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Old 07-24-2012, 07:17 AM   #1
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Now I see....

I am not a person who likes to get into the politics, religion, or thinking of other people..... Up until now, I thought the complaints of others referencing the problems with their new Airstreams were just that... complaining, and whining. I read about construction remnants swept into unseen corners (big deal clean it up) or little dabs of glue (scrape it off), a loose hinge (tighten it up), ar something mis aligned (straighten it up). Now I see what the buzz is all about!

A few days ago a fellow, and his wife, newly retired, spent a few days in the same RV park where I am. He rolled in in supposedly the last built 34' triple axle built in 2011. It is Identical to my 1991 Excella in every way, except for trim and fabrics.
He was amazed (not being a real Airstream guy) at how despite the passage of time, they were both the same. Then we toured the others vehicle... What a difference!

I immediately got the low down once inside his... his $107000, got him junk! My eye was drawn to the crookedness of EVERYTHING, all the cabinet doors were warped, mis-aligned, or otherwise not right!
The Counters were beautiful composite, loose from the cabinetry and made a clunking sound when leaned on.
A few Lights ceased to function, a breaker for some 110 v circuit was always tripping. The entry door was a laughing matter, as it was so horribly alighne it wouldnt shut without a slam as it was somtacting the lower sill.
Overall fit and finis was horrid, I chuckeled as I really saw what I had read about, there was glue, and caulking everywhere!
I had to stop being so critical, after all where was my loyalty? His AS felt very contemporary with all the beautiful Hickory wood, the new Airstream smell, but then out came a shoebox of misc rivets, wrappers, hunks of who knows what! Leaks, leaks, leaks, everywhere!

I saw all this with my own eyes! It was raining....

I returned home to my own Excella, greeted by the kindness of time... everything was tight, straight, and strong.

My Excella is fairly new to me, I haven't had to do too much other than add my own stink and modernize.

Please don't interpret this as a bash on AS, but now I see first hand what others are experiencing.

My Airstream is one of those stories you hear about... "a little old lady drove it to church", it really is a rarity, I feel bad for this fellow and his brand new one. I doubt it will survive time like the older ones.

Mine is built like a tank! I hope quality issues will be fixed, I fear this might not survive the way it it!

Be safe and many happy miles Roger!
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:39 AM   #2
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You may "see" but does your "fellow" belong to the white-cane club? How could he buy this trailer without noticing something??
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:05 AM   #3
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A lot of people don't have the experience or skills to know what to look for... one would assume that buying one of the most expensive RV's in it's class would get you one of the best RV's. It's no different buying a car... if you are driving an 18 year old Impala... a rather beat up 3 year old Camry is going to seem pretty spanky. It isn't until you live with it, and compare it to other cars, that you see it still has problems...

The worst part isn't what you can see - as a lot of that can be fixed (though it shouldn't have to be)... It's that 91 Excella that's had a leak in the shower drain that you will never, ever see until suddenly the floor falls out onto the interstate and you realize the curtain rods have been load-bearing structural units for the last 10 years.

I have my 22' water-tight (for the season anyway) and in 100% running order... and think this might be the right time to sell it.
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:27 AM   #4
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Friday, that is a good reply, thanks. Since I have been using my shower a lot lately, I have been thinking about leaking shower drain pipes. I don't know if this "test" would be too accurate, but I was thinking of draining my grey-water tank, putting the floor plug in the shower drain then measuring an exact amount of water into the basin. I would then drain the grey tank into a container to see if the same amount of water from the shower basin came out. I would see if there was a big leak. However, it's those miniscule ones that do the damage over time.

Is there anything else I can do to see if the drain pipe is leaking? Am thinking of the preventative angle. Floors dropping onto the freeway is something I'd like to avoid!
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:16 AM   #5
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Politely tell him of the problems and suggest he take it back to his dealer or JC for repair. Door alignment might have meant he has the trailer in a bind when he leveled it, other things mentioned would have been caught by my dealer, and his should have also. Twisted frames can play havoc with doors if the leveling is done wrong. Too bad, but it sounds like he was happy. Jim
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly at Night View Post
Is there anything else I can do to see if the drain pipe is leaking? Am thinking of the preventative angle. Floors dropping onto the freeway is something I'd like to avoid!
How about the dye test? Take a gallon or two of water, and add some sort of water-soluble dye. Rather than filling the shower pan and then pulling the plug, pour it down the drain using a funnel so you don't get any of the dye-laden water on your shower pan (just in case it doesn't wash off as well as you thought it would). Follow the drain lines and see if you detect any of the color on the outside of the drain lines.

Whatever dye you use needs to be able to wash out with soap and water, of course.
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:29 AM   #7
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i'm happy to report that the unit built before his, while not issue free, has a much shorter punch list :-)
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:39 AM   #8
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Someone with a 20 year old Airstream chuckling about someone else's leaking trailer probably hasn't checked his subfloor.

I don't know how we had the good fortune to buy new 2007 and 2012 Airstreams with virtually none of the above-described construction faults is a mystery. Unless someone's stretching things a bit.

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Old 07-29-2012, 08:55 AM   #9
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Protagonist says "Not everything that's wrong with a new trailer is necessarily Airstreams fault."

No kidding.

doug k
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:25 AM   #10
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I beg to differ...

My 20 year old Airstream has spent its entire life in a garage!
I have in fact ripped every inch of covering up, and there is no rot in the floors, anywhere!

I feel bad for the guy I met, his AS was a complete mess! You cant defend crappy workmanship! Unless this is a new standard!

I got rid of my newer AS equipment due to this fact!

I agree older stuff has its failures, but times were different then, there was still a shred of pride, and care in manufacturing!

People here with older AS mention the ravages of time, which are directly related to the passage of time.... People with newer AS are complaining about the same issues.... all without the passage of time!.

I'm certain I will have leaks, but right now I have none which are causing rot to my 3 year old trailer.

What I saw in his unit was just horrible!
Like I mentioned in my first post, he was not the typical Airstream nut. A regular AS buyer/user shouldn't be expected to carry an ice pick to look at and buy a brand new/ untitled product!

Just my opinion!
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:29 AM   #11
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Not my experience and I think you're stretching it. Lot of that goes on here.

doug k
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:33 AM   #12
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The comparison of an old AS to a new one regarding quality control is really not fair. Especially a restored and/or modified older AS.

I'm just finishing the restoration of a 1960 Thunderbird. In many respects, my 'bird is built with better materials and certainly has much more character than a new car. That said, I've thrown a pot load of money at the project and I had to install my own seat belts. There's no FM radio, air bags, crumple zones, disc brakes or radial tires.

To compare an older AS to a new one is folly. It took me a year to restore the Thunderbird and it's only taken six years to get my 25' Safari FB LE to the point that it doesn't leak and the cabinets are tight.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:37 AM   #13
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Denis, that's a lot of time to spend with a screwdriver and tube of sealant.

doug k
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Denis, that's a lot of time to spend with a screwdriver and tube of sealant.

doug k
No, it's a lot of time removing crappy caulking, reinstalling new rubber seals and removing some cabinets to get to others. Forgot to mention having all of the formica edging redone. I could go on and on. While you get tired of everyone whining about AS QC, I get tired of reading about the only two perfect Airstreams sold since 2007.
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