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Old 06-25-2008, 07:28 AM   #1
me4us's Avatar
2007 27' Classic FB
Bath , Maine
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 16
Airstream, is it a dream?

My wife and I have looking to purchase a 25 Safari SE either new or up to a few years old and in very good condition. I have spent a great deal of time on this site reviewing hundreds of postings complaining of poor quality, problems with construction and quality control issues. After all this information, I have begun to doubt the purchase itself. I thought that Airstream was top of the line and a great product. It is hard to understand the simple issues they seem to have failed to address.

How can a company with such a history allow this to happen and once it's aware allow it to continue? What if anything is Airstream doing to address these issues and customer complaints?

Should I go forward and if so, how do I insure that I don't get to spend our travel time in one repair problem after another?

The dealers seem to be a good group, but you can only do so much to fix the issues caused by poor quality production. Are these really issues or just a few perfectionists? Keep in mind that getting things fixed isn't the only issue. The lost time and cost to travel to a dealer are major time and cost factors.

Any suggestions? New or used? Airstream or something else? If something else what?

We really want to travel and have finally retired and are ready to go. I just don't look forward to an endless stream of problems to take the enjoyment out of our trips. We are planning to spend 100-150 nights on the road a year and having our new "home away from home" function properly is VERY important to us as if should be to all buyers.

This is a major part of our plans and we are trying to make the right selection. I don't want to sound over the top, but after reading hundreds of complaints concerns exist.

Any suggestions or help will be appreciated.


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Old 06-25-2008, 07:57 AM   #2
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2008 16' Bambi
Calhan , Colorado
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Yes there are a few complaints even I have a couple on my brand new DWR 16' . I know for a fact that every other dealer out there has problems and some being quite more serious{axles coming loose ect} . Most of these problems discussed were visually apparent to begin with, so my point would be to look over your new potential purchase very carefully and if it didn't look quite right move on to the next one. Also the reputation of any given dealer would have allot of pull on my decision to purchase. All I am getting at is quality it seems in all industries have fallen in my perspective.
So what ever choice you make won't be 100% trouble free, unless your pretty laid back and tolerant individual, Good Luck I still think Airstreams are a wonderful product , a little over priced but most dealers will work with you as the the word is out the business is down about 30-40% this year, CC Just my newbie opinion.

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Old 06-25-2008, 08:12 AM   #3
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2007 25' Safari FB SE
Suburbia , Sunny So Cal
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I think the majority of us have had no problems.

If a correct trailer were that rare I imagne you'd see posts like. 'my Airstream is fine. I guess I got lucky."
I'd rather be boon docking in the desert.

AIR# 13896
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Old 06-25-2008, 08:17 AM   #4
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2001 25' Safari
London , Ontario
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I understand your concerns, but keep in mind that much of the extra cost of an Airstream has less to do with quality as it does with the unique and expensive manufacturing process and materials. The reality is that there are other brands with just as high, and perhaps even higher, quality that can be purchased for 1/2 the cost. To me, Airstreams really only interest those who value their uniqueness in design and are willing to pay the price.

The one area that really does need addressing is the filiform corrosion issue. In this day and age it's surprising to me that this has not been solved.

That being said, we bought a used 2001 Safari that is virtually blemish free, and has no signs of aluminum corrosion other than on the hardware. Although we sacrificed getting the latest and greatest design (FB units), we saved a lot of money buying used and have never regretted our purchase.

Gary & Debbie
2001 Safari 25 SS
2011 Chevy Traverse 3.6L AWD Hensley DirecLink McKesh
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Old 06-25-2008, 08:17 AM   #5
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2007 25' Safari FB SE
Lady Lake , Florida
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 355
We have had three different Airstreams in two years. The first was a 1999, the last two 2007s. All were/are of excellent quality.

The small problems (door not closing properly, light cover in bath falling down, and gas oven not lighting) we possibly could have fixed ourselves, but returned to JC and were all quickly fixed. We could have had the repairs done locally, but we kind of like to go to JC, plus have family in the area.

We like how an AS "feels". It is much more solid that an SOB. We like how it tows, how it is insulated, planned. We just like our AS and think there is nothing better to buy, otherwise we would have that brand.

We towed an AS over 20,000 miles last year, and other than an ac problem due to low voltage, (due to campgrounds, NOT AS) we had no problems.
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Old 06-25-2008, 08:19 AM   #6
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1989 25' Excella
By The Bay , Rhode Island
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I have had very few issues with my brand new 1989 and would not hesitate to take it fact we do.
Yes, we replaced a fridge last year (only 18 yrs old...and not a product of AirStream).
Are there a few with issues? Yes, like any manufactured product, they are susceptible to variations in quality. But the foundation is solid (aluminum construction, good axles, good engineering/design).
My personal opinion; the best years (good value, quality), if you want all the modern amenities (A/C, cable hookup, etc) are mid 80's until mid 90's.
Again, that is just my opinion.
If I were you, start with the classifieds here, talk to the Folks, and see what issues they have straightened out already and if there are any current issues that need to be addressed...MOST Folks are pretty honest.
Second option; buy new, run the heck out of it before you go full time, and plan on getting any issues fixed (under warranty) before you full...

