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Old 06-20-2011, 07:33 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by Fly at Night View Post
if AS decided to dip their toe into composite materials, I really would have second thoughts about buying one.
Airstream tried this idea with their Scout concept. It didn't look anything like the classic Airstream and it would have cost well over $30k for a smaller-than-Bambi trailer. It didn't go further than the Louisville show floor.

But I have no doubt they could do it if they drew on the experience of the Thor mothership. My T@B (formerly a Thor product) was basically built with SIPs - aluminum laminated to insulation.

Tom
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:26 PM   #114
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Thumbs up

Well our old girl is 38 years new and still going strong we take her everywhere get out on the road and and see this great country the right way
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:32 AM   #115
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So far I'll take it. No leaks yet. AC?HP not working but being fixed. BUT, we are having so much fun. When I make comparisons with some new boats I've owned (Mastercraft, Boston Whaler, Duckworth. It's Airstream 1, boats 0. Honestly these were some pretty good boats bought new and the issues we encountered on these makes this Airstream almost perfect by comparison. As my Dad always said "ya gotta keep up with um kid or it'll get away from ya.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:04 AM   #116
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I had never heard about the "Scout" so I looked it up. Interesting! We like to consider "the alternatives" when shopping and in this industry they are few and far between. There was nothing that we would have wanted. I would have least have given the Scout a bit of thought...
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:10 AM   #117
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It is time, perhaps to remind you of the importance of following the rules. Hijacking is a serious offense and Gringo, you may not be aware of this very serious thread: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f472...ing-24723.html

After you read the whole thing (it should take until mid-July), confess your sins, and return, chastened, return here and bash or not bash whatever the subject of this thread is—what is it, anyway?

Gene
Oops,
Just to tie it all together I'd say that the bashing of new Airstreams forces one to look for alternatives, "just in case" there might be something out there....
It is a real world we live in people! Perfection is an interesting concept.....
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:48 AM   #118
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That boats come full of problems does not make Airtreams better quality, just that the boats are of low quality.

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Old 04-02-2012, 10:39 AM   #119
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That boats come full of problems does not make Airtreams better quality, just that the boats are of low quality.

Gene
Hey....I resemble that remark, wisht the AS had half the care that was taken to build this float....Allison.

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Old 04-02-2012, 09:03 PM   #120
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Interesting thread! I read all 119 posts this evening, just to see what the fuss was about and to see if we ought to drop the idea of an Airstream as a possible full-time coach. The short answer to the question is "The Airstream is still in the running."

Within the next year we will try to decide what class of RV we want for our full-time coach, and then start concentrating on specific brands. Well, that was the plan. Actually, we're doing both together. One coach that has my attention is a Bluebird Wanderlodge, late 80's to early 90's. If one believes only what is discussed on their forum, everyone spends at least as much time fixing their coaches as they do traveling.

I suspect that 'Bird owners, like Airstream owners, tend to be more involved in caring for their own coaches rather than paying someone else to do all of the work. I'm comfortable with that. In fact, I enjoy tinkering. I also know my limits, and when it is going to be cheaper to let someone who knows what they are doing work on it.

On another forum a member reported that a brand new motor home, probably closer to $1,000,000 than $500,000, pulled in across the street from him, and within a few minutes all three air conditioners stopped working. The dealer says it will be at least six weeks before they are able to replace the air conditioners. Talk about not being a happy camper!

Thanks to this forum, I have some idea of what to expect if we buy a used Airstream. Will it have some problems? Of course it will. Will there by issues that come up while we own it? Yes. We'll be asking about the maintenance history of any RV we consider, and if the owner can't provide it we'll look elsewhere.

