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Old 12-23-2012, 11:39 PM   #1
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Good Service?

So a couple of you all have given me a couple snippets of advice on this question in another post...but I wanted to dedicate a thread on it and hopefully you all can give me some more clarity.

My wife and I will be possibly planning on buying an AS, lightly used or new in 2014 and I am trying to iron out details - we will have two small children and using the AS for weekend getaways, weeklong beach trips, and a bit later longer trips..

Anyway, we live in Birmingham, AL and as I have been contemplating....my one hang up is figuring out how I will get repair work done on the AS.

From talking to a few of you on this forum, It seems that for certain repairs, it could be a long drive to get it repaired (although some have said that this should be pretty rare). But for "most" repairs, some local dealer may do the trick.

The only listed dealers nearby are a place in anniston (1 hour)...then one in gulfport, MS (like 4.5 hrs)...probably some in TN...a bit further is bates near tampa I believe (6 hrs)...then of course jackson is like 8 hour drive from me.

if the place in anniston could provide good service, that would be ideal obviously...

Advice? Anyone familiar with dandy RV in anniston...the service dept? I want a good deal, but good service will keep me sane.

I am a bit spooked about the premise of "often" having to pull the AS far distances...

Any thoughts?

I guess no one has a crystal ball....but I would like some re-assurance that somewhere nearby here I can get work done.

As far as an "SOB" - I have no idea if that would be more convenient....now that the wife has seen the airstreams she seems fixated - cant say that I am not either

Having said that I will be giving SOB's a good look if I feel I cannot get a place to service it for me.

Looking for reassurance and/or critical advice to guide decisions...

I am not so worried about the expense of my toys, but if they are a major pain from a time standpoint, then they are well...less fun for a busy dad.
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Old 12-24-2012, 12:16 AM   #2
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You may need to have some items repaired under warranty when your Airstream is new. However, if you do a thorough inspection, and perhaps "camp" at the dealer or a local campground for a night or two, you may be able to get these things fixed immediately after purchase.

After that, you can perform most periodic maintenance yourself, after the warranty runs out in 24 months.

I don't know what others have experienced, but we never needed to go back to the dealer after the initial defects were fixed under warranty, a couple of weeks after we took delivery.

Routine maintenance, like greasing wheel bearings, rotating tires, etc. can be easily done yourself. Or, any RV service center (e.g., Camping World) can do it for you.

When out of warranty, defective appliances, electronics, etc., can also be repaired by non-Airstream RV service centers. Although, you may wish to have some Airstream-specific repairs done at a dealer.

Please note that RV repairs can be quite expensive, whether done at the dealer or a service center. I think the shop rate is around $120/hour, and even relatively simple work can be hundreds of dollars. Also, unlike auto dealers, our Airstream dealer never discounted any routine service or periodic maintenance.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:59 AM   #3
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My Parents are 72 years old. They take their rig 5 hours to get in winterized and serviced to a dealer they trust. Like anything in life. If its calling you, take the jump. No one here is going to convince you to take that leap. No one here is going to put a mint on your pillow at night. If your more comfortable with a tent camper until your a seasoned camper, so be it. Things go wrong. Things break with usage. Its not cheap to get into things other people call a passion. Starting multiple threads will not bring you into the light of enlightenment. Some people save all there life to pursue their dream. Your on here looking for someone to hold your hand and tell you everything will be all right if you just find the right place, to buy and talk to the right person who wont point you down the wrong road and take you for ( insert term here ) that you are showing everyone here that you are. Im I being to harsh? Deal with it. There are plenty of people on here that will blow smoke up your tail pipe all day, and hold your hand. Eventually you will have to grow up and make a decision to do, or do not. If a budget is the issue, get an older unit. Or stay home and watch cable and play x-box, its cheaper and takes less effort and less commitment. Merry Christmas. (( I apologize to the members here who love their rigs and enjoy the lifestyle we have all come to enjoy. ))
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:20 AM   #4
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Geez Rumship, take it easy on the guy. It's Christmas eve. There's room for everyone.

