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Old 04-28-2013, 07:49 PM   #15
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Thanks limeyrich. You're right and I should not have left the full chain of command out of the picture.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:04 PM   #16
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I'm not sure that the issue is craftmanship or work ethics. When we toured the Aistream plant about 1 1/2 years ago, there didn't seem to be any issue with craftmanship (everyone seemed to be able to handle the job they were assigned) or worker morale (which would result in poor ethics). Most people were happy to show you what they were doing, and would stop to answer a question. However, management pressures to minimize time spent during the build result in pressure to just get the job done and move to the next one. A little sawdust and some extra screws, as I have found in my Bambi, are to be expected because of this. Enlightened manufacturers enable a worker to stop the line to get something right without retribution, and most car manufacturers seem to have adopted this approach. Most of the quality issues raised here seem to be on units more than 10 years old. It seems that Airstream is doing a better job today, based on the feedback and reviews that I've read here from newer unit owners.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:07 PM   #17
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Have to agree with Rich; it's all about the bottom line. Squeeze some costs and boost the profit, it's basic economics. The shareholders at Thor Industries aren't too concerned because I don't suppose too many Airstream sales are lost because of poor QC -bad Airstream may be, but they're still no worse than anyone else.

I remember watching one of my little houses in England being built; they're all cinder block and brick there. The brickies just tossed their part bricks, tie-ins, un-used mortar, beer cans and the like, over their shoulder into the ever growing pile of waste at the bottom of the scaffold. That pile of waste was never removed but it was spread flat across the yard and covered with six inches of topsoil. For years afterwards I was picking building debris out of the garden; the brickies don't care because they get paid to lay bricks, not clean up, and the building company saved a bundle not taking the debris away - it's all about the bottom line.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:32 PM   #18
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My Father and Mother's words still haunt me. Their words were 'If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right'.

So to this day I will build things and clean things with no short cuts. I will use screws and counter sink just to make it look better. I clean the engine of my truck with a cloth and a little cleaner.

Ugh - what a curse. I could never work for any trailer builder.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:38 PM   #19
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I think they are getting better. We toured Jackson Center last fall, looked in several trailers during various stages of production, and chatted briefly with some of the workers. It was encouraging.

Credit must go to Bob Wheeler. Since he has been at the helm there have been steady improvements in the design and build. It's not happening overnight, but it's happening.

Our 2012 Airstream is a considerable step up in quality, design, and some materials over our 2007.

doug k
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:17 PM   #20
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My Father and Mother's words still haunt me. Their words were 'If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right'.

So to this day I will build things and clean things with no short cuts. I will use screws and counter sink just to make it look better. I clean the engine of my truck with a cloth and a little cleaner.

Ugh - what a curse. I could never work for any trailer builder.
That's the way I was brought up. My dad was self employed and relied on word of mouth and reputation. I've always worked to the best of my ability. It's always served me well. If you resent your job, you should move on. That's why it annoys me to see shoddy workmanship.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:42 PM   #21
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I factory ordered our Safari.25 FB in January of 2006. At that time, dealers were selling every AS on the lot and discounts were few and far between. One has to wonder if the 2008 Recession was a wake up call for AS when sales dropped and perceived value became an important customer watchword. In reading through similar threads, it seems that there are fewer complaints about post-recession Airstreams than those built prior to the fall of 2008.

Sometimes I think that it might make sense to have have a seperate thread devoted to late model Airstreams. The mindset of AS owners with models built 20, 30 or even 50 years ago is considerably different than first time buyers with units less than 10 years old.
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:46 PM   #22
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I factory ordered our Safari.25 FB in January of 2006. At that time, dealers were selling every AS on the lot and discounts were few and far between. One has to wonder if the 2008 Recession was a wake up call for AS when sales dropped and perceived value became an important customer watchword. In reading through similar threads, it seems that there are fewer complaints about post-recession Airstreams than those built prior to the fall of 2008.

