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Old 11-22-2016, 03:30 PM   #85
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2017 16' Sport
Detroit , Michigan
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My wife and I are taking delivery of our Airstream 16 Sport in a couple weeks. We have a nearly 30-foot long Coachmen Freedom Express 246RKS TT right now we are trading in.

From day one, we were less than impressed with the Coachmen's quality. We initially wanted Airstream, but like you, weren't entirely sure the cost was "worth it". After our first camping trip with the Coachmen, my wife and I had a talk about how we wished we bought what we wanted.

Long story short, we stopped at an Airstream dealer on a whim and looked at their stock. We instantly fell in love with the 16 Bambi. The quality differences are very noticeable, which sold me. My wife wanted a smaller camper and I try to give her what she wants

To name a few quality concerns of my Coachmen:
- hated the 1/8" plywood everything in the Coachmen (even the shelves of the cabinets were stapled in 1/8" plywood)
- the foam in the couch and dinette cushions was a joke which required, as a result, an instant upgrade to high density foam that could actually support body weight (there was literally no density to them)
- the interior door handles were already wearing out after 2 weekend trips
- the TT came with a no name branded TV and DVD player/audio system that worked poorly
- the cheap plastic faucets and shower hardware were freightening to use (there was no way they were going to last long)
- the floors bowed wherever I stepped (I'm nearly 180 lbs)
- the dinette table was a disaster and was far from user-friendly

After shopping and playing around in the Airstreams, I noticed all of my concerns above were addressed. Not only this, we LOVE the interior and exterior styling of the Bambi Sport models, especially the white wood laminate and aluminum interior panels.

Just like much in life, justifying the Airstream's cost vs. quality as compared with other SOBs is relative. For us, there was no question. My new 2017 Sport 16 is over double the cost new of my SOB for "half" the space. It's worth it to us! My wife and I have a ton of family and friends who think we are crazy, and you know what? We are crazy (which I'm all about ), but this is what we want for the reasons above, many others, and for the comment in the last paragraph of this post.

I should mention my depreciation story. My coachmen was marked 31k MSRP. I purchased it new for 20k out-the-door. My trade-in offers were between 12k and 16k after 4 months of ownership. Talk about a slap in the face.
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Old 11-22-2016, 03:51 PM   #86
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Your story resembles my experience with a 2009 Forest River Wildwood 28RLSS that I traded in on my 2013 Classic 30 in October 2012.
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Old 11-22-2016, 05:54 PM   #87
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Gulf Breeze , Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwill View Post
My wife and I are taking delivery of our Airstream 16 Sport in a couple weeks. We have a nearly 30-foot long Coachmen Freedom Express 246RKS TT right now we are trading in.

From day one, we were less than impressed with the Coachmen's quality. We initially wanted Airstream, but like you, weren't entirely sure the cost was "worth it". After our first camping trip with the Coachmen, my wife and I had a talk about how we wished we bought what we wanted.

Long story short, we stopped at an Airstream dealer on a whim and looked at their stock. We instantly fell in love with the 16 Bambi. The quality differences are very noticeable, which sold me. My wife wanted a smaller camper and I try to give her what she wants

To name a few quality concerns of my Coachmen:
- hated the 1/8" plywood everything in the Coachmen (even the shelves of the cabinets were stapled in 1/8" plywood)
- the foam in the couch and dinette cushions was a joke which required, as a result, an instant upgrade to high density foam that could actually support body weight (there was literally no density to them)
- the interior door handles were already wearing out after 2 weekend trips
- the TT came with a no name branded TV and DVD player/audio system that worked poorly
- the cheap plastic faucets and shower hardware were freightening to use (there was no way they were going to last long)
- the floors bowed wherever I stepped (I'm nearly 180 lbs)
- the dinette table was a disaster and was far from user-friendly

After shopping and playing around in the Airstreams, I noticed all of my concerns above were addressed. Not only this, we LOVE the interior and exterior styling of the Bambi Sport models, especially the white wood laminate and aluminum interior panels.

Just like much in life, justifying the Airstream's cost vs. quality as compared with other SOBs is relative. For us, there was no question. My new 2017 Sport 16 is over double the cost new of my SOB for "half" the space. It's worth it to us! My wife and I have a ton of family and friends who think we are crazy, and you know what? We are crazy (which I'm all about ), but this is what we want for the reasons above, many others, and for the comment in the last paragraph of this post.

