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Old 06-29-2009, 07:26 AM   #81
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The quality of our 2000 Harley Road King is orders of magnitude better than that of our "top of the line" 2001 Airstream 34 Limited. Airstream quality at that time (early 2000s) was like Harley WAS back when they marked their spots. Yes, Jackson Center treated us like royalty when there was plenty of time to do the job right the second time, but Airstream still seems to address quality after the fact, and in this case (Town Hall), by the marketing department rather than production.

I owned and rode rice burners (Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki) for decades before getting into Harleys in the 90s. I have friends who still ride rice burners, ducks, and guzzis today. So I know for a fact, Harley's quality is on par with them. Comments like Nightwinds are usually just sour grapes.

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Old 06-29-2009, 07:35 AM   #82
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Should have gone Vintage.

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Old 06-29-2009, 08:42 AM   #83
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Lost in time

My "Airstream" is 1947.
My Harley is 1949.
My wife is 1947.
I love 'em all.
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:16 AM   #84
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2008 16' Safari
Destrehan , Louisiana
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I'm on my second AS now. The first was a 72, this one is a 2008. I've also had a chance to look over a lot of older AS.
First, AS uses the same appliances as aveyone else. They usually pick out the higher end stuff so you have a better chance that everything will work. Many of the items in my 2008 are the same brand as my 72. They are just up-dated and are all new. I had to repair or replace many items in my old AS and I expect to have to maintain the systems in my new AS.
The big thing you get with the AS is the trailer body. They are very strong and very durable. My old 72 was still tight right up until the end. I expect my new AS to do just as well. There is simply no equal to the life that an AS trailer will give.
I see a lot of small changes in the construction of the new AS coaches. In the vintage trailers, panels were cut on breaks and trimed with hand shears. The new trailers have the panels trimed with power niblers. This may sound like a small thing but the result is that little edge of corrosion at the edge of the panel. New owners are dismayed at this. I've really got no problem with it. The aluminum will oxidize at the edge and then stop. This is normal for aluminum. The owners of the vintage AS trailers take a little corrosion as just a normal part owning an old trailer. New owners want perfection. The point of this is that if you don't plan on owning your AS for 10 years or more, SOB is probably a better choice.
The next big issue is the laminant inside the trailer. AS, like everyone else, has to buy what is on the market. The laminants that were made in the 60's and 70's are just not made anymore. I don't expect the interior of my 2008 to hold up as well as my 72 did. When it looks bad, I'll redo the interior.
The next big problem is the lack of AS dealers. My nearest dealer is 360 miles away. To be honest, it's easier for my to fix problems myself than it is to haul the trailer 720 miles round trip to get it repaired. Thor is a little too protective of it's AS dealers. There is a Thor dealer just a few miles from here, but he can't touch my trailer. I do wish that AS would make it a little easier for me to get parts and service.
Back in the old days, when AS was owned by Wally Byam, all changes were tested out before they were used on production trailers. Everything was based around it's practical use as a camper. Today, the market for AS trailers has changed. Most new owners want looks and luxury. I'm not in that group. I got the 2008 Safari Sport 17' because of it's small size and light weight. The tanks, electrical demands and function are much the same as a vintage AS. The design is almost the same as a 1960's or 70's AS. This little trailer was designed from the ground up to be as small, easy to tow and easy to set up as posible. It does all that. I was also looking at the Casita and Fun Finder trailers. They are about the same in function but not nearly as nice. One of our friends has the Fun Finder and when they had a chance to check out the AS they found it a much better trailer.
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Old 06-30-2009, 05:35 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by yakman View Post
Anyone ever buy a new house or had one built? Is it perfect? Punch out list/crew? What? You spent $250,000 on a house and they have to come back and fix something in your house?
I like that analogy. I was told that to get the perfect house you need to build what you think is the perfect house, live in it for a couple of years, keep a list of things you should have done differently, and finally have the new, perfect house built with the improvements.

The reason that is such a good analogy is because Airstream has been building trailers for 75 years. During that time they have evolved somewhat, but have not improved nearly as much as they should have. Iím sure most of us on these forums are old enough to remember the Volkswagen Beetle ads from the sixties. Remember how the Beetle changed slightly each year? The rear windows got larger, as did the taillights. They finally installed headlights that didnít require a flashlight to tell whether they were on or off. By the time they quit selling that car, it was an extremely reliable, extremely capable vehicle, and it sold for a reasonable price.

