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Old 10-11-2019, 06:48 PM   #1
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Comparison... 2016 Classic - 2019/2020 Classic

We’re considering 2 (and possibly a 3rd) Classic 30 trailers at a dealer near our winter location. They have 2 Classics in stock, a 3rd (2020) to be delivered in Dec. in stock - One used 2016 and one new, a 2019.
Is the differences the dealer outlined, the batteries, the solar and the heating and cooling system, worth the $30k to $40k difference in price?
Also, can someone explain the new (gel?) heating system?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:43 PM   #2
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Hi

The "big deal" that came along in 2017 is the Alde hydronic heating system. It replaces both the water heater and the furnace in the older trailers. You have a single "boiler" that heats the hot water and also heats anti-freeze water (in a separate chamber) to circulate in radiators around the trailer.

The net effect is that you have a silent heat system (compared to a noisy furnace) that pulls way less power off of your battery when in operation.

Cooling system wise, the Classics have had two heat pump / A/C units for a while. They went to a pair of 15K BTU units recently from the older 15K / 13.5K pair. I would not call that a big deal at all.

The solar option gets you AGM batteries. Each year has had slightly different twists in terms of what is or isn't stock. Ideally you want the full solar package with three panels on the roof. Indeed you can spend money to get that put on later.

The 2019 and 2020 come with a built in WiFi / Cellular hotspot capability. Reviews so far on that system are mixed. There are a few minor upgrades (tire pressure monitors??) on the 2020 vs the 2019.

In 2017 Airstream put in a control system from Firefly. In 2019 they switched to one from CZone. The 2020 should have the same system as the 2019. The 2016's have the more traditional light switches and no fancy touch panels.

======

Both the 2020 and 2019 should come with 3 factory year warranties (which is a big deal). The 2019's should be going on a factory discount "sale" real soon now (if this is a normal year). That should knock a noticeable bit off the price of the 2019.

What you get is very much up to you. I would *hope* that the 2019 is at least $10K less than the 2020. The 2020 should be selling for about 20% off of list price. Being a used trailer, you will save money on the 2016. There is some regional variation and I don't know where you are located. That makes this a bit of a guessing game.

Bob
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

The "big deal" that came along in 2017 is the Alde hydronic heating system. It replaces both the water heater and the furnace in the older trailers. You have a single "boiler" that heats the hot water and also heats anti-freeze water (in a separate chamber) to circulate in radiators around the trailer.

The net effect is that you have a silent heat system (compared to a noisy furnace) that pulls way less power off of your battery when in operation.

Cooling system wise, the Classics have had two heat pump / A/C units for a while. They went to a pair of 15K BTU units recently from the older 15K / 13.5K pair. I would not call that a big deal at all.

The solar option gets you AGM batteries. Each year has had slightly different twists in terms of what is or isn't stock. Ideally you want the full solar package with three panels on the roof. Indeed you can spend money to get that put on later.

The 2019 and 2020 come with a built in WiFi / Cellular hotspot capability. Reviews so far on that system are mixed. There are a few minor upgrades (tire pressure monitors??) on the 2020 vs the 2019.

In 2017 Airstream put in a control system from Firefly. In 2019 they switched to one from CZone. The 2020 should have the same system as the 2019. The 2016's have the more traditional light switches and no fancy touch panels.

======

Both the 2020 and 2019 should come with 3 factory year warranties (which is a big deal). The 2019's should be going on a factory discount "sale" real soon now (if this is a normal year). That should knock a noticeable bit off the price of the 2019.

What you get is very much up to you. I would *hope* that the 2019 is at least $10K less than the 2020. The 2020 should be selling for about 20% off of list price. Being a used trailer, you will save money on the 2016. There is some regional variation and I don't know where you are located. That makes this a bit of a guessing game.

Bob


Thank you! Great info! (Btw, I had an Uncle Bob )
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Old 10-12-2019, 04:03 AM   #4
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I have a 2016 Classic but I will definitely say the Hydronic heating feature of newer trailers is something I would have liked. Although, I did remove a lot of that desire by installing silent electric heating in my unit (heated floors and heat strips under windows). The water heater already has electric heat capability in addition to propane, so that part of the Hydronic system upgrade wasn't that big of a deal to me.

One thing about the 2016 is it has a simple and traditional mechanical switch electric system setup that can be repaired by basically anyone forever. Will you be able to repair and find replacement parts on those circuit board based Firefly units in 10+ years? Who knows.

