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Old 09-08-2017, 05:10 PM   #1
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Red face My Classic and I departing?

After one year of full-timing in my 2016 Classic, I've been seriously thinking about moving on. The initial lack of quality and continuing maintenance problems and design flaws have been wearing down on me.

Two recent items reared their head this week.

A: Since I full-time in areas that actually drop below freezing, I decided to supplement the underbelly floor insulation with spray foam. That is, until I found out the underbelly HAS NO INSULATION!

Either through my research I missed it or just assumed, I thought that the Airstream under-belly was insulated with fiberglass insulation. Come to find out that Airstream only really advertises a heated tank area, and that the rest of the floor as a layer of "Reflectix" type material as insulation. If anyone is familiar with this stuff, its physical R-value is only about 1.0. Then drilling access holes to spray the foam insulation, I found that large sections of my floor has ZERO insulation. Literally the only thing separating the cold/hot weather from my feet is a sheet of plywood and some Infinity flooring.

To me, that is pathetic. I wouldn't expect such a design oversight on a $20K trailer, let alone a $120K one. See attached pictures below of:

1. Heater hose to tank area just lying on belly pan, huge waste of energy. Basically just lying out in cold outside air. (underbelly sheet metal does nothing and isn't air tight).
2. 1/4" Reflectix just ripped down where the heater hose comes down from heater, very unprofessional work.
3. Completely exposed uninsulated plywood in large sections of the floor/underbelly.
4. Rust starting on floor cross-members.

I knew going in I would have to deal with single pane windows and only 1.5" of batted insulation in the walls, but I didn't know it would be this bad. The amount of energy that needs to be pumped into this trailer to cool and heat ~220 sq feet is just crazy. And the noise of two air conditioners going on a hot day just to drop the temp 15-20 degrees is just nuts. This is more like a 2-season trailer.

B: Door handle broke off in my hand. Come to find out this handle is just stamped into a slide plate, effectively locking you in when it breaks. (There is a way to get out if you know where the black tab is to raise with a knife or screwdriver). Just real typical crap Airstream quality.

Remember, these items are on top of dozens and dozens of other issues and problems I've worked on/resolved.

I'll continue to spray foam insulate the underbelly since I will be in the trailer this winter. At the end of the season is not the time to sell obviously. Checking RVtrader on used 2016 Classics, even with the thousands I've put into upgrades and modifications, I'd be lucky to get what I owe on the loan for the trailer in the spring.

I'm heading to Hershey PA next week to check out all the brands. I've really got an eye on a company called New Horizons. I found out that they make high end travel trailers now in addition to their 5th wheels. These things get rave reviews and are true 4-season units. I may consider either the travel trailer or one of their smallest 5th wheels.

The quality seems amazing compared to Airstream:








http://horizonsrv.com/craftsmanship/


Anyone have any experience with the manufacturer New Horizons? You guys think I am crazy? Especially after all the work I've done to the trailer to get it "proper" and then bail? Could this be "the grass is greener over there" syndrome?
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Old 09-08-2017, 05:32 PM   #2
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I don't think it's you. The things you are pointing out on your Classic are fair. And I don't think Airstream is a 4 season trailer. So I don't blame you for looking at other options. It's either that or move south for the winter.

Whatever you decide, good luck!
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Old 09-08-2017, 05:47 PM   #3
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Why not get a regular house to live in year around instead of trying to live in 300 sq ft. You could buy a smaller trailer to travel.

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Old 09-08-2017, 06:37 PM   #4
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I've not gone thru your older posts, so this is a reaction to this thread alone:

However nice New Horizons (and are, by reputation) I can't see the point. Bigger and heavier is just work to drive. WORK. Same with motorhomes. And it sure isnt easier to track down problems. It's just more space in which to lose stuff. Get set to buy a Class 5 tractor to move it.

I get it you're tired of repairing or modifying. But the problem is internal to the owner. Any "thing" requires care, maintenance and repair. Entropy, if nothing else.

Airplanes and boats are worse, FWIW. A helluva lot more expensive, too.

Is the point to it all to travel?

