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Old 04-28-2003, 07:13 PM   #15
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"... for the price you do tend to expect Mercedes quality and I feel that we only got Cadillac quality which is a bit hard to understand"

If you peruse one of the Mercedes forums, you would eventually conclude we Airstreamers do much better than that! By the way, a real common complaint there is "they don't make 'em like they used to." I know Mercedes products back to '59, and in many respects I have to say "thank goodness they don't".

Surely we are not here to do nothing but shower praise on the product - after all we have forum headings for specific sets of problems. But what we all find most usefull are "here is the problem, can someone help?", followed by an answer. Or, in the case of John Irwin (Pahaska), "here is the problem, and here is the solution."

Femuse, you have contracted quotes of mine from two different paragraphs and inadvertently altered my meaning - which I should have made more clear. While I happen to agree with you that those huge showers are a waste of good bathroom space, others will disagree. Those are design decisions and they will suit some but not others. I am sure there are many people who rue the day Airstream discontinued the rear bath, but I would hate one. Another example: I took out the oven and double bowl kitchen sink in my unit and put in a two burner stove and a single bowl sink - all for the sake of counter space. Design decisions that others would hate. But why oh why did they carpet the platform for the toilet? And that stupid, tiny bathroom sink....

But back to actual quality issues (and I ask this, Femuse, in all seriousness, not to be arguementative), as you are one of the few members here who can actually speak authoritatively about some of the different model years, is it really getting worse? It seems to me that the problems you mention pale in comparison to the tail droop problem you have experienced on one of your 70's models. I can't help but think about all those Vista View windows that fogged up. And I would trade all the problems you have mentioned with your '90 (but possibly not the ones you have not brought up yet) for the cracked, yellowed interior endcaps in my '85. You mention the "contact paper" on the shower wall. I suspect that is the same vinyl covering as on the wall of my shower. Mine is doing fine, it is my abs plastic shower pan that is in a bad way. I am certainly glad they did not make the upper portion out of abs as well. (The new Classics have a one piece shower of some sort. Anyone know if it is abs or fiberglass?).

Femuse, I have a bad feeling that you are going to see my comments as a challenge. To the contrary, I trouble to question and comment at all only because of your actual live in experience. I think that what started out as an expression of general frustration has the potential of becoming a very helpful guide to people considering a purchase.

Mark
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Old 04-28-2003, 08:32 PM   #16
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Hey, I've been quoted serveral times on the Mercedes bit and let me clear my comments a bit.

Although I agree the style, production and assembly of the older Mercedes models was far better in the past, the machines were less safe compared to today.

When I compare Mercedes quality, I simply mean how well the car is built. For many, many decades Mercedes has had a more well built mass produced vehicle to that of domestics. I can say this because our family has owned six Mercedes from the very early 70s on. We have also owned at least 9 domestic cars in the same timeframe.

Does Mercedes hit home runs all the time? Not at all. But they are charging a premium price for the product as Airstream is as well.

Now when I compare the Mercedes quality to the cost of the car, thus the expectation that if you pay more, you get more attention to some details. An automobile has thousands more moving parts than a camper, so I'd make the comparison very lightly between issues with a car and a camper.

Do I feel my A/S and Airstrems in general are better than SOBs on the road?

Without question.

Do I think that for the cost of the Airstream they could spend a bit more time on the details?

For sure.

The profit margins on Airstreams seems to be far higher than that of the SOBs and with that in mind I think they can afford to be a bit more detail minded. I cannot think of a time when I could walk into a car showroom and negotiate 17% off sticker at any time unless it was a Corvair or a Pinto... It is not hard to do this either. So you can only imagine what the profit margin actually is for Thor. Given Thor's performance of late (and I know it's not only made of Airstream), suggests that there is some fair profit on these premium campers. Not to mention the extras Thor has sent my way. RV motorclub, WBCCI membership for a year. That stuff costs money and frankly, I'd be happy to give up some of the perks like that if there was more attention to some of the smaller things like floor in the bathrooms and main door latching, etc.

I don't expect perfection. That is only a goal and as human beings next to impossible.

I would surely buy another Airstream when the time comes. My comments are simply that since owning my Airstream and talking with you all fine folks, I have noticed certian quirks about Airstreams that I feel are easily overcome issues. I by no mean suggest that Airstreams are crap. I don't feel that way one bit and I hope most of you don't either.

Regards,

Eric
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Old 04-28-2003, 08:41 PM   #17
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Old 04-28-2003, 08:42 PM   #18
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Old 04-28-2003, 08:42 PM   #19
 
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Quote:
the problems you mention pale in comparison to the tail droop problem you have experienced on one of your 70's models.
Agreed. I am (for now), looking only at the interior.


