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Old 06-22-2012, 01:51 AM   #127
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Wow, excellent thread! Here is my 2 cents albeit as a more recent owner:
Biggest concern? Shell corrosion. This is a serious product issue that is a durability time bomb. What about marine grade aluminum 6060, 6061?

Change the floor material. What is ComposiTek? Consider a durable flooring alternative not susceptible to rot and lighter.

Keep the quality up. Build fewer differences (lengths, trims) if you have to consolidate for cost but keep that quality up. Drop insignificant differences like tail lights, etc,
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Old 06-22-2012, 06:24 AM   #128
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[QUOTE]Smaller than the 16/19/20 ? Lighter - where would the weight be taken off? Good idea if it can be implemented at an affordable price .../QUOTE]

Nothing is free. If you want lighter you might have to go with an aluminum frame and no or very little wood. That would mean using more composite materials. I am a shallow water fisherman and have a 17 foot skiff that weighs very little. It is made of composite materials and even has an all aluminum and stainless trailer underneath it. The starting battery weighs 24 pounds. The batteries for the trolling motor[two], are smaller and lighter than a group 24 battery but have more power and storage than two group 27's. All the technology is there, it just depends on if AS wants to take advantage of it and customers are willing to pay for it. My skiff is now 10 years old and has been used exclusively in salt water. I have never had to repair anything on it including electrical. If you want to build the best using the best technology it is possible.
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:17 AM   #129
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I do not believe the shell corrosion is a durability time bomb. It is a cosmetic issue., and yes should be addressed. Jim
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:36 AM   #130
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Suggestion Box

I would like to see all new airstreams come with a omnidirectional TV antenna. This would eliminate the need to crank up the current style and no longer have to turn the antenna to search for stations. Also eliminates the need for add on items like the sensor pro and bat wing attachments that many folks currently use. This would be cost effective, a reduction in weight and would eliminate the chance someone would travel with the antenna extended.
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:36 AM   #131
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My comments are garnered from working on and using 3 different trailers from the 1980’s and 1990’s, inspecting new ones and visiting the factory so take this for what it is worth. I love the Airstream product but take what you currently have and address the quality of manufacturing.
-

  • Front hold down plate to eliminate front end separation
  • Airstreams are built “by hand” but these could be engineered out using drawings with dimensions versus just putting a hole here or there where ever the person on the assembly line feels like doing that particular day. I’m sure the service guys could help with where to put properly sized access panels (no easy way to change out the umbilical cord). Have you ever had to work on the trap beneath the shower? I had to remove the bed and then cut in an access panel. In both the 89’ - 29’ model and 94’ - 30’ model I can barely access the valves for the fresh water system drains.
  • A more thorough job of inspecting all elements of the trailer construction especially seams that are caulked.
  • I like the way the factory is now using a CNC machine to make cut outs in the skins. This will help quality.
  • Put butyl tape or something like this between the bottom of the frame and belly pan to alleviate galvanic reaction.
  • Put a few louvers with screens in the belly pan so it can breathe and properly drain when moisture is present.
  • Search out what other companies do that are successful in manufacturing and how to motivate the employees to doing a better job on fit and finish. I’m certain Airstream has some good people on the Assembly line, maybe more training and some incentives associated with quality work could help them.
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:29 AM   #132
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Lugnuts: when I tightened the lugnuts years ago on ours for the first time, they seemed never to get properly tight. I asked about this on the Forum and found they were two piece—a chromed cap on the nut which would loosen and feel wrong. I'd never seen these before and apparently they cost less than solid lugnuts. I ended up buying solid ones. I understand the caps can fall off.

So, the suggestion is solid lugnuts.

Something that has been alluded to in various posts a few times is reducing the number of trim lines and sizes. This should reduce costs. Airstream has promoted "hand made" as a plus, but hand made is not automatically superior if the hands are not properly trained and QC is not enforced. Today robots can do a better job for lots of things. I don't know whether robots are cost effective, but has this been looked into?

This leads to 4 suggestions, some made before and many times:
1. Reduce number of trim lines and/or sizes (this contradicts my previous suggestion of a boondocking line, but this is brainstorming),
2. Check out robots,
3. Training,
4. QC enforcement.

Schu, where are you?

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Old 06-22-2012, 10:53 AM   #133
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fltlevel510 View Post
I would like to see all new airstreams come with a omnidirectional TV antenna. This would eliminate the need to crank up the current style and no longer have to turn the antenna to search for stations. Also eliminates the need for add on items like the sensor pro and bat wing attachments that many folks currently use. This would be cost effective, a reduction in weight and would eliminate the chance someone would travel with the antenna extended.

You mean you can turn the antenna to search for stations? Im assuming you have to climb on the roof to do this? My wife will be overjoyed if we get additional channels some times. But im still going to look for bat wing attachment to perhaps up my digital signal strength
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:55 AM   #134
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Smaller than the 16/19/20 ? Lighter - where would the weight be taken off? Good idea if it can be implemented at an affordable price ...
They could go back to making smaller lighter trailers like they did in the 60's. A 17 foot 1966 Caravel weighed 2350 pounds with a hitch weight of 250 pounds. The trailers of that era were much lighter than they are now. It would be nice if they built a few models for those who don't need or want a large, heavy trailer. They're getting there with the sport models.
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:08 AM   #135
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Thumbs up Great thread!

