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Old 12-11-2012, 07:59 PM   #1
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2013 28' International
Bozeman , Montana
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Wanting to take the plunge, 28' International Signature

I've been wanting to own an Airstream ever since going in my first one in the mid 70's as a kid at an RV show. After many years of bicycle and motorcycle based camping trips, lots of boating and other activities, it feels like the time is about right to head down the road with an Airstream.

My wife and are a wanting to explore many areas in the west along with still enjoying some time in Michigan. The 28' floor plan has the most appeal, or actually for me the 30' does. However, I'd prefer to have it a little shorter for some campgrounds and a bit more flexibility for a tow vehicle hence staying with the 28' (probably an F150 with max tow package and either Ecoboast or the big block V8).

The resources on Air Forums are just wonderful. Although I have concerns over leaks, crappy tires, Airstream having slow responses on warranty, and many other items, I feel confident with having such a knowledgable community will help overcome some of those issues.

Although I know many recommend starting out with a used unit to get started, I really prefer to start with a new one and feel with a lot of thought and research will be happy with that decision. The bigger concern for me is having a good dealer both with the purchase and also for initial delivery and warranty issues at the beginning. If anyone has any experience with both Woodland Travel in Grand Rapids or with National RV of Detroit they can share I would certainly appreciate it.

If I can get my wife totally on board, I'd like to get a unit ordered soon. I'm hearing about 2-3 month wait for one that is ordered and I'd prefer to have it by mid to late spring. I have been able to get confirmation that I can order a 28' International Signature with the 16" wheels and Michelins as a factory option. I'd also like to have the floor the same as what is in the Serenity which Airstream is willing to switch that out ($500 to deviate from standard, hum, what else do I want to change). I know some are opting out from the skylights on custom orders but I love having as much light as possible, if the crabby factory units become a problem I'll switch them down the road with better aftermarket units.

I look forward to continuing to gather as much info as I can from Airforums and hopefully be able to offer insight and assistance to others in the future.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:37 PM   #2
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2009 27' FB Classic
Smithville , New Jersey
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Hi!

Welcome, and good luck in your search. We bought new. Our logic was that this would be our "forever camper". We know that we spent too much. But we've always been of the opinion that you forget the money you spent and regret the money you didn't. Good luck!
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:49 PM   #3
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Take your pick on the 28 or 30, get the one that fits you and your budget best, you'll not notice the difference towing and maneuverability is much more a function of tow vehicle wheelbase (shorter wheelbase is shorter turn radius). Don't forget only the 30' is available with swivel recliners, and that may be the ultimate in long term camping comfort.

You are relatively close to the Airstream Service Center in Jackson Center, and that's the best place by far to go for repairs and warranty work. Quite an advantage.

You ought to plan your order so that it is not delivered over the salted roadways of winter. They may tell you different and a few other stories, but it will accelerate corrosion on and under your new Airstream.

While you're waiting for it, continue your research and set up a good inspection and maintenance plan relative to your use and location. Don't wait for bad things to happen.

doug k
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by monkeypants View Post
We know that we spent too much. But we've always been of the opinion that you forget the money you spent and regret the money you didn't. Good luck!
I know the feeling of spending too much at the beginning but in the long run it is often the right decision. I've always bought cars, boats and other big ticket items as long term purchases and feel I've done ok.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:25 PM   #5
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2013 28' International
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Take your pick on the 28 or 30, get the one that fits you and your budget best, you'll not notice the difference towing and maneuverability is much more a function of tow vehicle wheelbase (shorter wheelbase is shorter turn radius). Don't forget only the 30' is available with swivel recliners, and that may be the ultimate in long term camping comfort.

You are relatively close to the Airstream Service Center in Jackson Center, and that's the best place by far to go for repairs and warranty work. Quite an advantage.

You ought to plan your order so that it is not delivered over the salted roadways of winter. They may tell you different and a few other stories, but it will accelerate corrosion on and under your new Airstream.

