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Old 12-28-2015, 11:54 AM   #57
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Yep... I need a Cheaper Airstream

We do know that the new "cheap" line of Airstreams will not use an aluminum shell.


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Old 12-28-2015, 02:14 PM   #58
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One of my next projects is to buy an older Airstream for the shell and re-do the interior and electrical/plummbing to my needs. After a year now of full timing in a 2014 International, I wish I had had the time to do my own restoration on an older shell a year ago as for the money, I would have ended up with an incredible Airstream for a lot less. However, I would not have known all the things I do now about the modern units and how everything fits together and runs and also what is possible as far as all the components go. I would still never consider anything but an Airstream both for aesthetic reasons and because the shell is made of durable metal...that or a shipping container on wheels :}
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Old 12-28-2015, 02:26 PM   #59
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One way they will build cheaper is via component assembly. They WILL NOT build an exterior shell and then fit the interior.

They will build the side walls in a jig, complete with most equipment and appointments. This will allow for visual supervision of quality production. Fitting cabinets, bulkheads etc. will be standardized through much tighter tolerances than can be obtained by their current labor intensive "shell first" process.

A LOT of the cost of an Airstream and QC issues are directly attributable to the current "outside in" method of construction.




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Agreed! The "outside in" flow is wasteful and VERY difficult to standardize. Continuous improvement can only be built upon a foundation of standardized work. Airstream could make a better trailer cheaper with higher quality components if it dramatically reduced configurations and re-thought construction flow. The best evidence of the waste, imbalance, and strain in production ops is their own tour. Even the video tour is hard to watch when you understand what mfg should look like in today's competitive world.

That said, I LOVE my trailer and think they did a decent job even with such poor workflow. That's a credit to the workers who put it together in spite of the obstacles the process puts in their way.
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Old 12-28-2015, 02:28 PM   #60
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...that or a shipping container on wheels :}
great idea: "SeaTainerStream"
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Old 12-28-2015, 02:38 PM   #61
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Agreed! The "outside in" flow is wasteful and VERY difficult to standardize. Continuous improvement can only be built upon a foundation of standardized work. Airstream could make a better trailer cheaper with higher quality components if it dramatically reduced configurations and re-thought construction flow. The best evidence of the waste, imbalance, and strain in production ops is their own tour. Even the video tour is hard to watch when you understand what mfg should look like in today's competitive world.

That said, I LOVE my trailer and think they did a decent job even with such poor workflow. That's a credit to the workers who put it together in spite of the obstacles the process puts in their way.

I LOVE pragmatism!

You just made my day. There is hope!


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Old 12-28-2015, 05:32 PM   #62
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Indeed, this is intended to be philosophical. How can Airstream build and sell a similar product for less, retain quality and provide the amenities that a first purchaser will be pleased?

Dan Post #50. So far we are absolutely 100% satisfied with our new International. The refrigerator fan is noisy and it does not shut down, but will have the new part installed that operates the fan. I will also take the advice on replacing the noisy original fan with something quieter. Everything works and replaced the 2006 because the bed, refrigerator and just a bit more space would last us for 20 years!

m.hony post #50 and Toyotas. I was so disappointed with my new 3/4 ton Chevrolet pickup truck in 1978 from mechanical failures, improper factory part on the transmission and rusting door after the third year... traded it in for a full sized "mini" Toyota pickup in 1981. We have owned Land Cruisers up to 248,000 miles and they sold quickly at top dollar looking new on the exterior and running perfectly. The front wheel bearings and differentials were the only parts needing replacement when we sold due to wear issues found with 200,000 +/- mileage. Today, we have a 2008 model Land Cruiser that we will keep until we cannot drive, and my 2012 Sunday 5.7L 4x4 that has operated flawlessly. Owned a Land Cruiser since 1985 with the six cylinder up to today's 5.7L!

All of our Toyota Land Cruisers were replaced at 150,000+ miles with a later model. Our Toyota pickup trucks before 100,000 miles and sell fast. Our 2008 was replaced with a 2012 Crew Max and never have had one issue, problem or complaint on either, but the back seat area gave us more room.

Our second option would have been a Ford F250, but did not want diesel and the one with the New Mexico ranch model was a piece of art. Like an Airstream.

Our 2014 Airstream was selected, after my wife and I tested EVERY OPTION as if it were a used model. Many at the dealer's lot had faulty vent fans, or very noisy. Some were hanging from the ceiling being replaced as we looked at the 2014's and 2015's. We felt we had a good price in our negotiations.

Quality for the price... Toyota and Airstream have met our expectations and am confident that both will serve us well for years.

Absolutely-
When/if I ever buy another pickup it will be another Tundra-
Period.
Current Tundra at 51,000 miles, so maybe never...

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I LOVE pragmatism!

You just made my day. There is hope!


Brevi tempore!

Yep, stepping over parts, air hoses, and extension cords in a cluttered, crowded space at Jackson Center, and then touring another plant like, say, Corvette in Bowling Green-
Maybe the plant expansion helped relieve some of this?


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Old 12-28-2015, 07:49 PM   #63
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I still say that the basis of expanding the customer base needs to address not needing a new vehicle to pull it.

Look at US cars in the 1950s. Huge and getting huger. Then along comes the VW beetle and it's a paradigm shift.