I really appreciate the constructive way in which this thread was started. We're camping again, so I'll condense my comments for now. My only suggestions at the time are:

A premium product should have premium components. Some examples: The cabinet/closet door latches are rather generic, and nearly every one in the trailer has required either replacement or modification, and the remaining originals require constant adjustment. The vent covers are, literally, the cheapest available on the market (about $12 at Camping world). We are on our third one, and it's cracked. However, I have looked for more durable replacements, and short of getting another fantastic fan, there seems to be little available in this style. If anyone has found one (new style Jensen, I believe), please let me know. Spend the extra nickle each, and put stainless screws in the clearance lights. Every one of them rusted, and have been replaced.

Be consistent in warranty repairs. In my eyes, the following seriously undermine your credibility:
-Tales of cutting repair deals with some owners, and not others, that have the same issues.
-Having certain people sign non-disclosure agreements for out of warranty work.
-In one case I know of (from this forum), sending techs to a dealership to repair an owners Airstream. I was told I would have to go to Jackson Center, on my dime, to get them to repair my sagging, discolored headliner under warranty. How does one sign up for that type of premium service?

Fix the filliform corrosion issues. Despite a myriad of other quality control and build issues, this is the only one that prevents me from buying another new Airstream. The quality issue has been common knowledge for several years, and should be addressed. Regardless of how Airstream classifies this (cosmetic?), it is a well documented factory defect, and should be covered by the warranty.
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:34 AM   #136
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goal15 View Post
You mean you can turn the antenna to search for stations? Im assuming you have to climb on the roof to do this? My wife will be overjoyed if we get additional channels some times. But im still going to look for bat wing attachment to perhaps up my digital signal strength
You sure can....if you have this model antenna.

Bob
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:38 AM   #137
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You sure can....if you have this model antenna.

Bob

Bob

thanks, i will check my manuals at home to see if mine will do that. would have never thought that the plate would pull down to rotate antenna....

Thanks
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:44 AM   #138
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The omnidirectional antanna looks to me to be a wind sail. The surface pull may cause problems with stressing the attatchment point.

The only thing that REALLY bugs me about my new coach is the Front street side compartment hatch door cables. In the door open position the cables cut right into the gasket material and gouge it out. Now this is poor poor design. Are you AS guys listening? To design a part that essentially destroys another part as part of it's function is sloppy at best. I cut them off and made a side slide bracket that works well and will not destroy this very important hatch gasket.

Oh, and one more thing. The mirror above the sink in the bathroom. This heavy mirror bonded to this plywood does not work well. The sheer size and weight of this should dictate another way of lifting it. My wife already broke it once. It should be much more robust. Attatching something this heavy with small screws is the cheap way out. I will probably replace the whole top hinge with a piano type. Why can't this be done at the factory? I'd like to see a recall on both of these design errors. The mirror is heavy enough to be dangerous.

Dan













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Old 06-22-2012, 12:02 PM   #139
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Thumbs up

Dan,

Thanks for reminding me....

I wrapped those dern cables when I installed the non-slip on the inside of the
dorz, yanked out the carpet and fixed the leeks....


Am also considering something like this when I run out of the cheep plastic OEM latches AS sent me.

BTW...those latches last a lot longer if aligned properly.


Bob
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Old 06-22-2012, 12:26 PM   #140
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[QUOTE=danlehosky;1164403]The omnidirectional antanna looks to me to be a wind sail. The surface pull may cause problems with stressing the attatchment point.

The only thing that REALLY bugs me about my new coach is the Front street side compartment hatch door cables.

Dan
Quote:

Dan's post brings 2 things to mind.

1. Our compartment is on the curbside. The cable attach to the door with some rivets and my lesson early on was not to put any weight on the door or they will break off the rivets. So, don't put something on the door while putting it in or taking it out, and if I have to reach far in to get something, don't touch the door (that can be really hard). Some other kind of system is called for.

2. I suppose the flying saucer TV antenna could be made to telescope in and out of a flange (is that the right word?) and that would stop the wind sail problem. But that would create another penetration to crank it by hand, unless it went up and down electrically, and that increases cost and chances of repairs. Along with that is the satellite TV thing—we don't need it, but a lot of people do. A nice simple dome that could receive any satellite provider if such a thing exists would be nice. At the least, pre-wired HDMI cable to the roof. I'm not sure, but I think the company has started using HDMI in the trailer—am I correct?

Dana, yes, you can turn the antenna.

Posts continue to reflect dissatisfaction with dealers, lack of places for authorized warranty work and inconsistent application of warranties. I know of two Airstream owners who got serious work done (front end separation after warranty*) if they agreed to not post about it on the Forum. I don't know if there was a time limit on that, but eventually one of them did post about it.

There is little doubt that some people know how to approach a company and get what they want—sometimes it is being friendly and reasonable, sometimes a threat of going public or worse (i.e., litigation), maybe a blend. Others don't ask and thus don't get anything, or they give up too quickly, especially if they have a dealer who doesn't care much. A lot of this gets posted here and the company suffers a reputation hit which costs more than really good service.

There an old story about Home Depot. When the company was younger (pre-Nardelli days), they would take just about any return without any paperwork. The story was that someone brought some tires to return and HD took them. HD has never sold tires, but the story is worth far more than the tires in good feelings toward HD. Of course, Nardelli took over and wrecked that good reputation, but it is recovering and now we go into their stores again.

That's the kind of reputation a company wants—it will go to extraordinary length to satisfy all its customers.

Gene

*Front end separation is not only a warranty item, but a product liability issue. Separation is caused by design defects and company liability for this extends far beyond the warranty period. The company should acknowledge this publicly and make sure anyone who has the problem gets it fixed properly at company expense. "Properly" means braces inside as well as elephant ears outside.












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