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Old 06-23-2014, 03:07 PM   #43
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I agree with Rich. You want an Airstream because you want an Airstream. I do not know why anyone should expect better quality or reliability.
Its because of the price tag Larry.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:23 PM   #44
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As has been said, price does not equate to reliability. Jaguar was a perfect example. When I was investigating Airstreams I never saw anything that implied better quality than other RV's. I wonder if some people make that inference on their own.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:31 PM   #45
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It is my opinion that quality is arbitrary in the RV world. One year it may be Leisure Van then the next year Roadtrek. Airstream builds a good product; however, quality extends to quality installation, operation and support that is competent enough to deal with issues. One thing is certain, that competition is driving the changes and the investigative consumer can benefit.

A company reputation and name can keep prices high for so long, then credibility suffers and finally marketability. For this reason and others, price is not necessarily an indicator of quality.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:42 PM   #46
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It does state that while you can do the survey more than once, only the initial submission will be counted.
They probably track your IP address because there's no requirement to log in. Your ISP assigns you an IP address through DHCP. If you unplug the router for a few days you can get a new one. You can go somewhere else and use theirs. There are ways to defeat it but you won't be bumping up the numbers very much.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:51 PM   #47
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I have a cousin who is an architect for a fancy yacht company back home and I was once taken for a tour. He told me that after every yacht is complete, a team from the builders take the yacht out for extensive hands-on testing of everything. I know of only one RV manufacturer who does that; an employee and his other half use the RV for a long weekend to give everything a thorough work-out. So the buyer gets a vehicle slightly used with a few miles on it, which some may not be too happy about. But that's the way they uphold their quality control.

And point taken about Jaguars! They are now owned by an Indian conglomerate and doing much better. We (England) can't even get get anywhere in the World Cup but still dream about past glories!



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Old 06-23-2014, 03:55 PM   #48
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I agree with Rich. You want an Airstream because you want an Airstream.
Larry
...or because your wife wants one. Not an Argosy or anything else, just an Airstream (Momma has spoken!)

I do admit that I enjoy owning one and in some ways, it's a project unto itself. But I have bass boat too and I spend as much time tinkering with it as I do fishing. Momma enjoys buying the runners and pillows and sheets and clocks etc. etc. Although we've had it only a short time, it's something we've talked about for many years before retirement. We both enjoy the heck out it whether we're traveling or just sitting and talking about it.

It's what we wanted, it's what we got, now we're going to enjoy the heck out of it. If something breaks, we'll fix it and move on.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:57 PM   #49
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Man, y'all are certainly making me feel better about all the stuff that's died on my '78. It's getting to the point where if anything fails, at least I know it's my own dumb fault.

Plus, it was cheap. Not necessarily cheap to keep and fix, but the initial price was right. And if it gets another dent, oh well!
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Old 06-23-2014, 04:02 PM   #50
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I found that RV ratings website years ago and the number of ratings has slowly climbed. I never noticed it was for MH's, and I'll bet not many other people noticed either.

While conventional wisdom is that only complainers rate things, Trip Advisor found the opposite is true of hotel and restaurant reviews. They skew up and so on a 5 point scale, average is around 4 points, not the mathematical 3. With Airstream rated at 60 out of 75, that is average. Other Thor products are right around that number, some lower, not so sure any were higher. There are quite few brands with more than 50 reviews that rate higher—Arctic Fox is one I would look at if I were in the market. For MH's, Newell is said to be the best and does have a high rating ($1-2 M will put you behind the wheel of a new one, but refurbished ones are available from the company for several hundred thousand—this is a silly fantasy land for me, I don't even want a MH).

There is at least one other website reviewing RV's, but you have to pay to see it, so I never did. Although the sample is small, I found it interesting that when the same manufacturer and model is in the list twice under slightly different names, the rating is almost identical. Maybe that shows the ratings are valid.

A long time ago—1970's I believe—Toyota had a small camper fiberglass body on a pick up frame and cab. They were a bit top heavy and I would see one every once in a while into the '90's. If Casita built a Class C, it might look like the Toyota, but the Toyota model was called the Chinook. Checking all mighty Google, there were also more standard looking Class C Toyota's. Just Google Toyota Motorhome and many are for sale. Fords, Dodges and other brands' chassis have been used to build Class C MH's for many years and some people called them by that name rather than the builder of the MH part.

