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Old 03-12-2011, 12:33 PM   #1
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2011 34' Classic
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Potential New Owner and Questions

Hello All...

Long time RV'rs, Tony and Helen here. We have full-timed for 5 years in a 35' fifth wheel and are now in a 2010 36' Tiffin Allegro RED diesel pusher.

We are concerned about the reliability and cost of service and maintenance of our Freightliner equipped chassis.

We are long time Airstream fans but felt we couldn't full-time in one. We are on the verge of never having slideouts again as they bring challenges and have been looking at the Anniversary Editions of the classic 34' temporary release Limited.

Any feedback on Airstream quality and potential issues for the 2011's would be appeciated and if you full-time in a Airstream, your thoughts would be valuable.

Also, we live in Alberta, Canada in the summer and can get hailstorms. I can't seem to get any information as to what size hail these will withstand.

We were in Jackson Center in October and were impressed. Real world owners seem to have real world issues and impressions. Don't hold back!

Thanks from potential new owners!

Tony & Helen
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:18 PM   #2
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Hello, Tony and Helen - we're glad you've found the forums.

Hail is a rarity here in the East, but I would be worried about pretty much any size of stone. That said, we have a lot of members that live in our great midwest that must face it every season. Perhaps they can give you the straight scoop.

Good luck and enjoy the search.

Pat
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:24 PM   #3
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They are supposed to resist hail up to the size of a quarter. We've been thru that size and it came thru unscathed.

However, we also were thru a good size hail storm about the size of a league ball. Good size dents. We wound up replacing panels. Thank God for insurance.

Any problems we have are minor compared to the enjoyment we get of camping in one.
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:30 PM   #4
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

We are not full timers, but have spent a lot of time in the Airstream (810 nights/70,000 miles) in the the last 4 years. We have a 2005 Safari 25FB, named Lucy. We have considered going to a larger Airstream, but ultimately decided that we were very happy with Lucy. If we had a bigger trailer, we would just carry around more junk than we actually need. Lucy's separate bedroom and shower layout give us the individual privacy that we need to live comfortably in a small space.

The 34 you are considering is a great trailer. The Airstream slides have a really good reputation for their long term operation without problems. They are way overbuilt, and add about 1,000# to the trailer weight, and only add about a foot. In my opinion, what you get from an Airstream SO is not worth the extra expense and weight.

As far as the hail damage goes, we have been in two separate hail storms with Lucy, one in South Dakota and one in Idaho. Both times we were scared for Lucy's safety and looked to get under cover, but none was available. Both times the hail was about Peanut M&M size, and Lucy did not sustain any discernible damage. I don't really know at what size you would be in trouble.

Lucy has had some minor issues, but nothing that was really serious. Our biggest problem was the tire issue. Last year we finally took Lucy to Jackson Center and treated her to a brand new set of 16" wheels and Michelin LT tires.

All in all, the Airstream experience has been phenomenal We are now planning to replace Lucy's tow vehicle with a one ton truck with a pop-up truck camper. We will tow Lucy to an area we want to explore, set her up as the base camp, and head out in the back country for several days at a time in the truck camper.

Brian
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:34 PM   #5
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Colorado's Front Range is the 2nd worse place in the US for hail (Florida is first) and if I still lived there I'd certainly have a hard cover over an RV—pole barn, garage or something similar. Calgary is situated like Denver and Ft. Collins and must have similar weather with thunderstorms and hail to the east of the Rockies. Any RV, car or truck is vulnerable and hail is to be feared.

As for maintenance, RV's need a lot and Airstreams are no exception. Hunt around the Forum and you will find lots of complaints about corrosion, quality control (or lack of it), design issues and such. It will discourage you, but if you like the Airstream design, ease of towing, you may still want to buy one. People that are satisfied or have few problems are less likely to post, so the results are biased. Many will suggest a recent model gently used to save on depreciation.