It might be that a trip to a factory service center once a year or so might be a good idea. Our mpg will get an annual (at least) visit to the dealer for a thorough inspection and repairs of whatever needs fixing (that I can't fix myself). Will that translate into a higher resale price? Who knows. Will it translate into a quicker sale? Maybe. It certainly ought to make the next owner a little more comfortable, knowing that the little trailer has had proper maintenance. I would expect no less from any Airstream.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:32 PM   #121
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We've discussed this before on the forum. When high end boats have service problems its usually with gear supplied by outside suppliers, ie, airconditioning, gen sets, pumps, etc. A Catalina sailboat worth 200k will have much the same gear as a 700k Alden or Hinckley. The real difference between boats is the care taken when they are built. I fully expect that a crappy fridge will be a crappy fridge, but loose rivets, sliding doors that untrack with a touch are a huge turn off. A friend of mine has a 45 year old Hinckley Bermuda 40 that has had the crap kicked out of it doing offshore racing over the years. The drawers still work perfectly, the cabin doors latch, its still water tight and the original plumbing works like new. We rented a 5 year old DWR Bambi, the shower leaked, the door lock was an ongoing problem, the tank gauges didn't work and the thermostat didn't either. I'm still buying an AS but with the understanding I'm going to have to do a bunch of things that weren't done right when it was built.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:52 PM   #122
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We've discussed this before on the forum. When high end boats have service problems its usually with gear supplied by outside suppliers, ie, airconditioning, gen sets, pumps, etc. A Catalina sailboat worth 200k will have much the same gear as a 700k Alden or Hinckley. The real difference between boats is the care taken when they are built. I fully expect that a crappy fridge will be a crappy fridge, but loose rivets, sliding doors that untrack with a touch are a huge turn off. A friend of mine has a 45 year old Hinckley Bermuda 40 that has had the crap kicked out of it doing offshore racing over the years. The drawers still work perfectly, the cabin doors latch, its still water tight and the original plumbing works like new. We rented a 5 year old DWR Bambi, the shower leaked, the door lock was an ongoing problem, the tank gauges didn't work and the thermostat didn't either. I'm still buying an AS but with the understanding I'm going to have to do a bunch of things that weren't done right when it was built.
I'm going to disagree with some of this.
First of all the equipment list on your "average" Hinckley would cost more than the entire Catalina of a similar size. There is no comparing the two boats! One is built to a price the other is made with a "money is no object" agenda. The B-40 you referenced is a "Tank" of a sailboat. Heavy and overbuilt as boats were when it was designed (1960?). Finally your "average" Hinckley gets service that most other boats never see. Believe me when I tell you that the attrition rate on any sailboat part or system is far greater than what the"average"Airstream sees. Maintenance is the biggest factor in determining reliability. Stuff breaks, fails, ages, falls apart, goes bad, weathers and just plain wears out. Fix it and move on...Take care of it and it will reward you with good service.
I am not making excuses for Airstream's failures. I just know that no matter what the item,be it boat or car or trailer, I will find things wrong that need attention. I've repaired a few items in our new Serenity that just should not have been.... Just another day doing what I do best!
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:00 PM   #123
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Bruce,

We're on the same page, Hinckleys and other high end boats are built to last, but Lewmar winches are used on both, Jabsco pumps, etc. The build and quality of the build are what sets the high end boats apart from the built to price boats. Maybe I didn't say it as well as I should have, but when you have 16 foot trailers with much the same equipment from outside suppliers with a 30,000 dollar price differential where should the extra money be spent? Yes the aluminum is more expensive, but should AS spend more time on quality control, better and more functional design? They really should.

BTW, You can get Hinckley to build you a new B 40, pretty much new below the water line, lots of carbon fiber, modern rig. Its lighter, faster and still a pretty boat.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:35 PM   #124
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I can't imagine comparing a Wanderlodge with an Airstream. Moho's are by definition money pits, but moho's built on commercial chassis -- while wonderful -- are the literal definition of more money per mile. Age has killed whatever virtues they once had. I'd love a 1986 PT-36 . . . but I could buy several A/S trailers (brand new) for what it would take to make that coach new again. The telling thing about one of those is what the current owners are willing to live with in terms of what doesn't work any more. And never will again for the labor, the complexity and the sheer cussedness of the thing.

And on a per square foot basis -- weight as the factor -- a Wanderlodge (never mind, I'm going to stop right here).

As to A/S build quality, it's simple. The number of Americans who can afford to buy a travel trailer that (as things once were) cost nearly as much as the average house has shrunk drastically in the past 30-years. They already have too much debt, on average. Prices, therefore, have to be kept low. And with no competition, this means that cheap non-union labor is a given. Hire and fire. Please don't swoon over how wonderful the factory is or the number of long term employees, etc, that some think will change this. It won't.

This said, anyone who's been around the block with RV's knows that an A/S is a better long term buy than another current brand. While not as good as what we might like, it is a veritable step up out of the shcitz passed off as an "RV" in the main.

It's easier to understand that new or used there are no unsolved problems (three solutions per problem on average), and that service is the bear whether of an authorized dealer, the factory or a generic technician. In this it is no different than any other mobile living quarters.

Its virtue is that it can be towed by the family vehicle. No special TV needed (given only modest prudence). The SOB's all seem to need a larger, inefficient and (due to what they tow) fast-wearing TV. An enormous jump in family expenses for the several-times-yearly vacationer.

An SOB is disposable (ten year life), it requires a more expensive TV (short & long term), and is never free of serious deficiencies.

Over a 25-yr use span, one can easily say: One Airstream and two tow vehicles. Do it right and it's cheaper. With better on-road performance (safety), better living design accommodations and a large long term dedicated group of owner-to-owner support.

Carping about the rest is for those who can't see the forest for the trees.

