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Old 10-28-2014, 06:36 PM   #1
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Durability of Airstreams

Hi, guys!

I'm new to the forum and we are strongly considering an Airstream as our next rig, particularly so that we can use an Amerideck and haul our Goldwing with us.

We are coming from the vintage Bluebird world, so I'm very familiar with rig maintenance issues, etc. To tell you the truth, I'm looking forward to not having to worry about $5,000 tire changes and $400 oil changes.

As you can imagine, coming from the Bird, almost any other RV seems dainty and delicate. My bride is particularly concerned about the vulnerability of Airstreams to hail damage.

Can anyone give me an idea of how much of a problem this is within the AS world? We'd hate to pour all sorts of work, time and money into a beautiful AS and then have it all destroyed in one summertime thunderstorm.

We really look forward to the rallies, WBCCI, etc. as we have very much enjoyed that aspect of Bluebird ownership.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:41 PM   #2
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Airstreams are very subject to hail damage and it is difficult and expensive to repair. How else could it be with a thin aluminum exterior? Just something you have to factor in. Hail sometimes breaks the plastic shrouds on top and dents the sides when it is strongly wind driven. Most people seem to deal with it by means of insurance.
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:47 PM   #3
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I suppose everything in life is a balance. The Bird is truly "built like a tank". It is solid steel, and it weighs 38,000 lbs. dry. No worries at all about hail, but it gets 6 mpg and it's hard to get parts.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:29 PM   #4
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If big hail hits your Airstream it will be covered with dents on top and on the side the wind is blowing it into. Small hail, say less than a quarter may not be noticed depending on the wind behind it.
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:05 PM   #5
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Size is important in determining how much damage will occur, but you also have to consider the wind that comes with the storm as well. We were caught in a hail storm in Kieler, WI about 6 years ago. The write up is on our Northern Illinois website. The winds were measured by radar to be over 100 mph. The damage to all twelve units was significant, but our old 1963 unit, with thicker aluminum, fared better. The sides facing the wind were damaged much more that the top or other side. Many last model skylights and plastic roof vents were destroyed. Insurance covered most people's damages. I lost two OEM side windows which were replaced for $28 and insurance paid us $3300 for damage to the truck.
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:21 PM   #6
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We prefer to call them "beauty marks"

Hail can be an issue, one of the reasons I bought vintage rather than much newer. If it is dented, so what, as long as it doesn't leak and most of the appliances work... CAMP ON!

Airstreams are relatively durable compared to just about any other TT on the market.

I had a 'bird quite a few years back, hard to dent a steel shell that thick.

Aaron
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:21 PM   #7
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How often do you expect to encounter hail? If hail is a regular concern for you, then your tow vehicle must be pocked like a golf ball, too, so a dented trailer will just make a matched set. () Last time my folks had hail where they live, every vehicle parked outdoors all over town got dinged up on hood, roof, and trunk, except for a couple of Corvettes that got cracked gelcoat instead of dented.
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northmeck025 View Post
Hi, guys!

I'm new to the forum and we are strongly considering an Airstream as our next rig, particularly so that we can use an Amerideck and haul our Goldwing with us.

We are coming from the vintage Bluebird world, so I'm very familiar with rig maintenance issues, etc. To tell you the truth, I'm looking forward to not having to worry about $5,000 tire changes and $400 oil changes.

As you can imagine, coming from the Bird, almost any other RV seems dainty and delicate. My bride is particularly concerned about the vulnerability of Airstreams to hail damage.

Can anyone give me an idea of how much of a problem this is within the AS world? We'd hate to pour all sorts of work, time and money into a beautiful AS and then have it all destroyed in one summertime thunderstorm.

We really look forward to the rallies, WBCCI, etc. as we have very much enjoyed that aspect of Bluebird ownership.

Thanks in advance for any help.
Proper care extends the life of many different types of equipment.

Proper care of an Airstream trailer or motor home, will easily out last many decades of use.

Good example, is the DC-3 airplane. It's still flying today.

Unfortunately, many owners take advantage of what an Airstream has to offer, then when things start to go wrong, they blame the factory, and then kick the trailer to the curb.

There are many very happy owners of Airstreams, that were built in the 60's, that perform in every way today, as it did when brand new.

Stuff happens, fix it or upgrade it when it does, and stay happy.

Wrinkles in the faces of many older Airstream owners, was caused by many many years of happy smiles, especially because of their Airstream.

Andy
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Old 10-28-2014, 11:03 PM   #9
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Andy, we've sure enjoyed our Airstream and if it gets a few hail dings then we have a few hail dings. The joys of travel, experiences, and people we meet with this great American icon will still be here. I don't worry about hail, maybe our insurance company does, we'll just keep Airstreaming.

In fact we're in it 1600 miles from home right now, been having a great time touring through mid-America and now the Southwest. Same old question, "Do they still make those?"
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Old 10-29-2014, 02:29 AM   #10
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Front and rear panels to replace with labor costs are about $2,000 apiece, long side panels are $5,500--so about 16-18 panels--average cost of hail damage throughout AS could run between $15-$25,000--or total. Make sure you carry Comprehensive on your policy, or Stated Value on vintage.
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Old 10-29-2014, 05:52 AM   #11
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Interesting reading for those concerned about hailÖ
Quote:
The nationís areas of greatest hail frequency are along and just east of the central Rocky Mountains where point averages vary between 6 to 12 hail days per year. The lee of the Rocky Mountains has the nationís greatest hail intensity with the largest average stone sizes, the highest average number of hailstones, and the longest hail durations. The nationís lowest hail intensities are found in the southeastern U.S. (Florida) and in the southwest (Arizona and California), areas where hail occurs only once every two or three years. Winds with hail tend to be strongest in the central and southern High Plains, the location where property-hail damage is the nationís highest.
Taken from "Hailstorms Across the Nation" (http://www.isws.illinois.edu/pubdoc/...SCR2009-12.pdf)
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Old 10-29-2014, 06:13 AM   #12
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Very interesting!


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Old 10-29-2014, 07:06 AM   #13
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My wife and I work full time, not even close to retirement.....most of the time our AS sits parked in the backyard...looks like in our first year we camped approximately 30 nights give or take. So that means most of the time it sits out in the open...

I plan on next year covering my parking pad with a structure to protect the AS from sun, debris, and the more unlikely possibility of hail here in my region (I have not personally seen any hail here in central alabama in 7 years, although I expect somewhere in the area it did).

So besides having good insurance coverage, covering it next year, then I will not spend a moment worried about this....

Regarding the hypothetical of getting dings and living with them...I agree with Doug and others...it would not rain on my parade...much.

Good luck....PS - what is a "blue bird"?
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Old 10-29-2014, 07:11 AM   #14
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A bluebird is a fantastic bus based motor home. Jim
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