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Old 09-02-2019, 11:22 AM   #21
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Seems to me like some folks would bitch, even if they were being hung with a new rope!
Just sayin'

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Old 09-02-2019, 12:21 PM   #22
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I met a guy that had to send an Oliver to the factory to have a window hole recut. Happens to them also.
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Old 09-02-2019, 12:47 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry C View Post
Seems to me like some folks would bitch, even if they were being hung with a new rope!
Just sayin'

Larry
People are mostly upset for what they pay for these trailers and still find QC issues. It seems like as AS QC goes down, the prices keep going up. Better off buying used with the "bugs" already worked out. As to why QC is down, all about the $$$ made in moving more trailers out the door.
What is more alarming is that folks come on this site to vent about the issues of their new AS units and some people jump all over them for their complaints. There should be more compassion for people that are having problems, they are not the enemy. Why turn people off/away when your next AS might be problematic and you want to vent!!
Having owned several S O B s before an AS, they were/are all on par
with each other insofar as build quality. However, the AS costs much more supposedly because its a luxurious trailer. Sorry, a luxurious POS is still a POS!!
Good luck and safe travels,
Jim
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Old 09-02-2019, 01:05 PM   #24
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(1) High volume construction with inadequate facilities. False

(2) Relatively new, inexperienced and poorly trained work force. False

(3) Intense pressure to pump ‘em out as fast as possible. False

(4) Relatively few sloppy employees but lack of final QC to clean up after them. False

(5) No manufacturing protocols in place. False

(6) They sell as many as they can roll out the door so there’s no pressure from the market. False

If you think these are truly accurate you haven’t spent any time with the folks in Jackson Center. Sure there can be issues but at times I wonder if anyone that complains owns a home or have bought a NEW home. Same types of issues and complaints about the builders. Turks comments are spot on.

It’s a good thing we have the whinernet and forums. Other wise folks that complain would have no outlet for their anonymous postings slamming the hard working folks at Airstream.

Have a great LABOR Day weekend. Celebrate the overwhelming number of us that are enjoying our nearly perfect Airstreams.
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Old 09-02-2019, 01:45 PM   #25
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AS Current Quality of Workmanship

Sites like A/F by their very nature draw in and concentrate both the people who have legitimate issues, and people who just want to complain.

It's the nature of internet product forums.

I have seen several "members" who join just to write a scathing complaint, support their complaint for a few posts, and then never post again.

There was a recent thread on here about how Airstream ruined his family vacation because his Interstate wouldn't reliably start. He kinda sorta blamed Mercedes some, but mostly blamed Airstream because "they must have hooked in to the Sprinter wrong"....

It was so bad that he had to fly his family home and he vowed to sell the Interstate as soon as the problem was resolved.

It turns out that he mounted a wireless phone charger next to the ignition switch, and it's associated electro magnetic field was playing havoc with the reading of the RFID chip in the key.....

I haven't seen the "I'm sorry for talking bad about Airstream" post yet.

Just Sayin
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Old 09-02-2019, 02:13 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghaynes755 View Post
(1) High volume construction with inadequate facilities. False

(2) Relatively new, inexperienced and poorly trained work force. False

(3) Intense pressure to pump ‘em out as fast as possible. False

(4) Relatively few sloppy employees but lack of final QC to clean up after them. False

(5) No manufacturing protocols in place. False

(6) They sell as many as they can roll out the door so there’s no pressure from the market. False

If you think these are truly accurate you haven’t spent any time with the folks in Jackson Center. Sure there can be issues but at times I wonder if anyone that complains owns a home or have bought a NEW home. Same types of issues and complaints about the builders. Turks comments are spot on.

It’s a good thing we have the whinernet and forums. Other wise folks that complain would have no outlet for their anonymous postings slamming the hard working folks at Airstream.

Have a great LABOR Day weekend. Celebrate the overwhelming number of us that are enjoying our nearly perfect Airstreams.
Hey, I’m not complaining. I’m just a messenger trying to synthesize what others post here. There seem to be constant complaints about the poor quality of workmanship and at some point it’s hard not to take them seriously. I’m just curious that if the workmanship is not acceptable to many, why is that happening.

