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Old 05-03-2013, 12:45 PM   #1
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Minneapolis , Minnesota
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Driving my newly purchased 345 home next weekend! Advice welcomed.

Hi Folks,

I'm officially moving from searching and lurking mode to owning and asking mode here on the forum. Next Saturday I will be picking up a newly purchased 1990 345 in the SF Bay Area and driving it back to Minnesota with my girlfriend.

This is not just my first Airstream but my first RV, having just rented them a few times I was hooked on the idea and started looking at the Airstreams about a year ago. When I came across this one, which I think is a great deal, sort of by chance and I decided to dive in.

My primary question is what would the seasoned RV man (or woman) be prepared for on such a trip. It's not the camping part of the trip that concerns me as much as keeping the trip moving even if I run into some of the common mechanical issues.

The unit is well maintained and up to date on all maintenance, with some new tires and should be ready to go...but I have been doing road trips with vintage cars, trucks and trailers long enough to know there is always something that can be forgotten or catch you out.

So, I am hoping you folks can offer up some advice on the "gotcha's" to watch for, the spares and tools to bring (I am mechanically inclined) and any other words of wisdom. I have my Premiere RV AAA membership card and toolbox in hand in case there is drama of that sort but frankly nothing would inspire confidence on the part of my significant other, and seal the deal on future adventures more than if I was able to diagnose and fix that minor roadside issue that is bound to come up like I was an old pro.

The previous owner was kind enough to give me the awesome, old school manual in advance and I have been reading through that for a while and will have it with me.

Thanks in advance for the advice and for all the info provided already that helped me make an informed, if ill advised, decision.

All the best,

Tom
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Old 05-03-2013, 04:28 PM   #2
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Congratulations....

Wow, nothing like jumping right in for your first RV experience. I hope you will post pictures of your adventures....Your best tool is right here. You can post your questions here and there will be someone who has done that and been there....so you are not alone....make sure you have your laptop with you and keep it charged. We found our 82 in Florida and were were not brave enough to drive it home....although the motor was/is good, radiator, muffer, etc were not. We bought from an estate sale so PO was not available to ask questions. You are ahead of us there.

Anyway, welcome to the group......and have a great trip. paula
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Old 05-03-2013, 05:42 PM   #3
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Tom,


Welcome to the forum.
As Paula points out, the forum members possess a wealth of knowledge and are gracious enough to share with all.

If you have the time, read as many of the previous posts as you can...you can learn the equivalent of a PhD in "Alumi-nosity"...
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:34 PM   #4
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Advice,

Buy full coverage insurance. Bad things can and do happen to good people.
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:52 PM   #5
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Good Sam Emergency Road Assistance

Is another good thing to buy.....just in case....GS knows how to deal with RVs....across the USA no matter what state you are in....as opposed to AAA which is different depending upon the state. Can't remember if it is the state you are in or the state you live in....just get Good Sam. paula
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:37 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice folks. Gonna check out good Sam and call my insurance guy next week.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:57 PM   #7
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Congratulations, and Welcome!!

It's great that you are mechanically inclined, but in the event that the unthinkable occurs and you are unable to do a roadside fix, I would suggest that you want to understand the exact procedure for properly towing your coach. I'm not sure I know all of the specifics myself, but there are threads that cover it. Some members have described roadside standoffs with dispatched tow truck operators that don't know or care exactly how to properly hook up and transport a motorhome. Even when stranded and helpless, you don't want to suffer additional damage at the hands of an inexperienced driver.

Good luck, and enjoy the journey.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:05 AM   #8
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Welcome Tom!!!
In the spirit of worst-case first, IF you have to have it towed, it MUST be loaded on a flatbed...period...hook-n-lift will rip your bonnet...GS knows this, but tell 'em anyway.
The brake fluid reservoir is behind the driver side front tire, and a pain to deal with...turn the wheels all the way left to facilitate access, and be prepared to exercise your blue vocabulary...
Spare fuel pump, fuel filters, fuel hose, belt(s), hoses, fuses, and a voltmeter seem superfluous until you need one...
Lots of just plain common sense helps...a lot...and this forum is invaluable.
Can't wait to see pics, so get a camera for us...hope to see you down the road...mike
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:22 AM   #9
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Well the only thing I can advise.....

A roll of duct tape and a great attitude.

Sweet Streams

Enjoy the adventure.

Bob
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:36 AM   #10
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Luck and a good attitude!

I flew to Seattle from Colorado to look at mine. Looked it over, test drove it, executed the transaction, and drove it home. I did a thorough inspection including brakes, fluids, belts, tires, filters, hoses...

I picked up Ann in Spokane. Stopped at Wally Mart and stocked up. We spent 3 days including a nice tour of Yellowstone.

It will be a memorable trip! My attitude was try the drive and if it doesn't work, ship it the rest of the way home. Have some 345 guys or the PO give you some driving tips so you don't inadvertently burn up the brakes , engine, or tranny. They are easy to drive but you have to think ahead of the vehicle and pay attention! Always!

Enjoy the trip!
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:27 AM   #11
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Good Sam reason

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScrapIrony-2 View Post
Welcome Tom!!!
In the spirit of worst-case first, IF you have to have it towed, it MUST be loaded on a flatbed...period...hook-n-lift will rip your bonnet...GS knows this, but tell 'em anyway.
The brake fluid reservoir is behind the driver side front tire, and a pain to deal with...turn the wheels all the way left to facilitate access, and be prepared to exercise your blue vocabulary...
Spare fuel pump, fuel filters, fuel hose, belt(s), hoses, fuses, and a voltmeter seem superfluous until you need one...
Lots of just plain common sense helps...a lot...and this forum is invaluable.
Can't wait to see pics, so get a camera for us...hope to see you down the road...mike
Exactly, that is why Good Sam...they know about RVs......plus a membership covers all the vehicles in your household.....and I am not a Good Sam representative....just learned this from my RV friends who had a huge MH and had a problem.

