View Poll Results: Ownership
2005 and newer 44 48.89%
1985 - 2004 21 23.33%
Vintage restored by owner 22 24.44%
Vintage purchased restored 3 3.33%
Voters: 90. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-28-2014, 03:54 PM   #29
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,518
What does this poll tell us so far? The majority of participants are new Airstream owners and might be frustrated by a quality issue on their expensive trailers. I can understand. I purchased a new tow vehicle upon retirement 18 months ago and after 26000 miles, no issues to report. It is much more complex than a new Airstream. I would expect my new Airstream to be as good.

I agree the design and build approach for a vehicle, boat, or aircraft is different than an Airstream. Airstream competitors at their price points are what, big fifth wheels, smaller motorhomes? It seems to me that Airstream attracts buyers with the iconic aluminum shell and a reputation for long life, novel interiors, and premium quality. We have discussed that Airstreamers might very well pay a little for a rot proof subfloor, better insulation, better seam seals, etc. Airstream should strive to be the very best and boast about their quality and reliability.

This is an interesting "around the campfire" discussion. I was impressed with the Colonial video on the new '15 Classic. Later I read the cabinetry isn't hardwood and may not be a durable as the oak or hickory of old. Time will tell, but I should think it would be best to tell Classic customers their trailers are indeed very special and built with the finest materials available. This is so the buyer's grand children can enjoy it too.


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Old 10-28-2014, 04:57 PM   #30
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
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They had QC issues even in the 1970's... I know I have found them.

dbj216 commented on the differences between his 1966 and his 1986. Got to remember the 1966 was built while Airstream was still an independent company. By 1986 they had been bought and sold a couple of times and the bean counters had taken over.

I like the 70's Airstreams for a variety of reasons... warts and all.


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Old 10-28-2014, 05:01 PM   #31
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2013 30' Classic
Greenwood , Mississippi
Join Date: Oct 2012
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Some Airstream owners have owned other brand travel trailers that were much worse- shoddy, poor quality-
In comparison, at least for me personally...
2013 Classic 30 Limited
2007 Silver Toyota Tundra Crew Max Limited 5.7 iForce
2006 Vivid Black Harley-Davidson Road King Classic
1999 Black Nissan Pathfinder LE
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:06 PM   #32
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2007 27' International CCD FB
Nomadic , USA
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 2,694
I think some folks have unrealistic expectations. Ferrari's have a tendency to catch on fire. Like, all the freaking time. A hand crafted, hand assembled car that costs over 200K. Turns out that most of your high end luxury brands have more issues than a Chevy Cobalt. It's pretty common to poke fun at some of these luxury brands. Range Rovers are beloved and often the most unreliable vehicle on the planet in the words of Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson, but still a remarkable, capable vehicle.

But the difference between a Chevy Cobalt and a Ferrari....

Airstreams are hand assembled by people like me and you. Is it as much a QC issue as a reality of buying a product that isn't mass produced.
Family of 4 living, working & exploring the USA in our Airstream.
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:10 PM   #33
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
Currently Looking...
Durango , Colorado
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Posts: 1,093
Prior to buying the AS, I owned a Featherlight gooseneck car hauler with living quarters that was aluminum. From a quality standpoint, the Featherlight was far superior to the AS. I also own an '85 Avion that is superior in quality to an AS. That said, I have serious problems with the perceived value of the AS based on the selling price based on the quality that my AS. I've come to the conclusion that AS ownership is as much a social thing as a material asset. That said, I'm logging out and enjoying my Leisure Van Unity that has ZERO defects in 15 months of ownership.

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Old 10-28-2014, 06:16 PM   #34
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2002 31' Classic
Currently Looking...
Monroe , Iowa
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 649
I bought a '62 Bambi in '71. I had had a 12' Scotty before that. I would say that old Bambi had been "Gently Used", although I had not heard that term back then. Everything worked, the interior looked great, the exterior was straight and only needed polishing, which I did, myself.

