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Old 11-20-2016, 01:19 PM   #1
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AS Quality? Your thoughts, is it worth it? Disillusioned Potential Buyer

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?
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:28 PM   #2
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While I have done some things to update my trailer, it was elective surgery, not things that I had to do to use and enjoy the trailer. Example: updating the converter/charger to a better model.

The only thing that actually needed to be done was fixing the failed power jack, which turned out to be a bad motor. The floor shouldn't creak. Ours doesn't.

I love to tinker, and the trailer provides lots of opportunities for that kind of thing.
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:31 PM   #3
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AS Quality? Your thoughts, is it worth it? Disillusioned Potential Buyer

I recommend a trip to the factory in Jackson Center, Ohio to see how they are built. That is what sealed the deal for us. No other factory built RV compares. Even with all of the "issues" you read about here, you will still have a solid RV in 10 years with an Airstream. Not so much with other brands. It is an investment you need to take care of. Recommend you find covered or indoor storage, invest in a quality hitch system, use an adequate tow vehicle, and enjoy the riveted lifestyle.

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Old 11-20-2016, 01:37 PM   #4
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If you are already disappointed, you certainly will be later. We enjoy camping with our Airstream, but it is not worth the price premium. If you must have an Airstream because it is an icon, you will just live with the possible issues. I keep hearing that nobody builds them better for the same price. Sad if that is true.
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:42 PM   #5
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I have probably addressed the "stats" view of this a dozen times (small % of buyers in the forums, high % of complaints vs. "all is well" posts, weekly production numbers vs. # of complaints, etc. etc.). I won't repeat it here.

If you're expecting perfection, it doesn't exist in any product.

The vast majority of AS owners are happy campers. Some of the quality misses are embarrassingly stupid, frustrating and inexcusable - still, it's the best trailer on the planet as far as concerned. I bought new in 2012 - no big issues, 4 seasons of awesome fun so far.

Good luck!
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:50 PM   #6
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I lurk around several different TT boards. Funny thing is that the complaints and construction issues are virtually identical for every brand. Plus few go on a public forum to praise a manufacturer compared to complainers. Instead of dealing with the maker in the first place it is easier to complain to a bunch of strangers on the Internet.
To me Airstream ownership is as much a thing of the heart as much as any other reason. You either get it or you don't.
Personally I would recommend buying a several year old model and let someone else deal with any QC and warranty issues. Less ulcers that way.
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:53 PM   #7
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For every complaint you read about, there are many owners out there that never have any problems. The most important thing to look for is a manufacturer that will be there if you have a problem (Airstream will be) and a dealer with a good service department (there are some but you will have to look for them). We have had a few issues but they have all been resolved as of now. My brother recently bought a Class C from a well known manufacturer and on his first trip ALL his cabinet doors came apart. This was in August and his dealer said they could look at it in December and it would take 4 weeks to repair. He is still waiting.
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Old 11-20-2016, 02:03 PM   #8
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My only worry is leaks (I keep it in covered storage) and the tires (addressing that now). A new Bambi costs more than a nice box trailer and good used tow vehicle put together. I bought used; I would always rather someone else take the depreciation hit.

I ignore Consumer Reports and other rags when buying stuff. I bought an airstream because it's an icon and built next door on Ohio. Everything in my 4 year old trailer works perfectly except the sound system (someone messed with that). It's a breeze to tow and park.

My biggest issue with trailers and cars/trucks is always wanting a larger one. But it'll be another airstream.
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Old 11-20-2016, 02:05 PM   #9
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If you walk into a hospital and ask "are there any sick people here?", the number of complaints may surprise you.

That's what it's like coming into these forums.

Don't get me wrong, the forums are wonderful, full of wonderful people. But Internet forums in general attract people with problems, looking for answers.

So don't let the forums discourage you.

Bottom line: there's a reason Airstream has been in business so long and command such a price premium. They make quality products.

Are they perfect? Of course not. Nobody is. As with anything hand made by humans, there will be variations in quality. But Airstream is by far the best travel trailer out there, period.

You, as a consumer, need to also do your homework. Buying a trailer is not like buying a car. Sure, there are warranties, but you are basically pulling a house. Getting service is not as easy as with a car. And some things you're better off fixing yourself. This forum is a great resource.

So go buy yourself an Airstream and keep a positive attitude. Enjoy! With any luck you'll be like the majority of Airstream owners that never even post here because they're out there enjoying their Airstream.

