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Old 11-21-2016, 06:13 PM   #71
Rivet Master
2005 30' Classic
Burlington , Ontario
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May be a bit off topic but from what I have heard, I'm thinking that the "Oliver" (discussed in another thread) sounds more like my idea of a quality product - all kinds of marine grade stainless steel fittings and latches etc., instead of the junk we get!

Im guessing a lot less prone to damaging leaks as well.

If I were looking for another RV after our present AS, I think I'd be taking a close look at one of them!

Unfortunately, I don't think they make one large enough to keep "Mrs Wingeezer" happy, she seems to think that anything smaller than what we now have won't do the trick so I'd have some convincing to do!


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Old 11-21-2016, 08:15 PM   #72
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Gulf Breeze , Florida
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To all, thanks again for the wealth of information. For those that mentioned Icon, that's nice but not my motivation at all. My motivation was the quality compared to SOB (I just learned what that meant, thanks to the person that defined it in his reply). The other thing that I love about the AS and have not seen it in any other camper that size is that nice open feeling. I like that the sitting/table area in the back is so bright and open with all the windows. I can just see the wife and I having a cup of Joe and enjoying the view.

My head is spinning!! but in a good way. I can tell you trying to make this decision has been one heck of a roller coaster ride! I have learned quite a bit from all of your replies. Unfortunately, none of the nearby dealers have what I want. One reply mentioned to check out Foley RV in Mississippi, I did and they gave me a good price but that's the trailer that "creaked" and it did not have the window awnings which I feel I need for the Florida sun if I want to camp anytime near summer.

I have been given a good price from a dealer in Ohio that has everything I want but he is about a 12.5hr drive from where I live. I am leaning towards putting a deposit in a day or two. It's a FC25FB with two 90 watt factory panels. I guess I will leave everything stock until I can figure out what "boiling" the battery means and if I need to change out the charger and inverter etc. I only saw one reply that said they were happy with the factory equipment ref solar panel and display etc.

If I pull the trigger, I will post it and I am sure I will be doing a lot of reading to learn how to repair things and what items/models of other items seem to work best as follow on improvements.

Again, I cannot thank all of you for your candid remarks. The possibility has me pretty excited. Oh, I failed to mention, my wife has absolutely no idea I am doing this research and ready to pull the trigger. I know what she likes because we visited a dealer about a month ago, but since then I have not said anything. If I move forward, I will be closing the deal before Christmas. If all goes well, I will park it in our driveway on Xmas eve, place a big red bow on it and well, after she opens up a miniature toy model of it, I will lead her to the driveway.

More to follow....

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Old 11-21-2016, 09:08 PM   #73
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Rancho Murieta , California
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This is a vehicle that travels down the road, over pot holes, etc. RV'ing is a "Hobby!" If you want perfection, try the Four Seasons. While I'm not trying to be sarcastic, I am trying to be realistic.
Trust me when I say, there is nothing more fun than an Airstream. If you JUST want a trailer, buy a fiberglass box with limited windows and that lovely five shades of brown interior. It should last 8-10 years.
If you want something special, buy an Airstream.
Whatever you decide on, just have fun!
Best of Luck!
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:26 PM   #74
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Highland , California
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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?
Gone I'm sure you will read if you have not already that most of the posts are from those who have had some problems with their unit. I would venture to say that the vast majority who have had no problems with their units, you never hear from. Currenty, I have a 25 FB and this December will pick up a 30 FC. I have owned trailers by other manufactures and by far I find the AS dollar for dollar worth the price you pay for the unit. Sure buyers expectations are high and they should be but you cannot compare the manufacturing process of the AS as good as it with modern automotive manufacturing. It's apples and oranges. That being said 95% of all the problems I have had with my 25 FB AS have been with part suppliers (pumps, battery chargers, toilets, vent fans, AC units, water heaters, axels) that supply all the other trailer manufactures too. I have had very little go wrong with the AS trailer itself.
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Old 11-22-2016, 12:28 AM   #75
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A long but interesting thread!

Welcome to the forum Gonz. I think one of the best posts was from Switz. He really hit the nail on the head when it comes to weekly output. I was at the new factory last March when our Pendleton was being built and they were approaching 80 units per week. At that time the backlog was 1360 units. Was there last week for factory service (those guys ROCK!) and the backlog is a bit less but still a busy place. Many new employees and training are always an issue. They work 9 hour shifts M-Th and 7-12 noon on Friday. No second shifts, no overtime... (I can't say "never") just a steady, life balanced, employee centric AMERICAN company. Ownership has changed a few times over the years but they have survived. I've heard the number as high 90% are still in existence. Not all on the road, but the renovation and restoration market is a big part of the Airstream community.

This 8 part article by Greg Gerber is a very interesting read. Download it here:

Airstream uses the same "off the shelf" components that every other RV manufacturer uses for appliances, AC, furnace, hot water heaters etc.There are some grade differences but by and large "parts is parts". I so want to begin the upgrade process, like the multi-stage converter but my dealer always seems to be "two weeks out" and I'm not thrilled with the the shop environment. Looks more like a junkyard than an RV shop. I did have them install the "stainless package"- exterior access doors & vent hood cover and it went OK.

