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Old 06-04-2020, 04:54 PM   #1
3 Rivet Member
 
Roby466's Avatar
 
1988 34.5' Airstream 345
Halifax , Nova Scotia
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 199
New here! Thinking of a 345

Hi,
I posted this in the community new members forum and then I noticed the ''motorhome'' sub-forums and thought I should post here too so here is my post!
--

Hi! Glad to be here. I have been reading on and off for years. I have always been a fan of classic airstreams and camping.

A little bit about us and how I got here:
I have always loved cars, bikes, anything with engines. I love fixing them, riding them, driving them... I have always loved the trailers and motorhomes, the idea to fix these smaller habitats within the shell...

We started with a Boler 13ft trailer (10ft inside really) and loved that little trailer for years, we camped in it with 1, 2, then 3 kids... then sold it.

We now have 4 kids, they are 11 and under and love the adventure. We are a tight family and I am looking at a 1988 345 motorhome.

The question: am I crazy? Can this work? Surely we can get something much bigger and newer for the same price but I don't want sliders and all and I don't want to have a depreciating asset. I would much rather have a solid base on which I can build and improve as time goes on.

What is the consensus here?

Thanks!!

David
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Old 06-04-2020, 05:37 PM   #2
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1994 30' Excella
1992 35' Airstream 350
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5,015
Images: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roby466 View Post
Hi,
I posted this in the community new members forum and then I noticed the ''motorhome'' sub-forums and thought I should post here too so here is my post!
--

Hi! Glad to be here. I have been reading on and off for years. I have always been a fan of classic airstreams and camping.

A little bit about us and how I got here:
I have always loved cars, bikes, anything with engines. I love fixing them, riding them, driving them... I have always loved the trailers and motorhomes, the idea to fix these smaller habitats within the shell...

We started with a Boler 13ft trailer (10ft inside really) and loved that little trailer for years, we camped in it with 1, 2, then 3 kids... then sold it.

We now have 4 kids, they are 11 and under and love the adventure. We are a tight family and I am looking at a 1988 345 motorhome.

The question: am I crazy? Can this work? Surely we can get something much bigger and newer for the same price but I don't want sliders and all and I don't want to have a depreciating asset. I would much rather have a solid base on which I can build and improve as time goes on.

What is the consensus here?

Thanks!!

David

Hi David, welcome aboard, glad you decided to start posting.
If it wasn't for this forum and all the great people, I would have been stumped many times over.

Sounds like you have the major ingredients to make your dream work: the know how and the desire.
Here is the word of caution: you have 4 kids and safety has to be first. If you go with the Classic Motorhome, be aware of the limited safety features and the need to have a back-up plan . (towing a small vehicle to get mom and the kids to safety whilst you try to fix whatever needs fixing)
I have restored many airstream trailers and i am on my 4th Classic Motorhome.
The trailers are a challenge all by themselves and the learning curve is steep. Combine that with a 70/80/90 drive train and you know you are in for it deep.
The fun and enjoyment out weights a lot of the challenges and you will create lasting memories for your kids.
Go for it and let us know what you decided to start with.
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1990 25' Excella Travel trailer
1992 350LE Classic Touring Coach
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Old 06-05-2020, 06:21 AM   #3
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Menomonee Falls , Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 418
Hi dave
Great name. We bought first my a 73 gmc 26 ft. Very tight 3 kids and a Newfoundland dog.
You got a lot of good people he re to help you. If the outside is clean and the inside is clean it was probably well tdd taken care of. We are the 2nd ge. Of owners of these coaches they were not cheap when new. Most of them were kept up pretty well.
If you buy one take a good hard look at all the chassis stuff. Plan on spending a couple of thousand right off. It s worth doing. To tow one of these things will cost at least a thousand bucks. 90 percent of all the breakdown stuff can be fixed in your driveway before you head out.
Cooling
Brakes
Fuel system
Suspension
Belts
Exhaust
Tires all 9 replace
Tag axle brakes and the dog bone.
Go through them one at a time. Itll take you about a month. It's worth it
Can you do the work yourself.
If not it's a p30 based chassis. Nothing special a good shop can handle all those things. You ll need a big wallet though.
Don t skimp on stuff these things are working hard. You re pushing the limits on some of the driveline stuff cooling comes to my mind. Anyway welcome aboard good luck Dave. DAVE j
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Old 06-05-2020, 07:33 AM   #4
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1991 25' Airstream 250
Oxford , Oxfordshire
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,185
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If you do this, shoot for a 1991 and up with an 4L80E and, ideally, LE spec
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Old 06-06-2020, 07:56 AM   #5
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
Halifax , Nova Scotia
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 199
New here! Thinking of a 345

