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Old 03-16-2008, 11:31 AM   #1
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Airstreams, were there bad years??

I'm looking to buy another ASTT and I'm wondering if there is general consensus about particularly poor quality during certain model years. It seems just about every company has bad years. I play Martin guitars and ride Harley's so I know all about bad years.

I searched and couldn't find past threads about this so if there is one, kindly point me towards it.

I'm looking for a 30-31' with dinette. I'd like a newer one as we plan on keeping this one for a long time.

cheers
JB
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:39 AM   #2
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The answer is, it depends.
Are you talking about interior furnishing, exterior finish, structural integrity, appliance location and operation?
Some years tow better than others, some years are heavier than others, some years had rear sag, some years had frame cracking, some had bad rubber in the axles, etc.
And, how neew is "newer?" To me, our '74 is "newer", to others, a 2000 may be too old.
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:18 PM   #3
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Ya, I guess I didn't have any one category in mind. It would be good to know that xxxx-year had bad electrical or some other year had towing problems. At least then I'd have something to look for in particular years.

For "newer" I meant maybe mid-80's and up. I don't want a project. I don't mind if some stuff needs fixing, I can handle that. Our previous was a 1984 28-foot excella which was ok. Never had any problems with it at all. We sold it thinking we were going to buy a toy-hauler but never found one that we thought was worth the money they were asking. Instead I'm upgrading to a truck with 8-foot bed so I can put the toy(s) in the truck instead of the trailer.

After countless trips to rv-dealers and shows, my wife just put her foot down and said "get another airstream!" so, being the obeying spouse..I'm gong to oblige her.
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:29 PM   #4
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It is not a general concensus, but many believe that the Beatrice model Airstreams were of lesser quality.

Steve
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:40 PM   #5
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I did find this:

Airstream History.com, Silver Wheels

Interesting little read.
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:44 PM   #6
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Beatrice Foods

A general comment about the few years I worked at Airstream under the tudlege of Beatrice Foods.

The real problem was never Beatrice, as a Corporation. They never had a clue about the product. They only looked at their P&L. It is possible that BFsqueezed money, but in the day to day production the workers and middle management remained constant.

If there was a problem it had to be when Art Costello retired. Art learned the Airstream art from the Master, Wally. Art began his tenure at the old Curtis Wright production line after the war. The upper management following Art, may not have had the passion he had, or the understanding of how to run a company. However the middle management dealing with the product did have the knowledge and the passion.

The shining light in the Company for years, was Jack Oakley. He knew more about construction, production and product integrity that anyone person.

As to saying one year was better, or worse becomes a mute point.

Beatrice just did't have the ability to guide Airstream, what is in the bill of material for Milk Duds, or a gallon of milk?
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:11 PM   #7
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The startling truth

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnboy
... It seems just about every company has bad years. ...
Actually, Airstream has one of the longest records in industry of having bad years. In every single year except 1967 there has been something wrong with what rolled off the production line. Certain market analysts are still stymied as to how the excellence perpetuated in a 41 year-old travel trailer has sustained the Company for so long...

Seriously, I think PeeWee's comments [above] about the Beatrice years sums things up well. Karma to him

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Old 03-16-2008, 02:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnboy
..I searched and couldn't find past threads about this so if there is one, kindly point me towards it...
hi jb...

here is a short list of the threads on this issue...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f468...oid-40020.html

the 3rd link no longer works (someone must be messing with servers) so here is a fresh one...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/sear...archid=1001549

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnboy
.... I'm looking for a 30-31' with dinette...i'd like a newer one as we plan on keeping this one for a long time...
how new do you wanna buy?

30/31s really started getting HEAVY in the 'oak interior, wide body years' that span the 80s and 90s respectively...

there are issues with exterior finish and head liner failure in 90s units,

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f46/...iner-7781.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f160...ble-10701.html

and structural issues right up to NOW as well...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...ion-35237.html

in fact searching separation pulls up many of the threads dealing with this on 70s units too..

http://www.airforums.com/forums/sear...archid=1001597

so selecting an era, year, model or design, is akin to pickin' your poison!

cheers
2air
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:28 PM   #9
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finally re found my favorite post on this issue...

it's so good i'm tempted to steal it, but the o.p. and mrs o.p. are still active here

not only is the advice still correct 4 years after the posting, it's funny too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sander17
You might want to avoid the pre-1900 models. Their canvas shells do not polish up well at all. The furnace is a wood burner mounted on the ground outside the shell. The shower and toilet are external also. They do have some advantages. The mounting of the axels prevents rear sag and the light weight means they only need two horsepower. Lots of ground clearance and the treadwear with the steel tires is amazing.
cheers
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:47 PM   #10
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Condition and price are the prime things you should be looking for, once you have established the size and floor plan that meets your needs. I would not look at anything that is older than 1980 if you do not intend to do a lot of work on it. There was a period in the mid-90's when they had a problem with the clear coat that was put on in the aluminum sheet line and then formed afterwards. Many of those were repainted under warrentee so it could have been fixed for any particular unit you might look at. Some of the puffy soft padded ceilings started to delaminate and fall down in some of the late 90's. There are a number of fixes for that.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:01 AM   #11
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links are getting weird today...

the 2nd link in my first post is dead now...

this is the corrected one...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/sear...archid=1002092

somebody is jacking with the servers and threads.

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:12 AM   #12
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Thanks for all of the great replies. I guess like anything, you just have to look it over good before pulling the trigger.

cheers
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