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Old 11-24-2013, 03:44 PM   #1
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2014 25' Flying Cloud
San Simeon , California
Join Date: Nov 2013
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6 Questions from a Flying Cloud Shopper

Greetings! My wife and I live in CA and are almost ready to purchase a 19' Flying Cloud, but we have a few questions and hope some of you can help us.
1) 2013 vs 2014: a dealer told us the 2013s have improved insulation over older models - is that accurate? He also told us the 2014s have self-closing drawers - is that correct? Any other differences of note, such as any improvement on the leaking issues we read about in other threads?
2) Ultraleather vs Fabric for dinette cushions: which is easier to clean in terms of dirt and grime from dusty hikers and hair from a German Shepherd Dog? We plan to keep the dog off the furniture, but if she happens to jump up there, is the leather more sensitive to dog claws, etc.? Which do folks prefer and why?
3) Pricing: on other threads, I've read we can expect to save 16-18% on a 2014 and 18-20% on a new 2013. Does that sound accurate? Any tips on getting the best deal? We live in CA, but might drive to AZ if it's worth it. On that note, would you be concerned about buying a 2013 that had sat on the lot through a sweltering AZ summer?
4) Conventional Oven vs Convection Microwave? We're coming from tent camping with a two burner propane stove or backpacking, so we don't think we'll use the conventional oven as much as we would use a microwave. The dealer pointed out that we'll need a generator or electrical hookups to use a microwave, so they recommend a conventional oven with a standard microwave placed on the counter or dinette table when desired and when power is available....but the 19' Flying Cloud has hardly any counter space. Thoughts?
6) Solar, Inverter, Generator: Are aftermarket solar packages better and cheaper than the factory solar package? How much power do they provide? Do we need to upgrade the inverter as was recommended as essential for a new AS owner on another thread? Is the factory inverter not a quality item? Do folks recommend a Honda or Yamaha 2000W generator over other knockoff brands?

That is probably 10 questions, so I apologize for the length, but we appreciate any help and advice from all of you.

Two snoozing pups in a flying cloud....
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Old 11-24-2013, 03:49 PM   #2
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2014 25' Flying Cloud
San Simeon , California
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I obviously lost track of my questions jumping from 4 to 6, but you guys get the gist of it. Sorry about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloud Pups View Post
Greetings! My wife and I live in CA and are almost ready to purchase a 19' Flying Cloud, but we have a few questions and hope some of you can help us. 1) 2013 vs 2014: a dealer told us the 2013s have improved insulation over older models - is that accurate? He also told us the 2014s have self-closing drawers - is that correct? Any other differences of note, such as any improvement on the leaking issues we read about in other threads? 2) Ultraleather vs Fabric for dinette cushions: which is easier to clean in terms of dirt and grime from dusty hikers and hair from a German Shepherd Dog? We plan to keep the dog off the furniture, but if she happens to jump up there, is the leather more sensitive to dog claws, etc.? Which do folks prefer and why? 3) Pricing: on other threads, I've read we can expect to save 16-18% on a 2014 and 18-20% on a new 2013. Does that sound accurate? Any tips on getting the best deal? We live in CA, but might drive to AZ if it's worth it. On that note, would you be concerned about buying a 2013 that had sat on the lot through a sweltering AZ summer? 4) Conventional Oven vs Convection Microwave? We're coming from tent camping with a two burner propane stove or backpacking, so we don't think we'll use the conventional oven as much as we would use a microwave. The dealer pointed out that we'll need a generator or electrical hookups to use a microwave, so they recommend a conventional oven with a standard microwave placed on the counter or dinette table when desired and when power is available....but the 19' Flying Cloud has hardly any counter space. Thoughts? 6) Solar, Inverter, Generator: Are aftermarket solar packages better and cheaper than the factory solar package? How much power do they provide? Do we need to upgrade the inverter as was recommended as essential for a new AS owner on another thread? Is the factory inverter not a quality item? Do folks recommend a Honda or Yamaha 2000W generator over other knockoff brands? That is probably 10 questions, so I apologize for the length, but we appreciate any help and advice from all of you. Two snoozing pups in a flying cloud....
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Old 11-24-2013, 05:07 PM   #3
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Hilton head island , South Carolina
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I dont know the answer to any of those as I am also looking for a new airstream but i am anxious to see what others say. I am still in the new vs used camp but leaning new

I will say I would go leather all day over fabric.. fabric will collect dog hair, dirt, stain easier etc.. i could go on
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Old 11-24-2013, 05:34 PM   #4
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Just picked up our FC bunkhouse 2014 model 11/15...the ultra-leather so far is REALLY nice...very soft to touch and surviving a couple kid spills already without a problem..

