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Old 10-26-2009, 11:39 PM   #253
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Today the trailer went into the shop and we went to Dayton for tires, food and stuff. If you haven't been to the factory shop, it opens around 7 am. Just before 7 watch a bunch of old men try to get to the building from the Terraport before anyone else—some walk, some walk faster, most drive. Bring your list with the VIN to the desk inside where Chris Burch usually is sitting. Put your name on the list and they'll call your name when they get to it, take some more info (cell phone is one) and you'll get a number to put in the trailer window near the door. Go back to the trailer, put the number in the window, go back to the sitting room and wait for a tech (formerly called mechanics) to look for you. Previously, disconnect all the lines to the trailer, remove wheel chocks, put antenna down (I forgot), so the tractor can move the trailer to one of the bays. The tech will take you into the shop (no signs saying "our insurance company prohibits…") and will go over all your items, then you can leave. Best to eat before this process begins as it can take more than an hour.

We first went to pick up new Michelin tires at Discount Tire in north Dayton. That took about 10 minutes as I had ordered them a couple of weeks ago. Back to I-75, construction and to Trader's Joe's. They have a lot of good stuff at low prices, but you never can be sure of just what they have. Sort of the antithesis of Whole Foods but also with healthy (and not so healthy) food and much better prices. A lot of stuff we can't get where we live, so we stock up when we can plus they have some good travel food.

And then to P.F. Changs for lunch. It's corporate chain restaurant to me, but Barb likes it. The menu items are somewhat different in some respects than a regular Chinese restaurant and the room is meant to impress you with its grandeur (no extra charge). They have a dining card discount promotion, so business must be bad. Then to Macy's so Barb could get things we can't get where we live. By this time I was wiped out from getting up at 3 am MDT and fell asleep in the truck, so she didn't seem to be in the store for more than 15 minutes. Back to Airstream and soon the trailer was back at the Terraport and a long nap was in order—about 4 hours.

Dayton looks bigger than I expected. With a population of 166,000, the downtown looks more like a city several times larger. I think a lot of suburbs add a lot of people. We passed a very large GM truck factory completely shut down.

Didn't have much of a chance to talk to other owners today but did see Dave Schumann for a few minutes. He's the consumer relations guy and has been at Airstream forever. Dave tries to do the right thing when he's not constrained by corporate policy. He's very helpful when you have a problem or need information and one of the few at Airstream who understands the power of the internet.

Tomorrow all the items should be done and the new tires mounted. Just looked at the clock and tomorrow has become today—4 hour nap sure screws up time sense. Wednesday we start SE going through W. Va. and then the SW corner of Va., into Tenn., over to Asheville and eventually to I-95. I'm trying to figure out how to have a stop in Asheville and not screw up our schedule too much. Asheville is a nice town with lots of art deco architecture and 2 vegetarian restaurants. It's in the NC mountains, so the climate is a lot better than closer to the coast. It's also got the Biltmore estate which is a product of Gilded Age. If you want to know how the super rich lived in the late 19th Century, that's the place to see it; some day people will tour estates of the early 21st Century to see how the super rich lived before the Great Recession—oh wait, they still are. I still haven't checked out the CG's in the Keys because of not wanting to bother, self deception and studied ignorance. Plus, I really am not sure when we get there (a rationalization).

We'll take some photos tomorrow, hang out in the waiting area, read, go out for a couple of meals, probably in Sidney.

Gene
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:59 PM   #254
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We want pictures, we want pictures.

Hi, if you care to share, we would like to know how, and what, Airstream fixed for you. [wheels, stove grommets, and water leaks] And if you feel you were well taken care of or not. Did you take the factory tour? Did you take pictures of the mansions? Will the factory wash your trailer for you before they give it back?
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:22 AM   #255
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Bob, the big news is that the Airstream snowbrush is on sale for $12.50. If you drive from California to here now you have save a few bucks!

Our trailer got well washed on the trip east. We've taken the factory tour twice and I don't know if I can stand it again unless they give us a private tour. Grommet has been replaced, but like Evan explained, it was underneath, so same grommet. I'll have to go to Lowe's and look for a better replacement. The tech went over a lot of the trailer and put on more sealant in places where he found voids. It's supposed to rain tonight, so we'll check in the morning for leaks and be ready to either start south or go back to the shop. We've been well taken care of here before and so far this time. I admit I'm nervous about the future because things keep breaking on these trailers. Tires and new wheels go on today. Film at 11.

