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Old 09-16-2011, 06:19 AM   #1
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Jackson Center Service

Anyone have experience with service and cost for repairs at Jackson Center?

I am having problems with a leak in my black water tank, corrosion on the exterior, Dometic fridge won't light, etc.

Is it worth 500 miles to have the factory service my 2001 34' Classic?

I am pretty demanding and don't want to chance a repair locally in Birmingham AL.

Thanks
Thomas
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Old 09-16-2011, 07:31 AM   #2
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I had an additional storage door installed there. I found the service at the plant to be a bit slow, but very careful. Their rates are about what I have found at local dealers.
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Old 09-16-2011, 10:41 AM   #3
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I'm still amazed a factory would compete with it's authorized dealers by even running a service shop. Why would anyone want to be an Airstream dealer on those terms? I doubt I could run over to the General Motors assembly plant to get a new set of tires installed or a new boxside installed on my pick up.
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Old 09-16-2011, 10:56 AM   #4
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Yes it's worth a trip to the factory. Besides the skill of the technicians and all the experience they have, they also have access to parts. I think they are running a special right now and in the winter there is a special to save on service and storage then too. It's fun to tour the factory to see the manufacturing of Airstreams and the new and International units of every style, size and design rolling out. You always meet other Airstreamers in the terraport, which you can stop in and use the full hook-up sites free with a service appointment, and for a very nominal fee of ten dollars a night, anytime, including wi-fi. The visitor's lounge has comfy couches and chairs, is pet friendly and has cable tv, free coffee, latte, cappacino and hot cocoa, and computer with internet and a gift shop and store. Great people, great service, great time. Go meet your maker.

Besides the warranty work, I have had panels replaced after a mishap and other maintenance and repairs and the work was excellent. They can take them apart and put them right back together...amazing. I have always gone to the factory for work. They aim to please and it shows. They are friendly and very helpful. It's nearly a yearly pilgrimage for me especially if I am passing by. I live about 5 hours away. Sometimes you are even lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some special projects, as I saw the vinatge Bambi being readied for the Museum of Modern Art Exhibit, Jessie James' (Sandra Bullock's ex) Airstream motorcycle and many other Airstreams you might not otherwise have the opportunity to see such as Wally's gold anodized Airstream and the others of the Airstream museum, like Old Grandad, from the 1930's I believe.
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Old 09-16-2011, 11:04 AM   #5
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Ditto

Quote:
Originally Posted by wheel interested View Post
Yes it's worth a trip to the factory. Besides the skill of the technicians and all the experience they have, they also have access to parts. I think they are running a special right now and in the winter there is a special to save on service and storage then too. It's fun to tour the factory to see the manufacturing of Airstreams and the new and International units of every style, size and design rolling out. You always meet other Airstreamers in the terraport, which you can stop in and use the full hook-up sites free with a service appointment, and for a very nominal fee of ten dollars a night, anytime, including wi-fi. The visitor's lounge has comfy couches and chairs, is pet friendly and has cable tv, free coffee, latte, cappacino and hot cocoa, and computer with internet and a gift shop and store. Great people, great service, great time. Go meet your maker.
Agree completely. And you can interface with the mechanic at your coach while it is being worked on, "slipping the scope" of work if need be because they understand it is your home and a very personal experience to you.
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Old 09-16-2011, 11:10 AM   #6
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We had to detour to Jackson Centre last winter when we damaged our trailer cornering a hard and icy snowbank on our way out of Ontario.

We damaged the front stoneshield, stabilizer, two of the lower painted panels, steps, and squished the gas lines.

We arrived late on Sunday night without any prior arrangement, slept at their adjacent campsite - luckily the electricity was on as we couldn't use our gas, but had a small 1500 watt heater. Not surprisingly since it was Feb., we were the only campers

First thing Monday, when staff arrived at about 0700hrs we spoke to them right away and by 0730 they were towing our trailer into the shop.

Very happy with the treatment we got and felt much better taking it to them than anywhere else - probably including an Airstream dealer, although I have no doubt many are great.

They had all the parts on hand, did a great job, and rates while not cheap were typical I believe.

We wound up buying a new set of tires while we were there - something we had planned to do when we arrived in Tucson anyway.

I would certainly drive 500 miles to have my work done there unless it was a very minor repair, in which case I would likely do it myself anyway.

If in summer, I would make a camping trip out of it. If in Winter, I would try to schedule the visit to coincide with our annual snowbird trip.

AS staff were friendly and helpful and it was fun meeting other AS owners in the lounge and swapping tales!

