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Old 02-19-2011, 09:03 AM   #1
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Acquired ambivalence

We found ourselves very excited about the prospect of purchasing a new or nearly new 27 fb this spring and have located a couple that we almost pulled the trigger on. Have considered a variety of rv's and zeroed in on this one as the perfect one for our situation. I started researching on this wonderful forum and ran across the corrosion thread which gave me pause for a bit, but ultimately decided that maybe I could live with any corrosion that may occur as a normal type of wear and tear and my enthusiasm returned. Very close to making an offer, I ran across the thread about stress cracks occurring on the front aluminum skin of the longer trailers. After reading every post, I find myself very nearly scared off. My desire to spend big money (for me) on an Airstream is based on the belief that I would then have a durable and high quality trailer. I would be very distressed to find that I had bought into a problem that may not really have a great long term fix. I am interested in the opinions of all of you who have read these threads (especially the stress cracking one) and what your thoughts are. There is a very real undercurrent of frustration with the Airstream company present with those who have had issues. A comparison of Airstream under Thor to Harley Davidson under AMF was especially troubling. Part of me is not quite ready close the door on this so I am seeking your opinions.
Thanks in advance.

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Old 02-19-2011, 09:39 AM   #2
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Hi back! We have had a total of 8 Airstreams over the years and ALL OF THEM have been great units! Sure, there are little issues that come up once in a while, but never anything important. Reading too much info. could scare anyone about anything. After I read all of the "WARNINGS" on my bottle of aspirin, I almost died!

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Old 02-19-2011, 09:50 AM   #3
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Another thing I try to remember when researching ANYthing on the internet or elsewhere. People in general will take the time and effort to bring to attention they are unhappy with this or that, though most often will not take the time if happy with a product. If one out of 100 has a problem you are likely to hear from that one and not the other ninety-nine that are satisfied.
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:08 AM   #4
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They're RVs and RVs in general are more problematic than most consumer goods. Do expect to repair, tinker, maintain. It isn't like a modern car you just drive.

That said, the other day I started a thread generally raving about how good my Airstream looked after six years. I camp with friends with similar age white box trailers and motorhomes and it is very clear the Airstream exterior is holding up better-actually much better. It looks almost brand new. As far as I know, there was only one follow up post to mine, and it wasn't very positive about the appearance of the trailer. There are hundreds of posts of complaints about appearance issue on other threads.

When I bought my '99 F250 diesel, there were numerous complaints on dieselstop website about the 7.3 engine. One individual said these engines would "cackle" themselves to death and a large contingent bought into it, installing expensive accessories to try to prevent the malady. Of course now, the engine has a stellar reputation for reliability, and the stock unmodified engines are desirable.

My point, the internet tends to bring out the complaints. It is often beneficial to have the heads up, to know what to watch for. But sometimes the perspective is distorted.
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:31 AM   #5
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sgldwright...You've probably done more 'research' here than I, but I don't think the 'stress crack' issue is germane to most AS models...

Usually, from what I've read, it would be more of an issue with the 30+ ft models - and among those, the 25+ years old when models were offered with a 'heavy' rear bath layout...

Don't forget, some body/structure issues can also be traced back to a harsh suspension in the tow vehicle (TV) and a hitch that may be to stiff, or over rated - IE; 'bars' rated for a heavier tongue weight...

Outer skin 'corrosion' issues, if encountered, can be easily forced into 'remission' by TLC...

The 27FB models are my favorite floor to check my Lottery tickets this week...

Good camping weather is right around the corner for most of us...if you 'pull that trigger' soon, you'll have time to settle into your new AS and hit the road when the snow melts...

Happy Trails...
Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:00 PM   #6
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What are you considering as an alternative? I have a couple of friends with white box trailers. After 7 years on one, and 5 years on the other, it is obvious neither is going to last more than 12 years. The exteriors are in bad shape, and the internal wear and tear is dramatic.

When I acquired my Airstream she was 45 years old, with all original interior from the galley backwards. It was in only slightly worse condition than the 7-year-old white box trailer my friend has.

There might be durable white-box travel trailer brands. If there are, I have yet to see them.

Either way, good luck with your decision!

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Old 02-19-2011, 12:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mexray View Post
...I don't think the 'stress crack' issue is germane to most AS models...

Usually, from what I've read, it would be more of an issue with the 30+ ft models - and among those, the 25+ years old when models were offered with a 'heavy' rear bath layout...

my guess is that the OP is referring to this thread...

(along with the long repetitive core row sun threads...)

you might wanna skip ahead to post 103 or so,

where the pix are posted of crazyz cracks.

and since both he and his wife are geologist, they surely know a crack when it's seen.

(pun intended)

and there are a dozen or more OTHER threads on cracks around the storage doors, front skin and aroudn windows on NEWER streams...

perhaps 100s of newer units have had compartment door cracks repaired or panel doors replaced.

many threads on this.

there are also many who have had cracks over the ENTRY DOOR going back to the 80s units,

with the early use of "newer alcoa skins" and after the alcad era.

in fact there are dozens of threads discussing how to 'stop drill' cracks on older trailer too.

almost every company/dealer/service explanation BLAMES the owner or their properly sized tow vehicle.

why accept responsibility when there are so many ways to blame the buyer/user?

while rear end separation is common on early 70s units (from rust, poorly engineered holding tanks and rear baths)

these are old used trailer, so they SHOULD have issues and do.

the current problemz are with NEWer units, as in 90s and beyond.

it's got nothing to do with thor ownership, and just like the 70s problems were NOT the fault of beatrice.

wally died a long time ago, and hasn't been involved with company management for at least 40 years.

many long time streamers OR old trailer loverz, believe real world product testing stopped then.

who knows what a modern wally'stream would look like or how it would be assembled and from what materials...

and there are long threads on all of these UNresolved issues.