I should mention my depreciation story. My coachmen was marked 31k MSRP. I purchased it new for 20k out-the-door. My trade-in offers were between 12k and 16k after 4 months of ownership. Talk about a slap in the face.
Congratulations on your new Airstream!! I am reflecting on every comment provided on this thread and I am going to take my time in making this decision.
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Old 11-22-2016, 06:42 PM   #88
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Gonz,

I'm not sure if this was said in another reply on our post here, but here goes:

Since you're new to RVing, my suggestion would be for you to go view SOB trailers at your local dealer. Really look at them from a quality standpoint. I mean, really look at them! Look at the cabinets (doors, sides, shelves), push on the walls, mess around with the faucets, and jump on the floor. Pretend to use it like you would if you were camping. Take down the dinette, put it back up, lay on the bed, sit on the couches, etc.

Take notes on what you like, what you don't, and what you're unsure of.

Do this in a few different SOBs at a price you're willing to spend. Then go to an Airstream dealer and do all of the above while your SOB experience is fresh in your mind. Take the notes you recorded for the SOBs and record your thoughts on the Airstream and compare away!

Get as detailed as you want! Have fun with it. I am sure you'll find the Airstream to be much more substantial.

Research is great (I personally love researching), but there's nothing than your own biased experience .
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Old 11-22-2016, 06:57 PM   #89
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Vernon , Arizona
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Love this as that is what I personally did. You should have seen me crawling around on the floor of all the different RV's. I lifted the table up and down, made the secondary bed. Lay on both of them and sprawled out. Open every cabinet and sit on the toilet. Pretend to take a shower and even imagine what it will take to clean it!

Picking up my 2017 16' Bambi tomorrow and can't wait.

MsTara


Quote:
Originally Posted by jwill View Post
Gonz,

I'm not sure if this was said in another reply on our post here, but here goes:

Since you're new to RVing, my suggestion would be for you to go view SOB trailers at your local dealer. Really look at them from a quality standpoint. I mean, really look at them! Look at the cabinets (doors, sides, shelves), push on the walls, mess around with the faucets, and jump on the floor. Pretend to use it like you would if you were camping. Take down the dinette, put it back up, lay on the bed, sit on the couches, etc.

Take notes on what you like, what you don't, and what you're unsure of.

Do this in a few different SOBs at a price you're willing to spend. Then go to an Airstream dealer and do all of the above while your SOB experience is fresh in your mind. Take the notes you recorded for the SOBs and record your thoughts on the Airstream and compare away!

Get as detailed as you want! Have fun with it. I am sure you'll find the Airstream to be much more substantial.

Research is great (I personally love researching), but there's nothing than your own biased experience .
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Old 11-23-2016, 06:16 AM   #90
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Gonz, coming up Jan 5-8 is The Canopener Rally will be held close to you at Topsail State Park. Should be about 150 trailers in attendance. There will be an open house on Saturday the 7th. It would give you an oportunity to view many different Airstreams and talk directly to owners. I think you will find in face to face conversations that virtually all are happy with their decision warts and all to become Airstreamers. There might also be a dealer in attendance with a couple of new AIRSTREAM's for viewing. I will be in spot #70 and would be very happy to welcome you to my trailer and try to answer any questions you may have.
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Old 11-23-2016, 08:56 AM   #91
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Gulf Breeze , Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AWCHIEF View Post
Gonz, coming up Jan 5-8 is The Canopener Rally will be held close to you at Topsail State Park. Should be about 150 trailers in attendance. There will be an open house on Saturday the 7th. It would give you an oportunity to view many different Airstreams and talk directly to owners. I think you will find in face to face conversations that virtually all are happy with their decision warts and all to become Airstreamers. There might also be a dealer in attendance with a couple of new AIRSTREAM's for viewing. I will be in spot #70 and would be very happy to welcome you to my trailer and try to answer any questions you may have.
Michael, thank you so much for that bit of information and for the invite. I may very well just take you up on that.

Ironically, I was just told by one of my co-workers to look up TopSail. He just bought an RV (SOB). I looked it up online and it looked like a very nice place to stay with its own private beach.

Thanks again!
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Old 11-23-2016, 09:01 AM   #92
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Gulf Breeze , Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsTara View Post
Love this as that is what I personally did. You should have seen me crawling around on the floor of all the different RV's. I lifted the table up and down, made the secondary bed. Lay on both of them and sprawled out. Open every cabinet and sit on the toilet. Pretend to take a shower and even imagine what it will take to clean it!

