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Old 06-16-2011, 06:36 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by JFScheck View Post
Wow - at the factory I never saw the assembly line for the Canadian models - do they have a maple leaf to designate them so they are built better?

Craziest thing I ever heard - I think the only difference between the two is some protection added to the lp gas line...

I am saying this tongue in cheek - but I do feel pretty confident that all North American Airstreams are generally built the same...
I seem to remember there's a slight difference in 120 volt electrical, as well. Nothing that jumps out and says, "THIS is why they're better!" They are built on the same line, by the same people, using the same materials, as you see in US model coaches. IMHO, the difference in quality between US and CDN models is perceived, rather than actual.
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:38 AM   #86
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Y'all are putting the cart before the horse if you are starting to think you like the European airstreams. They have to be smaller and lighter, and they have no choice in the matter.
I'll avoid the big truck vs. modified minivan (my steed o' choice) vs European turbodiesel SUV tow vehicle debate that could come up here.

Anywho, the construction features (galvanized frame, composite rot-free floor) that distinguish the Euro Airstreams could certainly be scaled up to American-sized trailers. Indeed, incorporate some of those features and stir in some innovations like interior cabinetry that isn't made from HEAVY particleboard and you open up a whole other world of tow vehicles.

Why don't they do it? Gene and MrUKToad are right - cost. Bob Wheeler said as much on the Vintage Airstream Podcast. But you get the feeling it's a balance sheet sort of thing, given that there are many cheaper trailers (even here in the US) that have composite floors.

I wonder if AS spends so much money building those lovely riveted aluminum bodies that they wind up having to cut back elsewhere. Note that most of their proudest innovations of the last 30 years either reduce assembly cost (fewer panels) or don't cost that much to implement (special editions that change interior finishes.)

That said, the trailers are still quite nice. They tow well, some of the floorplans are unique, and no other company really focuses on building a high-end "smaller" trailer. Too bad the innovation doesn't go much beyond styling or bolting on newer systems/finishes from suppliers.

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Old 06-16-2011, 06:44 AM   #87
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Y'all are putting the cart before the horse if you are starting to think you like the European airstreams. They have to be smaller and lighter, and they have no choice in the matter.

Back up a minute and ask yourself.....what have they got to tow it with?

Yeah. A wimpy little sewing machine motor of a car. Seen many F-250s in Europe?No? Dodge Rams? Chevy 2500 4x4's? You know, that stuff Americans like to drive?

I'll happily stick with US standards, thanks.
If the US standards were changed to include a galvanized (and hence heavier) frame and a rot proof floor, perhaps as an extra cost option, would this not make you even happier? I've seen far too many Airstreams in a U.S.A salvage yard, their lives cut short by total frame collapse.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:26 AM   #88
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How much weight does a coat of zinc add to a frame?
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:51 AM   #89
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In the galvanizing process, all surfaces are coated with corrosion-inhibiting zinc. On average, a 4-mil-thick (102 microns) thick coating of zinc results in a 3.5-10% increase in weight for steel galvanized, depending on the fabrication’s shape, size and steel chemistry. Source:

Weight Increase from Hot-Dip Galvanizing Steel

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Old 06-16-2011, 07:58 AM   #90
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I seem to remember there's a slight difference in 120 volt electrical, as well. Nothing that jumps out and says, "THIS is why they're better!" They are built on the same line, by the same people, using the same materials, as you see in US model coaches. IMHO, the difference in quality between US and CDN models is perceived, rather than actual.
That's right - I think they have a full electrical box while only some of the US versions recieve this - my 25FB Classic did not have a "real" electrical box but my 30 Classic does....
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:51 AM   #91
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We are new to Airstreaming, our 2011 27FB Classic has been mostly trouble free. A couple of minor things but nothing even close to what I would consider a defect due to poor quality or bad workmanship. Maybe things have improved at JC . I am however curious why no one has commented on the quality of the dealer. Its my opinion the dealer is also important as it is their responsibility to insure new Airstreams are ready for delivery and to perform after sales service.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:31 AM   #92
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Proportionally, Airstreams are significantly more expensive in Europe than they are in the US so the specification can be higher. Sure, the market in Europe can stand the higher price, but that's the difference, I'm sure. The same goes for cars. Having recently arrived in North America I was shocked by the build quality and specifications of the cars made here, especially with similar cars; for example, the Ford Focus in the US looks very poor next to its European cousin. But cars in North America are so much cheaper to buy, and there's the rub. I don't think the American markets would stand European prices, even if the build quality was better. That thinking, I'd suggest, extends to RV manufacture as well.
A finer point I'd make on your Ford Focus comparison is that the ORIGINAL Focus in the US compared much better to its European cousin than the later ones (before the 2012 model.) Ford, lost in their pre-Mulally wilderness, chose to continue the original design unimproved in the US to "save money" and then did a half-hearted restyle for the last few years. They produced an uninspired car that didn't quite suck but didn't interest any auto enthusiasts.