BUT if one looks closely at the current products and what floor plans/features and models have been quietly eliminated...

clearly a/s is trying to deal with cracks, corrosion and other modern evils.

those that suggest ONLY the unhappy post about it, have no solid data to support that notion.

in fact with so much EASY communication and connectivity at our disposal,

a lot of good consumer research, suggests just the opposite.

POSITIVE reporting has gone up with these puter things and social sites...

and so have FALSELY positive posting planted to encourage product purchases.

it's a JUNGLE out there (or is it IN here?)

25 years ago an a/s owner might stop into a dealer for an issue, and while getting it fixed be told...

"this is the only trailer we've ever seen with THAT, it must be your fault"

then IF that owner attended a wally' rally like the international, they'd meet others with the same "only trailer" problem.

now companies can't PLAY that game with customers.

so they play other games...

and so do we.

a/s ownership has ALWAYS been a somewhat strange part of the rv world...

and buying/owning/caring for one is...

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all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 02-19-2011, 01:22 PM   #8
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Did somebody suggest that ONLY the unhappy post?
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Old 02-19-2011, 01:40 PM   #9
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A product like a travel trailer just isn't as "proved out" as a car/truck. The testing is much more limited, probably almost non existent. Harmonics, vibrations, etc. can open up cracks and other problems. Cost cutting skimps on quality. It bears repeating RVs are more problematic than other automotive tech.

The nature of forums in my opinion doesn't tend to bring out the positive. An individual posts a negative experience. The post is clearly sincere and the person is disappointed. Myself and most other people are not going to jump on the thread gloating that mine is great, I have no problem. We truly feel sorry for that individual.

Another factor is forums usually have a few grand pooh bah posters. They are frequently intelligent, knowledgeable and helpful. And they have their individual slants on the way things are. Everyone has opinions. This is what happened in the early 2000s on the dieselstop forum with the fuel cackle issue. It simply turned out they were wrong in that instance.

Here's my six year old baby looking good last weekend:
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Old 02-19-2011, 01:42 PM   #10
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New here, so I'm not sure I'm using the correct reply mechanism, but Thanks Much for the replies. I appreciate hearing from people who have happily owned Airstreams, as well as the one above from 2airishuman, which echoes the concerns from the threads I'd been reading. As to what alternative I would consider, here are my thoughts.....maybe the Earth Bound, or maybe an older Airstream, so I would know what I have right from the start and with far less money invested, wouldn't lose sleep over imperfections. Also, for a time we thought we wanted a motorhome, like a View or similar built on the sprinter chassis. We have rented a pop up, a white box trailer and a Winnebago class A and have had a blast with all of them. Two kids (17 and 19) and a large dog at this time led us to the Airstream (along with a long time fascination with them) as something that would provide space, be pleasant to spend time in, and without running gear, could be left to sit (nowhere near retirement), as well as not depreciate quite so quickly. Since we are still in a pretty busy phase of life, I don't see having time to travel to the factory for repairs if needed. Curious if anyone has experience with our Minnesota dealer and if they feel they've been well served by them?
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Old 02-19-2011, 01:49 PM   #11
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to these Forums. We are glad to have you with us.

The pundits and chicken littles not with standing, allow me to weigh in on the Airstream experience. We have a 2005 Safari 25FB, named Lucy. in the past 4 1/2 years we have camped in Lucy for 800 nights. As a matter of fact, we keep a "Lucy Log Book", and tonight is the 800th night of camping in our sweet girl. During that time, we have pulled Lucy almost 70,000 miles all over the lower 48 states.

Does Lucy have some of the dreaded corrosion? Yes, she does, but you have to walk right up to her to see it. Does she have any stress cracks? No, but she has plenty of rock dings and other various road scars. The only way to avoid these would be to leave Lucy home to become a very expensive piece of yard art.

The Airstream experience with Lucy has been the high point of our lives. We love travel in our Lucy, and use her every chance we get. She has been to weddings, funerals, and visits with friends and family. Lucy has become a really good.part of our lives.

If you over analyze anything, you are going to come up with faults. We have done this while considering the purchase of a new tow vehicle. We have over researched this purchase to death and have found that they are all terrible.

If you are looking for an RV with no problems, you may be disappointed. While you are contemplating problems, you are not out camping.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 02-19-2011, 04:09 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by SilverHoot View Post
Did somebody suggest that ONLY the unhappy post?
This forum is somewhat exceptional. On the internet in general, it seems that people are vastly more likely to complain than to compliment. On this forum I think there are enough enthusiastic people who are realistic/honest that there is a very well-balanced perspective to be gained from reading about it, but you still need to keep in mind that a) some people are talking about "design problems" that crop up after 30+ years of use, and b) some people who have aren't experiencing a particular problem with their AS aren't posting in every thread related to a particular problem that they're having trouble-free service from their AS.

You must remember that none of us even pretend to be journalists on here, even in very honest posts there is often some personal perspective or bias.

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