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Old 08-11-2003, 06:04 PM   #15
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I, for one, am not going to defend Thor or any other RV maker for poor assembly quality. However, the comparison to Toyota or other car makers, while understandable, is not valid.

Car makers build on the order of scores of units per hour. AS builds 15 to 20 per week. It is not possible to spend millions of dollars for robot assembly, costly special jigs, or devote production line workers to the installation of just one item hour after hour, week after week. In fact, auto makers spend huge amounts of money these days designing components that can only be assembled correctly.

A better comparison would be to stick-built housing. There, as in the RV business, workers must be assigned to do a variety of tasks, and do them differently depending upon the actual plan of the unit under construction. So, at AS a worker helps put down flooring, then assembles all the pieces of a dinette, then hangs overhead cabinets. Then they move on to the next unit, which may be an entirely different model, perhaps with customer specified custom pieces.

Haven't most of us gone through new $300,000 - $400,000 houses and been shocked at the poor quality of the work? Crooked doors, cuts in wallpaper, trim hung askew, showers that leak, and so forth. Unfortunately, it appears that RV's have many of the same problems.

I don't see this changing until somebody out there starts delivering quality made units and seriously hurting the market share of the Thors, Fleetwoods, and Monacos of this world.

I do not have a solution. I wish I did.

Mark
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Old 08-11-2003, 06:26 PM   #16
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Mark,

I could not agree with you more.
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Old 08-11-2003, 07:33 PM   #17
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Wow $300,000 to $400,000 homes? Most of us? I'm definately not doing something right! But I know I would not sign over the final draft if my $400,000 home was built to the standards you described. The 34' Airstreams cost more today than what I paid for my Nice modest house, (1 year old then), that's minutes from the ocean, survived hurricane Hugo with just some missing shingles, and now worth double of what a 34' Airstream sells for. An Airstream will depreciate, that we know. By some peoples account they depreciate quite substantialy, I can't verify this not ever having owned one. So for the big, for me anyway, financial outlay of a new Airstream, I would like to see more attention paid to the build quality of the product. I agree that automobiles are built in a different manner, but would you buy one if it were built to a sub standard level of quality?

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Old 08-12-2003, 01:09 PM   #18
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airstream vs. other industries

Ok so Airstream's production is low- extremely low. But does that justify poor quality?
You would think that the less units produced the more time could be spent with each unit. At any rate, I would never stand for a new home (mobile or not) that had leaks or doors on slanted or any other manufacturing problem.
I think what we should be focusing is not the specific quality problems sound in one unit or another but the inconsistency of the units. Some have problems with one thing that in another is fine- the construction of new units seems to be inconsistent quality within each unit. That is a problem.
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Old 08-12-2003, 03:31 PM   #19
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Problems?

I'm still waiting to hear what kind of problems you guys are seeing.
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Old 08-12-2003, 05:53 PM   #20
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sibyrnes,
These are some of the issues I remember from the inspection of a brand new CCD25, CCD28, and a CCD19:
Crooked rivet lines interior
crooked curtain track for bedroom divider curtain
very sharp seams on exposed interior aluminum ( cut skin sort of sharp)
sticky cabinet doors
floor molding in bedroom very sloppy - 1/4in gaps visible
Sawdust in dinette cushions
radio inop
some interior lights inop
caulking in shower stalls incomplete
TV receptacle in incorrect place on 25CCD ( the TV tray was mounted on the other side)
overall sloppy workmanship, like:
poor finish on outside of trailer
rivets inside missing, but hole being visible
holes drilled where panels join, but missing the upper panel by 1/2
bathroom upper cabinet rubbing on interior when opening ( it flips up and rubs against the bathroom/bedroom wall, causing a half circular scratch on the wall)
pull down shades being mounted out of plum - visibly so

Please know that I am not stating that all Airsteam trailers are like the ones we visited about a month ago. I would also like to add that the problems mentioned above were spread among 3 trailers. My observations are only valid for the trailers we did see and inspect in Irvine CA. We felt that these deficencies and the dealers attitude towards them ( " we'll sell the anyways") made us reconsider our purchase of a 25CCD and eventually decide against it.
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Old 08-12-2003, 06:13 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by uwe
Sawdust in dinette cushions
radio inop
some interior lights inop
Sawdust seems to be a very common problem. Another identical Intl AS and I both had sawdust on the counter by the sink after every trip. In my case, for nearly a year. On the black counter of the AS, it is pretty hard to miss.

