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Old 09-17-2008, 09:43 PM   #21
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I dunno.... If you know of a better travel trailer out there please point me in that direction.

I've been to RV shows and was kicking around an RV lot today. My folks are looking at FW's. Big and spacious they are, but if you look closely... gaps in trim, overtorqued screws etc... all the same...I see it in other brands, boats, new homes... It's certainly not exclusive to any one particular brand.

The price on a 25 ft SOB is usually less than my 25 foot AS, however if I were to spring for an aluminum outer shell and inner shell on the SOB, I wonder what my new SOB price would be? We all paid a little bit more for that silver tube.

I've found plastic scrap in my kayak from the manufacturer. Does it mean low quality?

A small offer of cheese for the wine.

Since Harley's were mentioned. I've never known anyone to buy a Japanese cruiser when they could afford the Harley and say "look at the money I saved."

The same applies for Airstreams... you either feel it or you don't.


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Old 09-17-2008, 10:04 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by ericinrb View Post
After 3 years of trying to enjoy our camping trips in our 16' Bambi, we finally traded it in on an 18' Eco ..... reasons:
1. poor workmanship on trailer (after 4 years we still found shavings and metal filings everytime we used the trailer)
2. Corrosion (door handles, door hinges, rear bumper and some body parts are corroding ..... license plate light and tail light frames are rusting). This trailer has been cleaned and "walbernized" regularly. Quit bragging about Airstream .... a plain old fiberglass trailer will hold up better than this !!!! I know, I had one for 9 years before we fell for this "cute trailer".
3. Bed ... less than a standard "double bed" made sleeping difficult at best.
4. 20 gallon water and 20 gallon combined black/grey water tanks don't support "boondocking" very well.
5. constant drain on batteries by ???? We had a solar system installed and that helped as the trailer was always ready to go but once camping the battery was low every night.
6. Poor to non-existent dealer support.
7. Refrigerator too small and barely worked due to poor heat venting in the rear. We added 3 small, low amp computer fans in the back but that hardly made a difference.

Too bad as the Bambi was cute but basically an very expensive, non functional camping trailer.

Sounds to me like poor planing in buying to small a trailer for your needs.
When you live next to the ocean even the best things rust and corrode.
Good luck with your SOB.
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Old 09-17-2008, 10:32 PM   #23
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There's a difference between brand loyalty and blind loyalty.

One of the reasons we bought a vintage Airstream is because of the community. AS folks were very welcoming and helpful before we bought our '67 Overlander. If, for some reason, our vintage Airstream did not work out for us, I would hope we would experience a bit more graciousness than the original poster on this thread.

It seems a fairly well-documented fact that new (sub-20 years old) AS travel trailers have some problems that some purchasers find surprising given the trailer's reputation and price. As with 70s-vintage Harley owners, some people are willing to tolerate the price and problems. And, on an interesting note, both Airstreams and Harleys have aging fan bases. According to Wiki, in 1987 over half of Harley buyers were under 35. Now less than 15 percent are under 35. The median age of a Harley owner is now 46.1. I don't have any data on AS demographics.

The good news is that Harley Davidson "got the memo" and started building better rides. Hopefully, Airstream will address its QC issues and "reinvent" itself for a new generation. In any case, I wish the original poster the best of luck and safe travels.
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Old 09-17-2008, 10:42 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by bredlo View Post
I think Airstream (and any company that has resellers, partners or representatives) must keep repair and cust svc. at whatever level of excellence they'd like to be associated with. And if a dealer isn't holding up that standard... yank 'em!
Of course you're right, Brad. Good comment.

And my apologies to the OP -- "rant" was inaccurate and uncalled for. I guess I'm just lucky my experience has been better. It did help that our Airstream was not our first trailer, and that I researched Airstreams and our specific model enough to know what we were getting when we bought it. So far I have no major complaints.

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Old 09-17-2008, 10:49 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Garfield View Post
And my apologies to the OP -- "rant" was inaccurate and uncalled for.
Yet a totally understandable response to being told to "quit bragging."

I mean c'mon... Airstreams are so cool that telling us to not brag is like asking water to stop being wet!
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Old 09-17-2008, 11:21 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by 85MH325 View Post
.......after twenty years and six Airstreams.
I'm on my 6th now, and haven't hit my 2nd year anniversary
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Old 09-18-2008, 12:22 AM   #27
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Good Luck

Hi, Eric. I just read all 16 of your posts on this wonderful trailer; Seems like you bought a bad [not up to parr] trailer from a bad [no longer in business] dealer and rest was a down hill ride. Kind of like a personality conflict; your first impressions weren't great and in time only got worse. I also have to agree with some of the other posters; From what you said, it implies that indeed you bought a trailer that was too small. So, for you, it is time to move on to bigger and better things. [18' Eco] Good Luck to you and write home [Air Forums] about your new adventures in camping, because that is what it is really about, enjoying camping and your RV.

