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Old 09-17-2010, 06:12 PM   #57
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There isn't that much on RV reviews on the internet. The one site I found rated Airstreams as average and most Thor products came out average or below.

It's become obvious to me that RV's have much lower QC standards than other products. We have had numerous problems with ours since we bought it and the lack of QC is obvious, design is often far out of date or dumb, and fit and finish is often poor. Last year, on the way home, we were stopped at a rest stop and a guy came up to us and asked about our Airstream as he was thinking of buying one. He wanted to know what I thought. After things breaking every week, or sometimes every day, all I could tell him was "they look cool".

The dealer network is equally spotty. We had the misfortune of buying from a really bad dealership, something we learned after the fact. Fortunately we had the time to take it to JC for warranty repairs. If the factory was as careful as the service center, things would be better. I was told there are meetings between the factory and service center to discuss problems, but if there are, obviously the factory isn't listening.

Even with the better work done at the service center, a brake wire installed last fall there came apart—I saw it yesterday as I was adjusting the brakes. How long was it not working? I don't have any idea. Considering that I recently descended 4,000' on a winding road with one brake out of service and 2 needing adjustment (I should have adjusted them sooner), that's kind of scary. It's a design problem. The wires just hang down behind the brake plates—there's an exposed connection that can be pulled apart by road debris.

Yes, they tow easily. That design was created decades ago and hasn't been improved on. I see little or no innovation in recent decades except for cost cutting. I just replaced the cheapo shower unit with something of far better quality from Lowe's—it cost less than $20, but is obviously superior to the standard Airstream shower head. That OEM unit kept breaking and had the dreaded shower droop—I tightened the screw on that so many times it cracked. It was made of extremely cheap metal.

Like craftsman, I am fixing things myself now because the warranty is over. I started making improvements long ago. I, like craftsman, upgraded to 16" wheels so I could get decent tires. My OEM cheapo wheels also looked bad.

Bob Wheeler is called president, but is just a Thor division director. His job is to cut costs and he's good at that. it's a short term strategy because it eventually bites and then Bob will be looking for a new job. He'll get one somewhere else as a cost cutter, and the process goes on. Bob will retire someday a multimillionaire. He told me they have an effective QC program—he probably saw the look on my face when he said that. The fact is I and many others have told Wheeler personally our problems with Airstream QC and design. So far as I can tell, it doesn't help.

Why do I hold on to this overpriced trailer? It costs too much to change. I'm fixing it. It tows well. Why start over?

Some people get an Airstream with few problems. I applaud their good luck.

If I were doing over again, or if I knew what I know now three years ago, I'd either buy an older one someone else fixed, or look for a higher quality trailer.

As anyone who has been following the Forum for some time knows, complaints about QC and design have been going on here for many years with little result. The brief attempt by the company to have a presence on the Forum was a disaster. Apparently the company was beyond naive in getting involved, became very defensive and ran fairly quickly. Wheeler did promise to do something about corrosion and I believe one Forum member (I didn't see others, but may have missed them) reported they did get a problem fixed. The company apparently saw the only problem as corrosion and was shocked by the QC issues. Since cost cutting is so important, QC is not something they want to deal with.

Gotta go, Barb just told me the pantry door won't stay closed. Another thing to fix.

Gene
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:30 PM   #58
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To be fair, the RV market has become more sensitive to price per square foot over time, and the RV industry as a group thinks that high end towables, especially high-end bumper-pull towables, is a declining, niche market.

It's interesting to hang out on some of the non-Airstream RV forums and watch the decision making of people picking out an RV. In general, if they can afford a class A, they get it. Otherwise, they either get a big 5er and a diesel DRW truck, or a class C. Bumper-pull trailers are for poor people and are a step, in their minds, you take before you have enough cash to get a motorhome or a 5er.

And within those categories, they get as many slides, and as long a unit, as they can afford.

The number of people who will look at a higher quality trailer, or a B van, is slim. So, if you were Thor, would you spend a million dollars on an engineering and quality initiative for a trailer line that is rumored to sell 3 units a month?

We'll see what happens with Monaco. I think there is a market for really well made RVs, that are durable, and constructed more to yacht like standards, without necessarily being large. And if they manage to keep volumes up and get it engineered right they should be able to keep the price reasonable, albeit higher. If they're successful doing that with a Class A, they may do it with a trailer at some point. And maybe then the rest of the industry will get it.

You can complain all you want but the competing products out there aren't built as well. If you think they're comparable you haven't looked as closely as you have at 'streams. Delamination problems, water ingress, roof failure, windows that don't open, and well they strip out the screw heads too. OSB and MDF where Airstream uses plywood.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:31 PM   #59
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Craftsman, have you bought a house lately???

Talk about substandard construction. Talk about overpaying. Heck now they're depreciating too. OMG the sky is falling.

Sell your AS already and be done with it. I'm sure you will find a buyer for it.