My unit also had a leak at the stove vent. It rained the day I bought the trailer and when I went back out to look at it again, I saw drops of water on the counter. That was fixed before delivery.

The radio and lights could be something as simple as a blown or poorly seated fuse or a popped CB; however, a good dealer should do a check on newly arrived units and make sure everything worked before showing the trailer.
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Old 08-12-2003, 06:25 PM   #22
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John,

My feelings exactly, about teh dealer perhaps running through the trailers and makig sure that they are presentable.
Thet promised to fix all the problems, but i simly don't think it's possible in all instances.
It's just disappointing that Airstream is going the way of SOB trailers in the fit and finish category.
I guess we could go back and inspect the next batch, see if they are nicer...
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Old 08-12-2003, 06:37 PM   #23
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Sibyrnes, I Pm'd you but maybe you didn't see it. So here's an excerpt of a post I made on another Airstream forum.
Andre

Quote:
I spent most of today on the road going to and returning from an Airstream dealer to check out the new models. The owner of the place was very nice and let me roam his lot unattended. He told me to just look at all I wanted and come to him if I had any questions. I spent almost 3hrs going through all the different models and spent alot of time in each really checking out fit and finnish. I must say I was very dissapointed. Here's some of what I saw. Cabinet doors not aligned with each other with one opposing pair that could not be closed at the same time, one or the other. Crooked electrical wall outlets. Laminate glue residue left all over the place. A front sofa storage bin that slid all the way out on one side and almost could not get it back in. I looked at two slide-out models in their stowed position and found that the top corners did not fit nicely into their recessed area, although I must say that the gasket sealing system for the slider was very impresive looking. Screws not all the way in or crooked. Front window gasket on one unit had already started to shrink and pull away from the corners leaving gaps for moisture to get in. Windows that were stuck and could not open for fear of breaking. Plastic latches on the shower doors and entrance screen door that I was afraid to touch for fear of them breaking in my hand. An uneven wood floor seam that could be seen in the surface of the vinyl flooring.
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Old 08-12-2003, 06:45 PM   #24
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Not happy about the new Airstream news but I feel better about shelling out the big bucks to restore my 71 to "like new" condition.
Will have close to $15K over two years including the cost of the AS. when I'm completed and it will be "like new" 1971 condition with lots of years left to go.

Garry
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Old 08-12-2003, 06:46 PM   #25
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Windows that were stuck and could not open for fear of breaking.
You're right, it is scary to have to push the window that hard to get it to release. I finally found that I could bump the latches and get them loose. The window sticking problem is very easily solved by simply brushing some silicone on the gaskets (and this is a maintenance item according to the manual).

Question: why doesn't Airstream treat the gaskets rather than deliver the units with the windows stuck fast?
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Old 08-13-2003, 06:45 AM   #26
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Problems

Well, you guys have certainly answered my question, thanks. I'm sorry to hear of all the problems and I hope they are no too wide spread. It does kind of make my 1969 Globetrotter even more valuable to me!
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Old 08-13-2003, 07:28 AM   #27
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I love my Airstream and am on my third one now, and it is still the best travel trailer made. That said Airstream needs to address there fit and finish issues as well as there treatment of customer complaints after the warranty is over. The sawdust comming out for the first six months to a year, pop rivet nails which appear after driving down the road, screws which fall out because they were overtightened at the factory.
My major complaint was the skylight comming off and when inspecting the method of installation was #8 sheetmetal screws. I stll have the screws which the factory used and each one appears to have a piece of the skylight still attached to it. The reply from Airstream was "The trailer is out of warranty". Yes it was it was 6 years old at the time, but have found this problem on many trailers since and shown the owners how to repair there trailers. I consider this a safety item which Airstream needs to address.
Overall the trailer has been a good trailer and now that I have repaired the fit and finish items and the skylights I feel I have a good trailer that handles well. It now has 48,000 miles on it and looks great and is holding up well.
Before I retired I was an engineer at Dodge Truck, in the vehicle development group for the last 14 years. We did all the trailer tow development and final sign off on GCWR numbers. For this we did a lot of trailer tow testing each year and rented trailers for this work. We always specified square flat front trailers. Of the many different trailers we rented some were new but most all were stick builds, and after the testing I would always inspect them for dammage prior to returning them to the dealer. It was not unusual to find interior doors and cabinet doors had fallen off and doors which would not stay closed. Had many problems where spring hangers would break off the frame rail and we would have to reweld to complete the testing. So I while I have had problems with the Airstream I still consider them the best.
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