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Old 04-27-2003, 10:18 PM   #1
 
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Thumbs down They don't make them like they used to

After reading about the misadventures of "dpope" and "Pahaska", concerning problems of quality on their 2003 trailers, in No Fuss Flush Leaks! I thought I could tell about our "pleasure" in being the "proud" owners of a 1990.

A bit of a summary:

dpope :
Quote:
I CAN NOT BELIEVE IT!!! ...... WHAT IS NEXT!!!.....
I think I'm going to start performing warranty work myself and charge back Airstream at my rate. At least I take pride in my workmanship...
You pay way too much for the quality your getting.

whew!!! I apologize... I just had to vent...
Pahaska:
Quote:
Join the club!
Your problem is identical to the leak that flooded my trailer.....
To add insult to injury, the tech at the dealer......
To which Chas answered:
Quote:
Sorry, but I must relate, hearing you new owners having problems makes us vintage folks feel somewhat better in regards to dealing with our aging beauties!!
Too bad we did not read that earlier. Like before we bought a 1990.

We were spoiled by the quality of our 1971 & 74.

We spent a few hours today giving that 1990 the first hard look. Our opinion (commenting only on a 1990 model):

___ ___ Airstream built a sorry piece of crap ___ ___

I had to kick Mike out of there after a while, I was tired of his endless "How can they make such garbage. Who ever made decisions about the way things were done in here should be castrated."

I know he is a little bit picky, and he is always hard to please. But, even me, I must admit that he is right.

examples: missing aluminium strips connecting 3 out of 4 cabinets (were never installed, resulting in 1/2" of opening for dirt & more to get in)
_Shower stall & kitchen/sink area finished in "lovely" contact paper. That's really classy.
_The usable floor space in the bathroom is 15" X 22", with a 33" 1/2 X 40" 1/2 shower !!!! That's 4 times bigger. We have been tracking down similar RV tub-seat, in a more realistic size of 24 X 40. Then will have to move wall. AS went the easy way (the tub-seat stands over the wheel well), but I rather have a counter next to my elbow than a wall, while brushing my teeth.
_ I have compiled a long list of absurdities (3 ceiling lights spaced: 24", then next one 56", instead of putting one half way, and make that middle light useful.).... etc..... Who designed that ?

The problem is we have been spoiled. We can only complain about some of the tambours on the 71. And the butt sag on the 74 (small detail !!!) But, at least the 71 & 74's insides are lovely. Great choice of material. The walls in the bathroom are not peeling off, the cabinets are attached solid, the finish on window frames is not falling off. And: I hope I won't have to sleep on that couch. Forgot: we'll have to replace that too, I will have to sit on this crap.

That trailer was owned by a couple who kept good records of everything, it looks like it was very well maintained. That' s at least some luck: I hate to see what the inside will look like in the year 2019 if we don't redo most of everything. [1974 is 29, 1990+29=2019]

I was fuming so much all day.. .. ... I was so happy to read this other thread about some "proud" owners of 2003 models enjoying so much the "great quality" of their latest purchase.

I feel a lot better now, thinking my 1990 may be better made than the 2003.

By the way, I don't care for answers like "well, compared to SOB, Airstream is.....blablabla...."

I am not comparing to SOB. I am comparing Airstream to Airstream.

And what I see does not make me very happy. (we are keeping it anyway.)

Chas, I hope you are enjoying your 1970's model. "They don't make them like that anymore. "
Quote:
"whew!!! I [don't] apologize... I just had to vent... "
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Old 04-28-2003, 08:12 AM   #2
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I can still find plenty of design problems in my 74, it is just easier dealing with them since I didn't drop 40 or 50 grand on it.

My latest head scratcher is the placement of the a/c and the accordion door bulkhead/room divider. On my last trip it got warm enough to use the a/c and the rear bedroom and bath were just plain hot, the rearward a/c vents blew directly into the divider! I thought about all kinds of stuff, removing the divider, losing the accordion door, moving the a/c, but finally fixed it with some duct tape and a piece of cardboard. I built a deflector to route the air between the roof and the top of the divider.

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Old 04-28-2003, 08:29 AM   #3
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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!

