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Old 03-13-2016, 11:35 AM   #1
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summerland key , Florida
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Posts: 8
First impressions

Really impressed with the knowledge about everything Airstream by the members here. A gold mine of information from lots of nice people.

Internet looking at new 19' AS trailers and had initial sticker shock. Then saw some pretty slick videos from dealers detailing the great quality so I thought you get what you pay for. Next I found this forum and started reading.

Gosh, did I have my eyes opened. It appears there is very little quality control from the factory on new trailers. The dealers must just wash them and sell them since the owners have quite a few complaints.

There seems to be a number of items that are of "sub par" quality. The factory GYM tires really concern me. "Blowouts" are inevitable! I now wonder if it is worth the cost and frustrations?

Thanks to all while we rethink about getting an AS.


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Old 03-13-2016, 12:14 PM   #2
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2005 25' Safari
2016 30' Classic
Hilliard , Ohio
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 110
I've been at the factory a couple times in the past year. Popularity and demand are increasing. The factory is currently expanding to meet demand better. Perhaps they are a bit under strain trying to meet demand with their confinements and expansion challenges. Still, being mostly hand-made, there's more room for human error, but it has its advantages too.

Our new unit has a few fit and finish niggles - nothing major - but I doubt anything out there is much different. The units are so nice and well-built I have much more peace of mind than I would otherwise and the minor things aren't discouraging to me.

We bought a 3 year old unit back in 2008. Usually issues are shaken out and addressed by then. They do require maintenance like anything else. I recently sold it for nearly what I paid for it. I doubt many non-Airstream owners can say that. A couple relatives we camp with are both on their 3rd squared-off trailers during that time.

Cost of entry is a concern, but I could easily list more advantages to owning an Airstream.

2016 Classic
2010 Ford F-150 Lariat
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:51 PM   #3
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Posts: 862
Bottom get what you pay for. The "Some Other Brands" are made very cheaply, and begin to show it with little use. You don't see very many still in one piece in 10 years or less. IMO, nothing comes close to Airstream in quality and longevity. I doubt you'll see SOBs still on the road after 30-40 years, as the flimsy build materials will have more than likely turned to rust and dust.

In my life...I've had 2 more! My new, and 2nd AIRSTREAM is an Interstate Grand Tour ext 2016 24.5' class b Moho. (Trading up from Bambi16' Sport, 2015). This new ride will no doubt, take me "the rest of my traveling years!"
Evelyn & Mikki,(chihuahua) or Nikko (Pomeranian mix) Near Denver, Colorado
TV: 2015 Nissan Pathfinder
2015 BAMBI 16' Sport
Prior: 2013 & '14 LG T@B
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:58 PM   #4
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1991 34' Excella
Princeton , New Jersey
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With over 45 years of trailering my advise to any one just starting is NEVER BUY NEW. Even if you can afford it. The reason for this is no one can ever envision all of the things they will find desirable in a trailer. Thus start with a used trailer and figure out what you really want and need.
2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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Old 03-13-2016, 01:36 PM   #5
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. You are quite correct. Airstreams are expensive and they are not perfect, but they are the best thing out there in the travel trailer realm.

We have been RVing extensively for ten years now. Our first Airstream was a 2005 Safari 25FB which we bought new. After eight years, we traded for a 2012 Flying Cloud 23FB that was one years old. We then decided that we wanted to go back to a 25FB. We traded again for a brand new 2015 Flying Cloud 25FB. We have used our Airstreams extensively. We now have almost 1,800 nights of camping in them. We have towed them 150,000 miles all over the United States.

I tell you this as each time we traded RV's, we opted for another Airstream. We have had the best times of our lives traveling in our Airstreams.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 03-13-2016, 02:12 PM   #6
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2014 16' Sport
Route 66 , Arizona
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Our "some other brand" trailer seemed more like a random collection of RV parts all bolted together.

