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Old 06-11-2012, 09:37 AM   #211
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Unfortunately, almost anything built after 2000 is poor quality. That is why I have purchased an older model and am upgrading and rebuilding it myself. With a whole lot of help from this wonderful forum and the people who participate. Good luck in your future purchase.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:55 AM   #212
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Unfortunately, almost anything built after 2000 is poor quality. That is why I have purchased an older model and am upgrading and rebuilding it myself. With a whole lot of help from this wonderful forum and the people who participate. Good luck in your future purchase.
Weli Susan, as we are holding AS to the fire in this thread. Now it's your turn.
Where do you get your information? Can you substantiate those statements with facts? If thats your opinion thats OK. I think some good innovation has come about sinse 2000.How did you pick 2000 as a year that poor quality started? Can you back this statement up statistically? Have you done any surveys? I'm mostly just kidding here, just curious if you had a bad experience with a newer trailer and are basing this statement on that.

Dan
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:01 AM   #213
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Dan, Wheeler may do better in one on one discussions than on a Forum. I agree he seemed defensive on the Forum, but the urge when you feel attacked is to explain yourself. The key to that is to actually explain yourself in a way people believe you. When they are disposed not to believe you before you make an entrance, it is a very hard climb.

My problem with the way Airstream handled the "town hall" thread was not their awkwardness—this is new stuff and everyone is learning how to do it—but that they gave up so fast. It was as if they were in shock and wanted to go pull the covers up over their heads so it would go away. When I talked to him, before the town hall debacle, I encouraged him to engage on the Forum, so if he remembers me at all, it is probably with suspicion, at the least.

I hope we get back to Vancouver Is. someday. The ferry is too expensive and that makes us hesitant. But we would certainly go back to Tofino and maybe we would find Paul and Lisa.

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Old 06-11-2012, 10:42 AM   #214
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Dan, Wheeler may do better in one on one discussions than on a Forum. I agree he seemed defensive on the Forum, but the urge when you feel attacked is to explain yourself. The key to that is to actually explain yourself in a way people believe you. When they are disposed not to believe you before you make an entrance, it is a very hard climb.

My problem with the way Airstream handled the "town hall" thread was not their awkwardness—this is new stuff and everyone is learning how to do it—but that they gave up so fast. It was as if they were in shock and wanted to go pull the covers up over their heads so it would go away. When I talked to him, before the town hall debacle, I encouraged him to engage on the Forum, so if he remembers me at all, it is probably with suspicion, at the least.

I hope we get back to Vancouver Is. someday. The ferry is too expensive and that makes us hesitant. But we would certainly go back to Tofino and maybe we would find Paul and Lisa.

Gene
Few daze ago I spent some refresh time back on the THT, didn't take real notice at the time, but it struck me as a little puzzling now on how abruptly it was terminated and that it was the site owner who closed the thread.
There were other very active QC threads at the time but the TH was the only one started by AS and the only one they were directly involved in.

Bob
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:53 AM   #215
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Gene, the ferry from Port Angeles to Vancouver Island is run by the BlacK Ball Ferry Co. It's a private company that used to control most of the ferry service in and around the Puget Sound until the State took it over. When my Mom and Dad were growing up small "Misquito Fleet" ferries were everywhere. It was a way of life and going into town was a big event for them.

There is still lots of extant evidence and piling structure from the various docks. About 6 houses down from me was the old Pt. Fosdick ferry and dock, whats left of it and the toll cabin are still there. Over the years the cabin has been somewhat expanded and I know the people who live there. At high tide he could probably drop a crab pot in his living room and get a pretty good catch.

The Black Ball Ferry from Port Angeles through the Strait of Juan De Fuca may be cheaper and the views are magnificent. Olympic mountains to the south and Island mountains to the north. I've never crossed from the Vancouver City side so I can't comment on that.

We won a raffle at one of my wifes fund raising events and we are going to Victoria later this month. We will take the passenger only ferry from Seattle.

If you Google Black Ball Ferry I'm sure they have published rates and the advantage of coming up the Olympic Peninsula is you can go through the park as well. Some of the most rugged unspoiled coastline is around Kalalock and Ruby Beach still takes my breath away.

Victoria is beautiful, but once you get away from the water and on some of the side streets things quickly degenerate. Lots of drugs and homeless people, so be prepared for that. Buchart Gardens a little north of town Is worth a whole day.

When I was in high school my brother, me and another friend hiked the coast from Kalalock to Moclps through reservation land. I think it was over a 100 mile trek and sometimes we had to wait out the tide because the coastline was so rugged. The Tribes used to encourage this kind of activity but lately have stopped anyone from doing it. My son tried and was told no. I think the casino money has made the land more valuable and they want to limit access.