Picking up my 2017 16' Bambi tomorrow and can't wait.

MsTara
Very nice! Congratulations! I did look at other SOBs and did some of what others recommended which is why I immediately gravitated towards AS. I just had no idea they were that expensive and as my original post indicated, with some inevitable issues. Based on all the outstanding feedback I have received, I am convinced that albeit some relatively small issues which is to be expected, overall, AS is still the best trailer out there.

Once again congrats and enjoy!!
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Old 11-23-2016, 11:07 AM   #93
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I think that those who are happiest with their coaches, regardless of brand, are those who buy a coach that really matches their needs and wants. They also are proactive in caring for their coaches, constantly looking for small problems and dealing with them before they become big problems.
Gonz, the above statement by kbOzke gets to the heart of the matter. No TT will be perfect. Here is what I did. I bought a gently used 2006 AS. It was several years old when I bought it. It was priced about equal to a new other brand of far less quality. I have done some upgrading the most expensive of which are 5 new aluminum wheels and Michelin tires. That was just for my peace of mind. I paid about the price the factory would charge for that upgrade. A gently used trailer will have most or maybe all of the kinks worked out. Mine did.

Take a look at how many old trailers you see on the road. Most will be AS. No trailer will take you from cradle to grave with no problems. I am happy with my purchase. Your experience may vary. Good luck.
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Old 11-24-2016, 05:26 PM   #94
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WOW! Hot topic here.
7 pages and still going!
It shows a lot of passion for our Airstreams.

Trailer Trash............"
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Old 11-24-2016, 06:10 PM   #95
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My 2016 Classic had a laundry list of problems, some egregious.

I sent this list to Airstream customer service email and was ignored. Take it for what it's worth.
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Old 11-24-2016, 06:54 PM   #96
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My 2016 Classic had a laundry list of problems, some egregious.

I sent this list to Airstream customer service email and was ignored. Take it for what it's worth.

Easy solution, Give them a phone call and make an appointment.
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Old 11-24-2016, 08:59 PM   #97
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Since I was the one to make the original comment about making sure that the dealer makes some money on the sale and two people have taken issue with that, let me explain what I meant. Pick up almost any sales brochure for an RV and on the back you will see something to the effect that you ought to buy from your local dealer, as otherwise you might not get all of the warranty work that you deserve because the dealer will put his own customers ahead of you. Perhaps that isn't true of Airstream dealers, but enough people have reported that is IS true for their coaches that I would assume it to be an industry-wide standard. There are several dealers who are known nation-wide for their low prices, to the point that people have reported they have driven 1000 miles one-way to get their new coaches and have saved money, even counting the fuel, hotels, meals, etc. of the trip. Then they find out that their local dealer won't do the warranty work on their coach in a timely manner, and the local dealer "suggests" that they take it back where they bought it. Had they purchased locally they would have paid a bit more initially, but the dealer would have more readily done the work needed.

I've also heard that some manufacturers pay a flat rate for warranty work, not what the dealership charges their customers. That means, for example, that if the manufacturer pays $95/hour for warranty work, but the dealer charges $115/hour for labor, the dealership loses $20/hour on warranty work.

It seems to me that the recreational vehicle industry needs to take a good, hard look at how they compare to the automobile industry. No matter what car or truck you buy new, every dealer for that brand is contractually obligated to handle warranty work for it in a timely manner. Too many complaints and the franchise is revoked.

As for the quality of Airstreams vs other brands, well, that's been discussed (and cussed) often enough. Go to http://www.nadaguides.com/RVs and look up the MSRP of a brand-new Airstream, a 10-year-old one, and a 20-year-old one (same model, of course). Not the current price compared to the original MSRP. Do the same for some other brand. For some you can't go back 10 years, much less 20 years. For those that you can, how much of the original price do you get back at each of those marks? Now go to http://www.rvtrader.com/ and see if you can find one of those other brands that is 10 or 20 years old. Better yet, go to some of the used camper lots and look at them. Pretty sad, aren't they? Which would you rather have?
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Old 11-25-2016, 02:27 PM   #98
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Nice posts, Kb0zke.

I've told several people over the years to not worry over the brand of new car, but to find out what dealership in their area was renowned for service. That long term relationship means more than the small brand differences of today.

And the joke about SOBs is that the finance note exists longer than the RV to which it is attached.


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