Compare the Airstream. As far as I know, they still havenít made any provision for a trailer-mounted generator. How long have Airstream owners been carrying one around in the back of a pickup? The bathroom fan on my 1997 model is a joke; itís a noisemaker in a ceiling vent and looks like a design from the forties. The drawer slides are pieces of hardware that only the cheapest contractor would use, and the mounting brackets for them are often cracked when the factory installs them. I have replaced several of the spring-loaded cabinet door catches, and the overhead bin doors are beginning to sag because the spring lifts are no longer up to the job.

The comparison to a Mercedes-Benz also hits home with me. I owned a 280SL many years ago. It was a wonderful little car, but certainly wasnít worth the cost. I had to replace the fuel pump on that car once. The pump was available only from a Mercedes dealer, and it cost just shy of $100. At that time, a fuel pump for my Ford pickup could be had at any auto parts store for under $30. I had the car tuned up, including a brake relining, and it cost about $300. A few years later I had to replace the engine in my Ford pickup. The rebuilt engine cost about $350, including the installation.

Yes the Mercedes was a wonderful car, but it didnít live up to its reputation, and neither does Airstream.

I foolishly thought that if I bought an Airstream, I would no longer have any quality issues. How naive. In the five years Iíve owned this trailer I have had a recurring water leak that apparently was caused by a bent CPVC pipe. It was installed that way at the factory and repaired by the factory service center numerous times. I hope this last repair will be the end of it. A section was replaced with PEX tubing, and the repair wasnít done by the factory.

The factory service center has also done the following: 1) Re-secured the bathroom cabinet to the bathroom wall. That cabinet moves as the trailer is towed and had split the caulking along the wall. This situation continues. 2) Rebuilt both black and grey water tank dump valves. The valves were so sticky that I was worried that I might bend the rod trying to close them. 3) Repaired loose sheet metal under the trailer where several rivets had failed and allowed the sheet metal to flap in the wind. 4) Installed a patch above the entry door to cover the crack in the skin that developed there. A CRACK IN THE SKIN!!! 5) Repaired the seam between the roof and the sidewall at the left-rear of the trailer. This seam opened up when many rivets along it failed. How many automobile manufacturers would have stayed in business if their cars literally came apart at the seams?

I have personally done the following: 1) Replaced the drawer slides on the sofa drawer. The original ones would allow the drawer to slide completely out while towing. I also replaced the single, weak latch with two stronger ones. 2) Repaired the wiring inside the 120 volt electrical panel. One of the original wires was clamped between a screw head and the panel where the panel was mounted. After the insulation wore through, this created an intermittent short to ground on the neutral wire, causing the GFI at the main power hookup to trip. It appeared that this wire was installed this way when the trailer was built. This was a situation that could have killed someone by energizing the frame of the trailer with 120 volts. 3) Repaired the shelf where the folding chairs are stowed. This shelf was merely stapled to a support on one side of the cabinet, with no support at all on the other side. It could not hold the weight of two folding chairs. 4) Replaced one of the side windows. The original window shattered when my son-in-law attempted to open it. He was doing it properly. 5) Replaced the pressurized water (city water) inlet fixture. I created a leak when I pressed sideways on the connector. I did not hit it with a hammer; I merely pushed on it as I was attaching a hose.

While attempting to re-caulk the battery compartment doors, I discovered that changing the converter/battery charger would require either removal of the kitchen sink and its cabinet or cutting of an interior shelf. Did Airstream think the converter would last forever?

I will be the first to admit that I got a good price when I bought this trailer used five years ago, but I never expected the degree of shoddy workmanship and cheap parts that I found on it.

To say I am disappointed would be the understatement of the century. I switched from a Holiday Rambler to this Airstream because I thought it would be a step up in quality. It was actually a step down. If I could find a quality used trailer, Iíd buy it. The problem I have is that almost no one makes a quality trailer.

Americaís RV manufacturers are in the same position now as Americaís automobile manufacturers were in the sixties. They had better wake up, because if the Japanese ever decide to start building RVís, Americaís manufacturers will be petitioning the government for bail-outs.