We do not see problems like those related on the "No Fuss Flush Leaks" on our older units because they were fixed decades ago. There is a fairly high probability that a good number of such problems existed when our units were new.

Mark
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Old 04-28-2003, 08:34 AM   #4
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I too have some fair quality control issues with my '03 Bambi. Not life or death issues, but I agree 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. The harder part is finding a good tech dealer nearby or making the trek to Ohio. For me the trip to Ohio isn't too harsh, but what about people out west? A good dealer is very hard to find. And there have been issues with all makes and models of A/S and SOBs. I cannot comment on ratios between the two, but I am sure the A/S has less.

I by no means say give A/S a pass on this issue, but I will say that given the SOBs I looked at before we chose to go A/S, the SOBs quality and fit and finish was far worse and had more empty feeling inside than the A/S.

In the end after all the little things get resolved (and hopefully A/S get a bit more focused on quality control), still a bad day in an Airstream still beats a great day in an SOB--IMHO.

Regards,

Eric
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Old 04-28-2003, 08:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chas
I can still find plenty of design problems in my 74, it is just easier dealing with them since I didn't drop 40 or 50 grand on it.

My latest head scratcher is the placement of the a/c and the accordion door bulkhead/room divider. On my last trip it got warm enough to use the a/c and the rear bedroom and bath were just plain hot, the rearward a/c vents blew directly into the divider! I thought about all kinds of stuff, removing the divider, losing the accordion door, moving the a/c, but finally fixed it with some duct tape and a piece of cardboard. I built a deflector to route the air between the roof and the top of the divider.

Chas
chas

i had the same problem, went and got a small desk fan and put it on the nightstand.

i direct it at the floor, to the front. it keeps the bedroom at least ten degrees cooler just by getting the air moving to the front.

my '92 had plenty of quality issues, mostly small annoying stuff.

nickle and dime.

john
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Old 04-28-2003, 09:10 AM   #6
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so here we all are sharing info and telling stories about our Airstreams trying to be helpful, and you see this post:

___ ___ Airstream built a sorry piece of crap ___ ___

a little bit "over the top" for the problems you describe.

I think the majority of folks here are quite happy with the product, and I see no need to bad mouth it, especially here.
Not saying all has to be positive, but why take up such a large space for complaining?

Maybe we need a "vent" forum like our local newspaper has.
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Old 04-28-2003, 09:21 AM   #7
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How about a "bitching and moaning" forum, sounds more in line with the start of this thread!!

(Sorry, tried to censor it down some but it totally lost the effect, moderator, feel free to edit)

Chas
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Old 04-28-2003, 09:39 AM   #8
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yes my point exactly. Not that we have to little Mr and Ms Smiley Face all the time, but we are here with a common enjoyment and to help promote that as well.
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Old 04-28-2003, 11:40 AM   #9
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Femuse

I frequent a couple of other RV forums and the most glaring difference between Airstreamforums.com and them is the age of the trailers and mhs questions are posted about. Early 90's SOBs draw very few questions, most are about late 90's and 200x's. 50's, 60's and 70's don't exist. I have seen the question 'buy new or used' answered many times as buy used as it takes 2 years to sort out the problems, you save a bunch of money, and someone else has the headaches. New Airstreams (not your 1990) might have some problems, but they don't include $7,000 to replace the sidewall that delaminated at 20 months. I agree that the new ones could be better, hopefully Airstream watches this site carefully as a customer satisfaction tool. I would also hope they watch their warranty repair reports, they are a very good tool for manufacturers to improve quality, and leaks as dpope and Pahaska experienced will surface as they appear to be common.

Quote:
We spent a few hours today giving that 1990 the first hard look
That is something you should have done before purchasing, all the problems you mentioned should have been evident in a precursory inspection. If it was not up to what you considered the quality of your other trailers, pass and look for a model that meets your standards. The aluminum strips are trivial and easily installed, the bed and bath are what you accepted when you signed on the line. Sounds to me like a classic case of buyer's remorse with a little empathy for problems with newer ones thrown in.

John
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Old 04-28-2003, 12:38 PM   #10
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"Early 90's SOBs draw very few questions, most are about late 90's and 200x's. 50's, 60's and 70's don't exist"

Just out of curiosity, I once ran a search on RVTRADERONLINE.COM for all travel trailers between 1970 and 1979. Almost exactly 25 percent of all units for sale were Airstream/Arogosy. Considering that Airstream made somewhere around one half of one percent of the total industry output in that period, you can see the difference in survival rates.