Quality is hard to define. These are still handmade, and after 10K miles since April I can attest to the fact that things get shaken about and often need some "adjustment".

Good luck with your search and enjoy. Best advice we ever received: "expect the unexpected".

Don't look back, you're not headed there anyway
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Old 11-22-2016, 02:07 AM   #76
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I found that a new airstream is nice but expensive. You can buy 3 older ones for the same price. If it fails... you can move on to the next one. Older AS seem to have a better warmth to them than the new beer can look inside. Several people have bought them and got out the paint brush and did their own thing.

Thus I recommend that you not discount the used older units. I think that back then they had better craftsmanship... and prices were considered. Today its ... get it out the door... and let the new owner find the problems.

Another issue that I have come across is that down in the texas area... they had sever flooding.. and a lot of new trailers setting on the dealers lot got flooded above the floor line... thus the OSB board floors are not the wood they started out to be.

AS are light.. if they put more metal and ribs into the frame... it would be much heavier and costly to tow. Avion trailers are heavy but, when they made 'em they didn't skimp on the materials or craftmanship.

So you takes your choices. If I may recommend... don't get the newest... with what you think you wanted on it... get a good one... and put WHAT YOU want on it. That way you can be your own quality control. Solar cells are nice but do you really need them are questions you should be asking. A lot of these accessories only end up costing big bux and in the end are high maintenance items. The golden rule is ... keep it simple... and you might not regret the day you got it.

As to size... it usually take two or three different trailers to settle down on what you personally need or want. You can ask 100 people and you will get 100 different answers.. as each person has their own likes and dislikes.

Before you buy any trailer have it surveyed by a rep service... that way you will get the full picture of what the trailer is. Others have touched on the resale value... so we won't go their. .. but... don't feel like the brand new trailer is better... remember today getting the product out the door is the profit margin. Older AS have seen the road... and most have walked the walk and had repairs or mods done to them at the owners idea of a good time.

A small trailer might be what others say is good... but you won't know until you have spent time with it... Its too bad that you can't rent 'em... then that way you can see what size is right for you... Good luck and happy trails... G.M>
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Old 11-22-2016, 08:15 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
I am going to jump in again here as one of the "complainers". I do not complain just to complain; the reason is that I am disappointed. Over my life I have been conditioned to expect to pay for quality. Certainly this was true in cars and boats, homes, home repairs, electronics, and so on. Well, my whole point with Airstream is that the quality does not meet my expectation based on the price premium. I am not selling my Airstream, I am using it. I do not wish I had bought another brand.
But, after 3.5 years I now know about their construction methods, their shortcuts, their materials and it is my opinion that they do not deserve the price premium they command. With their QC you may get a perfect trailer, as many have, or you may get a lot of problems, as some have. Yet even if you get a perfect trailer, you need to be aware of the blemishes, like the converter/charger that will cook your batteries. Yes, it is all my fault. I did not have to buy an Airstream. I can even accept that there are none better, but I am still disappointed, having owned boats and cars with real quality built in.
I don't understand the constant harangue about Batteries and Battery Chargers. Our 2013 30' International is plugged in 24/7/365 except when on the road or camping without full hookup. Original batteries and charger. Same thing with my boat in FL. In that the original charger finally went after 6 years.
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Old 11-22-2016, 08:23 AM   #78
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Anna Maria , Florida
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One major component of the increased cost of an Airstream is the Aluminum shell and Frame construction.
Go and spend some time on SOB forums and read about all the Delamination and Moisture problems with fiberglass campers.
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Old 11-22-2016, 08:55 AM   #79
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Vernon , Arizona
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I am picking up my new Airstream Bambi 16' tomorrow. I have also been down the same road as you. If I made decisions based upon this forum (or any forum) I would never step outside my door or buy a single thing.

Many people have said why they went with Airstream and even the ones that discount it still have one. I believe that is telling.

Why did I buy it... Well, it is gorgeous and unique but that is a personal thing.

I also thought about aerodynamics and driving down the road and this was a major seller for me. Check out this video and watch the difference in handling.

The final element that sold me on it was just walking in and out of multiple different RV's. I used to own a Class A Damon Daybreak which was a very nice trailer on its own, but not very easy to get up and go. When I decided I wanted to get out of a Class A I started to look at trailers both old and new (if you want to see how your trailer will last long term look at the older models for sale and see how they weathered). I looked at Casitas and they looked cheap as they aged, I also looked at TABs and walked in them and they didn't feel luxurious. I can go on and on about each of the models that I looked at and what specifically I didn't like. At the end of the day, I decided on an Airstream KNOWING the aluminum and the aircraft styling meant I would need to be more diligent on maintenance but 10, 20, 30, and even 50 (I won't be around) years from now this trailer will still be beautiful, on the road and safe to pull.

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Old 11-22-2016, 09:33 AM   #80
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Great video demonstration why it is also important to consider Airstream's independent suspension and low center of gravity. And perhaps why not to mess with it.

