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Old 01-16-2013, 12:16 PM   #29
2014 23' Flying Cloud
Beavercreek , Ohio
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 22
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Something tells me this is not going to have a happy ending.

doug k

Why do you say that Doug??

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Old 01-16-2013, 01:19 PM   #30
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2013 30' International
lubbock , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 256
I'm unclear about where you think the gouging is taking place ... Shops in my town charge $100 - $150 per hour and have nowhere the expertise that the place that builds the things has. When a shop does a job, there is a standard charge for performing a task ... Whether it is Jackson Center , a body shop, mechanic, copier repair, or an attorney. You'll find that Airstreams are no different than any other brand when it comes to doing business with dealerships or the manufacturer ... It all comes down to what you want to drive, pull, cook with, bathe in/with, or live in.

I have a 30 year old Airstream and have a new International Sig on order because I like the style, I like the way it pulls and I'm willing to deal with whatever I need to in order to have it.

Good luck with your adventure ... And welcome to the group ... You'll find a lot of help on this forum for things you find puzzling ... And some opinions you may not agree with ... Or want to hear ... But in the end we find this to be a very helpful group.

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Old 01-16-2013, 01:39 PM   #31
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2007 30' Classic
Albuquerque , New Mexico
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No Price Gouging Here

Just value given for value received.
If you don't like the estimate, don't have the work done.
Ken L
2007 Classic Limited 30 (Sold)
2007Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax/Allison
Four Corners Unit WBCCI #8654, Affiliate NM Unit
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:48 PM   #32
"Tinbad ... the Trailer"
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1971 25' Tradewind
1965 26' Overlander
Ferndale , Washington
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 312
This reminds me of two ship yard periods involving hundreds of thousands of dollars each....separated by 2 years. I was the Captain of the ship.
The first was in Barcelona and they did a very poor job and actually caused damage to several areas.
The second was back at the original ship yard in Germany.....They took pride in their work and were perfectionists. Though their hourly wage was twice that of Spain; I felt I got what I paid for.
That said, when I bought my AS I took it directly to Fife RV where an ex-airstream tech. re-sealed every seem with a nice even bead of caulk.....cost $150 bucks. But I think he left two chafe points on the skin from the ladder which I did'ent notice till later so I can't be sure it was him. I'm sure AS dealer/factory would never do that!!
Everything else I've done my self.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:16 PM   #33

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 10,802
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"I'm sure AS dealer/factory would never do that!!"


They find it hard to put together a trailer thats water tight...

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:24 PM   #34
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2002 19' Bambi
Northwestern Ontario , - on the backside of the map and just above the big green spot
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For the most part this thread is a good illustration of the widely different reputations between the factory and by the service centre ..... wouldn't it be great if the factory earned the same level of respect that the service centre enjoys ......

Bambi - 2002 (The Toaster)
Pathfinder - 2009 (The Buggy)

"I'm not young enough to know everything ....."
(Oscar Wilde)
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:36 PM   #35

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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Thumbs up


It sure would be nice if both sides were equal...

I think they start you on the build side so you'll gain the experience needed to repair on the service side.....

Think of it as reverse QC.

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:56 PM   #36
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
Spokane , Washington
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I continue to be amazed (shocked) at bids for repairs. My wife points out that I am an old stick in the mud remembering the good old days when gas was 50 cents a gallon. Much of that is true.

When I looked at your bid I thought of three things. The cost of the parts/supplies, the time estimate and then the cost per hour charged. Our local dealer charges $90 an hour for labor but I am thinking that that has gone up since I was last in. I didn't see any obvious signs of price gouging with the parts and some of the times required made sense to me. Replacing the $4.50 rubber thingy for your awning was going to take 15 minutes. OK, if it were right there in your hand and you were standing in front of the awning, a minute would be plenty. But, they have to get the part, they have to take it to the trailer, install it and then record that they did it. 15 minutes isn't out of line.

They also quoted 4 hours to completely wash and wax the trailer. I don't think I could do mine in 4 hours. As someone pointed out, choose to do all the maintenance yourself if you are comfortable and then have the pros do the other stuff. I would never pay $400 for a wash and wax job because I can do that. I do pay to have my wheel bearings done and brakes checked since I don't feel comfortable doing this.