While you're waiting for it, continue your research and set up a good inspection and maintenance plan relative to your use and location. Don't wait for bad things to happen.

doug k
Lots of good points Doug. I'm really wanting to buy an Airstream while in Michigan (planning on moving west) so I have some time with it here. Part of this is if I have any major warranty issues or other things I'm still relatively close to Jackson Center. Our over salted roads are always a concern and good point to time delivery once the roads are clear.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:29 PM   #6
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We read here about issues with AS's because this is an Airstream website and by far the discussion is overwhelmingly Airstreams. If you join one of the camping clubs i.e. Good Sam you will get their magazine. Or trailer life. In them they have support for all travel trailer makes and discussions. Boy do they have some issues but I've never read in there of an Airstream problem. Much of their discussion is with new purchases too. Yes Airstreams have problems but with the support found here many, if not most, are owner dooooooable. So I wouldn't let that bother you. Go for it. Get what your budget allows. Bring it up to your family standards and enjoy it. '

You won't regret it.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by polarlyse View Post
We read here about issues with AS's because this is an Airstream website and by far the discussion is overwhelmingly Airstreams. If you join one of the camping clubs i.e. Good Sam you will get their magazine. Or trailer life. In them they have support for all travel trailer makes and discussions. Boy do they have some issues but I've never read in there of an Airstream problem. Much of their discussion is with new purchases too. Yes Airstreams have problems but with the support found here many, if not most, are owner dooooooable. So I wouldn't let that bother you. Go for it. Get what your budget allows. Bring it up to your family standards and enjoy it. '

You won't regret it.
I don't think I'll regret it. I do have my eyes wide open with some of the common concerns and feel that being proactive with regular maintenance can address many of them. Also, I feel a good dealer is big part of getting things off to a good start.
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Take your pick on the 28 or 30, get the one that fits you and your budget best, you'll not notice the difference towing and maneuverability is much more a function of tow vehicle wheelbase (shorter wheelbase is shorter turn radius).

doug k
Good point also with the wheelbase of the tow vehicle. I've felt that the longer wheelbase tow vehicle is going to be more stable going down the highway but sure could be a pain with maneuvering in tight places. I was thinking about an F150 crew with 6.5' bed, 157" wheelbase. It might make a lot more sense to do something a bit shorter.
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:44 PM   #9
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We went from 140" wheelbase Tundra to 120" wheelbase Ram, used on the same trailer. What a difference turning, especially when getting fuel, turning the trailer, and getting around town without the trailer.

The stability issue is more or less true, depending on the tow vehicles compared, but can be resolved with a Propride/Hensley hitch.

doug k
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:03 PM   #10
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I went from a 21' F-2350 CC-long bed to an F-250 Extended Cab-Short bed. Best thing I ever did. If you have kids or hauling grandkids alot, then the extended cab is not for you. If it's just the 2 of you and sometimes haul someone in the back seat, then a short bed extended cab is a great choice. If you are looking at F-150's, I would definately test the V-8's. You might also consider ordering an F-250 with the V-8 gas engine and load it like you want it. That's what I did. Best move I ever made. PM me on the X-plan where you can get a really good deal on a new Ford.