The 2012 Focus is going to be a "world car" again, with the US Focus being much more like its European cousin and a much higher category of car from the perspective of equipment and style, though of course build quality remains to be seen. Ford "gets it" more than the other 2 US manufacturers, though Fiat's acquisition of Chrysler means that there's a chance for Chrysler to claw its way out of the deep, dark cesspool into which Daimler shoved them.

Americans have typically refused to pay any real money for small cars, equating small with cheap instead of recognizing that there can be a well-made, high-quality small car. Then of course American manufacturers crank out such lovely penalty boxes as the Neon and the Cavalier, only reinforcing the perception that small=cheap. I'm a broad-shouldered fat guy and I'd still prefer a well-engineered small car to a big squishy boat, though I do confess that there's a certain relaxed quality to driving the F150 that isn't terrible.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:42 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by JFScheck View Post
Wow - at the factory I never saw the assembly line for the Canadian models - do they have a maple leaf to designate them so they are built better?

Craziest thing I ever heard - I think the only difference between the two is some protection added to the lp gas line...

I am saying this tongue in cheek - but I do feel pretty confident that all North American Airstreams are generally built the same...
I think the only difference on the Canadian models is the French used on the emergency exit and the stickers by the door - or am I being too cynical?
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:47 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by Gringo View Post
Y'all are putting the cart before the horse if you are starting to think you like the European airstreams. They have to be smaller and lighter, and they have no choice in the matter.

Back up a minute and ask yourself.....what have they got to tow it with?

Yeah. A wimpy little sewing machine motor of a car. Seen many F-250s in Europe?No? Dodge Rams? Chevy 2500 4x4's? You know, that stuff Americans like to drive?

I'll happily stick with US standards, thanks.
Seen the price of gas in Europe? That's why there are so few US autos there!
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:51 AM   #95
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We are new to Airstreaming, our 2011 27FB Classic has been mostly trouble free. A couple of minor things but nothing even close to what I would consider a defect due to poor quality or bad workmanship. Maybe things have improved at JC . I am however curious why no one has commented on the quality of the dealer. Its my opinion the dealer is also important as it is their responsibility to insure new Airstreams are ready for delivery and to perform after sales service.
So far, our new 28' International has been OK, apart from a few silly little things; nothing to get too excited about. I would like to meet the people who do the Caulking at JC, though, as their idea of making a seal isn't the same as mine. More does not necessarily mean better! I have no idea what the factory's costs are for caulking but I'd suggest that they could reduce them a bit if the stuff was applied properly.

Have to agree about the dealer. I see you're from Ontario, Naper. Can Am at London?
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:54 AM   #96
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I've seen some pretty narrow roads there, too. Hard for me to picture driving an extended cab F-350 diesel around the Lanes in Brighton, for example.

Let alone with a 27 ft. caravan behind it.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:19 PM   #97
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Have to agree about the dealer. I see you're from Ontario, Naper. Can Am at London?[/QUOTE]

Yes Can Am in London
They were not the cheapeast, but their service is excellent. Our Airstream was ready when they said it would be. It was clean, eveything was inspected and in working order. They went over eveything in detail. Anytime I had a problem they were there to take my calls, answer my questions. I think there is a value in the dealers service.
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:01 PM   #98
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I think the only difference on the Canadian models is the French used on the emergency exit and the stickers by the door - or am I being too cynical?
The AS TTs sold in Canada need to have CSA (Canadian Standards Association) approval. Actually, everything sold here that plugs into AC power does, to my knowledge.

This is nothing new; the Service Manual for my 1974 model has separate (and somewhat different) pages for the electrical diagrams it has.

They are English only.
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