I will say that after being on this forum for several years that I would never buy a new AS. I’d wait until the original owner had sorted things out. Unless new AS buyers are an unusually whiney set of folks I have to think that where there’s smoke there’s fire.
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Old 09-02-2019, 02:31 PM   #27
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IMO there is a misconception as to all production sold. I was at local AS dealer 3 weeks ago lot loaded, I asked manager. how many over 40 units plus of all sizes including new 34 ft on show floor. I asked how many stock or sold, 4 sold more coming, this store moves a lot of units also high income area this is branch of main store. Also dealer for winnebago, also many units on lot. IMO this a fair manager & easy to work with, big plus all new facilities & very upscale operation. I don't see complaints about them on forum big plus.
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Old 09-02-2019, 02:42 PM   #28
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This is one example where I think proper production fixturing would help a lot. The guy who worked on this rear access door opening was probably allocated 5 minutes to do it and I spent about an hour removing all rivets (most were not even through both pieces), clamping the edges of inner sheet to outer ring, and installing all new rivets, then trimmed inner sheet metal flush and installed new gasket. Happy with the result, just another "tidy up" task on an AS we love. Would not even consider SOB, but also not going to turn a blind eye to stuff like this.
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Old 09-02-2019, 03:07 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John&Vicki View Post
My intent in starting this thread was to explore reasons *why* current AS workmanship seems to be poor at times. Thanks to the many thoughtful comments we have identified a few that seem plausible:

(1) High volume construction with inadequate facilities.

(2) Relatively new, inexperienced and poorly trained work force.

(3) Intense pressure to pump ‘em out as fast as possible.

(4) Relatively few sloppy employees but lack of final QC to clean up after them.

(5) No manufacturing protocols in place.

(6) They sell as many as they can roll out the door so there’s no pressure from the market.

Overall, it seems like a corporate attitude of urgency - make hay while the sun shines. They realize that the baby boomer demand won’t last much longer.
A few thoughts on this topic:
1) agree with others that internet forums tend to be skewed to the 'problems'. Most folks don't start a thread when everything is working perfectly.

2) We took the factory tour before buying our AS. Yes, they haven't heard of Lean Manufacturing or six-sigma (I asked several employees on the tour). I disagree with others who say they're hand built and you can't apply assembly line techniques. I work in the shipbuilding industry and we did it there, where you're producing only 1-3 units/year with around 500 engineering changes on each one. The key is standardizing processes and optimizing the work flow. Result is lower production costs AND higher first-time quality.


3) We have had a few minor issues with our new (1-year old now) AS, but it's WORLDS better than any SOB our there. Our previous fifth wheel had the following in the first 18 months: water leaks in sliders, water leaks in kitchen plumbing, replaced 2 brakes (grease seals failed), slider mechanism broken, door lock broken, auto-level system broken, two springs broken (never overloaded), frame rusted, entry steps broken, electrical shorts from wires catching in slider, black and gray tank valves leaked, soft spots in floor from the wate leaks... you get the idea. I read an article a few years ago about the northern Indiana RV industry. It mentioned that production workers there get paid piece-work. They have a low hourly wage but get a bonus based on number of units produced. That explains a lot of the quality problems. As far as I know, I don't think AS does the piece-work pay thing but I'm not sure.
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Old 09-02-2019, 08:35 PM   #30
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Feather when Airstream says all units are sold they are not talking about the end unit. Airstream will not start a build until a dealer buys the unit. Dealer is the sold to party for Airstream. Most of the major motor home companies do the same. Not sure about the other trailer companies but guessing that they do it the same way. Units on a dealers lot are owned/financed by a lender to the dealer.
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:52 PM   #31
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Take a look at Escape Trailer Industries in Chilliwack, BC. They float. 😉
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Old 09-03-2019, 12:04 PM   #32
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Not a Fanboy, but ...

We are new to Airstream but old to camping. We just picked our Tommy Bahama up this Spring and have yet to use it long enough to find all the "problems". We do have an awning issue that we hope the dealer can solve next week. It was frustrating because we are pretty good DIY, but the awning was beyond our abilities - did all the trouble shooting ZipDee suggested, but no help - I suspect bad actuator motor(s). We will see.