Hi, thanks for the tips and encouragements!
I can do all the work myself. I havenít been to a shop in many years except for tires and alignments and I donít drive anything new or known to be particularly reliable
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Old 06-06-2020, 01:10 PM   #6
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
Franklin Park , Illinois
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 181
DON’T DO IT
Over priced bread truck
Looks cool, BUT as soon as the sun rises it becomes a pizza oven!
Many people here have done EXTENSIVE engine, transmission, electrical, suspension, and climate Control rebuilds or replacements ...
I have a 84 345, I’ve owned it for 6 years now I USED to enjoy camping AND working on it I even got to enjoy a $1500 tow
YES I know it’s a mid 80’s GM product, I’m no stranger to old cars. I also Own A 62 jeep and a 67 Ford I know old stuff breaks but lately it’s like this (My) machine has a death wish
I don’t suspect you’ll listen to me
(I wouldn’t have 5 years ago) But Do you want to go camping,? Or do you want to replace parts?
Right now I’m a little bitter because of electrical issues.
Before you purchase you 345 look at prices of parts like tag axles and the drum’s for the tag...
Now that I’m done ranting I will say this...
Airfourm Is THE BEST place to come for help and the people on this forum are VERY knowledgeable and will help you fix things that you never knew existed... (like window Weeps) I do hope you enjoy your motorhome,
And as much as I gripe about it, on that rare day when everything works like it should, there’s nothing like cruising down the highway having EVERYBODY that passes you, look and give the thumbs up! That’s if your not looking at the temp gauge wondering “ 220įF, why haven’t I heard The clutch fan kick in yet, and what the hell is that new noise?
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Old 06-06-2020, 01:43 PM   #7
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Menomonee Falls , Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 418
Hey
If you got the skills none of thiss hard to do . If the inside and all of the house stuff is in good shape chassis stuff is a breeze. As a car guy you will feel a whole lot better about driving this big thing when you are confident that all the stuff that can put you on the side of the road is been addressed. Note... paint calipers red. Makes coach faster cooler and overall better...Dj
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Old 06-06-2020, 01:50 PM   #8
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1994 30' Excella
1992 35' Airstream 350
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5,015
Images: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grosspoluter View Post
DON’T DO IT
Over priced bread truck
Looks cool, BUT as soon as the sun rises it becomes a pizza oven!
Many people here have done EXTENSIVE engine, transmission, electrical, suspension, and climate Control rebuilds or replacements ...
I have a 84 345, I’ve owned it for 6 years now I USED to enjoy camping AND working on it I even got to enjoy a $1500 tow
YES I know it’s a mid 80’s GM product, I’m no stranger to old cars. I also Own A 62 jeep and a 67 Ford I know old stuff breaks but lately it’s like this (My) machine has a death wish
I don’t suspect you’ll listen to me
(I wouldn’t have 5 years ago) But Do you want to go camping,? Or do you want to replace parts?
Right now I’m a little bitter because of electrical issues.
Before you purchase you 345 look at prices of parts like tag axles and the drum’s for the tag...
Now that I’m done ranting I will say this...
Airfourm Is THE BEST place to come for help and the people on this forum are VERY knowledgeable and will help you fix things that you never knew existed... (like window Weeps) I do hope you enjoy your motorhome,
And as much as I gripe about it, on that rare day when everything works like it should, there’s nothing like cruising down the highway having EVERYBODY that passes you, look and give the thumbs up! That’s if your not looking at the temp gauge wondering “ 220įF, why haven’t I heard The clutch fan kick in yet, and what the hell is that new noise?

