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Old 02-12-2009, 06:55 PM   #85
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I've been watching these "quality control" threads for some time now and it appears to me, for whatever it's worth, that Airstream was doing something right around 2000, 2001, and 2002. Because I have a 2000 30' Excella, purchased in 2003, I kept watching to see if I should anticipate any problems - and the reported problems for those years, IMHO, appeared to be minimal. The only problems I've experienced were the result of the previous owner not knowing anything about RVs in general and Airstreams in particular! He bought the Airstream to use temporarily while he built a beautiful new waterfront home for retirement. He only towed it about 600 miles in total, but when he set it up each summer he overloaded the stabilizer jacks and bent the arms, ran the A/C on low voltage, used a potent toilet bowl cleaner that destroyed the original toilet, and let his grandchildren scratch one of the rear panels with their bicycles. Other than that, I did re-align the axles on my first return trip from Florida - which may, or may not have been, an original Airstream problem. There have been a few other minor items that needed attention - and some annoying issues of poor design (---the rear bumper storage is anything but "watertight") - but, for the most part I haven't got any real complaints. (---any discussion with reference to the lousy original mattress is best handled elsewhere!)

It could be nothing more than "luck of the draw" - but, again, the few reported problems herein, for the referenced years, makes me wonder if Airstream did, indeed, have some semblance of a QC program in place during that period???.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:51 PM   #86
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I've been watching these "quality control" threads for some time now and it appears to me, for whatever it's worth, that Airstream was doing something right around 2000, 2001, and 2002.
I suppose we are also some of the lucky ones with our 2002 19' Bambi, which we purchased new. So what have we not had that others have? Mostly filiform corrosion. Our wheels are beginning to show some, but the rig is now 7 years old and we feel that a bit of corrosion is not unexpected after that time.

I do get a chuckle out of the complaints about construction detritus in various locations. As soon as we had the trailer home, we took a couple of hours and vacuumed every possible nook and cranny. Rather than feeling irritated, we thought it turned out to be useful because we then knew every nook and cranny of our little jewel.

Those who take pleasure in having, perhaps, hurt Airstream's sales with negative remarks on this forum, might consider that only an economically healthy company is going to be able to make the QC changes you want.

For those who say they will never buy a new or another new Airstream, it is unrealistic to think that Airstream might listen to you. You have declared yourself a non-customer. Airstream is a business, after all.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:22 PM   #87
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For those who say they will never buy a new or another new Airstream, it is unrealistic to think that Airstream might listen to you. You have declared yourself a non-customer. Airstream is a business, after all.
If they don't listen, it won't matter, say goodnight John-Boy.

Knowing what I know now, If in three years I stopped at an AS dealer and was knocked on my ass by the QC improvement, (and I got the DW's THUMBS UP,) I would buy new in a heartbeat.

Don't hold your breath though.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:34 PM   #88
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I'm going to respectfully disagree with you, Tim. Successful businesses cultivate a happy customer base. Unhappy customers are a business killer (unless you are a monopoly). It's not simply that an unhappy customer is not going to buy another Airstream. He or she is going to share his opinion of Airstream with others thus influencing their decisions. For most people, buying a travel trailer is the second, possibly third, most significant financial investment (behind buying a house or car). Negative word-of-mouth advertising is terrible. The last thing you want a potential customer to hear is, "I bought one but I wouldn't buy another." Furthermore, in the Internet era, the power of personal opinion is greatly leveraged.

Unless Airstream (Thor) is totally out to lunch, they are absolutely paying attention. An Airstream is a high-end discretionary purchase. Iconic status only goes so far. If the brand starts to suffer, Airstream loses its ability to charge a premium price... then they are down to competing on price and features.

Finally, not being open and honest about Airstream QC issues doesn't do anyone any favors... not existing customers, not future customers, not the company. Quality, like character, always comes out in the end. The best thing Airstream could do is open a dialogue with its customer base, speaking openly and honestly about its commitment to quality and to improvement. A positive dialogue would go a long way to showing Airstream management "gets it." Saying this, I hope the organizational culture (which feels a little old to me) isn't fearful of the Internet as it relates to customers. My gut sense (totally uncorroborated) is that they just don't understand how to use this tool to everyone's advantage.