The only thing that ever needed repair on that little AS was the water lines which had to be replaced after we got stuck in a freak blizzard down in Oklahoma, and ran out of propane. The water lines froze. We had that one for maybe a year and a half.

In '73 we bought a used 23' AS; I think they called it a Caravaner. It had a couch in front, and a couch in the rear, running length-wise, that unfolded into a bed, and the bathroom was next to the couch/bed. We had that one for 10 years. We lived in it in California for almost a year. Another gently used AS. The only repair I made was to replace the water pump.

I put an add in the local paper and sold it the day the add came out to the first people to look at it. It looked so good that they didn't even haggle on my price.

I admit that I am pretty fussy about keeping things nice, but those two Airstreams were really low maintenance.

Now, I have a '02 31' Classic, which I bought last June. Except for the truck sideswiping incident, so far no problems. Well, I do have two light bulbs I need to replace.

My opinion of Airstream quality, at this point, is pretty good. A whole lot better than that of the 3 MH I owned between my last two Airstreams. Those things were a constant worry and general pain in the ass. Two of those motorhomes were brand new Fleetwoods.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:00 PM   #35
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,518
We humans with all of our failings build Airstreams. Some of my factory experience revolved on how to reduce errors by excellent folks doing complex tasks. When sales grew and we needed more help, the product errors and customer complaints grew. We expanded documentation, training, quality checks, etc. But it is quite difficult to eliminate all human error. Gee, I make mistakes every day! You don't want me building your new Airstream.

I would dare say it would take months of experience before an Airstream assembler would be competent even in simpler tasks like leak inspection. I'm sure Jackson Center has their hands full developing competent employees. It ain't easy. But I must say it looks like it would be fun to work there.

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Old 10-28-2014, 07:32 PM   #36
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1999 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Round Rock , Texas
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Some of us have 'worked' in "corporations"....such as Airstream. I do not have the $$ to 'buy new'... and my bride is incapable of breathing in a 'standard' AS...claustrophobia... says "I feel like I am in a burial urn!"... hmm ok.. nix the silver interior.

out of the blue I spied a freshly listed 1999 34' Excella 1000, nearby (140 miles.. close for Texas). On our Anniversary weekend I said "Hey, let's go look at a used Airstream"... needless to say, I did not get many smiles.... until she met the owners.. then stepped into the Excella.... Now I had a problem.... She liked it! Oh no, what have I done?

We purchased soon after and began our exploration of the AS now known as Mjolnir.. Thor's hammer's name.

Although we were only the 3rd caretakers (owner has interesting connotations) of Mjolnir, we quickly realized we had 'rescued' it. It was on it's way to being a "broken" AS.

Sparing details... we are still on that 'maintaining' path.

Having owned new and used boats, Motorcycles, airboats, airplanes, cars... I can say, "Situation normal".

Now, if I were to have the jingle to mingle with folks who are blessed to afford new, I would have higher expectations. And I agree you should!

When the 'corporation' I worked for manufactured a decent product for the money, customers would not be hard to please..

When the 'bean counters' and 'efficiency experts' started 'improving' things, customers were not even in the 'equation' to reach the bottom line.

Instead, they told us... "That is why we have YOU.. to keep the customers calm until there is a resolution for the problem, they grow ACCUSTOMED to the poor quality or fix it themselves.... or go elsewhere.. there are plenty fish in the sea!"... uh... no...

But they have their fat retirements and are no longer in the corporation. It is the American dream.. get yours and screw the other guy...but don't tell him to his face.

Is AS facing this demise..? probably..? maybe?? depends upon how long the 'new' customers will tolerate their 'efficiency'.
Peace and Blessings..
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:05 PM   #37
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2006 19' International CCD
Olathe , Kansas
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I always chuckle a little bit on these threads. We have an 06 Bambi and love it. We maintain it and always keep on top of it and don't understand all the complaints. It's a camper, maybe a cool looking one but at of the end of the day...just a camper. If you like another camper better, then buy it. We are happy with our little Bambi and we take care of her, she still looks like new and we are happy with the quality. Whatever you camper you own, enjoy it or sell it.

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