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Old 08-02-2017, 02:58 PM   #1
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Hamburg , New York
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Hi, I'm David

Hi All,
Iím newbie to RVíing and have been lurking around here for info on a possible purchase for the last week. Must say, this site is very informative and the people on here seem very helpful, a great community.

I was originally looking to buy a new sprinter van and convert to a personal camper, but due to very poor quality reviews with the truck (reported on the Sprinter forums) and time involved in the conversion, I donít think itís a good idea, a tow behind would make more sense.

Iíd like to do dry camping as well as site camping mainly for my mountain bike racing and riding, mainly weekends and probably longer when I get close to retirement, say in 5 years.

Iíve been also looking at the Oliver Elite II 23í which I think is a very well built ďmade for lifeĒ camper. Not sure about Airstream due to the complaints about the quality on here. I must admit, I really love the interior on the FC 19, bathroom, windows, wider body much better. But am very worried about denting a thin skinned aluminum can since I am OCD about keeping my toys looking new. Iíd much rather fix fiber glass than find a dealer that can fix aluminum skins at a very high cost.

The thing Iím really struggling with is the reports Iíve read on here about the quality control Airstream is having. Many have said if buying new, plan on spending a lot of time at the dealership to get the bugs and problems worked outÖwell to put it in gentlemanís terms, Iíve never heard such a thing like this before. I would think it should be just the opposite. Very high cost EQUALS very high quality and customer satisfaction.

Do the Airstream buyers really tolerate this for the sake of having a high-end camper? Is it the elite club status?

What gives?

Please help me understand

Please I'm not bashing Airstream or the people that own them so dont take this the wrong way, just confused, and yes, I know all things have problems, but these complaints seem excessive to me for such a high cost of ownership.

David
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Old 08-02-2017, 03:22 PM   #2
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Go with the Olie II. You said you are OCD and I think you would be happier. If you like to modify and repair, go A$, or find used where this has been done.
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Old 08-02-2017, 03:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louieless View Post
I was originally looking to buy a new sprinter van and convert to a personal camper, but due to very poor quality reviews with the truck (reported on the Sprinter forums) and time involved in the conversion, I don’t think it’s a good idea.
Welcome to the AirForums!.

I think you might be somewhat misled. Sure, you see a lot of complaints on the sprinter Forums. People don't go on the Sprinter Forums to tell about how wonderful their vans are. The folks on the Sprinter Forums, like the folks on the AirForums, tend to have very high standards and want their vans to be the best possible. They're also very opinionated, which is a prerequisite for posting your opinions on a forum accessible to the public, so they're not at all shy about expressing those opinions as if they were absolute fact. But if you look at the vast number of Sprinter vans in circulation versus the small number you read complaints about, you'll see that Sprinter vans are still among the very best vans of their size on the road today. The surest testimony is the fact that most of the complaints you see are from people who still own their Sprinters and aren't willing to trade them in on big Ford Transits or Dodge Rams or whatever that big Nissan van is called. If Sprinters were really as bad as you think, no one would keep them for more than a year before trading them in on another brand.

But doing your own conversion IS a labor-intensive and money-intensive process that requires you to be a master plumber, master carpenter, and master electrician, as well as a competent architect and automotive engineer. Given the number of companies that do professional Sprinter van conversions in bulk (Airstream, Roadtrek, Pleasureway, Winnebago, just to name a few of the bigger ones) you would do well to consider buying an already-converted van. It would be cheaper than doing the conversion yourself, without needing to concern yourself with weight-and-balance computations at every step. I met one guy at a campground who did his own conversion, and we compared notes. He told me that he wished he had bought one like mine, because it was not only better than what he did, but it also cost me $40,000 less than his conversion did him!
Quote:
Not sure about Airstream due to the complaints about the quality on here.

The thing I’m really struggling with is the reports I’ve read on here about the quality control Airstream is having.

Do the Airstream buyers really tolerate this for the sake of having a high-end camper? Is it the elite club status?
Everything I said about the Sprinter Forums applies here on the AirForums as well. AirForums members are a small fraction of Airstream owners. They are also perfectionists who aren't the least bit shy about expressing their opinions about how even one of the best products on the market can be made even better.

Very few people keep their Airstreams 100% factory original. Over time, we all find things that we would like to "improve" (i.e. change specifically to suit us rather than suiting 98% of the other buyers).

Any product that comes off the assembly line is made to a set of specifications that fits the vast majority of the target market, otherwise they wouldn't sell. But I am not the vast majority of the target market. Neither is anyone else here on the Forums. And neither are you. We are perfectionists who demand things our way or no way at all. That means we're not satisfied with the status quo, and we do something about it. And we talk about it here on the Forums.

But that doesn't mean that Airstreams are bad products. Far from it! Airstreams are iconic because they're high-quality products and they last forever if you take reasonable care of them. But even among the best, there's room to make them better, and to make our own Airstreams uniquely ours instead of keeping them as cookie-cutter copies of each other.
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Old 08-02-2017, 03:25 PM   #4
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David,

We want to welcome you to the forums. We agree that the folks here are very experienced and helpful. Sorry, we can't help with your decision because we pull 50 year old Airstreams.

We do think that there may be a bit of an amplification effect that occurs on the forums. The percentage and real numbers of issues may be lower than it appears when you read some threads. This may be due to the desire by many here to share both the good and the bad. By sharing the bad, we can be on the look out and also feedback to Airstream (they monitor this forum and use the information about their product.) I would think any manufacturer would consider that kind of customer feedback a gift.

We wish you the best as you make your decision. I'm sure others will add their opinions, both good and bad.

Roy and Marie
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