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Old 09-18-2008, 06:02 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by millvalleyca View Post
I don't get it....
I've only been on these forums for a little over a year now.
How long has the quality of our Airstreams been declining?
There are no members of this forum that work/manage/ Airstream?
Airstream doesn't listen to the "dealers" or "commercial dealers" that are forum members for advice and suggestions? You would think AS would listen to their #1 this and top 10 that dealers since they rely on these dealers to move their product.
I don't get it.......
Hi Dennis;
Your statements address the problem to the point. Airstream is trying to live on iconic past as Harley did. Harley however after many failures has realized that things must be drastically changed in order for the icon to survive. Airstream today is living in Harley's AMF era. I had one of those, and in order to avoid insanity I have parted with it.

The Airstream's problem most likely is blamed on work force by the management. Did they forget what management means? One cannot manage a factory from the office enclosure. It is exactly as you have put it Dennis. If the worker has an issue with a certain step of the assembly process, the management is the one that should notice it. But that is impossible to see from the office cubicle. Many have talked about innovating, radical design changes etc. We need innovations, forget radical changes because Airstream is surviving based on tradition of the design and practicality of such. Within the forgotten meaning of the word QUALITY, is where innovations are needed. But those decisions do not belong to the labor performing employee. This is the assembly engineers responsibility, which he cannot see from his desk. If he has baby soft and clean hands he should be fired instantly, and I tell you why.

For number of years I was in a position of Field Engineer with a Japanese Outboard manufacturer, representing US market. I was also the head of Technical and Warranty Departments. After many years I was forced to quit due to my first wife's illness with terminal cancer. Today, I still run my own boat business, but I still maintain very close ties with them [by their choice]. Repeating issues demanded instant attention even if it meant traveling to some remote place to visit the dealer. Reason was to identify and diagnose the problem and report to Japan with recommended corrective change. We even had technical personnel at the warehouse to handle new modifications to stocked engines. Every month a trip to Japan with reports and recommendations. Assembly engineers were solely responsible for introduction of changes and for instructing the worker about the changed process. Each month as the meeting was held, every assembly floor engineer was present along with many designing engineers who never spoke a single word for days. After four day meeting, the assembly engineers were fully expected to show me the new process while observing the workers performing each implemented step. Constant and unbroken chain of communication was a priority #1.

Therefore, knowing and understanding the importance of that unbroken chain of communication, make your statements right on the money. What about workers input and suggestions? Are they accepting and review them? Often, the best solutions come from a person performing the task. Perhaps some of those Premium workers are tired of making recommendations if they fall on deaf ears and they no longer care to suggest how to make thing easier and better. Obviously there is a problem, but that will not change if it is viewed from the office cubicle. In the end, I would be very interested to know how often do Airstream dealers get a visit from a field rep or assembly engineer during their attempts to resolve any warranty issues. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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Old 09-18-2008, 06:50 AM   #29
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Eric certainly has some valid points, but none of the issues were hidden except maybe the metal shaving. I do not know if due diligence was done on the status of the dealer and dealer network that is a buyer beware issue. This site was doing very well when Eric purchased his unit and available to provide answers to all of his concerns. I am sure Eric toured the trailer before purchase and knew the size of the tanks, bed, layout and his intend use. The refrigerator issue is a OEM issue and goes back to dealer and OEM. In some ways it sounds like a 3 year case of buyers remorse combined with growing pains. I see corrosion problems on my unit but I would see the same on a SOB. I feel bad that Eric did not have the experience he expected and hope he checks back and updates the forum on his new unit and his adventures on the road.
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:30 AM   #30
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I can't blame Eric for moving on. After all that is why we moved on from an SOB to an Airstream, deplorable service at the SOB dealer after the sale was complete. We did our research (on both dealers and trailers) and found an Aistream dealer with service that matched their sales pitch.

We were at the Hershey RV show this past weekend and I saw several of the ECO units and they are nice little campers and deserve a look by anybody wanting to get into camping that doesn't want some monster toy hauler or 5th wheel. From my cursory inspection they seem to be well built trailers. Although I am sure they had them spic and span to be at the show.

We wish Eric all the best and hope he has a positive experience with his new trailer. And hopfully his Bambi will find a new home too.
Carl, Elaine & Finn The Beagle
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:38 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by craftsman View Post
To get truly top quality I guess you'd have to take a shell and do it yourself.
there is my approach to it. If anything is not right, it is my fault and I can only blame myself.