I agree that the AS attempt to engage this Forum was awkward. I'm sure Bob Wheeler remembers you, probably not with suspicion though. Maybe contempt but not suspicion. Unless this thread takes another unexpected turn I'm about done with it. I wish Mohave would read both of the threads relating to his experience, collect his thoughts and give us a good narrative from start to finish with names, dates etc. so we could have a better idea of what happened. I know it will be only his side but he appears to be at peace with the incident and I think would be able to give us a good account. It's difficult for me to get a handle on these events when I'm going through two threads and everybody is commenting.

Paul and Lisa, can you do this please? It may be painful, but you would sure satisfy the curiosity of everybody and may help someone down the road as well.

Dan
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:55 AM   #216
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Bob, you would have loved it out here in the 60's.

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Old 06-11-2012, 10:56 AM   #217
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Bluebird --- You have to decipher these things of those of us not into texting.
I presume WWWD means "What Would Wally Do"? and I think that is a good question.

Dave
masseyfarm:

Sorry; you are correct.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:58 AM   #218
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Unfortunately, almost anything built after 2000 is poor quality. That is why I have purchased an older model and am upgrading and rebuilding it myself. With a whole lot of help from this wonderful forum and the people who participate. Good luck in your future purchase.
Since I've owned both a 1977 Argosy and a 2007 Airstream, I want to address this. There were quality control issues in my 1977 trailer, just as there are fit and finish gaffes in my 2007. (I'd like to meet the person who put in my 2007's vinyl flooring near the door - and buy them eyeglasses. Yikes.) Also, my 2007 has A LOT more things that could have been done wrong - the level of equipment is quite a bit higher.

I don't want to excuse Airstream's QC issues. And there is evidence that the early trailers were more stoutly designed, particularly in some frame details.

But there isn't really proof that someone buying a new 1966, 1976, 1986, or 1996 trailer didn't have problems too. They just didn't have the interweb.

Tom
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:12 AM   #219
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Bob, you would have loved it out here in the 60's.

Dan

I may have....I was lost.

Bob
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:13 PM   #220
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The first QC/design crisis was during the Beatrice Foods era. BF bought the companies from the Byam family and owned it through the '70's and sold it to what was or became Thor in 1980. Beatrice was a food company and why they thought Airstream was a good investment is inexplicable.

One major issue was their reduction of the frame size from 4" or 5" to 3". The addition of the black tank at the rear and building rear bath models with weak frames, made rear separation all too common (with OSB subfloors and another cheapening of frames, separation showed up again about a decade ago; lessons not learned). Cost cutting hurt Airstream and a late 70's recession resulted in big losses.

The change in ownership was what saved the company and QC improved. But the guys who bought it and created Thor Industries were investment and M&A guys, not RV guys. They created a very successful RV company as a financial entity, but were not grounded in RV's. Thor produces marginal RV's and makes big profits; Airstream is useful to give Thor a good reputation. But by cheapening the Thor "premium" brand, they undercut this business model. As American industry has changed from making quality products to a companies established for making money as investment opportunities rather than quality products, Thor has become even more profit and short term oriented.

So, the 1970's trailers were made during a bad period for the company and people who buy them should expect issues if they haven't been fixed by a previous owner. Same for the '00's and to date. Some things go back further into the '90's. Susans' statement that anything since 2000 is poor quality is something of an overstatement, but had truth in it too. She bought a vintage trailer (was it a Streamline? it is on another thread). Streamline was one of a few companies that after WW II build aluminum trailers, somewhat influenced by Airstream, but not as good on aerodynamics. But they were really good trailers, better than Airstream, and expensive. They all eventually failed—Airstream exteriors are more iconic and attractive and I think Airstreams cost less. If you want to restore a vintage trailer, looking for some of these vintage ones that were made so well, especially during the Beatrice era, is a good idea.

One fixture of this Forum from almost the beginning have been complaints about design issues, cost cutting, overpriced products, cheap items, poor workmanship and QC. Pre-internet the public would not have known about these problems. Word of mouth would have caused some marketing and sales issues and perhaps something would have showed up in RV magazines, but few really would have known about it. The Forum has made these questions available for many more potential customers. The company has been stymied by this. The marketing person at Airstream never lasts long. In the past decade, the average tenure is not much more than a year. This is one of the top jobs at Airstream and Wheeler either can't select the right person, cannot keep the person, or is an awful boss. So Mollie Hansen, you've been on this job since late last year, and better start sending out CV's now, because you'll probably be gone by Christmas.

And Tom, your two trailers were made at the low points for Airstream reliability, so I feel for you. Your latest one has had some frustrating things to fix and I know you'll figure it out and make it a near perfect trailer over time. It is time for a new floor. Advice can be found on my road trips 2012 thread (and elsewhere). Almost anything will look better than the cheap vinyl sheeting.

Gene
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:34 PM   #221
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Since I've owned both a 1977 Argosy and a 2007 Airstream, I want to address this. There were quality control issues in my 1977 trailer, just as there are fit and finish gaffes in my 2007. (I'd like to meet the person who put in my 2007's vinyl flooring near the door - and buy them eyeglasses. Yikes.) Also, my 2007 has A LOT more things that could have been done wrong - the level of equipment is quite a bit higher.

