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Old 11-30-2016, 06:48 AM   #99
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To Carl 2591
After 39 years in the car business I can confidently tell you that the old wives tale that "Just like car dealers the larger dealers get better "deals" from the manf with a lower price point invoice" is just that an old wives tale...a myth perpetuated by large volume dealers. I was a Ford dealer selling 400 units a month and my "factory invoice price" was exactly the same as a dealer selling 25 unit a month and we received no volume discounts. Automobile dealers and Airstream dealers are franchisees and as such are covered by certain state franchise laws that prevent a manufacturer from have preferential pricing from one dealer to another. It is true however volume can cover a lot of mistakes. So a large volume dealer can sell a unit at a stupid price and more easily cover it with the volume and pricing on other units. But if a large volume dealer sells them all at unsustainable margins he goes out of business just as quick as the small dealer. Bottom line...find a reputable dealer and work hard to get a good deal then go enjoy your new trailer!


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Old 11-30-2016, 07:51 AM   #100
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If considering whether Airstreams are worth the extra cash, have a look at other brand trailers and Airstream trailers after a rollover crash.

The similarity is that both will be total financial losses, the difference is that one is a pile of debris, and the other is still recognizable as a trailer.

Or, for another example have a look at Burnside Bob's thread. Would any SOB survive that fire to be resurrected? I don't think so.

There is a fundamental difference in an Airstream and all others made, in my time on this forum it seems that most of the problems with Airstreams are gadgety quirks and from long term neglect regarding water infiltration.


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Old 12-01-2016, 01:15 PM   #101
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For those considering an RV purchase of any kind, especially when new to this lifestyle, our favorite advice is "Rent an RV for the weekend." Both SOBs and Airstreams are available for rent. There is a large RV dealership in Florida, featured on Travel Channel's "Big Time RV" which rents and sells. Might be possible they will work with you on a rental price if you make it clear you're in the market to buy, providing you're satisfied with the rental experience.

That weekend rental will also give you the opportunity to see how you like different campgrounds and RV parks in your area. Of course, snow bird migrations are under way right now, so an open RV space in Florida might be tricky right now.
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Old 12-01-2016, 01:20 PM   #102
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I think renting is good advice, particularly to see if you like the whole "camping" experience. But just renting is not going to show you where Airstream cut corners, used cheap materials, or made it difficult to do maintenance. I am afraid that all of that is part of the ownership experience. Some people drink the Kool-Aid and love it, no matter what and some do not.
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Old 12-01-2016, 11:08 PM   #103
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AS Quality? Your thoughts, is it worth it? Disillusioned Potential Buyer

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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?

This topic has been addressed at length in older threads. Have a look. Several professional restorers have weighed in on the topic as well as some astute owners.

Short version:

Are they as well made as fifty years ago? No.

Is there a good excuse for this? No.

Are most problems settled to owners satisfaction? Yes (it appears).

Airstream was the Chevrolet of the all-aluminum trailers. High labor costs due to design and construction methods doomed the others from the upmarket. Airstream was a vanity purchase by THOR. Which is the only thing which saved it.

If the basic design and materials (shell) wasn't so good, it wouldn't matter how grand the interior amenities.

The beginning of these trailers was the gigantic amount of scrap aluminum from after the war, and the skilled labor from building airplanes at hand. Wouldn't have happened without that and the fortuitous appearance of the Interstate System plus rising incomes with a single family wage earner. They were never cheap when new.

All that said, the experience you'll find around here is such that I like to say that for every problem there are at least three solutions.

They last indefinitely. One can buy in at reduced cost to about the 25-year mark without undue worry. Older than that may need $$$ labor, generally said. It's all about condition. 10-years is not old.
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Old 12-02-2016, 01:42 AM   #104
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As part of the pre-purchase experience, carefully look at the rivet count on a narrow body 30/31 foot Classic and then at the side of a newer wide body model. The number of rivets used have gone down on the newer models. A single rivet costs?????

So we have added additional rivets to the sides of our 2014 31' Classic where A&P Vintage Trailer Works said they are needed from their repair work experience.

This is an absurd cost cutting that could have negative impacts of the longevity of the body shell on the newer models.