When I was looking into 15-year old Prevost bus conversions, there were a lot of problems with finding replacement parts for those new fancy circuit board based controls. The companies just simply stopped making them.
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:17 AM   #5
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Hi

As time marches on, we do indeed get into various electronic bits and pieces. Will the thermostat for your A/C unit still be replaceable in 10 years? How about the panel for your tank gauges? Control board for the fridge? Alde thermostat? LED lights in the ceiling? Polk Stereo control panel? Power awning controller?

There's no way to know how long any of these parts will be available. They (or a drop in replacement ) might be around in 20 years. You also could be replacing the whole system. In 20 years, you might be happy to upgrade to a new system, who knows? Would a drop in look just like the old one? ... Probably not. At least you still would have a functioning trailer.

Indeed I have had one of the magic switch control panels die. That's on the Firefly system that Airstream no longer uses. It was promptly replaced and the new one seems to work fine. I'd guess that will be the case 10 years from now as well.

Would pulling the Firefly and replacing it be a two hour job? Nope, there's more to it than that. I'd bet that in 20 years the gizmo you replace it with will be pretty darn easy to drop in.

Bob
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:58 AM   #6
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Santa Barbara , California
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Good choices, whichever way you go.

As happy owners of a 2016 Classic, we’ve been intrigued by developments in the latest models. We’re also happy with our traditional forced air furnace and manually-operated Zip awning. Also the oven-delete in lieu of extra drawer space.
Yes, we ordered ours from the factory—thanks to ToscanoRV in Los Banos, California.
ONE thing we wished we had considered (don’t know if that option is available for you in the 2020 model on the way), is the Twin-bed layout, instead of the standard queen bed. The advantages of a wide center aisle all the way to the rear window (it’s a pain to open the shades and window while sprawled on the queen bed,) coupled with the diversity of extra storage cabinets over each twin, the ease of under-bed drawer access from the center aisle, and the extra two outside access panels sure are enticing. Particularly since the two side aisles for the queen are quite narrow, the power tilt-up bed mechanism is over-rated in convenience and under-powered for us to be on the bed while operating, and finally our two dogs hog the center of our present queen bed—whereas they would be at our feet on a twin.
Btw, we’ve been together for 53+ years and maybe it’s the fond memories of the tiny beds of our youth (!) driving this addendum.
Anyway, congrats on your soon to be new purchase. Ours is the third Airstream we’ve owned and the nicest . . . so far 😉
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

As time marches on, we do indeed get into various electronic bits and pieces. Will the thermostat for your A/C unit still be replaceable in 10 years? How about the panel for your tank gauges? Control board for the fridge? Alde thermostat? LED lights in the ceiling? Polk Stereo control panel? Power awning controller?

There's no way to know how long any of these parts will be available. They (or a drop in replacement ) might be around in 20 years. You also could be replacing the whole system. In 20 years, you might be happy to upgrade to a new system, who knows? Would a drop in look just like the old one? ... Probably not. At least you still would have a functioning trailer.

Indeed I have had one of the magic switch control panels die. That's on the Firefly system that Airstream no longer uses. It was promptly replaced and the new one seems to work fine. I'd guess that will be the case 10 years from now as well.

Would pulling the Firefly and replacing it be a two hour job? Nope, there's more to it than that. I'd bet that in 20 years the gizmo you replace it with will be pretty darn easy to drop in.

Bob


All good points! Thanks!
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmslawson View Post
As happy owners of a 2016 Classic, we’ve been intrigued by developments in the latest models. We’re also happy with our traditional forced air furnace and manually-operated Zip awning. Also the oven-delete in lieu of extra drawer space.

Yes, we ordered ours from the factory—thanks to ToscanoRV in Los Banos, California.

ONE thing we wished we had considered (don’t know if that option is available for you in the 2020 model on the way), is the Twin-bed layout, instead of the standard queen bed. The advantages of a wide center aisle all the way to the rear window (it’s a pain to open the shades and window while sprawled on the queen bed,) coupled with the diversity of extra storage cabinets over each twin, the ease of under-bed drawer access from the center aisle, and the extra two outside access panels sure are enticing. Particularly since the two side aisles for the queen are quite narrow, the power tilt-up bed mechanism is over-rated in convenience and under-powered for us to be on the bed while operating, and finally our two dogs hog the center of our present queen bed—whereas they would be at our feet on a twin.