Even so, there is sure room for improvement.

Mark
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Old 04-28-2003, 01:42 PM   #11
 
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First: Mark, I am not arguing about Airstream bodies, and early models' interior being far superior to anything else. I am complaining about the downhill turn in quality I see from 1971 to 1990. That's different.
Quote:
missing aluminium strips connecting 3 out of 4 cabinets
I am talking about hangers for the cabinets. We did open all the cabinets while at the dealer. Yesterday, I saw that 3 were missing only because the sun was shining at the top. It was raining when we bought it (I least we could see there was no leak)

"We spent a few hours today giving that 1990 the first hard look"
Quote:
That is something you should have done before purchasing
How do you know how long we spent over there? More hours than we did yesterday. Things like "finish on window frames falling off.", we did not expect. Different finish on the 71 & 74. What did they have to change it? And, no, some things we did not see: a grey day, no light in the trailer. But, these "deffects" we were not expecting them from an AS.

Initialy, we checked very carefully the body, Mike crawled underneath, we checked the tires, checked that fridge had coils replaced,.... When we picked it up, with AC power, we checked the water pump, the lights, the AC,..... (found out the dealer had switched the aluminium bottles for new steel ones: no, I don't believe we were half asleep when we bought it.)


"j54mark"
Quote:
the shower size is a design issue..... make you scratch your head and wonder what "they" were thinking. Or if any thinking was going on at all!
Well, that's exactly my point.

"Silvertwinkie"
Quote:
...Not life or death issues... 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
"ALANSD"
Quote:
...sharing info and telling stories about our Airstreams trying to be helpful....
I think the majority of folks here are quite happy with the product, and I see no need to bad mouth it, especially here.
Not saying all has to be positive, but why take up such a large space for complaining?
Sure it's nice to hear positive things, but it's from the negative ones that I learn.

You mean we should mostly have posts like:

_ "I am so glad to hear your door closes well and you never had a water leak."
_ "I see the door in your '03 Bambi closes nice and square. Great."
_ "In my 2003 International, the weatherstrip on the door have been installed with uttermost care"
_ "my 1994 Excella 1000 34' has a great shower vent fan. Those blades will last for ever (like in a 1971)"

Quote:
New Airstreams.....might have some problems
Some people may have a different opinion on the word "some"

were you referring to this 3 pages thread ? 2003 International AS

I learned a lot more from John Irwin "Pahaska" adventures, than from most other threads in this forum.

Where, but an Airstream forum, should I talk about my gripe about AS quality????

I guess we should all stick to how rosy everything is, and make sure we don't tarnish the "polished and repolished" look of this "American icon"?.

Is it really what this Forum is about????
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Old 04-28-2003, 01:54 PM   #12
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Hey.... If you got to vent what better place than where others can share some of the same things and offer solutions.
Quality is not what it used to be and that should not be a shock to anyone. Cheaper material higher labor cost ect, ect...
You can never find all the problems until you get it home and try it on. Then it's to late and you can only hope it is not a bank breaker.........

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Old 04-28-2003, 06:24 PM   #13
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I think the compromise in quality "today" vs "40+ years ago" is evident in almost all products made today, i.e. homes, cars, appliances, furniture, clothing, etc. The common denominator is we live in a mass-produced, disposable society today, much different from when Airstreams were basically custom made to order in the early '60s & earlier.

Why should Airstreams be held to a different standard than anything else? Even Mercedes aren't what they used to be...

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Old 04-28-2003, 06:39 PM   #14
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i agree, sort of

as far as "things aren't what they used to be", take motorcycles for instance.

my '55 harley is far and away much classier than any new models. that is just my opinion.

does it run better than a new one? no!

does it drive better than a new one? no!

is easy to maintain? no!

are parts easy to find? depends how much cash you got.

would i sell it and buy a new one that has everything a modern well made motorcycle offers? NO WAY!

a good friend always says "if they were so great back then, they would still be building them that way!"

the same could be true for some aspects of airstreams.

remember, i said some!

john
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