We bought the Airstream following years of camping experience in pretty nice SOBs because we hoped for better towing characteristics and build quality. In some ways our TB is less comfortable than our other trailers, and cost many times more. But, the AS build quality is certainly built much better - just closing the door makes that clear. Airstream claims it takes 300 hours to build an AS compared to 50 hours for SOBs. I don't doubt it. As others have said, I think a lot of the issues owners of AS, and other brands have, is due to the purchased components. While there are certainly better quality products out there, I expect Thor has picked a line that satisfies most and still allows a manufacturing cost that they can deal with.

We have a '78 Firebird that we just restored. The "Fit and Finish" on that car, which was a premium vehicle when purchased cannot compare to any of the vehicles we now own which include a Chevy Cobalt, a Cadillac Escalade, and an Audi Q5. There is not doubt in my mind that automobile quality has improved drastically while at the same time the provisions for owner maintenance have diminished to almost zero. For instance, the ball joints in my Escalade do not even have zerk fittings for lube - they are designed for a certain amount of miles with the lube in them, after which time, it's throw away and replace.

I worked in durable goods product design and manufacturing many years and had the chance to witness production in many industries. The difference between a hand built product such as an Ferrari, or an airplane, or an Airstream trailer compared to mass produced products such as Chevrolets or refrigerators is night and day. Mass production requires highly capital intensive equipment and facilities, which have expensive amortization costs. Without significant volume this just isn't affordable. "Handmade" production is orders of magnitude lower in terms of volume and capital investment. Unfortunately it also means more variation and often lower quality. Managing a diverse workforce doing repetitive work to build a quality product, whether a home, highway, or Airstream is no small task.

As we use our AS more, I may change my perspective on AS quality, but right now, we are satisfied.
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Old 09-03-2019, 01:09 PM   #33
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I am but 1 of many experienced campers. We started with tents and from there have owned; 2 in bed campers, 2 tent campers, 1 SOB pull behind, 2 fivers, a class C and now our AS. Having been through many different manufactures, I will testify without a doubt, that AS quality is far and away, heads above everything else I've owned. Fit, finish, functionality, overall quality is amazing. Sure, i've had minor warranty issues. These were handled expedititiously and with no questions asked. As some have mentioned, it appears there may be an issue with industry standard equipment such as refrigerators, ac, ranges, etc. How much would you be willing to pay for a "totally custom built TT"? The cost would be astronomical not to mention part replacement should something ever go awry. AS now offers a 3 year warranty. Are you kidding me people! 3 years to pull your toy all over kingdom come and over all types of roads and some off road (look at the photos of the boondockers out West) and you complain that where your widget attaches to the sky hook broke. I have a friend in the RV biz. He tells me over the past 5 years quality and workmanship is suffering. Dealers used to spend 1-3 hours preparing a rig for sale, now it's over 8 on average. So much labor dedicated to fixing factory missteps that this dealership is dropping an entire line! By the way, these mfg's only offer a 1 yr warranty and good luck fighting that battle closer to the 1 yr anniversary (been there-done that). If you're so disappointed in your AS, do what I did with my last fiver we owned for 16 months, SELL IT and get on with your whiney, everything I own should be a golden calf life or just deal with it and shut up already. Life's too short to be so disappointed!
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Old 09-03-2019, 01:15 PM   #34
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This thread is slowly but steadily changing my perception of new Airstream build quality. Perhaps folks with something negative to say are more apt to comment than those who are satisfied. A good thing is that this thread has motivated folks with positive experiences to chime in.

I dunno, the new ones really are pretty. Maybe it’s time to start looking.
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Old 09-03-2019, 06:14 PM   #35
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Think of it this way:

The purchase of a NEW Airstream trailer is a lifelong dream for many old and new Airstreamer's.

How many $100,000 plus individual single items have you ever purchased in your life?

For most folks the answer is ONE and that single item would be their personal home/residence.

IF you purchased your home NEW I'll bet you still got a PAID PROFESSIONAL HOME INSPECTION prior to your purchase of that NEW home AND you took a good long look during the pre-purchase walk through prior to closing the purchase contract on that new home looking at and outlining every little deficiency you could find along making a BIG punch list for the needed repairs.