Similar considerations for selecting a tow vehicle.
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Old 11-22-2016, 10:23 AM   #81
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Vernon , Arizona
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Interesting that you mention the center of gravity and don't mess with it :-)

I will be pulling with a Porsche Macan, which is VERY tire particular (putting it mildly) and I have been reading all of these posts about raising the ride height of the Airstream and changing the tires from 14 to 15 (or even 16). One of my concerns about doing EITHER of the above is how does that change the aerodynamics of the Airstream. Coming from a sports car enthusiast back ground, one of the rules is "don't mess with the aerodynamics". I have chosen to not go down that path, but am continuing to read the forums to learn more about it.

Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Great video demonstration why it is also important to consider Airstream's independent suspension and low center of gravity. And perhaps why not to mess with it.

Similar considerations for selecting a tow vehicle.
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Old 11-22-2016, 10:42 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by MsTara View Post
Interesting that you mention the center of gravity and don't mess with it :-)

I will be pulling with a Porsche Macan, which is VERY tire particular (putting it mildly) and I have been reading all of these posts about raising the ride height of the Airstream and changing the tires from 14 to 15 (or even 16). One of my concerns about doing EITHER of the above is how does that change the aerodynamics of the Airstream. Coming from a sports car enthusiast back ground, one of the rules is "don't mess with the aerodynamics". I have chosen to not go down that path, but am continuing to read the forums to learn more about it.

Andrew Thomson at Can Am is the one to ask about using better than ST tires for your rig. Made the above video. But larger wheels don't necessarily mean a taller trailer, not meaningfully. That said, some of the Michelin line he recommends has a good record.

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Old 11-22-2016, 10:50 AM   #83
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If you have a doubt, run! You will always harbor that doubt. Then your experience becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. I'd rather not encourage you to get one only to come back and complain. Complain to others about airstream. Demote the brand, and turn others away.

I will tell you my first motorhome was the one I have now. I had zero experience, and decided to take the plunge. I have been disappointed in craftsmanship at nearly every turn because I was accustomed to working on cars. It was not until I read an article that RV's are not held to the same standards as cars that I realized I was approaching it wrong.

RV's are a low density market. There is no room for profit if you create custom wiring harnesses, engineer systems, and create at the same level of the multi-million unit auto industry.

So in the case of my coach, they made 27 in three years. It's frankensteined together and totally different from coach to coach because it took 1.5 months per coach to make, and depending who was on shift could depend on how it was frankensteined. We went on a tour of Jackson Center and saw how they are made, and it all made perfect sense. Everyone there works 9-5pm, and it is obvious they care about what they do. You will not find that kind of work or quality anywhere else in the US for RVs.

I find much less frustration in my coach's original construction than I do in the shody and disappointing work of any service center I have taken it to. I find I can do any job they would for less $$$, and better quality, but I like to fix things, am mechanically and electrically inclined. Most recently I had the head gasket go out while on vacation. Took a few days to have it fixed, only to blow within 120 miles, fixed it under warranty, blew again at 300 miles, fixed it again under warranty, and 28 days later with all my vacation time used, it was good.

I would recommend purchasing a used one if you have concerns with quality. Say from the 80's... maybe the 70's... perhaps the 60's... then purchase a comparable SOB from the same era. Except you cannot for the 70's and 60's because they have all fallen apart. No matter your thoughts about the quality, 70% ever made are still on the road.

I will tell you this: If you are going to buy an airstream you need to be one of two things:
1. Rich to cover the cost of all the repairs over the years with no concerns
2. Mechanically and electrically inclined so you can deal with them yourself

You cannot be easily frustrated by setbacks (Every time you take it out something will break).

Based off of your reservations stated thus far. I would again encourage you not to do it, simply because I greatly enjoy my airstream with all its flaws and constant work required, and I think it would be outside of your desired intent. I do not want you to go into this significant purchase with a negative attitude, get one, and then tarnish the brand when you are unsatisfied, potentially influencing another's decision not to get one.
1994 36' Classic Diesel Pusher
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Old 11-22-2016, 01:50 PM   #84
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2016 30' Flying Cloud
Blenheim Ontario , Ontario
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The MAIN reason that I chose Airstream is of course, the expected quality built in; but more important was the aerodynamic shape of it.
Having a Hi-Lo meant easy pulling in handling and gas milage.
I wanted similar in the replacement trailer.

Also, when in an open 'campground' with high winds bashing at you, the 'box' style trailers, including the Hi-Lo, were vulnerable to the winds, as some videos have shown.
The Airstream's rounded shape helps to preclude that. It will ride out a strong wind a lot better than others,
I find that towing the AS is not hard on gas as the 'Boxcars' on the road, and my mileage reflects that.
My first AS, a 25'er FC had some quality and design issues. My 30'er is very comfortable, easy to use, and 'home' to us on the road.
My only issue with it, is the bathroom sink draining into the black tank, shortening it's duration.
Ahh! Nothings perfect! Other than that, a very comfortable and workable 'home'.

Trailer Trash waiting for Spring to hit the road.

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