If I were operations manager for a day, I'll tell you what I'd do... install web cams on the factory floor. Let the customers watch what we're doing, show them the commitment to quality. I'll bet you a buffalo nickel workers would think twice before tossing a tool through an open window rather than walking it around through the door.
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:58 PM   #89
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Those who take pleasure in having, perhaps, hurt Airstream's sales with negative remarks on this forum, might consider that only an economically healthy company is going to be able to make the QC changes you want.
I think it's best not to assign motivations to other people without checking it out with them to see if you are a successful mind reader.

My belief is that being truthful about one's experience is helpful and hopefully will lead to improvement. I believe others who have written about the QC problems are Airstream enthusiasts and have said so in many posts.

No one has said they take pleasure in hurting sales; if sales are hurt, it's because of the product, not the reviews. Don't shoot the messenger.

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Old 02-13-2009, 07:59 AM   #90
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You know, two Airstreams (03 and 04) thousands of dollars in value spent (and depreciated), 2 page lists of repair issues, both units above average in being problematic, and the originator of most of the QC threads dating back to 2004 and the larger corrosion thread, I can say wholeheartedly, without reservation, that I have given the company every opportunity to do the right thing. In many cases they have, and in many cases they have not. The data within the QC threads is free data to them, yet some of the same issues appear year after year. Corrosion had been discussed at the factory, on the phone, through dealers, etc. So far we have units still showing this problem and it is a significant problem, one they have clearly known about that I am aware of, since the 2003 model year when DMac's post first caught my eye. It was not enough to concern me back then, and I traded my 03 for an 04 and about 6-10 months after that started to realized the issue was far more common than not, as my very pampered 2004 started to show the same signs as DMac's trailer. Thing is, as time progressed, Airstream basically started to back pedal on supporting customers who had this. DMac had skin overlays done at the factory's expense under warranty. He had to drive the trailer from MN to OH to get the work done (his dime). Now having read the corrosion thread, you start to see the company not doing anything about it saying it's a maint issue, even under the warranty period. So you see, it's not us just griping or having buyers remorse, it appears to be a systemic problem.

If you read the QC threads and the corrosion threads, I mean actually read them (yes I know that most are very long). I think you'd see the QC trends and more importantly, what folks have done in terms of communicating with the factory and their interactions with both dealer and factory trying to solving these problems.

Now I did start a 2009 model year quality thread, but, there have been no takers. Is it that no one bought a 2009 or could the '09s be in far better shape? Who knows and at this point, given the lackluster performance over the past 6 or 7 model years I'm not sure it really matters or is as relevant as it once was because a significant number of folks are already turned way off about the issues.

Do I wish the company or it's employees ill will? Not at all, but I do hold them accountable and since they haven't solved the issues, folks should know about it so that they might not fall down the same path some of us have found ourselves on. I am not holding out for fixes to my unit, but I do hold the hope that the company can at long last fix all the little and no so little things wrong with the trailers. That hope is not for me specifically, it's for the brand as a whole. Today if you asked me if I would go out and buy a new Airstream trailer, my response would be no because I am unsure of what I am going to get in terms of build quality and corrosion issues. I do not have enough faith that the company has fully addressed the products shortcomings to spend top dollar on another unit. That is not to say I wouldn't buy a pre-owned or a vintage Airstream in the future, I could, but new? Not at chance given what I have exp first hand in two units and what I have read here on these forums. I wish I did have faith that any purchase of a new trailer would be a positive thing, so far though the track record is not all that great, if you have read the threads and exp some of things first hand you may or may not feel similarly. In the end the info provided is provided as is allowing the reader to judge for themselves, but at least the info is out there. No one can say we have been dishonest or untruthful about it. Read the threads, digest 'em and do what you feel is in your best interest. I am not asking you to agree with me. I'm not asking you not to buy an new Airstream. I am only providing my exp in the hopes that yours will be better as a result of it. I see others doing the same sharing. Should you care to share your exp, great, if not, that's fine too.

At the very least, most folks going out to dealerships will be looking closely for the things we've shared here on this forum and if it saves someone some angst or monetary grief, so be it, if not, as I said earlier, the info is out there for you to make your own decision.

Of course any $$$ you save, if you were feeling generous, you could always share part of it with me which I would put toward my eventual strip and recoat of my unit.
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:15 AM   #91
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My hat is off to Hampstead38. You are a true wordsmith. Your message was clear and easy to understand. As I said earlier, we the trailer owners are the ones towing the airstream reputation around the country. It is up to the company what message they would have us collectively deliver as we travel the roadway.

I applaud the suggestion of posting floor cams at the factory. That would be interesting. Talk about a reality check.