The 2017 Classics are now all computer controlled. Airstream has to have spare parts for seven years. Eight years out, what happens when the computer dies???? Truly, this is significant planned obsolescence where the ones made in 2016 or earlier with all manual operation can be easily repaired for years.
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Old 12-02-2016, 05:16 AM   #105
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Two weeks ago I stopped by the local dealer and looked at the new Airstreams. The dealer has set them up now fully powered- hooked up and I got to finally hear the ducted AC on a low setting (they had been on all day), it was very nice. As to the quality, In my opinion, Airstreams are overpriced comparatively speaking. Quality seems to vary from unit to unit. I have been in new ones that the floor popped up and down and rivets inside were sticking out, etc,. and filiform was already starting (took pics). That said, my unit is solid. I have now seen my unit's floor- all dry no rot and know about most of the quirks. I guess for my statement, I would say they are a solid product with some hand-made issues unit to unit. What Switz mentions though is also a concern. I am bothered over the heating system in the new ones for that reason.
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Old 12-02-2016, 09:08 AM   #106
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I think the term "overpriced" in a free market is misunderstood. If they were "overpriced", they would not be selling all the trailers they make. It's called supply and demand. There is demand for this trailer at that price. So they are priced right.

If they priced them at $300K each and sold every one they made, they would not be overpriced. It's simple market economics.
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Old 12-02-2016, 09:18 AM   #107
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With Switz I, too, do not care for computerized controls for the coach. Bad enough on appliances. A new level of planned obsolescence.

One figures that the expensive control components for a solar electric system can simply be swapped out. One HOPES this may so for controls built into expensive refrigerators and hydronic heating systems, etc.

How much is Airstreams "fault" is another matter.

On my 1989 build Silver Streak the tank/battery monitors, water pump switch are built into the range hood[!]

As it needs to go I'll have to come up with something else. But plenty of wall space available. Not serious, just somewhat aggravating.

That said, these don't affect long term reliability.

Skin rivers another matter.
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Old 12-02-2016, 12:45 PM   #108
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My take on JC airstream. They just don't seem to be interested in providing any data on older units. I called and asked what length a piece of metal is that they call out in the parts section... my response was .. we don't support those older units. Makes you wonder why... and why they dont put the dim in their parts manual.. I don't think your going to find someone that is going to steal the design... but if they don't support the trailer after 7 years... why not tell the owner what data he needs.
Too many things that AS uses in their trailers are sub contracts... and JC gets 'em on discount. The contractor then goes out of business because they make a defective unit... and AS keeps putting them in until the warehouse stock runs out.
I had to laugh when someone said that they were the best engineered trailer... WHAT ENGINEERS... call JC and ask to talk to the engineer... you get a manager or marketing gal... My example is of course the tire issue... when owners out their are chaining their trailers gear and the factory is still pushing the junk... This web on the internet should be read by the "ENGINEERS" at JC... and find out what is working and what isn't.
... another issue that I have is that they still are clear coating the alu... for corrosion control... when they could get the metal supplied with a alodine or other means of providing the protection.. similar to what avion trailers did. They are good for life... where as even the new trailers in 7 to 10 years will start looking like they have cancer and require costly rework....
The other issue that I have is the promoting people who falant their newest copy of the expensive glamping trailer. Indeed do we need all the auto stuff on a camping trailer... are new owners so lazy that they can't go out and light the water heater ? Need computer controlled appliances ? Its supposed to be a camping trailer... not a space ship.
... and yes the newer built trailers are looking cheap. I now know what the inside of my beer can looks like after going to the RV show...
..... I agreee that the 10 year old to about 40 year old units are much more warm and still usable. Of course the cost is down where others can afford to buy 'em. I have been heard making the comment.. yep you can buy a brand new one... for 6 digits... just make sure you get the warrentee... your going to need it... where as the older ones.. you can buy 3 of them for the same price.. and if they go turtle... recycle the alu and move on to the next one... your still money ahead... As to the years.. and being newer..... if you camp in both old and new.. bet you can't tell the difference... except for your wallet being lighter...
As to airstream vs the box trailers... indeed the airstreams are lighter and tow with less problems... which is one advantage for them but the box boys have a point... the curved sides cut the storage issue...
..... Ya pays your money and takes your chance... whichever you buy.
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Old 12-02-2016, 04:35 PM   #109
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Well here we are putting into another campsite yesterday for a few weeks. Into our sixth year with this Airstream, traveled through every state in the west and midwest, most of the east, over 1200 nights camping in it. It is comfortable, easy and stable to tow with a light truck or SUV, and looks beautiful (as many will tell you in your travels).

We use our Airstream extensively and maintain it well. Have upgraded some items and customized it as we have gone along, but never had an original equipment failure or anything breaking or coming undone going down the road. No corrosion anywhere. It looks as good as new inside and out.

We have had excellent Airstream quality, and held up our side of the deal. We inspect, service and maintain it regularly and tow it with no more heavy suspension truck than we need. Trailer tires are set to load tables rather than sidewalk maximum, and we load the truck bed moderately to help keep flexibility in our w.d. hitch.

Would we buy another new Airstream? Absolutely, if an when we need one.
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Old 12-03-2016, 01:15 AM   #110
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I brt the shell and chassis costs more for Airstream to make than many other similar sized trailers sell for retail. Just food for thought.


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