Just like with an Airstream you also got a 1 year warranty with the purchase of your NEW home. If and when you had a warranty issue that needed repaired I'll bet you would NOT accept a 1-3 month wait for an appointment for that warranty repair. Your not going to have to take your Home back to the mothership (Jackson Center) on your dime to git it fixed. What if this warranty issue with your new home is something that may render your new home uninhabitable or unusable for that 1-3 month period of time? I'll bet you would NOT accept that time frame for repair yet we hear far to many of these warranty repair War Stories in the RV industry where the trailer is unusable or uninhabitable for that period of time and that includes Thor/Airstream.

Therefore WHY would you accept that kind of treatment from Thor/Airstream or your Airstream dealer for warranty repairs on your new $100,000+ trailer due to the manufacturing issue that may make your Airstream unusable?

Why didn't you pay a PROFESSIONAL Airstream Trailer Inspector to complete a detailed Pre-Purchase Inspection on that NEW Airstream trailer prior to your purchase that might find a HUGE problem or issue?

Why did you rely ONLY on your own personal inspection of that $100,000+ Airstream trailer purchase when in reality you personally know as little about that trailer your buying as you did about that new home you purchased?

After all isn't that why you hired a PROFESSIONAL Home Inspector to inspect your home prior to purchase to insure your would not be in that situation?

Airstream, the dealer and just about everyone else involved in the purchase of a NEW Airstream trailer KNOW that this purchase might just be the realization of a lifelong dream. They also know short of a TREE falling on this new trailer at the dealer lot there hardly a snowball's chance in Hell that you are backing up and NOT purchasing the trailer no matter what problems it has.

I suggest in our efforts to fulfill that lifelong dream of NEW Airstream ownership many buyers are accepting of problems or issues on this very expensive purchase that they would NEVER ACCEPT with any other $100,000+ purchase they have ever made in their life.

Let the buyer beware and remember YOU the buyer have the control UNTIL you let go of "Da Money". Don't let go of "Da Money" until you are completely satisfied with your purchase and have truly completed ALL the necessary steps prior to the purchase of this $100,000+ item. After that most bets are off!

REMEMBER IT'S $100,000+ your spending for this dream!

Make absolutely sure your not buying a $100,000 Plus NIGHTMARE!

If it costs you a few EXTRA Dollars prior to the purchase to make sure everything is good to go so be it. SPEND DA MONEY!

REMEMBER it's $100,000 PLUS you might be spending for this Airsteam dream and you ain't buying it from WalMart where you can use it for 60 days and then return it with the box open and parts missing just cause ya want to!!!
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:57 AM   #36
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I've been following this thread from the beginning because, while I love my AS and have had few problems with it, it's interesting to learn about things that can go wrong. There are some issues I wouldn't even think to look for so it's good info. I personally don't find any whiners here. I think there are a lot of people who truly love their AS's, love AS in general, and want AS to be the best company it can be. I don't find anything wrong with looking to improve things to make better product in the future. AS needs to know that we are paying attention and they also need to hear from us about what we don't like. Yes, it's human nature to talk more about what's wrong than what's right. Maybe we should start a "What I Love about My AS" thread to make everybody happy. In fact, I am going to go do that right now. It's not to be antagonistic to this thread but just to balance things out. And it's important for AS to know what we do like as well.
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Old 09-04-2019, 06:15 AM   #37
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I've been following this thread from the beginning because, while I love my AS and have had few problems with it, it's interesting to learn about things that can go wrong. There are some issues I wouldn't even think to look for so it's good info. I personally don't find any whiners here. I think there are a lot of people who truly love their AS's, love AS in general, and want AS to be the best company it can be. ………..
Very well said, I bet vast majority are in total agreement with you there.
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Old 09-04-2019, 10:15 AM   #38
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Mike whether it's and Airstream or a new house warranty, having been there and done that with both, I'd take the Airstream issues over the house issues for warranty any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Getting a home builder to fix things is more difficult than an Airstream. I don't have an option to drive the house to another repair location.
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:05 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by oldenavy View Post

3) We have had a few minor issues with our new (1-year old now) AS, but it's WORLDS better than any SOB our there.

As an Airstream owner I can appreciate the spirit of the comment, but outside of personal feelings, to compare an Airstream build to an SOB is like comparing apples to watermelons.