We have had SOB's. There is no comparison. They fall apart after 7-8 yrs. Our AS is 20 yrs old. I am shooting for another 30....then we'll give it to our Son.
Go for it. The sense of community and support you get from all the great Folks here is worth the price of admission. You can take off to anywhere in the country (or world) and know there is someone who will come help you if you really need it...I really can't stress that enough. Many Folks have helped us and I try to repay that whenever I get the chance.
That is the "dream".

*Life is Good-Camping all around the Continent*
*Good people drink good beer-Hunter S Thompson*
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:02 AM   #7
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I agree with Bill. The best value is going to be in a late 80's to late 90's Airstream. You can buy a near Mint mid to late 90's 25' Classic for less than $20,000.00. and save yourself a lot of headaches and money. I had a 94 before my new Airstream and That being said I'm very happy with my 2007 25' Classic but if I had it to do over again...............?
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:08 AM   #8
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Tipton , Iowa
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Wally is undoubtedly spinning in his grave over the quality issues.

Even the '80s and '90s vintage coaches have their share of problems; clearcoat peeling and headliner failures.

You have to decide whether silver is important enough to you to deal with the problems. I recognize that all RVs have their unique issues, but for me the cost/benefit ratio wasn't there any longer. I still love Airstreams, but after twenty years of Airstream ownership, we have moved on.

AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:37 AM   #9
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2007 25' International CCD
Sugar Grove , Ohio
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Posts: 346
My wife and I (newbies as of 2/29/08) looked at MANY trailers and couldn't find any quality of joinery work. Cabinetry to begin with was poorly put together (glue and staples) in many and we just knew they wouldn't last. Some were screwed and glued but the quality of work wasn't there. We finally started looking at AS - on the floor, at rallys and any other place they gathered. We were convinced that AS was the way to go. (Remember, some folks will complain and gripe with very little cause and some have had problems). We decided we would purchase new because of the 24 month guarantee. We liked the comfort of knowing the company (AS) and the sales company would be there for us. To date, having visited four of Ohio's State Parks and having spent over a dozen nights out and travelled close to 500 miles this spring, we've had ZERO problems. It has been a dream - everything we had hoped it would be. Do is so much better than we had hoped it would be.
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:52 AM   #10
me4us's Avatar
2007 27' Classic FB
Bath , Maine
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 16
Thanks for all your help. It seems that if we keep focused on the trip and not the little issues with the trailer, we will get traveling. Yes, we looked at many other trailers and yes they weren't up to the AS level. I guess I just want the best and to have a good time out on the road. This is a major investment and I'm trying to get a good value for our dollars.

Hope to see you all out there soon.
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:53 AM   #11
Tom, the Uber Disney Fan
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2006 30' Safari
Orlando , Florida
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,693
Images: 7
Well, I'm almost the poster that can say our Airstream is fine. We had about 4-5 very small issues to deal with: tank monitor calibration, counter top edge coming un-glued, corner reflector fell off (double sided tape), small leak from shower door (caulk related), and one other small item that I don't recall. Now, I feel blessed that we had such a good experience with our Airstream. The items were few and minor.

Some have complained about big issues (at least in my mind) but it seems those were mostly during the International CCD first few years and seem to have disappeared. But my understanding is that the International CCD was so popular that the factory staff had to be increased (new employee learning curve) and the uniqueness of the CCD (new product line with different installation procedures) made for a long learning curve and some of that spilled over on the other two lines. But I think those issues have taken care of themselves for the most part. That isn't to say there are no issues, just that from what I have read the issues are much smaller and less severe.

There is a thread on the 2008 model quality that you should read. You might also read the one on the 2007's. Just remember, not every complaint on those threads came from '07 or '08 model owners but were owners with complaints from other years that were sharing their experience.

Would I buy another Airstream...yes I definitely would. Just do a good pre-purchase walk through and look at all of the aesthetic items closely. Look close at fit-n-finish, too. Remember, this is, for the most part, a hand assembled/hand built product so they will have some irregularities that you wouldn't find in a traditional assembly line product.
2006 30' Safari - "Changes in Latitudes"
2008 F-250 Lariat Power Stroke Diesel Crew Cab SWB
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:58 AM   #12
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2005 25' Safari
Trabuco Canyon , California
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I bought an 05 Safari new off the dealer's lot. Most of the problems were minor and were in the appliances common to all RVs. The quality lapses in the trailer's construction are mostly cosmetic. The plumbing looks very nice, the electrical wiring less so. I think the trailer is aging very well-even with minor filiform corrosion its appearance is much better than similar aged standard RVs with their cracking decals and chalky exterior surfaces.

At any rate after the first year or so my trailer has been very reliable and has not needed a lot of repair. I do see areas which will need to be addressed such as the UV damage to the skylight. Any RV will need maintenance at a higher rate than a stick house (and definitely more than a modern car). It is a very good idea to keep tools and minor repair supplies in any RV.