I do not have "self closing drawers" in mine...

For whatever it is worth and this all may depend on various factors I suspect...I found 2013 models on lots - both I found and got quotes were between 19-20% off MSRP....honestly the 2014 ended up being only about 1% higher of a discount...so as I recall it was 18.5% off MSRP...but depending on the model and other factors, 16-18% is probably ballpark to expect for 2014....a 2013 model at this point...depending on how long it has actually been on the lot...I would shoot for 20-25% off or just special order...if the unit was the exact thing I wanted and could not get less than 20% off, I would roll with that.

we have no plans for dry camping for a while...and what little we will do I suspect we will do fine with just our batteries and use of truck alternator to charge up if needed...mostly we will have hookups at places we camp with kids...IF you have alot of dry camping plans, then you will need to decide all that..

No one recommends their solar hardly ever....the cost of the solar from AS can get you alot more aftermarket...the inverter? I opted for it because for what little dry camping we may be doing in coming years, I wanted to be able to easily charge computers, phones, etc...but having said that, Im not sure it is worth the money...in retro-spect I think I would forgo it and if/when I started finding it a need, then I would buy aftermarket.

Solar keeps the batteries charged up, but will not run AC/heat pumps...if that is a necessity for you a generator will be necessary - yamaha 2800 vs. two honda 2000's vs. honda or yamaha 3000....many threads on these topics

Good luck...use the search function up there but use the google function with all these questions and read old posts...that is what I did...really helped alot...you can look through my profile as well as I went through alot of this in my threads.

Good luck
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Old 11-24-2013, 05:58 PM   #5
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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Here are my responses as a longtime Airstream owner and the new owner of a FC 20'.

1. The new Airstreams have a different insulation than the old pink stuff, but I am not sure if it is any better. That said, my new FC seems to be easy to heat and cool, a bit easier than my '74 Argosy 20'.

The 2014s' do have self closing drawers. However the factory was cheap on the screws to hold the mechanism in place, and I would recommend putting screws in all of the places that are on the drawer slides, not just the two that the factory used. One of mine was pulled out the day I picked it up. I re did all of the drawer slide screws myself.

No Idea of how well the "leak issue" has been resolved. Mine had a relatively major leak in the front pano window area, but that seems to have been resolved by the dealer re sealing the front.

2. I have the ultraleather but no idea if it is better or worse for dogs. I picked it because I liked it's look.

3. If you want to PM me, I will tell you about my pricing and so on. I prefer not to post it on the net for personal reasons.

Any trailer which sits on a lot with people in and out of it daily will have more wear and tear than a new one. I think you can get a good deal on a factory fresh one and would recommend that.

4. I only want a conventional oven and in fact that was one reason I custom ordered my 2014. It is a very personal choice, and one that only you can decide. I did add a very small older countertop microwave to mine, and it works well on the 1000 watt inverter that was another option I wanted and ordered. I found a space for it on my 20' FC but the floor plan is very different from the 19' FC. It has lots and lots of counterspace.

5. The 1000 watt sine wave inverter the factory installs has worked well for me so far, and I have no issues with it at all. It will also power my very small microwave, as mentioned above.

The thing I did immediately replace was the converter/charger the factory supplies, which is a single stage one and simply is too hard on the batteries. Realize that the converter/charger and the inverter are two very different things. The inverter is an option, I think mine was about $600. The converter/charger is a piece of standard equipment and AS should provide a better one than they do.

The factory solar is too small, and too over priced. I added my own 200 watt system with MPPT charge controller for less than $700. Of course I did my own work, so no labor in that price.

As the Honda and Yamaha inverter generators are well known and bulletproof I personally think they are a better long term investment than the knock off ones. Yes, they are $1000 or so, and the knock off's are $600, but parts, service and so on may make that difference small in the long run. Who is going to service a Costco inverter generator? And I love Costco... but who will provide parts and service?

