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Old 07-26-2015, 10:39 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
They sell like hotcakes, is quality inconsistent or a problem for all.
By reports here on the Forums, quality would appear to be problematical across the board.

But we may still be getting a skewed perspective. Reading the Forums it sounds as if every Interstate comes with "special features"— the Microsoft term for bugs— that need fixing as soon as the van leaves the dealer's lot, but that may not actually be the case since folks who are happy with their purchase don't complain here on the Forums. And they would be quite rudely accused of "cheerleading"— or less savory pejoratives— if they did post to say their van was perfect right out of the starting gate.

I always thought that the ability to find fault with anything and everything was a stereotypical character trait of the Welsh, but if that's true then maybe everyone here on the Forums has at least one ancestor from Wales, like I do.

But back to the topic at hand, I'd guess the Interstates are subject to the same "finished on a Monday" phenomenon that used to plague the trailers, where items left unfinished before knocking off for the weekend is rushed through when the workers come back on Monday.
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Old 07-27-2015, 06:48 AM   #44
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Agree

I agree with Protagonist in that on the forum we see a very skewed perspective. But, there remain items which are consistent across the units which is a quality issue. On almost every newer model the edges of the doors and cabinets are sharp enough to abrade my skin. When in the production line prior to installation in the unit, the edges should be broken so as to eliminate the sharp edge.....IMO, as always...
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Old 07-27-2015, 06:56 AM   #45
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Sorry if this question has been answered elsewhere. Wasn't sure how to search for it, so just thought I'd ask.

Does Airstream monitor this Forum? I believe they should as part of their QC program. I could envision a simple frequency distribution of reported problems, to then be specifically examined / addressed at the factory.

I agree w/ the various comments that you can't necessarily view problems in this forum as representative, but still it's a very rich data source that at a minimum provides directional information

Anyone know? Are there any Airstream staff that participate or enter the discussions?
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:36 AM   #46
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Sorry if this question has been answered elsewhere. Wasn't sure how to search for it, so just thought I'd ask.

Does Airstream monitor this Forum? I believe they should as part of their QC program. I could envision a simple frequency distribution of reported problems, to then be specifically examined / addressed at the factory.

I agree w/ the various comments that you can't necessarily view problems in this forum as representative, but still it's a very rich data source that at a minimum provides directional information

Anyone know? Are there any Airstream staff that participate or enter the discussions?

They do from time to time and there are some from the factory who read and respond. I don't know if others "lurk" without talking though I would suspect they do.

It's hard to get a read on quality from AirForums - as has been said many times before, this is a concentrated group of users and of course it makes sense to ask for advice with problems here more so than to come in every day saying "my Airstream is doing great again today." So it can be skewed a bit.

Still, people pay a lot for these products and expect a lot in return. If I were employed by AS in the service org, I'd spend at least a couple hours a day in these files gaining insight, talking with users (pro and con) offline if they wanted to and working those thoughts in to production and sales.
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:40 AM   #47
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I have a 2015 Classic and have no issues other than the door latch one the bathroom broke. I called AS and they sent me a new one in 3 days.

I have owned many RV's and by far the AS is the best!!!
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:48 AM   #48
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If they were monitoring and discussing the issues raised repeatively here across all the different models, one would expect those issues to be addressed and no longer topics here.

The speedup starting in late 2013 when they doubled production from the mid twenty units per week to stuffing 51 units per week has caused the timers at each job to push for speed rather than making sure the job was done correctly.

I watched them install my Classic kitchen cabinet on top of the crossed duct work located with a few inches of the furnace. There evidently was no one that checked hot air came out of the ducts in the rear of the coach.

One of the more interesting issues is that the water leak test is done on the first part of the assembly line (North side of plant) and then the trailers all go to a different building for awning installation where new holes are drilled. No leak test afterwards...... Also sometimes temporary skylights are in place....

The influx of several hundred new workers may have a negative impact on quality until they learn the skills to do their respective jobs properly.

The only concession to quality control is they are spending two days on the Classics...
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:59 AM   #49
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It would be different if basic quality control were a new issue, but it is an old issue, and one which was unresolved prior to expanding production of Class B's.

