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Old 05-06-2013, 11:53 AM   #127
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I agree with all of the comments regarding value expectations for a premium price point product. Airstream claims a "premium" brand position in the marketplace and with that and the higher costs comes quality expectations.

We don't mind repairing pumps, filters or other wear items on the AS. Those are expected to break with wear.

It is the shoddy production workmanship items that feel unforgivable for the price point - such as poorly caulked showers that leak and damage the floor, screws that are missing or driven in at odd angles and rip the particleboard out, trash left in build areas, missing caulk on ceiling appliances etc. a lot of these items cause damage before caught by the owner and that feels just plain wrong when paying so much for a product - especially since they are simple things to resolve during production and shouldn't cost the manufacturer much more.

I post these feelings in hope that Airstream is reading the forums since I know company monitors forums and tends to address common complaints therein - even more so that individual customer complaints via mail or phone since forum complaints carry more social consumer power....
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:33 PM   #128
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The way Airstream wires the TV installs on the newer trailers. Wires hanging out using stick on wire ways very shoddy. They can't even put the wiring into flex conduit to clean things up. I did, took a couple of hours and about 15 bucks, if you doing this in a production environment I would say 10 min. and 10 bucks.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:40 PM   #129
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I am reasonably happy with our 2005 Classic that we bought used a few years ago.

Although I don't doubt it is better than most i not all other makes in terms of quality, I have been somewhat disillusioned since our purchase - maybe I should have known better! I thought I was buying something closer to perfect than it really is!

If we bought another trailer - I do believe that what I have now learned would ensure that I would not be investing in a new Airstream. I might however consider another used one if the price was right!

I just feel that the increase in quality you get compared to trailers costing less than half as much is quite disproportionate to the price charged. It is far from a linear relationship, ie it seems you pay a lot more for not that much improvement!

Maybe I am expecting too much and perhaps that is the way of things with all products!

I do appreciate that an Airstream is a unique product and will likely last longer and hold its value more than other brands.

As I have said, we are quite happy with our trailer, but For my part I would be pretty bummed out to pay the kind of money that is charged for a new one only to find a bunch of quality issues - and probably filiform corrosion starting within a short time from purchase.

As well, a pet peeve with me since we bought our trailer is that for the money they charge, it still uses a plywood floor - I had not realized that when I bought the trailer and foolishly assumed it was entirely aluminum. Oh well, better than particle board I suppose.

It seems a given that all trailers will develop leaks and that water invariably will find its way to the floor, often unseen for a long time - causing expensive repairs.

There may be some reason (other than cost?) why Airstream continues to use wood, but I would have thought that some form of composition honeycomb/aluminum panel material or similar impervious to water damage would be the thing to use on the Cadillac of trailers!

Another issue is the cheapie skylights that they continue to install. I know they must be aware of the customer complaints and the satisfaction that all users of Maxim skylights have expressed - including me - but as far as I know there has been no reaction or attempt to address this.

I will certainly keep an open mind, and if in future some of these issues are resolved, a new Airstream could still be in our future one day!

Brian.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:47 PM   #130
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New Forum members come along, they buy new trailers (or recent used models), and then they find problems. They are surprised because this is advertised as a premium trailer. They don't understand that QC is so low in RV's that "premium" can mean "mediocre"—and why shouldn't they be surprised?

They new owners post they are disappointed and they have had problems with the trailer or the dealer or both. People who have been here a while answer theirs with suggestions, tell our stories and provide practical and some emotional support. Then we are criticized for answering the newbies. Sometimes the newbies are criticized for having problems too. They may be told RV's are built badly and you have the best of the bunch—that's like telling someone everyone lost 2 legs, but you only lost one in the explosion, so stop feeling bad—how good would you feel being told that?

Any forum will have repetitive posts because some members are new and some old timers want to help. I've seen threads going back 10 years that have the same posts about QC and poor design. I wish I had read more of them in 2007 and looked for a recent model, gently used, at a far better price since someone else would have dealt with the warranty issues. I realize if everyone did that there would be no more new ones, but if everyone did that for 6 months the company might get the message.

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Old 05-06-2013, 05:31 PM   #131
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A$ needs a "swat" team. A bunch of their best to resolve field issues because the corporation hasn't felt it, yet.

I met a fellow who recently got the JC folks to come inspect his NEW A$ because there had been several attempts to repair. I think he is being given a new replacement. Perhaps something to do with us Texans and our LEMON Law???? Guess A$ felt the teeth. ?

Anyway, the problem is getting fixed for one AS owner.

Maybe future builds destined for Texas will be built differently??? One can hope.
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Old 05-06-2013, 06:02 PM   #132
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A$ needs a "swat" team. A bunch of their best to resolve field issues because the corporation hasn't felt it, yet.

One can hope.
Well, as they say, hope is not a strategy

Your idea is really cool! I've read there are 100,500 AS trailers in existence. So what of every AS trailer had an annual tax of $6 levied by AS and that funds 5 FT regional AS road warriors/consultants at $100k/yr and their regional travel budget (on the road in AS products one would imagine).

Or, how about folks in this forum with deep experience get a free 2 week training program at the factory, $1k/yr worth of AS products/services and pre-market test privileges in exchange for volunteering in their locale as AS Ambassadors...

Or perhaps dealers could be incented to improve quality of delivery with additional support/resources for 99% defect free delivery and penalties for anything less than that - and they can leverage the volunteer ambassador force mentioned above....

Maybe they could also read the AirForums faithfully and incent staff who identify cost effective solutions to the most common problems?

Maybe they should build a volunteer board of advisors out of members in this forum?

