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Old 12-19-2007, 07:08 PM   #1
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Jackson Center trip/repair

I'm back from my 921.6 mile round trip excursion to Jackson Center for repair of my streetside wheel well area. As noted in an earlier thread, I hit snow Saturday in the middle of KY. but the roads were clear. That changed in Ohio when the snow started coming down harder. I didn't have to use 4 wheel drive until I hit highway 274 for the 7 mile stretch to Jackson Center. It was beautiful as I came near the outskirts of the town. Snow was falling and some of the farm houses with barns looked like they should be on Christmas cards. There was about 6" of snow on the ground when I pulled alongside the service building leading to the Terraport. There was only one set of tracks on the main road but none to see where the pavement ended and the gravel started. I backed into A-1 on Excella Circle between a late 70'ish 31' Excella 500 and a newer Airstream class A unit. I unhooked, plugged in and settled in for the evening.

Sunday I went to a Walmart off exit 111 and returned around 4 p.m. in time to see an Argosy being parked. I went over to introduce myself and offered to help. I met the nicest couple from New Hampshire who were dropping off the Argosy for repair and picking up an '05 or '06 trailer they had left previously. Peter is a photographer and his wife, Mary is a woman who loves to camp. We went to Sidney for dinner that night at a nice Italian restaurant and we were the only 3 people there. We talked about our experiences meeting people on the road and how great Airstreams are. They are WBCCI members and if there were more members like them, WBCCI would be overflowing with satisfied memberships. They were just good people and I feel that they helped make my factory trip an even more pleasant one.

Monday morning I was inside the service center at 6:59 a.m. and signed the service roster at 7:00 a.m. Chris Burch and Kevin saw that my Sovereign was pulled into the service bay, although there was a slight delay when they had to remove my Enkay Rock Tamers from the stinger on my Hensley hitch because their ball adapter would not slide far enough back to allow the pin to lock the adapter in place. I guess they backed the unit in by 7:30 a.m. if not earlier. I met Rick March, the Service Coordinator, a little after this and this is who I had been in touch with to make my appointment. The women at the front desk were very helpful also and I enjoyed chatting with them during the day

The shop is well organized and everyone was already working on something. I got out of their way to let them do their work. By 3:30 p.m. they were through with the fender well repair and the trailer was already back at A-1. They did a great job and that was why I drove the distance to have them do the repair. I also got a bonus during the repair. The PO of my trailer had a large dog and apparently an unopened box of dog biscuits had fallen where it could not be seen. I wonder if he wants the dog biscuits back? I took the factory tour given by Don at 2 p.m. and was the sole participant. I met a good number of people who were busy at work and they all seemed to be happy at what they were doing. I saw a couple of 34' units being built as well a few shorter Safari Sport models. I even saw a number of units made for the European market. I guess I saw three different width models on the line. Don said that each trailer takes 9 days to build except for the longer models which took an extra day. I got to go into 4 or 5 of the trailers and marveled at one front bedroom/rear door model which had a rear bathrrom with shower left of entrance and toilet across from the shower facing it. The sink was in the middle. What a great use of space in a 23' model (I think). I sure learned about how the units were being made now. It made me want to win the lottery and buy another 22-23' trailer (I'm still keeping the current 25' no matter what). Watching how they measure for the windows, cut the aluminum sheeting, forming the window frames is fascinating. Take the tour and it will give you an even more appreciation of the Airstream line.

