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Old 06-10-2012, 09:49 AM   #183
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Welcome to the $$$$$$ club and congrats on your still to be seen UNIT.

Hope to see you at some of the many beautiful locations to park on VI.

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Originally Posted by StokerDoc View Post
This is my first post here. Just joined the forum a week or so ago.
Stephen
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Old 06-10-2012, 10:24 AM   #184
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[QUOTE=StokerDoc;1159085]This is my first post here. Just joined the forum a week or so ago.

Hi Stoker, wife and I were also career Navy (U.S.) Spent some time on HMCS Provider out of Victoria in joint forces operation in '70's.

Congratulations on your new trailer. The new Airstreams are extraordinary trailers in every way. Loose no sleep over the "grumble" threads, same people chime in with the same issues daily. Learn to inspect and care for your Airstream and it will last a lifetime, then pass it down to your kids.

Another Airstreamer started this thread, better way to spend your time

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f483...ml#post1158810

doug k
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Old 06-10-2012, 10:58 AM   #185
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Thanks for words of encouragement. The wife laughed at the anti-anxiety meds comment. She seems much more relaxed about this venture than myself. Maybe some self-medicating is happening without my knowledge.

I've read in many threads about maintenance to the trailers being the key to long lasting enjoyment. Being a Stoker in the navy, I am very familiar with maintenance. Keeping a 43 year old steam ship operational is more than a full time job. We have two types of maintenance, Preventative maintenance and Corrective maintenance, or PM & CM for short. I guess I was hoping that purchasing a new, non-government/lowest bidder, item I might be able to get away with more enjoyment/use and less maintenance. I was hoping retirement would be just that, retirement. I guess I should keep the tools handy for a bit longer. When working with large steam plants, the rule of thumb is "If it doesn't fit, get a bigger hammer!" I was hoping to leave the hammer at home, too much gas money to haul the big hammer all over Canada and the US.

I look forward to interacting with many more on this forum. Maybe even meeting up with a few in our travels. Our first trip is planned for August, a 10 000 km run to Ontario and back to visit family, and introduce the kids to RVing before they become teenagers and think it isn't cool.

Stephen
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:03 AM   #186
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Originally Posted by StokerDoc View Post
This is my first post here. Just joined the forum a week or so ago. Been reading everything from which generator(s) to get all the way to whether or not to tow with LP on to keep food cold in the fridge. Then I landed on this thread and couldn't stop reading until I got to the end, and the parallel one as well. I was up until 1:30 in the morning. It is now after 6:00 am and I'm awake again because of this thread. It is truly a nightmare that made it difficult to sleep. I realized I have a connection to this trailer. I've been in it while it was up for sale!!!

A little history. The DW and I are both active Canadian Forces (me Navy, as a stoker, her Army as a physician). We met when she was posted to my ship a few years back. That's another story. It has been a great career. The navy has allowed me to see a little bit of a lot of the world. However, there is a huge continent right here I haven't seen much of except a quick drive though to the next base. I retire this summer, DW next summer. I convinced DW it might be fun to look at RVs and see if it is something we might want to do. Next thing you know, we bought our TV, and dropped 10% on a '13 28' Serenity. Hope it arrives by end July.

So, as part of our shopping we stopped by Triangle RV. We live in Victoria on Vancouver Island. We walked though all the SOBs (took me awhile to decipher that acronym). The level of detail, the fit and finish of those units didn't give us a warm fuzzy feeling for spending large amount of time (and money). We stumbled on a Bambi sitting on the lot. We went inside and were immediately impressed with the interior. The exterior is sexy as hell, no brainer there. One of the sales associates approached us and mentioned it was a consignment sale. "The owners bought it back east, drove it out here and decided it wasn't for them." No mention that it had massive leaks or that the entire interior was replaced. I commented that the interior still smelled new. As I think back, it is odd that I didn't clue in to the fact that the owners used this trailer for at least a week, but never bothered to remove the plastic from the mattress?

