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Old 08-20-2018, 04:08 PM   #1
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1975 20' Argosy 20
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28/280 vs 310

Hi 310 guys, Mike, Tony and even Brad (as an ex-owner) or anyone else who has driven one.

izzyce has been searching for a 28ft Argosy for her family, but has found a 310 that would fit the bill. What is the minimum turning circle of one of these units, if you were pulling into a driveway how big a turn do you need?

When she told me she wanted to take any Argosy/Airstream MH into a city I had alarm bells ringing (I would not take Bella into a city let alone a 28/310), but has anyone tried?
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:45 PM   #2
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Martin

Believe it or not, a 325/345 has a shorter turning radius than a 310's. The reason being is that the 310's wheelbase @217", (distance between center of fronts wheel to center of rear) is 18" longer than the other two coaches, @198". That being said, there are benefits to longer wheelbase; a comfortable ride, and the rear end doesn't kick out quite as rapidly as with a 324/345; but alas, a shorter turning radius is not one of them.

I have never measured mine; probably could if you really need the number.

As for taking a 310 into a city......many times; have to think ahead, go wide into and out of corners if possible, and watch your clearances. If the semi truck guys and big coach guys can do it, so can we.

Cheers
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Old 08-20-2018, 05:12 PM   #3
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Ive driven in cities. Don't like to but I have. Denver, Chicago, Fort Collins , several others.
Right hand turns are always harder than left, need to get your nose well into the intersection before a hard right or Ill clip the curb or any close street signs. I have no idea what the numbers are for actual turn radius.

I wonder exactly what she means by "taking it into the city"? On occasion because it's unavoidable I'd say no big deal, but get use to driving it for some time before attempting an inner city jaunt. I would avoid city driving though if possible, only if it's truly unavoidable. Sometimes we will need to head into the city to rent a car because we don't tow. Be careful with parking lots, make sure you have a means of exit or can turn around safely. Of course parking it somewhere is a challenge but Ive always managed. I'd advise a good deal of practice on the road before inner city.
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Old 08-20-2018, 05:38 PM   #4
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Yep, what Tony and Mike said. It does take a chunk of real estate to turn but really it's not that bad. However if you have a confined area to turn it then it could turn into a hassle.

As far as driving in a "city" that all depends on how comfortable you are in your driving skills. Having good mirrors that really show whats around you can make a big difference in comfort level. If you can't see behind or beside you it can turn into a nerve wracking experience real quick.

Brad
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Old 08-20-2018, 07:48 PM   #5
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You guys are so awesome. I love it.

We LIVE in the city - in Cambridge, MA specifically. So I need to get it to my house and into the driveway to load up. And then I will leave. I don't intend to bop around in the city... ever. We don't need to go in tunnels either.

We've been renting Class C RVS from Cruise America and can get into our driveway with the 25-27 footers. But a 310... I don't think we have the radius for it to make the swing. Most of the trucks coming down our street actually have an issue because there is a low-hanging wire and they want to avoid that (welcome to the city). The Airstream would clear that no problem, but the Class C was a little dodgy.
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Old 08-20-2018, 08:32 PM   #6
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Okay, so you have to do a two or three point turn with a vintage Airstream motorhome to get into your driveway.........trust us; nobody will honk or give you a hard time. If they do, just smile and wave.

John and I had a guy in Cooperstown rush to go get his own car to show us the way to the local gocery store in town......seriously; went out of his way to go get his own car........

Cheers
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Old 08-21-2018, 05:25 AM   #7
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Backing into our narrow driveway is absolutely no problem. Pulling in head first would be amusing.
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Old 08-21-2018, 05:27 AM   #8
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Besides the turning radius, there are other considerations when comparing the 280 and the 310.

Having owned a 280, 310 and a 345, I would pick the 310 any day. Some of the reasons are:
1. Improved rear suspension and airbag system. The coach sits several inches higher and makes it easier to enter driveways and gas stations
2. Rear disk brakes on the 310
3. Drawer system exterior storage versus flip doors on the 280
4. improved Battery storage compartment, especially in late 83 and 84.
5. 2 AC roof units
6. Better captain chairs
7. Center bath with a various rear bedroom layouts
8. Room for dinette in front lounge area
9. Wood versus plastic cabinets in later models
etc etc
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Old 08-21-2018, 06:27 AM   #9
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Something I should have mentioned about feeling comfortable driving in and around cities, especially large cities with congested freeways. The steering on these rigs can be anything from pretty decent to down right scary. My old 310 was down right scary to drive when we first got it. The bell crank pivots were worn out which really made the steering horrible. A semi would pass and you'd be blown half off the road. All because the steering was so sloppy.

