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Old 06-06-2012, 08:49 PM   #43
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Unfortunately, there are not that many AS dealers coast to coast, and this could add to the fact that there might not be many truly qualified and experienced AS service techs. Earlier this year i would have loved to get some warranty repair work completed instead of traveling from Kansas City to St. Louis...

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Old 06-06-2012, 08:53 PM   #44
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Friday, sorry for your problems. I would be upset as well.
Did the dealer who performed the inspection warrant the trailer based on their findings? I would start with that. Make them accountable for their performance. Were you given a checklist of items inspected? I know I sound preachy and a good rant is satisfying, but ineffective. Use the energy and focus to solve what may have been a serious oversight on the selling dealers part. Kick some butt.

Make the people who did the repair come and fix it again. Be firm. Take pictures. Document everything.


Hope is not a plan.
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:56 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
No need to be sorry! Id be mad too. If insurance paid to fix the roof then you may have a claim on the further leaking and damage! If a dealer said the frame was ok and it is not then...... I'd be having a little conversation with them now too.
Hang in there, you may be able to see this through yet. Sounds like tonight is just not your night.
The service manager has a message to call me first thing in the AM... and I fired off an email to my insurance...

It's not even about 'who pays'... (well, no, I guess it is)... It's just that I so far have spent twice the time 'travelling' to get my Airtream(s) fixed, vs. having fun in them. If someone said 'Hey, can we have a few more days so we can make sure it is done right?', I'd say 'For sure!'. They had it for 6+ weeks! My Basecamp was gone for 2 months!

When we did the Basecamp trip, we went all the way to Disneyland... because it was CLOSER than going home.

Man... I am dumb.
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:58 PM   #46
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Mojave: Take a drive to Chilliwack. It wasn't Abbotsford or Aldergrove.
A$ is no longer the only trailer with an aluminum super structure. RV manufacturers are moving away from the "Stick and Staple" construction methods at least those who care about longevity.
Considering your location on the island. This factory is a lot closer than Jackson Center.
From what I've seen and heard. These are quality units. One model is called. Arctic Fox. They are not silver with round corners, but it certainly looks like their is some true modern design and engineering in their product.
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:35 PM   #47
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I've gotten less than great repairs at the mothership. I did protest and they did it over - and I got decent work done at OODM.

However if I were looking for a small trailer - I'd buy a Casita, not an Airstream. The simple LACK of seams on the top, and the limited holes through the roof, well it's just better than anything Airstream offers in the 16 foot length.

If Casita ever builds a 25 footer, color me gone.

I really love the look, the layout and the feel of the Airstream, but I've been watching Mad Men - and it's like the Jaguar - beautiful but a nightmare maintenance and dependability wise. "Beauty you can actually own" only goes so far. Eventually you want to spend time IN your Airstream, not under it or ON it.

The vintage people have been gradually seducing me over the years - As much as I like the Serenity & for that matter the Eddie Bauer look - I'd rather spend $80K having a vintage unit REBUILT from the frame than buy a new one.

Airstream CAN have a stronger frame, CAN have a Nyloboard or other permanent floor, CAN have a system between the inner and outer hulls that DRAINS condensation rather than collects it - they just choose not to. I choose to stop wasting my money on a company that won't build a unit that can go 5 years without major repairs.

Paula S. Ford
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:13 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Airstream CAN have a stronger frame, CAN have a Nyloboard or other permanent floor, CAN have a system between the inner and outer hulls that DRAINS condensation rather than collects it - they just choose not to. I choose to stop wasting my money on a company that won't build a unit that can go 5 years without major repairs.

Paula S. Ford
Interesting that Delorean (DMC) will take back their old cars, rebuild them to new spec, and re-sell them. Really, Airstream should make the improvements you note... but if not, someone could make good money upgrading them to current technology.
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:27 PM   #49
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While this is all so sad in many ways, how would you like to spend $500,000 on a new luxury motor home and get hit with similar problems?!?! I see this quite often....where the 'factory' does a crap job in assembly or uses resin that is just a bit 'old' and walls de-laminate, or wiring is installed improperly, or is simply in a hurry to get the unit out the door, or........
The list is endless!