So, after reading this thread and realizing that walking through trailer that Mojave just got rid of as the main reason we pursued purchasing an Airstream has me more than a little worried. We purchased ours through an authorized dealer in Langley, BC-(yes, ferry ride just for the weekend so we could sit in a 25' Flying Cloud they had on the lot then drop a deposit on an even bigger, more expensive trailer the next day after we got home). Did we just make a huge mistake/leap of faith committing to dropping over $100k on a TV and TT? We traded a pristine '09 BMW 335i against a '12 Toyota Tundra!! There's a culture shock, one minute driving a BMW, then after a short time signing papers, driving away in a truck. It really made it sink in that we are doing this. I hope that the Bambi is this thread is the very rare exception in the type of quality we can expect from Airstream. Ours is being built as we speak! I hope the employees only work on our trailer on Tuesday's, Wednesday's and Thursday's. I don't want a Monday or Friday trailer if some slight lapses in attention while assembling these things could result it the mess Paul & Lisa had to deal with. Please tell me that it will be fine, we will love our trailer and get many years of hassle free enjoyment out of it!

For a first post, I think I went bit overboard(no navy pun intended). I look forward to using this forum as a resource in the future. I do hope that Airstream still checks this forum to get the feedback they probably don't get from their dealers. Whether it is a dealer submitting a factual account on a warranty claim, or a customer "blowing things out of proportion" in a forum rant, the underling issue is there are problems with some of the trailers and solutions need to be found. I have quite a few shipmates that go RVing, and they are very jealous that we are getting an Airstream. I want to be able to tell them it is the best trailer they could buy, and not a waste of money. Bad news travels faster and farther than good news. The military community is a tight one, and that is a huge customer base that no retailer should want to alienate.

Paul & Lisa, I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. I hope you are able to continue to enjoy this beautiful island we share. If things go well, you will see a Tundra next to an Airstream sitting near your beach, please drop by. Hopefully hearing some good stories about these trailers will put a smile back on your face.

Stephen

If I'm reading the membership numbers right there are just over 57,000 members of this forum. The vast majority will be owners - and the overwhelming majority of those owners love their trailers.

But loving your trailer doesn't mean will be free of issues .....

The downfall of a thread like this is that it scratches the surface of some underlying discontent regarding expectations that have not been fully met - and that discontent gushes out - in disproportionate fashion - and scaring folks like yourself.

The upside of a thread like this is that Airstream knows that their consumer base has expectations that are not being met - that they expect more - that they are watching - and they are waiting .....

Having said all this - it is a pretty safe bet that you will be thrilled with your trailer and it will do for you exactly what you want it to do. But I think it is also a safe bet that if you are handy and prone to giving your cherished items a regular dose of hands-on TLC then you will love it even more.

I think it is also fair to say that long-time ownership of an Airstream is kinda like nurturing a good marriage ...... for the first while it is all honeymoon ..... but it is inevitable that a few challenges will make themselves apparent that will need effort to overcome ...... but once overcome then it is terrific sailing from that point on .....

(really, really bad and really, really corny analogy I know ...... but it's the best that I can come up with before Martini time ..... anyone have a better one???)

Enjoy your trailer.



Jay
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:30 AM   #187
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Spot-on.

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Old 06-10-2012, 12:02 PM   #188
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RangerJ, Youre right. I love mine. I think I like the discussion in this forum because it brings a diverse group of people together and the threads are mostly civil and I get a chance to move some of these threads in different ways. As Gene said last night this particular thread was getting to the point where a sociologist was needed.

Stoker, welcome to the forums. I've been to Victoria many, many times. We just won a raffle for a free trip on the Victoria Clipper and a night at the Empress with HIgh Tea in the afternoon. Not exactly my cup of tea, but Michele will enjoy it.

Not only will you get good information here, you can also be entertained (especially) in gloomy winter months. by a very active group of subscribers. Sometimes the humor is juvenile, sometimes witty and sometimes very, very good. I am recently retired and last winter this was a welcome respite.

We have a 25FB Flying Cloud and we got a Tahoe to tow it with. I'm not suffering much with the Tahoe, the dashboard talks to me all the time.

To put these problems you read about in some kind of perspective I think RangerJ has the best take. There are 57,000 people on this forum. How many problems do you read about? Not 57,000. Sure people have problems and this is a good vehicle to air them. I'm sure Bob Wheeler has a minion who reads these threads regularly. Oh-Oh there goes my paycheck.

If you really look, lots of threads are informational and the information is sometimes based on opinion, sometimes on being stubborn, sometimes as a result of being defensive and with guys like REDNAX sometimes the result of honest and accurate testing. InlandAndy is generous with his time as is Andy Thompson from CanAm RV. Bob Cross always knows about the good products. If I need some technical info that I can't figure out I glean all of this information and usually get an answer. I'm to new to offer much technical advice so I usually just annoy people by challenging their opinions.

