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Old 03-16-2012, 12:45 AM   #141
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So far pretty good for us on a new FC. Some AC issues that are being taken care of by the dealer. As I have said before this is a forum so lets use it. I am leaving my rig outside not covered until the warranty period is up so I will know if it is leaking. I've seen things I would have done differently. I am somewhat dissapointed that I am learning to accept this. I sometimes feel that I have to settle on some of the issues. Are some taste? Yes. are some sloppy work? Yes. Are some poor design? Yes. The quality and fit on my new TV I am very well satisfied with, so I am not unreasonable.
Having said that, I am having lots of fun and there are many many things that I really like about the trailer. I intend to use the two year warranty to it's fullest extent and hope to get any problems sorted out in that time.
And again this is a forum so nit-picking to some people may be valid concerns to others. Everybody is entitled to express their opinions within the confines of the established rules. In about three weeks we are leaving for a two week trip to Yosemite and Yellowstone and I can't wait. This purchase was largly pushed by my wife who I guess was tired of camping with me in a tent and she loves it.

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Old 03-16-2012, 01:37 AM   #142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
...It is an invaluable resource for Airstream owners. But the constant running into the ground of the manufacturer is of little value, and unfair representation of the many hundreds of Airstream owners who appreciate their Airstream every day, quietly.

doug k
I've found the forum to be a tremendous resource also. I particularly enjoy the free exchange of ideas, whatever they are. There are, no doubt, countless numbers of very satisfied customers, and I'm encouraged by every one I hear from. It's easy, and respectful, to honor their requests to keep the threads they start "positive". I love Airstreams, and would like to hear more success stories, so there's no need to keep it a secret.

So, I'm just a bit perplexed that anyone would think that those who have not achieved Airstream perfection, should just be quiet about it. I think this forum is also about getting answers to questions, and giving opinions about Airstreams. If I think my experiences (positive, or negative) can help someone, in any way, make an informed decision, I'm not likely to be deterred.

I hope you enjoy your new Airstream as much as I do mine.
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:43 AM   #143
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Thumbs up Positive posting...

Please go back to post #120 and start reading....

Some of the best posts in a long while. Too many opinions I fully agree with to list.

We know for a fact that some at JC check in here periodically, to what affect I'm not sure.
What I am sure of is that these threads HAVE opened the eyes of the GOOD dealers which has improved the experience of many new owners. A good thing!!

The fact that some perceive a portion of my posts as excessive "bitching" bothers me not.
Most know how long we've been Streaming and how much we Love it, and realize we wouldn't change brands for anything.

I like to think my bitching and helping is pretty well balanced, and if you feel otherwise....feel free to tell me and everyone who'll listen, thats what this Forum is all about.

Bob
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:26 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Gene, I wonder if Airstream has lost many sales because of this forum.

At least it didn't stop us from buying two new Airstreams in recent years. We researched this forum in depth before buying both, and decided many of the complaints were repeated over and over by the same people. (Take this thread on 2012 Airstreams, ten pages and a small handful of 2012 owners checking in, the rest we've heard before.)

We then researched other brands, talked to many, many owners and found the grass was no greener on the other side of the fence. Might as well own an American icon and face the music. Or enjoy it.

We enjoy the forum immensely, so much experience here, and are thankful for it. It is an invaluable resource for Airstream owners. But the constant running into the ground of the manufacturer is of little value, and unfair representation of the many hundreds of Airstream owners who appreciate their Airstream every day, quietly.

doug k
Doug,

There's a lot we can't know.

Has Airstream lost sales because of the Forum? Yes is the answer if we take people at what they said in various threads over the years. It is not the fault of the Forum, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer and of the dealers.

The "rest we've heard before" indicates the problems keep repeating. I have often wondered if we would have bought our Safari if we had seen all the complaints in 2007. I joined the Forum a couple of months before we purchased and saw some complaints and wondered if this were really a quality product. But mostly I was looking for information on what RV'ing was like and what model we would be interested in. I think the corrosion thread had just started and that was enough concern that I checked the trailers we were most interested in for it and found none.

I have no doubt there are many RV brands that are poorly built and designed. The standards of the RV industry are a lot lower than quality standards of autos and trucks and a lot of other products. So, if you want an RV, you have to choose between a lot of poor quality. There are good products, but not many and some of them are very, very expensive. This is a quandary not easily solved. "Might as well own an American icon and face the music. Or enjoy it."—that sums it up very well, except, it is not "either, or" but a choice to do both that some have decided to do.

