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Old 12-08-2006, 03:18 PM   #1
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2004 31' Classic
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2004 Classic OK?

I have been RVing all my long life. My Dad had one Airstream from 1969 to about 1992. He is now 93 and still misses it.

Anyway, wife and I went Airstream shopping today. Were thinking about a new 31' Classic. Anyway, about 10 minutes before we got there, someone sold back a 2004 31" Classic - almost unused. Needless to say we jumped at it - left a deposit.

Questions: Anything about the 2004 compared to 07 that would make the extra $25,000 a good idea? Or, anything about the 04 of which I should be aware? Are all the underbellies sealed and insullated as I was told by the salesperson?

Supposed to decide for sure by tomorrow late. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

I know the Airstream is not the product it was once, but just how good or bad is the new breed?


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Old 12-08-2006, 03:32 PM   #2
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Do a search for model year quality and you'll see the good, the bad and the ugly.....

Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq and millions of others are by far the most popular with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form. -NY Times 11/91
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Old 12-08-2006, 03:57 PM   #3
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Not exactly pertinent, but we have a 2005 Classic - and very happy!
The Slowsky's
2008 Airstream 27FB International Ocean Breeze
2014 Ford F250 King Ranch 4X4 w/6.7L Diesel, Hensley Hitch
WBCCI #1271
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Old 12-08-2006, 04:06 PM   #4
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Probably the four biggest items are the disc brakes, the vista view windows, the higher cargo capacity, and the new colors for the Corian counters. None were available in '04.

Jack Canavera
AIR #56
'04 Classic 30' S.O.,'03 GMC Savana 2500,'14 Honda CTX 700
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Old 12-08-2006, 04:12 PM   #5
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Mostly cosmetic diffrences..

Welcome, and hope somebdy else doesn't come along and buy your 2004 model out from under you...

Unless you have very specific requirements for internal trim and options, or are just psychologically uncomfy owning something used before you acquired it, you are getting the same trailer as a new one minus some cosmetic items, like:
- Light hickory wood cabinetry and fancier counters
- Dark bronze plumbing fixtures
- New tires and unused brake linings (Disk brakes available now..)
- Sparkly clean holding tanks...

I'd certainly view opportunity to save $25,000 and put some of it in reserve in case anything fails. Construction, dimensions, underbelly and other physical attributes are unchanged... Quality (fit and finish..) appears to have suffered as Airstream was ramping up production rates in 2003-2005, but most have probably already been addressed, or deemed sub-critical...

If you like the layout and color scheme, I'd complete the purchase of the 2004 model, and enjoy the savings...

John McG

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 12-08-2006, 05:26 PM   #6
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Personally, I'd take the 25K and run. For all of the reasons listed above.
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:32 PM   #7
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'04 31' Classic

As Jack said, the disc brakes are the only thing I would trade for. We are very happy with our 31' Classic. We too had quite a few fit & finish problems in the first year, but they should be remedied on the coach you are looking at by now. I would search on 2004 quality problems on the forum and then check these same items on the coach you are thinking of buying.
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:52 PM   #8
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2007 Classic

My preference in look is minimalist... I go for the CCD and Safari SS (bare aluminum inside).

I was at the local dealership having my unit looked at and saw a few of the 2007 Classics. I dislike the "baroque" plumbing fixtures.... and hickory...

I'm sure you could switch the brakes for less than $24K. I say go for the gently pre-owned one.

Paula Ford
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Old 12-08-2006, 08:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Fyrzowt
Personally, I'd take the 25K and run. For all of the reasons listed above.
The disk brakes are a significant advantage for larger trailers. My new Duramax/Allison combination seem to respond to intelligent use and avoid runaway speeds when descending -- and I am still considering retrofitting to disks for my 25' Safari. For something over a thousand $$ for disk brakes you will be very far ahead of the game with the '04. Even if you bought an '06 or '07 you would feel like you missed a few style points in two or three years. It's time to get camping, maintain what you have -- and in thirty years it will be a classic!

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 12-09-2006, 08:31 PM   #10
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I agree with all the comments about the disc brakes. However, spend a couple grand of the $25,000 your saving and change out the brakes. You will still have plenty left for the few things that might need a little "tweeking" after you've been in the unit for awhile. I had disc brakes put on my '87 Excella within the last few weeks and, in my opinion, well worth the money.
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Old 12-10-2006, 03:33 AM   #11
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If you look back at the quality issues on the 2004's, you'll see that I included a number of negative comments on my 2004 30' Classic Ltd.

In addition to what others have already comented on, here are a few of my suggestions:

1. Inspect all of the wheel bearings. There was a recall on a number of the 2004 models because the bearings were insufficiently greased coming from the factory. This should have shown up by now and been corrected on your trailer if needed, but since you said the unit is barely used, you never know.

2. If it was me, I think I'd want to talk to the prior owners to determine first hand of any problems they experienced, and/or why they were trading it in.

3. The stone guards on the new Classic models are a half foot or so higher in the front than the 2004's, and protect a larger area below the front windows.


When considering all the differences between the 2004 models and now, they probably don't add up to $5,000-$10,000 of the value difference, if that. $25,000 difference on a barely used 2004 sounds to me like a good deal.

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Old 12-10-2006, 07:35 AM   #12
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I'd want know if that difference is $25,000.00 off of list. If it is, considering the discount on a new 2007 which could be as high as 25% off list price you may not be saving $25,000.00 at all.
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Old 12-10-2006, 11:08 AM   #13
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bboseley----dollarwise this is how I would figure when pricing.
The 04/31 Classic had a list price of around $60K depending on options. Depending on the time of year, etc, it could have been purchased NEW for about $48k + - a few hundred. Now at 3 model years old and used ,another 20% depreciation minimun would put it at around $38K + - depending on condition.
I too would want to talk with previous owners concerning why it was "sold back"----pieman

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