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Old 08-04-2013, 09:46 PM   #1
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New Motto: "What's next to go wrong on your trip-in your Interstate!"

Every time we go out for an extended trip, it seems that something always goes wrong in our 2011 Interstate.

Fortunately, the issues are usually more annoying that serious. But this one took the cake.

We went out for a week getaway. This morning, we woke to a heavy rainstorm. Unfortunately, the storm made it's way inside the van, with a torrent of water dripping from the AC unit.

When I got home later, and in dry weather, I inspected the AC unit on the roof. I noticed that the unit could not be installed as designed on the flat roof because, well, the roof isn't flat, but has raised panels along the length of the vehicle. The AC unit is just a bit longer than the two raised panels, so it sits a bit higher off the roof in the front and rear than the weather seal is tall. I suspected the leak was around this not well sealed area and sprayed water around it and sure enough, water came dripping inside, just like the rain.

I removed the cover to the AC unit inside and discovered that the installer slopped some SIKA between the original OEM seal and the roof around the perimeter to try to make up the space. He was a bit stingy in a few areas. The unit is mounted by placing the top unit on the roof on the seal, and bolts from the bottom then pull it snug and compress the seal, and hold it on the roof to keep it from flying off. The installer didn't bother to snug down the three bolts that hold the AC to the roof, as they were only hand tight. That's right. The entire unit was held on the roof wit loosely held bolts. Simply tightening them may have resolved the leak, but I won't know until my next water hose test. I may add more SIKA as well around the inside perimeter.

So, if you have water dripping from the AC unit in a heavy rain, check out the bolts that hold the unit to the roof.

So, in a summary, here's what has gone wrong on trips with my Interstate:

1. On delivery, I found that the counter-top was mounted against the wardrobe which popped annoyingly on every little bump. I fixed it by removing the counter-top, and moving it over about 1/16 of an inch. I also smelled propane, and found that the gas lines on the stove was only hand tightened as well.

2. Backup monitor failed. Twice. Third time I found a wire that was not making good contact and probably was the cause of the failure of the first two backup monitors. After I fixed it myself, no more problems.

3. Door window incorrectly installed and leaked (the seal was not placed correctly). Fixed by dealer under warranty.

4. Crack developed in upper right corner front in shower. Tried to fix twice under warranty, but crack keeps coming back. Have to take it to a dealer for another attempt.

5. Insulation in bath vent broke, and was flapping in the wind. Replaced with weather stripping myself.

6. Toilet paper holder plastic cracked because of improper use of power drill. AS sent me another and I replaced it myself. Still leaks though.

7. Same problem with MaxxFan, but the fan itself later failed and MaxxFan was kind enough to send me a new unit, that I replaced myself.

8. Backup preventer valve on black water flush line broke, allowing water to spill into van. I removed it and fixed it myself.

9. Bath mirror rusted and was replaced under warranty.

10. Sewer hose has developed leaks and now needs to be replaced.

11. Awning warning buzzer keep buzzing for no reason. Disconnected it per AS's recommendation.

12. Numerous squeaks and rattles which I have fixed myself, mostly.

13. TV is mounted in the wardrobe door, but I had to make a modification to the mount to see the image without it being washed out. This is more of a poor design, than fit and finish, though. AS no longer mounts them in this way.

14. Vertical trim on wardrobe is coming off, and when I open the upper locker, it hits it. Needs another nail or two to keep it in place.

15. Smaller burner on stove does not auto-light. Can't figure out why or how to fix it.

16. Shower will never drain no matter how level. The floor has a hump in the middle. I have to squigee water into the drain.

17. No insulation behind bath wall, which turns into a microwave in the sun. I put as much insulation behind there as I could reach and some foil type insulation but it still heats up in a few spots.

I previously had a Roadtrek Adventurous. It had two issues in five years. A screw on the front bumper pierced a wire on the chassis which had to be repaired, and the sewer hose had to be replaced. That was it. I am a little over two years into my Airstream.

I wonder what will go wrong next time out. I'll let you know.
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:03 PM   #2
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Thanks in advance for fixing this for owner #2!

Sounds like you got a problem unit. On good note, you know a lot about your rig.

Sorry about your troubles...what else can we do but empathize?
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:59 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by gmillerok1 View Post
Every time we go out for an extended trip, it seems that something always goes wrong in our 2011 Interstate.
Don't mean to make light of your situation, but I can't help thinking that you got the "garage queen" of the entire Interstate assembly line. A variation on the "hangar queen," an aircraft that's only worth stripping for parts to keep the rest of the fleet flying.

I only had one problem of consequence on mine in over a year and a half— a bad water heater thermostat, replaced under warranty after my very first camping trip. Everything else that has gone wrong has been caused by my own inexperience, not a defect in materials or workmanship.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:54 AM   #4
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6. Toilet paper holder plastic cracked because of improper use of power drill. AS sent me another and I replaced it myself. Still leaks though.
Your toilet paper holder leaks????
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:04 AM   #5
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Your toilet paper holder leaks????
Interstates have a wet bath, and the toilet paper roll has a cover so the paper (hopefully) doesn't get wet when you shower.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:14 AM   #6
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Hail damage

Does anyone have experience with hail damage? A 30 Classic just sustained hail damage on the rear panels, about four of them and two panels in the front. Awaiting an adjuster for quote and payment. A long way from a qualified dealer. Just curious, just want some idea to converse with adjuster this week when he shows up.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:29 AM   #7
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Wow, you have had a lot of issues! I'd like to think this was a bad day at the factory.

We had problems with install of roof items (Fantastic Fan, black tank vent), too, as well as a few other things due to sloppy install with no regard to the problems said sloppy install would produce....which were very annoying to deal with and simply shouldn't have occurred. Covering with caulk wreckage created by jamming something into a place it didn't fit, for example, leaving loose wires behind walls, etc.