We've had trailers for 25 years (SOB), traveled all over the country, hundreds of thousands of miles. Had the Stream only 3.5 years. I can say that the systems, and the way they work/service are pretty much the same. In fact, everything is pretty much the same as an SOB EXCEPT of course the towability, the cool factor, and the extended family that comes with ownership.

You can handle the routine maintenance yourself.

Any good RV dealer should be able to handle appliance repairs.

If you have skin issues, they are Airstream specific and you'll need an AS dealer.

Owning a travel trailer of any brand comes with some risk/responsibilities, all of which can be overcome.

Good for you, doing your homework first.

Get the Stream, live the dream.

Merry Christmas.

John
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:36 AM   #5
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PharmGeek...we were in your position 30 years ago with two kids in diapers. We purchased what we could afford, a used pop-up, and started making memories. Our first exposure to Airstreams came several years later when the kids came riding their bikes back and wanted us to come see the "hot dog trailers". I knew someday we would have an Airstream. For us it wasn't about the ride...it was about the adventure. We've had many trailers and motorhomes over the years...all have had issues. But all along we were building memories with the kids. The kids are older now and we have our Airstream. One thing you will not find with an SOB is the "Airstream Experience" and the people that go with it. It would take me hours to explain that. Good luck!

John...your words are sure appropriate to us: "Get the Stream, live the dream."

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Old 12-24-2012, 06:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
You may need to have some items repaired under warranty when your Airstream is new. However, if you do a thorough inspection, and perhaps "camp" at the dealer or a local campground for a night or two, you may be able to get these things fixed immediately after purchase.
Yes. This is so important.

Your dealer should be able to fill your tanks for you and plug you into electricity for a couple of days. Camp there if you can, use the toilet, the shower, cook a meal, wash the dishes, examine everything closely and get any issues dealt with before you leave.

This is also a good opportunity to make sure you know how everything works. Dump your tanks before you head home, too.

I don't think you can go wrong with the dealer in Gulfport, MS. Good people, great service, dedicated to Airstreams and providing good customer service. They have an onsite hookups, too.

Might be worth your while to take a drive down there and spend some time talking with them and looking at what they have. I think they would do everything within their power to insure you become a satisfied customer.

Good luck,


Maggie
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:31 AM   #7
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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

Note...... we bought our Classic before joining the forums...

After our 63 Safari, 18 Seasons, the DW fell in LOVE, and I was getting a bit tired, (old), of the constant "little" things that needed attention.
We bought new from the only dealer in NYS. Six weeks later the dealership closed and there hasn't been one since in NYS. Airstream is not known for their extensive dealer network.
We did have numerous warranty concerns, and items that were missed on the dealer PDI. In the end everything worked out ok and AS did supply me with the components I needed for the repairs. BUT it was a real PITA.

What I took away from the experience....resist the impulse buy,(can be very difficult), research the dealership thoroughly, insist on a complete orientation, including hitch set-up, take notes or better..video. Stay overnight at the dealership.

If you do buy new...the only Dealership I have personal experience with is Colonial Airstream in NJ. One of probably 10 with a GREAT reputation for sales AND service.

Now this may only apply to our experience....but if I had it to do over, I would take the time to shop for a quality late model, 2-5yrs.

POI...we did not finance, had a very good deposit from the 63 sale.
Don't forget you will be financing depreciation if you don't pay cash.

Good luck in the adventure...