You will like your new FC. But be sure to look at the 20' one if you want more counter space, and a bigger bathroom. I think the plan is superior to the 19'.
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:15 PM   #6
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2010 27' FB Flying Cloud
San Jose , California
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Regarding 2013s which have sat on the lot - pay attention to the "consumables" which have a fixed lifetime, like batteries and tires. Negotiate either discount or replacement. I wasn't wise to this, and thus accepted a 2010 trailer on which the dealer swapped onto it a set of 2008 tires, presumably to satisfy a buyer of an older unit.

In any case, enjoy the journey - both your journey of disovering the unit and features you want, as well as the journeys you take it discovering new places...
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:17 PM   #7
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And solar - I definitely think you get more value, and a system better suited to your needs, when you go aftermarket .

I went with a 300 watt aftermarket solar system. I do bring a honda 2000 watt generator in the winter, in the event that the panels don't pick up enough energy from the low winter sun. But its generally not been a problem; I've only needed to use it a couple times.
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:34 PM   #8
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I seem to be taking these one at a time:

Inverter - think about what your needs are. If, like me, you just want to power a tv or recharge cell phones , cameras or computers, a 100 watt portable inverter worlds fine, and is cheap. Downside compared to built in. - you need to plug it into a 12v outlet to use it; upside is that such small inverters. consume less quiescent current when not in use, thus preserve battery, when compared to the built-ins.

I found that in general for my needs the 600 watt factory inverter was either overkill for these basic usages, or inadequate for things like coffee makers and such, which would require an upgrade of inverter and battery system.

Once again, your own requirements should dictate what you get, and sometimes that just takes some time traveling with it to learn what's really important!

You can always add stuff later - in my case it has been:
1. 300 watt solar
2. 3 stage converter
3. AGM batteries
4. battery monitor
5. wifi/4g external antennas and wifi hotspot
6. 16" wheels and LT tires

Its all part of the fun
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:15 PM   #9
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2014 25' Flying Cloud
San Simeon , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steverino View Post
Once again, your own requirements should dictate what you get, and sometimes that just takes some time traveling with it to learn what's really important! You can always add stuff later - in my case it has been: 1. 300 watt solar 2. 3 stage converter 3. AGM batteries 4. battery monitor 5. wifi/4g external antennas and wifi hotspot 6. 16" wheels and LT tires Its all part of the fun
Thank you, Steve, well said about figuring out what we need/want after some traveling.

I've read many people switch to 16" wheels and LT tires. What is the reason for this? Do folks think it is wiser to make that switch when ordering a org from the factory, assuming that's even possible?

What brand/type of wifi/4g external antennas and wifi hotspot did you choose and how is the performance? Does the trailer affect your cell signal inside or did you just want to increase your reach and improve reception?

Thanks again,

Cloud Pup
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Old 11-24-2013, 08:02 PM   #10
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2008 23' Safari SE
Santa Ynez , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloud Pups View Post
Thank you, Steve, well said about figuring out what we need/want after some traveling.

I've read many people switch to 16" wheels and LT tires. What is the reason for this? Do folks think it is wiser to make that switch when ordering a org from the factory, assuming that's even possible?

What brand/type of wifi/4g external antennas and wifi hotspot did you choose and how is the performance? Does the trailer affect your cell signal inside or did you just want to increase your reach and improve reception?

Thanks again,

Cloud Pup
Hi -- people (like me) are upgrading wheels primarily to get access to better tires -- many are going with the Michelin LTX M/S2. Use the search function and you will find many helpful threads on this topic.

What I can add to this discussion is the observation that the single axle Airstreams have a lot more weight per axle than any of the larger tandem axle models. Combined with the issue of only one wheel per side this would make me even more concerned about having the best possible tires.
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Old 11-24-2013, 09:18 PM   #11
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Tucson , Arizona
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As an owner of a 2006 Safari SE 19' (which is the same thing as a newer Flying Cloud, I can respond to some of your questions:

I'd go with ultra leather. It's very nice.

