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Old 03-26-2009, 08:40 PM   #827
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I just did a Google search for problems with Airstream and I did another one with Airstream problems......

Problem (or problems) with Airstream, this thread was the number #1 hit listed

Airstream problems, this thread was the #3 hit listed

Doing a Yahoo search for problems with Airstream were in spots #8 and #9. Taking out the s in problems with Airstream put it at #4.

It did not show a link here if you typed Airstream problems

So it's out there for sure...folks doing any web based research will see this. Might not read all 60 pages, but it's all here and it is showing up and near the top of the major search engines.

Back around late 2006 Google had over 49% of the search engine market, and Yahoo had about 24%. Not sure where these two are today, but I would suspect that Google is at or above, but that is just a guess.
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:50 PM   #828
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dmac has nailed it about the role of the internet. It's getting stronger all the time. I regularly check reviews of all sorts of products before buying them. The internet is changing things faster than we know.

Would I have bought an Airstream now, 1 1/2 years after we did buy one? I don't know. I think I would have been more cautious. The number of people who post on this thread and other QC threads and say they will not buy a new one is increasing rapidly in the past few months. There must be many, many more who don't post and also don't buy since only zealots post their complaints.

That Google search that Silvertwinkie just did should wake someone up.

Gene
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:01 PM   #829
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Quote:
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I know that We will tolerate a missing screw, a defective appliance, or even poor tires - because each of these can be fixed! We will not tolerate the rapid self destruction of the basic shell of the trailer - that cannot be fixed! As owners we can be Airstream's best salespeople, or their worst nightmare. It is (well past) time for them to deal with it, or surely Airstream will pass into Corporate history.
Well said
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:11 PM   #830
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I disagree with the statement that the shell of an airstream cannot be fixed. It certainly can be fixed when this kind of corrosion occurs. I guess that a lot of people who buy new are of the opinion that this is true, but those of us in the vintage frame of mind know that it can. We do this kind of thing to old trailers all the time. It shouldn't have to be done on a new trailer though.

I believe that the statement about Airstream passing into history is accurate though. The way I see it, they passed into history when they were bought by a major SOB manufacturer. How can Airstream be something better than their parent company? The way they do business is guided and governed by the owners and they are the same people who are making a large number of "other trailers" with the style and quality that you thought you were avoiding when you purchased an Airstream.
I still have hope that the company can pull their pants up and get past this disgusting period in their history. It looks more unlikely as time, and this thread goes on.

The current economy has probably taken more of a toll on Airstream than this thread has, just due to the number of people who can no longer even consider a purchase of this type. I do not mean to discount the efforts of the good folks who are contributing here. This is , I'm certain, having an effect at Airstream, and the more it does, the more likely it will affect a change in the companies attitude toward those who make it possible for them to have a place to go to work each day. Right now it seems that "screw the customer" is the general attitude as far as this issue goes, and as a business model, that's really hard to maintain for very long.

For those who haven't been to Airstreams website, this is how they are portraying themselves to potential buyers:


Because Airstreams can easily last 40 years and more, rather than the conventional trailer's typical life of 15 years. When you amortize the purchase price over its length of service, an Airstream actually costs less to own than other trailers. Over 70% of all Airstreams ever made are still on the road today!



A perfect example would be the true story of the Scheuermann family and the travel trailer that became a family heirloom.
Read the story here.


Because Airstreams hold their value: resale prices are much higher than comparable trailers, sometimes as high as the original purchase price or more, so your Airstream is a good investment.


Because when you tow an Airstream, you feel a sense of pride of ownership that you just don't experience when you're towing a typical box trailer. Other Airstreamers flash their lights, you draw smiles from passersby… you will find it hard to stop at a rest area or gas station without getting drawn into a conversation with a stranger about your Airstream.

And right on their homepage "THE WORLD'S FINEST TRAVEL TRAILERS"

I can't decide, right now, if that makes me angry for the misleading B.S that this creed has become, or sad for the loss of such a great idea that Wally Byam created when he started and built these wonderful, beautiful, FRIGGIN' AMAZING things.

I love my Airstream.

Rich
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:25 AM   #831
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I disagree with the statement that the shell of an airstream cannot be fixed. It certainly can be fixed when this kind of corrosion occurs.
So far nobody has come up with a way to fix the filiform problem on a late model Airstream. For a while the factory was replacing panels, wheels, and other components under warranty... but even that was not a real fix, because the filiform comes right back!
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Old 03-27-2009, 08:30 AM   #832
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The process is the same used on old Airstreams. Strip, polish, re-seal or leave it un-sealed.

If by fix, you mean to make it a non maintanance item, that will never be the case and never was.
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:16 AM   #833
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I just finished polishing my Airstream. The filaform is more severe at the front and rear areas, where spray from my tow vehicle tires, the trailers' tires, and road traffic, hits the trailer. It is mainly on the belt line, but there are small spots on panels as well. Thank goodness I have rock guard panels on the front of the trailer, where it could have really been bad.

There is to much of this to treat locally, I need a systemic treatment. Going to try and wax it a lot and use the ACF-50 Corrosion Block, until I hear of a better treatment.

