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Old 01-08-2012, 12:42 PM   #29
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Red, Airstream is not that stupid. My 2012 25' Flying Cloud has plywood countertops, cabinets and access doors, and partitions. You have the same model. Take a look under the sink and you can see the cut edges. The plywood edges are also visible on the cabinet doors.

I am pleased with the construction of my trailer. I would like to see a 1000# (or more) weight reduction in available tow vehicles which would be more meaningful because they are usually driven more without the trailer, than with it.

doug k
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Old 01-08-2012, 02:15 PM   #30
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One thing Airstream has going for it is the curved design and torsion suspension. I get better fuel mileage with my 28' Safari at 6500# than my previous 18' ultra light at 2900# so they have that going for them. I dnt see how to cut too much more out of the interior. Maybe aluminum frame?
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Old 01-08-2012, 02:17 PM   #31
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I can't resist putting in my 2 cents worth. I am sure I will regret it!

Let me start with the thought that wood is not light. For its strength, wood, and particularly Luan-type plywood, is low density and very suited for lightweight construction. That construction is often hollow with thin outside plywood surfaces. Airstream has used this type of construction in many applications through the years and, yet, it generates almost endless criticism of thin walls which are flimsy and not good for mounting, say, a giant TV on.

Wheeler's mention of weight savings in European trailer construction seems to generate an automatic reaction, "Why not here and now." Well, Airstream does offer some of the weight saving features in US models, specifically, the Sport models.

Part of what makes European trailers light are thin, laminated outside walls. The resultant trailer is square, not the nice rounded shape of an Airstream.

The various water tanks on European trailers are much smaller and most have a cassette toilet and no blackwater tank. Double 30 lb propane (often butane in Europe) tanks are anything but common on European trailers.

Low weight has long been necessary in Europe because of the low tongue weights the trailers must have. Weight-distribution hitches are extremely rare in Europe and the hitch weight is supported by the hitch ball. Partly as a result of inherent sway problems in such a system, the speed limits for trailers in Europe are low. The ball of a European trailer hitch is not threaded onto, but is an integral part of the hitch bar. The only sway control is frictional clamping on the ball.

My point to those who criticize Airstream weight is, "Beware of what you ask for." Could they improve? Sure and Wheeler has said that will come.

Tim
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Old 01-08-2012, 06:40 PM   #32
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I can't resist putting in my 2 cents worth. I am sure I will regret it!
Sorry to disappoint you Tim, but you make some very good points.

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Old 01-08-2012, 06:45 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Tim A.
I can't resist putting in my 2 cents worth. I am sure I will regret it!

Let me start with the thought that wood is not light. For its strength, wood, and particularly Luan-type plywood, is low density and very suited for lightweight construction. That construction is often hollow with thin outside plywood surfaces. Airstream has used this type of construction in many applications through the years and, yet, it generates almost endless criticism of thin walls which are flimsy and not good for mounting, say, a giant TV on.

Wheeler's mention of weight savings in European trailer construction seems to generate an automatic reaction, "Why not here and now." Well, Airstream does offer some of the weight saving features in US models, specifically, the Sport models.

Part of what makes European trailers light are thin, laminated outside walls. The resultant trailer is square, not the nice rounded shape of an Airstream.

The various water tanks on European trailers are much smaller and most have a cassette toilet and no blackwater tank. Double 30 lb propane (often butane in Europe) tanks are anything but common on European trailers.

Low weight has long been necessary in Europe because of the low tongue weights the trailers must have. Weight-distribution hitches are extremely rare in Europe and the hitch weight is supported by the hitch ball. Partly as a result of inherent sway problems in such a system, the speed limits for trailers in Europe are low. The ball of a European trailer hitch is not threaded onto, but is an integral part of the hitch bar. The only sway control is frictional clamping on the ball.

My point to those who criticize Airstream weight is, "Beware of what you ask for." Could they improve? Sure and Wheeler has said that will come.

Tim
Tim, your last line of "beware...." strikes a chord with me. In 93 I bought a 22' SOB which one of the first of the "lightweights". I won't even tell you of the issues.....major structural stuff as well as little stuff.

I appreciate the fact that my Classic (maybe other models as well) has all the beef. So far at least!!!!!!

Like my old Papa says, "There are some things more important than fuel mileage."
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:18 PM   #34
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Having just toured the Airstream factory, we were shown the model that is shipped to Europe. It is narrower than American model and has surge breaks . There are other differences as well like the floor. Not plywood but I don't remember what it is.
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:22 PM   #35
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I don't want to be European. I want to American. So give me a quality product with size, floor plan, and decor choices to fit my lifestyle.

