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Old 11-21-2016, 01:27 PM   #43
2016 19ft flying cloud
 
Spokane , Washington
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New vs used

We struggled with this for months and decided to go new
No regrets and it's a great piece of mind to have two years warranty
If you purchase from a good dealer,,,you will be very happy in the end
And if you can afford new, most dealers will upgrade you to the 4 stage converter before you pick it up,,,and I'd recommended buying a portable solar panel. They work great on the go,,,you can easily move them facing the sun
I picked mine up for under $250 and it's a 120 watt model that keeps the batteries topped off ,,,

And no riviots falling off,,,,just don't take it up bumpy mountain roads
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Old 11-21-2016, 01:43 PM   #44
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If you are not satisfied with the equipment, accessories and cabinets of the base models, they offer basically the same shell with upgraded equipment in the Classic and Land Yacht models for an additional $40-$50 grand.

Or pick and choose your own upgrades to suit you for a fraction of that. There is no hurry, the original equipment is perfectly serviceable and covered under the two year warranty.
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Old 11-21-2016, 01:48 PM   #45
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
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The previous posts offered great advice.

I think most folks buy an Airstream for three reasons:
1. Styling
2. Cachet
3. I can afford it and I want it.
It's kind of the same reason some buy a Mercedes or Jaguar, when a Honda Civic will get you between points A and B just as consistently.

Expect a good, but not perfect, trailer. Then make it yours. Ours was perfect but I feel we got lucky. I smile every time I look at it.
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Old 11-21-2016, 01:55 PM   #46
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2009 28' International
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Hi Gonz--welcome to the forums!

You have done excellent research! We started RV's with a 30' Fleetwod trailer that served us well--but we rarely towed it anywhere, it just lived about a mile from a lake and we'd hook it up and tow at slow speeds.Once we actually took it on annual road trip, we were terrified-my wife, an excellent driver, towed for 100 yards on the freeway and immediately pulled off and wouldn't touch it again.

Once we retired and decided to spend significant time and distance in our trailer, we knew we had to go to Airstream. Besides being absolutely gorgeous and an American icon, the towing experience is completely different. Since then we have been in a couple of tight situations (fortunately, my wife was driving in both cases!) In both cases, we were amazed at the sports car like handling of our carefully tuned rig, and we are convinced that it saved us from potential disaster in both instances. No way the Fleetwood would have made it. The reasons for this are manifold--primarily, I would speculate, that Airstream is designed with so much of the weight under the floorboards, and combined with unique torsion axles that kind of provide independent suspension. For one example, if you looked under our couch in the Fleetwood, you'd find the fresh water tank, but in the Airstream, it is below the floor and between the axles, where it belongs. This is why in so many high end sportscars, you'll find the battery mounted in a hard to reach but stable extremely low position, instead of the normal higher, more accessible position you find in vehicles with less of an emphasis on performance.The aerodynamic nature of the Airstream seems to make it not only tow more smoothly, but also to better deal with extreme crosswinds.

As far as quality issues, we were disappointed with small things around our Airstream (we bought our 2009 28' International Ocean Breeze new from the factory, ordered the way we wanted it.) One of these is silly, but to the point when you're buying a high priced, high-end product. Steve Jobs was famously determined that consumers would not go inside their Macs to service them--he wanted them to have a very easy user experience. Nevertheless, he insisted that they be as beautiful inside as out--goes back to a neat workshop means the worker is organized and does beautiful work, too. As we got behind the cabinetry to check out different things over time, we found that Airstream apparently didn't allow time during construction to cleanup at the end of each workday, or each project--we found small pieces of wood scraps and insulation throughout. I found this indicative of a lack of attention to detail, whether that's accurate or not.

We recently decided to refurbish our trailer because we use it a lot and some of the fabric is not looking absolutely wonderful, in spite of our best efforts. I was quite upset to find out that the original fabrics are not available--anywhere. During this process, I had occasion to speak to the VP of Sales at Jackson Center. He was very apologetic, and I mentioned some other things that I'd like to see improve on future coaches, while praising several things that I've seen have already been done (full LED lighting, dimmer switches, ducted AC, and UltraLeather fabric throughout, to name a few important to me.) He was most receptive to suggestions, and informed me that Airstream does an annual survey at Jackson Center, and even focuses on requests made by women vs men to get a broader idea of how to continually improve the coaches.

