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Old 09-18-2015, 08:44 AM   #1
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1989 29' Excella
Cumming , Georgia
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Purchacing New

As I can now say that Iíve a bit of experience in being a travel trailer owner Iíve come to the conclusion that thereís a misperception that folks have about the overall quality of all RVís when compared to say an automobile or truck.

I think that people believe that since an RV has wheels it should have the similar level of quality and workmanship as a car. I think that generally, people believe that the more someone pays for an automobile the better the quality should be.

Itís just not the case. There are many many threads on here about Airstreams. Iíve a camping buddy who has a Jayco 5th wheel and he lurks out on their forums. Same complaints about initial quality.

Itís been my experience, (and research by observation), that RVís are homes on wheels and that the quality is more akin to a home than a car.

We all know that if you buy a new home itís never perfect. Thereís a walk through, a punch list, another at 30 days and another punch list. Of the homes Iíve purchased there are always items on the punch list, Ö. Always.

So when I buy an RV my expectation is that there will be issues and it will spend time in at the dealer being corrected just as I do when I buy a home where the builder corrects things.

Even though owned by a large RV conglomerate compared to most RV manufactureís, Airstreams are 1, more expensive and 2, like the more expensively build homes the quality, (while not superior like a car), are better than other RV manufactures of similar size and appointments.

(And theyíre way cooler looking).

Just my two cents to anyone considering the purchase of an RV.

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Old 09-18-2015, 10:23 AM   #2
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
Cary , North Carolina
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Very good points. Buyer expectations.

We recently went to our first major RV show - it was a blast So much cool stuff and great innovative RVs.

I think the RV industry is exciting to watch. Such a wide range of builders and parts makers appealing to a wide range of consumers and price points. It is very unique experience - freedom on the road or out in nature. And almost anyone can get into it for little, or lots, of money.

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Old 09-18-2015, 12:05 PM   #3
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2017 30' Classic
Upper St Clair , Pennsylvania
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Good post. Lots of negative comments about AS quality, been that way for years. We have owned three along with a number of other RVs, trailers and Motor Homes. AS is much better quality, overall. Point in case is our 2015 30' FC. Took her on her maiden major voyage this past July and August. 10,000 miles in 7 weeks. Everything worked. (1) A/Cs started making lots of noise, our Western PA AS technicians found both units were loose, not the covers, but the A/Cs themselves. Problem solved. (2) Water pump when used sounded like the entire trailer was going to rattle apart. Same techs found a hose up against the side of the trailer. Problem solved. (3) Kitchen cabinet moved about an inch or more from under the kitchen counter top - same techs found fasteners never installed at the factory - they fastened to the outside wall and all along the counter top and cabinet. (4) HDMI transfer box would not send signal from Blue Ray back to bedroom - same techs, bad box ordered a new one.

And that is it. Not too bad in my opinion for a house that bumps along behind our one ton truck at highway speeds, up and down mountains - crossed the cascades four times and the rockies four times. Plus through the desert in 100+ heat.

We like it, we like it a lot.


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Old 09-18-2015, 01:01 PM   #4
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2012 25' FB Flying Cloud
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I do not understand this mentality and in part is what propagates poor quality. We are just supposed to except it. Why should it be ok to anyone for a 27,000 Hyundai to have inherently better quality than a 60-125,000 Airstream. Shame on this post. Let's push for better quality not roll over, look the other way or worse entertain the thoughts that it is to be expected and therefore ok.

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2015 30' FC Bunk, Dual A/C, Full Awning, RV550, Sleep Number, ProPride, Nokian Rotiiva AT 15" Tires

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Old 09-18-2015, 01:38 PM   #5
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La Pine , Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2014
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There's a new post for a 2010 Airstream International 28 footer for sale that included a copy of the original Window sticker. What an eye opener! The 2010 model MSRP (International Serenity) was a little over $75,000. Airstream Adventures NW has a new 2015 International Serenity 28 footer with an MSRP of $98,367.00!!!!! OMG! Who pays that much and how can Thor justify a 31% price increase in 5 years? That's absolutely absurd. The rate of inflation during that same period has been less than 2%/year ~ 8.4% total in the 5 years.

I've always liked and wanted an Airstream, but these prices are ludicrous! (BTW, I paid less than $200K for my stick built 2006 home on 1.1 acres just three years ago.) Apparently Thor believes the AS "brand" can command whatever price they want to charge - and of course there are willing buyers who'll fork over whatever they ask - just not me.

I'm sorry, but there is absolutely no justification for these absurd prices, especially given the quality issues.

With regard to the OP, I bought my brand new Highland home in Texas in 2006. In the 6 1/2 years I owned it I only had two major repairs - I had to replace the upstairs AC condenser and the built-in microwave. Combined they cost me @ $2,800.00. (I made a lot of upgrades during that time but they were all discretionary on my part.)

When I sold that house, the only "significant" repair the inspector found was one burner on the gas cooktop that wasn't up to par - required a service man to come in and clean it out (@ $100.00) and a loose shingle on the roof.

My neighbor has a 5th wheel that's a little over a year old. In that time that RV has been in the shop a minimum of four total months!

I hope to buy an AS but it certainly won't be a new one at those prices.
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Old 09-18-2015, 02:25 PM   #6
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1995 25' Excella
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Originally Posted by 2012FB View Post
I do not understand this mentality and in part is what propagates poor quality. We are just supposed to except it. Why should it be ok to anyone for a 27,000 Hyundai to have inherently better quality than a 60-125,000 Airstream. Shame on this post. Let's push for better quality not roll over, look the other way or worse entertain the thoughts that it is to be expected and therefore ok.