When buying one of these coaches always check the steering and if it's sloppy get it fixed as soon as you can. You'd be amazed at the difference!

Brad
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Old 08-21-2018, 07:01 AM   #10
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I could go on about how great my 310 is all day, but I'll stick to city driving considerations

You can technically go anywhere a 40' city bus can go, which is a lot of places. It takes a lot of practice and planning and patience, but since you are sitting on the front wheels and don't have a GIANT overhang, it can manuever pretty well. Semi trucks, however, aren't an ideal comparison since they can hinge.

Are you towing a toad? If so that makes things a bit harder.

Height is usually no problem, these things are pretty short, less than 11'

When you say you live IN Cambridge, do you live in a townhouse or apartment on a one way road? Or do you live out in a nicley spaced suburb? There is a big difference.



The most important thing is going to be route planning, and you have plenty of time. You know which highway you will always come in/out on, so go drive that trip fron your house to the highway a couple different ways, and see what you think. If there are any really tight right hand turns where you can't swing wide and take up the whole intersection, that's what'll give you a hangup, so plan around them.

Your driveway is your driveway, and unless you post pics, can't help there. If you can park on the street that's obviously easiest. Mentally compare your driveway to the tightest campground site you've tried.


How far would you be driving from? If you have a chance to practice in some tight campgrounds on the way, where people don't care that you get stuck and have to 15 point turn, that would be worthwhile.

Never let yourself get in a hurry, and never back up without someone standing outside behind you spotting. One low tree branch and you'll have an ugly $10,000 dent, which the insurance company won't fix, because their computer will tell them the airstream is only worth $6,000 (the databases are wrong, be ready for that)

A good rearview camera and good convex mirrors are a must.

Alright, i think I've made my points, enough rambling, let us know how it goes!!

I have an 83 310 and love it. When I compare to some of the other rigs I see on here, it seems better built. Plywood where other guys have particle board. My theory is as years ticked on airstream tried to shave costs where they could.
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Old 08-21-2018, 08:18 AM   #11
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Magnet makes some really good points, especially route planning. IN TOWN route planning. I nearly always take the same way out and the same way in, regardless if I have to go a few miles out of my way. Ive scouted the easiest access and use it every time.

Bottom line is that unless you live in a horribly congested area, you should be able to get in and out. It may take you a round about way but better that than getting hung up. Don't take chances. When I first got my rig I was white knuckled the whole 12 blocks home Hehehehehe. Now, I totally enjoy driving the rig about anywhere. Unless there is construction or extremely narrow roads. Even then just slow down and concentrate on driving. You sit up pretty high in the drivers seat and your view of traffic is great.

I invested a good deal of time and $$$ on front end improvements and a good two camera system. I'd recommend the same to anyone.
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Old 08-21-2018, 10:40 AM   #12
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I live on a narrow dirt road an I am able to back my 310 into my even more narrow driveway. Not a city problem but I bet my clearances are as tight as many city driveway access points. I am an hour a half north of you in NH and you are welcome to come and look at mine if it is any help.

If you are looking at the 310 listed on NH Craigslist, I looked at that one before I bought mine. I can tell you my thoughts about that one if you want to contact me.
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Old 08-22-2018, 09:17 AM   #13
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So we live basically on top of Harvard University. We abut their property. I am now stalking the 40 foot buses - of which there are obviously many - and scrutinizing the garbage and delivery trucks. But I think it's just too tight.

The coach we were looking at is at the link below. It's a perfect setup for our family - like the current owner we also homeschool 3 kids. I just wish it was a couple feet shorter and I would lose the laundry and go to the laundromat.
http://www.airstreamclassifieds.com/...orth-carolina/

The seller very generously sent a video of the turning radius and I was actually more hopeful after I got it. But the rear length... eek.

I have a video of our street and drive that I have shared with a couple of you on Facebook and I will try to upload it. But as I did a 3 point turn this morning as our driveway was full in my Honda Odyssey, I just don't think I'm comfortable with the 310 on our street. If there were street parking available such that I could keep it across from our house while we load up that would be ok. But I couldn't guarantee it.
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Old 08-23-2018, 05:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by izzyce View Post
So we live basically on top of Harvard University. We abut their property. I am now stalking the 40 foot buses - of which there are obviously many - and scrutinizing the garbage and delivery trucks. But I think it's just too tight.