I have made friends on here that I will eventually go out of my way to really meet. For me this is the heart of the forum, the community that has been established and thrives in these pages is a real unexpected part of owning an Airstream.

Hope to see you on the road.

Dan
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:21 PM   #189
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Stoker, always have a hammer, but just an ordinary sized one. When cars and trucks break, most of the time it is at or near home and it is easier to deal with. When an RV breaks, it is inevitable you will either be getting ready to travel, traveling, settled in some place far from home, or coming home. This can be a major problem. For ex., the water pump may go out prematurely and you will not necessarily find one for a while. Or, turn on the fridge the day before you leave and nothing happens.

Problems with RV's are by the nature of the item harder to deal with (Mojave's leaking problems happened on their first trip). This leads to frustration. We'll never forget a trip to JC for warranty work where every day one or two things failed. My wife, whose idea the Airstream was, was about ready to sell it; for her it would have been like divorcing a loved one. We started to wonder when the wheels would fall off. The fact of things breaking on the road leads to a good set of tools, spare stuff and reading all the manuals and searching the Forum for answers.

There's a lot of "conventional wisdom" floating around. "Complainers do most of the posts" is unproven*. Some people post more than once because new threads with the same questions require the same answers. But some of the same people post repeatedly their trailers have no problems or very few. Maybe this balances out. One has started a thread (link is above) that may seem dedicated to denial. No one knows reality—how many really bad Airstreams there are, really good ones, or what. It would be better to deal with the things that have happened than criticizing people for posting whatever they post.

There is a website ( RV Rating - Customer Survey of RV Makes and Models ) that does RV ratings—people vote on things about their RV's. It was not a terribly large sample, but it is the only one came anywhere near close to rating RV's. and is free. Airstreams were in the middle. Thor products were in the middle or worse. If you look at all the ratings for RV's, people rate their RV's pretty high on reliability, so this may indicate people are used to low RV QC standards. A 4 star rating is about average. Airstream owners rate quality as 4 stars (out of 5), but overall value (quality in relation to price) at 3, manufacturer support 3, dealer support 3.5, maintenance costs 3.5. Road performance, interior and exterior design each get 4.5. The stars ratings seem elevated for all RV's; everyone can't be above average. They give Airstream a score of 61.8 and that seems pretty average.

Very few people rate on this website. I think in the past 2 or 3 years only 25 or 30 people have added Airstream ratings compared to what was there before. But on this website and on the Forum a recurring theme is that for the price and the advertising that this is a premium trailer, you don't get what you pay for—"overall value (quality in relation to price) at 3". People wanted to be treated fairly and if we buy an average product at an average price, we don't expect more. But paying for a premium product that is average goes against the grain.

Gene

*Trip Advisor is a very popular review site for lodging and other travel experiences. When they started the website they expected a lot of negative reviews, but it didn't work out that way. Instead the bias is toward the positive side and, like the RV ratings website I linked to, ratings tend to average above average. The "wisdom" that complainers dominate websites may be wrong and in fact, pollyannas may dominate.
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:33 PM   #190
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Stoker, you'll do fine as long as you enjoy doing the upkeep. There's a lot of good that goes with this. The Tundra is a wonderful tow vehicle and you won't need a moisture meter to prevent floor rot in it.

I vented here, even though I enjoy the upkeep, I think the level of it is needlessly high. This is RV industry wide. I love the trailer overall, and have kept it 8 years, far longer than most of the stuff I buy (short attention span lol). I travel with it, tinker with it (just added solar panels), and visit it in the storage lot. She's my beautiful baby, but she sure is a needy child.
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:45 PM   #191
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Did we just make a huge mistake/leap of faith committing to dropping over $100k on a TV and TT? We traded a pristine '09 BMW 335i against a '12 Toyota Tundra!!

Stephen
Welcome to the small, but growing, number of BC Airstreamers!

No, I don't think you made a huge mistake... your trailer is/will be a work of art that should give you lots of enjoyment, and that's a great rig for a tow vehicle.

As you've see though... sometimes things go wrong... Your tolerance for these things is going to depend on how much time you have to spend dealing with them and what you are capable of fixing yourself. You've got warranty to help you along, though the boat ride to Langley for warranty work is going to be pricy with <> 60 feet of truck/trailer...