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I agree 100%

I am amazed when I meet new trailer owners that talk about making this long punch list and driving hundreds if not thousands of miles back to the factory to spend a few days getting things fixed. They act like this is some pleasurable right of passage....I find it unacceptable....I guess that's why I will never own a new AS.
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Old 09-18-2015, 04:02 PM   #7
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2015 23' International
2013 25' FB International
Apache Junction , Arizona
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The 2014 31' Classic model 30 listed for $96,147 base price. The 50 amp service with two air conditioners were a $2,129 option. The convention microwave upgrade was $404. The Power awning option listed for $3,551. The 1,000 watt inverter with three powered outlets listed for $725 and the 104 watt solar system listed for $2,950 with GSM batteries.

The 2015 Classic list price started above $122,000 and the 2016 model Classics are rolling out over $140,000.

The 2015 and later model Classics included the 16" SenDel T03-66655T wheels and Michelin LT225/75R16/E LTX M/S2 tires as standard (cost me over $1,600 to retrofit to my 2014 Classic) and these were also installed on the Eddie Bauer models.

The only chargeable option we selected when we ordered our 2014 Classic was the second A/C with 50 amp service. That brought our list price to $98, 276 before the standard delivery charge all dealers pay regardless of location.

We took the unit immediately off the dealer lot to our storage location and swapped out the stock tires. Then we took the trailer to a third party Airstream specialist to fix all the issues that existed plus modifications to the trailer. The 800 watt solar system with a 600 amp-hour battery array, Maxim skylights to replace the factory ones, disc brake conversion, cabinet and door repairs, plumbing repairs, wiring repairs etc took several months but were fixed correctly on my nickel.

Then another trip was scheduled to replace the non functional Micro-Pulse tank level system with a top model SeeLevel system (now a lower model SeeLevel is standard on all Airstreams). We also replaced the failing factory cheap linoleum flooring with Maroleum Vivace.

It was a shame that the initial QC issues shown to the supervisor of QC at the factory (plus photos of the same issues were emailed to him) were not made right before the coach left Jackson Center.

The issues I had with the 2015 23D include a poorly installed shower (required custom metal work to correct at my third party repair shop), the plastic coating was still on the curb inside rear quarter panel. It was to have been removed on the production line. Is was visible when the mattress was put on the bed frame at the factory. It was visible to the dealership when they put the bedspread on the mattress. The rubber door stops were installed on the wrong side of the bathroom door latch. Obviously a thorough PDI was not done so they could open a warranty claim to charge for things they should have corrected during the PDI. Often these type of issues require a separate trip back to the dealer at great inconvenience to the customer. The dinette leg wore a hole through the flimsy factory installed linoleum flooring during the first 2,000 miles getting the trailer from the dealer to the modification center. The flooring is being replaced with a different color Marmoleum Vivace than used in the Classic.

The factory mind set today lacks the personal pride to do a job properly the first time. The factory has folks standing around with stop watches trying to get more units out the door every week and all the new employees are climbing over each other creating confusion on the line (my observation while standing inside my 2014 Classic on the line). The senior management seemingly selects the lowest quality components to get the unit to the dealership.

When you compare the over $6 price for an Airstream cheap plastic catch to the sub $3 price for brass catches in low quantities, what gives? The brass catch requires craftsmanship to install properly.

So do the customers complain? Yup! But the factory has a six month back log so they have no incentive to build a better product.

I figure that all the repairs and custom work i have had done to date on our Classic would bring the sunk cost figure darn close to the new list price. The 23D sunk cost will approach 1.4 times the purchase price before the initial modification and repair work is completed.

We are ending up with trailers that will be customized to our tastes and future repairs have been thwarted by installing better quality components now.
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Old 09-18-2015, 04:59 PM   #8
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2016 28' Pendleton
Granbury , Texas
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Funny thing is we are on our 3rd Airstream all bought new and I have yet to experience any issues mentioned here. Could some of the components be upgraded sure but as far as them working and installed properly I haven't had any issues. Overall build and finish hasn't been a problem with any new Airstreams we have owned.

I understand some will have a major warranty issue. I just don't think most do. New cars build quality better? Just got another recall in the mail today.
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Old 09-18-2015, 05:10 PM   #9
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Battle Lake , Minnesota
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Bought two new, paid cash, both excellent build quality, no complaints.
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Old 09-18-2015, 06:22 PM   #10
3 Rivet Member
1989 29' Excella
Cumming , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 173
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Too 2012FB
'Shame on this post',....seriously?
You spend 72k on a coach and say,...looky at all the money I done spent on an RV it should be a Lamborghini? me if you spent $ for $ in context in terms of quality no one would be able to afford an AS save those who can buy a super car.

That being said it pains me that we're suffering from internationalitis
Jobs are still running everyday over to China...

Cause we pay a living wage in the U.S. And not Slave labor but we expect lambo quality for hard earned dollars....

Thor and folks are lucky that Honda hasn't clued into the opportunity or Elkhart would be seeing ddl digit unemployment...

Funnily the saving grace in terms of quality for your hard earned RV dollar is in the Amish/Mennonite.

If only Thor employed those guys...
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Old 09-18-2015, 06:29 PM   #11
3 Rivet Member
1989 29' Excella
Cumming , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 173
Images: 5
Look guys the reality is that This is in the business to make money...
As much as they can...
Remember the old business axiom,...nothing personal it's just business'.
Let's face it is it weren't for this guys AS would be no more....

Unless we're all willing to get together and buy AS from Thor like the Harley story then suck it up do your punch list to fix your floor squeak and move on,....

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Old 09-18-2015, 06:44 PM   #12

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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Wink If it's not too much trouble.......

........I'll have the lemon/lime.

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 09-18-2015, 07:00 PM   #13
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1989 29' Excella
Cumming , Georgia
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