You want a Hinckley? Go to TTT and order up an A/S shell and have your bespoke trailer built. It'll probably run about what a new Silver Streak with modern goodies would go for: $150k give or take. I'm sure they'll do the deal you want, higher or lower.

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Old 04-03-2012, 09:09 AM   #125
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Regardless of the QC problems with Airstreams, the cool factor carries the day with many of us. And as David said, a lot of us spend a lot of time tinkering and improving. In fact, the Forum is in part, a large part I think, a restoration Forum, so this venue attracts people who fix things. I finished remodeling my house (mostly, you never finish fixing a house either), so now I focus on the Airstream.

Rednax explains the economics of QC. If Airstream made trailers the way I want them to, they would cost more, more than I would pay. I am paying some of it over time by improving and individualizing. Some of the problems are components and we have been fortunate that those are not usually the things that break. Design may be an issue—the oven, for ex., is very difficult to light, but it can be lit.

There is also the cost cutting that doesn't save much money and costs more in the long run because of reputation. I also believe Airstream makes a big profit and that is more important to the company than long term reputation.

But, once you start looking at them, it is hard not to buy one. The company relies on this, to a larger degree than is practical in the long run. We still buy 'em, but a fair number of people see threads on QC and don't buy them. Maybe it is better that way because they would, if they had bought one, complain even louder and hurt the company reputation even more. So in a strange way these threads about Airstream quality may actually help the company.

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Old 04-03-2012, 10:10 AM   #126
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One coach that has my attention is a Bluebird Wanderlodge, late 80's to early 90's. If one believes only what is discussed on their forum, everyone spends at least as much time fixing their coaches as they do traveling.

I suspect that 'Bird owners, like Airstream owners, tend to be more involved in caring for their own coaches rather than paying someone else to do all of the work. I'm comfortable with that. In fact, I enjoy tinkering. I also know my limits, and when it is going to be cheaper to let someone who knows what they are doing work on it.
David:

Like you we are also planning on eventually going fulltiming. Our choice is also between a bus (Bluebird Wanderlodge) and an Airstream. A Bluebird in the years you are talking will cost from $30,000 to about $80,000. See Blue Bird Wanderlodge and Motor Coach Brokering Service and http://www.birdconnection.com/showroom/view_all.php.

These have the older engine Detroits 8V92. I would consider units with the Detroit Series 60 engine but these cost a lot more. These start with 1996 models and newer.

Keep in mind that when reading the Bluebird forum most of the posters are posting because they are dealing with a mechanical issue that they are trying to resolve. I believe this to be the case for most motorhome forums.

If I buy a Bluebird Wanderlodge I am planning on $3,000 to $5,000 per year for maintenace. (Tires should be replaced every 5 to 7 years and will run abaout $5,000 to $6,000 to replace all on a Wanderlodge.) I am aware of an Escapees fulltimer who had an older Wanderlodge (circa 1988) and had to replace the engine - cost $25,000. Fuel costs are also higher since they get about 5 to 6 miles per gallon. I get 12 to 14 miles per gallon pulling the Airstream 34.

The Airstream and Bluebird are not in the same class when considering it for fulltiming. The Bluebird has a lot more interior and storage space. The internal systems in a bus are much more robust. The Bluebird will be better insulated. Many will have a washer / dryer. The interior of the Wanederlodge (newer models) feel more like a home. The normal maintenance required for the Bluebird is much much higher.

The Airstream is much simpler. The other advantage of the Airstream is the extensive Airstream community - Air Forums, WBCCI, TAC, Airstream only parks, rallies, etc.

My wife would prefer that we fulltime in our Airstream 34 rather than any bus. Although I am enamored with the idea of fulltiming in a bus we will probably fulltime in our Airstream 34 because I don't want to spend the time or money required to maintain a bus to keeping it running well. We will modify our 34 to have 50 amp with a second airconditioner in our bedroom and I will add a Little Cod wood burning stove for supplemental heat ( "LC" Stove Info.). This is my answer to a bus having an Acqua Hot system. Actually the stove is easier as the Acqua Hot systems also require annual maintenance to work properly.

When choosing a RV for fulltiming there is a lot to consider. I would first choose the type of RV you want to fulltime in (motorhome, 5th wheel, trailer). Once that decision is made then choose the brand that best meets your requirements. Also the length of time you are planning on fulltiming plays into the decision. If you are only planning on fulltiming for 1 to 2 years then the decision isn't so critical. If, like us, you are planning on fulltiming for a long period of time 5 to 10 years or more, then the importance of getting it right the first time is critical.

It can be summed up that the Airstream would be a newer RV that will be much simpler to maintain versus an older Bluebird that is a very complicated machine and expensive to maintain.

Actually, by writing this response it is clear that our choice is the Airstream 34. It's probably time that I change our sceen name form Bluebird to something else.

It's fun to do the research; good luck in your final decision.
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