I dunno - I'd be willing to pay $6-10/yr as a tax to fund some accelerated improvements. Should I? Absolutely not. But again - hope is not a strategy.
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:14 PM   #133
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If Airstream was a nonprofit, then a donation of several bucks a year might make sense, but since it is a for profit and makes plenty of bucks for Thor, I think I'll save my several bucks. Interesting idea, nevertheless.

Dealers do get paid by the company to make sure everything is fine on the trailers, but it is pure profit if they don't bother, and then the customer comes back for warranty work and they get paid again. The incentive is there, enforcement is not. I would think warranty costs for the company would be much higher at some dealers than others and they would need to be watched, but are they?

Keep thinking of ways to improve the situation. It is hard to find solutions when the company has been stubborn. Some are reading threads, but change comes very, very slowly.

Gene
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:12 PM   #134
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As a (relatively) new owner .... I've had my 2012 for 18 months -- I can only share my experience. Oh, and I've taken 9 trips, one that I just finished last week was 4 full weeks and 6,400 miles worth. While I don't have OCD, i do expect everything to work to spec, and if it doesn't I get it fixed, or more usually, fix it myself. Is my trailer as perfect as I'd like it? No. It bugs me to see that some of the electrical outlets aren't perfectly level, and I did have to replace a furnace motor when the tail end of a rivet took out about 16 blades from the fan -- but I have yet to take it back to the dealer for repairs. Because of guys on here like Doug and Lew, I've replaced (or upgraded) a lot of stuff internal to the trailer. Other things I've done have been personal preference....FLOR carpet tiles, new draperies, bedspread, etc. I learned the hard way that the roller shades must be rolled EXACTLY right or you'll fray the edges really fast. Overall, though, I'd give the folks in JC who built it a B+ for QA. Oh, and I've been to the factory twice. First time in 2011, then again in 2012. My career has been in leadership development. My thumbnail assessment of the workforce based on folks I talked to was that they like what they are doing. Given the current situation of high demand for product and the need to build more trailers, well I wonder how that will work out. (Oh, and I wonder if all those ENORMOUS 5th wheelers I see everywhere are doing....especially the ones with 5 slides!) Guess I know why every single trailer park I stayed in for a month had "RV Repair" advertisements in their handouts. I surely didn't need any!
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:19 PM   #135
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A$ needs to be faced with a viable competitor. Like the big 3 Automakers were faced with in the '60's and '70's.
I think it has to come to that before they get the message. Because people keep buying them based on the name. Knowing nothing about the actual product. But finding out the hard way. That, just because you pay more, doesn't mean you get more.
I keep thinking about how they are sold with the idea of aircraft design. How many airplanes do you know that have plywood or OSB floors? And how they are defended by saying things like. They spend their lives outside, being dragged down the road. Running gear being out of balance. And the list goes on giving reasons for the problems.
Isn't that the reason we buy an RV? To spend time outside and maybe even off the beaten path. Which in my mind is the reason we hitch it up and pull it behind us.
Names like Safari, Flying Cloud, and Overlander. Imply that they are meant for adventure and travel.
Camping for 2 days or more at Jackson Center to do what the A$ people should being doing to make sure your unit will be reasonably trouble free is not my idea of an adventure.
If I was as dealer, having to take care of problems that should have been taken care of before the unit left the factory. I would be on the phone raising hell. I know they make money on the warrantee repairs. But what cost is there to the company, when the job has to be done over and perhaps more than once. That money could have been put into the dealers pocket for selling the unit in the first place.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:09 AM   #136
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Still looking for that loose candy wrapper and when I do I'll be sure to tell everyone about it, with photo evidence.

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I think you are trying to belittle some legitimate gripes.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:34 AM   #137
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Doug, I haven't found any construction debris In my 2012 or in my 2005 and that is a fact, if I do find any I will also take a picture. I have inspected all tne voids I can get access to. I have had a few Issues but all minor.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:42 AM   #138
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I'm glad some people have few or no problems.

Those that do, whether it be poor workmanship, bad QC, bad design, trash, garbage or bad dealers have real issues.

The wide differences between different people's experiences says to me some workers are good and others are not; management is doing a spotty job, and cost cuts have many results.

Gene
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:56 AM   #139
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I'm glad some people have few or no problems.

Those that do, whether it be poor workmanship, bad QC, bad design, trash, garbage or bad dealers have real issues.

The wide differences between different people's experiences says to me some workers are good and others are not; management is doing a spotty job, and cost cuts have many results.

Gene
Gene, you are correct, I have high standards as I expect anyone that purchases an Airstream new or used has, isnít that why we buy them to begin with? I think the trailers are a unique American Icon and a work of art. I have been lucky and have had few issues and no candy wrappers.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:07 PM   #140
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I purchased mine used...very used.

But I also planned on having to put a fair bit of sweat equity into it too. I found the factory screwups more interesting rather than a heart burn. I have completely gutted mine and am working on getting the bones of the trailer to my satisfaction then I will be doing some minor upgrades as I put things back together. The fact that an Airstream can be completely disassembled and then rebuilt is a huge plus in my opinion. The fact they charge a premium price for a mediocre product is another story. I have owned and worked on a wide range of RV's over the years. Airstream is no where near the bottom of the QC pool, but they ain't leading the pack either. One of the better overall product lines I have seen over the years has been the Heartland Bighorn line, however they got bought by someone and greatly expanded their product line with a correlated hit to QC. Another company that built some very nice units for the price with decent attention to detail was Sunline. Unfortunately they were purchased by someone that was greedy and the company has since folded. Coleman made great popups until they got bought by Fleetwood and the bean counters took over.

Aaron
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