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Old 06-13-2011, 01:47 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by jcanavera View Post
The reality is that as a product's price goes up, there is the expectation that there will be fewer problems that a lower priced product. Unfortunately that line of thinking doesn't always carry over and to many of us, that's not acceptable.

We are dealing with a handbuilt trailer that at this point isn't automated. One of the successes of the automobile industry that we point to as an example is created from the level of automation used. I toured the GM full size van plant here in the STL area a few years back. It was riveting to watch the windshield installation. A robot picks up the windshield and then pivots the windshield while another devices applies the sealant. The amount of sealant is precise with the placement right at the correct spots. The robot then places the windshield into the framed opening of the van. It's fast efficient and probably has a rate of failure which is miniscule compared to humans doing the same task. And unless something breaks, it's done the same way every time...

As long as you have a human in the picture doing the work, you can never build a vehicle with the level of uniformity and quality that the robot can put out.

Will I still be disappointed to find that whoever installed my water pump put it so close to the wheel well that I can't put in a winterizing valve without having to remount the water pump? Sure, but I'm a realist enought to understand that the installer has an area to put it into, and unless someone in quality control steps up and says, "we need a template to make sure we install this in exactly this spot", I going to be subject to human judgements or frailities.

That's where management has to step in and determine what the market will bear, as far as pricing goes, and the cost to improve the quality level of the trailer. The biggest issue that Airstream has to handle is that they build 25-28 trailers a week. Hard to get a good return on investment in developing and building an automated process to improve quality in contrast to the numbers of automobiles built.

Jack
Jack, had the same issue winterizing my 2009 27FB. I managed to get the valve installed after :30 of using using my favorite sailor language I learned in the Navy. With the valve and small hose being so cheap, I wonder why A/S didn't have a three-way valve installed just for this purpose?
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Old 07-09-2011, 02:03 AM   #30
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It's interesting...I read these threads and see people pointing out good bad and otherwise but come on! If you spend 50 to 80 grand on a trailer, do you really think it's ok if it leaks! I have a 20 year old tent that's been through far worse conditions than my trailer ever will be but it never once leaked...if a company that boasts it's longevity of production and only improves it's products over time can't be as sturdy as a nylon bag with some thread...There's something wrong! And suggesting that it's acceptable because you're the one that paid for the shiny object that drips...that's sad too. I've owned many a hardtop tent trailer that bounce down the freeway far worse than any Airstream but yet they don't leak....And oddly enough you can have two king beds in a pop up trailer that's 12 feet long....But that's a whole different beef.

I love my old Argosy, but leaks are unacceptable and a real bed would make it even better than that 12 foot Coleman tent trailer!

Let's not forget you can buy many an aircraft for similar prices to a new Airstream, they have wings, an engine, lots of cool gauges, AND a whole bunch of aluminum and rivets too!
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Old 07-09-2011, 06:26 AM   #31
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Wink What's Next?

Auto's, boat's, airplane's, tent's.... what should we compare them to next?

Paperclip's, thumbtack's, clothespin's and staples?

I have already rationalized it.....design is wonderful, QC sux.
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:59 AM   #32
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Ah, shucks, our Airstream has always been more reliable than my car!

(Of course, some snotnose will come along and point out what kind of car I drive.)


Lynn
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:12 AM   #33
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Ah, shucks, our Airstream has always been more reliable than my car!

(Of course, some snotnose will come along and point out what kind of car I drive.)


Lynn
Well now that you brought it up....
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:23 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Auto's, boat's, airplane's, tent's.... what should we compare them to next?

Paperclip's, thumbtack's, clothespin's and staples?

I have already rationalized it.....design is wonderful, QC sux.

I'm still waiting for the first alien spaceship to land so we can do a real QC comparison .

In the meantime, at Alumapalooza this year, the organizers fabricated a huge aluminum thank you card to presented to Airstream (and CEO Bob Wheeler) for letting us "Return to the Mothership". Like the first year, Alumapalooza 2011 was a blast, and I think it is the model for how a large rally should be held. We're already signed up for next year.

They even had some sessions in which they asked for suggestions on how they could improve the product. One for men, and one for women. The discussion was lively and productive. Although the sessions were far too short, I learned a few things, and even took a few notes. I had a few suggestions written down in advance, but they all were quickly, and enthusiastically, covered by other people, so I didn't get a word in. Some of the things I thought were noteworthy or qouteworthy regarding factory quality control:

1. They installed Shop-Vacs at some stations to sweep up the construction debris. (This was one of the livelier of topics)
2. They were "trying to instill discipline in their workers to use them".
3. They don't run a "quota system". (I'm not sure about the context of that, but it must have been significant because I wrote it down.)
4. Towing an Airstream is the equivalent of subjecting your trailer to a 7.5 earthquake. (Now, there's some practical perspective.)

Anyway, the organizers left the giant thank you card out to be signed by as many people as possible. As you can see from the pictures, I've made peace, and now have some closure, with Airstream , and it was from the heart .
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:40 AM   #35
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Well now that you brought it up....
The logo tells it all ...