Although the problem is widespread, if you don't look closely, within a foot or so, the trailer looks fine.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:35 PM   #834
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Hey WV...sorry to hear you too have the issue.

I agree, waxing the heck out of it and trying topical solutions seems like the only solution outside of stripping and re-coating (of course there is always panel replacement and or panel overlay, but same issue can re-appear quickly since the same methods of production are done to fix the unit as was the case when the unit was first built).

Here is what someone posted earlier as to where this can go. Though you unit and mine have the initial stages, these pics are what it can turn into.....as you can see it becomes less and less benign over time and circumstances. Keep in mind these pics are from a 2007 as well.....
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:47 PM   #835
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I believe that the statement about Airstream passing into history is accurate though. The way I see it, they passed into history when they were bought by a major SOB manufacturer. How can Airstream be something better than their parent company?
Airstream has pretty strong brand recognition and brands have intangible value, sometimes significant value. Thor seems to leave the Airstream brand on it's own-- it's very hard to find any association to Thor on the Airstream website. Rather than suffer significant losses on a single product line to correct design mistakes, I suspect their board would be more likely to spin off the Airstream brand.

A new owner of the Airstream division would have a pretty easy time saying, "I'm sorry, the past clearcoat problems are because Thor made some engineering mistakes. We have corrected those going forward, but we will not accept liability for these mistakes from the previous company owner." haven't looked at Thor's annual report. Does anyone know what percentage comes from airstream vs. other RVs vs. their commercial bus lines? I suspect Thor might only break even on Airstream and keep it running just because of the brand value.

If so should the comments on this thread be directed more to Thor instead of Airstream? Would that just increase the chance they'd sell the division/brand? Would existing or new Airstsream owners be better or worse off if a different, likely smaller company was the owner? The Airstream brand could have more value to a fresh owner who could claim immunity from the mistakes of thier predecessor and move forward. The 8 years of poor aluminum finish could fade in the background of the 77 year brand history, particularly if the underlying life expectancy of the 2000-2009 trailers remain similar to the older models.
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:35 AM   #836
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Wade F.B. Thompson was quoted in Fortune Magazine a few years ago stating how they run the sibling companies.

I seem to recall him saying something to the effect (not a direct quote) that they can build pink trailers, as long as they sell. This leads me to believe that even though Thor's offices are based near or on the Jackson Center property, they do not get too involved in micro managing the sibling companies. Airstream was the first company Thor picked up and it was from Beatrice Foods who was the owner prior to Thor. After Airstream was picked up, Thor bought up about 4 or 5 others to where they are today.

I don't know what the build out of the other brands Thor owns, but I recall at the hayday a few years back, the factory was at or near full capacity and somewhere around 2000 units per year were leaving the Jackson Center facility. I'm pretty certain that with the way things are, that 2000/year number is going to be significantly less this year. I also recall someone digging into the financial info since Thor is public and their warranty costs a few years back (all brands) were just way astronomical out of sight (as I believe other RV builders were as well). Having now owned two new Airstreams, outside the corrosion issue, I can attest that both units had significant QC/warranty issues. I traded the 03 thinking it was a fluke, but my 04 had about 19-20 items, and new ones coming up all the time....some Airstream related, others supplier related, about and 80-20 split (80% Airstream- 20% supplier--again, outside of the corrosion discussion).

I do not believe Thor normally breaks even on Airstream (this year as an exception.... breaking even in the RV business is a gift lately). Profits are expected from all the lines. I don't get the sense that Wade Thompson or his partner would allow the brand to just tread water.

I doubt very seriously Thor would ever part with the crown jewel of the trailer business. If they did and got someone like Wally back that would not tolerate the kinds of things going on lately, the product would be better far for it IMHO. Unfort, the days of Wally are long gone....as corp conglomerates pick up everything from soup to nuts, a lot of the history becomes just that, history and sadly a numbers game.
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Old 04-04-2009, 04:07 AM   #837
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I used my dremmel tool and a mini wire brush to scrub off corrosion on the tail/brake light covers. I think that a little silver paint touch up over the raw aluminum is in order.
Rather than trial and error, has anyone had experience, or have knowledge of, a paint brand or code that best matches the newer AS's?

Thanks, Tom W
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Old 04-04-2009, 05:22 AM   #838
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I think that a little silver paint touch up over the raw aluminum is in order.
You wont get a good match from any pigmented paint. Try clear... still wont match because corrosion removal changes the appearance of the aluminum, but it seems to be the best we can do.
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Old 04-04-2009, 09:29 AM   #839
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henw View Post
I used my dremmel tool and a mini wire brush to scrub off corrosion on the tail/brake light covers. I think that a little silver paint touch up over the raw aluminum is in order.
Rather than trial and error, has anyone had experience, or have knowledge of, a paint brand or code that best matches the newer AS's?

Thanks, Tom W
Tom,

Check posts 489 & 493. It's a labor intensive procedure, but I think results were worth it. Should work on the tail lights also. No paint involved on the battery door frames.

Good Luck

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Old 04-04-2009, 11:53 AM   #840
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The results posted on 489 and 493 are great! I'm not familiar with wet sanding. Is it simply keeping the sandpaper wet?

Tom
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