Sometimes I think that it might make sense to have have a seperate thread devoted to late model Airstreams. The mindset of AS owners with models built 20, 30 or even 50 years ago is considerably different than first time buyers with units less than 10 years old.
You may be right. Our 2011 Serenity had no major QC issues and was reasonably clean (apart from sawdust) even in the hidden areas, like under the fridge. The stapling of the Velcro for the dinette seat cushions did look like it had been done with an office stapler, and the mounting of the mechanism for the dinette table required refitting with longer screws (both issues remedied by the dealer), but that was all. Maybe more stuff will come to light later but so far it's not been too bad. My beef on quality is the standard of the bought in items, but that's not what this thread's about.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:29 PM   #23
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You may be right. Our 2011 Serenity had no major QC issues and was reasonably clean (apart from sawdust) even in the hidden areas, like under the fridge. The stapling of the Velcro for the dinette seat cushions did look like it had been done with an office stapler, and the mounting of the mechanism for the dinette table required refitting with longer screws (both issues remedied by the dealer), but that was all. Maybe more stuff will come to light later but so far it's not been too bad. My beef on quality is the standard of the bought in items, but that's not what this thread's about.
The Airstream body and the Spartan chassis were very professionally built. The mating of the two and installation on the accessories was very amateur at best. I'm an electrical engineer and aircraft mechanic. Today I straightened out another problem. The condenser fans for the dash a/c were wired to the coach battery instead of the engine batteries. It was causing the fans to run anytime the ignition was turned on and an intended tie between the two systems. Plus the temp and pressure compressor cut out were totally bypassed. That's the 3rd major factory oopsy I've had to correct.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:50 PM   #24
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I do not agree with the idea that the newer ones are built with higher quality control but the idea of cutting costs is all too familiar. Anyone who attended the Tampa Super RV show and also the Sarasota Rally and visited the 27 (or possibly) 28 foot rear bed model AND walked around the bed would agree that something was wrong with that one. The floor popped and moved up and down on the left side of the bed as you walked in to the bedroom. There were other things too like crooked lockers on another rig. I like Airstream but I do not see better quality in the newer product. My opinion is that little has changed. At the rally we were told at the Factory session that they were putting neoprene washers under rivets the last couple years but other than mostly layout, I would say that most changes would be to make it less cost to build. The washer comment came when woman in the front of the room shared about her leaking Flying Cloud. As a matter of fact, I noticed that the International on display had canvas curtains instead of the enclosed shades. I asked about it and was told by a rep that those went out a few years back- news to me. When I was shopping those were in every International and I thought they were part of the trim package of that model. I guess they WERE. One of the small units on display had filliform corrosion on the handle and the side left of the door. We can and do enjoy our AS but we should not let up sharing how to improve them, point out the issues to AS and watch for responsive action.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:02 PM   #25
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Don't want to rain on the parade here, but this is the byproduct of high production. Pride in workmanship is there, but it is summarily suppressed by management. At the end of the day its how much product did we push thru the funnel, and if it is enough, the stock price goes up. There is no longer value in workmanship, only in the shareholders portfolio. Sad.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:08 PM   #26
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Phrunes, you are dead on. That is why, as a consumer, you cannot be just blindly brand loyal- expecting quality just by name alone. Choose what you want but inspect it carefully before signing on the dotted line. It is that way with just about anything.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:09 PM   #27
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I did a little checking. Thor Industries (Airstreams owners) cut the work force from 400 to 160. This year they have been bringing back laid off employees. It's no wonder quality is down. Less than half of the workers have to do all of the work. The CEO took home 1.6 millon dollars.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:15 PM   #28
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Fire the CEO and they could have paid 25 workers a living wage.

Some products trancend a "bad economy". There are plenty of folks like the CEO who have been unaffected. Stands to reason then that they should boost production...not alienate paying customers with the cash to buy. ECON101.
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