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Old 04-18-2006, 08:26 PM   #1
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SOB Builders

I had seen a show on the Discovery channel today and it showed how an SOB was built.After seeing that I was kinda suprised how those things were made.I did not realize how simple and cheap they were made.All wood and metal siding.It made me feel very good that I purchased an Airstream instead of one of those.
I know there are people who want simpler things and then there are those who are not able to afford an Airstream but after seeing how those SOB'S are built I think a little extra longer to save would be worth the wait getting into an Airstream.
I was really blown away at how simple those things were built.
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Old 04-18-2006, 10:07 PM   #2
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Yeah, I can attest to that. My dad has owned three made by Fleetwood, two of which he bought new. He ended up rebuilding the front end on them because they didn't caulk where the front panel met the top panel and water got in and rottedout the wooden framing.

I recently toured Jackson Center. Airstreams really are built better, no two ways about it. You get what you pay for. They're not mythical or anything, but they are better by design.
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Old 04-18-2006, 10:32 PM   #3
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I think so too. I know there has been a lot about quality control but really Airstreams are so much better than the SOBs. Just how many of them have Airstreams' longievity or cool appearance.

Both our Towlites leaked and we could never find and stop it. The Airstreams are so secure and travel well. I love them.
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:07 AM   #4
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What was the name of the show on discovery? I'd like to see if it replays. Sounds interesting.
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Old 04-19-2006, 02:02 AM   #5
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Solid construction

Hello all -

I also toured JC this past November. I was impressed with the build quality, the Zillion jigs all about, the general air of 'quality' when I walked through....

Now, admittedly I DO NOT have any experience to judge these 'feelings' against, as I have not owned any other trailers, MH's, nor have I seen any of the aforementioned built - ever.

That said, there is still that general air of 'quality' when I walked into and through.... At the end of the line, it was Simply said, class! CLASS!!!!

SilverToy, as mentioned elsewhere, is my first foray into owning/ using a TT/ camper, and this "groovy little world" we all inhabit. Still, I LOVE that feeling that comes over me ( and OTHERS!!!) when they walk into and through the trailer. We had several couples over to the house at Easter and all got the obligatory tour. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM said - "Wow, what a GREAT trailer!!!!"

Everyone commented on the great look, solidity and the 'feel' of the space. There really is a certain something that AS's have, and they radiate it to inhabitants. I swear I saw Meritte ( a guest) glow with a twinkle as she exited and whispered in her husbands ear on the way to the car.... I'll bet they own one a year!

Additionally, when you start to take an AS apart it isn't just 5 hundred screws with a zillion boards and connector pieces - it's actual furiture that comes out in units.... At least that is what I am counting on when I do my Fantastic Fan Add-on in the rear, and the cork floor, and the re-uppolstery on the front couch and dinette. Guess the rear twins will go last for the upgrade. WE'll see.

None were paid for their comments, just a hearty thump on the back and an info to the next local foray.

When your good, your good!!! Don't be shy about it!

Axel
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Old 04-19-2006, 05:18 AM   #6
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Well guys, if we pat ourselves on the back much harder we're going to choke on our egos.

Let's have a reality check.

I just returned home from Jackson Center last evening. The day before yesterday I took my 6th plant tour there during the past 4 years. That's my 5th visit for warranty service on my 2 year old trailer.

During that time, I've noticed a number of changes and some improvements in manufacturing which impressed me, but there are still many second rate production processes, that quite frankly make me believe it's a miracle of miracles for them to actually produce a completed trailer out the back door with acceptable quality.

I spent a career in and around the manufacturing of autos, trucks, ag and construction equipment, and even a brief stint in manufacturing what some of us call "SOB's". I've seen manure spreaders manufactured in a cleaner, more productive, environment than our beloved Airstreams.

During this factory tour, I noticed and was impressed with a paper that I saw attached to the outside of the trailers nearing their final assembly. I hadn't seen this during my prior tours. I think it was titled "Audit in Department" or something similar, which appeared to be a list of the quality defects noted (and I assume corrected) on each trailer. This sheet attached on the one trailer that I looked at had 35 items listed.