There was one lesson the high school economics class (in the deplorable, decaying public school system) taught me. CAVEAT EMPTOR

My (and your) AS have way more quality than the vast majority of the banking products that have been sold to the masses. You want something to rant about..... At least AS has not put you out of a job.

End of rant.

No, really. I not lookin at this thread anymore. You're bumming me out.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:48 PM   #60
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Isn't the Airstream just a Trailer on wheels? Whats to go terribly wrong? Brakes would be bad, but c'mon. No engine...the max your out is a Air Conditioner. Sagging rear end or floor rot? All can be repaired.......Whats that 700-1200 bucks each? I'd be awfully mad if I had seperation 5 years in. Then I understand,..or Floor rot,...but You have a beautiful Airstream, That lacks storage,..my ONLY complaint.

When I fixed up my Argosy, I mean really fixed it up,New floors,sink,Flooring,Counter tops,tables,Fridge,..the list goes on on a 1978 model.....I FELL in LOVE with HER. I still have a place in my heart for it. There was blood sweat and tears. I put my soul into that Argosy, but MAmma wanted a new one. So here i am. If my NEw one after the warranty runs out needs to be repaired, I will fix it. Simple. Maybe, I'm just easy going. Maybe I understand life is what you make out it. Shoot Happens. <ha> Why worry about what you can't change. Did I get a gem? No I have had problems and expect more in the future, they are far from bullet proof. I will run it hard until my warranty runs out and smile after that.

Happy Streaming.

Shane
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:08 PM   #61
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No new houses for me, my farm house is 150 years old. gut and renovation. all the work including cabinets built by myself and my son.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hansom-Man View Post
Craftsman, have you bought a house lately???

Talk about substandard construction. Talk about overpaying. Heck now they're depreciating too. OMG the sky is falling.

Sell your AS already and be done with it. I'm sure you will find a buyer for it.

There was one lesson the high school economics class (in the deplorable, decaying public school system) taught me. CAVEAT EMPTOR

My (and your) AS have way more quality than the vast majority of the banking products that have been sold to the masses. You want something to rant about..... At least AS has not put you out of a job.

End of rant.

No, really. I not lookin at this thread anymore. You're bumming me out.
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:18 PM   #62
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LASST time.....Did you buy it NEW or USED?

Thanks,
Shane
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:18 PM   #63
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What Gene says. I'll keep it and fix the problems. I have too much invested. And to answer someone elses question: it's payed for. And..... I haven't found an Airstream dealer service dept. that I would trust to fix any of the interior issues. Mechanical yes, interior no.



Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
There isn't that much on RV reviews on the internet. The one site I found rated Airstreams as average and most Thor products came out average or below.

It's become obvious to me that RV's have much lower QC standards than other products. We have had numerous problems with ours since we bought it and the lack of QC is obvious, design is often far out of date or dumb, and fit and finish is often poor. Last year, on the way home, we were stopped at a rest stop and a guy came up to us and asked about our Airstream as he was thinking of buying one. He wanted to know what I thought. After things breaking every week, or sometimes every day, all I could tell him was "they look cool".

The dealer network is equally spotty. We had the misfortune of buying from a really bad dealership, something we learned after the fact. Fortunately we had the time to take it to JC for warranty repairs. If the factory was as careful as the service center, things would be better. I was told there are meetings between the factory and service center to discuss problems, but if there are, obviously the factory isn't listening.

Even with the better work done at the service center, a brake wire installed last fall there came apart—I saw it yesterday as I was adjusting the brakes. How long was it not working? I don't have any idea. Considering that I recently descended 4,000' on a winding road with one brake out of service and 2 needing adjustment (I should have adjusted them sooner), that's kind of scary. It's a design problem. The wires just hang down behind the brake plates—there's an exposed connection that can be pulled apart by road debris.

Yes, they tow easily. That design was created decades ago and hasn't been improved on. I see little or no innovation in recent decades except for cost cutting. I just replaced the cheapo shower unit with something of far better quality from Lowe's—it cost less than $20, but is obviously superior to the standard Airstream shower head. That OEM unit kept breaking and had the dreaded shower droop—I tightened the screw on that so many times it cracked. It was made of extremely cheap metal.

Like craftsman, I am fixing things myself now because the warranty is over. I started making improvements long ago. I, like craftsman, upgraded to 16" wheels so I could get decent tires. My OEM cheapo wheels also looked bad.

Bob Wheeler is called president, but is just a Thor division director. His job is to cut costs and he's good at that. it's a short term strategy because it eventually bites and then Bob will be looking for a new job. He'll get one somewhere else as a cost cutter, and the process goes on. Bob will retire someday a multimillionaire. He told me they have an effective QC program—he probably saw the look on my face when he said that. The fact is I and many others have told Wheeler personally our problems with Airstream QC and design. So far as I can tell, it doesn't help.

Why do I hold on to this overpriced trailer? It costs too much to change. I'm fixing it. It tows well. Why start over?

