Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-19-2016, 05:14 AM   #365
Rivet Master
 
switz's Avatar

 
2014 30' Classic
2015 23' International
2013 25' FB International
Apache Junction , Arizona
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 4,314
Images: 8
What you can not see while looking at the inside of the Airstream is the countless PEX fittings that have a clamp to hold the pipe to the fitting. It is very easy to not crimp the fitting completely - a future leak. The 120Vac electrical outlets are lower in quality than cheap. The wires are just pushed into a "V" shaped opening. How much road vibration until the wires could become loose?

These two cheapness issues were/are common to both the 2014 31' Classic and our 2015 23D International Serenity. We did replace every 120Vac outlet in both trailers with commercial grade Hubbell 20 amp GFI outlets. The plumbing potential issues necessitated the acquisition of a PEX tool and fittings to be able to make repairs on the road.

An interesting wiring trick to cut costs is that Airstream puts a standard 30 amp breaker in their circuit breaker box as the main breaker. The incoming shore power wire goes to the load side of the breaker to power the bus for the other breakers. That is not the correct way to connect to a circuit breaker.

We discarded the Airstream breaker box in the 23D and put a dedicated 30 amp breaker in a separate box as the main breaker. A new sub panel was installed in the usual location under the refrigerator. To cut costs (this is a $75,000 trailer for 2016), the 23D does not have a front power inlet like the other 30 amp powered models. We installed an inlet plus a real transfer switch, not the failure prone solid state unit Airstream installs (for $5 more they could install the transfer switch with a real replaceable contactor inside). Note that Airstream puts half sized breakers in their circuit breaker boxes. Usually the air conditioner breaker (heaviest long running load) is in the middle of the row of breakers. It gets hot and trips more easily. Putting the circuit on the outside of the row allows the breaker to dissipate the heat more effectively and not trip as often.

The television is plugged into a duplex outlet that requires just a push with a screwdriver to open the closed openings on the other half of the outlet. We replaced that outlet with a switched outlet so power could be turned off unless the television is needed. It draws some power whenever 120VAc is present for the instant on feature.

The sub-woofer needs a power switch as well since it draws power from the battery all the time unless the main battery disconnect is used.

The plastic drawer and cabinet latches started breaking within a few months of ownership. We converted all of them to brass units. On the 2014 and earlier Classics, Airstream installed a 1" fluorescent light bulb fixture cross frame on the ceiling. Since the roof is arched, it slightly bent the fixture squeezing and cracking the plastic lenses over time. We got replacement lenses and gently sanded a small radius into the lenses so it was not binding in the fixture.

The list goes on..... After substantial work, and expense, we have both units up to snuff.
__________________

__________________
WBCCI Life Member 5123, AIR 70341, 4CU, WD9EMC

TV - 2012 Dodge 2500 4x4 Cummins HO, automatic, Centramatics, Kelderman level ride airbag suspension, bed shell

2014 31' Classic model 30 twin beds, 50 amp service, 900 watt solar system, Centramatics, Dill TPMS, disc brakes, 16" tires & wheels
switz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2016, 05:40 AM   #366
Rivet Master
 
rodsterinfl's Avatar

 
2006 25' Safari
Fort Myers , Florida
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 2,121
Images: 4
Quote:
Rod, try looking at a $350K motorhome and see the same issues. We did this weekend at a local rv show. Any manufacturer, any model, it's rv industry-wide.
True, a societal issue I guess because it is more than RVs. I was disappointed. I can only say it was one trailer and one model. I went thinking "maybe a new one" with my likes addressed but, came home appreciating my older unit. I hope they can get their construction quality up and the less expensive model will certainly sell.
__________________

__________________
WBCCI 8653
2015 Ford F-150 3.5 Ecobeast 3.55 Lariat
rodsterinfl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2016, 05:48 AM   #367
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
Andrew T's Avatar
 
2008 34' Classic
1960 17' Pacer
London , Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 792
Airstream is doing a lot of things that are improving quality that most people don't realize. In the last few years they have spent several million dollars on computerized cutting tables that do all the interior panel cuts perfectly. They predrill holes for shelves etc. As well they now do all the cutting of aluminum sheets. This alone has made my life much easier as when materials are cut the correct shape the balance of a fix is much simpler. The new plant has about twice the light levels of year ago (very important as your workforce ages).

