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Old 09-04-2015, 06:43 AM   #15
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No class C by AS.
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Old 09-04-2015, 10:04 AM   #16
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Heard from the Jackson Center Service Advisor and we have an appointment. However, they don't seem to have a generic inspection protocol. Their labor rate is $125/hour so whatever time it takes, would be what I would be charged. I have some concern that a 1999 30' Land Yacht would be on their radar. as trailers and Class Cs seem to be their present focus. So, still pondering the side trip.

Any Class A-types have experience with this?
You arrive the night/day before and go to the terraport parking area; full hookups, no charge if you're having work done. (just visiting is $10 a night). (from I-75 head into Jackson Center, turn left at the small road just before the Marathon station. You'll see old AS trailers in front of AS. Terraport is towards the back on the right. Find a spot and park.)

They open the doors to the customer area just before 7 AM. You go in and sign in at the desk, tell them what you want done/checked. They give you a number for your vehicle. I'm not sure how they do the MHs. Trailers are towed with a tractor, I guess they drive the MH to the work area/bay.

Go back to the customer area (free coffee and cookies sometimes) and you will meet with the person who will be doing the work, explaining to them what you want done. You can come back and see how the work is progressing, discuss options with him. It's pretty relaxed, you can wander around if you're careful. They have signs up about not being in the work areas but we were directed to go there anyway. Just be careful, lots of work going on, tools in use.

The store opens about 9 AM and you can wander there, buy some equipment or stuff for your MH. Not much to do other than the tour and wandering around the AS lot. We spent one night in Columbus, OH, another in Sidney, just south of Jackson Center. Interesting old, restored buildings there, a couple of court houses and the bank across the street. There's a Comfort Inn just off the Interstate at W. Michigan St. Walk in rates are very low, tell them it's a business trip for the Airstream Factory. Very quiet when we were there, nice breakfast bar included. Several restaurants close by.
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Old 10-22-2015, 09:58 PM   #17
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Mothership is worth a visit. Note, the Terraport is to the right and behind the service center. We could not find it when we arrived after dark. The trailers waiting for service kind of block the view when they dazzle in your headlights, but it's easy to find come sunup. Wonderful crew. Everyone says AS is a fantastic employer.
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Old 10-24-2015, 12:38 PM   #18
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Many thanks for all this. We had to postpone our trip East until next April, but will make the visit someteime then or in May.
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Old 10-24-2015, 03:20 PM   #19
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For those that have not heard much about the Mothership, it's interesting to note that Jackson Center is a bit remote. You have to drive to go to a market, a restaurant, or anything much not related to AS or some of the other industries that are located there. There are resources within about 20 miles, but only a Dollar store in town. It was handy to stop by the WBCCI offices and join on our way out of town. The staff there and at the factory are wonderful and quite helpful.

The factory has to compete with Honda for employees as there is are assembly, an engine, and a transmission plant in close proximity. Several of the employees had relatives who worked for Honda.

The line works predominantly a single shift. Some part fabrication works off shift, but not much. The logic offered is that off shift work results in quality problems.

Several folks on the tour noted how close we were allowed to approach the work areas and the associated hazards. It was refreshing to not be ruled by limitations that other plants place on tour groups, but an element of caution and self responsibility is appropriate.

Generally, there is very limited automation, more outsourcing than I expected, and significant clutter and disruption from the facility expansion.

The trip to the Mothership is not too far out of the way when traveling East or West and is certainly a value for the required diversion. Pat
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Old 10-24-2015, 03:40 PM   #20
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more outsourcing than I expected,t
This surprises me and I'd like to know why to think this.

My impression has always be different. Yes they outsource all the appliances, tanks, pipes, rivets (lots of rivets!!) and aluminum, axles, etc. But they do all the cutting, doors and windows, cabinetry and upholstery themselves. I can't think of what else they might do.
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Old 10-24-2015, 03:52 PM   #21
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This surprises me and I'd like to know why to think this.

My impression has always be different. Yes they outsource all the appliances, tanks, pipes, rivets (lots of rivets!!) and aluminum, axles, etc. But they do all the cutting, doors and windows, cabinetry and upholstery themselves. I can't think of what else they might do.
They do not do all the cabinetry. An example is the curved bed supports.

I was surprised they outsourced the frame, but that is likely an example of my ignorance with respect to the industry standards.
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Old 10-24-2015, 04:01 PM   #22
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Used to be a restaurant almost next door. Is it gone?
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Old 10-24-2015, 04:55 PM   #23
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They do not do all the cabinetry. An example is the curved bed supports.

I was surprised they outsourced the frame, but that is likely an example of my ignorance with respect to the industry standards.
OK, they do most of it. I guess I just don't see it as a bad thing. Spec and by some parts, then build it.
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Old 10-24-2015, 07:48 PM   #24
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OK, they do most of it. I guess I just don't see it as a bad thing. Spec and by some parts, then build it.
Outsourcing often has a negative connotation. But it is only a bad thing if quality suffers. As explained to the tour, Airstream found that the outsource vendor had a better process for forming and laminating curved assemblies. Their make/buy decisions are driven by a desire to deliver the best product.

The AS factory was not what I expected. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

Pat
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Old 10-24-2015, 08:07 PM   #25
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Used to be a restaurant almost next door. Is it gone?
The Pitstop, which is in front of the factory, appeared to be out of business as was the case with the motel behind it. It would seem an ideal location for an Airstream theme diner.

The Inn Between restaurant, is the other side of 75. It's a bit of a drive and quite popular, but a good chance to meet the local population.
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Old 10-24-2015, 08:29 PM   #26
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Also in Jackson Center, on the east end of town, is the WBCCI headquarters. It is worth the time to drop in, a few items of history on display. You can get great information on the club, if not a member, and join up. See the web at www.wbcci.org. 5809 will be on the lookout for you down the road!


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Old 10-25-2015, 06:06 AM   #27
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Walk out to main road and take a right. Less than one block down is an excellent hamburger, pizza, beer joint. Seemed to be popular with the locals.
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Old 10-25-2015, 06:43 AM   #28
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Yup, that's it. Thanks Michael, I thought it was still there.
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