Travel back was uneventful except for an incident that occurred as I made my last walk around before starting the truck to pull away. My elbow must have hit the lock switch and the truck was locked up tight with keys in the ignition switch. A first for me since buying this truck in '01. A couple nylon wedges, a stiff coathanger and 20 minutes of work and I had her unlocked. That click was the sweetest sound when the door unlocked! Roads were clear, I left around 10:30 a.m. EST and got back home 8:45 CST. I took the trailer to one of the local car washes and washed it and the truck throughly to rid them of salt spray from the roads. Those wheel wells sure do look nice.
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Old 12-19-2007, 07:31 PM   #2
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Nice story.. I see they have some new Airstream styled furniture in the lobby. Looks pretty classy.
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidz71
I'm back from my 921.6 mile round trip excursion to Jackson Center for repair of my streetside wheel well area. As noted in an earlier thread, I hit snow Saturday in the middle of KY. but the roads were clear. That changed in Ohio when the snow started coming down harder. I didn't have to use 4 wheel drive until I hit highway 274 for the 7 mile stretch to Jackson Center. It was beautiful as I came near the outskirts of the town. Snow was falling and some of the farm houses with barns looked like they should be on Christmas cards. There was about 6" of snow on the ground when I pulled alongside the service building leading to the Terraport. There was only one set of tracks on the main road but none to see where the pavement ended and the gravel started. I backed into A-1 on Excella Circle between a late 70'ish 31' Excella 500 and a newer Airstream class A unit. I unhooked, plugged in and settled in for the evening.

Sunday I went to a Walmart off exit 111 and returned around 4 p.m. in time to see an Argosy being parked. I went over to introduce myself and offered to help. I met the nicest couple from New Hampshire who were dropping off the Argosy for repair and picking up an '05 or '06 trailer they had left previously. Peter is a photographer and his wife, Mary is a woman who loves to camp. We went to Sidney for dinner that night at a nice Italian restaurant and we were the only 3 people there. We talked about our experiences meeting people on the road and how great Airstreams are. They are WBCCI members and if there were more members like them, WBCCI would be overflowing with satisfied memberships. They were just good people and I feel that they helped make my factory trip an even more pleasant one.

Monday morning I was inside the service center at 6:59 a.m. and signed the service roster at 7:00 a.m. Chris Burch and Kevin saw that my Sovereign was pulled into the service bay, although there was a slight delay when they had to remove my Enkay Rock Tamers from the stinger on my Hensley hitch because their ball adapter would not slide far enough back to allow the pin to lock the adapter in place. I guess they backed the unit in by 7:30 a.m. if not earlier. I met Rick March, the Service Coordinator, a little after this and this is who I had been in touch with to make my appointment. The women at the front desk were very helpful also and I enjoyed chatting with them during the day

The shop is well organized and everyone was already working on something. I got out of their way to let them do their work. By 3:30 p.m. they were through with the fender well repair and the trailer was already back at A-1. They did a great job and that was why I drove the distance to have them do the repair. I also got a bonus during the repair. The PO of my trailer had a large dog and apparently an unopened box of dog biscuits had fallen where it could not be seen. I wonder if he wants the dog biscuits back? I took the factory tour given by Don at 2 p.m. and was the sole participant. I met a good number of people who were busy at work and they all seemed to be happy at what they were doing. I saw a couple of 34' units being built as well a few shorter Safari Sport models. I even saw a number of units made for the European market. I guess I saw three different width models on the line. Don said that each trailer takes 9 days to build except for the longer models which took an extra day. I got to go into 4 or 5 of the trailers and marveled at one front bedroom/rear door model which had a rear bathrrom with shower left of entrance and toilet across from the shower facing it. The sink was in the middle. What a great use of space in a 23' model (I think). I sure learned about how the units were being made now. It made me want to win the lottery and buy another 22-23' trailer (I'm still keeping the current 25' no matter what). Watching how they measure for the windows, cut the aluminum sheeting, forming the window frames is fascinating. Take the tour and it will give you an even more appreciation of the Airstream line.