The message that only a few people run down Airstreams and most owners are very happy is not, I believe, based on facts. I would like to have an intern who can go over all the threads where quality is discussed and see just how many people complain and how many are happy. Actually it doesn't divide so easily. There are a variety of impressions and facts to evaluate. There are plenty of people who never heard of the Forum and some who don't know how to use a computer, but bought an Airstream. I don't have an intern, so I have to base my evaluation on memory. After we bought our Airstream, the amount of complaints became a major source of irritation on the Forum—that was in 2008 and it went on for a long while. The problems became so bad the company did respond for a while, then disappeared. Most of their response was about corrosion and they did offer some help to some people, but we don't know how many.

Other people had different responses from the company. The not well kept secret is that the company does often respond to individual problems in a good manner. You have to know who to contact and how to do it. Sometimes things are fixed for free or mostly for free after warranty has run out. This informal system has flaws. A lot of people don't know how to use it and should not have to. it should be part of the public response to QC and design problems. By doing things this way, the company shows some people realize the overall direction of the company is flawed and try to reduce the tension between customers and company. I took advantage of this informal system, but should I have had to drive 1,400 miles to JC? Careful complaining is rewarded, but at a price.

Things settled down for a while in the complaint area. Does that mean the trailers were better made, maybe in response to the Forum (then the Forum is the cop Airstream needed to enforce quality)? Does it mean people just gave up and stopped posting seeing that the company was unresponsive? I don't know. I do know sales were way down for a couple of years, and, perhaps, the workers not fired may have been the best ones, so just on the fact sales were down (and possibility of better workmanship), complaints would be a lot less (sales were down to around 30% of the best year before the Great Recession at one point).

Doug, you are right, there have been relatively few people listing problems lately. The upsetting part of these lists is that they are very much the same as my experience and the experience of many others in the past (some near past, some not so near). I don't know whether the people posting now feel better knowing they are not alone, but some of us are trying to give them ideas what to do about it and explain our experiences and what we did about it. Some of the focus has been on dealers lately and I am unsure how that is sorting out except that there are still bad dealers out there.

None of us really know how many new owners are happy and how many are frustrated. Are the trailers better or worse made? The Forum is an imperfect representation of what is really going on, but it is better than anything that existed before. It is only through these discussions of facts, near facts, quasi-facts, factoids, impressions, and attempts at analysis that we'll come to some sort of generally accepted answer over time.

Gene
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:47 AM   #145
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My wife and I will be taking delivery of our new 2012 FC during the first week of April and I will look forward to the opportunity to share our feedbackand and experiences from Day 1. I already know that we are working with an exceptional dealer, which I'm sure will improve our experience. I am happy to post photos and test systems based on questions or recommendations from any of you! This thread has given me numerous items to check more thoroughly than I might normally do...
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Old 03-16-2012, 04:10 PM   #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THEPILL

I did BOTH!!!!!!

Go back and read my First post when I got my AIrstream.



SHane
Hello. Did you ever relate exactly how the damaged counter top was resolved in JC? Repaired or replaced?

Thanks

Jim
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Old 03-17-2012, 07:33 AM   #147
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I've got to thank everyone that has posted in this thread. I posted earlier that my wife and I went up last weekend to pick up a new 2011 FC 23FB.
Because I had been through this thread, two or three times now, I was much better prepared to "look over" our AS before we pulled it back home.
We ended up with two pages of notes for the dealership to address before we took possession. (we still are waiting on a few parts.. so I don't have it home yet.)
We may still have a lot of warranty issues, or we may not, but our first actual experiences with it will be a lot more positive because I knew what to look for, and just knew to be careful.
Thanks everyone.

Jeff
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Old 03-17-2012, 08:09 AM   #148
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Stream Happy

Jeff... the adventure begins.

Sounds like you were well prepared, which is one of the best surprise suppression features of all the endless chatter that goes on here.

Have Fun

Bob
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Old 03-17-2012, 01:45 PM   #149
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My dad was a car dealer and his guys spent alot of time on pre-delivery inspection and detail, I know because I worked in the detail shop!. He always said PDI and detail is one of the most important facets of the business. I would imagine there are Airstream dealers who put great emphasis on delivering a clean trailer trailler with all systems checked, everything working properly before they hand over the keys. I'm sure too, there are some that really don't give a rat's a*s once the trailer is sold.