We were there two days - AS would have pulled the trailer back out so we could sleep in it if we wanted, but we opted for a hotel in a nearby town about 15 minutes South of JC.

Brian
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:42 PM   #7
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Just had my old Armstrong AC replaced with a new dometic penguin there.

They were cheaper / hr and faster than Camping world quoted me.

Very nice job I think they had to add 65 rivits and it looks good.
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Old 09-16-2011, 01:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitrock View Post
I'm still amazed a factory would compete with it's authorized dealers by even running a service shop. Why would anyone want to be an Airstream dealer on those terms? I doubt I could run over to the General Motors assembly plant to get a new set of tires installed or a new boxside installed on my pick up.
The Airstream factory's (back then) and the one now, in Ohio, are for the owners benefits.

There are dealers that "DO NOT" do major service or sheet metal replacements. Therefore the factory, is there, to help Airstream owners.

We, for one, could never, ever, accuse the factory of competing with us.

They are a blessing, in the shadows, if you wish, to make "SUPER SURE" that owners coaches can be properly taken care of, whenever need be.

Their service department, in part, is what Airstream is all about, and has been, without exception, during my short 46 plus years working with the factory.

Have they made mistakes? Sure have, as they still have human employees, just like us.

Andy
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:36 PM   #9
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Interesting comments, Thanks Andy.

I wonder how servicing dealers enjoy the non-competition element of the factory service program. Apparently Camping World does some service. I wonder how they like the factory service.
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Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:44 PM   #10
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Camping World services many makes of trailers. They have many outlets across the USA. I think that their marketing strategy is to offer the widest number of trailerites (fairly) local service.

JC only does AS and Argosy, and is not interested in other brands. If that suddenly changed and they began opening shops all over the place, I'm guessing that CW might then be tempted to reconsider their AS franchise...
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Old 09-16-2011, 03:11 PM   #11
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Sounds like everybody's happy:-)
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Old 09-16-2011, 03:15 PM   #12
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I recently purchased a 75 Argosy about an hour away from JC so I had the PO tow it to the service center for a complete inspection.

If I had them do everything they found I was looking at a bill 3x what I paid for purchase (avg for a 75 Argosy) and would still have a interior renovation on my hands and without any major systemsreplaced being replaced.

I haven't done an industry comparison but I thought the $104 per hour labor rate was on the high side. As a newbie I could also not calibrate the quote for the estimated hours for each job item. The final invoice did not vary from the estimated hours. When I walked through the shop I didn't see any indication of how job time gets recorded in the shop. You can draw your own conclusions.

I also found their prices on parts to be higher than what's available elsewhere. I've seen this in other posts here as well.

As I did, you simply need to trade off the value of your own time to perform the same repairs. My advice is : be selective in what you have them perform. I kept mine to those items needed to safely tow and make minimally camp ready that I otherwise wouldn't have time to do or learn to do myself.

Depending on where you live there are several airstream focused shops who might gladly do the same work at the same quality and for a more reasonable price. Some are active commercial participants on the forum and I hope to give them my business in the future.
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Old 09-16-2011, 03:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Interesting comments, Thanks Andy.

I wonder how servicing dealers enjoy the non-competition element of the factory service program. Apparently Camping World does some service. I wonder how they like the factory service.
The Airstream factory, does the same kind of work, that some dealers do.

But, the factory charges more for labor, and basically uses a "flat rate" system, that they said "CAN"T BE DONE" in 1970, until I proved to them "that it can be done", when I wrote the crash book for their old insurance division, Caravanner Insurance.

That's when they also came out with a flat rate manual for warranty repairs.

Finally, I am not of the high regard opinion of Camping Worlds repair centers, as it seem their mechanics, generally speaking, work on basics, period. When it gets to the real nitty gritty, they usually call a dealer to ask "how do you fix that" ?

We for one, can attest to the fact that Airstreams service center, works with a reasonably dealer, at least 110 percent, even on a bad day.

That is a very far cry, from most other RV manufacturers.

Andy
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In

The Airstream factory's (back then) and the one now, in Ohio, are for the owners benefits.

There are dealers that "DO NOT" do major service or sheet metal replacements. Therefore the factory, is there, to help Airstream owners.

We, for one, could never, ever, accuse the factory of competing with us.

They are a blessing, in the shadows, if you wish, to make "SUPER SURE" that owners coaches can be properly taken care of, whenever need be.

Their service department, in part, is what Airstream is all about, and has been, without exception, during my short 46 plus years working with the factory.

Have they made mistakes? Sure have, as they still have human employees, just like us.

Andy
I am happy to learn that they are only a couple of hours drive from me. I hope to stop by and tour the place on our way down this fall.
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