Beyond that they have more line training than at any time in their history. In the late 70's we were spending 3-5 days to PDI a trailer and almost rebuilding the interior. Things got dramatically better in 1981 when Jerry Letourneau took over and then quality suffered somewhat again in the late 90's early 2000's but never back to the level of the 70's. interesting Jerry made a massive leap in quality by getting rid of the quality control department and giving every person ownership of quality. PDI times went from 4 days on average to 1.5 days within 6 months.

When the Ford Plant down the road was running full tilt they were spitting out a Crown Vic every 90 seconds. If a production mistake could be made they put a robot in there. As well everyone of those cars was largely the same. Building the variety of RV sizes and layouts in one plant with those pesky humans is a much bigger challenge.

Ever more so because as a society we don't train people to work with their hands any more. The elites in education think there are no future jobs in technical work, likely because the don't understand it and don't have a clue how to teach it. However if you don't put a wrench or a rivet gun in a kids hand until he is 19 it will never really be part of him. It used to be that a farmers kids were helping fix the tractor from the time they were 5 and because there were more kids than farms there was this great work force available. However farms are becoming big corporate entities so there is not the same grass routes education of technical skills.

Against those challenges Airstream has quadrupled their workforce since 2009. I am amazed that they have been able to maintain the quality level that they have. I certainly know I am not good enough a leader to have done that. Even though mistakes will happen and things will sometimes get worse before they get better I think Airstream's volume and dedication to improving quality is giving them a competitive advantage that will be hard to duplicate.

Over the years there have been many companies that have tried to fill the gap between the boxes and Airstream. The problem is most of the people buying those really wanted an Airstream so they start asking for better chassis, larger windows, heated tanks etc, etc. As the companies add the features they gradually become very close to the price of an Airstream and if you look at resale values more expensive to own. This will be Airstream's biggest challenge as well with a new product, it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

Andrew T
__________________
Andrew Thomson
London, Ontario

"One test is worth a thousand expert opinions."
Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot
Andrew T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2016, 06:46 AM   #368
Rivet Master
 
Piggy Bank's Avatar
 
2015 22' FB Sport
Kansas City , Missouri
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 737
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis4x4 View Post
I checked the sub-forums here looking for info on the AS Sport and found nothing. It was my impression that the Sport was supposed to be an entry level AS. There was a special financing plan from GE. In as much as GE pulled out of the RV dealer financing business soon after the Sport was introduced, one has to wonder if the Sport was a victim of the GE pullout and the 2007 recession. Quite frankly, I suspect than millenials and genXers will look at QC in an RV in the same way they look at the quality of a Honda, Toyota, etc.
Denis,
There is info on the Sport, but it is in the Bambi section. We love our Sport 22. Lots of windows that open(including in the bathroom), a huge bed, and great counter space in the galley kitchen.
2005 and newer - Bambi all models - Airstream Forums
__________________

Piggy Bank
Piggy Bank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2016, 07:48 AM   #369
2 Rivet Member
 
NHAir's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
Atkinson , New Hampshire
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 35
Hey Switz,
Wow! I truly admire the dedication to your two Airstream travel trailers. What was most impressive was your focus on safety issues. The loved ones you take camping are truly blessed. I guess when all is said and done, it is not about the vista view windows or the ultra-leather. It is the safety of our loved ones. Nice job!
__________________
NHAir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2016, 12:39 PM   #370
2 Rivet Member
 
NHAir's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
Atkinson , New Hampshire
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 35
Andrew,

Thank you very much for your insights regarding quality initiatives at Airstream. I particularly enjoyed how you mentioned farmers. Perhaps you have a farming background and therefore a kindred spirit?

I grew up on a farm here in New England and when I am not camping, dairy cattle management is an important part of my life. I understand the importance of a job well done and obtaining input from others as I seek to improve my performance. I have always held myself to high standards and I expect it of others.

I would say to anyone within the Airstream product design, manufacture and delivery cycle, “Not Good Enough”! To anyone within the management roles at both Thor and Airstream, I would say, “Learn from those RV manufacturers who know how to deliver a high quality product and embedding those ideas into your organization”. If this request falls on deaf ears, than I say, “Shame On You”!
__________________
NHAir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2016, 01:27 PM   #371
4 Rivet Member
 
field & stream's Avatar
 
2008 23' Safari SE
2007 Base Camp
Santa Ynez , California
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 359
Quote:
I would say to anyone within the Airstream product design, manufacture and delivery cycle, “Not Good Enough”! To anyone within the management roles at both Thor and Airstream, I would say, “Learn from those RV manufacturers who know how to deliver a high quality product and embedding those ideas into your organization”. If this request falls on deaf ears, than I say, “Shame On You”! __________________
Warren Parlee
2016 Oliver Legacy Elite II, Delivery Date = 6/9/16



Warren -- (known as Buzzy on Oliver forums)

I may be out of line here, but in my opinion your general observations on TT features are valuable but your harsh and repeated criticisms of Airstream products and the company on this forum seems a bit underinformed and misplaced.