Then we got the Airstream. It seemed to have been designed by a Higher Power. You can tell it's a product of many years of refinement. I'd much rather have minor issues with an Airstream than with any other brand. And rest assured, you will have them with every brand.
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Old 03-13-2016, 02:41 PM   #7

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
With over 45 years of trailering my advise to any one just starting is NEVER BUY NEW. Even if you can afford it. The reason for this is no one can ever envision all of the things they will find desirable in a trailer. Thus start with a used trailer and figure out what you really want and need.

Let someone else take the 'hit' with most all things RV's, Airstream or 'white box', there are no "small" problems, especially those that show their face on the road.
A used AS will most likely have a much flatter learning curve as most of the teething problems will have been addressed.

QC is a concern that AS has been rationalizing for some time now.

Sweet Streams...

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 03-13-2016, 02:41 PM   #8
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1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,455
I would use my KLR 650 rule of thumb when it comes to buying a new Airstream.

I bought a brand new KLR 650 and never rode it before ripping it apart to fix things like the "doohickey" a Schintz Racing 705 kit with port and polished head, glued down and protected the wiring harness against the electrical shorts that would come from wires rubbing on rough edges of the frame. Neutral and kick stand safety overridden, engine guards, better brakes, new suspension......all before I had ever stepped into the saddle and ridden her. Crazy, maybe, but all I did was fix known problem areas of the bike before they bit me on the trail and left me high and dry, or low and wet. I have had zero problems with the bike in 5+ years (other than a flat tire).

Airstream trailers are no different. I know, I know, why should you be doing anything to a brand new trailer that is built to perfection by perfectionists. If you want to get years of enjoyment out of your Airstream, have a very nice trailer to sell one day, then you will want to perform some work on it, to prevent problems from rearing their ugly head.

Maybe other trailer guys can add to this list.

If possible, rustproof the frame by KROWN or similar product as frame corrosion will occur.

Go over all seams seals and windows to make sure every seal and seam has been Parbonded or Vulcumed properly. Pay attention to anything that breaks the exterior skin, marker lights, even rivets.

I personally would take some Sikiflex and seal the lower moulding down by the C channel as that seems to be the place that sees a lot of the water incursion problems.

As stated by another poster; Airstreams are built by hand by people, people that have lots of experience and others that have little or none; people that are having a bad day and others having a great day. Your trailer will emcompass all of this.

Below is what I found when I took my front marker lamp nacelle off to re seal.
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Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

ďItís a recession when your neighbor loses his job; itís a depression when you lose your own.Ē "Harry S Truman"
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Old 03-13-2016, 02:42 PM   #9
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2005 28' Safari
formerly of Tustin, Huntington Beach, Dana Point, and Laguna Beach , California
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Hi John! My wife and I looked for an Airstream back in August 2014 and the first one we looked at was a new 19' Bambi. We were intending to full-time and thought we could do so in that trailer but then had the same sticker shock. Fortunately our salesperson (Paul at Orange County Airstream in CA) led us to an older model, our 2005 28-foot International. He knew we would need the extra space and like the others above said, why take the hit on a new trailer? Yes, there are problems to be found on the new ones but all Airstreams have them - you just have to find them. First, get the right size for your intentions. 19-foot is fine for short vacations but as our sales guy said, a lot of Airstreamers come back later for a bigger AS. Then, if possible, be patient and look around for a used version. When on the lot, have the sales guy turn on everything; they may have to hook it up to power. There's a good chance the battery will be dead or near dead and the tires may soon need replacement but those are two costs you'll just have to accept if buying used. Does the fridge work? Turn on the AC. Turn on the lights. Check the burners. Run the water pump (it will probably make some noise initially; ours did). Open the drawers. Check the hydraulic jack and stabilizers. Our dealer was willing to change out the door's perimeter inner seal, clean the upholstery, put in new fridge shelving, replace and install a new Fantastic Fan but everything else was sold as is. So far we think we got lucky. (For reference, our nine-year old 28' was $36,500 and we didn't look back.)