Hopefully you won't need GS but just in case....have fun and let us know about your trip....paula
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:13 AM   #12
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Just a thought since you also haven't had much RV experience.. Go ahead and watch the Robin Williams movie "RV" to prime your sense of humor...

That said, almost none of the RV-related items could be deal breakers or interrupt the trip.. By that, I mean the stove or fridge or hot water heater could fail and be annoying, but you can get it home.. Trip should be viewed as exercise in getting large truck chassis with Chevy 454 engine home on long hot drive on the interstates.. That means fluids and leaks, cooling, brakes, hoses, tires or electrical problems with battery/ignition could interrupt the trip. Take spares and tools and think about "Plan B" options for those possibilities, and enjoy the ride.. You are correct to prepare for something to happen, but there is always the happy possibility that you will be pleasantly surprised..

Final advice is to remember that large heavy vehicles need a lot of room to maneuver and especially to stop.. Take it easy, and leave a lot of room ahead of front bumper so bumpers won't be tested.. There are crazy people still texting and talking on cell phones, and many will irrationally rush to get from behind you to in front of you, apparently just to have a different view and potentially put you at risk.. Practice the Serenity mantra, and enjoy the ride...
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:39 PM   #13
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Nothing like taking the bull by the horns. A couple of things we just went through as new motorhomers..... make sure you have a 50 amp adapter for your thirty amp plug. Some parks don't have thirty amp service. In ours, the generator won't run with less than 1/4 tank of fuel (just FYI). See if the coach needs a h20 pressure reducer when you hook up at a park or is it built in? I would add bailing wire to the tool box along with the duct tape already recommended. Down here, were we are from, that would complete any decent red neck repair kit. Good Luck, we would love reports on your progress!
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:51 PM   #14
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History

Takes lots of photos... of the pick up and trip.
Not just for us, you will enjoy seeing as you make changes and improve.
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:13 PM   #15
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We also pay for Good Sam roadside service protection, it's worth it.

We lost the big awning off of the curbside of our 310 driving east across the plains at this time of the year to a strong south wind. Make sure it's snugged down if you hit any wind.
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:12 PM   #16
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Nice one Tom!
Well, I have been where you are!

Flew in to get mine too, so the amount things I could was limited.
I packed in a sleeping bag and pillow, and few clothes to suit the April weather in KS. Phone and chargers, GPS, my AAA RV card, my Laptop, loaded with every manual and bit of info I could find.
What tools I could bring was a weight issue. I brought general tools like Flashlight, Vice Grips, tape, Leatherman, electrical tester, crimper, connectors, DMM, and Zip Ties.

Flight in and inspection went as planned.
I went to the local Sears and picked up one of these..
255 Pc Mechanics Tool Set: Never Again Borrow a Tool!
The plan was that it would be my "Onboard Kit", and it still is.
I also grabbed fuses, a hammer, big adjustable wrench, and a few other sundaries.

My drive home was about 1600 miles, and the beast gave me no issues beyond a water leak from the water heater and a blown fuse.

The good news is that with the drivetrain we have, you can get almost anything anywhere!

Enjoy the drive and keep us informed!
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:54 AM   #17
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You are a brave soul. Good luck, hopefully all will be well. I'm leaving tomorrow from south FL going out to the west coast and back the northern root to the upper UP of Mich. Believe this will put me through some place near to you in Minn. I think. Every long journey is full of surprises. Happy motoring!
Richard
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:25 AM   #18
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You are a brave soul. Good luck, hopefully all will be well. I'm leaving tomorrow from south FL going out to the west coast and back the northern root to the upper UP of Mich. Believe this will put me through some place near to you in Minn. I think. Every long journey is full of surprises. Happy motoring!
Richard
We just came through Mn and the UP. First winter camping trip. Talk about surprises! We will be heading back that way in 2 weeks. Maybe we could link up somewhere.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:43 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyair View Post
I went to the local Sears and picked up one of these
255 Pc Mechanics Tool Set: Never Again Borrow a Tool!
Have a safe trip. Be careful and don't get into tight spots you can't get out of. I flew in also to pick up my 2005 396 XL and left Lakeview NJ in freezing rain and snow. What a trip back to Texas. No problems.


Nice looking tool set, what are the measurements on the chest, width, depth and height. I have a storage compartment in the back drivers side that this just might fit it and still allow the drawers to slide out and open the top. I just don't have my measurements here with me.

Thanks
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:53 PM   #20
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Fuses are easy to come by but might be nice to have a couple spares, a meter, trouble light and IR thermometer. WD40 for those things that are supposed to move, besides the duct tape and wire for those that shouldn't move. Check age of tires over 10 yrs think about replacing.
Hardest thing about driving 34 ft is the rear overhang, it moves right when you steer left and has to be monitored in tight places. Take the time to set the mirrors, only you will monitor your blind spots, other drivers will not know they are invisible.
Steep downhill or mountains use gears to slow, brakes should be used fast to reduce speed to put in lower gear, good rule of thumb gear used to go up should be the one to come down.
Good luck on your adventure.
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