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Old 11-16-2002, 08:29 PM   #1
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Smile Ever toured the Jackson Center plant?

I was just wondering if anyone here has ever toured the Airstream manufacturing plant at Jackson Center OH. We only live an hour or two from it, and wondered if it might be worth a drive up there sometime to see how these units are made. We heard they give tours, and it seems like that would be a fun daytrip this winter.

Can you tell my Bambi's in its winter home and I'm getting bored already? I hate winter!!!!

Cherie
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Old 11-16-2002, 08:43 PM   #2
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I'm ashamed to admit that I'm an hour closer than you guys with the "Florence. Ya'll" water tower and haven't been on the tour yet either!

It's open Mon-Thur at 2AM.... about an hour north of us here.
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Old 11-16-2002, 08:48 PM   #3
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Ever toured the Jackson Center plant?

Greetings Cherie!

I have tried to take the plant tour two different times. Arrived too late one day, and the next oppotunity was during the Dayton International. Needless to say it was virtually impossible to get a space on the tour during the Dayton International. It is on my schedule again for June of 2003 when I am on the road to the International Rally in Vermont. Everyone with whom I have spoken has really enjoyed the tour, and the opportunity to shop in the factory store. I am making plans to find a campground nearby for a short stay just to be sure that I get the opportunity to take the tour next summer.

This tour is one of the top two on my list. My other special favorite is the Chevrolet/GMC Suburban plant in Janesville, Wisconsin. I have toured the plant three times - - each time there has been something new to learn. I just missed being there by two days when my Suburban was being built in 1998 - - it was a special order, but by 1998 the plant no longer made arrangements to produce a customer order for group tours (I was touring with a group of Wisconsin Vocational Educators) - - when I ordered one in 1993, the plant tried to accommodate having the unit built during our group's tour but it didn't work out due to production scheduling. When our group went on its last tour in 1998, the educational groups (vocational educators) toured with the general public rather than by specially arranged guided tours as we had done in 1993.

Kevin
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Old 11-16-2002, 08:49 PM   #4
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Factory Tour

The factory tour is a must. When I took my '01 Bambi there in May to have some work done on it, I stayed on the grounds and during my stay took the tour.
The tour is very informative. You can get a greater appreciation for your airstream as well as the build process. They start from ground zero and you follow the manufacturing process until the unit is out the door. Our tour took almost two hours. I was keenly interested in the Bambi and the tour guide was very supportive. He allowed me to talk to employees throughout the plant if they were working on a Bambi. It was great. you can see the unit being put together and see each step and how it all works. I would strongly suggest it is a must see.

By the way, living in Florida we don't winterize or put our trailers to sleep for the winter. I have never lived in cold weather but I am told that these trailers are all weather units. So, my question is , why put your trailer away during the winter months. I would think it would be adventurous to camp in the snow or what every. At least your camping in your airstream. I am sure there are a number of reasons people don't but I would think if these units are designed for it, why not. I couldn't think of not using my airstream for several months. Please enlighten me, those of you in cold country as to your experiences and why you would not airstream in winter.

thanks,

Bob Caldwell
01 Bambi
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Old 11-16-2002, 08:56 PM   #5
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I took the factory tour a year ago last summer. Well worth your while. I can't believe how much we saw and how they allowed us to get into trailers as the assembly process was going on. Take your camera or video cam since they will allow pictures.

I can't believe someone taking the tour complained to OSHA regarding the dangers of the tour. Supposedly the tour guide allowed folks to cross the yellow line painted on the tour. A/S promised that they would keep everyone in line. You will find the letters taped to the table where you sign up for the tour.

BTW, you will be allowed to cross the lines. Our guide said that he told mgmt. that he wouldn't do the tour unless people were allowed to do it the right way. It's not dangerous although if you do prowl around unfinished trailers, you do need to keep an eyeball for aluminum which has not yet been trimmed. Especially in the assembly area where the frame and underbelly cover are joined.

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Old 11-16-2002, 09:00 PM   #6
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Re: Factory Tour

Quote:
Originally posted by rcaldwel
\By the way, living in Florida we don't winterize or put our trailers to sleep for the winter. I have never lived in cold weather but I am told that these trailers are all weather units. So, my question is , why put your trailer away during the winter months.
Dayton Ohio... I've been running our trailer at 50 degees on the thermostat to keep it from freezing inside since the 1st of Sept. From then to the first of Nov, I used 70 lbs of propane. You do the math... but a coupla gallons of antifreeze are a LOT cheaper!
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Old 11-16-2002, 09:04 PM   #7
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Ever toured the Jackson Center plant?

RE: Winter Use In Northern Climate

Greetings Bob!