And why? Proper and thorough training of the tech, especially at the dealer level, is sorely lacking. It is endemic throughout the RV industry. This is one of the many reasons that I have a successful business in repairing what the dealers either can't or won't. I treat a client's coach like it was mine!

There are many training courses available, but often the 'techs' from the dealers are not up to absorbing the material presented (lack of educational levels or required skill sets), or simply don't care. I have seen both while attending factory repair courses.

The next service boondoggle is the 'flat rate' system used to pay techs. This system allots a specified amount of hours for a particular repair and if you do it in less time, you still get paid the specified price. Go over the time, and you eat it! I have been asked for flat rate quotes and 'estimates' for many repairs, and I simply say that it is time and materials if you want the job done properly with no cost cutting or time allotments that result in inferior workmanship.

The RV industry is so far behind the automotive industry that they will never even get close to the build quality or technical abilities found there. And that includes the multi-million dollar super busses. The solution: choose your dealer carefully and interview the service manager BEFORE signing for that shiny new unit. You will be seeing those folks a lot more than the sales people. Ask some folks hanging around the service department how they are being treated, and if their concerns are addressed. Follow word-of-mouth reputations.

My new in '06 19CCD had many issues which I arranged to fix myself and had the dealer re-imburse me at my standard rate for the repairs. They were glad to get the unit out the door and not have to work on it again, and my certifications and experience were more than any tech at the dealer had. I was happy, the dealership owner was happy, and the trailer was almost perfect when I was done (NOTHING is ever perfect!)
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
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Old 06-06-2012, 11:20 PM   #50
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Airstreams have their problems, but its still much better than the others. Leaks and corrosion are the biggest headache, expect it and set up a program to stay in front of it.

Underfloor water can be found before rot occurs with a moisture detection meter used regularly, corrosion happens at breaks in the shell (rivets, fittings, edges), treat those areas regularly and clean and paint the filiform. Many RV dealers now offer pressure leak checks for about $150, a good annual check.

Friday, that is an unfortunate story, you certainly did your part. That model is a nifty design, there must be a way to tackle its various weaknesses.

Paula, the Casitas (we had a similar Scamp) don't leak (much) but are little more than a fiberglass tent with tiny windows and ventilation. The temperature comfort range is very small. Old Airstreams are fine trailers but leakers as well, and have issues of their own.

I try to be positive on this forum because we really enjoy our Airstream and try to advise others to hang in there. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

doug k
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Old 06-06-2012, 11:23 PM   #51
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Doug, exactly. Like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Lewster, if you ever make it up to Gig Harbor I want a solar install.

Hope is not a plan.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:05 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Friday View Post
Interesting that Delorean (DMC) will take back their old cars, rebuild them to new spec, and re-sell them. Really, Airstream should make the improvements you note... but if not, someone could make good money upgrading them to current technology.
DMC isn't the same company that built the cars in the first place - it acquired all of the parts and licenses to keep them going. Likewise, I would think that Timeless or Colin Hyde or Uwe or Frank's Trailer Works could go through a newer unit and make those desired upgrades.

Have to say that I'm very happy to deal with independent repair shops that I trust (and that do good work) rather than wrestle with dealers. Part of the reason why I just paid $30k for a used trailer and am having it upgraded (piece by piece, it seems) rather than plunking down $50k for new.

That said, Airstreams are desirable for more than the look. Their towing dynamics are excellent. They actually build high-end smaller units. At least only the floors (and not the walls or the roof) rot.

I think that the business case probably doesn't exist to make money on high-end towable RVs - unless you have the volume that Airstream manages to have. I guess we'll see if Earthbound survives with their current, very-expensive, build-to-order model - although they didn't impress with their finish quality either, last time I looked.

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Old 06-07-2012, 07:20 AM   #53
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Hey guys, we've been on the road for a while with little internet access and there has been quite a bit of activity on 2 of these threads now. Just sitting down to a computer to read through everything that has been posted.