What you lose in tangibles (increased square footage, storage space in a SOB), you gain in a sharper finish and a different vibe inside and out. There is a satisfying sense of ownership in an iconic piece of Americana - an intangible, yes, but it gets you into a club as you can see here in this forum. We as travelers in trailers all share the same love for the outdoors but it's there. If and when you do purchase an AS, part of the fun is to learn more from those here who have made all the mistakes before us and more than willing to share those lessons. Good luck!
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Old 03-13-2016, 02:53 PM   #10
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2015 25' Flying Cloud
Manheim , Pennsylvania
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Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
With over 45 years of trailering my advise to any one just starting is NEVER BUY NEW. Even if you can afford it. The reason for this is no one can ever envision all of the things they will find desirable in a trailer. Thus start with a used trailer and figure out what you really want and need.
Amen to that!
Youtube channel "Airstream Adventurers"
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Old 03-13-2016, 03:15 PM   #11
Len and Jeanne
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2005 16' International CCD
2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,129
Our first trailer was a lightly used 2-year old. It had a few things go wrong with it the first year, but was under the dealer's warranty so they fixed things free of charge. We got a big break on the price.

Our second one was purchased new. We also had a few things go wrong with it the first year, but they were under the manufacturer's warranty so they got fixed free of charge.

We did look at a used 23' International prior to our current AS that cost a lot less than our Flying Cloud, but we much prefer the light & bright FC interior to the darker International.

To some extent space is a state of mind. If you think about what you really want in a RV and what you are willing to sacrifice, you may find that the RV length isn't at issue so much as the contents and floor plan. Then consider your tow vehicle and its storage potential. A truck with a cap on the back gives you a lot of storage space.

We've always been fine with the Bambinos because we like to camp in out-of-the-way western campgrounds on public lands that were not designed for big rigs. We're currently RVing and have been on the road for a month in a 19-footer.

And hey, things go wrong with RVs, summer cabins, swimming pools, boats, and other major recreational expenditures. I don't think any of them are trouble-free. We're happy with Bambi the Second.
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Old 03-13-2016, 03:49 PM   #12
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2015 23' FB Flying Cloud
Walnut Creek , California
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Posts: 1,017
Key to new trailer QC is a good dealer with a quality service organization. If you link that to an attitude of cooperation and a get it done approach you will build a winner.

The key to a good used trailer is to know what to look for to correctly evaluate the condition and to realistically understand what you can and can not do or need.

The Goodyear Marathons are not unique as most ST tires are of questionable reliability if not conservatively used. However, it is an easy to correct condition. The exception is the 23s which require an upgrade from 14 to 15 inch wheels. The OEM 120-12volt single stage converter/charger is also an easy fix for the DIY owner, but not excessive for a third party correction. Batteries, brakes, and bearing service are all also suspect and need to be considered in the evaluation process. Individually, they are easily addressed, but when taken as a whole may have a significant impact on your cost of ownership. We talked to a lady who walked away from a nice trailer because the seller would not recognize the tires, brakes, and bearings need service before the trailer could be moved. However, the primary challenge is leaks and the associated damage. Some information on the normal locations to inspect certainly is worth developing. The experience of those who have owned an AS can be quite helpful.

Good luck in your investigation. Pat
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Old 03-13-2016, 04:16 PM   #13
Some Guy
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Nashville , Tennessee
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 172
We bought a 2015 directly off the lot. No problems (knocks on wood).
Quality so far has been great.

The Jarretts
Nashville, Tennessee
2015 25' Eddie Bauer
2015 F250 TV-Petrol
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Old 03-13-2016, 05:32 PM   #14
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2014 22' FB Sport
San Antonio , Texas
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If you want to own something that will give you some real headaches, buy a second home in a coastal, saltwater environment. Sit back and watch plastic rust. Major maintenance.

Cannonball, Deep in the Heart of Texas!

WBCCI #4387, Air #84080

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