If minimal maintenance is the number one concern, possibly a unit like a Bigfoot (all fiberglass construction) may be a better bet. It also may be a better bet for those frequently in sea air or other corrosive environments.
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Old 06-25-2008, 11:18 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by me4us View Post
...Any suggestions? New or used? Airstream or something else? If something else what?...
asked and answered....

Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
hi me'

good questions...

i agree with cosmotini and this may not be the thread for answers to alot of tangentially related questions....

since it mostly is just the REPORTS of issues from a given model year.

the many other sides of "is it worth it', or 'compared to other brands' and so on, are covered elsewhere...

and there are other threads that deal with 'should i buy' 'new vs old' 'why a/s' or 'a/s vs other brands'...

and the philosophical side of rv, a/s and general build and Q issues...

so look around a bit for more reading material...

here are a few threads to chew, with links to even more...

then there is the issue of buying new vs old to avoid issues...

MOST importantly is HOW A/S handles or DOESN'T HANDLE build errors and poorly assembled units...

their behavior is sometimes totally unacceptable...

also don't miss the threads on corrosion or safety in newer units...

so ready 'em and weep


Originally Posted by me4us View Post
... really want to travel and have finally retired and are ready to go.
I just don't look forward to an endless stream of problems to take the enjoyment out of our trips....
NOW THIS is an entirely different issue....

u may not be cut out for rv travel and need to explore this issue more.

camping 150+ nights a year, there WILL be issues.

regardless of the space capsule.

rv'n folks, especially those that travel a LOT can't avoid issues.

MUCH of what defines a happy rv traveler is the ability to adapt and improvise when issues DO happen.

almost every day brings something, and the ability to embrace these unknowns, fix a few things on the fly...

and make changes to the rv for personal needs, helps to define an RV type person...

weather, roadway issues, flat tires, mechanical events, odd camp sites or odd camp hosts, connectivity issues, and so on...

in fact, the fit/finish isssues INSIDE the trailer are the least important of this long list (except rain leaks)

'streams travel/tow well and generally don't shake apart for a few decades....

BUT if you think the selection of ANY brand will dam the "endless stream of problems" u r mistaken....

in fact on some trips the "enjoyment" comes FROM fixing things!

so u might wanna FORGET about brands and fit/finish for awhile and explore the GREATER ISSUE...

r u cut out 4 rv'n?

rent a generic moho, go camping and DEAL with stuff....

if ya don't like it, save the 'stream money for other hobbies.

otoh IF u do like it, stop reading the forums and GO LOOK INSIDE 'streams...

new, old, used and so on to get a REAL FEEL for the product and issues...

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 06-25-2008, 12:27 PM   #14
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Yakima , Washington
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Posts: 381
me4us; I too am in your position, looking at retirement and dreaming of an Airstream. I have spent almost three years in this forum seeking wisdom of Airstream ownership. I have also had an uncle who owned an AS. I have talked to many owners outside of this forum. He is my conclusion.

Airstream are like Harley Davidsons, you don't buy them because they are the best but for the exsperiance and uniqueness of ownership. They have that Classic American one of a kind attitude. And the people who buy Airstreams and own them for years are a bit... Different????? ( I think I might be different... but I need to ask a few more people who have opinions...HaHa)

There are many people who have very very serious complaints about their NEW Airstreams. They all do othe rv's...but AS seem to have way to many leaks. There are a few who don't seem to have many problems. But..........There are wayyyy too many problems for a coach in this price range and quality seems to be something that AS does not put first (at least in the actual construction).

They pull better than all other trailers because they have a lower and rounder profile and torsion bar suspension unique to AS.

Their cabinets fit and finish is average at best. Wireing is horrible....but so is most RV wireing. Plumbing is also an issue .. but that is true with other rv's for the most part.

I have a long time dealer friend who owns an RV dealership who Sells the Nations number one truck camper and has sold Airstreams in the past. He told me He would have an AS as his personal RV if HE was not in the Camper only business. He likes them but also told me they are not for everyone. He also told me don't exspect them to be less maintanance than other brands. Infact be prepared to spend more time on them than other RV's. He compared to them to campers He sells and told me the campers are far less likey to have issues. Far less likely to leak. And far less likely to have to return to the Dealer for repairs.

I talked with two retired couples who were previous owners of AS 30 foot Classics. They both bought identical AS at the same time to retire on....they now own Holiday Rambler motor homes. I ask why???? They flat told me they were tired of leaks...and spending so much at the dealer for repairs. They told me the Motor homes they bought after the AS were sold had fewer problems...and NOT leaks...they seemed to be real disgusted with the leaks in their AS's.

I think AS ownership is a clut like experience to some...they just have to be different. I want one...?... and I am not a joiner. I just want one. I would have one if it were not for my impending HIP surgery in two weeks. Then We shall see....if I can still afford one.

Finally....DO NOT go into Airstream ownership unless you truley love the brand. You will spend more time on it than you do careing for you house, car, and everything else you own. It a ownership of love...of the brand...and of being different.


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