The coach we were looking at is at the link below. It's a perfect setup for our family - like the current owner we also homeschool 3 kids. I just wish it was a couple feet shorter and I would lose the laundry and go to the laundromat.
http://www.airstreamclassifieds.com/...orth-carolina/

The seller very generously sent a video of the turning radius and I was actually more hopeful after I got it. But the rear length... eek.

I have a video of our street and drive that I have shared with a couple of you on Facebook and I will try to upload it. But as I did a 3 point turn this morning as our driveway was full in my Honda Odyssey, I just don't think I'm comfortable with the 310 on our street. If there were street parking available such that I could keep it across from our house while we load up that would be ok. But I couldn't guarantee it.
Just spitballing a couple ideas
You also don't have to take *that* much with you camping, you theoretically could load up in the Honda and haul it all over to the airstream parked somewhere else
Or
Block off streetside parking with the honda+trash cans the night in advance


The difference between the 310 and 290 is 24", If the 310 absolutely could not make it, I'm not sure I'd be trying it in the 290 either





Anyway, that rig looks really nice, but a couple alarm bells go off when I see those videos
1. They say it is a 454, original engine, but that is the doghouse for a diesel.
2. That shower. Dang.
2a. What's the flow rate on that shower? Looks like it might fill the grey tank in 30 seconds flat.
2b. What's under the tile? If they laid tile right on the original plastic showerpan, I'd be VERY VERY worried about that flimsy shower pan flexing and the tile popping right off
3. These mods are all very awesome, but what's the current vehicle weight? I ask because I've considered them
4. Paint on all those original walls and interior bits and roll up doors makes me very nervous. It's hard to get good adhesion. Look in person, don't be afraid to give it a fingernail scratch when no one's looking, because you know your kids will do much worse
5. Outside rubrail is missing in chunks, some outside bits could use a paint, the polish could use some detail work. Still, they've done 90% of the work on the outside for you to make it beautiful

That's just the nits i found to pick in a very very nice looking rig, i just wouldn't buy it soght unseen, especially at that price.

That AC setup is a great idea, never seen a washer dryer and dishwasher in a 310, could put a woodstove where they have that trash can... bookmarked it for later!
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Old 08-23-2018, 06:28 AM   #15
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I street viewed some roads in that area
Some of them, i wouldn't try in a 20' argosy!
If you have to 3point your minivan, i would start thinking of other ways to load up. Take the bags to the storage location the night before, a small extra logistics step but not the end of the world
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Old 08-24-2018, 05:21 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnet18 View Post

Anyway, that rig looks really nice, but a couple alarm bells go off when I see those videos
1. They say it is a 454, original engine, but that is the doghouse for a diesel.
2. That shower. Dang.
2a. What's the flow rate on that shower? Looks like it might fill the grey tank in 30 seconds flat.
2b. What's under the tile? If they laid tile right on the original plastic showerpan, I'd be VERY VERY worried about that flimsy shower pan flexing and the tile popping right off
3. These mods are all very awesome, but what's the current vehicle weight? I ask because I've considered them
4. Paint on all those original walls and interior bits and roll up doors makes me very nervous. It's hard to get good adhesion. Look in person, don't be afraid to give it a fingernail scratch when no one's looking, because you know your kids will do much worse
5. Outside rubrail is missing in chunks, some outside bits could use a paint, the polish could use some detail work. Still, they've done 90% of the work on the outside for you to make it beautiful

That's just the nits i found to pick in a very very nice looking rig, i just wouldn't buy it soght unseen, especially at that price.

That AC setup is a great idea, never seen a washer dryer and dishwasher in a 310, could put a woodstove where they have that trash can... bookmarked it for later!
A number of valid points but I must correct one of them.....that is the 454 doghouse cover; nowhere near the same look or style of my diesel doghouse.

I do concur with Magnets assessment of a lot of extra weight......very heavy bathroom sink; solid wood block counter tops everywhere, stainless steel........... I'd be taking that coach to a CAT scale to weigh it before I'd buy it, as you may find you have no more room to add people and their stuff before going over your GVWR of 14,500 lbs. Just to give you an indication of how much these coaches weigh; I weighed mine with some stuff already out of the coach and before flooring and cabinets went in, and she weighed 12,900 lbs with a full tank of diesel and me in it.

