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Old 04-28-2013, 09:05 AM   #1
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Craftsmanship and work ethics

As I go through my motor home system by system inspecting, updating, chasing "issues", I'm appalled at some of the workmanship that Airstream let out of their factory. Every hole saw cutout, saw dust, rivet nail, aluminum scrap, wire end, plumbing scrap, and other construction debris was left out of site out of mind. This morning dug into the the entry light that never worked. The wires were too short to do a decent job of hooking them up resulting in a loose connection that nearly caused a fire. I also cleaned out a bunch of debris from under the kitchen cabinet.

Just had to rant!
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:17 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Dakota View Post
As I go through my motor home system by system inspecting, updating, chasing "issues", I'm appalled at some of the workmanship that Airstream let out of their factory. Every hole saw cutout, saw dust, rivet nail, aluminum scrap, wire end, plumbing scrap, and other construction debris was left out of site out of mind. This morning dug into the the entry light that never worked. The wires were too short to do a decent job of hooking them up resulting in a loose connection that nearly caused a fire. I also cleaned out a bunch of debris from under the kitchen cabinet.

Just had to rant!
You gotta keep in mind, that around jackson Center, you either farm, or........work for Airstream.

Part of the new definition of modern technology is...................stuff happens.

But, you also have to keep in mind that there was no extra charge for those addtional options, or perhaps spare parts.

Andy
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:35 AM   #3
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I'm in the process of remodeling a 2006 Safari 25FB and concur with your observations. Removed the dinette and couldn't believe the amount of debris I found. Extra holes in the walls where the installers miss drilled. I also own a 1993 Itasca 23' MH and have done some rework on the layout. Quite frankly, in spite of the koolade drinkers here, the Itasca workmanship and QC is far superior to the AS.
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:36 AM   #4
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Dakota,

Don't feel bad about your coach! It seems to be the 'norm' of the RV industry.

Imagine how you would feel after you just dropped $1.4 - $2 million on a new Newell or Prevost coach, only to be told by the tech (me, in this case) that you have sawdust and other assorted types of debris behind the cabinetry!

They should really class up their act.......especially in these stratospheric price ranges!!!!
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:39 AM   #5
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Been going on a loooooong time.

I have a 1975 Sovereign and have found an amazing amount of debris and screw ups along the way. From what I gather QC has never been a strong point for Airstream, at least not in the past 45 years or so. I have looked at some brand new trailers and can't fathom it either. But when you are the only game in town...

Aaron
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:34 PM   #6
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My first job off the farm, after turning 16 and getting a work permit, was construction. I worked for my uncle building custom homes. I was alway appalled when the guys I worked with thought it was funny putting as much trash as they could in the walls, floors, ceilings, ductwork, etc. Cigaret butts, pop cans, lunch bags, sandwiches... Seemed like their way of " getting even with the man". The trades always left their scrap and trash laying where they made it. Assuming that some minimum wage laborer was going to clean up after them.
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:35 PM   #7
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Ya, found a ton of crap in places that you wouldn't normally see on mine too.
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:42 PM   #8
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I don't care who builds it. There is no pride in workmanship and hasn't been in years.
I often wonder if their house keeping at home is the same.
As for getting even with the "man".
My philosophy has always been. " WHEN YOU GET PAID, YOU ARE EVEN."
There is simply NO EXCUSE!!! For it. Not cleaning up, I mean.
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:58 PM   #9
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I also own a 1993 Itasca 23' MH and have done some rework on the layout. Quite frankly, in spite of the koolade drinkers here, the Itasca workmanship and QC is far superior to the AS.
It would seem that RV manufacturers in general are not very careful. While your Itasca is a better example, the Winnebago Vista I just looked at 26SE model had visible issues with alignment of panels, etc. I am sure that there are exceptions from coach to coach and brand to brand but I think it is just bad workmanship and low personal pride by workers. I too have a 2006 Safari. I have been digging all over the thing the past year. I have found some doozies too. One concern, the laminate flooring was cut too short on one side by the wall- crooked. At first I was afraid it was water or something but closer inspection shows that it was cut narrow and then installed anyway. The slit runs down a portion about a foot. Glad it is under the table so it is not always visible. The only repair would be a new install.
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:13 PM   #10
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At the risk of being totally Pollyannaish, I would hope the folks on the line spend some time in these forums to see just how meaningful their work is to those of us who buy the product. Repetitive tasks can be a drag and even boring after a while, but perhaps knowing how every rivet means something to someone who loves their trailer would help inspire and remember why the work is done in the first place? I know - a bit idealistic - but could it hurt?