I could see the potential for schools to tap into that as a training resource. The exposure to future buyers could be enormous if marketed properly. I am a visionary. I hope they steal that idea and run with it.
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:49 AM   #92
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Camera, though a nice idea will most likely never happen. I mean seriously, they use to allow camera on the factory tour....they were within the last few years no longer allowed.

...but I like the way you all are thinkin'.
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:02 PM   #93
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I've rebuilt the toilet base and the furnace. I am falling back in love with my aluminum palace. Bad case of buyers remorse. Still feel the same re: quality control. Want airstream to do better so they continue to be better...

The Domenic fridge works on electric power. Not on gas. I think it will be a simple thermal couple fix... Hopeful. Going to tackle that problem next. The wife is working on new curtains and upholstery. The kids are getting excited about taking her on a trip. Yosemite in mid April.

Yeeeee hawwwww.
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:08 PM   #94
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I've rebuilt the toilet base and the furnace. I am falling back in love with my aluminum palace. Bad case of buyers remorse. Still feel the same re: quality control. Want airstream to do better so they continue to be better...

The Domenic fridge works on electric power. Not on gas. I think it will be a simple thermal couple fix... Hopeful. Going to tackle that problem next. The wife is working on new curtains and upholstery. The kids are getting excited about taking her on a trip. Yosemite in mid April.

Yeeeee hawwwww.
Pepsi,
Glad to hear it. Take it one system and problem at a time and you'll be camping in no time. Just think of all the valuable training you're getting. By the time your finished there won't be anything on your coach that you won't be able to fix.
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:16 PM   #95
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How do I vote on the poll "where is your airstream"?
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:38 AM   #96
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QC seems to resonate throughout. "One-size-fits-all may be fine in gimme caps but I want more from $350 dollar Airstream specialties.

If I was to find a used one at a price I liked, I would not expect it to fit exactly, and would adjust it as necessary.

I have learned to live with and can accept universality in many hidden parts and pieces of hardware, but appearance parts deserve better. Rockguards are definately high appearance IMHO."

Yes people deserve to expect quality craftsmanship. Charge an honest price for a good product and your business will flourish. Overcharge and allow corners to be cut on the production line and your reputation will suffer to the point customers will turn away.

The frame and body seem to be built well. The cabinets seem to be well made. corners are cut on the factory floor during the installation process.

PLEASE STOP using particle board, for anything anywhere. OSB may be fine sub flooring in a home. not in the rugged and hostile environment of a trailer.

A storm with sustained winds over 70 plus miles an hour is considered a hurricane. How fast do you tug your airstream around the bumpy highways? A trailer has to be built expecting it to withstand extreme conditions. Hurricane conditions.

I recently went into a dealer, who sells Airstream trailers. I had the fortune to see a cross section cutout of the wall and floor. I saw they (Airstream) are using a plastic bubble wrap type insulation under the sub floor. Although I applaud their attempt to insulate the floor, I can see this becoming a major problem. Any water which gets into the area between the floor and the plastic wrap will be trapped. Held there. That is a formula for rot. Add OSB wood to the equation and the problem is accelerated.

Water may not be intended to get there. EXPECT it to. In the harsh environment your trailer lives in, EXPECT it to.

Although the plastic wrap may be better than the fiber glass cloth, at least the fiberglass could breath and dry out. Water could pass through it.

A simple solution might be using something as simple as popcorn packaging to fill the void in the belly pan. It won't break down, It allows the area to breath and water to pass through and it provides insulation.

If you can predict a problem you can prevent it.

EXPECT the bathroom to be a WET environment. DON'T use particle board to construct the toilet base. That is just stupid. It is like putting a sponge under the carpet where you pee. Like boys don't miss the bowl. They do. Add water intrusion from the wheel well, trapped between the floor carpet and the plastic wrap over the floor carpet, trapped in the space under the toilet base. You could not have built a better environment to grow mold. Black toxic mold.

To keep your reputation intact you will need to overhaul your production process. Fire the workers who are producing a poor product and the managers who are allowing it. Hold your workers accountable as your customers will.

I am falling back in love with my little trailer. But that is because I am proud of what I have done, not what Airstream has done. Sloppy, Sloppy, Sloppy.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:59 PM   #97
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Airstream is not using particle board in any of its' trailers.It may have in the past but not in the last several years.
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Old 03-04-2010, 04:08 PM   #98
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FWIW....The directive must have come down, the Airstream Town Hall Meeting thread has been locked.

I guess the kitchen got too hot.
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