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Old 07-25-2017, 06:30 AM   #1
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Dexter , Michigan
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Here goes!

Good Day to all!
I have owned several travel trailers and have become increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of quality construction and materials used in these. It seems the manufacturers spend a great deal of time and money in information and videos to convince me that they have great construction and materials, yet I always have leaks and poor fit and finish in the trailers I have purchased. I have a building that I keep my trailers in and always do all my own work. So now it is time to see how "they" live
When my wife and I married, in 1990, my father-in-law said "whatever he spends on his daughters wedding, he was going to spend the same on an Airstream". After the wedding, He bought an 88 Excella (28-30ft?).
He had camped for decades with various campers (including an Argosy) and he always felt the Airstreams were the best there was. He really enjoyed his airstream until he was unable to camp anymore.
So now, here I am 20+ years later looking for my first Airstream.
I think I want a 2003-2009 Classic 30 or 31.
I would love some advice on "things to look out for". I see a lot of people replacing floors and talking about frame cracks etc. and would like some input on your experiences, good and bad.
I have a 2002 Excursion Diesel that I pull with. I have had a Propride hitch that I sold with my last camper, so I will likely purchase another or a trailer with a Hensley/Propride already attached.
Thanks for helping out a new guy!!
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Old 07-25-2017, 07:27 AM   #2
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
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Hi

Find a dealer with some of the new stuff in stock and go take a look at it. Spend some time seeing how you "fit" in a 30'. See how you like the fit / finish / interior. That's not to get you to buy a new one, only to calibrate what you are looking for. Things don't change super fast in terms of now vs 10 years ago in the world of Airstream.

You can always find a used anything with issues. A brand new this or that can have issues. That said, a trailer in the range you are looking for should be in good shape. It should be road safe and ready to use. Anything short of that, look for a pretty significant discount.

Single owner, well cared for, good maintenance done, stored out of the rain is always a plus. There's no odometer so "low miles" is pretty hard to evaluate.

Bob
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Old 07-25-2017, 07:37 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Roff View Post
Good Day to all!
I have owned several travel trailers and have become increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of quality construction and materials used in these. It seems the manufacturers spend a great deal of time and money in information and videos to convince me that they have great construction and materials, yet I always have leaks and poor fit and finish in the trailers I have purchased. I have a building that I keep my trailers in and always do all my own work. So now it is time to see how "they" live
When my wife and I married, in 1990, my father-in-law said "whatever he spends on his daughters wedding, he was going to spend the same on an Airstream". After the wedding, He bought an 88 Excella (28-30ft?).
He had camped for decades with various campers (including an Argosy) and he always felt the Airstreams were the best there was. He really enjoyed his airstream until he was unable to camp anymore.
So now, here I am 20+ years later looking for my first Airstream.
I think I want a 2003-2009 Classic 30 or 31.
I would love some advice on "things to look out for". I see a lot of people replacing floors and talking about frame cracks etc. and would like some input on your experiences, good and bad.
I have a 2002 Excursion Diesel that I pull with. I have had a Propride hitch that I sold with my last camper, so I will likely purchase another or a trailer with a Hensley/Propride already attached.
Thanks for helping out a new guy!!
Understand that in reading the forums you will see lots of stories about Airstream's lack of quality and know there are some that do slip through that have been trouble prone. I've owned 4 travel trailers in my life, the last two being Airstreams. My first travel trailer was built with a missing length of water pipe. Since I bought that trailer new in the late fall, I never went out with it and luckily discovered the missing pipe while prowling around it during the cold winter. After that episode I had 14 years of happy use with the only repairs being wear and tear items.

My second trailer bought new was a mess and leaked from the day that I got it. I finally sold it after 3 years after constantly having to be on "water patrol" to look for leaks.

My first Airstream leaked around the shower door on day one. Dealer fixed it but it took 2 additional trips back to eventually get that shower door tight. Only other repair in 3 years of ownership was a shorted hitch jack. All done under warranty.

My last Airstream which I still own is 14 years old. I'm very lucky to have the protection of garaged storage for the last 12 of those 14 years. Like my first Airstream, the shower door area leaked but we got that fixed the first try. Other repairs have been the A/C shroud which failed due to UV exposure, both skylights were replaced due to cracking (dealer noted that the screws used to mount the skylights were over torqued during build time). I had to have a pocket door replaced in the center bath area due to a protruding screw located in the pocket. I've also had some problems with a brake on one wheel which led to replacement of the brake and drum assembly. I've had issues with the drawers staying closed in the cabinetry due to a bad design of the locking mechanism. I'll someday address that. I recently had a failure of the hitch jack which led to me replacing it with some more modern technology. Had to replace the sensor display pad which had some LED lights out.

All in all that's been the extent of the issues over 14 years. Of the problems everything was fixed under warranty except the brake issue, one skylight, the A/C shroud, and finally this year the hitch jack. Quite honestly I've spent far less money than what I would have if I had taken the extended warranty that the dealer tried to sell me when I bought the trailer new.

You will find most of the appliance and other components used in an Airstream, very ordinary and used by many RV manufacturers. The big difference is the trailer has held up over the years and I'd be hard pressed to find another 14 year old SOB that looks as good and road worthy as my Airstream. This will be the last trailer I will own in my lifetime and I look forward to many years in the future with it.

Jack
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Old 07-25-2017, 08:28 AM   #4
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2008 28' International
Happy Valley , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 186
Good advice already given above. I would add something that I think would be beneficial. If I were buying used today, I would look for a unit owned by a WBCCI member for several reasons. They tend to be well informed owners and well taken care of units IMO.
I bought used from a private owner, who was not a WBCCI member. In reading these forums for 3 years and meeting some WBCCI members, staying at some Airstream only campgrounds I think this is the safest bet for a well cared for used unit. Maybe get in touch with the local chapter and have them spread the word or post your information at some Airstream only campgrounds.
You have a great tow vehicle already. Now the fun part!
Good luck in your search.
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Old 07-26-2017, 11:26 AM   #5
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Thanks for the information; I will keep these points in mind as I continue my search.
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