You may certainly call this a rant if you like, because thatís exactly what it is.
2012 New Horizons Travel Trailer (formerly an Airstream owner)
2008 Dodge 2500 diesel with Equal-i-zer hitch.
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:08 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
My "Airstream" is 1947.
My Harley is 1949.
My wife is 1947.
I love 'em all.
Good answer especially if she reads the forums!
My trailer is a 06, My truck 06, My Motortcycle 05. Love them all.
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Sarah, Snowball

Looking for a 1962 Flying Cloud

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Old 07-17-2009, 02:59 PM   #87
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Smile We Quit (my original thread)

Well, I am amazed that this thread has gone on so long and switched to Harley quality vice Airstream quality (or really lack of quality). As I reviewed the thread from my original post when I luckily got rid of my 2005 Airstream Bambi (16") and traded for a 2009 ECO 18'. To date, all I can say is that is was a very good move. Nothing is rusting on this fiberglass trailer, the refrigerator actually works, it is lightweight, power supply and water supply are good for "boondocking", the bed is a queen size, and storage room is great.

My 2008 HD Street Glide is great too !!!!

One common theme from my post was Airstream's are overpriced (yes), the quality is really not all that good for the premium you pay (yes), you can tow it to the factory and they will fix most of the problems (good thing Porsche is not that way), some folks enjoy towing a 6,000 # condo on wheels around (not what I want to do when I camp), and many will not admit their mistake !!!! (I did and some other fool is now towing it around). I will admit, the "Bambi" was cute and drew attention wherever we went.
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:25 PM   #88
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Looks like you need to update your profile to reflect the change in your AS status...or lack thereof?! Good luck with your Eco.
Larry and Lou
CP: Water/30 amp/waste dump/WIFI & Room for 2-3 units; PM us if you are headed our direction!
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:49 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by ericinrb View Post
...some other fool is now towing it around.
I pulled our Globe Trotter out of storage yesterday; began cleaning the original linoleum floor, washing the windows and charging up the battery for an antique car show we'll be attending this weekend (should be the only trailer there, and will likely get a bit of attention.)

As the sun went down and a cool breeze washed through the insides, people walking their dogs by the house waved, and bicyclists gave me the thumbs up. The sight of our trailer put a smile on everyone's face, including ours.

So best of luck with your new trailer, but as for me - I didn't feel like a fool at all.
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Old 07-17-2009, 04:07 PM   #90
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winter garden , Florida
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as I drove over to the storage facility today, I passed three of the largest RV dealers in Florida and I thought "I am so glad I bought an Airstream". It may have a few flaws, although I have not run into them yet, but when I go camping everyone stops by to see it and ask how we like it. They all have stories to tell about friends that have had or have an airstream, it might not be the best trailer built but we make lots of friends because of it and thats all that is important to us. So if you ever find yourself in Florida near disney and you see a 28' Safari stop by and say Hi.
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:12 PM   #91
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Americaís RV manufacturers are in the same position now as Americaís automobile manufacturers were in the sixties. They had better wake up, because if the Japanese ever decide to start building RVís, Americaís manufacturers will be petitioning the government for bail-outs.
We are very happy with our Airstream, but agree with this quote. Airstream is living off that famous slogan "if you think we're bad, you should see our competition".

We're glad we bought ours used and the PO had worked out the kinks. Also we researched this forum and tried to pick a vintage that didn't seem to have as many problems as others.

I have a buddy that bought a $350,000 40' MoHo. After 6 months, I asked him where he's been with it. The answer? "Nowhere except back and forth to the dealer for warranty repairs." $350 grand!!!
Hey, its the only way to be sure!
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:51 PM   #92
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My '06 isn't perfect, and neither was my '05. Filoform has been my problem, but I only live 10 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, so even if others didn't have this problem, mine still might. However - it's a characteristic of non-anodized aluminum. Airstream could and should put an extra coating of clearcoat over the seams and rivets.

I'm musing that we will probably see two things happen very soon with Airstreams - the price will stabilize and the quality will go MUCH Higher.

In short, during a depression (not 1929 yet but we're working on it) the poor get very, very poor and the well to do and rich get less so. Even now, only idiots aren't carefully considering how (or whether) we'll spend whatever discretionary income we have. God help ANY company that can't turn around their quality and EARN our loyalty. If Airstream doesn't get it and damn soon... I'll be buying vintage because they really WON'T be making them anymore.

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:00 PM   #93
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Give in to the vintage side.
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:14 PM   #94
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My question is? (and I have an older one 68') The inside of the newer AS seems no different than most SOG's.

I've borrowed my friends 2004 and been in the newer ones. It's all plastics fixtures and particle board. No different than what else is out there.

So the big question is? why does it cost $20,000 more than other trailers.