You have never owned an Airstream. You only recently decided to buy an Oliver which you have not yet picked up and experienced. Yet you repeatedly give high praise to Oliver and non-stop criticism to Airstream.

Perhaps those messages would be more appreciated on your Oliver Forums account.
__________________
field & stream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2016, 02:45 PM   #372
Rivet Master
 
Foiled Again's Avatar

 
2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 5,686
Quote:
Originally Posted by brain View Post
There are small, innovative companies out there making travel trailers that are fresh, stylish, hi-tech, and appeal to a younger mindset:

The Trailer | Happier Camper
NEST Caravans
Oliver Travel Trailers | Fiberglass Travel Trailers

Change happens.
Dear BRAIN... that first link - Talk about something as cute as Boo the Dog. Like that cute little camper! And you can really take out the whole interior and haul a motorcycle or two? It's kinda like the Basecamp done better... Airstream corporate will be gnashing their teeth if it's successful. It's a deep woods boondocker's dream. Gotta go call my sister and get her drooling over this!

Paula
__________________
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
Foiled Again is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2016, 03:10 PM   #373
2 Rivet Member
 
NHAir's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
Atkinson , New Hampshire
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 35
field & stream,
I appreciate your observations. I never meant for my comments to appear harsh, but upon re-review I see where you are correct. Please accept my apology.
__________________
NHAir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2016, 03:17 PM   #374
Rivet Master

 
2007 22' International CCD
Corona , California
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 2,314
I agree with the comments about no longer training society to work with their hands. I know entirely too many folks who are better at hurting themselves trying to use tools than actually getting something fixed. 'Shop classes' in schools are almost non-existent nowadays. Kids are not getting to do anything with their hands other than clutch and interact with video games and computers.

It's not policy in my house, fortunately. We have a huge investment in power and hand tools, cooking equipment, and crafts like sewing and crochet. Our 4 kids know how to fix a car, cook a tasty meal, and repair clothing at a minimum. They get to explore tools of all sorts as they grow up. I just don't see how one can reasonably cope with the world without some level of manual skill, but then again I've often been accused of being a dinosaur. So be it...😄😄


Sent from my pocket Internet using Airstream Forums
__________________
KE4GNK/AE
'The Silver HamShack' (2007 International 22FB CCD 75th Aniversary model)
Multiple Yaesu Radios inside and many antennae sprouting from roof, ProPride hitch
2012 shortbed crewcab 4x4 Toyota Taco TV with more antennae on it
rmkrum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2016, 03:32 PM   #375
4 Rivet Member
 
field & stream's Avatar
 
2008 23' Safari SE
2007 Base Camp
Santa Ynez , California
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 359
Quote:
Originally Posted by NHAir View Post
field & stream,
I appreciate your observations. I never meant for my comments to appear harsh, but upon re-review I see where you are correct. Please accept my apology.
Hi Warren -- There is certainly no apology needed, especially after such an impressive response to my criticism. Perhaps I owe you the apology for my comments!

We certainly share views on how to make a better trailer for the type of use we both seem to be enjoying. I hope some manufacturers are listening, and I hope someday this former New Englander will cross paths with you in the autumn woods. Keep your eye out for a Basecamp.

Best wishes.........
__________________
field & stream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2016, 03:44 PM   #376
3 Rivet Member
 
2016 23' International
Salem , Oregon
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 154
Let me express my thoughts on this since I am the owner of a Camp-Inn teardrop trailer. These trailers are purchased factory direct.

My reason for purchasing from them was "Quality". Everything is done correctly. If I have a problem I can call the factory and talk to the owner.

I am looking to sell now after three years and am wanting a larger trailer with bathroom etc. I was hoping that Airstream would fit that bill.

I am still looking and workmanship are important to me.