Gene
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:54 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forums! Glad you could join us. Don't worry about folks "holding back" here...you'll get all the "good, bad and ugly" you could want. Ourselves, we are all "good"...and we only have 19' of Airstream to enjoy! As was mentioned there is maintenance with an RV and Airstreams are no different in that area. And there are a few "special" issues with them...like potential hail damage, leak potential and things that come along with having an exterior aluminum skin...which all of like to keep as pristine as possible (but it ain't gonna happen if you use it!)... Airstreams do hold thier value better than most RVs and there is the whole American Icon thing and the "allure" they offer, and sense of community with fellow owners...and those are real parts of the Airstream experience... No one ever says with excitement: "Look! There goes another Jayco!" We used to have a small moho, but sold it and bought our Bambi...we have never looked back and we enjoy the AS ever so much more! We have had very little trouble with our rig and if we ever decide to get another trailer, it will no doubt be an Airstream. Can you full-time in a 34 foot? Of course you can! You will not have the space and storage you might have in your moho or a 5th wheel, but you'll really enjoy the space you do have...and you'll enjoy it in style... Our home was water damaged due to a burst pipe in the ceiling this winter, and we are now going on 3 months in our Bambi in the front yard while repairs are being made to our home. If we can do this for 3+ months in a 19', I KNOW we could full time in a 34'! Good luck with your explorations...you are in the right place here on the Forums to get the information you need to make an informed decision.
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Old 03-12-2011, 02:45 PM   #7
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Welcome!

We love our 19' Bambi and wouldn't ever dream of camping in anything other than AS. There are quirks and some minor issues but less than most brands. Hail scares me to death (Kansas City here) but the smaller hail hasn't caused any damage. I've never experienced large hail but if I do there is insurance for that.
You can use the search button to find out anything your looking for bit if you can't find an answer to a specific question please feel free to ask.
Good luck with your search.
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Old 03-12-2011, 04:55 PM   #8
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We've had our Airstream for a year. We bought a 2007 used unit because the price of a unit a few years old is much better than a new one. Ours had minor issues with it when we bought it and in the past year we've been real pleased with it. In the past we've owned Motorhome, Fifth Wheel, and several popup campers. You will hear folks complain about ASs on the forum but I think you would hear similar complaints about other brands. ASs have the same appliances, electronics, etc. that are on all other RVs. The only difference is how it is constructed. I'm still sold on the design of the construction. Quality control could be better but I have had the same complaint about other RVs. Another advantage of a well maintained used unit is the first owner has already worked through most of the bugs. Anyway, if I were trying to decide whether to purchase an AS based on our current experience I would say yes.
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:22 PM   #9
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What a coincidence.......whenever I get mad at Airstream I threaten to trade it for a Tiffin class-A!
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:09 PM   #10
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Quarter Size ???????

I don't believe it would with stand quarter size hail stones. Of coarse the quarter has shrunk in size along with the dollar. So maybe today it could with stand it. More like dime size. LOL
I was wondering when they changed the description on hail stone sizes. It use to be "marble" or "golfball" or "baseball" etc.
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Old 03-13-2011, 09:07 PM   #11
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I think it was 2000 when the Denver area was hit by a very bad hailstorm—quarter sized (maybe marbles too). It did much damage to our SUV and if it does that to steel, aluminum would be much worse. Pea sized is probably ok, but anything bigger, not good.

Gene
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:12 AM   #12
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Great line about hail, TG.....I can't wait to use that one!

One thing I have done to alleviate my fear of hail damage has been to pay for "replacement cost" coverage on the Airstream. It increased the premium by about $200 per year, which is well worth it (for a worrier like myself).
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:47 AM   #13
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i owned a 86 34ft avion a few years back in the early 90s. we had a hail storm and it looked like you took a ball ping hammer and hit it about every 2ins top and end caps and a little on the sides. shreded the ac shroud and running lights. i live in the blueridge mountains.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
I think it was 2000 when the Denver area was hit by a very bad hailstorm
Gene, it was 1990, not 2000. You'd better see a doctor about that memory problem old guy.

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