There are two frustrations being vented here (maybe more)... one is that Airstream hasn't made any significant improvements in construction methods and materials... I think that is a valid point, but also a bit misleading... Having an indestructible floor is great, but the problem is dealing with leaks. My neighbour has been watching me fix my trailer the last while, and commented "Why don't you just fill it right up and use it as an aquarium".

The other is that once problems arise, finding a good RV repair tech, Airstream or otherwise, is hit and miss. At least you are near a ton of RV shops, sort of near the AS shop, and if worse comes to worse you've got a number of dealers down the west coast.

My frustration has been making an 8 hour trip (4 times) to an AS dealer, only to come home with a leak in a panel they replaced (no leaks before). Then... the double-wall construction of the AS makes locating leaks difficult... Water can travel a long way along the inner walls before popping out - usually at the bottom of the wall which is where all the bad news happens in Airstream water leaks.

You may never have any of these problems, and I'm sure there are lots of Airstreamers that go many years without worrying about these things. Living on the Wet Coast though, you will be right in the middle of the biggest leak-test facility in the world.

I guess you just need to go into the life of an RV owner knowing that sometimes they are going to be a huge pain-in-the-ass. All you can do is make as much use of it as you can, create happy memories with it, and try balance it out with good times.
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:49 PM   #192
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Comparing Airsteam quality-control issues with school buses, boats, or those proverbial planes, trains and automobiles is a moot point; the big reason being a faulty trailer does not kill anyone (aside from the spirit, perhaps).

Does anyone here watch Mayday or Air Crash Investigation? The litany of airplanes/airliners with intial design/structural flaws or subsequent maintenance screw-ups is staggering. To quote my flying friend, "All you need is one crash to make that airplane the safest in the world." He flies one of them - the Boeing-737 which is now considered one of the most-reliable workhourses in the airlines (after killing a few hundred people and scaring the beejeezus out of a few hundred more because of a badly-designed rudder).

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Old 06-10-2012, 01:02 PM   #193
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Gene, I agree on price/quality expectations. I think the quality is a given and the only way to adress problems is through better or extended warranty service. Training may be an issue though.

My AC/HP failed within two months. I'ts hard for me to be critical of AS for this failure since they replaced it quickly and at no cost. I agree about the hammer.

The economic end of this equasion is, like Rolex(no comparison in quality) AS sells every coach they make. Rolex for it's entire history has sold every watch they make so they have no incentive to change. They up prices on an average of about 10% a year. When I turned 60 my FIL gave me a beautiful blue dial Submariner. It gains about five minutes a month. I love it, but as a time piece it's not very reliable. What is it about human nature that we make these impractical choices. I dunno. Vanity? My wife was also the driving force behind the AS purchase and I have to admit the cachet is appealing. Do I feel superior and smug when I pass a Square Box on the road?...... Of course, as much as I hate to admit that about myself I do. We all have values and are driven by whatever these values dictate. If this thing turns out to be a PITA I can always blame my wife and move on. I'm starting to become attatched to it though so I hope we have a good experience.

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Old 06-10-2012, 01:14 PM   #194
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"It is now after 6:00 am and I'm awake again because of this thread."

StokerDoc, don't worry. You live in Victoria. It's relatively dry there.

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Old 06-10-2012, 01:42 PM   #195
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I admit, I was sitting here for quite awhile trying to compose this post. My first post where I discuss seeing Mojave's trailer at Triangle RV and the fact we just ordered one, made me feel like I could contribute to the thread. I didn't realize that I would derail the thread away from the OP's decision to leave the Airstream family. I sort of feel bad that the discussion is now more focused on trying to make me feel better rather than Paul & Lisa, the one's out $20 000 due to multiple factors. I greatly appreciate the comments by Gene, Dan, FaN and the others, I have a feeling I too will enjoy the tinkering with the trailer and the upkeep required to keep the Serenity in top shape. The DW and I discussed the fact that any warranty issues means a weekend trip to the mainland at about $400-450+ gas every time. This was factored into our decision. The in-laws are nearby, so an aluminum (not polished) lining in that cloud.

Yes, it can be quite wet here in Victoria, Vancouver Island as a whole over the winter months, but as I have told many who complain about the weather, "You don't have to shovel rain!"

Again, it is sad that Lisa & Paul didn't get the Airstream experience they hoped for. I hope we do, all 57 000 of us!

Stephen
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Old 06-10-2012, 02:05 PM   #196
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Don't feel bad Stoker. This thread was derailed long ago. Most are.

Dan
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