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Old 01-12-2012, 04:50 PM   #71
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Red', build date here is July 2011 and it's also a 25B. As I said I can't access the interior material of the table, but it is identical in surfaces and thickness to the counter tops in kitchen/bath which can easily be identified as plywood by looking at the cutouts under the sinks.

The shelf in the lower cabinet next to the toilet is machined out to take mounting screws and the plus of the wow can be seen. Again, identical exterior appearance to all the shelves.

I pulled out the furnace vent in the bedroom to see the plywood edges of the partition, assuming the other partitions are of the same construction.

There is plywood visible in the bath cabinet doors where they are machined for the hinges. The edges of all the curved cabinet doors reveal the plywood construction.

I can't find any MDF. The trim around the bath door opening is solid oak. I did drill a couple small holes under the bedroom TV to mount a portable vacuum and it is hard to tell what it is made of from that, but the heat vent cutout shows plywood.

The plywood looks like a Baltic birch product with many plys and plenty of glue I would assume. Different grades of this stuff and it is not expensive, but makes flat and stable cabinets. I don't doubt a strong glue smell when drilling into it.

Could you verify the material in the places I mentioned and let us know? Besides the closet shelf, where did you find MDF?

I don't like MDF for the reasons mentioned earlier, doesn't hold screws and is heavy (although these multi-ply wood products don't seem to be especially light either). I still maintain the Airstream is good value. There is a Earthbound trailer (they don't give those away either) down the row from here; let me tell you its plastic exterior curved panels and windows look weathered. There was a 30 year old Airstream here that was in beautiful condition. They had all the exterior panels replaced at Jackson Center, which is testimony how an Airstream is always repairable and worth the money.

doug k
Doug,
Well thankfully, I was substantially wrong on the ply vs. MDF. My cabinet doors and drawers like yours are ply, as is the countertops and so on. I must be going blind! But, the shelf IS MDF. No big deal in the greater scheme of things. Sorry to have pulled the panic cord there - my mistake.
And, I am happy to be wrong on this one.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:53 PM   #72
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Thanks for looking at those cabinets again RED'. When we had the 2007 Safari there was a similar claim that they were full of MDF cabinets. Couldn't find any in that one either, but didn't look as hard to find it.

Another thing that impressed me with this trailer was the lack of chemical smell from construction materials. We bought this thing within a couple months of assembly and there was none detectable.

I am certain the filiform corrosion and leaking shell openings have not been completely resolved and we must remain persistent with inspections and maintenance. Airstream is aware of it and attempting to decrease its effect.

The iconic style is admired by all who see it, and those who come by for a look inside are truly impressed. The company is putting some effort into design and it shows.

We are happy with our trailer and never have that "wish I had got something else" feeling. Totally satisfied. My sense is that Bob Wheeler is improving the product for us and continues to look ahead for his company.

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Old 01-12-2012, 11:21 PM   #73
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I love that basically the secret of the resurgence of Airstream is design and technology. As a design junky, it doesn't surprise me at all!
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:39 AM   #74
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I love that basically the secret of the resurgence of Airstream is design and technology. As a design junky, it doesn't surprise me at all!
I wish that were a true statement. To make a resurgence on must fall from grace or favor. Airstream has never been in that position.
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:44 AM   #75
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I wish that were a true statement. To make a resurgence on must fall from grace or favor. Airstream has never been in that position.
Yeah, one would have to go back to the point in time where torsion axles became standard for that puffery to be closer to accurate, relative to itself and other trailer brands. 1963?
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:43 AM   #76
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Lots of talk about MDF but my cabinet doors are made of a dense foam material . They are very light. The rest of the cabinet is some sort of vinyl clad plywood and is very strong and well constructed. I installed a microwave above the stove and was impressed with how the cabinet was constructed. I recently touredthe AS factory and see they still use it except in the Classic.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:37 AM   #77
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The white vinyl clading threw me off course. I have never seen plywood clad in that vinyl. I was too hasty.

The general design of AS embraces the idea of a vehicle, and of travel. Other RVs - I would say nearly 100% of them - desperately hang on to the design of "home." Walking into any other RV - and we saw many at all prices - it is clear that the designers are trying to bring the cozy cottage or lux townhouse vibe into an RV. Stuff like crown moldings, carved banisters, ceramic tile, country wallpaper, wickedly overstuffed chairs, crystal chandeliers, and so on are all home-style aesthetics.

AS was the only RV we saw that looked "fit for travel" - like a small jet. Tidy, trim, sleek, efficient.

We thought the International was the coolest in that regard, but we couldn't afford it, and got the FC.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:59 AM   #78
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Redwoodguy

That is an interesting observation on the design of AS interiors vs. SOB interiors. I agree with you.

Dan
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:00 AM   #79
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I think it's possible to do away with a thousand lbs without getting rid of the AC and WH and items of that level of importance to many. If I didn't feel I "needed" those things, I would probably still be packing up a tent when we want to travel.

Go back to the years before they gained that weight. Real wood cabinets, but not an inch and a half thick puffed up glued sawdust. 3/8" ply, one side good, with a decent veneer; that does exist today!

Please, no marble or even corianne counters.

The basics, a la the 1960s, please. What about floors like those used in some Argosy models? The aluminum "sandwich" honeycomb style. Update them, get rid of the springiness and the wood along with it.

