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Old 10-02-2003, 05:38 PM   #15
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Re: THANKS! That begs one more question...

Originally posted by junaclare
When I read your responses to my husband (an engineer) he wondered out loud, "Maybe you should have asked instead, 'Is there anything wrong with Airstreams?'"
Good question! Are you sure your husband isn't a lawyer?

I think it's fair to say that there were a few vintage years where Airstream incorporated some features which have become problematic fixes today.

The mid/late 60's ('66 and later) had curved glass windows which are no longer available (altho, efforts are still being made to produce a suitable replacement.) Airstream used aluminum wiring during this same time period, which also presents unnecessary problems.

In the late 60s-early 70s, Airstream used "Tambour doors" in the cabinetry, and while repairs are certainly possible, they're a pain in the neck.

As you mentioned, rear-end separation is a problem for some late 60s- early 70s Airstreams, especially the larger ones with rear baths.

The quality control on some of the newer trailers has been questioned on this Forum--- mostly "fit and finish" issues in the interiors. Airstream seems to be very responsive to these occaisional complaints.

Overall, though, I think it's fair to say that Airstreams have been the best trailer on the market for decades-- in quality of construction, longevity, and in owner satisfaction. Like the Adirondack chair and blues music, an Airstream is truly an icon of America.

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Old 02-24-2017, 11:14 PM   #16
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I believe it is a combination of things.
1) Iconic representation- the look/style- the appearance of quality in trailer form.

2) Market niche- better than many trailers built cheaply, less costly than a motorhome

3) Sense of belonging- while usually unknown to newbies, owners come to realize the sense of community of streamers that spans time, almost a club or groupie thing. While streamers may look at other brands from time to time, they realize that the help, the camaraderie is not a part of most other brands other than maybe Montana 5th wheel group, etc. So, they tend to stay or come back.

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Old 02-25-2017, 03:59 AM   #17
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If only they still made Avions.
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Old 02-25-2017, 07:25 AM   #18
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Airstreams and Harley Davidson...same idea, make something that looks old but that is new, and keep the customer involved.
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Old 02-25-2017, 07:39 AM   #19
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I (57) recently retired and my wife (53) and I want to spend some time traveling through the country. We have never slept in or pulled a trailer. In speaking to an Airstream representative I am told this is true regarding 60% of their buyers. We live in the northeast and have decided to store the Airstream in the south during the winter and tour from there for a few weeks at a time. In any event we did our research and the only RV that fit our needs and style was an Airstream. In particular we like the Int'l Signature 25 FB.

We are renting one for a week in April (similar model as the one we wish to buy) just to try it out before making a purchase.

Please keep in mind that although Airstreams are beautiful they are not perfect. More perfect in our opinion than the other brands which I suspect also have similar or greater bugs to work out. Everyone we speak to tells us that you must be prepared for issues to arise and deal with them as you can. The trailers are made by hand and things break.

Good Luck to you.
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Old 02-25-2017, 08:06 AM   #20
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I am not aware of any travel trailer that is NOT made by hand.
Since you have never owned a travel trailer I would recommend buying something less expensive at first.
You can buy a decent SOB ( some other brand) for $20K-$30K which would be what you would lose in depreciation on an A$ should you decide you don't like trailer life.
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Old 02-25-2017, 08:54 AM   #21
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I respectfully disagree with Twinkie's point of view.


I believe that the total cost of ownership can work out to be about the same for either option, so why not have the nicer Airstream.

Let' say you buy either a new AS or new SOB. Let's say the AS costs double what the SOB costs. Let's say you need to sell either one in 3 years. You will get probably close to what you paid if you resell the AS. You will get about half what you paid for the SOB.

The monthly use costs of either are identical. (this is not counting the trailer costs). Costs for storage, gas, camping, see and do when traveling will not differ for either unit.

Let's further say that you are weighing the 2 options and keep either unit for 10-12 years. In 10 years your AS will be worth about half of what you paid, and the SOB virtually 0.

Now if you are indifferent between the AS and the SOB this is of no consequence; either option is fine. But if you prefer the AS, there is no reason to think that the total cost of ownership is really all that much more over the duration of ownership.

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Old 02-25-2017, 09:16 AM   #22
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Aluminitis-- if you have it, no explanation is necessary. If you don't, no explanation is possible.
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Old 02-25-2017, 10:28 AM   #23
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To the engineer - run do not walk to the nearest exit - you won't like it.
To the romantic - write a check now, the smiles will out pace the miles.
To the financial analyst - the payback in $s is a future value sum.
To the mechanic - you can work on it forever and make it better and better.
To the realist - no slides to leak, rivets and seams will, tows well, looks nice.
To the buyer - you are never unhappy with your final decision.

First - we bought one.
Second - we looked at others and we liked it better.
Third - there is a lot of info on AS, that helps you make fewer mistakes.
Fourth - they use the same appliances other RVs use, no better, no worse.
Fifth - AS is a two season coach, the ribs that support the skin transfer heat.
Sixth - the Airstream company has evolved over time. So quality, innovation, and reliability have changed over time. When RVs did not sell, cost got cut; when doing well, the safety and quality research got done and better coaches were built. There are a few big mistakes - older 22 frames were a problem. When you fix something, lots of interior comes out. Not all the components are as high end as the purchase price. The recent expansion of the AS factory has had growing pains. It is perceived quality on some coaches suffered. Fit and finish suffers on some and is perfect on others. Your dealer makes a huge difference as they catch or miss big issues. Find a good one, visit the factory, decide for yourself.
Seventh - there are other options, look at the plastic ones. However, AS owners do like their coach. WBCCI is cool. The vintage folks are fantastic and often just plain artists. Aluminum is shined by returning the oxidation to it's pure elemental condition, not by sanding the oxidation off.
Eighth - The RV world needs DIY folks. Do not believe someone else will do it all, unless you have tons of time and money and patience.
Ninth - ASs are a fundamental part of the RV world. You may be a Winnebago fan, but everyone is an AS fan ..... except the Silver Streak and Avon folks who know there can be a better mouse trap.
Tenth - We bought one and will never buy another. This one is a keeper.

Hope to see you down the road. Pat
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Old 02-25-2017, 12:04 PM   #24
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Wow, this thread was revived approx 13 years after it's last post!!! So I got a hoot out of seeing my post from 2003, right after I bought my trailer. It all still holds true today. I haven't gotten to use it as much as I wanted to, but we have had it on Route 66 since then, and my hubby still loves it. We've replaced some interior appliances, and the floor, but it's otherwise still the same inside. I still love the classic vibe. It's part of the family now.

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Old 02-25-2017, 09:30 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by islandtrader View Post
Airstreams and Harley Davidson...same idea, make something that looks old but that is new, and keep the customer involved.
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Old 02-25-2017, 11:18 PM   #26
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PKI, what a great post. Your bullet points really hit home.
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Old 02-26-2017, 08:02 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Stefrobrts View Post
Wow, this thread was revived approx 13 years after it's last post!!!
And there you have it! Even an Airstream Airforums thread lasts longer than most SOB trailers!

Still very happy with my 1983 Airstream 310 turbo diesel. It's the only thing keeping my marriage together, (we'd kill each other to keep it in the divorce).


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