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Old 10-27-2009, 08:44 AM   #256
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Gene,
How many miles have you towed your AS with the original tires? Will also like to find out how you like the new Michelins.

Dennis
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:37 AM   #257
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Dennis, I think we are around 18,500 miles on the Marathons. I think I could get about 5,000 more at best.

Earlier this morning they had the trailer jacked up and were checking the brakes, seals, races and bearings. The wheel that has given me problems (LF) was quite loose and no one knows the cause. I had to replace the bearings, one race, castellated nut and such last spring when someone at a tire store had overtightened the nut and the bearing burned out. Did I not tighten the nut enough? The wheel seemed a lot looser than it was when I tightened the nut and we've towed the trailer 4-5,000 miles since then. Is there something wrong with the assembly?

The best thing is to replace just about everything—backing plate includes shoes, springs, magnets and will give me self adjusting brakes on the front axle. Also bearings, races, seals. The other wheels were a little loose, but not dangerously so.

The other things are getting fixed and hopefully it'll be finished today. But this place is like the Hotel California—you can come in, but you can't leave, at least until you spent a lot of money.

Gene
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:13 PM   #258
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Photos! The first two are from the Lincoln tomb in Springfield, Ill.

Sidney, Ohio, is located about 15 miles SW of JC. We went to "In Good Taste" for breakfast there and had a good breakfast. It's on Ohio St.; to get there and the center of town take Ohio 29 southeast from the 2nd Sidney exit. They also sell beer—about 50 different kinds and lots of different coffees. As beer isn't just for breakfast anymore, we decided to put off the beer until later. The town has a lot of well preserved late 19th Century buildings. The 3rd photo is the People's Federal Savings & Loan, or it was when it was built. It's still a bank and S&L's were also known as "thifts" so the big letters over the door. Most S&L's closed in the late '80's or early '90's in a preview of recent banking crisis when they lent too much money on commercial property without knowing what they were doing. The 4th is also on the town square and looks like a Masonic Temple with stores on the first floor. The awning does not look original.

Gene
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:22 PM   #259
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More!

The first is The Spot, a restaurant on the same corner for 102 years in Sidney, also on the town square. Not the original building and looks like post WW II. The sign says "Cook's Spot" and refers to the cook, not a person named Cook, though it was once owned by a man named Cook. 2nd is the vintage trailers lined up in front of the Airstream administration building. 3rd is a trailer being inspected by one of those old guys who hang out here.

Gene
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:31 PM   #260
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And More!

Two photos from the repair shop. That old guy is hanging out here looking at our trailer. New wheels had not be mounted yet. 3rd is the part of the waiting area for customers. The photo doesn't do justice to the beautiful young woman looking at the camera.

Gene
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:34 PM   #261
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The building in the picture looks a little like a white castle, I can almost smell the onions...
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Old 10-27-2009, 08:03 PM   #262
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When it was time to put the brakes, bearings and hub back together, the problem LF wheel may have told us why the wheel was so loose. A new outer race would not stay in and it became apparent the old one was spinning in the hub and wearing the hub. I had asked several people whether that one should be changed when the bearing burned out and they said it was fine; it wasn't. When the bearing got fried, the race must have been somehow damaged, though it showed no burn marks or scratches. We got 6 or 7,000 more miles out of it.

The end result of all this: 2 new brake backing plates with shoes, etc. (brakes should match on both sides of an axle), one hub, 2 new races and bearings, 4 bearing seals, washer and castellated nut, all bearings repacked, brakes adjusted. I haven't seen the invoice yet as there's still more to do. The wheel issue took a lot of time.

The new wheels look good and are mounted with the new tires. I had to reprogram my TPMS monitor for higher pressure. I told the tech to put 70 lbs. in the tires as they need to support the weight of a LR D tires, but LT tires have lower weight ratings for a given pressure so a bit more than 65 lbs. and a little bit more less than the max for these tires.

I spend part of the morning with Dave Schumann and part of the afternoon with Bob Wheeler (Airstream president and CEO). I did not hold back on my opinions and both listened and were willing to discuss anything I brought up. I feel the discussions were private and it's not up to me to disclose what they said.

