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Old 08-20-2018, 08:38 PM   #1
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1990 25' Excella
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A Great Way To Buy An Airstream

There are so many complaints about lack of quality control here that I’m convinced it’s a real issue. Folks are usually reluctant to explain about an expensive new purchase because it’s hard to be disappointed after initial enthusiasm. Then the warranty nightmares start.

There’s a solution: upgrade to a used one to begin with. This is a powerful forum and you can take advantage of it. By buying a trailer that has been lovingly maintained, i.e. remanufactured, by the previous owner, preferably a member of this forum. One of the best posts I have seen here, published in 2009, discusses “the second end” operation:

”The second end operation." Most all familiar with manufacturing will recognize this phrase or something similar...what it means is a "thing" is made, but lacks sophistication or finishing. So off it goes to a "second-end". The absolute best Airstreams made are those that have been re-shaped, remoulded, re-riveted, re-plumbed, etc, etc, by the loving tremendously talented craftsmen of this here forum. By far, there has never been an Airstream mfg on an assy line that comes close to the beautiful rebuilds as shown here. If you are a newbie, looking for your first trailer, look for one for sale by one of the folks consistently on this forum. I always wanted an AS, got one, and then found this forum-reverse of the way it should have been.

For, me, I like the bigger frames of the late model trailers. I also like the wide bodies. But, don't care for the slides. So, for me Thor years win.http://www.airforums.com/forums/f492...tml#post782372


I have first hand experience doing this. When I first decided to buy an Airstream several years ago I wanted to go small, as in dollars invested, because I didn’t know if my wife and I would enjoy it. I spent over a year on this forum doing my homework. It resulted in buying a 1990 25’ Excella listed here by a forum member. I figured it would give us a chance to experiment and, if we liked it, to “upgrade” to a newer one later. After extensive discussion with the buyer who was located 800 miles away (thanks Doug) I bought it sight unseen.

We still have it and we love it. It wasn’t perfect (pretty close) but I enjoy working on things and I have done maintenance and small improvements over the years. I'd rather depend on myself than some warranty policy where I have to hand things off to strangers. We have never had a major problem.

Trailers for sale here by Airstream savvy owners should carry a big premium. But they don’t. So, in addition to getting a thoroughly sorted trailer, you get a bargain.

Happy travails,
John
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Old 08-20-2018, 08:57 PM   #2
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2014 23' International
Dadeville , Alabama
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John,
You are so correct. We purchased a gentle used 2014 International 23D here a few years back and have done some 43 improvements / modifications ( solar, battery upgrade, inverter, bigger A/C, 15” wheels, Lift, awning package, 4 stage charge/converter, surge protector, elongated toilet, maxim skylight, etc....). I have used this forum to document my work and “IF” we were ever to sell our unit your can bet that all that documentation is going to come into play.
We active forum members who love our trailers have worked out the bugs.
Our units are better than new.
Weak points and design flaws are reworked and removed.
You are correct Our units should command a premium.
I personally have saved every receipt, manual, and documented all work done with photos and notes in anticipation that “IF” I sell there will be a premium. Never going get back what I got in it ( I’m a realist) but documentation of what the new owner would be getting.
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Old 08-20-2018, 09:26 PM   #3
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1990 25' Excella
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You’re exactly the kind of owner I’m talking about GMFL.

I knew this before I ever bought an Airstream because I collected Porsches for over 30 years and bought many great ones sight unseen. Very rarely disappointed because I always figured I was buying the seller not the trailer. We sometimes can get a negative opinion about our fellow human beings from the constant torrent of negative news. But my firsthand experience has been just the opposite. It’s impressive how many honest folks there are out there.

Happy trails.
John

P.S. Could a kind moderator change the interesting typo in my signature in my OP? Auto-correct comes up with some beauties. The whole intent of my post is to help others avoid “travails”.
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Old 08-21-2018, 10:31 AM   #4
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New Service: QC Concierge

My father always told me that one of most powerful strategies a business can employ is to not merely neutralize a liability, but to turn it into an asset. Airstream is in a position to do this with their QC issues.

They could create a new service, let’s call it QC Concierge staffed by a professional “Sorter”. The last step before the trailer is delivered to the new owner. The Sorter would be responsible for the “Second Generation” process mentioned in the first post: taking care of the inevitable punch list of issues covered by warranty by actually using the trailer for a short period of time.

The Sorter would be a true expert on all things Airstream. They would have full authority to have work done as this process would ideally take place at the factory. And they would have full authority for the full time of the warranty should the owner wish to use their service.

They would be a partner of the owner which would mean they would be fully accountable - and the buck would stop with them. Concierge QC would be a true service to new owners and would put Airstream into a class of its own.

A luxury brand needs to take care of their customers.

Happy trails,
John
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Old 08-21-2018, 10:48 AM   #5
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Used AS > New AS

Couldn't agree more. Da facts is da facts.

Also I should point out that in some ways, the vintage AS trailers include superior materials, superior design (e.g. flush exterior AL outlets rather than plastic warts, conforming steps, etc.) and superior value.

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