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Old 09-14-2006, 08:40 AM   #1
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Auretrvr's Avatar
1983 31' Airstream310
Iowa City , Iowa
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 232
Goldielocks wants a 290....

Since my husband revealed his classic A/S retirement dream, we have done much obsessive study. First, our thanks to you all for your generous sharing! We looked at a 280's (too small), 310's (nice size, and still a "maybe"...), and 290's (juuuust right!) Fits our storage space and our travel needs.

One we saw was nice, but not "great" (as advertised). An accident had severely dented an upper back corner (oh now, guess which one???) and torn away the awning arm. There was a leak at the skin tear and screw holes. Weak engine, soft brakes...asked too much. We had to pass.

As Chummy's dad says, "The purchase price is just the down payment." We know that whatever we get will be an investment, and my husband is an IT guy who also loves mechanic puzzles. (Does his own work on his old Alfa Romeo.) So far, we have decided that we will walk if a unit has 1) Severe dents/creases (esp. at the curved corner panels) 2) fogging windows 3) Evidence of leaks leading to a rotten floor 3) A leaking plumbing system that hadn't been winterized 4) We cannot at least drive it home where we can get it up to snuff. (Oh, and if it looks like a fraternity had a homecoming party in it...well maybe I could clean that up).

We are interested in a 290 that has been sitting a couple of years in Key Largo and is listed at 10k. (Reportedly been on two trips with no problem, but I do know the brakes are being worked on at this time.) It was donated to a nonprofit by a couple who had it 11 years and supposedly hardly used it. So far we have only seen a couple of photos that don't tell us much. The mileage is unbelievably low, but the couple who donated it supposedly had it 11 years and hardly used it. It shouldn't be too hard to tell if it actually had turned over at 100k. We have been told there are no leaks and that the skin is in good condition. We know it needs is a new fridge, one new A/C, regasket windows, new tires, and are pretty much assuming an engine rebuild. I have been obsessively studying the forum, and am getting a lot of useful information regarding motorhomes. It could easily cost 15k or more to get it in good running order.

The fellow who is managing the sale is nice, but I wouldn't buy a Moho from my own son without going over it carefully. This one would require a flight down, since we can't find a forum volunteer to give it an initial inspection. Would it make sense to first seek out an RV service there and pay them to check it over? What is a fair fee for such a service? I would like to be 75% sure that this one has some potential before investing in a flight down, but maybe that is just dreaming. Sometimes I am like the optimistic kid who kept digging through the horse manure pile saying, "I just know there's a pony in there somehwere!"

Or maybe we should just keep waiting for a unit that costs more for better condition.

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Old 09-14-2006, 09:48 AM   #2
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2004 30' Classic Slideout
Fenton , Missouri
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Originally Posted by Auretrvr
Or maybe we should just keep waiting for a unit that costs more for better condition.
Well, the longer you wait the older they get. So what you need to do is if this one makes you think this is the one, invest in a ticket and go down and look at it yourself. Obviously there is lots to check and possibly you might see who is the closest Airstream dealer to that locale. Give them a call and see what they want to head out and look for it for you. Compare costs for the ticket and other expense against the dealer's cost.

There are not a great number of these out there so to wait for one that comes under your nose might be a long wait.


Jack Canavera
AIR #56
'04 Classic 30' S.O.,'03 GMC Savana 2500,'14 Honda CTX 700
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Old 09-14-2006, 10:00 AM   #3
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1983 31' Airstream310
Iowa City , Iowa
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Posts: 232
Yep, looks like a ticket is in order! Too bad it isn't January!
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Old 10-11-2006, 02:52 PM   #4
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1985 34.5' Airstream 345
Fishers , Indiana
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We have restored several 345's in the past few years for resale. Basically, "if the skin and glass is good, everything else can be rebuilt", probably better than then the new plastic MH's being built today. We did one (for the wife) from the frame up by stripping the inside to the ribs and removing the floor. We replace all electrical, mechanicals, plumbing, and interior (refinished the cabinets). Took out every window and replaced track and seals. The engine is now a Cummins Diesel with an Allison Tranny. This combination gets 11 to 13 MPG at any speed you wish to go. Only an Airstream MH would be worth restoring to this level. After we were done, we basically have a new MH built better than we could buy today for half the price of a new one (if you do not count laber). But most importantly, we have the Airstream Style.
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Old 10-12-2006, 06:18 PM   #5
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1991 35' Airstream 350
Windsor , North Carolina
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Are you prepared to discuss the diesel repower you mention? PM me if you like,

91 350
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Old 10-12-2006, 07:18 PM   #6
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Louisville , Kentucky
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Wayne, I'm interested in that as well. I would love to come up and see what you've done sometime.
Steven Webster
1986 Airstream 345 Classic Motorhome
AIR 1760
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Old 10-13-2006, 07:55 AM   #7
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wasco , Oregon
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Wayne-------I would also also be very interested in your Cummins conversion. I have a spare 5.9 Commins sitting in my shop and have been thinking of putting it in my 88 Classic 290 moho.

Sounds like there would be several interested and would encurage you to start a new thread on the subject------Please.

..........Thanks Bob
1988 Classic 290 motorhome
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Old 10-13-2006, 08:56 AM   #8
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1985 34.5' Airstream 345
Fishers , Indiana
Join Date: Sep 2006
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I will start a new thread for the Diesel Upgrade. I do hope Goldielocks and her husband find their dream MH. My wife and I were just walking around a very large RV dealer not even sure we wanted a MH. We wanted something that we could just get into and leave. What we were seeing was a lot of fiberglass and plastic at very high prices so we just got in the truck and left. On the drive home I asked her if she saw anything that interested her? She said, "You will think I am crazy but the only one that caught my eye was the old Airstream MH that had been traded in and was sitting by the fence." I was surprised since we had not even looked inside the Airstream and it was also the only one I liked. We went back the next day and purchased the Airstream. We started the restoration but I have to admit we took it farther than we thought we would. We have since done several other Airstream MH restorations but we still have the original. There are some very nice Airstream Classic MH's out there if you keep looking. Good luck.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:56 PM   #9
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1987 29' Airstream 290
Orange Park , Florida
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to Goldielocks i have a 1985 290 airstream that i am selling. if you are still looking for one let me know. it drives like a dream and is in great condition. no leaks. its a chevy 454 big block gas engine. new tires. inside is in great condition too. you can contact me here.or by phone. (619)723-4665. thanks- melissa

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