Good luck to you, hope your new trailer works for you.
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Old 09-18-2008, 08:08 AM   #32
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I think most Airstream buyers have higher expectations of quality considering the reputation and price. Most buyers seem to be enthusiastic buyers and in their enthusiasm and excitement of purchase don't follow through with a rigorous due diligence.On the day of delivery there is so much to take in that you would have to record and video tape it to remember everything.It's only after ownership that you start noticing little (and big) things that aren't quite right.I think Airstream have improved their GC over the last couple of years but considering how many hands touch the product before it's ever delivered to the dealers, it's never going to be without faults. To respond to someone from an earlier post: there are plenty of vintage trailers of other brand 20,30 or more years old being restored. Airstream doesn't have exclusivity on survivability.I think some statements and myths about Airstream have been repeated for so long some people pick them up as part of their vocabulary without even thinking about what they're saying.They are a wonderful product but if you count every rivet and every seam and opening cut in to the skin thats how many chances you have to develope a leak.There are trailers being built by other companies with quality as good and sometimes better than Airstream. They're not Aluminum and maybe don't have the heritage, history and mystique of Airstream but to think that Airstream is the top of the travel trailer food chain is silly. They just have a more loyal ( and sometimes blind) following.
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Old 09-18-2008, 08:37 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by 62overlander View Post
there is my approach to it. If anything is not right, it is my fault and I can only blame myself.

Good luck to you, hope your new trailer works for you.
Cold comfort to somebody who wants to buy a quality product, jump in, and go camping... but I catch your drift.

I think we vintage owners tend to shrug more often when stuff happens and fix it ourselves, but that's apples and oranges to a product being built today, touted as the best today.

If I spent $50,000 on a new BMW I would demand that every feature work perfectly, and leaks or corroding paint? Forget it! There's no reason on Earth that the first poster in this thread - or anyone buying a new Airstream -shouldn't expect the same mileage from their $50,000.

If the quality can't be guaranteed, switch materials. Or lower the price. But don't tell customers it'll be right if it often doesn't turn out that way.
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:43 AM   #34
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I think the original poster has been hit with the double whammy of unrealistic expectations and quality issues.

Perhaps it's just frustration with the quality issues that has led to the complaining about the size of the bed and the size of the waste tanks. Expecting a 19' AS to have the same features as a much longer AS is just not realisitic.

The quality issues are something different entirely. I think Airstream really needs to step up and address these quality issues and stand behind their products when a local dealer fails to do right by a customer.

My wife and I purchased our first AS this summer and it was brand new. I had always thought Airstreams looked amazing, but I knew very little about the heritage of the company until I was serious about buying and did some heavy research.

The trailer we purchased managed to do something that none of the SOB brands did, it connected with us on an emotional level and made us want to buy it. For me, it represented a perfect blend of style and function. SOB trailers are ALL function.

Long story short... I think Airstream has been able to rest on its laurels for so long because of buyers like my wife and I. Had we not purchased an AS, there would have been no travel trailer purchase because we have no interest in towing around a large white box with cheesy graphics on the outside and kitchy decor on the inside.

Airstream needs more competition like this to keep them honest:


My wife and I are already looking ahead to a larger trailer when we have our second child, and something like that would actually make me think twice about another brand.
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:54 AM   #35
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I've been thinking about this, so I'll make my second post to this thread.

The word quit has no use to me.I despise it.I never quit.

How about something like this-
"My experience with airstreams small drainpipe and lack of dealer backup has caused me to sell the deplorable chunk of aluminum.I've decided on another brand and will now be enjoying the travel trailer experience."
Isn't that what it's all about? I'm a Suburban man, I won't pull with anything else, savvy?
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Old 09-18-2008, 10:41 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Toronto_Guy View Post

Airstream needs more competition like this to keep them honest:

Very interesting! Have you seen one of these in real life?
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Old 09-18-2008, 11:00 AM   #37
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Very cool! No reason an Airstream can't look like that inside, with some ingenuity and a bit of artful remodeling. I always did love European designs. Any idea how much that costs?
Jim and Sandy

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Old 09-18-2008, 11:01 AM   #38
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That's why some of us buy old trailers and rehab them to our personal standards. Ends up costing as much or more than an SOB but you know were every rivet, wire, bolt, pipe, or screw is and why. Not for everyone but it's the best kind of airstream. If there is a quality issue you know where to find the guy that screwed up.

I think part of the problem is the new ones are like SOB's. Use the same quality of materials, likly why they change the warranty period.
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Old 09-18-2008, 11:36 AM   #39
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Eric thanks for the quick reply to my email. I didn't know that Revolution RV. here in San Diego went belly up. MY wife and i were going over this week just to have a look around. I know they are not the only RV dealer going out of business considering the economy at present. I hope the one in SF enjoys your old Bambi. Maby they will join the forums and give us an update. Lets all have fun and go CAMPING!! Good luck!!
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Old 09-18-2008, 11:36 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Isadora View Post
Very cool! No reason an Airstream can't look like that inside, with some ingenuity and a bit of artful remodeling. I always did love European designs. Any idea how much that costs?
It's apparently $55K USD for the 28' version. The dry weight is 4,500 lbs. So it would certainly be competitive with AS in price, design and weight.

I haven't seen one in person, nor do I know if they have any North American dealerships. I link to it showed up on a gadget blog that I check out every few days.

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