. It's not like buying a basic Honda or Toyota where all you have to do is put gas and oil in it and not text while driving....

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