Hopefully it's years before I have to tear anything up and when I do, I hope I won't find manufacturing trash in my Airstream. But if I do, I'll just send some photos to Jackson center, clean it up and keep loving my trailer :-)
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:58 PM   #11
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I bought a property from a PO named Ralph. Every possible shortcut had been taken:
*a board might be fastened with a phillips screw, a flat screw, a staple, and what I swear was a old fashioned square handmade nail! Like he had a tin can of old hardware and just fished out what ever came to hand....
*To create an arch in a closet that needed two long vertical supports and one horizontal overhead piece took twelve (12!) pieces of wood proving that there's no such thing as scrap lumber....
*The vertical posts of the pole barn were rotted off on 3 out of 4 posts because they hadn't provided drainage around the uphill (wet) side of the barn...
*The bathroom is the only shower I have ever seen that was lined in drywall and plain wall paper...
*when the contractor went in to redo the bathroom, they started on the ceiling (three, yes, 3 roofs from overlapping additions had the ceiling less than 72 inches from the floor) but then they fell through the floor and decided to start there...
*and so on and so on....
So we developed a few phrases to describe this:
1 RUBAR - Ralphed up beyond all recognition
2 Ralphish
3 De-Ralphing
4 Ralphed

Now I'm planning to check into as many nooks and crannies of the new to me A/S! Whose name do I use to start my new vocabulary? Maybe a list of the guys working line in Jackson Center will help me to figure it out....
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:06 PM   #12
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Well, said SteveSueMac. Each of us whether buying new or used chose Airstream because of design and perceived quality. We want it to last for years to come and for the enjoyment of camping adventure. I am sure someone besides us reads these communications. It is my hope that although we all share each tidbit of challenge that we also are aware that any brand of RV experiences issues as any reader should know. We share and quite often come up with solutions to the challenges of ownership. That is why this forum is so neat. Some RV forums just seem to sit mostly idle. This is the rip snortenist tearin into it group I ever did meet!
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:33 PM   #13
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Maybe, along with some pix, you can package the stuff up and mail it back to them.

John
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:46 PM   #14
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Poor craftsmanship and bad work ethics.

Ok, although there is definitely a worldwide lack of ethics/quality in consumer products, and a lot of trashy workers out there. This sounds like finger pointing at the hourly workers.
I have a unique perspective having been on both sides of the management/ hourly spectrum.
Quality Control, like another substance, flows down hill!
It is my impression that most corporations for the last 30+ years are dedicated to massive profits, sky high salaries and perks for the top dogs, pleasing the majority shareholder, and screwing the customer whenever and wherever possible. If they can get hourly workers at rock bottom wages, with no benefits, so much the better. Dumping older, careful, and experienced craftsmen, in favor of cheaper workers is the norm
The hourly workers will be no better than the leadership they get from their foremen and supervisors, who will be no more responsive than their managers, who will not care any more than the plant/general manager, ad nauseum, ad nauseum, all the way to Wall street or wherever.
Posting here lets of steam, but, when you find something disgusting, stupid or dangerous, write to the President of the company too. Let him know you will vote with your dollars when it is time to move on to another trailer, or motorhome
All the best. Hang in there. Rich.
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