Dave
__________________
NoResults is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2016, 04:25 PM   #377
Rivet Master
 
dkottum's Avatar
 
2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 6,955
Although the thread has drifted to Airstream bashing over quality issues and perceptions, Andrew T. makes an important point. No matter the factory makes errors in construction, the customer should not know it if the dealer is doing the PDI work they are supposed to. The customer should receive a defect-free product. That is what Quality Assurance is in this industry.

Tiffin is another rv maker that trains their workers to build the product correctly, and expects them to do so. There is no in-process quality check behind each procedure, the product would take forever to complete and the price point would have to reflect it. Again, the dealer must do a proper PDI. Pre-Delivery Inspection, and correct any issues found. My neighbor learned this while at Tiffin, returning to the factory to correct 64 defects the dealer missed.

Sure, simple teardrop trailers, fiberglass eggs, and ancient Airstreams had fewer defects; it's because there was less to go wrong. And as Andy said, the workers came to the factory with at least the basic knowledge of lefty-loosey, righty-tighty.

If you want a good quality rv, buy a quality product that is sold by a quality dealership; they are inseparable. Or buy something really simple direct from the factory and hope for the best.

The constant bashing of the Airstream factory is, for the most part, missing the mark. Some if not many dealerships are getting away with murder on this issue.
__________________
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

The Truth is More Important Than the Facts
dkottum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2016, 04:29 PM   #378
Rivet Master
 
DavidsonOverlander's Avatar

 
1964 26' Overlander
1974 31' Sovereign
Milton , ON
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 644
Images: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew T View Post

Ever more so because as a society we don't train people to work with their hands any more. The elites in education think there are no future jobs in technical work, likely because the don't understand it and don't have a clue how to teach it. However if you don't put a wrench or a rivet gun in a kids hand until he is 19 it will never really be part of him. It used to be that a farmers kids were helping fix the tractor from the time they were 5 and because there were more kids than farms there was this great work force available. However farms are becoming big corporate entities so there is not the same grass routes education of technical skills.

Andrew T
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
I agree with the comments about no longer training society to work with their hands. I know entirely too many folks who are better at hurting themselves trying to use tools than actually getting something fixed. 'Shop classes' in schools are almost non-existent nowadays. Kids are not getting to do anything with their hands other than clutch and interact with video games and computers.

It's not policy in my house, fortunately. We have a huge investment in power and hand tools, cooking equipment, and crafts like sewing and crochet. Our 4 kids know how to fix a car, cook a tasty meal, and repair clothing at a minimum. They get to explore tools of all sorts as they grow up. I just don't see how one can reasonably cope with the world without some level of manual skill, but then again I've often been accused of being a dinosaur. So be it...😄😄
While you're both correct that many students do not get the shop class experiences that they would have in years past, in my experience it's not quite as bad as you make it sound. In our school district all high schools offer technological education courses (ranging from woodworking to auto shop to construction to machine shop to electrical to robotics to HVAC, etc.), and many students get some experience with tools in elementary school as well. In elementary schools there is certainly a smaller variety of tools than there was 20 years ago, but there's still something and at least now the girls are involved as well, unlike when I was in grade 7/8 in the early 70's. In Ontario, education in many industry sectors is offered through Specialist High Skills Majors courses (in high school) which provide a broader range of industry-related skills than did previous courses.

The opportunities are there, but many parents do not recognize the value of Technological Education and discourage (or at least don't encourage) their children from taking those courses, a huge mistake in my opinion. In some of our schools 95% of parents of grade 9 students believe that their child will attend university. I guess it's easy to think that if you're child is going to become a doctor, lawyer or stock broker they'll have enough money to pay to have anything built or fixed that they need.
__________________

__________________
Grant Davidson
Milton, ON

1946 Spartan Manor
1954 Va-Ka-Shun-Ette
1964 Overlander
1965 Avion C-10 Truck Camper
1974 Sovereign
2005 F-350 SRW 4x4 crew cab long box
TAC ON-5
DavidsonOverlander is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Less expensive alternative to hood vent filter nick_gee Stoves, Ovens & Microwaves 11 01-05-2016 06:30 PM
Least expensive repair thenewkid64 General Repair Forum 5 09-23-2013 09:49 AM
New member, less than new AS, 1973 Tradewind with some issues aquinob General Repair Forum 14 10-13-2012 08:16 PM
Airstream or less-expensive others? kenlad Our Community 12 07-18-2004 04:54 PM
What would the least expensive tow vehicle be? RVNUTTY Tow Vehicles 13 03-10-2004 10:48 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by



Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:58 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.