I love my Interstate, and that is well known. It is an 05 Dodge Sprinter and an 06 Airstream Interstate.

The install issues on the roof, with the vent fan and the black tank vent, were ridiculous, and caused copious leaking until we fixed them ourselves. We didn't know then what I know now.

CC cameras, spot inspections, someone overlooking what is done at each step would logically address at least most of these issues.

I fail to understand the perpetual nature of them over time.

They would not be happening if I were in charge over there.


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Old 07-27-2015, 08:02 AM   #50
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Yes. And 50 units per week means 2500 units per year and we hear from (I'm guessing) about 10 people with their new models having some significant defect here (every defect is bad but I mean things like leaks, wiring shorts, etc) and surely more outside these forums we don't know anything about.

On my tour, I asked about the training process (it's what I do for a living) and was somewhat surprised to learn it's all apprenticeship. That's a great approach in combination with foundational education and training - but on its own, you'd have to expect errors are going to increase in production units while newbies get familiar with their tasks and processes.

A little Deming wouldn't hurt 😃

My (then new) 2012 had a handful of punch list items I wish it hadn't and by 2014 a cracked FW tank replaced under warranty. Not sure if that was a materials problem or improper installation problem but it was replaced. Other than some minor inconveniences, I've been very happy with my trailer. Everyone's mileage varies.
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:10 AM   #51
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Maggie - the key concept is that quality is everyone's responsibility - not an inspector's job somewhere down the line.

And if you really want to get to the core...

Does everyone at AS know WHY they're in business and what these products mean to customers like us?

My trailer is my Freedom Machine - it's a passport to explore the world around me. It's not sheets of aluminum, buckets of rivets and 3rd party appliances.

Corny? I don't know. But more important than What and How is the WHY of these products and hiring people who get that AND have the right mechanical skills is ideal.

Great TED talk here on that topic: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek...on?language=en
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:13 AM   #52
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I agree.....like the old adage that if everyone had to sign their names to their work.....

Still, accountability for poor work is important, as some simply don't care.


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Old 07-27-2015, 08:33 AM   #53
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For most Airstream employees I would suppose it is just a job. They live in an area with few employment opportunities and hopefully grateful to have a job. It is up to management to instill the concepts of "pride in a job well done" and that the job is done right the first time in all the employees. Quality control must be insured at every stage of construction and this obviously is not being done at Jackson Center. I was told during my visit that part of the new construction phase included formal training rooms and more QC personnel. Airstream is building a beutiful product but it is the details in QC that seem to be missing.
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:24 PM   #54
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And for those that have never worked in a production enterprise building something, you can't inspect quality in to the product. It has to be built in. Some mfg used to claim that they built the quality in their product. Can't remember who tho.
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Old 07-27-2015, 10:01 PM   #55
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A little joint I was 'employed' by had a few sayings:
"Excellence is a way of life."
"Think."

In the 70's, it was a matter of self respect to do a 'proper' job, then 'sign off'.

They "managed' that out of the workforce by the mid 90's. It was all about 'making the numbers'.

AS is on the same pattern, doing quite well, apparently. After all, it is "American Business"... Generally, they are only making the product to make the money... not because they have any other trivial passion associated with the product. This is NOT a 'dig'... it is reality.

The employees, well, they must be following the management direction... "build it, let the dealers resolve the problem".... and 'caring' is not part of the job.
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Old 07-27-2015, 10:19 PM   #56
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You can be sure if it is Westinghouse by Betty Furness.

The Quality goes in before the name goes on. Another Westinghouse motto if I remember correctly.

They were good jingles, but they did not always live up to them.

As I mentioned above, the factory missed the plastic film on an aluminum wall which they placed the mattress next to and so much for a thorough PDI by the dealership that put the bedspread on the mattress along with the pillows.

Since this was a low end model (half the price of a Classic), perhaps there was less interest in doing a good job! The items I pointed out the next morning went onto a warranty claim form from which they would receive additional revenue. They should have corrected them during the PDI.

So in my case, both the dealer and the factory overlooked quality issues. The major one concerning the shower trim will be taken care of properly by a third party, but most likely on my nickel.
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