Threads about Airstream quality always have a number of people saying boats are just as bad or worse. I'm unsure how that makes it ok to build poor quality RV's or boats. If you have low expectations, I suppose that makes life easier. I wish I still had that '72 Jeep to sell you, but the wheels would have fallen off by now (one almost did in 1978). Or maybe that '85 Toronado I inherited—big heavy gas hog with bad brakes.

No doubt Airstreams are cool looking. Thor did not invent that—they invent nothing. The basic design was perfected generations ago and Thor did cheapen the frame and subfloor on some models leading to expensive repairs (as if another iconic brand, Thermos, started making Dewar bottles* with paper inside instead of glass). Wally helped some major RV suppliers get off the ground so we have toilets and other nice toys. Thor just buys those things off the shelf, the low price shelf. Most of the current innovations are cosmetic. As r carl says, the price is very high, the promise on the Airstream PR is "premium" and the result is average, or worse.

Gene

*Dewar is the generic name for the flask or bottle made famous by Thermos.
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Old 06-23-2014, 04:18 PM   #51
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A long time ago—1970's I believe—Toyota had a small camper fiberglass body on a pick up frame and cab. They were a bit top heavy and I would see one every once in a while into the '90's. If Casita built a Class C, it might look like the Toyota, but the Toyota model was called the Chinook.
Toyota made the long bed pickup in Japan and Toyota Motor Sales had an agreement with Chinook to install the camper onto the truck. Toyota never made the camper itself, it was aftermarket. Assembly was done at the Chinook plant in LaVerne, CA
chinook [Tin Can Tourists Wiki]
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Old 06-23-2014, 04:56 PM   #52
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When I paid north of $60K for a 25' trailer in 2006, there is a certain expectation of quality that just wasn't there. Especially compared to SOB's at a third of the price. It is disconcerting when somebody starts singing the praises of AS and then you see that that person owns a 30 or 40 year old AS. Let's face it, that vintage AS has probably been restored or refurbished a couple of times over. Gene pretty well outlined the the recent history of Airstream and Thor and pointed out that the business model puts profits at the top of the page.

Airstream could go along way towards living up to their perceived reputation if they did a complete overhaul of their dealer network. More importantly, they need to create an AUTHORIZED AIRSTREAM SERVICE CENTER system that wasn't tied into a sales showroom. My local RV dealer with a great reputation will not work on Airstreams due to the complexity of the design and the fact that they cannot get proprietary AS parts at a price that would allow them to make a profit.

Based on my AS experience, I walked right past the Interstates and bought a Unity.
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Old 06-23-2014, 05:15 PM   #53
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As things get more complex their perceived reliability drops. A friend with a SOB recently traded it in because the slide out wouldn't stay in while on the road. Had to carry a big rope to tie it up. Fixed and failed several times. Another with a SOB the cabinets were nailed together except the nails were about one inch off to the side missing the wall so their hands were speared every time they reached in.

What i really like about my Airstream is the nice handling and truly unique interior styling. In my view most all SOB's appear to share the same linoleum, wall coverings and countertops. Boring.
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Old 06-23-2014, 05:30 PM   #54
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The price of an RV is only a measure of what someone will pay for it. It has nothing to do with quality or reliability. Although perceived quality and reliability might be a factor.

I was watching an RV show on the travel channel and one RV owner paid $175,000.00 just for his paint job.
Now $120,000 for a 2015 30' Classic doesn't sound too bad by comparison.

My feeling is that Airstream still makes a better than average RV and that all RV's are going to have more problems than your average auto purchase. Just too many third party parts, complicated systems, and environmental stresses. All RV's are going to require constant maintenance and troubleshooting to have any degree of reliability.
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:30 PM   #55
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As has been said, price does not equate to reliability. Jaguar was a perfect example. When I was investigating Airstreams I never saw anything that implied better quality than other RV's. I wonder if some people make that inference on their own.
Larry
In the 70's I had a Triumph motorcycle and then I bought a new Triumph TR7 car in 1980, lets just say, never again.
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:08 PM   #56
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Most of my "free time" is spent cleaning and repairing my "toy's" two motorcycles, truck and Airstream. The time camping to maintenance ratio of the Airstream isn't really remarkable when I compare it to military time repairing F-4 Phantom's at a ratio of one hour flight time to ten hours maintenance or $4,000 dollars per flight hour...........McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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