There are a number of reasons that many of us in Northern climates choose to place our Airstreams into Winter Storage mode. It is dangerous enough to drive an automobile on icy roads let alone add a travel trailer into that equation - - I have been caught in more than one ice storm/snow storm/blizzard that was not anticipated via weather forecasts so I tow my Overlander or Minuet after November 30th in very rare and unusual circumstances. Another issue that must be dealt with is maintaining the plumbing at above freezing temeratures, and unless the RV is being used on a very frequent basis this can become quite costly (constantly running the furnace) not to mention inconvenient (draining and winterizing pipes and holding tanks). The final issue is the fact that virtaully all of the commercial campgrounds either close or offer drastically reduced services after October 31st in my area. Most of the state and local parks in my area still permit parking/camping but do not provide water/bath houses/electric after November 1. I may be a bit more conservative on early winterization on my coaches as all chores fall to me as I am a Free Wheeler. I don't miss using my RVs too much as my typical work day increases dramatically beginning around November 1st and the 12+ hour days don't typically end until sometime in May.

Kevin
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Old 11-16-2002, 09:12 PM   #8
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Re: Factory Tour

Quote:
Originally posted by rcaldwel
Please enlighten me, those of you in cold country as to your experiences and why you would not airstream in winter.

thanks,

Bob Caldwell
01 Bambi
Well, we're not much for camping in freezing weather. It's just not that much fun, unless of course, we had the luxury of the time to take off to a warmer climate for a few weeks at a stretch. Otherwise, we'd have to re-winterize after every trip. It can get well below zero here, so picking up and taking off in the winter just isn't practical...not to mention the icy roads, etc. To me half the fun of camping is sharing the place with other campers. And there aren't many weekend campers in our neck of the woods. Now, after we retire, that's a whole other story!

Thanks to you, Bob, and to everyone else for all the input on Jackson Center. I'll definitely have to give them a call and set up a tour soon!

Cherie
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Old 11-16-2002, 09:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by RoadKingMoe
I'm ashamed to admit that I'm an hour closer than you guys with the "Florence. Ya'll" water tower and haven't been on the tour yet either!

It's open Mon-Thur at 2AM.... about an hour north of us here.
2 A.M.?????? Even us "Florence Ya'll" hillbillies don't get out at THAT hour!!!

Cherie
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Old 11-16-2002, 09:50 PM   #10
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you can set up at the airstream campground for $10 a day it is a very good tour. i have done the tour twice and i see something new every time . probably will do it again next year .
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Old 11-17-2002, 01:26 AM   #11
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Thumbs up Parking fee

wb13798

You're correct abt the parking fee with this additional bit of info. As long as you're there for scheduled 'factory work' it's FREE, including the day before and the day after your appointment..Now if you show up for the tour, you might even ask abt that too~!~
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Old 11-17-2002, 08:20 AM   #12
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Re: Parking fee

Quote:
Originally posted by 53FlyingCloud
wb13798

You're correct abt the parking fee with this additional bit of info. As long as you're there for scheduled 'factory work' it's FREE, including the day before and the day after your appointment..Now if you show up for the tour, you might even ask abt that too~!~
ciao
Unless things have changed in the last year, they don't collect. The sign is there stating $10 a day parking. Even an old rusty collection box with a padlock which hasn't been touched in years. It was a running joke with those of us staying there and the Service Center folks that A/S really doesn't police their camping area for collection of camping fees. BTW the sites are in a wheel and spoke format with full hookups to every site.

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Old 11-17-2002, 08:36 AM   #13
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Thumbs up Jackson Center Tour

We have been on two AS factory tours. They were both excellent but the second was even more informative than the first. Most likely this was due to our having purchased an AS after the first tour and having become somewhat familiar with the features of the Excella 2001 we paid particular attention to some of the construction techniques.

We had taken our unit back to the factory for some repairs after a 6600 mile, 6 week tour of the West (originating from Michigan). The sliding door between the bedroom and the bathroom came off its track and was unuseable. I was unwilling to take the wall apart to fix it so I waited until we returned to Ann Arbor. We spent the night in the company's campground and spent the next day in and around Jackson Center while they worked on the trailer. They did repair all the problems but unfortunately the door track came loose from its mounting screws by the time we reached home. I called and they apologized and asked that we return for a second repair attempt. However I decided to do it myself and found the task quite easy. I remounted the track with larger screws and an adhesive and also installed a bottom rail to prevent the track from carrying all the weight during movement. I am certain this will prevent further problems.

I'd like to make this suggestion to the company. Anyone have suggestions on how to do this ?

RTaylor
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Old 11-17-2002, 08:46 AM   #14
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Even though Airstream is all weather, man isn't. Along with the roads, closed commercial (and many state and federal) campgrounds, sitting around the campfire at 8 degrees just isn't an enjoyable experience. There are a lot of winter activities, but soon enough you need to be indoors. The snow and mud you track inside are bad enough, but the clothing you would have to carry would not begin to fit in the closets. You should come north for the winter and enjoy our winter wonderland, then you would understand why we hibernate for days (or weeks) at a time or invade your sunny state in droves.

John
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