SOBs typically cost far less. When you buy a KIA, you don't expect it to be a purchase you can rely on for more than say 10 years (give or take) and the price reflects that. It's an entry level car.

Buy a Benz, Porsche or Ferrari (similar price structure to Airstream) and you have a higher expectation. Follow that with the Airstream marketing machine talking up history and quality-- when you fall short, you just don't miss the mark by a bit, you miss it by mile. Airstream is NOT an entry level product, so they build for a market, they need to have the same quality that market demands. The onus is on Airstream, not the owner and not even THOR as THOR doesn't care what they build as long as it makes money. Does anyone here think Airstream is unprofitable? I don't believe THOR breaks out profit/loss per division, but my guess is that Airstream's profit margins are pretty darn good....just my viewpoint.

I agree fully that some of the lean manufacturing and quality processes could be adopted and could as you say save money and build a happier customer base. The underlying problem is that Airstream sells every trailer they can get out the door, without adopting the processes you suggest. Shortsighted? Sure. If they did this 10 years ago, we might be having a totally different conversation today.

I also agree that folks on forums tend to gripe, but that doesn't mean that there aren't problems coming out of Jackson Center. If out of 10 trailers that leave the factory, 3 have issues, that's 30% hit rate. Compare that to air travel. Out of 10 planes, 1 will stall mid air, one will have seats come unbolted and the other will have leaks. Fortunately for air travelers, they don't see those issue because they are either designed out (using the methods you suggest), or fixed well in advance of customer interaction.

Spending close to beyond 2x what the average RV costs, it should be the same customer experience IMHO. Sadly, I don't feel it is and I consider myself one of the lucky ones that also has not had a lot of issues, but issues that could have easily been addressed, but never seemed to be given the many like me.
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:57 AM   #40
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[QUOTE=Hyo Slvr;2284479]I am but 1 of many experienced campers. We started with tents and from there have owned; 2 in bed campers, 2 tent campers, 1 SOB pull behind, 2 fivers, a class C and now our AS. Having been through many different manufactures, I will testify without a doubt, that AS quality is far and away, heads above everything else I've owned. Fit, finish, functionality, overall quality is amazing. Sure, i've had minor warranty issues. These were handled expedititiously and with no questions asked. As some have mentioned, it appears there may be an issue with industry standard equipment such as refrigerators, ac, ranges, etc. How much would you be willing to pay for a "totally custom built TT"? The cost would be astronomical not to mention part replacement should something ever go awry. AS now offers a 3 year warranty. Are you kidding me people! 3 years to pull your toy all over kingdom come and over all types of roads and some off road (look at the photos of the boondockers out West) and you complain that where your widget attaches to the sky hook broke. I have a friend in the RV biz. He tells me over the past 5 years quality and workmanship is suffering. Dealers used to spend 1-3 hours preparing a rig for sale, now it's over 8 on average. So much labor dedicated to fixing factory missteps that this dealership is dropping an entire line! By the way, these mfg's only offer a 1 yr warranty and good luck fighting that battle closer to the 1 yr anniversary (been there-done that). If you're so disappointed in your AS, do what I did with my last fiver we owned for 16 months, SELL IT and get on with your whiney, everything I own should be a golden calf life or just deal with it and shut up already. Life's too short to be so disappointed![/QUOTE
Greetings All,

This person is exactly the kind of person that turns off folks on these threads... If you have issues with your AS (new or used), dealers, etc., one should be comfortable enough to express their thoughts. It could help others in what to be looking out for in their decision making process. The "I've owned blah, blah, blah and AS is the best" is your own experience. Many own
S O B s and don't have problems, but some do and it's the same with AS units. Dealerships also play a large role in customer satisfaction and no matter how "well" an RV is built at the factory, poor dealership response makes for a sour taste in a new owners mouth and then they question the whole brand. Travelling hours and hours or waiting weeks/months for warranty repairs on a new unit is a justified big turn off to many. Bottom line is that it is "luck of the draw" as to whether you get a good one (AS/SOB) or not. Some should feel fortunate that they have gotten"good" one and not be so quick to bash those who didn't. Maybe if the "keyboard warrior" quoted above was a bit more compassionate, the world would be a better place!!
Good luck and safe travels,
Jim
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