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Old 09-23-2014, 09:08 PM   #1
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It Just Fell Off

My fellow travelers while on an extended trip from Ocean City, MD enroute to the Albequerque Balloon Festival, we had the occasion to stop in the great little town of Post, Texas about 30 miles south of Lubbock. While waiting for the only red light in Post to change my front bumper fell completely off the van only tethered only by the sensor wires. I write this note to give you folks the heads up on how my bumber was originally attached to the van. The bumper was attached to my $145,000 Airstream Interstate by TAPE.

Called Colonial, (my dealer) and was advised by the service department not an Airsteam issue but a Mercedez problem and they offered NO further assistance. After many calls later spoke to the customer relations rep at Jackson Center who recommended an Airstream dealer about three hours from us located in Amarillo, Tx called Jack Sizemore Traveland 806-358-4891. Upon arrival we were greeted by a hard working and committed staff who repaired the van and let us use their parking lot while the newly attached bumper with it's resin compound could properly cure.

Jackson Center paid the bill. Still have to find a Mercedez Dealer to reset the computer. No dealers located in Amarillo. What the hell has happened to the quality in everything we buy. Could have had the bumper fall off of any other vehicle and would not have been so surprised I am however surprised and aggravated that this style of shoddy work is allowed to go on.

Have safe travels and watch that damn front bumper it might just fall off.
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:29 PM   #2
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It Just Fell Off

Don't you just hate it when it does that? But seriously, if you didn't stop for that red light, the bumper would have stayed on all the way to NM? If it weren't so sad, your story would be funny. Glad you're back on the road, though.
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:40 PM   #3
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Hi, Airstream shouldn't have given you that answer; They finished the product and put their name on it. I believe it's now registered as an Airstream, not a Mercedes Benz. Therefore Airstream should make good for the whole vehicle.
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:41 PM   #4
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Wow, what a drag...

How did you keep it on, on the way to the dealer?

Was the bumper cap just glued to the metal bumper?

Glad you got it taken care of. Enjoy the balloons.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:03 PM   #5
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Had to disconnect the bumper from the sensors and throw it in the aisle. We're very lucky and quite thankful it happened where and when it did.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:06 PM   #6
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Shame all round. In spite of the extreme poor quality of the product, I think Colonial should also bear some responsibility. They are a well-known Airstream dealer, perhaps one of the biggest in the country, and they undoubtedly know the front bumper is a fiberglass Airstream add-on, so they clearly didn't want to know and didn't care. I think you should also give them a bad write-up in the online reviews, and make a point of telling Airstream too.
As for the Interstate, Airstream have no quality control and no testing of any sort; they are relying on the owners to test it and get the dealers to fix the issues. It must be less expensive for them that way.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:45 PM   #7
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Sounds like they attached the bumper the same way they attached the side moldings. The leading and trailing edges on each of mine have started coming loose. The dealer "fixed" it by using some of that black stickum they love to use. Needless to say it didn't work. It appeared that Airstream used 3M VHB tape or equivalent but failed to properly prep the surface. I peeled them back far enuf to clean and apply new tape. Has held for about six months so far.

Now they're getting the streaky/scratchy look on just about every one of them.

BTW, I didn't realize the front bumper wasn't part of the Sprinter. Will have to look more closely at a regular Sprinter.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:55 PM   #8
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Marc, I think the sprinters bumpers are black.
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Old 09-23-2014, 11:54 PM   #9
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Shame all round. In spite of the extreme poor quality of the product, I think Colonial should also bear some responsibility. They are a well-known Airstream dealer, perhaps one of the biggest in the country, and they undoubtedly know the front bumper is a fiberglass Airstream add-on, so they clearly didn't want to know and didn't care. I think you should also give them a bad write-up in the online reviews, and make a point of telling Airstream too.
As for the Interstate, Airstream have no quality control and no testing of any sort; they are relying on the owners to test it and get the dealers to fix the issues. It must be less expensive for them that way.
I agree that Colonial didn't treat you right. Best to write a letter to Airstream and send Colonial a copy. Don't know where you would make an on-line review that would get any attention.
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Old 09-24-2014, 05:24 AM   #10
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Disappointing for sure. First I heard of a front bumper falling off though so calling it shoddy work or "no quality control" might be a stretch. Unless there are other instances, might just be bad luck that you got the one.

If Airstream has sold hundreds of Interstates ( anybody have an idea what this number is?) and only 1 bumper has fallen off, then it is a small percentage of total vehicles built.

We all sure like those pretty color matched bumpers unlike Pleasureway, and when one jiggles loose should not be ready to condemn the whole vehicle/process. Unfortunately there will always be issues with every van manufacturer.

Hopefully this was just an isolated case and we are not all destined to have this fate somewhere down the road. :knockonwood:
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Old 09-24-2014, 05:35 AM   #11
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lower trim

I too had trouble with the double stick tape. I used a few rivets to rivet the two pieces together. I put a thin narrow aluminum strip behind the rivets to help keep rivets from pulling through. Not sure how permanent the fix will prove to be - but has lasted longer than the double stick tape lasted. Aluminum rivets, aluminum backing = no rust. Aluminum rivets, silver AI = nearly invisible.
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Old 09-24-2014, 06:19 AM   #12
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The bumper was attached to my $145,000 Airstream Interstate by TAPE.
You make that sound like a bad thing. No, I'm not being sarcastic. It may surprise you to learn that many aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing, are using tape in place of rivets to bond aircraft skins, and it works just fine. 3M makes the tape, it's called Scotch-Weld™ Bonding Film, and it provides a bond that's every bit as strong as welding.

I wouldn't be surprised if Airstream doesn't start using it on the skins of their trailers before long, since it combines an adhesive and a sealant in one application, and cuts way down on the need for rivets.

Oh, and the bumper you see on your Airstream isn't actually the bumper; it's an "effect molding" which is an Airstream-applied feature, held on by tape (but maybe the wrong kind of tape). The actual bumper is behind the effects molding, bolted to the frame, and provides the impact resistance.
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Old 09-24-2014, 06:45 AM   #13
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Yikes!

Good thing it fell off at a stoplight, rather than while driving at high speeds on a busy highway.

You know, having pounded this drum before.......why is quality control such an issue??? Been a problem at least as long as our Interstate is old.

The only serious problems with ours were due to installation issues on the roof..........the Fantastic Fan and black tank vent, causing terrible leaking not resolved until stripped down and replaced.

There is no excuse for some of these ongoing issues. Aren't these made one at a time, on an assembly line???

Accountability is everything.

I love my Interstate, but the chronic sloppiness and poor workmanship issues at the factory are inexcusable.

So disappointing, that these kinds of things keep cropping up.


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Old 09-24-2014, 07:29 AM   #14
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I'm not defending Colonial RV nor disputing what did happen to you while on a trip. BUT I've always said, "There are 3 sides to a 2 sided discussion."

So in effect it wasn't the "bumper" that fell off but rather the Airstream ground effects cover instead. So maybe when you told Colonial the "bumper" fell off, they probably didn't even think you meant to say the bumper "cover." It would then make sense to tell you to see a Mercedes dealer if you told them the front bumper.

Yes, you were totally shocked and you were very far from Colonial in NJ. Maybe what they should have told you is find a body shop or other Airstream dealer if they realized it was the bumper covering. But none the less, it was taken care of and while you are on the way to the balloon festival.

I never knew mine was a ground effects covering over the original bumper, but now that I no longer own it, so be it.

All in all, enjoy that festival. We've been there 3 times and have many great memories from it along with some great pics.
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