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Old 07-09-2011, 11:35 AM   #36
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So does mine
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:44 AM   #37
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ha. We drive 4x4's that you are not even allowed to own in Kansas or New Mexico..
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:55 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Stork View Post

~~

Let's not forget you can buy many an aircraft for similar prices to a new Airstream, they have wings, an engine, lots of cool gauges, AND a whole bunch of aluminum and rivets too!
I'm not defending Airstream's exorbitant prices on new trailers, but let's be honest about that statement... you can buy many a 25- to 50-year-old aircraft, and a few newer kit planes or needy aircraft that are $10k short of airworthiness for under $60k. Let's not have the people who aren't into aircraft think you can buy a 10-year-old Mooney for $60k. Then again most of them wouldn't know what a Mooney is.
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Old 07-09-2011, 12:21 PM   #39
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I've had my share of bad cars, including the two marques just above, but back to Airstreams.

First (What we bought):

Ours had scores of problems under warranty—maybe 60, some repeating.

The dealer was a bad, bad experience—damaging our trailer and being difficult about warranty items.

Airstream's Service Center generally does a very good job, though there were a few things not done right.

QC in the factory was bad: obvious that supervision is inadequate and employees are not trained well.

Design issues persist such as the water pump placement Pat described above and the placement of wiring under the propane cover.

Poor communication within the company about all these issues.

Typical corporate cost cutting measures that result in junk components and poor workmanship at all levels.

A lot of cheap parts that fail quickly or are just cheap looking and fail eventually.

Second (Solutions):

Follow issues on this Forum and learn from it.

We were persistent in getting things fixed.

Problems have decreased since warranty expired.

We are upgrading many things—wheels, tires, solar system, converter, batteries, add Venetian blinds, etc. Many things will probably come—perhaps seat cushions (covers badly made, cheap material, no linings).

Learn the product and fix things before they break and maintain as necessary. This requires a lot of tools, time, persistence, study and liberal does of cursing.

Third (Use it):

As Moosetags said well, we enjoy it. We have traveled only about half as much as Brian and SuEllyn, but we like hanging out in it, eating in it, sleeping in it.

Basic design is iconic and we like it—less wind resistance, looks cool.

Interior on ours is aluminum and sparkles with various lighting combinations. We decorate to enhance or for amusement.

Fourth (What did we learn from this?):

If I knew then what I know now, I would have looked for gently used. I would have looked at newer designs like Earthbound and trailers like Arctic Fox which have better reliability reputations and some nice floorplans.

No regrets—we did the best we could. We are making the best we can out of it. We are determined to make it as good as Airstream did not.

No plans to sell it and buy something else. It remains cool and it is uniquely ours by now.

Fifth (What did JC learn from this):

They may have gotten the message at JC and improved workmanship, but the problems of 2008 (and other years) take a long time to straighten out.

If you got a trouble free trailer, good for you then or now; if you got problems, I think JC should have extended warranties to make up for that, but they chose not to.

When people ask us about our Airstream, we tell them the good and the bad; word of mouth reputation can hurt or help. JC brought it upon themselves.

Gene
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Old 07-09-2011, 01:33 PM   #40
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ha. We drive 4x4's that you are not even allowed to own in Kansas or New Mexico..
What kind of 4x4 aren't you allowed to own in Kansas or NM?
.
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Old 07-09-2011, 02:08 PM   #41
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I know this is about Airstream quality, but I nonetheless feel that I must interject about British quality. Some feel that these cars commonly died of oil leaks. Not true. Leaking oil was intentional, a means to prevent rust. This is even discussed in the original documentation. Those who failed to read the documentation, allowing all of the oil to escape, have only themselves to blame.

No, in fact, the real cause of their demise was loss of smoke from the wiring harness. Alas, this was the result of a failure of communication between Lucas, which produced the wiring, and the car factories that used the wiring. Indeed, Lucas even produced a repair kit for loss of wiring smoke, but this kit was not widely known at the factories or among those in the dealer network. A truly unfortunate situation.

So if you should still own a British car (or any other with Lucas wiring, like some Alfas), you should order this kit. I kindly provide a link as well as a picture from the site:



Lucas Replacement Smoke Kit

So there. Back to Airstream quality.


Lynn
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Old 07-09-2011, 02:29 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eubank View Post
I know this is about Airstream quality, but I nonetheless feel that I must interject about British quality. Some feel that these cars commonly died of oil leaks. Not true. Leaking oil was intentional, a means to prevent rust. This is even discussed in the original documentation. Those who failed to read the documentation, allowing all of the oil to escape, have only themselves to blame.

No, in fact, the real cause of their demise was loss of smoke from the wiring harness. Alas, this was the result of a failure of communication between Lucas, which produced the wiring, and the car factories that used the wiring. Indeed, Lucas even produced a repair kit for loss of wiring smoke, but this kit was not widely known at the factories or among those in the dealer network. A truly unfortunate situation.

So if you should still own a British car (or any other with Lucas wiring, like some Alfas), you should order this kit. I kindly provide a link as well as a picture from the site:



Lucas Replacement Smoke Kit

So there. Back to Airstream quality.


Lynn

thanks
you should feel extreme pride in this- your- post.
awesome way cool

don
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