There were also some cosmetic issues inside that we had dealt with under warranty. Some smaller things we just dealt with ourselves.

We become more proficient and experienced owners every day, however, and still absolutely love our rig.

Hope you get everything resolved and can get to enjoying your travels.


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Old 08-05-2013, 08:33 AM   #8
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Interstates have a wet bath, and the toilet paper roll has a cover so the paper (hopefully) doesn't get wet when you shower.
Hmmmmm.

Our toilet paper holder is inside the small cabinet over the toilet.

Easy to reach when needed, , and nothing to leak.

Perhaps a design flaw.


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Old 08-05-2013, 08:52 AM   #9
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Does anyone have experience with hail damage? A 30 Classic just sustained hail damage on the rear panels, about four of them and two panels in the front. Awaiting an adjuster for quote and payment. A long way from a qualified dealer. Just curious, just want some idea to converse with adjuster this week when he shows up.
Ours received hail damage on right side, front top and rear top sitting in the back yard. Local insurance adjusters do not know how to estimate on an Airstream. We marked all hail damage with painters blue tape to easily identify the damage. Do this before the adjustor shows up. Also, we took lots of pictures then called the nearest Airstream dealer and had them estimate the damage through pictures we took after marking the damage. This estimate along with the marked damage insured us of a very good realistic settlement.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:53 AM   #10
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I feel your pain. There is always something going wrong with our trailer. We have had parts sent and fixed as much as we could or they would allow. Even when we have Airstream send parts to a dealer so the dealer can fix it things get messed up.
If we had gotten an SOB things would probably have been wrong, but I could always tell myself it was because it was a cheap trailer.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:59 AM   #11
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This is a thread about the Interstate, not trailers, thank you. Jim
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:52 AM   #12
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I forgot to add that several of the side trim pieces all started coming loose because the installer didn't properly prepare the surface for the adhesive tape, which would have taken at most a few seconds to do. Another example of poor quality control. It's not like they haven't been building this model for long.

Yeah, I figure it was built on a Monday by a person who didn't give a crap about quality whatsoever and who must have had a bad hangover with nobody looking over his shoulder. Most of the issues I've had is simply poor fit and finish and pretty much inexcusable, such as the weather stripping on the window that was not even close to the edge of the glass in the corner causing it to leak or the sloppy installation of the counter-top or the side panel issue. Things like that are bound to happen, but it really appears to me that Airstream has no quality control whatsover during the build. Just let the guys do it and send it on and let the dealer\end user fix it later, in my opinion. with no one making sure the installer does it correctly. Of course, having to drive 10 hours to a dealer makes it not very convenient to fix.

I particularly liked the warning in the instructions if I recall for the MaxxFan that had a cracked panel by over-using a power drill, that said "Don't use a power drill to install."

At least, the customer service side has been mostly a good experience to resolve these issues.

Fortunately as well, I only had one issue with the chassis (a bad sensor and outdated firmware that caused it to hesitate upon acceleration that was resolved by a MB Sprinter dealer). Since then, the 27,000+ miles I've put on it over two years has been a perfect.

Don't get me wrong. I like my Airstream, particularly the chassis, the insulated floor and plumbing, better tank gauges and hardware in most cases. Most, but not all of the design is superior to the competition (the shower being the exception along with some ergonomics and storage).

But the problems I've had (and continue to have) all could simply be avoided if they would have taken a bit more care in the installation of the components. The difference in fit and finish between my Airstream and my Roadtrek (at least the one I have or had) is quite apparent, and is nothing to be proud of. A good example is the wiring area under the couch. Pieces of wire insulation that had been stripped off wires and small strips of wires that had been cut off and left on the floor, broken rivets,etc., and other trash, all just left there out of sight and not cleaned up is a good example of the laziness of the installer.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
Don't mean to make light of your situation, but I can't help thinking that you got the "garage queen" of the entire Interstate assembly line. A variation on the "hangar queen," an aircraft that's only worth stripping for parts to keep the rest of the fleet flying.

I only had one problem of consequence on mine in over a year and a half— a bad water heater thermostat, replaced under warranty after my very first camping trip. Everything else that has gone wrong has been caused by my own inexperience, not a defect in materials or workmanship.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:55 PM   #13
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Here's my list from the top of my head since I mislaid my notebook that was a log.

Awning buzzer which was fixed by slightly bending the leaf on the microswitch that indicates when retracted.

Bad valve stem on inside dual which dealer replaced.

BIM relay clicking constantly which was fixed by replacing the
Photo-Voltaic Control ModuleMost of the side molding was starting to come loose due to poor surface prep. I've used 3M trim tape before and if both surfaces are clean, the foam will tear before the adhesive lets go. Thought the dealer had fixed by removing and properly replacing the tape but noticed after returning from our trip that all they did was use some black, sticky gum to reattach and it's not working. Will have to take it back again.

Horrible noise at highway speeds that turned out to be a resonant vibration of the passenger side A-pillar windshield gasket which they fixed by sealing w/ silicone.

The check valve in the black water tank flushing system was installed backwards.

New unresolved problem: after the main coach battery disconnect switch is turned off and back on, the Monitor panel doesn't display current even tho the four LEDs are lit. To restore to normal, we have to turn the inverter off and disconnect shore power or turn off generator for several minutes and then turn the main switch back on.

I too have noticed lots of debris (wire cuttings, insulation cuttings, sawdust, etc) in areas not normally seen such as under the seats over the rear wheels and under the rear lounge.

The dealer, while not up to speed on the Interstate, has been pretty good about fixing these things.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:58 PM   #14
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This is a thread about the Interstate, not trailers, thank you. Jim
Well, excuse me. I apologize.
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