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Old 06-28-2012, 09:07 AM   #169
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These LED lamps are available from WestMarine and many other outlets. Also available in white. Yes, they are a good local flood lite.


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Here is a suggestion for an exterior sewer light. My trailer had the typical round license plate light and I replaced it last month with a mini LED license plate light. This little light gives off an incredible amount of light. The holes for the screws are the same width as the previous light that is mounted to the stainless steel rectangle. I also put one of these on the tongue jack.

LED Strip Lights, Accent Lighting & LED Modules - Super Bright LEDs


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Old 06-28-2012, 09:41 AM   #170
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BA (Before Airstream), I owned a TrailManor trailer. It was a folding, hard-sided rig that expanded to a 31' equivalent length, but was light enough to be towed by a lighter vehicle. In many ways it was a maintenance disaster, but there were a lot of construction details that saved considerable weight and could be used in an Airstream. Here are two features that I admired.
  1. Counter tops were 3/4" foam with 1/8" vacuum plywood bonded to both sides along with wood strips on the edges. Masonite was vacuum bonded to the top and edges, making it look just like Airstream counter tops with a fraction of the weight.
  2. The floor was 4" foam with plywood vacuum bonded on both sides and a layer of aluminum bonded to the top side to prevent heels from sinking in. Wood strips were bonded in on the edges and where needed for local stresses. Cutouts were made in the foam as needed for structural members, batteries, fridge vents, etc. The floor was always warm and there was no exposed wood that was not treated with epoxy.
With all the problems I had with the folding mechanism and roof leakage, the above items stand out in my mind as worthwhile.
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:21 AM   #171
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Well since aviation has been mentioned several times I will add my two cents about the CATAIA (Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application) System that many aircraft manufacturers have been using for several years. Especially the ergonomic function of the design program which allows manufacturers design equipment that is easy to operate and maintain. This is especially important in the aviation industry where time is so important. Access panels are placed in easy reach of the maintenance staff. The size of the persons hand is considered and also if they are wearing gloves in the winter. Consideration is given to whether or not you will have to bend over or twist your body to access a part for repair. Now consider the average middle age or older Airstream owner bending over with his drill or worse the hand crank lowering the stabilizer jacks. Worse yet try to access the gray or black flush valves to repair or replace. Try removing a headliner just because a wire has chaffed and shorted. Or review many of the forum post and look at the number of ways folks have had to maneuver themselves to make a very simple repair.
OK, I'm going to go with CATIA (One less A). I've forgotten what the acronym stands for, but it's French. CATIA is a product of Dassault Systèmes, a subsidiary of Dassault Group; makers of the Mirage fighter, other military aircraft, and parent company of Falcon Jet. Really a premier CAD product. For a really good idea of who uses this technology, see their Customer Stories. A very short list includes MIT, NASA, Ford, Cessna, Bombardier, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Tesla...The list goes on and on.

Anyway, in Schu's post (#34 in this thread), he mentions that the exterior holes, including windows, are already being cut with a CNC router. Whether they are using CATIA or another CAD/CAM solution, it sounds like Airstream is making progress in this direction. I believe that better design will help build quality.

One thing I think would be helpful would be to create libraries of 3D views of different systems available for download. Imagine being able to get several views of the water pump, for example, and where it is mounted prior to repair. Or the usefulness of a CAD view of the entire water system when chasing a leak.

CAD drawings of the interior and cabinets would really be helpful for custom interiors.
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:40 AM   #172
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Vaughn, I could do it. The different systems could be colorcoded. I have access to the CAD. You could do it isometrically on paper yourself as well. This sometimes helps in understanding how a system functions as opposed to a flat plan view. They'd have to pay me though.

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Old 06-28-2012, 10:44 AM   #173
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I have been lurking on this thread for some time and decided to throw in my 2 cents worth. First off, I live on both side of the tracks in the Airstream/Aviation world with owning a 71 model and being an aircraft structural repair specialist since the mid seventies. I do fly more now but I still address all of or structural issues. So to the point here, could Airstream produce a high quality product that does not leak, yes they could, by sealing all the seams internally during production. I can hear the production manager saying impossible to do and maintain production and the cost would be to high. It would be interesting to see the cost per unit increase to incorperate verse the cost of warrentee work. Once sealing was incorperated into the production schedule I honestly don't believe it would be a big impact on the schedule and the price would be minor compaired to the ill will leaks have on the owners.

I see the current continued use of the exterior skin as a major problem for Airstream, and I wonder if removing the plastic coating and alloy on future models be admiting that there was a problem with the current skin, you lawyers out there my have to answer that question.

There are many ways to seal and secure additions to the hull and not have them leak or fail, quite using sheetmetal screws to secure these items to the thin skin and use nutplates, and again seal between the surfaces.