It is a lot of money but I don't feel as though you are being taken advantage of. I have started the process of resealing the roof and windows. It is not easy but I can do it.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:47 PM   #37
1972 Travelux Princess 25
Cobourg , Ontario
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Remember this is an estimate. If it takes less time they should bring the job in below estimate. This will be the case with the rubber thingy, if they bring it in a box with the other parts it will not take 15 minutes. On the other hand, some of the jobs may not be as easy as they look. Sometimes once you start taking things apart you find wear or damage that was not visible before.

I think if it was my trailer, and I could afford it, I would let them do the work as estimated and see what happens. Otherwise, skip some of easier or less necessary jobs like washing and fitting the rubber thingy and do those myself at home.

From other replies it seems the $109 per hour labor, and the quality of the work they do is not in question. Having worked in the auto repair field I must agree that it is not out of line for a top notch facility. But I would expect them to bring the job in at or below the estimate unless they find something really bad that was not visible when they did the estimate.

To estimate on the high side, and bring the job in below the estimate, is a sign of an honest, high quality shop. To estimate low and hit the customer with a big bill later, is a sign of an incompetent, or slightly shady operation.
Living in the trailer park of sense, looking out the window at a tornado of stupidity.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:06 PM   #38
2014 23' Flying Cloud
Beavercreek , Ohio
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 22
I'm continuing to get great feedback from lots of you, and I very much appreciate it!
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:40 PM   #39
Birdie Momma
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1957 26' Overlander
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Vintage Kin Owner
Rutherford Co. , North Carolina
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 901
i would also like to note... as someone who is a small business owner... and used to write lots of estimates. When i would take small jobs to repair someone else's work, it would take at least an hour or 2 just to investigate the issue, get the details write the estimate and deliver. if i wrote 5 estimates per week, that's 10 hours unpaid. so yea, i'd charge 15 minutes for something that took 5 or 10; i had to make up that time somewhere.

(now i don't do this sort of thing anymore).

but for JC to investigate all this, look up parts and prices, typing it up... at least 2 or 3 hours free.
'57 Overlander | '56 Flying Cloud | '51 Spartanette
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:50 PM   #40
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1992 29' Excella
Van By The River , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,305
We've had service work done several times at JC. In some cases we had written estimates, in some cases just verbal estimates. In both situations there were items I decided to do myself. However, any issues that may have required special tools, or if there was an issue that would have required a helper (or two) I let them do the work. If it's straightforward, hardware store type items I found it's not practical (i.e. too expensive) to have JC do the work.

I was amazed during our recent visit to JC... the guy ahead of me in the service line actually wanted the service crew to replace light bulbs in his clearance lights and turn lights. I realize everyone doesn't have the same skill level but having JC replace light bulbs added up $ quickly. For most owners I think bulbs would be a DIY situation.
Lucius and Danielle
1992 29' Excella Classic
1996 GMC Suburban C2500 7.4L
2005 Chevrolet Suburban K2500 8.1L
Got a cooped-up feeling, gotta get out of town, got those Airstream campin' blues...
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:15 PM   #41
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I would gladly pay an inflated price for service if I could drive away knowing it was done with skill, care and craftmanship. I've gone to Airstream dealers for repairs that were done so poorly I had to believe they had no concern as to what kind of reputation they would earn. I found this thread while looking for qualtiy AS service. I live in Washington state. It would be out of the question to bring my AS to the factory. I say, if you live close enough to this factory, don't be a fool, bring your AS there for service you can be happy with. Suck it up and pay for a job done right.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:38 PM   #42
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,526
We had our Airstream body repaired at Jackson Center and we were quite satisfied with the overall experience. Their free "terra port" overnight parking was very nice. The folks in the waiting room were very accomodating, even letting our noisy beagle dog come in with us. The afternoon factory tours are great. And the antique trailers in the front lot were very interesting to see. We saw Wally Byam's "gold" Airstream in the back lot waiting restoration. The employees working on our trailer let me observe what they were doing, and asking us questions about this and that. And the techs pull and park your rig back in the terra port for the night if possible. The price we paid was what they estimated and I agreed to.

I think of Jackson Center as experts in aluminum "body" work. I saw some badly mangled trailers waiting there, and I am sure they will be repaired with a high level of skill. Most systems inside our Airstreams are just like all the other campers out there and other than the tight confines, are straight forward in their repair. But the aluminum skins take something special to make right.

I will not hesitate to travel to Jackson Center to have aluminum skins replaced if needed. I never got the feeling I was being ripped off.

Now when I go to the dentist, that is a different story!


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