We prefer the conventional gas oven as it can be used whether or not you have electricity. You might be surprised how often you'll use it. There is very little room in a 19' for a microwave, so we carry a small inexpensive microwave with us when we know we will have electricity. It's home is on a small table outside, plugged into the outside outlet and covered with a vinyl "cozy" that keeps it out of the elements when not in use. This has worked great for us.

We have a factory inverter (600w) and love the convenience of it...it can be turned off and on so it's only "active" when it's being used.

Ours came with factory solar but I'd recommend having that added after market...you'll get a better system and more watts even with the relatively small real estate on top of a 19'. That having been said, we get along fine with our factory solar. We are quite happy with its performance in keeping us up and running...

That said, we also have two 2000w Honda generators. We usually just need one, but when we might need AC we take both. It's the ideal combination for us. Don't get a knock-off...you'll be much happier with the Honda or Yamaha models ... they are real workhorses.

We bought our '06 off an AZ dealer's lot in March of '07...we did get an appropriate discount of course, but there was no other undue bad effects of being in the elements before we bought it. Remember that Airstreams a lot older than 1 year that have sat in the elements for years still look great! Just check the date of the tires and check the vent covers and AC shroud to make sure they are not brittle. We have replaced both on our rig (the vent cover twice, actually...finally, I got a lifetime warranty cover for that one), but it wasn't until a couple of years or more down the road.

We personally think the use of space in a 19' is one of the best designs out there. We have been surprised by a lot of folks who have said, "This is so much roomier than I thought it would be!" If you are used to living in small spaces, you will be find. We travel with 2 medium sized dogs and thought we call it a 1.5 person galley, we do just fine. Of course, there are times we might like a larger rig, then we remember all the great places we've been where a larger rig would have been problematic. For our way of use, it's perfect...we do everything from long weekends to 3+ week trips (so far) ... and we see no reason we couldn't make longer trips. We even lived in it in our front yard for 4 months one winter while flood repairs were being made to our home. It was quite cozy, provided us an escape pod from the realities of the damage to our home ... and no one got strangled!

You are not limited to a given number of questions here, so if you have more, just ask ... and enjoy the search!
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Old 11-24-2013, 10:33 PM   #12
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Kooskia , Idaho
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BTW, the optional factory inverter was 600 watts up through the 2013 year. In 2014 it was changed to a 1000 watt unit at the same price.

I use my 1000 watt one to power a small microwave (older unit, purchased at Goodwill, the new ones mostly take too much power) as well as a toaster. Each require 800 to 900 watts, so they must be use alone, but they both work well for me. The short time use of less than 5 minutes each does not cause much drain on the batteries. Lots of power (amps) but little time makes for low energy use overall. My microwave or toaster each take about 90 amps input to the inverter, but for 5 minutes use (0.083 hour) that is only 90 x 0.083 = 7.5 amp hours. So, one 5 minute use of either the microwave or toaster takes about 5% of my 150 amp hour battery capacity.

The original equipment batteries have a capacity of about 150 amp hours and I plan to change them to golf cart types next spring. The new ones will have a capacity of about 225 amp hours. I also have a 200 watt solar system on the roof.
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Old 11-24-2013, 10:56 PM   #13
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Avila Beach , California
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1) We have 2013 28ft FC and I have no idea about the insulation.
2) Without a question the Ultraleather is easier to clean but have to balance that against cost and preference.
3) We live in Calif. and purchased ours here but...we got a quote from Heritage in NJ and used that as leverage for negotiations. It worked and we got a great deal.
4) Again this is personal preference but I would go with the gas oven for many of things already said. Its nice not have to rely on power to bake/broil.
5) Inverter: Our 800w was no good from the factory and they replaced it with a 1000w which has worked well since installation. Solar panels: definitely want them as it is pain to have to drag out generators all the time. As previously stated I would go with after market. More power/sf with after market. Generators: since we do not have a Uwave we only have one 2000w Yamaha which is fine unless that is you are planning to dry camp in the desert a lot then...2 might be necessary.
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:21 PM   #14
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Salem , Oregon
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Hi, we live in Southern California and bought our trailer in Eugene, Oregon. We were lucky in the fact that our model trailer came with a stove top, an oven, and a micro-wave. I bought a Yamaha 2400 generator because it was the lightest single generator that would run our air conditioner. I don't have solar and don't have an inverter. I seldom camp without full hookups.
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