Quote:
It is worth noting that the concern over the space devoted to the bathroom floor vs. the shower size is a design issue, not a quality issue. It is a useful distinction, I think.
I too have dealt with plenty of both kinds of problems in my '85 Sovereign. Some certainly make you scratch your head and wonder what "they" were thinking. Or if any thinking was going on at all!
I did not intend to distort your words. I took what you said as a general comment about the lack of care that AS seems to show, especially when it comes to thinking about interior design. Sorry if it did not come out right.

Quote:
You mention the "contact paper" on the shower wall. I suspect that is the same vinyl covering as on the wall of my shower. Mine is doing fine...
Hard to believe is it ? .......(the vinyl in our 70's is doing fine too): they actually used contact paper in the shower !!!!!

Quote:
Femuse, I have a bad feeling that you are going to see my comments as a challenge.
Nope.

But what we will get and a few more "bitching" from our work, this afternoon.
I know, these are small problems, but a small one here, a small one there, they start to pile up.
We are replacing the steel kitchen sink by a stainless one. To replace the counter, I started to remove the stove, following the book direction - only 2 steps: 4 screws & gas line. OK so far. Hoops, they forgot to mention the 2 electric wires. One more small detail !!!

We spent over one hour removing the spice rack ...... only 4 screws !!!!!
I removed 2, no problem. The 2 others are 1" longer than necessary. With a good reason: when installing the further one, they buggered the head. No way to get it out from the top. Mike had to crawl by the small compartment behind the stove, just room for his arm, no light....... using pliers then vice grips, turning that screw from underneath first. (That's why they made it so long.....) To finish the job, he ended up whacking several fingers, a nasty mark on one. You see, he has some experience in using the right tool for the job: he has been a mechanic & then a woodworker for years. Used to smashed fingers.
But, removing a 15 LBs spice rack in over 1 hour..... because AS was able to screw only 3 out of 4 screws correctly.... that's slightly ennoying .

I know, it's small stuff..... but I wonder: what are we going to discover next ???????

Sorry for bitching again. (Now, we can teach people how to remove the spice rack. With pictures)
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Old 04-28-2003, 08:53 PM   #20
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I just have to but in with my thoughts. We really love our 02 Bambi & feel fortunate to finally have one we can call our own. We have had some minor problems, none outstanding, the most problems we have had is with the dealers & A/S itself. The owners manual is not correct with several items & I'm not real sure that I trust the dealer's expertise with the A/S line. Neither one ( dealer & A/S ) when talking to them give me a sense that they are totally sure of what they are saying. All in all we'd buy that little Bambi again, without a doubt. BTW, Silvertwinkle, have you had any peeling of your bumper railings? We are in the process of trying to get approval to have ours replaced, as both the upper & lower have a problem.
Best,
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Old 04-28-2003, 08:55 PM   #21
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This thread is boring and so many words.
I prefer positive thinking and solutions!
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Old 04-28-2003, 09:05 PM   #22
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I guess I must have soloed under a lucky star. Our Luv Sub (2002 22' International AS) was purchased new just over a year ago. I agree with the design issues documented by Pahaska, et. al. but with regards to the quality of the product we've had only one drawer latch break in 12 months and 7,000 miles of travel. No leaks, no plumbing problems, no broken or missing trim, no backwards wiring, no nothing.

Of course, now that I mention this I will probably anger the gods and all hell will break loose but for now I am very happy.
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Old 04-28-2003, 09:43 PM   #23
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Well I'll Inject Some Positive.....

My wife and I really like our Airstream. I'll bet it was really an amazing piece when it came off the assembly line, back in the fall of 1971, when I was a sophmore in high school.

I think I know who the original owners are, but I am reluctant to contact them. I am afraid they will tell me they sold it back in '85 because the frame was cracked. Well, I doubt that was the reason. I know there are a lot of folks out there that just like to have a new unit ever couple of years.

Maybe some of these companies should have a design challenge. The prize would be the product they designed. But to win the prize, there would have to be no complaints on that design for one year. Since we are all human, and all have different ideas about what "perfect" is, no one could possibly win the prize, ever.


Maybe the ideal Airstream should come stock with a built in Hensley hitch, or 4 -T105 batteries, with built in solar panels in the roof. Hey, how about 2 built in EU2000is??? What about getting rid of all the smart appliances and going back to pilot lights? That would get rid of all the phantom loads, and having to troubleshoot circuit boards all the time. But someone would complain about having to light the pilots, or pilots blowing out.

It's a lose, lose situation. What were they thinking? Differently than you.
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Old 04-29-2003, 08:15 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by A.E. Milliman
BTW, Silvertwinkle, have you had any peeling of your bumper railings? We are in the process of trying to get approval to have ours replaced, as both the upper & lower have a problem.
Best,
Not yet. Mine was built in 8/02 as an '03 so it's had only a bit of time in the elements. I have not seen any peeling as yet.

Eric
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