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Old 12-24-2012, 08:01 AM   #8
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I say go for a gently used AS (they still depreciate like everything else) and find a local Rv dealer for the small stuff and or learn how to do general repairs and upkeep. We bought our Bambi almost three years ago and had absolutely no idea how to do anything! We learned through Rv repair books, the service manual and most importantly HERE on Air. It's a bit of a learning curve and you second guess yourself a ton but after a few mistakes or sleepless nights you get the hang of it and worry less everyday. Our closest dealer is over 4 hours away and when we had hail damage I really liked the guy in OKC (over 5 hours away) and had him do the panel replacements. On things like bearings, tires etc I use a local Rv dealer with a good reputation and have never had a problem. This is a HUGE purchase and I understand your hesitation but all I can tell you is we were so glad we took the plunge @3 years ago and will never look back. The Airstream community (all be it a little dysfunctional at times) is a major part of us enjoying our Airstream! Please feel free to ask questions and sometimes you will get a less than supportive reply but you will receive 10X more replies that are meaningful and helpful. Good luck on your search!
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:11 AM   #9
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Jd sanders in alachua Florida is much closer than bates in Tampa and have a great reputation. Jim
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:32 AM   #10
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PharmGeek, you have a valid concern but you might be putting a little too much weight this. Having to have an Airstream dealer do all the maintenance and repairs on your soon to be trailer might not be all that necessary.

Repairs come in three categories. There are some that you will be able to do on your own and based on how handy you are, this list might be rather long. Then there are some of the bigger issues that any good RV dealer can handle. Anything with an appliance, water pump or other generic pieces of equipment you might have. Then, there are the big Airstream specific problems that you will have to have a dealer address. If you live only an hour away from a dealership, I wouldn't think that would be all that far for the very occasional trip.

So, I would suggest that you research your local area RV dealers. Since you are a suburb of Birmingham, you should have many to choose from. Take it to the dealer for the original inspection, do as many maintenance things as you can and get a good dealer to do the things you are not comfortable doing. And....don't listen to those who do not know the difference between "you're" and "your". He must be having a bad Christmas holiday.

Merry Christmas by the way.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:37 AM   #11
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As far as Florida dealers go I have purchased from both as well as service work at both. J D Sanders is much better than bates from my experience. JD is the most ethical people I have done business with.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:47 AM   #12
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I'm familiar with Foley RV Center, AKA Airstream of Mississippi in Gulfport. That's where I purchased my Airstream Interstate. I've also had repair work done there, after some vile miscreant broke into my new Airstream and stole the stereo/GPS unit out of the dashboard.

They do very good work. The owner, Rick Foley, is not just a dealer, but an Airstreamer in his own right.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:56 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by RUMSHIP View Post
My Parents are 72 years old. They take their rig 5 hours to get in winterized and serviced to a dealer they trust. Like anything in life. If its calling you, take the jump. No one here is going to convince you to take that leap. No one here is going to put a mint on your pillow at night. If your more comfortable with a tent camper until your a seasoned camper, so be it. Things go wrong. Things break with usage. Its not cheap to get into things other people call a passion. Starting multiple threads will not bring you into the light of enlightenment. Some people save all there life to pursue their dream. Your on here looking for someone to hold your hand and tell you everything will be all right if you just find the right place, to buy and talk to the right person who wont point you down the wrong road and take you for ( insert term here ) that you are showing everyone here that you are. Im I being to harsh? Deal with it. There are plenty of people on here that will blow smoke up your tail pipe all day, and hold your hand. Eventually you will have to grow up and make a decision to do, or do not. If a budget is the issue, get an older unit. Or stay home and watch cable and play x-box, its cheaper and takes less effort and less commitment. Merry Christmas. (( I apologize to the members here who love their rigs and enjoy the lifestyle we have all come to enjoy. ))
It would appear that you have really built up this straw man and knocked it down. I hope that was therapeutic in some way.

But thanks to you and to everyone else for any advice I can glean from you all. It is appreciated!

I think one thing you all cleared me up on, is that after the warranty, many RV dealers may have decent shops that can do basic repairs if I need it done (granted at an expensive cost, not surprising). I will look forward to learning to do maintenance and repairs myself. As a homeowner, I have enjoyed learning all sorts of stuff - but sometimes as two full time parents, we simply have to farm it out and get it done cause the time aint there.

Wish you all a Merry Christmas!
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:37 AM   #14
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My wife and I will be possibly planning on buying an AS, lightly used or new in 2014 and I am trying to iron out details - we will have two small children and using the AS for weekend getaways, weeklong beach trips, and a bit later longer trips..
I think the only thing you are going to wish once you've got it, is that you'd bought it sooner! Good luck with your adventure!
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