Yes and if you sell it tomorrow, you would be looking at for sale units everyday They do get under your skin. Have you considered posting your electrical issues. I can be of great help, I hook up shi t wrong all the time, ask Brad.
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1990 25' Excella Travel trailer
1992 350LE Classic Touring Coach
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Old 06-06-2020, 01:53 PM   #9
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Menomonee Falls , Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 418
I can agree with grosspolutor to a certain extent. You gotta look at thing thing with open eyes they re great rides but getting them up to speed will take time and money. Otherwise. Way big frustrations are in store. But gross you brand new windshields to look out. That's something cool..DJ
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Old 06-06-2020, 02:35 PM   #10
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
Columbus , OH
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 114
We're on our second 345LE, and we love them. The first one was an '89 that was well taken care of, and I continued a high level of maintenance on it. The kids were 3, 5 and 7 when we bought it back in '99. We drove it over 75,000 miles all over the US and had a ball. Yes, we had some issues, but nothing that ever put us off so bad that we wanted to sell it. The good times far outweighed the bad..by a mile. We sold it after ten years when the kids got to middle school/high school and it wasn't used much anymore. They still talk about those days as the best, and all of them turned out to be fine adults.

Four years ago, my wife and I bought our current '88 345LE and proceeded to do a full monty on it. It does get in your blood, and although they require an investment of dollars and time, for us the rewards are well worth it.

Good luck!
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Old 06-06-2020, 04:11 PM   #11
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterH-Airstreamer View Post
.... Have you considered posting your electrical issues. I can be of great help, I hook up shi t wrong all the time, ask Brad.
Just once that I know of.....
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Old 06-06-2020, 06:44 PM   #12
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
Franklin Park , Illinois
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 181
I agree Davejay, that clean glass does provide a spectacular view! At a spectacular price!
I would like to add that you are one of the Saints on this forum coming a long way from home on your day off to help me install the glass!
the motorhome does have the advantage, that even if it’s pouring rain outside. you can still rebuild the carburetor, pull the alternator, change the belts, replace the valve cover gaskets, and even most of the spark plugs! I’ve even finished up installing a starter in a light rain (you can stay pretty dry with a 34’ motorhome above you and I’m still just thin enough to fit under it without using ramps)
I’ve just did everything I’ve mentioned in the last few weeks and I admit to being a little frayed after chasing the Airstream Gremlins 10 consecutive days in a row.
I may (probably will) come back looking for answers to my electrical (charging) woes I have searched this forum and have found some things I need to look in to also... yes I’m on a few other RV / motorhome forums
I just remember how excited I was when my 345 Went up for sale and became mine. I knew there was work to be done on it and still bought it. I have had some Great times in it and met grate people because of it. I do believe knowledge IS power and I’ve learned a lot... BUT I just don’t want Roby466
To get this “oh it’ll be Fine” Rosy picture We sometimes like to paint
Roby466 perhaps working on the motor home can be a bonding agent for your children, a family project?
I just felt you needed to hear From a owner that just the other day has had that moment Where I stormed out the of the Airstream slammed the door shut (it’s ok the door needs work to) Covered in sweat and a few minor burns swearing that the first $500 takes it... yep last Thursday you could have gotten a “hell of a deal” ;-)
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Old 06-07-2020, 05:36 AM   #13
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
Halifax , Nova Scotia
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 199
Thanks for the honest answers guys. I have to admit, I tend to buy things and also tell my wife ''oh it will be fine'' and in the back of my head I know it might now... I drive a 2004 Land Rover Discovery and a 2003 VW Eurovan now so you know what I mean...
Why the 1991 and up with an 4L80E and, ideally, LE spec? What are the main differences with that chassis? I'll have to do more reading!
During these COVID times there are very little options. Only one 345 is for sale at the moment and some newer Airstreams that look more like regular motorhomes at a premium price than an airstream but in the US there are many more. When it is safe to travel again I will have more options...
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Old 06-07-2020, 07:14 AM   #14
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1994 30' Excella
1992 35' Airstream 350
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5,015
Images: 49
only some 1991 models have the 4 gear 4l80e, depends on date of manufacture. The LE option is just to fancy it up which is nor relevant after all this time, like leather furniture, things that never worked right, like auto compartment locks and stuff that needs replacing. Price new for the 1992 LE with all the options (i.e. awning all around) was ~138k
Besides all the screws and rivets you will need, its important to look at the big ticket items:
The right tires, 8R19.5 $4500.-
The exterior skin $xxxxx
Engine trans $15000
Genny $6000
Refrigerator $2000
2 Roof AC $2000
Windshields $2000
Awnings all around $5000 ++

RUST $deal Killer

Get a quote from your insurance co for full coverage, you may be shocked.