Whatever RV you purchase, all of your plumbing, electrical, furniture and appliances are subject to strains and stresses that the fixtures in your house never have to "think" about. There are shaken, rattled and rolled all the time. So fittings will work loose, and this can cause appliances to prematurely experience problems (as compared to household appliances.) Plastic plumbing fixtures WILL work loose through vibration and you WILL develop leaks as a result. We learned to be alert for evidence to catch them before there was a serious problem, and have also learned where all of these fasteners are and periodically hand check them for tightness.

When flying airplanes, there is a checklist and walk around that no pilot would ever think of skipping. You also have a moving vehicle with many systems that an automobile does not, so you need to think like a pilot. Obviously, your research here has prepared you WAY better than we were going into this adventure, and we've come out fine by just asking questions and paying attention--you'll do even better!

I like to refer to our Airstream as the Ferrari of Trailers. It's absolutely unique and beautiful, like a Ferrari, it handles like a Ferrari, it's priced like a Ferrari, and it's in the shop as much as a Ferrari, too! (If you're as particular as I am, and most of the other people here on the Forum.) Over time, the general maintenance becomes almost automatic, and no big deal. And my wife and I both do a walk around visual inspection every time we stop while traveling--we've made it a very good habit to look for any potential obvious issues.

To some of the specific issues about which you've read. "the tires, the inverter, the solar panels, lack of 3 stage charger, poor battery management displays, hinges coming loose, cheap linoleum floors, microwaves falling out, TVs coming undone, quality issues of electronic things not hooked up or done right from the factory etc" Yes, we've had problems with Marathons and went to larger wheels and Michelins and are already past the time/mileage for the GYM's redeveloping problems. Our factory inverter is weak but works just fine for most uses. 3 stage solar charges is critical--would recommend you invest in an MPPT controller for your solar to vastly extend the life of your batteries as well as making for much faster recharge. This will also give you great battery management display at the same time. Hinges loose is normal for a moving, shaking "house" on wheels. Our linoleum floor still looks and behaves great after 7 6-month seasons. No appliances have fallen out, nor TV come undone (vibration issues again?) Avoided by periodic checkups with a handy screwdriver!) No quality issues with electric hookups from factory for us.

We have done the following elective modifications: Upgraded the limited factory solar (ours came with two 112 on the roof, which is not adequate for boon docking--you should have at least 275 on the roof), upgraded solar charger to MPPT at same time. Upgraded to glass mat 6 volt pair of batteries for longer battery life when used for boon docking and at the same time doubled the capacity by adding second battery bank (all Lifeline.). Since they are due to wear out in the next year or two, we're replacing with ilthiums to reduce tongue weight and overall weight--the 28's have the heaviest tongue weight. Did NOT upgrade the poor factory converter/charger, but our batteries have NOT suffered--possibly because of the excellent solar controller. This is one of the items I stressed with Airstream that needs upgrading--a better 3 stage charger/controller doesn't cost more than the factory Parallax!) WE upgraded all of our factory halogen bulbs to LED bulbs with special light filters (you don't have to do this with later models that come with factory LED's) then added dimmers when they became available. This has reduced our illumination battery draw to 10% (and less when dimmers used) of the original draw--huge difference. Did a dinette table mod that cost less than $5 and took 20 minutes to make the table more stable.

One other issue that you have not mentioned is that Airstreams are notoriously low in "basement" storage as compared to other brands. Throwing things in your tow vehicle to compensate, you must make sure that your TV has the payload capacity to handle all. Our solution? We went through the Fleetwood item by item and got rid of anything that we didn't use on a regular basis. And going forward, if we buy something new for the Airstream, something else has to go, and once a year, we go through everything and if we haven't used it in the past year, out it goes! I actually have much less in our basement storage now than we did when we started. And there are zero items in our TV that are Airstream related, even though we have tons of spare payload--I just don't want them in the way when we used the tow vehicle independently.

