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Old 06-17-2012, 10:39 PM   #15
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I'd like to see a more specific product model year change. My 2012 has some changes that others do not i.e. a tee in the propane line with a valve. Some have mattress toppers some don't. Some have aluminum entry thresholds some are wood. I've never seen "NEW FOR 2013" from AS. It seems the model year change over is just an accumulation of changes made over the year and then at some point the 2012 becomes a 2013.

Just what exactly aside from inventory or product availabiliy makes these changes specific to model years?

What specific features are available in the 2013 FC that were not available in 2012? Why are these production changes made seemingly with no rhyme or reason?

I understand all about just in time inventory and lots of companies are successful with this approach without the scattergun results AS has.

Dan
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:50 PM   #16
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Product information, specifications, and photography in this website were as accurate as possible at time of publishing. Photographs may contain some features that are optional on your vehicle. Since we continually strive to improve our products, actual products may differ. Prices and specifications are subject to change without notice. All capacities are approximate and dimensions are nominal. Some features or options may be different or unavailable in Canada.

"

I would like to see a return of larger Motorhome production. One model, one quality chassis/powertrain, with a combo of aluminum and f/g, with all aluminium framing, and no leaks.

Dave


Quote:
Originally Posted by danlehosky View Post
I'd like to see a more specific product model year change. My 2012 has some changes that others do not i.e. a tee in the propane line with a valve. Some have mattress toppers some don't. Some have aluminum entry thresholds some are wood. I've never seen "NEW FOR 2013" from AS. It seems the model year change over is just an accumulation of changes made over the year and then at some point the 2012 becomes a 2013.

Just what exactly aside from inventory or product availabiliy makes these changes specific to model years?

What specific features are available in the 2013 FC that were not available in 2012? Why are these production changes made seemingly with no rhyme or reason?

I understand all about just in time inventory and lots of companies are successful with this approach without the scattergun results AS has.

Dan
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Old 06-18-2012, 12:21 AM   #17
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I've watched the Airstream videos on YouTube, and it always baffles me why Airstream seals the overlapping aluminum panels from the inside. If I've ever wanted to stop a water leak, I ALWAYS started from the outside/in. Seems if they used the Vulkem when the aluminum panels are overlapped a few leaks would be avoided. Just my .02.....
Thanks, Derek
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Old 06-18-2012, 12:52 AM   #18
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Functional/durability improvements at each model year. Advertised and emphasized as a sales tool. When I started to drive, spark plugs were changed every 12K miles, now they're over 100K miles. Lets make the trailers more durable and easier to maintain. Custom builds with durability options when feasible. Focus on durability features as a sales tool. Market the unit as rugged trailer for hard core traveler (or equiv message). Build it in that image.

1. Best possible tires, disc brakes, long life sealed wheel bearings (implemented in some cases already). Standard or option on all lines.

2. Rot resistant/proof flooring as standard or option. Redouble efforts to eliminate leaks.

3. Testing of UV resistance for plastics used in skylights, vent covers, etc. and specifying products with much longer life than current offerings.

4. Potential side line trailer using non riveted construction, and painted aluminum exterior but retaining classic Airstream shape and interiors.

5, Window/skylight delete options where feasible. Allows individuals to customize what windows are included in a special order.

6. Higher quality AC drain pans not likely to crack or leak condensate into trailer interior.
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:13 AM   #19
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I'll repeat what my DW Sandra said to me shortly after we got the Classic.

I was bitch'n to her about some of the QC concerns I was working on…..
"Sounds to me like they should continue doing what they already do, only do it better"
She has always been able to cut to the chase very well.
("Yes", instead of "I do")

Eight years later and it would still be a very good place for them to start.
Just do it better, pride in what you do shows up right away.

Bob
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:51 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
I'll repeat what my DW Sandra said to me shortly after we got the Classic.

I was bitch'n to her about some of the QC concerns I was working on…..
"Sounds to me like they should continue doing what they already do, only do it better"
She has always been able to cut to the chase very well.
("Yes", instead of "I do")

Eight years later and it would still be a very good place for them to start.
Just do it better, pride in what you do shows up right away.

Bob
I'm with Bob's wife on this on.


Their first decision for change has to be a commitment to be the best at what they do:
  • best design
  • best materials
  • best manufacturing techniques
  • best distribution network
  • best customer service
Once this kind of commitment is made everything else falls into line.

Thanks,



Jay
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:47 AM   #21
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I want to add a bit more to a "Be the Best" theme .....

I don't wear the Blue Beret - or have numbers on my trailer but I seem to recall reading that in Wally's days Airstream had a lifetime warranty. What an incredibly powerful statement this made - one that said there was a fundamental commitment within the organization to be nothing but the "Best". I also seem to recall reading that Wally had a zeal and passion that personally tested the design, functionality and durability of the product himself and he also consulted directly with those who used it!

Where did that commitment go?

Today - Airstreams signature look - its Aluminum skin - has no warranty at all - another powerful statement ....... but of a different kind .......

Wally's commitment to quality seems to have been buried with him. Over time an "it'll do" mentality has crept into the Airstream manufacturing process that absolutely must be overcome. Airstream can resurrect its status as a premium product - but the starting point is a Mission to "Be the Best" ......

Sorry for getting on a bit of a rant here - but I don't think Airstream's problems are going to be solved with some tinkering around the edges .......

Thanks for your patience ..... jeepers ...... maybe I will go join WBCCI after all ......