Travel back was uneventful except for an incident that occurred as I made my last walk around before starting the truck to pull away. My elbow must have hit the lock switch and the truck was locked up tight with keys in the ignition switch. A first for me since buying this truck in '01. A couple nylon wedges, a stiff coathanger and 20 minutes of work and I had her unlocked. That click was the sweetest sound when the door unlocked! Roads were clear, I left around 10:30 a.m. EST and got back home 8:45 CST. I took the trailer to one of the local car washes and washed it and the truck throughly to rid them of salt spray from the roads. Those wheel wells sure do look nice.
Very cool Craig. Thanx for the pics they're very nice
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craftsman
Nice story.. I see they have some new Airstream styled furniture in the lobby. Looks pretty classy.
Craftsman,
I couldn't believe their waiting room. I had seen pictures of it before but they just don't do justice to what is really there. I could camp out in the lobby for days. I spent time in the Wally Byam store off the waiting room and ended up spending $60 on a sweatshirt and small interior parts for the curtain tracks as well as AC filters/grills.
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Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:30 PM   #5
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Craig...an all too familar exp. I have to agree, dealing with the service dept and the guys you mentioned by name is a really good exp. I had a punch list about 19 items long and added some that happened while I was there.

I agree, some new Airstream furnishings....wonder if the TV is in the end cap. Saw that one on one of the home build shows.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:42 PM   #6
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Craig,

Interesting picture of your bathroom. I think we have the same trailer, but my bathroom is carpeted. It looks like yours is fiberglass?
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:37 PM   #7
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Our trip here on October 1 - 2, 2007 was equally pleasing. Craig, there are a lot of great WBCCI members and we are looking to add some more like yourself.

Randy
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:24 AM   #8
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Craig, nice travel log. I hadn't seen photos of the inside of the A/S facility before. Glad things went well and the trip was not too eventful.
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckeysor
Craig,

Interesting picture of your bathroom. I think we have the same trailer, but my bathroom is carpeted. It looks like yours is fiberglass?
Chris,
The bathroom floor is linoleum. I've kept my eye out for a scrap of carpeting to warm the floor up when stepping out of the shower. The floor can be rather cool early in the morning.
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:11 AM   #10
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Visiting Airstream

When visiting Airstream, you can also visit Henschen, which is down the street and around the corner from Airstream.

The automation they use to make axle components is "far out."

They also make special hubs and spindles, too, not just for travel trailers, but for larger equipment as well.

One machine uses about 15 or more different tools, that it uses and switches all by itself.

A fascinating add-on to the Airstream visit.

I am working with Henschen to set up a regular "visitor time."

Andy
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:53 PM   #11
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Here are some of my pics of the Henschen plant when I was in Jackson Center...as you can tell from the look of one of the employees, it was not a sanctioned visit....but they didn't kick me out.
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Here are some of my pics of the Henschen plant when I was in Jackson Center...as you can tell from the look of one of the employees, it was not a sanctioned visit....but they didn't kick me out.

Good thing they didn't catch you.

Rumor has it, if they catch you, they will change your body shape, freeze you, and put you in the next axle tube.

But they are courteous. The only use oversize axle tubes for that purpose.

Seriously, they have a huge "liability" situation for unescourted visitors.

We are going to try to have a movie made, have it shown it at Airtreams lobby just prior to the Airstream factory tour, and then take those interested to visit the Henschen plant.

This will take a lot of coordinating, so please be patient.

We will let folks know the progress.

And Don Ambos just thought he retired???

Andy
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Old 12-20-2007, 05:57 PM   #13
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Craig
Sorry U had to run smack dab into snow,but it sounds like U enjoyed your visit to Airstream. My wife and I enjoyed it emenously. That Don is a crackerjack Isnt he? Did he tell ya he work there for 50 yrs.and still comes in about 4 days a week to give tours. He was Our tour guide this summer when MaryLou and I made a factory visit.
Glad U had a great time. Please come an visit the area again.
Roger & MaryLou
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:45 PM   #14
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If I had known that Henschen was down the road then I would have driven past and maybe gone in to talk with them for a few minutes. I thought about going to the Neil Armstrong museum but decided to hang around in case the repair guys ran across additional damage I didn't know about.
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