Another common problem is rotting floors caused by the leaking of seals on exterior hatch doors. One fix would be to water proof the cavity behind the hatch and allow a path for the water to exit. I don't ever see the door sealing good enough to to solve this problem.

I could ramble on this for quite some time but it all boils down to this, all the leak issues could be solved easily, but there would be a labor/ materails cost component. I see several ways to fix a multitude of common problems that just need to be implamented during manufacture.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:06 AM   #174
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The improved lights for sewer and jack are already available and that's a simple solution. Thanks to crispy' for pointing us to that.

Fitlevel's post is interesting to me because the impetus for the use of CATIA is, at least in part, to make it easier to service the item. Most of us have experienced the difficulty of fixing and improving things. The aircraft industry is well aware that airlines will not buy their products if they are expensive to maintain, and the economic power of the airlines can easily be manifested. I'm sure Boeing checks with all the airlines as they are designing products. As individual consumers we are hard to mobilize and to marshall our economic power. Trailers are not built to be easily maintained and improved. One of the complaints about American cars years ago was they were impossible to fix because too much stuff was crammed into a small space with no thought to repairs. I look under the hood of our Tundra and it looks pretty impossible, but it doesn't break and even though changing plugs is not simple, it can be done fairly quickly, plus they don't have to changed for years and years. So there are two approaches to this—make the product to high quality standards so they don't need so much maintenance, and make items easy to reach and repair.

More access panels, easy to remove, inside the trailer, would be a good start. One place that comes to mind is a cabinet under the fridge in ours—at the back of the small storage area is a panel that is impossible to remove without take all sorts of stuff out first, or by cutting it in half. Behind it are water lines, power lines and a heat duct. That is just once place a modification can be made. On the curbside, kitchen and bath cabinets have water, propane and power behind panels. It looks like you have to remove the entire cabinet to service these lines. There's got to be a better way for access without taking a major part of the trailer apart. It still wouldn't be easy, but it would be a lot easier.

Imagine if airplanes had stabilizers. Would the airlines buy a product requiring maintenance workers to bend to deploy them manually? Would OSHA allow it? MH's have electric stabilizers that can lift the coach. That is not necessary, though it would be nice for leveling. Perhaps a more simple electric stabilizer than sensed when it hit the ground (additional torque demand on motor would shut it off) would be a cheaper and simple solution. In case the sensor forgets to work, a manual override and hand crank would be necessary.

The kitchen reminds me of another suggestion: A pilot light that was easy to light on the oven would be wonderful. The pilot is way back in the oven and requires me to sit on the floor with a match and a flashlight to see the pilot while Barb holds down the knob on the front of the stove. People have complained about this for years. I suppose one person can light it, but being double jointed would help. The pilot is most ovens needing to be lit by a match is in the front where it can be lit quickly; isn't there a supplier of such a stove? Ours is a Magic Chef and I think that brand was discontinued when the company was bought a few years ago, so the problem may have been solved.

Gene
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:51 PM   #175
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Sorry gang.... the suggestion box is bursting.

I have made most of the improvements I felt were necessary. It's a constant work in progress, I accept that fact.

All I'd like to see now is improved build quality, no leaks, and an end to filiform.

Then maybe an attitude change towards it's customer base, and an improved dealer network.

That alone may be too much to hope for....

No skin off my butt though, as there are no plans to buy any new Airstream's here.

Bob


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Old 07-18-2012, 02:02 PM   #176
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An addition: Please better seal off the outside storage compartments from the interior. I have dirt filtering through from under the bed from the rear outside storage compartment, with a little pile of dirt appearing right at the front of the shower.

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Old 08-19-2012, 01:54 PM   #177
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I realize some of you are master parkers but I would LOVE to see a hard wired backup camera installed on the back of new Airstreams. Some of the NP campsites are a bit tricky to back into and this would really be a marriage saver! :-)
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Old 08-19-2012, 01:58 PM   #178
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Hi, I would like to see Airstream install hydraulic lift shocks on the front window rock guard. Like I just did on mine.
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:03 PM   #179
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A picture is worth a *)&^%%%*()s.

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Quote:
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Hi, I would like to see Airstream install hydraulic lift shocks on the front window rock guard. Like I just did on mine.
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:10 PM   #180
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Quote:
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Hi, I would like to see Airstream install hydraulic lift shocks on the front window rock guard. Like I just did on mine.
I think you mean like the ones on the back tailgate doors of every van.

I would rather have them put in remote control electric lift ones. They probably wouldn't last any longer than the hydraulic lifts would, but they would be something to amaze your camp-mates with!
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:21 PM   #181
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A picture is worth a *)&^%%%*()s.

Dave
Hi, I don't have the pictures on this computer that I am using right now, but if you search "Favorite Mods for under $100.00" you will find my pictures.
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:23 PM   #182
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Quote:
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Hi, I would like to see Airstream install hydraulic lift shocks on the front window rock guard. Like I just did on mine.

Hey - that's a great idea !
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