I really think you are doing a fantastic job of preparing yourself for the best option on the market for those who can afford it.

Please buy that 25 if it fits your budget and tastes and come join us. (BTW, in our opinion, 25 is the minimum sized coach for use beyond weekends and maybe a once a year one week trip for two people and should work well for you.) Sounds like you are psychologically prepared to deal with any issues, and we're all here to help! There just is nothing else like them available.

Have fun!
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Old 11-21-2016, 01:58 PM   #47
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A/S at Jackson Center

Are you listening to the posts on these forums regarding A/S quality and employing continuous improvement?
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Old 11-21-2016, 02:36 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by GeeSag View Post
Go Buy a Cheap Trailer First

For the perspective Airstream buyer that is having doubts and worried about being dissatisfied.........go out and buy a Cheap Some Other Brand....that way you will know you are disappointed...... and you expect to be disappointed.....then after having it for a season or two, you might feel satisfied in dropping a boatload of cash on something that might have problems...but hopefully fewer problems......And for all the parts that are of really high quality you will be satisfied every time you touch them.....The Cabinets, The Aluminum Frame,
Aluminium frame?
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Old 11-21-2016, 02:38 PM   #49
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Mine is 43 years old. Still has the original Frige, stove, oven, AC etc.

I did do a Reno on it but from the outside it looks original. Find a white box trailer that old and take a look at it.


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Old 11-21-2016, 03:11 PM   #50
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Welcome

As you can see, many of us have "been there"; "done that". We have owned 3 different 25' AS's now, and are very happy with current Twin model, portable solar, and generator. We chose the twin model for extra dressing area, more sleeping surface, plus outside extra storage with the twin models. Many folks miss the outside storage features only available with the twin models, but the extra outside storage is a nice thing. We will upgrade to a 2017 model in the spring. We like the ducted air vents,new interior lounge textured material, and new woven vinyl flooring, rear camera option, and solar wiring offered in the new models. Seems like last few years, AS seems to keep improving. We have the "squeak" in the floor, and had it in previous models also. Not a big thing to us, however.
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Old 11-21-2016, 03:30 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRH View Post
Aluminium frame?
Maybe referring to the ribs that make up the semi monocoque aircraft fuselage style framework for the shell?
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Old 11-21-2016, 03:46 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by gonz View Post
Hello to all, I would like to hear your thoughts. I am new to the forum and learning quite a bit. After doing some initial research and reading horrible reviews on just about every RV travel trailer maker, I quickly realized that I may have to go the much more expensive AS route. I am new to RVing and still knew or so I thought that AS was supposed to be one of, if not the best. But, I am now feeling somewhat discouraged after reading numerous threads on this forum. Considering what I call a very steep price for a travel trailer (25-27ft), I would think that it would be a high quality product and come near perfect. I fully realize that all manufacturers have varying level of issues, but I just did not expect to hear so many complaints about AS. Are they resting on their laurels and now building on the cheap? As I read, folks are not happy about many things, such as the tires, the inverter, the solar panels, lack of 3 stage charger, poor battery management displays, hinges coming loose, cheap linoleum floors, microwaves falling out, TVs coming undone, quality issues of electronic things not hooked up or done right from the factory etc. This weekend, I went to a nearby dealer and looked at a FC 25FB. When I was by the bed area, the floor "creaked" and pretty loud. I kept stepping near a 2' x2' area and it kept doing it. The salesperson said that AS is known for that and that they recently repaired one. Is that true? After quite a bit of searching, I finally found a trailer that I like but after reading all these issues, it really has me reconsidering. I was excited looking for a trailer and finally found a 2017 FC 25FB that comes with 180w solar panels and was ready to pull the trigger but now not sure. I read a lot of negatives about factory solar and it was not a criterion of mine, but this one had everything I wanted and even with it, priced out well. It almost seem like it will be a continuous maintenance headache from the day I buy and I guess for that price point, I sure expected better. Am I only reading the percentage of folks having issues while most are happy campers? Am I missing something? Are the 2017s any better and addressed a lot of the issues mentioned?
I do not know what problems the owner of a new or newer AS might encounter. I had a 1969 Sovereign and now have a 1993 Excello. Both have been or are of good quality. Of course with older equipment it is understandable that things will need to be replaced. What I like best about AS is the other owners. They are some of the best people you will ever meet. I also like the fact that so much can be replaced as it wears out.

