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Old 02-17-2010, 05:36 PM   #1
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Just a Gen, Observation...Air VS. SOB

I'm still new here and this has probably been beat to death, but here goes anyway.

I went to a RV dealer today to have my hitch adjusted and for the first time I really looked inside a 5th wheel trailer. Our neighbors have one and have been inside his before. Nut not like this one today. It was amazing, Firplace<not real> 2 or 3 slide outs, Couches, as in 2 couches, 2 recliners, Full size kitchen with a 4 foor bar with 3 highback chairs to sit in. Huge king bed, Cedar lined closets.. with a flat screen that dissapeared in the cabinet, in living room and bed roon had to be atleast 54",,,both of them. Then you walk outside and the storage was unbelievable. Had a central vaccum cleaner system you can clean any part of the 5th wheel by attaching a hose. Did I mention 4 ceiling fans. Also was painted on the outside like a car paintjob. I was truly amazed with some of the intricate details like, paper towel holder near the dump pulls. Also has a small sink with a antibacterial dispenser. All for about what I paid for my Airstream.
I just don't see this 5th wheel lasting 20+ years. There has got to be a lot of maintanance. When I pushed on the walls, while walking up to the master bedroom The wall gave in. Didn't dent, just didn't feel solid. I walked around more and pushed on a couple other walls and they did the same. But man you get A LOT bang for your buck. I have no regrets just making an observation. I love my Airstream. Just didn't know they made them like that. I bought Quality, not quantity.

Shane
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Old 02-17-2010, 05:49 PM   #2
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Shane,
What brand was it? There are plenty of high end well built fifth wheels out there that probably will last as long as an Airstream. Some have aluminum wall frames. It is amazing how they are done. I have been messing about in RV's of one sort or another for around 30 years. It is hard to beat the cachet of an Airstream. They have their strong points, weak points and what was the point(s).

I have owned some poor quality RV's and some high quality RV's. I like the Airstream for a variety of reasons, but would be hard pressed to be able to explain to someone why they should put down the money for a brand new one. FWIW I have some issues with the newer ones, I prefer the 1980 back to around 1971 or so. I can appreciate some things about the newer ones and there is little to not like about one of the 50's or 60's classics.

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Old 02-17-2010, 05:54 PM   #3
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It was a Cardinal 3625rt.

http://www.unitedrv.com/rv/forestriv...hwheel/314.htm

Shane
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Old 02-17-2010, 05:55 PM   #4
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I dont think most buyers are all that worried about their rigs lasting a long time. I get the feeling that a lot of buyers have the plan of using them a few years as they do the trip of a life time kind of thing and then sell them. Face it, if someone is 65 buying a new camper what are the odds they will be using it over five years. Those doing so over ten are probably pretty rare. Given that, who would want to spend twice as much on construction designed to out live themselves?
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Old 02-17-2010, 05:59 PM   #5
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I bought Quality, not quantity.

Shane
I hope you're right, Shane, but that's exactly why I got rid of my Airstream after owning it long enough to find out how poorly mine was made, and bought a quality built 5th wheel with all those nice things you observed, and much more.

I do miss dealing with some of those arrogant Airstream managers though.
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Old 02-17-2010, 06:00 PM   #6
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I tend to agree with you. We've seen a LOT of white-sided rigs here over the years, though extremely few that are over about eight years old. The only oldsters we've seen with any frequency are Airstreams. (We've seen much a smaller number of other vintage rigs, to include Avion and the like.) Appliances like refrigerators, heaters, water heaters, televisions, and so forth are all the same, Airstream or otherwise: They last a while and then they die. What counts is the "house" that those appliances fit into.

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Old 02-17-2010, 06:03 PM   #7
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That is one of the aluminum framed ones. I had a Cardinal back in 2004, at the time it was a decent middle of the road unit. From a quick look at their specs they have gone a bit more upscale with the Cardinal line from back then.

I was just recently looking at a 1994 Travel Supreme 5ver that was still in excellent shape and according to the owner's log book had seen close to 100k miles of road since they bought it new. But they had taken excellent care of it and fixed things immediately when they needed it. They have upgraded to a newer model.

