David: I was very happy te see this post. Iím also a new 345 owner. I bought a 1984 345 on eBay in late May. The MH was located in Memphis, TN where I picked it up on Monday. As I write, we are driving her along Highway 40 towards her final destination in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Reading the thread made me smile multiple times. We were indeed vary naive (or foolish) to pick up a 35 years old lady and attempt to drive her for 2,000+ miles. More about that below.
The vehicle has an interesting history. It was owned by the Dometic corporation and used as a demo vehicle. I have the original driving logs that show where the vehicle has been. Very cool. Of course the vehicle is decked out with Dometic technology: fridge, ice cube maker, microwave, air conditioners, forced air heating system, central air heating system (yes, 2 different heating systems), 7kW generator, etc
Between May and now I had the vehicle thoroughly inspected (specifically mechanically) and replaced some critical parts like all new tires, brakes, steering, front airbags, batteries, and alternator.
Here are some of the things that went wrong:
1. First thing to fail was the starter solinoid. It came loose and was just hanging in the engine compartment. Luckily it didnít hit the fan. A mechanic showed us how to buy pass it with a piece of electrical wire. So weíre good.
2. Then the brakes became soft. We discovered there was no oil left because of a small leak in the master cylinder. Once we refilled it, everything went back to normal. Weíre now checking braking fluid every morning before leaving and topping it up as needed, along with topping up engine oil. I noticed the engine is drinking a lot of oil, about 1 quart per 250-300 miles.
3. This morning we had a flat crank battery, so we jump started it with the house batteries. This is a bit concerning because both alternator and battery are new. Donít know what could be causing this. Iím doing this trip with 2 friends. One was handling the jumper cables, one was turning the ignition switch, while I was shortcutting the solinoid.
4. The engine was running very smoothly. Mostly at 3000 rpm, between 55 and 60 mph, and 200-210 water degree temperature. We had a few scares while climbing highway 40 to 7000 ft around Flagstaff, with temperature climbing above 220 but turning off cabin AC helped with that.
5. On the house side, we were not able to use water. There were multiple leaks, so I think all plumbing will have to be redone.
6. Only the back AC was working, and strangely enough, only when the generator was on. It would not run on shore power. Donít know why that was the case.
7. Talking about the generator, we left it on one night and we were awoken at 2a by our carbon monoxide alarm. Ouch. Good thing I brought one, since the airstream only had a smoke alarm.
8. At one point, all headlights went out while the long beam lights were on. Turning off the long beams solved the issue ... pfew.
9. I think we overinflated the back tires. Goodyear inflated them to 95 psi and the front tires to 75 psi. The tires have a max psi spec of 110. Airstreamís original manual specifies 65 psi in the back which feels awfully low. The ride in the back is pretty rough so maybe 95 is too much. Our original small tube TV pretty much disintegrated
Thatís about it. Super happy with the purchase though. She looks very cool, painted in original Airstream paint colors.