And so on. It's not rocket surgery, to quote an old joke. Mr. Wheeler said that they will make them lighter. That is eminently doable, and free of incremental costs, so just do it fer cryin' out loud!
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:36 AM   #80
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Interesting takes on Airstream's "design philosophy". I'd agree very much with Redwood about the International series, it's interior was a step away from the wood and mouldings of the "homestyle" trailer finishes and was what sold it for us. Of course, the Classic series is still very much in demand, mostly amongst the slightly older set, and it's good to see Bob Wheeler acknowledge that; the Classic may not be for me but I'm glad that Airstream can offer interiors that appeal to a broader spectrum.

In terms of weight saving I think Wheeler will have to work hard to address a cultural issue in the home market where, forgive this foreigner for saying it, bigger is generally felt to be better. Cars and trucks just get bigger all the time and it's not hard to understand why Airstream would match that trend by building bigger and heavier trailers; why not? There are plenty of vehicles available to tow them with power to spare. Wheeler will have one thing to help him, of course, and that is the cost of gas. Europeans have been paying very high gas prices for decades so it has been in their interests to build smaller and more economical cars and by extention, lighter trailers. Now that North Americans are having to pay more for gas, the bigger is better trend will have to be addressed both by the vehicle manufacturers and the vehicle buying population. Again, by extention, Airstream will have to address the weight of their existing fleet.

The question is, who will jump first? Will the manufacturers of cars (and trailers) produce smaller and more economical vehicles or will the public demand them? Sadly, I've yet to see much movement on the part of either party. Where manufacturers produce North American versions of cars sold in Europe, they're generally bigger and considerably less economical. The public generally don't want small cars, either (yet), so Airstream don't need to move particularly quickly to lighten their trailers if they are following the current trends. Wheeler is at least suggesting that Airstream bucks the trend, jumps first as it were with lighter trailers, but will the public go for them? On current thinking, probably not; at least not until the price of gas starts to head for European levels.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:29 PM   #81
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Go back to the years before they gained that weight. Real wood cabinets, but not an inch and a half thick puffed up glued sawdust. 3/8" ply, one side good, with a decent veneer; that does exist today!
Aage, did you miss all the posts where all of us that actually own a modern Airstreams stated there is NO MDF in these units?
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Old 01-13-2012, 01:38 PM   #82
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I wish that were a true statement. To make a resurgence on must fall from grace or favor. Airstream has never been in that position.
Not actually sure I've a grip on your point there, I'm afraid. The design of an AS has always been great on the outside, and I think it's great to see and hear that they're making plans to catch the insides up with the outsides even further, and that they realise it should be done is great.

I haven't any objections to a vintage look in an AS, but that's not how I live. It was, as others have pointed out, one of the reasons why I preferred a new AS to a vintage one, and why I went with a smaller AS rather than a bigger SOB. Even if I had the ability to re-do a vintage trailer, I'd be making the insides look a lot like a new one.
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Old 01-13-2012, 01:50 PM   #83
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Wheeler is at least suggesting that Airstream bucks the trend, jumps first as it were with lighter trailers, but will the public go for them? On current thinking, probably not; at least not until the price of gas starts to head for European levels.
I'm not sure I'm as doom and gloom as all that. I think the American market (can't say about the Canadians) is more accepting of small and efficient than they once were and many people no longer see bigger as necessary. Not across the board, of course, there's still lots of "God blessed America with the right to have big everything, so I'm gonna" about, but I think it IS slowly moving away from that.

When my ex and I got tired of paying for his gas hog Honda SUV, we got a Golf. Now I have what I consider to be my version of an SUV: a diesel Jetta, which means I can haul five musicians and all their stuff, and still get 40 mpg or so.

Mind, I suppose you could make a case I'm no longer a "typical" American, but who actually is?
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Old 01-13-2012, 02:21 PM   #84
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Due to increasing CAFE standards, vehicle manufacturers are likely to start backing down on tow ratings, at least at the very high end of the spectrum. For example, beefing up vehicle structure to hold a hitch that can handle 700-800 pounds adds weight that goes against fuel economy. That's a problem when your marketing data tells you that 90% of all buyers tow 3500 pounds or less; you're less likely to add that weight for the other 10%. (Of course, you can have that hitch welded and reinforced by a shop that knows what they're doing, but...)

But what bugs me is this: there are plenty of very modern, reasonably fuel efficient, and enjoyable-to-drive tow vehicles that are rated to tow around 5000 pounds. Airstream's current line up means you're in a single-axle 16-to-20 foot trailer at those weights. (A 23' is 4700 pounds, but every single RV forum will argue that you can't tow that with a vehicle rated at 5000 pounds.) When a 20-foot Argosy (not a Minuet) was 2800 pounds, why is a 20' Flying Cloud 4200?

In the "good old days," that 5000-lb weight allowance got you quite a bit more trailer. 26' Argosys were 4000 pound trailers, dry-weight - and that includes that heavy pano front window. Add 200 pounds for AC and a flat-screen and you're up to modern equipment levels. There are lighter SOBs out there that give you more length for less weight than Airstream.

Personally, a big part of me wants to renovate a 24' Argosy or a 25' Caravanner from the 70s - but I am loathe to have a $50k 40-year-old individualized trailer with questionable resale in the end...

Tom
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