I don't want to excuse Airstream's QC issues. And there is evidence that the early trailers were more stoutly designed, particularly in some frame details.

But there isn't really proof that someone buying a new 1966, 1976, 1986, or 1996 trailer didn't have problems too. They just didn't have the interweb.

Tom
I tend to agree with that. By owning a 1968 and a 2005, I can say there are some differences in construction and materials used. I like the interior design and fit and finish of the 68 better than the 05, but I like the gadgetry of the 05. The interior of the 05 is not as unique, and is more like you'll find in an SOB. But that may have more to do with my Bambi model selection than a statement on modern AS interior design. The modern models seem considerably heavier, with my 24' Trade Wind weighing just a little more than my 19' Bambi. This is probably due to all the gadgets, (3 tanks,TV, audio/video equipment, satellite radio, solar panel, air conditioner and heavier cabinetry, etc.)

To date, neither one leaks! After 44 years of being outside in the weather, this is certainly a testament to the construction of some of the earlier Airstreams. The skin on the Bambi is holding up rather well too, but you should see the amazing amount of caulk the put on the roof. It looks like it was done by a monkey on acid.

When I bought the 68 Trade Wind, I was fortunate to find all the manuals, bill of sale, and complete service and repair records, in one of the drawers in the bedroom. The previous owner really kept meticulous repair records, which showed some minor issues with the bathroom plumbing, door lock, and furnace. There was no record, or evidence, of any leak repair in the skin. There was a minor leak in the bathroom window, but I think that had more to do with him breaking the window, replacing it with plexiglass, and then caulking it with silicone.

Overall, I believe there was more pride in workmanship, and better materials and components in the older trailers. But, I love them both.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:27 PM   #222
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The skin on the Bambi is holding up rather well too, but you should see the amazing amount of caulk the put on the roof. It looks like it was done by a monkey on acid.
I think you have figured it out. Monkeys work for food, sex and a cage and that's it. They don't need ladders. Great for cost cutting. Maybe Airstream makes the acid to save money. The monkys have hands to operate the caulk gun and are pretty smart. I guess they lock them up during tours and then let him go at the roof before and after. Our roof looks the same as yours and for all the gobs of badly applied caulk, it still leaked.

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Old 06-11-2012, 02:36 PM   #223
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And Tom, your two trailers were made at the low points for Airstream reliability, so I feel for you. Your latest one has had some frustrating things to fix and I know you'll figure it out and make it a near perfect trailer over time. It is time for a new floor. Advice can be found on my road trips 2012 thread (and elsewhere). Almost anything will look better than the cheap vinyl sheeting.
LOL. I'll gladly take the empathy.

But you know, all of the problems get fixed. While the Argosy's crossmembers rusted away from the main rails and wound up rattling around in the undercarriage (!), they were fixed. (That one cost me a lot.) The missing rivet in an outside panel near the end cap (because no hole was drilled into the panel below it) - fixed. The ragged edges at the base of the fiberglass end cap and the original messy sealant jobs remain.

Same goes for the 2007. The fresh water overflow leak was an easy fix. The stereo has been working. The cheap vinyl floor is in good condition (because the trailer was seldom used) but it will get upgraded at some point. The imminent caulking failures around vents and drain stacks were known problems going in, and they're fixed too. (At least I've seen very few complaints of major frame or floor problems with the current 23' design.)

I'm used to the automotive world where mass production, intense competition, and precise engineering mean that a panel gap that's off by 1/8" can look like heck. That's a different world. I wish Airstream was there - but would I have wanted to pay for that upfront?

In the end, when I hitched up to either trailer (said good-bye to the Argosy Saturday), I'm towing something that I really, really like. It tows like a dream and I'm VERY critical of vehicle dynamics. The floorplan fits us near perfectly. People give me thumbs up and people walk by in the campground and say nice things about Airstreams in their past.

For each Airstream owner, the reward has to be worth the pain, but a little less hassle in the journey wouldn't hurt.

Tom
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:04 PM   #224
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I'm used to the automotive world where mass production, intense competition, and precise engineering mean that a panel gap that's off by 1/8" can look like heck. That's a different world. I wish Airstream was there - but would I have wanted to pay for that upfront?

Tom
Quality pays for itself, in fact it more than pays for itself. Quality is profitable. That is what the Six Sigma quality program is all about. It is a bit ironic that the Japanese took our quality programs to heart just as we were getting short sighted and abandoning them, and used them to dominate us in manufacturing, especially in automotive and electronics. Japanese products didn't cost more, but were just better. This is from someone who drives Japanese cars and listens to Japanese stereo and TV.

China is competing very well based on price. I'm wondering if they will learn from the Japanese (and G.E.) before we do. Airstream needs to enroll every manager and shop foreman in a Six Sigma program. Make them earn their black belt. Best use of their money bar none. Are you listening AS?
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