The frame is weaker, sure it has aluminum but so do some of the others, (painted)

So what is the extra $20,000 for. It's not in better equipment on the inside. It's really the same as everyone else is putting in.

So do you pay $20,000 for having a rounded trailer with the AS logo on it? Is it worth it?

This is why a bought vintage. My 40 year old trailer was built better than any of the newer ones. I would be surprised if they last 40 years!

Just some thoughts I was having.

And I do love my AS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

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Old 07-18-2009, 09:37 AM   #95
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Mercedes Comparison

I had a friend that owned two automobiles. One a Honda Accord and the other a Mercedes. I asked him one day why he drove the Accord every day and only occationally the Mercedes. He responded, "The Honda is a superior car in ever way. Then I said, why do you keep the Mercedes? He responded..."Wellllllllll..........There is just something about riding behind that big silver star!" Same here with my Bambi. Is it worth the difference? Likely not but like my Zero Turn Mower, a Top of the line Ariens. I could have bought a cheaper ZTR from Lowes/Homedepot(about 1/4 the price) and I would emagine that four of the cheaper mowers would have outlasted my Ariens. The point is that the quality, feel and performance of the Ariens is far better and it simply makes me feel better owning the top of the line. I have worked hard my whole life to afford the nicer things. NO ONE gave me anything and the silver spoon avoided my mouth as a child. So as a reward for hard work and success I spend my money on the things I want for the reasons I want them. If someone else does not subscribe to this practice just wait the new president will likely buy you all a new Airsteam shortly and I will be taxed for being able to afford mine on my own. My Rant is finished now as is my time reading this thread. It really is time to let it die.....Airstream is still the best and I have the sales receipt to prove it! Good day ladies and Gentlemen.
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Old 07-18-2009, 02:33 PM   #96
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Just because it costs more doesn't mean its better

Take Mercedes for instance. They have a terrible reliability rating. and their resale sucks . Honda on the other hand is the total opposite...

Sometimes you PAY MORE AND GET LESS....


May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

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Old 07-18-2009, 03:19 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Nightwind15 View Post
I have worked hard my whole life to afford the nicer things. NO ONE gave me anything and the silver spoon avoided my mouth as a child. So as a reward for hard work and success I spend my money on the things I want for the reasons I want them. If someone else does not subscribe to this practice just wait the new president will likely buy you all a new Airsteam shortly and I will be taxed for being able to afford mine on my own.
Your luck is about to change. I will buy you all the beer you can drink for posting the most accurate, telling, and sensible post I have seen (including Gene's and my own!) Keep up the good work, sir, and don't let them wear you down.
"Turleen", the '57 Flying Cloud
Lone Jack, MO

"You better learn it fast; you better learn it young"-John Fogerty
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Old 07-18-2009, 05:40 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by Tim A. View Post
Although the website does not give particulars, it is likely the Paganini does not have blackwater, graywater, and freshwater tanks with anywhere near the capacities demanded by the American RV market.
I think the specs say the fresh water capacity is 45 liters, or approx. 12 gallons. Great looking trailer, but not enough water for me.
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:50 PM   #99
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I have been on the road travelling this wonderful country with my wife Franny in our used 1988 34' Limited for ten months now. At present we are enjoying Portland Oregon. During our time on the road we have logged 19,000 miles, and have had our share of things that go clunk, spark, and quit. In New Mexico I discovered wires hanging in front of our tires on the first axel. I realized that they had something to do with our trailer brakes, so a call went out to the Airstream dealer, and they were too busy, and they recommended a local mobile repair service. Tom was his name he came and in an hour had the wires fixed and checked all the brakes. Of course it took 150 clams to make it right. Next our airconditioner croaked in Camp Verde, Arizona where it was 106 degrees each day. Another mobile repair guy changed it out, and another 800 clams. I have had to make repairs to the fold out steps, tail lights, and stabalizers. Even with these issues I am so happy I purchased my airstream, it has been a wonderful home away from home. Towing has been extremely easy, even in the mountains of Colorado, New Mexico, and northern California... Every where we go I get such positive feedback on our Stream... Anyone who buys anything used or new can expect their share of things that can go wrong and even fail. A trailer is a lot like a boat which everone knows is a hole you throw money into.


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Old 07-19-2009, 12:16 AM   #100
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I am interested in hearing from AS full timers
in Grass valley, Eldorado, Amador areas.
Am planing to purchase AS and relocate there. Thx

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