Jay
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:05 AM   #22
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The warranty issue is important. When Hyundai wanted to take on Toyota, they offered a 100,000 mile warranty. Toyota's is 36,000. This shows confidence in the product and Hyundai sales have increased every since.

A 2 year limited warranty is common across all industries, but does not speak of confidence. Extending it puts pressure on the company to build a better product. Building a better product means fewer warranty claims—in the long run the company saves money. A 2 year warranty on a product that is used infrequently is very, very short in reality. If people use their trailer 1 month per year, it takes 12 years to equal 2 years of use.

Thus, extend warranties to 10 years and work towards more. Make this retroactive.

Gene
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:35 AM   #23
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Ditto what Ranger says.

Wally was not only a spokesman for the company. He also innovated and IMPROVED. When people on this and other threads talk about roof penetrations, double sided tape, rubber gaskets, flooring options etc. these are all improvements or options that should be at least taken under consideration and I believe he would have.

It seems if there is no communication between factory service and production.
This communication and service know how should be mandatory for anybody starting on the production line.

If you don't understand the function of the part you are installing how can you know how to install it correctly so it serves it's intended purpose.

While this thread was started to address specific QC and changes that could be made, I think time spent with production staff training them and helping them understand how the part they are installing becomes a small component in a larger assembly and it's functional importance would go a long way to improving quality.

Wally's caravans were part testing grounds and part publicity stunts. He knew how to market and innovate. AS marketing has been riding on his coat tails ever since.

Engineering, production and sales typically have conflicting roles in these types of companies. If design engineering was given a free hand a lot of the changes that would improve overall reliability and function would be made. These changes often butt up against the reality of the bottom line. Production changes cost money and will cut into profits. AS is not a TT company. It is part of a larger corporate conglomerate that is driven by sales and profit. It stopped being a company that focused it's energy on producing innovative quality driven coaches when the Byam Familly sold it to Beatrice foods.

The overall picture AS plays in Thor industries is an icon for their entire product line. They can say "Look we make Airstream". I sometimes think this is the role AS is expected to fulfill. A poster child for their entire product line to give everything else they make some relevance by being able to have that AS comparison. WWBP.......Wally would be pissed.

Dan
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:35 AM   #24
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Not true

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al - K4GLU View Post
Airstream has absolutely no interest in any feedback about their products from people on Air Forums - unless it is high praise.
Two weeks ago, I was sitting in a feedback session at Alumapalooza which is populated pretty much by Airforum members. We had the top Airstream design folks up there listening to us. A similar feedback session followed for the ladies. They read off a substantial list of changes they had made based on the prior year feedback sessions. This sort of interactive feedback is useful; open suggestion boxes as were suggested in one post simply chew up employee time with little result.

When a complaint was made about the exasperating plastic bottom fastenings for venetian blinds, I mentioned my use of rare-earth magnets to replace the plastic parts. An employee from the design department was sent to my trailer for photos and sourcing information.
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:44 AM   #25
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Mrs. Robert Cross hit the nail on the head. Love everything about our Airstream, and the Airstream before it.

"No changes, just improvements":

1. After cutting and drilling the Alcoa panels, find a way to protect the exposed edges from initiating corrosion under the clear coat.

2. Pano windows are leakers as designed. Too thin sealant bead to expand/contract with shell movement relative to this large, curved window. The installation system is faulty, needs complete redesign.

3. The new clearance light design is a disaster, not sealing against leaks and edges cut into shell causing corrosion soon after built.

4. Build quality seems to be improving. Never rest. Keep looking for ways to improve this great element of owner satisfaction.

5. Take care of customer's problems. Some dealer service is good, much is not. Follow up on dealer service to ensure customer satisfaction.

doug k
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:56 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska
........open suggestion boxes as were suggested in one post simply chew up employee time with little result.
I wonder about this. If there was in fact a venue in place to post suggestions and it was ignored then it would be in fact pretty useless. If someone watched the suggestions and noted a trend that might be invaluable for the manufacturer.

I know that Ford wanted my thoughts after I had owned my truck for one year.
If nothing else it makes me feel as though they care.

The feedback seminar at Alumapalooza was a wonderful thing. I just think that there are lots of people (I'm guessing about 1000 a year or so) who can't make it to that event. It would be nice for Airstream to provide a way for them to be heard too.

Bruce
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:06 AM   #27
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One thing I've noted they seem to be doing right is keeping the interiors attractive and current. The floorplans are nice and new ones are introduced frequently. Few are calling for improvement here. There seems to be a good budget for these kind of improvements at Airstream.

Most are calling for quality/durability and improvements in maintenance requirements. These improvements don't seem to get the priority at Airstream.

Quality upgrades make good ad copy just like pretty interiors.
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:35 AM   #28
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I'm baffled why Airstream doesn't install a Fantastic Vent as standard in the back roof opening in the 23' (not-FB) trailers. True, it's an available option (that my trailer lacked) - but it makes an otherwise stuffy design much more livable.

I also fail to understand why it wasn't prewired for the powered vent; my ex-Airstream-dealer mechanic had to tap power from the bathroom vent.

There is also some very odd switch wiring priorities in the trailer; the bathroom light doesn't turn on unless the bathroom sink lights are turned on. No good reason for that.

Way too many keys. Please key more of the cylinders the same. Should only need two keys - deadbolt and everything else.

Just as a very quick aside: despite the gripes, there are signs of clever thought in this trailer. Things like the little shoe cubby and the lobster sink (works great for the two of us to do dishes together). The dump valve location works great, a huge improvement from vintage.

Tom
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