The pull behind trailer segment is getting huger and huger with massive 5th wheels and slides. AS and the SOBs.

What is needed is an option unit that screams I am Nimble, I am Different, I am Easy, I am Fun, I am Innovative.

Users will Trust it because it is an Airstream.
But users will WANT it because it is nimble, different, easy, fun, and innovative.

And they will not be willing to buy a truck to pull it.
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Old 12-28-2015, 07:57 PM   #64
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Yep, stepping over parts, air hoses, and extension cords in a cluttered, crowded space at Jackson Center, and then touring another plant like, say, Corvette in Bowling Green-
Maybe the plant expansion helped relieve some of this?


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Anytime we are talking about working inside of a structure instead of a "real" assembly line is is going to be cluttered with people and their tools...

Ben there and done that...


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Old 12-28-2015, 08:38 PM   #65
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The Airstream factory is obviously not ISO9000 certified!
I wonder if the process could ever be more like an automobile assembly line?
Even Harleys are built more like an automobile on an assembly line.

I think we need to bring them boys on down here to Mississippi and show 'em how to organize/straighten a warehouse!


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Old 12-28-2015, 09:06 PM   #66
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The Airstream factory is obviously not ISO9000 certified!
I wonder if the process could ever be more like an automobile assembly line?
Even Harleys are built more like an automobile on an assembly line.


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With the low volume/high product mix combination the best flow would be cellular. Groups of lengths assembled in 2-3 cells (for trailers) with interiors modularized and components delivered to the cells via pull signals. The larger trailer cell could probably not be "u" shaped, which is ideal, because of the square footage needed to build 30' units in a "u" shaped flow, but perhaps an "L" shape. Redesigning the whole flow of the trailers would actually be fun!
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Old 12-28-2015, 09:13 PM   #67
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I just read this entire thread. What I have taken away is that if you really want a cheaper Airstream then do as Msmoto suggested in #20 and buy a gently used one. Folks buy new ones because it is easy, they can afford to and that is what they want- similar to why folks buy a new car.

What really bothers me about the new Airstreams is not the quality control issues, but the decisions that are made like single stage convertors, cheap batteries and inadequate solar systems. Come on Airstream, if you are building the best travel trailer then install the best components. What would Wally think?

Dan
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Old 12-28-2015, 11:53 PM   #68
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rodsterinfl, I wonder if AS replacements every 5 years are due to "two-foot-itis," as there seems to be a correlation between the age of the unit and its length when I see members who've owned more than one unit. It's also possible that owners' needs and wishes change, for example, retirees planning to spend more time on the road. I don't think it's a quality issue, as newer used Airstreams are in high demand, precisely because they are typically still in good nick, but without the need for major renos that many prospective buyers have neither the time nor the skills to undertake.

Piggy Bank, we've been a one-vehicle couple for a long time. Sure, most people live in cities where a big truck is a disadvantage for commuting and city parking. But a truck is a huge asset for pulling a trailer in terms of overall stability; and the less storage space there is on the trailer, the more of an asset a capped truck bed becomes. Our storage space in the 19' AS is limited, but we have more room for gear in the capped back end of our Tundra than we have actually wanted to bring on a long trip-- including a large-capacity biffy box, camp chairs & folding table, luggage, BBQ grill, canoe paddles, life vests, generator, jerry cans for gas & water, box for recyclables, backpacks, and probably other bulky stuff I forgot at the moment. A SUV would be suitable for the roads we like to explore on camping trips, but we'd sacrifice too much on the storage space.

Paradoxically, the smaller the trailer, the more useful a large vehicle becomes for carrying gear.

Trucks are much more popular than city cars in rural areas, and even more than SUVs, precisely for their hauling capacity.

TouringDan, I wonder if a lot of people rely on full hookups and don't boondock. We upgraded our factory-issue batteries soon after buying our current AS.
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:52 AM   #69
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I LOVE pragmatism!

You just made my day. There is hope!


Brevi tempore!

Thanks! There is always hope!
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Old 12-29-2015, 09:35 AM   #70
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From our perspective, our first trailer (2013 25FB International Serenity) was the teacher since we had no prior RV experience. I certainly learned a huge lesson about "catalog" buying versus dealer visitation. I had great expectations that my existing car (2007 Mercedes ML320 CDI diesel) would tow the 25FB with no issues.

After loading the 25FB for camping and with my wife also in the car, the CAT scales told me we were overloaded on the Mercedes axle capacity. Whoops.

Then after the acquisition of a more weight capacity tow vehicle (2012 Dodge Ram 2500HD Cummins), we went camping and the trailer floor plan became a major issue for us. The trailer itself (made in June of 2012 when production was MUCH slower) had NO issues when we got it and worked as advertised except for the dealer installed 155 watt solar system was inadequate to recharge the batteries after the furnace ran all night. We had to run our generator to recharge the battery in a no hookup camping situation (Albuquerque Balloon Festival).

We decided to change ships and moved to the 31' 2014 Classic. After extensive modifications, we expect this will be our first and last long distance traveler and down the road be parked for the summer on our lot in an Airstream only RV park (Ponderosa Shadows) in the mountain area of Show Low, Arizona.

We then acquired a 2015 23D International Serenity that is perfectly matched to our 2007 Mercedes for short trips to the smaller older RV parks of the SouthWest.
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