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Old 02-17-2010, 06:05 PM   #8
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........................................
Face it, if someone is 65 buying a new camper what are the odds they will be using it over five years. Those doing so over ten are probably pretty rare. Given that, who would want to spend twice as much on construction designed to out live themselves?
Careful, those are fighting words



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Old 02-17-2010, 06:06 PM   #9
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I hope you're right, Shane, but that's exactly why I got rid of my Airstream after owning it long enough to find out how poorly mine was made, and bought a quality built 5th wheel with all those nice things you observed, and much more.

I do miss dealing with some of those arrogant Airstream managers though.

Wow, I sensed a little bitterness. Which stream did you have. I'm curious. Did you just get a Lemon or have you found that all ,and I assume, newer Airstreams are that way?

Also which 5th wheel did you replace it with.

Not gonna defend Airstream just want the knowledge. I'm happy with my purchase, so far. Please enlighten me.

Shane
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Old 02-17-2010, 06:10 PM   #10
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I dont think most buyers are all that worried about their rigs lasting a long time. I get the feeling that a lot of buyers have the plan of using them a few years as they do the trip of a life time kind of thing and then sell them. Face it, if someone is 65 buying a new camper what are the odds they will be using it over five years. Those doing so over ten are probably pretty rare. Given that, who would want to spend twice as much on construction designed to out live themselves?
Well maybe I'm in the minority, but I bought mine because I do have disposable income now and might not have as much then.My plan is to keep this one until I retire and beyond....and I will probably like to do this full time in the next 15-20 years. Just trying to plan ahead.

Shane
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Old 02-17-2010, 07:33 PM   #11
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My nephew has a fifth wheel with cathedral ceiling that's like entering an auditorium....none of the cozy retro warmth of my beat up '69... I like small, light, easy to maneuver, smooth to tow....to each his own..
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:12 PM   #12
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Laughed like crazy a couple years back when I saw a pickup camper with 3 slideouts! At the same campground there was an elite moho (Monaco?) with a flip-up widescreen TV outer compartment under an awning. Anybody want to wager whether the owner would have to pay to refurb/replace within a handful of years? Way to go with this stuff is to buy it with business bucks, write it off and buy a brand new one before the shareholders' heads stops spinning.

I live the AIR life, you live the AIR life. It pays off. nickcrowhurst even incorporates the motto into his signature, "The price of freedom is eternal maintenance." You have something left to show for it 15 and many more years down the road!
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:03 PM   #13
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Too many choices.

As a recent AS buyers we first looked at lightweight TTs foolishly thinking that we could use our teeny tiny truck as a tow vehicle. Ah! Not so fast. We quickly learned about factory-installed tow packages, GVWR and other arcane stuff.

Then we looked at the 5th wheel rigs thinking, "OK, if it's a new TV then we'll go all the way." We quickly saw that the largest of those suckers had more closet space than our house. OK - a small exaggeration but not far off the mark. We aren't planning to go full-timing, perhaps ever, and the largest of those rigs seemed to be a bit much for a long weekend or a few weeks on the road. And they would be, let's say interesting, for a novice to put into tight quarters. It just didn't make sense to eliminate some destinations to bring our own washer/dryer combo. Sigh.

Then we thought we would go for the most quality and durability for the dollar - Airstream - but we chose gently pre-owned (we hope) since the new units are a whole lot of capital for a new play toy. With a few more fun tickets we could get a small airplane - another worthy pasttime. Maybe that will come too.

It was really interesting to try to apply logical thinking to what could be essentially an emotional decision. My! But this is work.

Now we see that the Airstream world includes the joys of filliform corrosion - the last time I saw that was when I was flying fighters - and like rust, it never sleeps. OK. Perhaps that's better than learning to patch a rubber roof. Or we could see dissimilar metals corrosion on a vehicle other than an airplane. Yikes! Where are my sacrificial anodes? Why aren't there spacers and cadmium-plated fasteners for the door grab handle?

So! Our answer was to apply the TANSTAFL RULE and move on. With any luck it will all work out. We're on a steep learning curve.
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:11 PM   #14
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Filiform-ay-toe, filiform-ah-toe... I can show you lots of backpacking equipment messed up by beach camping a week at a time on Kauai.

From what I've read, sacrificial anodes do not work on our babes as they are not immersed in an electrolyte -- http://www.airforums.com/forums/f458...air-19735.html
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