It was obvious they're making progress and improvements, but it appears to me they're still light years away from making a true quality product.

They do have top notch service people there though to fix what they should have produced better in the first place.
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Old 04-19-2006, 10:07 AM   #7
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Not to start a flame war.... but there are some well built SOB's out there. And they are as pricey as Airstreams. But I do agree they don't have the appearance or mystique of the AS. I like my Airstream for a variety of reasons, the major ones being the longevity, another being the reasonable weight for the length, and the ease of towing. I have looked at some of the new models, they are nice and the quality has been all over the map. I saw a Bambi that there is no way I would have purchased a unit put together that shabbily, but I am sure some one had to of bought it...it isn't on the lot anymore

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Old 04-19-2006, 11:48 AM   #8
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Let's not forget that good design and QC are two totally separate issues.

In general, I believe GM designs some much nicer cars than Toyota. Unfortunately, GM's quality control isn't as good. It's not so much that the Camry is a really great design. I find them very bland and uninspiring. But Toyota pays attention to their build quality so chances are high that if you get a Camry, it's still gonna be ticking long after the Impala has gone to Valhalla

From what I've seen, most of Fleetwood's stuff (Prowler, Terry, Wilderness, not sure what all other brands) doesn't hold a candle to Airstream as far as basic design or build quality. The exception might be their new line of aluminum framed and fibreglass skinned trailers, but their QC is still bottom of the barrel.

Holiday Rambler, on the other hand, seems to build some pretty nice stuff that is designed right and their QC is good too. My dad upgraded from his Terry travel trailer to a Holiday Rambler fifth wheel and I have to admit that is one seriously nice trailer. It's a monster though. Weighs like 13,000lbs. It's all his truck has to pull it. But, it's got probably triple the room my Excella has.

Then you get into the really high end fifth wheels. Were I a full timer, that's what I'd get. Maybe from Carriage or other such brand. The few I've been in have been NICE!

All that being said, I still think Airstream's basic design is way superior to the wooden framed jobs any day. Airstream SHOULD have used a deeper frame section on their older 30 footers. That's one glaring error I'll admit.

Heck, while we're at it, I'll mention "Airstream Snobbery" that I've encountered on the road while pulling a SOB. Seemed like every RV out there waved at us going from WV to the beach while pulling my dad's 26' Terry (which was pretty nice...even though he had to rebuild the front end and it was only two years old). All the motorhomes, all the travel trailers, all of them waved and smiled as we passed. Just one big happy American road. Then along came the guy in the mirror polished Airstream. I waved at him as I had at everybody else. He actually grimaced at me as he went by. I'm thinking, "Yeah dude, it's nice. But it's just a camper for goodness's sakes. Get a grip!"
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:13 PM   #9
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You know...I really dont know the name of it but it showed another segment and it seemed to me it was a show about how things were made.It was not the made in america show though.Man I wish I could remember it.
One thing though is when they were building this trailer.
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:27 PM   #10
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I think I found it.It is called:How Things Are Made.It was episode 21.It come on tonight at around 6 to 6:30 P.M.
I check it on the Discovery website for the tv show schedule.
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devoman
I think I found it.It is called:How Things Are Made.It was episode 21.It come on tonight at around 6 to 6:30 P.M.
I check it on the Discovery website for the tv show schedule.
Thanks. I don't see episode 21 coming on, but I'll keep checking for it.
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Old 04-19-2006, 01:31 PM   #12
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...there are some well built SOB's out there. And they are as pricey as Airstreams...Aaron

....and they're built by Thor Industries!!!!


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Old 04-19-2006, 02:09 PM   #13
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....and they're built by Thor Industries!!!!


Frederic
Actually Frederic, the ones I was thinking of are built by Heartland and Travel Supreme...Thor hasn't gotten to them...yet Then of course there is Teton Homes, home of the $100k+ fifth wheel

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Old 04-19-2006, 03:15 PM   #14
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Teton...that's the one I was trying to think of. Man are they nice!!!
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