Good luck!
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Old 11-20-2016, 02:07 PM   #10
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Buy New

Personally I would recommend buying a new trailer. This way you are assured that the few deficiencies that appear are dealt with to your satisfaction, whereas with a used trailer you could just be buying the previous owner's problems with a trailer that is now out of warranty.

Another advantage of buying new is that you get the exact floor plans and features that you want. Any upgrades that you want - such as solar, converter etc. can be done to your specification and needs, not those of previous owner.

With new, you also know that the tires have always been properly inflated and that the running gear hasn't been subjected to abuse and that the trailer has been properly winterized (if the trailer is from a northern climate.)

The disadvantage of buying new is that there could be a large hit on depreciation if you decide to sell within a few years. However, if your plan is to keep the trailer for a long time then the depreciation difference between a new vs used trailer purchase becomes negligible.
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Old 11-20-2016, 02:31 PM   #11
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The quality of build issues probably still remain, but not on all Airstreams. We bought ours fresh from the factory, went through it with a fine-toothed comb and found not a single issue, bought it on the spot and had them lock it up until we could get it home (showrooms and rv shows are not gentle to rv's).

Inspect the Airstream before you buy it, if you don't like the floor squeak, move on to another. Maybe he dealer can fix it to your satisfaction, maybe not.

The Airstream is a high quality shell and interior cabinetry. The shell is metal and susceptible to corrosion on a salt water coastal or winter road salt. We treat ours often with corrosion preventive products and have no corrosion anywhere in our sixth year. However if we planned extensive use on the beach, we should not have a metal trailer.

Our cabinetry, floor and interior is like new after 1200 nights camping in it. We take good care of it, use floor covering in sandy camping environments (most of them), keep it clean, and use a soft suspension tow vehicle with a flexible weight distribution hitch. Nothing has come loose or broken, and have had no original equipment failures with extensive cross-country travel.

Our original equipment and solar system all perform well. After two years we began to upgrade equipment to match our travel and camping needs. More reliable tires, higher capacity batteries, multi-stage charger, recliner seating and custom cabinetry for long term living room comfort, sway elimination hitch, vent covers, space heater, Sleep Number mattress last year.

It's near perfect for us and our travels, we inspect and maintain it regularly, it's as nice as new. No other travel trailer pulls or handles as nicely, our light truck handles it with ease. Hardly expensive, for us it's the best buy in the market.

You will like your Airstream only if you are satisfied with the build quality at purchase, inspect and maintain it and fix it as needed (which it most probably will), plan on upgrading equipment to suit you. If in doubt, shop elsewhere.
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Old 11-20-2016, 02:53 PM   #12
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AS qualilty

All, thanks for your inputs. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, I am aware that all builders have issues, I have owned cars, boats etc and agree but RVs is completely new to me. I am still enthused and excited about the possibility, just got concerned. Thanks FCstreamer, you are right on!

I do live in coastal Florida so now interested in the post that mentioned rust. I guess I'll have to stay on top of it like I have done with my boat and car.

Thanks again!
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:42 PM   #13
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Welcome, gonz. Any brand-specific forum is a good place to learn about that particular brand. Yes, there will be lots of questions about things that don't work as the owner thinks they should because this is the place to ask about such things. Sometimes the thing is working properly and the operator isn't.

Remember that nothing built by people is going to be perfect - ever. Much of Airstream is hand-made stuff, so there will be some variations and imperfections. As was mentioned above, go visit the factory. You will quickly learn why an Airstream costs twice as much as other trailers.

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.

If you are going to buy a new coach, whether from dealer stock or special order, be sure that the dealer makes enough money on the sale that he can afford to detail your coach to your satisfaction. That doesn't mean that you have to pay full MSRP, but if the dealership only makes $500 on your $150,000 MSRP coach, do you really think that they will be willing to have a couple of techs spend a week looking for and fixing small problems before you take delivery? Would you?

Please don't take that last paragraph the wrong way. There is always some room for negotiation, but people who get the "best" deals on purchase generally are at the bottom of the service list. If the dealer understands that you will be back for service work (at your expense, not just warranty work) you will soon find that things are taken care of even if you didn't ask for the work to be done.
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Old 11-20-2016, 10:11 PM   #14
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gonz, I went through the same thing. After reading a lot of posts, I worried I was spending a lot for the name and not quality. But after thinking about it and considering the words of several wise posters I went ahead with the deal. We took delivery of our 2017 28' Serenity International. There was not a single issue and it has exceeded our expectations. These are hand made machines so of course sometimes things might need adjustment, however Airstream stands by their product and will do what they can to ensure you are satisfied.
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