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Old 09-14-2013, 10:59 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
2007 19' Safari SE
La Center , Washington
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 74
Deal(er) or no deal(er)? Where should I get repair / upgrade done?

I have a 2007 Safari 19, which I took to Cycle Oregon week ride this past week.

On Wednesday, the curbside tire tread separated. This damaged the following:

1) Wheel well: plastic beaten, but not broken
2) Perimeter trim: A short piece torn off and some warped.
3) Underbelly cladding: beaten, but not broken

I want to get these repaired. I live in Vancouver, WA. My options are the local dealer in Portland, OR, or one of several general RV repair places (one of which seems to get good mentions on Airforums).

Since I have to get the repairs done, I was also thinking of getting a solar panel and inverter/charger installed to make dry camping easier, and I wouldn't mind if some of that hardware took the place of the useless (to me) TV antenna.

I am a bit reluctant to take my Airstream to the Portland dealer. My reasons are unusual: This dealer sponsored a team that was also at the Cycle Oregon Week Ride. Some of the members of that group were priggish, slovenly or rude. My experience is that people often have the same behaviors at work as they do away from work, so my concern is that this dealership might have high prices, low quality, and leave my trailer a mess.

Since this is the first time I have ever needed repairs, I don't know if non-dealer can do the kind of work I need done. Can a general RV repair place do Airstream bodywork? Can you trust them with a solar panel install?

I have never had a tread separation on any vehicle I have ever owned. What's up with that? Is it ok to install automobile tires (not "trailer tires") on an AS?

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Old 09-15-2013, 12:25 AM   #2
Len and Jeanne
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2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
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We've used both AS and non-AS RV repair places, mostly out of lack of choice for the non-AS ones. But generally they've been fine and helpful. They service so many different makes and models that the mechanics must have to learn how the different ones operate. Your AS also probably came with a notebook explaining to a mechanic how everything works.

Our nearest AS dealer is Spokane, and we go there about once per year for an annual road-worthy check-up and any replacement parts needed.
The cool part about going to the AS dealership is their fun accessories and a chance to peek inside the new models.

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Old 09-15-2013, 12:49 AM   #3
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2014 25' FB International
2007 20' Safari SE
2005 19' Safari
Qualicum Beach , British Columbia
Join Date: Jul 2010
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There is now a new Airstream dealer in Penticton called Midtown RV. They sell and service Newmar motorhomes and Airstreams. My dealings with their service and sales departments have been totally professional.
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:56 AM   #4
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Non-dealers supposedly have to order parts through dealers.

Not all Airstream dealers have "COMPETENT" metal working employees. I would ask the insurance company you cover the trailer with if they have any experienced metal repair facilities they have used that have worked on an Airstream.
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Old 09-15-2013, 05:17 AM   #5
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2005 28' Safari
saline , Michigan
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As to the tread seperation, I am assuming your tires are ST type and probably Goodyear Marathons which, if you do some reading on the tire forum, are prone to this kind of problem. Many have switched to light truck "LT" tires because we don't want what you experienced. Good luck in your research. By the way, is your insurance covering it? You might also check with the tire manufacture.
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Old 09-15-2013, 05:54 AM   #6
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On the topic of solar, make sure you know what the Portland area is charging before you have the dealer do it. There is a significant variation in prices, for the same system. Negotiate!
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Old 09-15-2013, 07:44 AM   #7
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Oracle , Arizona
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If they were the original tires they were 7 years or more old. Consensus is to replace them at 4 years.
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Old 09-15-2013, 08:17 AM   #8
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Westchester Cty.NY , / Miami FL
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for the solar you might want to contact member LEWSTER or these folks:
Contact AM Solar
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:19 AM   #9
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Nepean , Ontario
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Concerning the tires, I have had the tread separate on a Westlake (made in China) tire. I was extremely fortunate because it did not blow, but was caught when I was at Jackson Center getting some service done.

As to whether to use ST tires or LT tires, there is ample discussion on the group. Personally, I am using ST tires (load range E).

I can't really advise you on whether to use a dealer or general RV repair facility - however, dealers have direct access to the factory for parts and advice. Personally, I service at Jackson Center, even though it is a long drive from home (about 12 hours), as they have both the expertise and the parts. As well, once scheduled for the repair, I arrive the day before and the next day the rig is in the service bay at 8:00am - if it takes more than 1 day, they bring it out to the terraport for me to sleep overnight (and back in the following morning at 7:00 am).

Concerning solar, my rig has 3 75-watt panels which the PO had installed at Lake Havasu City AZ. They were well mounted and have worked flawlessly. I did have to change the controller (it was broken when I got the trailer 2 years ago). Once you are going this way considering solar for dry camping, you may want to increase the battery capacity. If your trailer has a gaucho in the front with the batteries in boxes under the gaucho, you could add two more batteries, but then ALL the batteries would have to be AGM's (that's what I have). With the solar & batteries I have (also I have a 3,000 watt pure sine ware inverter-charger), I dry camp in the Sonora desert during the winter months; as long as there is sunshine, I have plenty of power.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:53 PM   #10
2 Rivet Member
2007 19' Safari SE
La Center , Washington
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 74
Holy $hoot!

Here's the quote for repair from the dealer:

GALVINIZED WHEEL WELL BOX #1 232.24 $ 232.24
RUB RAIL INSERT #20 2.6 $ 52.00
UNDERBELLY #30 3.54 $106.20
ACRYL-R #1 39.9 $ 39.90
RIVETS #50 0.4 $ 20.00
OUTER WHEEL WELL TRIM #1 40.34 $ 40.34
RIVETS #20 0.10 $ 2.00
SEAM TAPE #1 38.88 $ 38.88
SIKA FLEX #1 12.9 $ 12.90

Labor Total $ 2,400.00
Parts Total $ 544.46
Above estimate based on visual inspection only.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:03 PM   #11
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Ottawa , ON
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1 line on a quote for $2,400 deserves more information, IMHO. By that I mean a lot more detail on exactly what they plan on doing that will add up to 20 hours of work.

Also, did you contact your insurance company to confirm what they will pay of this? And what the implications might be for next year's cost of insurance..?
If it's to be, it's up to me.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:05 PM   #12
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2006 19' International CCD
Denville , New Jersey
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Yikes, A blown tired totaled my T@B trailer, I got full purchase price from insurance.

2006 Bambi CCD ("EireStream!!")
2010 Funfinder
2005 T@B
2001 Teardrop, Mountain Hardware Tent
For some perfection takes a little longer...
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