Btw, we’ve been together for 53+ years and maybe it’s the fond memories of the tiny beds of our youth (!) driving this addendum.

Anyway, congrats on your soon to be new purchase. Ours is the third Airstream we’ve owned and the nicest . . . so far


We have considered a twin, it is available. The 2019 rig we’re looking at is about to be left over... so we’ll probably get a better deal than 2020 twin model due in to this dealer in December. They do have a twin now, it is the 2016 model. If we can’t come to an agreement on the 2019, we’ll seriously consider the older one.
The current motorhome we’re in has just 10” on either side of the bed... it’s quite a workout to make it each day (too bad my Fitbit doesn’t have a category for that ). So I think we can deal with what looks like a lot more room.
Thanks for your thoughts!
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:46 PM   #9
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Anybody clear on the "new" gel heat system? I've heard Airstream moved away from the Alde in the Classic.
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Old 10-12-2019, 06:47 PM   #10
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Old 10-13-2019, 01:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by james.mileur View Post
Anybody clear on the "new" gel heat system? I've heard Airstream moved away from the Alde in the Classic.
Hi

If so I haven't seen mention of it anywhere. The "latest" info on the Airstream site shows "Alde Hydronic" as the heating in the Classic. It *is* October so one would *assume* that major changes would have been mentioned by now ....

---------

Depending on just where in the country the OP is (I'm still not clear on that), winter is coming. If that means the camping season shuts down, it also means you store your "new toy" until things thaw out again. If that *is* the case, ordering in a "just right for me" 2020 might be a better bet than any of the alternatives listed so far.

A trailer that arrives in May has a warranty that expires about 6 months later than any of the others .... If you won't be camping in it until then (and likely paying for storage ) that's a better deal.

Bob
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:46 AM   #12
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2020 30' Classic

Will be picking up our 2020 30' Classic twin tomorrow from Southland RV in Atlanta.
Not aware of tire monitoring on the new ones so I'm taking mine off the 25'FC we are trading in. I think the new ones come pretty standard other than being able to pick seat color, cabinet wood, and counter top choice. They come with wi-fi, solar panels, back up camera, Alde system for heat, power beds, stage charger, AGM batteries, power main awning, twin 15K AC/heat pumps, and smart technology for monitoring and controlling Propane, awning, inside temps, battery levels, tank levels, and inside lights. Power up and down dinette. 3 year warranty

May have missed some feature will know more tomorrow.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:15 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Gleverett View Post
Will be picking up our 2020 30' Classic twin tomorrow from Southland RV in Atlanta.
Not aware of tire monitoring on the new ones so I'm taking mine off the 25'FC we are trading in. I think the new ones come pretty standard other than being able to pick seat color, cabinet wood, and counter top choice. They come with wi-fi, solar panels, back up camera, Alde system for heat, power beds, stage charger, AGM batteries, power main awning, twin 15K AC/heat pumps, and smart technology for monitoring and controlling Propane, awning, inside temps, battery levels, tank levels, and inside lights. Power up and down dinette. 3 year warranty

May have missed some feature will know more tomorrow.
Hi

I think you will find that the 2020's come with tire pressure monitors. Since there *still* is no formal documentation on them, that's only based on posts here on the forum.

Bob
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Old 10-15-2019, 05:11 PM   #14
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Old 10-15-2019, 05:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

I think you will find that the 2020's come with tire pressure monitors. Since there *still* is no formal documentation on them, that's only based on posts here on the forum.

Bob
You are correct. Picked up our new Classic today and it does have tire pressure monitoring. Head still spinning from all the differences to the 25'FC we had.
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Old 10-17-2019, 03:57 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by james.mileur View Post
Anybody clear on the "new" gel heat system? I've heard Airstream moved away from the Alde in the Classic.


Really? It is the best part of the trailer!
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Old 10-18-2019, 04:41 AM   #17
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Just picked up our new 2020 30' Classic. It has the Alde heating in it.
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Old 10-18-2019, 08:23 AM   #18
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Really? It is the best part of the trailer!
Hi

I think that "gel" and "hydronic" have gotten a bit crossed up. In terms of what AS will do on the 2021's, we'll have to wait and see. There are other outfits that make hydronic heating.

Bob
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