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Old 05-12-2012, 12:59 AM   #1
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Can someone put the record straight

Hi All,
I'm hoping someone from Airstream inc/ Thor will read this and respond
In the UK we have company selling EU spec Airstreams who are scaring off a lot of enthusiasts and prospective buyers by telling them that US Airstreams are illegal in Europe, because of Axles, brakes,gas and water problems (do you have differant water in the US ? )
This did'nt put me off importing a 73 overlander but some people are,

The Eu versions are very nice but at 60,000, ($96,000 bucks for a 27ft) are very expensive and beyond reach for many people.

I think AIrstream Inc should look into this, and clarify the law with UK Gov and post a definitive reply, as the UK/EU market is growing all the time, We love Airstreams over here but dont all want a new EU model some of us want US Vintage or US New and dont like being fed Bull*.*t by jumped up salesmen who are just trying to sell their own products.
Any salesperson with half a brain knows that the golden rule is not to slag off your competition. It just makes you look like an idiot.
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Old 05-12-2012, 07:50 AM   #2
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I am no expert, but I have read that modification have to be made to make them "legal".
I believe the brakes have to be modified and maybe the lighting/markings. Seems like their were a couple of other items too, but I don't remember. There are forum members here who have imported used ASes from the US to the UK and have modified them for UK use. Maybe one of those folks will chime in.
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Old 05-12-2012, 07:53 AM   #3
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You sure have creative salesman over there.

About the only thing I can think of that would have to be changed would be the electrical connection and maybe the convertor and that only because of local differences 110 verses 220.

As for our water we are still using the H20 formula with a varying amount of local contaminants depending on the region of the country we are from.
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Old 05-12-2012, 09:18 AM   #4
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We imported our Airstream new in 2007 and have used it for fulltiming in for five years with no problems. The conversion for use in the UK is a simple job - a 230-120v step-down transformer to operate all the appliances and the US 2 filament rear lighting changed to UK 3 filament (stop, tail & amber turn signals) - that's it. Legal to use this side of the pond. All other systems are the same in the UK - same 12v systems, same lpg, same water, same stuff dropped in the black tank, same air to be conditioned, etc.

Mulligan is correct in saying that prospective buyers of US spec Airstreams are being told by the UK Airstream dealer that US spec Airstreams are illegal for use in the UK and branding us all as criminals. We have personal knowledge of this over the Actibrake recall, being told by said dealer that they don't work on imported US spec Airstreams as they are illegal in the UK.

An article in the Spring 2011 issue of Airstream Life magazine by the UK dealer "....advised against exporting Airstreams from the US. It is fraught with danger, problems and costs." We think it is a really shabby sales style to frighten prospective buyers of new and vintage US Airstreams with untrue claims that they are not road legal in the UK in order to sell their own product.

The UK dealer has been asked on our UK Airstream forum to state what law we are breaking, but as yet has not responded!!!

John & Carole in the UK
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:31 AM   #5
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Dutch Relatives and their Trailer

From what I understood on the EU Airstream, they are lighter for one point. They are also narrower.

In the Netherlands I have relatives that do not miss a chance to hook up their "pop up trailer" and head to Italy or Greece. The car they pull this trailer with is about the size of a Mini Cooper here in the USA. Not that small, but I plow my driveway with a Polaris ATV that probably could pull more trailer.

The off of the Autobahn roads in the Netherlands and many other "country side roads" I experienced were about 1 1/2 lanes wide with hikers and bicycle traffic very heavy on the weekends. They, the relatives, could dodge and drive among the crowded country roads with ease... while I would have needed some time to make the adjustment. I still recall the front porches on some homes in Germany getting hit by traffic in the narrow, curved streets so narrow is more common than wide modern highways in Europe.

I saw the "export" AS models on the lot in Jackson Center, Ohio when they were first being produced, must have been 2007/2008. The smaller wheels and light weight did not appeal to me, but that seems to be the norm in the EU. In Australia and New Zealand that is also the norm. The North American Airstream looks like a mobile home for two families for the length and width comparisons.

So... to conclude. I believe it is the WIDTH for the roads in Europe that is the deciding factor and the WEIGHT due to the smaller vehicle towing weights, lacking the robust trucks, V8 engines with towing capacity AND, well not so much today, less expensive gasoline (although still cheaper than Europe).
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Old 05-12-2012, 12:11 PM   #6
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I have no idea what is legal and illegal in the UK, but do have some knowledge of what is standard practice for trailers ("caravans") in much of Europe. Examples are surge brakes, narrower bodies, much lower tongue weights, and no weight-distribution hitches. Hitch balls are a solid component of the hitch bar (not held on with a threaded portion and a nut) and sway control uses a frictional clamp on the hitch ball.

To the best of my knowledge, trailer-brake controllers inside the towing vehicle are not allowed in, at least, Germany.

In terms of size and dimensions, the European Airstream bodies are like the Sport models sold in the US.

Tim
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:18 PM   #7
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I found a bit more information.

The Airstream, Inc. (US) website gives a link to the UK Airstream company. On their website is a FAQ page ( Airstream and Company | FAQ's ) which gives answers about the requirements for the UK and Europe as well as a description of some of the features making the European Airstreams different from what is presently sold in the US.

Tim
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:46 PM   #8
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They aren't incorrect in saying they are 'illegal', they are just exaggerating the problem. There are always going to be different safety regulations when you import anything... you just need to make sure the cost of retrofitting isn't too bad, and that it is even possible.

Both of my Airstreams are US imports (into Canada) and it's a quick inspection and a sticker...
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Old 05-13-2012, 11:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Friday View Post
They aren't incorrect in saying they are 'illegal', they are just exaggerating the problem. There are always going to be different safety regulations when you import anything... you just need to make sure the cost of retrofitting isn't too bad, and that it is even possible.

Both of my Airstreams are US imports (into Canada) and it's a quick inspection and a sticker...
Hi,
Yes they are incorrect saying imports are illegal.
It is the fact that they are blatantly lying through their hind teeth and getting away with it that i and many others object to.

Cheers for your response though

http://www.airforums.com/forums/imag...lies/smile.gif
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Old 05-13-2012, 02:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
You sure have creative salesman over there.

About the only thing I can think of that would have to be changed would be the electrical connection and maybe the convertor and that only because of local differences 110 verses 220.

As for our water we are still using the H20 formula with a varying amount of local contaminants depending on the region of the country we are from.

Hi HowieE
Thanks so much for your common sense answer,
Yes very creative salesmen, but only creative with the truth !!

This company has only been involved with Airstreams for about 5-6years, and the way they talk you'd think they had re-invented the wheel. NO doubt they were as enthusiastic when they used to sell SOB's

I'm pleased to about the H20, i was under the impression that it was differant in some way..... LOL !!!

Cheers
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:35 PM   #11
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you have to install tanks that are measured in liters ;-)
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:55 PM   #12
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Mulligan,

Try these links. Also if you use the search function in the blue bar above and use the GOOGLE field. Type in UK and quite a bit of "stuff" comes up. Try some other keyword as well. Looks like this has been addressed before.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f345...pec-57251.html

Global 'streaming - Airstream Forums
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