I would not be happy to have to do some of these things if I had a new unit. But water heaters, furnaces, etc. while not cheap can be replaced fairly easily. Flooring can also be replaced.

My advice is worth what you have paid for it. Buy the unit you want. Hold the manufacturer to the warranty on everything. Depending upon where you live, find a shop that specializes in repairing AS. They can take care of everything you need once there is no warranty.

I like P & S Trailer Service in Helena, OH. A couple of people have expressed misgivings about them. They have been in business since 1968 (I think). Talk with them and get their opinion with regard to the issues you have raised. You can find them with a quick google search.

Best wishes.

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Old 11-21-2016, 03:58 PM   #53
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I disagree with those who tell you to buy new. If you take your time and shop around, you can find a rig that has been well-maintained, with most of the problems corrected. With the money you saved buying used, you can then add the extras you desire to make the trailer exactly what you want. My first AS had a few problems when I bought it, but all were corrected by the time I sold it, even though it required a trip to the factory. The guy that bought that trailer got a great trailer at a great price.

All RVs will have problems from time to time. That goes with the territory. Airstreams just don't seem to have as many as the SOBs. Even expensive sports cars require maintenance and repair.
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Old 11-21-2016, 04:03 PM   #54
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Welcome, Gonz: we've had our trailer a little over two years now. We've been to 30 states, pulled her about 28,000 miles and spent about 150 nights in her. We leave tomorrow for 5 nights in the Keys.

The very few quality issues we've had were mostly either non-Airstream items (I replaced two LED ceiling lights) or accidental misuse by us (we must have closed the door with the deadbolt extended and damaged the bolt). We had minor issues with the drawer slides and fixed those ourselves since the nearest AS dealer is 3 hours away. We have also had an intermittent issue with the roof mounted AC unit dripping condensate into the trailer. I think the 90+ degree heat and 110% relative humidity here from April to November has something to do with that. Regular cleaning of the condensate lines and leveling the trailer helps a lot.

We live on a barrier island 1,000' from the beach. The trailer stays at home and outdoors when we are not traveling. The salt air shows some effect, but mostly on non-Airstream parts such as the extension bars on the Fantastic fans.

The quality of our trailer overall has been excellent. It's performance in the salt air has also been excellent, although our maintenance routine has probably helped. I wash it after every trip and wax twice a year. All hinges, gaskets, etc get oiled or hit with silicon during waxing. It's quite a bit of work but we are in it for the long haul.

As for the other items you mentioned, it sounds like you are doing your research. The converter Airstream put in our trailer was junk. For $150 I got a Progressive Dynamics and installed it. It's great. Our trailer came with 16" wheels and Michelin LTX tires. I might have put those on if the factory had used Goodyear Marathons, but you sound like you've learned enough from the forum to make an informed decision on how you want your trailer equipped. I did not go with the AS solar setup and would not if I got a new AS today. I fabricated a Renogy configuration that we use on the ground. I'm thinking those are personal choices, not a reflection on the vehicle Airstream produces.

Although I've never owned any other RV, and therefore can't compare our Airstream to others, this trailer has exceeded our expectations for quality and performance.
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Old 11-21-2016, 04:05 PM   #55
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Take a drive over to Gulfport FoleyRV. They will work with you. I have a 25 FB wife and I enjoy it very much.
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Old 11-21-2016, 04:19 PM   #56
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We have the "squeak" in the floor, and had it in previous models also. p
I had a squeak, and traced it to where the bed frame/storage cabinets touched the floor. A light sanding on the bottom of the cabinet, and the squeak was gone. Maybe yours is the same?
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