We ate lunch about a block east at the Verandah. Not world shaking fine dining, but pretty good. It's in an Victorian era brick house and is somewhat elegant. It started raining this afternoon and is supposed to clear up to showers tomorrow. I had planned to go through W Va. tomorrow and maybe reach SW Va., but I don't think we'll be leaving early.

Gene
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:02 PM   #263
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Bob, the big news is that the Airstream snowbrush is on sale for $12.50. If you drive from California to here now you have save a few bucks!
Gene
Hi, at that price, [$12.50 for Airstream snow brush] I'm hitching up and driving out to Ohio tomorrow. Gene make sure, since you totally removed/replaced your wheels, that you check for lug nut torque a few times while down the road. I don't want anything to happen to them before I get to see them. Great pictures, keep'em coming.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:46 AM   #264
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Nice pictures.

Too bad you had to miss the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, it is really pretty spectacular. Maybe on your next trip through the great Midwest.

Travel safe.
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:04 PM   #265
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Hi! I am a newbie and just discovered your travel tales. Love the whole thread. We are retiring in May and just purchased a '22 Safari Sport. We plan to visit all Nat parks in the lower 48 and then look north. By then we should be pretty experienced with the AS. Thanks for all the sharing, insights and maintenance info. By the way our TV is a Tundra also. How many MPG do you get towing your AS? tom
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Old 10-28-2009, 04:57 PM   #266
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Tom, If we're on an interstate and going 65, about 10.5, slower, better—around 50, maybe 11.5 to 12.

The tech who was working on our trailer yesterday, was fired at the end of the day, not because of his work. There were two others working on it today. It rained hard last night and we had two news leaks below the front and back windows. The rear one was repacked with Sikaflex, a very time consuming job. I'm not sure what they did with the front one. They passed the water test. They have a stand with a bunch of jets on it and spray the (formerly) bad place for a half hour or so. I had visions of them opening the door and 6" of water spilling out, but it didn't.

We had hoped to get out of here by mid morning, then early afternoon, then mid afternoon, but no. It took the whole day and so we leave in the morning.

Bob, you wanted to know what we had fixed on warranty—trim at top of bathroom partition was missing, bathroom duplex rec. was crooked, opening seam between formica pieces (the partitions and cabinets are covered with formica) on side of kitchen sink cabinet was covered with some trim, edge banding on a drawer and backsplash was reglued, skylight cover replaced and washers used when screwed down, locktite used on shower head screw to prevent shower head droop, bottom of shower opening resealed to prevent leaks, potable water tank sensor replaced, ext. door strike plate adjusted, ext. door seal fixed, smoke alarm replaced, rock guards for windows fixed, grey tank dump valve boot replaced at belly pan, fantastic fan rain sensor cleaned, both fans resealed, space between partition and narrow shelf next to stove closed with small piece of trim, two popped ceiling rivets replaced, shower door look replaced, windows on rear streetside resealed, front and back windows resealed, toilet bolts tightened, stove grommet replaced. Then there are wheels, tires, front axle brakes, repacked 8 bearings with 2 bearings and races replaced, new bearing seals—that was on us and the bill was painful. The 16" spare won't fit in the tire carrier unless you bend the pieces that hold the side of the tire outward; that was done.

The service center does a good job. They do a much better job than the factory. Having to repair the screw ups the factory does costs the company a lot more money than doing it right the first time. I suppose they washed the trailer by using the water test. We did not take the tour again. Two times is enough. The waiting area is nice, but there's only so much time even I can spend on the computer. Getting up at 5 am is not my favorite thing and I don't feel rested. We'll be overjoyed to get on the road.

We talked to people who won't go a dealer because they don't trust them or they have none nearby (Airstream has lost 20% of their dealers) and people who are mad at the company for poor QC and cost cutting. There were Canadians here from Ottawa, Manitoba and Quebec. There are no dealers in Manitoba, but the others are near dealers. It's expensive for Canadians to come here because of the currency difference, so that seems to say something about their dealers.

And finally, Richard, you are obviously desperate for a White Castle if the Spot looks like one to you. They sell them in the frozen food dep't in fine stores everywhere.

Gene
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