Somebody forgot the old axiom; "for every 100 lbs of weight you add to a vehicle, in order to maintain the same performance, you need to add 10hp; let alone that these rigs are terrible braking as it is.

When I did my reno I was weight anal. If I couldn't replace an Airstream stock part with something lighter, the stock part went back, unless I took weight from somewhere else.

Forgive the old picture, sofa's have been recovered and the champagne oak doghouse top has been replaced with a painted one.

One concern should be the condition of the subfloor underneath all that beautiful flooring....just look at the below thread to understand what can lurk there.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f311...me-106269.html

Cheers
Tony

PS I would prioritize your wants and needs before buying a 280 or a 310......Your first priority is which one fits you better....fits your driveway better should be further down the list, as you could always move into a different area of town that fits the motorhome better.
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Old 08-24-2018, 06:22 AM   #17
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A number of valid points but I must correct one of them.....that is the 454 doghouse cover; nowhere near the same look or style of my diesel doghouse.
I've not heard heard the term "diesel doghouse cover" before. As near as I've been able to figure out Airstream went through three different covers. The first was used from 74 to 76 and looks a lot like the plastic ones used in the later (84?) Classics except it was made from metal and is hinged and lifts up and is held in place with a metal prop rod.

The second cover was used from around 77 to around 83 and looks like the one in Tony's picture. Around 84 they switched to covers made from ABS plastic that are held in place with barrel type hood latches similar to those found on jeeps.

My personal favorite is the later ABS cover because it's easy to remove and provides a lot more room to access various parts of the engine.

Brad
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Old 08-24-2018, 08:43 AM   #18
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I take my 250 into cities all the time. Iíve had a few stressful moments, but in the whole fine. We try to identify good parking in advance but also have to wing it. Itís usually OK. For me, 25ft is the max I would feel comfortable with, but I guess what one is used to. Iíve just done a 15 point about turn in a tight camping pitch. At first these things seem daunting, but that nervousness withers over time.
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Old 08-24-2018, 11:02 AM   #19
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A number of valid points but I must correct one of them.....that is the 454 doghouse cover; nowhere near the same look or style of my diesel doghouse.

I do concur with Magnets assessment of a lot of extra weight......very heavy bathroom sink; solid wood block counter tops everywhere, stainless steel........... I'd be taking that coach to a CAT scale to weigh it before I'd buy it, as you may find you have no more room to add people and their stuff before going over your GVWR of 14,500 lbs. Just to give you an indication of how much these coaches weigh; I weighed mine with some stuff already out of the coach and before flooring and cabinets went in, and she weighed 12,900 lbs with a full tank of diesel and me in it.

Somebody forgot the old axiom; "for every 100 lbs of weight you add to a vehicle, in order to maintain the same performance, you need to add 10hp; let alone that these rigs are terrible braking as it is.

When I did my reno I was weight anal. If I couldn't replace an Airstream stock part with something lighter, the stock part went back, unless I took weight from somewhere else.

Forgive the old picture, sofa's have been recovered and the champagne oak doghouse top has been replaced with a painted one.

One concern should be the condition of the subfloor underneath all that beautiful flooring....just look at the below thread to understand what can lurk there.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f311...me-106269.html

Cheers
Tony

PS I would prioritize your wants and needs before buying a 280 or a 310......Your first priority is which one fits you better....fits your driveway better should be further down the list, as you could always move into a different area of town that fits the motorhome better.


Tony, are you saying the attached picture is for a diesel, or a 454?

I thought I had always seen the symmetric doghouse was for the diesel, like this (the 310 for sale currently in question)


And the asymmetric is for the 454, like the one you posted (same as mine)


Mine is the same year as the 310 for sale in question, and has the asymmetric doghouse. It's entirely possible they just went with whatever was on hand.




And yes, priorities, if your motorhome won't fit in your driveway, move!
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Old 08-24-2018, 11:09 AM   #20
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Also, from the ad-
"No corners cut on the buff." Looking at the step in handle, corners were quite literally ignored

"gets great gas mileage, 10-15 MPG"
On a 454? Maybe downhill with a tailwind


Neither of these are major, just poking fun



Also, looking at the pictures I posted above, the entire dash assembly looks very different. My 83 310 dash looks exactly like the bottom picture, the top picture of the one for sale looks very different, it looks more like a later year layout.
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