Some people get an Airstream with few problems. I applaud their good luck.

If I were doing over again, or if I knew what I know now three years ago, I'd either buy an older one someone else fixed, or look for a higher quality trailer.

As anyone who has been following the Forum for some time knows, complaints about QC and design have been going on here for many years with little result. The brief attempt by the company to have a presence on the Forum was a disaster. Apparently the company was beyond naive in getting involved, became very defensive and ran fairly quickly. Wheeler did promise to do something about corrosion and I believe one Forum member (I didn't see others, but may have missed them) reported they did get a problem fixed. The company apparently saw the only problem as corrosion and was shocked by the QC issues. Since cost cutting is so important, QC is not something they want to deal with.

Gotta go, Barb just told me the pantry door won't stay closed. Another thing to fix.

Gene
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:21 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craftsman View Post
No new houses for me, my farm house is 150 years old. gut and renovation. all the work including cabinets built by myself and my son.

It looks like nice work, I would like to see more pictures of it. Do you have any exterior shots?

regards,Ken
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:27 PM   #65
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It was a special order NEW. By special order I mean that we eliminated cabinets in the bedroom over the twins added stacked windows and Vista Views which required longer drapes and shades, stacked windows to the right of the door. Light over the door and then most all available options. You pay a fee for change order and the extra for each addition and wait a couple of weeks to get approval from Airstream before the build is scheduled. No refunds or changing your mind once the build starts. Payed for before it was built. Hope that helps.


Quote:
Originally Posted by THEPILL View Post
LASST time.....Did you buy it NEW or USED?

Thanks,
Shane
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:32 PM   #66
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Ken sorry I had these on this computer becaue they were taken just before we rented the place before hitting the road. Here's a picture of the Little Gunpowder River that flows at the back of our property. Good Trout fishing. That's the Gunpowder State Park on the other side of the river.


Quote:
Originally Posted by w7ts View Post
It looks like nice work, I would like to see more pictures of it. Do you have any exterior shots?

regards,Ken
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:39 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craftsman View Post
Ken sorry I had these on this computer becaue they were taken just before we rented the place before hitting the road. Here's a picture of the Little Gunpowder River that flows at the back of our property. Good Trout fishing. That's the Gunpowder State Park on the other side of the river.
That looks really nice. You should rent out camping spaces.

Ken
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:40 PM   #68
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Jack,

Obviously you're a skilled craftsman in the full sense of the word. As a family-trained cabinet-maker of the old school, I know what it's like to see simple things break or just not be as they should be because someone didn't plan or foresee something that's obvious to us.

I have found modern construction to be a sad and annoying affair - which is when we purchased our home we went for something older than modern methods and materials... (oh, and no HOA!)

That said, my Dad also taught me that if I created what I have and I'm unhappy with it, I have nobody to blame but myself, and if I pay good money for something of less quality than I'd like from someone else, I have nobody to blame but myself. He also taught me the great satisfaction of making things right myself instead of getting the people who did it wrong in the first place to fix it.

The value in just enjoying what you have - not the material possessions but the experiences, the places, the people, the sights, the stories heard and told...

I wouldn't trade being an Airstreamer for anything... It's a freedom and a statement about my values that nothing else could say in quite the same way. Simple pleasures, simply enjoyed.
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:41 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craftsman View Post
It was a special order NEW. By special order I mean that we eliminated cabinets in the bedroom over the twins added stacked windows and Vista Views which required longer drapes and shades, stacked windows to the right of the door. Light over the door and then most all available options. You pay a fee for change order and the extra for each addition and wait a couple of weeks to get approval from Airstream before the build is scheduled. No refunds or changing your mind once the build starts. Payed for before it was built. Hope that helps.
So my question now would be..DID Airstream Not address these issues when you brought them up?

You stated the shower door never worked right. Did you not see the cabnitry not straight in two years or am I confused?

Please bear with me I'm thirsting for knowledge.

Shane
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:02 PM   #70
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We used the Airstream exactly once in almost two years after taking delivery, a trip to Disney. We bought it because we had plans to go full time.. May be hard to believe but the Airstream was in storage out of sight out of mind.. The dealer was in N.J and I was in Baltimore. As the owner of a custom cabinet/ furniture making shop and renovation business it was seven days a week for a long time and doing take offs and bidding at night. I didn't have time to really focus on the Airstream.That's one of the big reasons for the break to hit the road. Yea I knew the bathroom (not shower) doors wasn't quite right but I figured that I would get to it at some point. And what was the point of driving a 100+ miles to the dealer to do something that I do every day? The point is: it's fixable but it was something that if one of my guys did and walked away from as if it were good enough. He would have been looking for another job.





Quote:
Originally Posted by THEPILL View Post
So my question now would be..DID Airstream Not address these issues when you brought them up?

You stated the shower door never worked right. Did you not see the cabnitry not straight in two years or am I confused?

Please bear with me I'm thirsting for knowledge.

Shane
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