By the way, there is lots of petroleum in Alaska, Canada, and even the rest of North America. We just won't tap it, so blame the courts and the politicians for expensive fuel. I'll duck for cover now!
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:51 PM   #36
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I don't want to be European. I want to American. So give me a quality product with size, floor plan, and decor choices to fit my lifestyle.

By the way, there is lots of petroleum in Alaska, Canada, and even the rest of North America. We just won't tap it, so blame the courts and the politicians for expensive fuel. I'll duck for cover now!
You can pretend all you want, but the rate of oil production has not increased significantly in the last decade. It is not (pick your favorite scapegoat), but the oil remaining is increasingly difficult to extract. It takes more effort, and more energy, and so extraction will wait until the more easily extracted oil is tapped. Google such terms as peak oil or Hubbert curve for interesting reading.

If we're lucky, the tapering off in supply will be gradual enough to permit some adaption to alternatives. If we're not, we'll see significant price shocks, and accompanying national and international political upheavals.

These are indeed interesting times.

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Old 01-08-2012, 08:04 PM   #37
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It sounded like Wheeler was saying they build to order, so how can dealers have any inventory? I couldn't make sense of that.
Gene,

I read that to mean that his larger dealers order on spec to stock up trailers and therefore carry the inventory. They sell mostly what they have bought and have on the lot, not special orders from clients.

Must be a high margin item if they can afford to eat that hit their ROI must take, to sit with a pile of new $100k trailers.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:10 PM   #38
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You can pretend all you want, but the rate of oil production has not increased significantly in the last decade. It is not (pick your favorite scapegoat), but the oil remaining is increasingly difficult to extract.
I don't think that oil will suddenly do anything, but rather prices will continue their strong upward movement until the vast majority cannot afford to drive cars, hybrid or not.

This will put a lot of the people who now drive one or two hours each way every day out on the street, unemployed. That's when the shock really hits.

And I don't see anywhere in the world that will be able to avoid this. China, for example: if we can't buy their stuff, they will be in deep trouble too. No way around that.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:47 PM   #39
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Red, Airstream is not that stupid. My 2012 25' Flying Cloud has plywood countertops, cabinets and access doors, and partitions. You have the same model. Take a look under the sink and you can see the cut edges. The plywood edges are also visible on the cabinet doors.

I am pleased with the construction of my trailer. I would like to see a 1000# (or more) weight reduction in available tow vehicles which would be more meaningful because they are usually driven more without the trailer, than with it.

doug k
Interesting. I just an hour ago bored a 1-1/2" hole through the shelf in the closet. It was vinyl clad MDF. I still have the plug. And, as the bore went through, heating that MDF, the smell that came off resins was incredibly noxious. I can't say I am willing to bore holes all over, but I am rather certain that's not the only MDF. Usually, quality birch ply is not vinyl clad. The dinette feels to me to be far heavier than any high quality birch plywood might weigh. I've worked with high quality plywood a lot over the years, and I have a decent feel for what a piece weighs. I very recently worked with large pieces in my other trailer and they were significantly lighter than my AS dinette feels.

I am not saying that as a fact, but I am pretty sure that most of the cabinet doors, drawers, and the dinette table are vinyl clad MDF. I'll see if I can find a non-destructive way to do more investigation.

I will be delighted to be wrong in this case. Thanks for letting me know how yours is made.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:01 PM   #40
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Gene,

I read that to mean that his larger dealers order on spec to stock up trailers and therefore carry the inventory. They sell mostly what they have bought and have on the lot, not special orders from clients.

Must be a high margin item if they can afford to eat that hit their ROI must take, to sit with a pile of new $100k trailers.
I asked my dealer directly how they operate. This is what the finance guy told me. They order enough trailers to keep a stock of almost every model and interior. In their case they had about 40 Airstreams on the lot. They dress them out according to what they know their customers prefer. The have an $6M inventory credit line with their bank. The bank pays AS for the units, then charges the dealer interest on each unit, each month (typical flooring arrangement). As each one sells off the lot, they order a replacement.

That kind of a dealership is very costly to run. I think they had 35 employees. That's one heck of a nut to crack each month.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:26 PM   #41
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Red', on the cabinet construction look under the sink, remove a kitchen drawer and look inside, look at the edges of the cabinet doors. Plywood.

I can't see the inside of the table but it looks like the same stock as the countertops.

Look inside the closet at the panel edge that holds the door. More plywood. I can barely feel the back edge of that shelf. My guess is plywood.

Our 2007 Safari SE cabinets and partitions were also plywood, same stuff with different surface laminate.

doug k
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:08 AM   #42
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Wink Quality?

Maybe their using the cheep stuff to practice with, when they get it rite they start using the "good stuff"

Bob
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