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Old 12-14-2012, 07:18 PM   #11
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I have the 28' Intl Signature you are talking about. Have had it a year, and really, really love it. (Right now we're in a campground midway between home in NC and Sarasota...where we're taking a week off before Christmas. This is my third long trip with it, and there's little I'd change. I've done some mods ... the hanging locker was converted into shelving for food, I've changed out stock skylights with Maxim's, MAXX fans, upgraded converter with battery float built-in, the Fiamma Bike Rack, custom curtains/bedspread/matching valance boxes. Upgraded to the 16" wheels with Michelin LT's. TPMS system, Voyager back-up camera. WOW. A LOT of customizing, now that I look back! But, the size of the trailer is perfect. Didn't want the BR in the front which is the terrain of the 27's. I had the trailer equipped with the larger converter, BR TV, extra awnings. All of which I'm glad I did. Took a very long trip last summer and used both of the Honda 2000's so I could use the A/C. BTW, the 28 does come with the 15,000 BTU A/C, and I think most folks agree that the larger unit makes good sense. Pls contact me if you have any questions and I'll be happy to respond.
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:12 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by pappy19 View Post
I went from a 21' F-2350 CC-long bed to an F-250 Extended Cab-Short bed. Best thing I ever did. If you have kids or hauling grandkids alot, then the extended cab is not for you. If it's just the 2 of you and sometimes haul someone in the back seat, then a short bed extended cab is a great choice. If you are looking at F-150's, I would definately test the V-8's. You might also consider ordering an F-250 with the V-8 gas engine and load it like you want it. That's what I did. Best move I ever made. PM me on the X-plan where you can get a really good deal on a new Ford.

Pap
HW

I am from Michigan, gone since 69, and have done a lot of motorcycle touring, so I was immediately drawn to your post.

I understand your desire to buy new and think that if you really study the floor plans, what options are available and talk to some owners (either personally or via this site) that you should be able to pick the Stream that works for you.

I agree with PAP that you should consider a V-8 powered 3/4 ton. I bought a 1/2 ton Tundra in 08 and have been very happy with it. I would probably buy it again if I were looking for a TV today, but my load is lighter than yours. If you go with the 1/2 ton EB you gain some fuel economy but give up some reliability and longevity IMHO. I would look seriously at the benefits of the 3/4 ton and a large V-8. The freedom to take it all with you and the confidence that you can do so reliably over the long haul.

Happy Airstream and TV shopping. I am sure that you both will make the best decision for you and your wife.

Dan
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:32 PM   #13
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We've been fortunate enough to have bought three Airstreams, two of which were new - what's not to love. Not saying this is right for you or anyone else, but this has been our experience.

We had a new (2005) 34' Classic that we towed with kids and pet extensively, from GA south to Florida, north to the White Mountains in NH, and west to Death Valley. I didn't find many places I couldn't tow or park it, and we love state and national campgrounds. So to me the difference of 28' vs 30' would be dependent on the floor plan you like the most.

We've since moved to a new (2008) 27' International and travel without kids but with two dogs, and we love it. Love the cork/linoleum floors versus carpeting (who ever thought carpeting would be good camping?), love the front bedroom (queen with access on both sides), and the rear dinette where the view usually is; love the panoramic windows.

For our tow vehicle, I use a (2008) diesel F250 4x4 crew cab. On this, I wouldn't change a thing. I have it tricked out to carry all (or most) of our toys and gear. We don't do a lot of off road, but have used 4 wheel drive enough times - either because we could or because it became useful in mud, wet grass, sand dunes - those kind of places; has allowed us to go places we might not have ventured otherwise.

I would highly recommend whatever you choose a good hitch system - we chose Hensley but there are others out there as well. Best investment ever.

I suspect whatever you choose - 30 or 28 - you will have years of joy. Safe travels!
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:32 PM   #14
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We are just now purchasing a 2012 International 27FB. We've done a bit of all types of camping from the 40' Newmar diesel pusher to Class C RVs, you name it. We sold our beloved 1967 AS last year as I was caring for ill parents and it just sat. Out of all of them, the Airstream was the most fun, hands down. We had an RV buddy (he is in the biz) tell us that you'll have 5 things go wrong on every trip. So true, but so worth it. We typically had 50 things go right, communed with friends, family or nature and didn't sleep in a hotel bed (gag). The thought of fixing whatever ails us in the Airstream is so much easier to stomach than buying a shoddy piece of junk that we would have to "learn to like" at the lower price points. Just my two cents worth. Have a great weekend all....Becky.
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