First off - thank you for all your support in this issue. To make a LONG story a bit shorter, yes we were happy with our initial purchase and really enjoyed the week we traveled in our Bambi. After getting it home it leaked within the first few weeks, very seriously and in several places. The mattress and wood below all needed replacing. The vents by the fridge leaked and a ton of water pooled for a while eventually leaking out into the main area. On top of that all the laminate around the main area started to bubble and come off and all needed to be replaced. This is all on top of another leak that was discovered at the dealer initially.

We had our trailer for ONE WEEK and it was in the shop for 7 MONTHS. Yes, this is totally unacceptable for a new unit. Triangle was selected and authorized by Airstream because it would have been a round trip ferry ride and approximately 15 hours total.

The over $20,000 loss is because we just wanted to get rid of the problem. Even when we showed up to put it up for consignment we found more issues due to the damage not being fixed in a timely fashion. It was promised to be ready in time for our trip and it was not (there was MORE than enough time). The repairs were going to be finished at JC but 7 months of non-stop phone calls with the both the dealer, Airstream and everyone dropping the ball on the repairs, we just had enough.

Yes we were EXTREMELY stoked to own an Airstream and were very enthusiastic when we started out (Hence the gap in my posts - the warranty issues really wore us down and at first I followed the motto, 'if you have nothing nice to say'...the time has long past for that now). I do believe people (and Airstream) need to know about what we went through. Yes I do hope their quality control issues are put into question because I don't want anyone to have to invest their life savings into something that is less that is what was promised.

As I mentioned, they were more than willing to keep discussing repairing the unit, but when is enough enough??? In any home or car purchase this would be unacceptable in a brand new unit so why should this be any different than that?

Once again, you've all been fantastic folks that we wish we could have all got to meet. We were scheduled to perform at Alumapalooza and would never have canceled if not for the circumstances. The forums have been helpful and supportive and I just wish things could have turned out differently for us.

Safe travels,
Lisa & Paul
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:36 AM   #54
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Previously you failed to mention AS authorized the use of the nonAS dealer for work. Puts a different light on things. Sorry for the problems you had. Jim
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:03 AM   #55
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Personally I would not drop $60,000 on a new AS. With all the problems they have there just not worth it. Most of the stuff inside like fixtures, lights, etc are the same as what the $20,000 SOB's use. So what are you paying triple the price for? Aluminum shell that leaks! Mines a 1968 and I have never had a leak. But it has leaked, because I'm replacing the floor on a 44 year old trailer. But it's 44 years old not 1 year.

Sure $20,000 SOB's have issues but then when you spend triple that you would expect not to have to deal with those types of issues.

We just went through something similar with a $2000 copier printer at work. It wasn't working on our network. And the guy who installed it wanted our IT guy to fix it. So I called them told them it was not acceptable and if they couldn't resolve it they could come and get it and I would go else where. Let's just say it works now.

I would expect nothing less from Airstream, especially for the amount that you now have to she'll out for one.

AS should look at the company REI. It's a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I worked for them and one time we had a guy come in, buy everything for a trek to India. Then two months later he brought the stuff back and said he didn't like it. Well the other asst manager didn't want to take it back because he new the guy used it and was abusing the policy. The guy called the head office and they called us and he got his money back.

Sure he took advantage. But 100% satisfaction is just that and REI stands by it. AS should stand by there product and the products they use in their AS. And fix the problems ASAP. with no questions asked.

May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

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Old 06-07-2012, 08:14 AM   #56
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Thank you for the clarifications. Now, I can understand why things went the way they did. I had an interest because we also spent most of our savings on our dream, went through some serious quality control issues with our new Airstream, and regret not having the time and resources to take it back to the factory during the warranty period. Our problems weren't as damaging as yours, but we couldn't use it during the first two months of ownership. We managed to get the structural problems resolved so we could use it, but the cosmetic issues still persist. Some Airstream refused to cover, and those that required the trip to Jackson Center because their authorized repair center didn't have the means, or skill, to handle. So sorry this didn't work out for you.

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