As we begin our AS adventure, I'm learning alot about the trailers and dealers. The Bambi we rented in January had a bad door lock, I closed it, it locked and the keys were on the table. $110 later it was open. The inside deadbolt was loose enough that when the door closed, it did too. I stuck a piece of duct tape over it and didn't have to call a locksmith again. When we brought it back to the dealer, I showed the service manager the problem, he said it was common. He took the tape off and it locked itself again. The Bambi was five years old. There must be a fix other than putting on a new lockset. Wonder why it hasn't been addressed? We are renting the Bambi again in May, I talked to the dealer about the lock and other issues yesterday, nothing had been fixed yet. Unless They let me steal a trailer from them, I don't think I'll buy from them.
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Old 03-17-2012, 04:43 PM   #150
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Locks have been a problem for many years. Our problem was when it was delivered there was no grease inside the works and it needed it to close properly. I greased and no more problems.

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Old 03-18-2012, 06:24 AM   #151
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Gene - you are old enough to remember when buying a new car was a similar experience. Auto companies didn't realy compete and they all had quality problems. An engineer named Demming tried to teach US manufacturers "stastical process control" instead of quality control, as a means of building better cars. They rejected his teachings. Unfortunately for them, the Japanese embraced them and Demming became and still is , a national hero in Japan. Only after getting beat to death by the Japanese did the American mnufacturers adopt and embrace spc. I doubt Airstream will change until some competition forces them to, which isn't likely . Quality is a matter of the process of designing and building each component that goes into a unit in a fashion that eliminates errors and actually makes inspection almost unnecessary. I realize Airstreams are not mass produced but closer to hand built . Nonetheless, the principles apply.
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:42 AM   #152
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My neighbors all have mammoth new trailers with multiple slide-outs. Beds pop out of the ceiling, the bathrooms have exterior doors and they sleep 10 adults and 18000 kids.

So we all have new trailers. Do I have quality issues? Yes, and I've posted about them. All of my neighbors have far more issues than I however. One guy has had the siding removed three times to find and stop water leakage. Carpet replaced twice. Broken jacks, excessive rust, doors don't work, etc., etc.

Life isn't perfect, and neither is my Airstream. I am growing very fond of it, flaws and all. I suspect the same can be said for many others here as well
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Old 03-18-2012, 09:45 AM   #153
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I guess they build them well enough to get them...sold?
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Old 03-18-2012, 10:26 AM   #154
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Kosm', yes I remember when the US manufacturers got fat and happy and went from being the world's best production car makers to sub-mediocre. GM was the best of all. The vehicles certainly weren't up to today's standards, but at the time, they were good. But they ignored disc brakes, rack and pinion steering front wheel drive and many other advances. They believed their own hype. European companies passed them by for a while and then came the Japanese. Now the Japanese are being threatened by the Koreans. I stopped buying US cars long ago. I have heard of Demming though the name of the process had escaped me. It may not be "quality control" per se, but us amateurs tend to call things by a general, all inclusive name.

If the Japanese or Chinese got into RV's, the myriad US companies would slowly go out of business until only several remained. I doubt Airstream has any sort of patent on the design, so copies would be easy to make. There are RV's made in Europe, but they don't sell them here, and I don't anything about their quality.

I understand other companies make really bad RV's. I also am told there are some who make really good RV's. US law on advertising allows a certain amount of puffery and so poor products get away with being sold as "premium" or "best" or other such adjectives. Airstream could do better, but the corporate culture at Thor appears to be make big numbers every quarter and cut costs. Short term thinking does not lead to long term success.

One post a while back said a dealer said Airstreams don't sell any more. What that means I don't know. I do know the big 5th wheels and Class A's are very popular and not only in Newfoundland. We went to an RV show in January and that was just about all there was. Or just go to a campground—we feel like a dwarf. I have no doubt Airstreams are a small part of the market. I expect them to stay that way because I don't think Thor wants anything else. They are a flagship brand and give Thor credibility. To expand production comes with costs as does increase in quality, so they stay in the same place year after year. It sort of works, but has a questionable future.

It is common to say they are overpriced. Is there anyone who has enough experience in the RV industry who can tell us if the prices are really too high for what we get? Is Thor making unconscionable profits on Airstreams?

Gene
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