Best to check all that stuff out or better pay someone with the experience to check it out for you

If I had 4 kids, I would pick a newer model 30' Class C with over the cab sleeping quarters. Not all classics have the dinette, which would only give you 2 beds.
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Old 06-07-2020, 03:41 PM   #15
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1991 25' Airstream 250
Oxford , Oxfordshire
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,185
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterH-Airstreamer View Post
only some 1991 models have the 4 gear 4l80e, depends on date of manufacture. The LE option is just to fancy it up which is nor relevant after all this time, like leather furniture, things that never worked right, like auto compartment locks and stuff that needs replacing. Price new for the 1992 LE with all the options (i.e. awning all around) was ~138k
Besides all the screws and rivets you will need, its important to look at the big ticket items:
The right tires, 8R19.5 $4500.-
The exterior skin $xxxxx
Engine trans $15000
Genny $6000
Refrigerator $2000
2 Roof AC $2000
Windshields $2000
Awnings all around $5000 ++

RUST $deal Killer

Get a quote from your insurance co for full coverage, you may be shocked.

Best to check all that stuff out or better pay someone with the experience to check it out for you

If I had 4 kids, I would pick a newer model 30' Class C with over the cab sleeping quarters. Not all classics have the dinette, which would only give you 2 beds.
Well, there is a first time for everything.....I tend to disagree with Peter on the LE point! I agree that some aspects of the LE package e.g. oak galley in kitchen and leather seats will be of no benefit e.g. leather worn through and need replacement, but that LE pack usually included additional awnings plus the Ozite interior fabric (which is great), Corian counters, lambrequin window close outs, exterior graphics, bevelled glass, recessed lighting etc......all of which are winners in my book, particularly if the coach has been well maintained. Mine has the 4L80E which is also a boon. I guess it must have been one of the really first coaches as it was early 1991, unless it was an option at that stage. I had no idea of the differences when I bought it, so lucked out in that respect. Our 250 can cruise at over 60mph at 2000 RPM. Mine was rebuilt at 75k.

Peter is spot on about those chassis items and the exterior though, they have to be the priority prior to purchase.

As the saying goes on the forum, your purchase price is the initial downpayment.....buyer beware.

Saying that, we've had many amazing times in our coach, the kids have grown up with it and it's part of the family. I know that when I am gone, they will look back and talk about the crazy times and adventures we've had. You can't put a price on that stuff. Good luck Nick
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Old 06-07-2020, 04:24 PM   #16
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1994 30' Excella
1992 35' Airstream 350
Austin , Texas
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Well, there is a first time for everything.....I tend to disagree with Peter on the LE point!...

Hehe, Nick, I do like the emblem
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Old 06-07-2020, 04:38 PM   #17
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2019 27' International
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Fort Saunders , Wyoming
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,866
There is a 345 in the parking lot of Las Vegas Airstream.

702-835-8300 5050 E. Russell Road 89122

Zillow the aerial photo of the address. It may show up. Good way to check Dealer's Lots out of town from satellite photos. I find Boondocking campsites. Although no idea of when it was taken.

The 345 has been in the lot for some time. Of course... now everyone knows. They are in Henderson, Nevada.
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Old 06-07-2020, 06:48 PM   #18
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1984 31' Airstream310
Honokaa , Hawaii
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 955
Hereís their ad:


https://www.airstreamlasvegas.com/de...OwnedInventory
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Old 06-14-2020, 03:09 PM   #19
1 Rivet Member
 
1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Carrollton , Georgia
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 14
If you think you want a good 345, let me known. I have an 87 with 31000 miles & all the hard work done.
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Old 06-14-2020, 04:08 PM   #20
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2013 30' International
lubbock , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 274
70/80/90 ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterH-Airstreamer View Post
Hi David, welcome aboard, glad you decided to start posting.
If it wasn't for this forum and all the great people, I would have been stumped many times over.

Sounds like you have the major ingredients to make your dream work: the know how and the desire.
Here is the word of caution: you have 4 kids and safety has to be first. If you go with the Classic Motorhome, be aware of the limited safety features and the need to have a back-up plan . (towing a small vehicle to get mom and the kids to safety whilst you try to fix whatever needs fixing)
I have restored many airstream trailers and i am on my 4th Classic Motorhome.
The trailers are a challenge all by themselves and the learning curve is steep. Combine that with a 70/80/90 drive train and you know you are in for it deep.
The fun and enjoyment out weights a lot of the challenges and you will create lasting memories for your kids.
Go for it and let us know what you decided to start with.

curious about what 70/80/90 refers to.

also, could someone hcompare the difference between the 345le and 350le ? And how does the 325 compare with the others ?
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