Trailers are about chasing shirtsleeve weather. And the better insulated and built vintage kin trailers such as Streamline and Avion trailers are no longer in production. Assuming you could take one off the showroom floor, you'd still want to change it, wouldnt you? 1986 was a while back. Still was wired for AT&T hardline phones. Etc.

Concern about "how" to travel may have pulled you sideways to the original inspiration, (speculation on my part), and the desire to make the TT just right gets slapped by QC problems found. I sure wouldn't disagree about those, but there's an end to them.

This trailer type is easy to live with. My folks kept their Silver Streak 27-years and didn't really do anything to it. Sure, a few repairs and some appliances made new. Far less than an Airstream requires (the bargain brand), but always something to take care of.

No car is any different. A matter of when, not if.

So,

Buy TT. Add clothing. Food. Leave town.

That's it. (I'm being dead serious).

"Less is more" may be a better path for you. A single man with a truck and trailer? Why not a smaller rig with a nice car?

This type of travel is about being outdoors. That doesn't mean a household of gear to drag along.

Weather gets lousy? Leave.

Folks always like to argue, "but you don't understand, I'm different".

Naawww

I read your complaints and understand you find them upsetting. I grew up with these things. My expectations of them aren't as sharply delineated ("yeah, those door handles will do that", and, "80F on a 100F day" means I need to move to have afternoon shade), as it's part of the price of mobility.

A smaller rig than my sixty-three footer is easier to live with. Spontaneity should factor in. Not hire pilot cars and apply for an oversize permit just to go somewhere on public roads. I've wound up with a rig bigger than I need. I haven't just whittled on "want" hard enough yet to change it (well, if I do this and this, I'll like it better. Etc)

I sincerely wish you luck in whatever you decide.

.
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Old 09-08-2017, 06:39 PM   #5
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We looked long and hard at New Horizons, I did tons of research. They are terrific units, BUT have issues. Another brand we looked at is Augusta RV, they also sell direct and have good workmanship and a good product.

Be very careful with New Horizons, they might tell you that you can pull it easily with an F450 Diesel Dual Rear Wheel. I've talked to owners for two years in campgrounds, not one had a pick up truck. All were towed with a Frieghtliner type unit, some much bigger than others, but everyone of them had this type TV. So, you'd be looking at $200 + for the New Horizon and $100-$150 for the TV, both depending on size and options. Ours was going to be $225,000 and TV $110,000. It was not the stopping point, it was that we only are in our unit about 4-5 months a year. Most of the NH owners are full time like you.

The unit of NH that you pictured was the same size we looked at, could not be done with an F450, needs a full sized specialty TV by Freightliner or someone else. But, no one I talked to complained about quality, no one.

Good Luck,

Bud
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Old 09-08-2017, 06:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paiceman View Post
We looked long and hard at New Horizons, I did tons of research. They are terrific units, BUT have issues. Another brand we looked at is Augusta RV, they also sell direct and have good workmanship and a good product.

Be very careful with New Horizons, they might tell you that you can pull it easily with an F450 Diesel Dual Rear Wheel. I've talked to owners for two years in campgrounds, not one had a pick up truck. All were towed with a Frieghtliner type unit, some much bigger than others, but everyone of them had this type TV. So, you'd be looking at $200 + for the New Horizon and $100-$150 for the TV, both depending on size and options. Ours was going to be $225,000 and TV $110,000. It was not the stopping point, it was that we only are in our unit about 4-5 months a year. Most of the NH owners are full time like you.

The unit of NH that you pictured was the same size we looked at, could not be done with an F450, needs a full sized specialty TV by Freightliner or someone else. But, no one I talked to complained about quality, no one.

Good Luck,

Bud
They were okay with sending out reconnaissance aircraft ahead of the rig for the twice-yearly move, correct?

.
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Old 09-08-2017, 10:32 PM   #7
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Hi

None of these vehicles are going to do well in the middle of a typical "snow country" winter. I know of homes that are challenged by that sort of thing. The 2.7 vs 3.2 season debate covers a pretty small number of weeks unless you are watching the weather all the time and ready to zip off to someplace else.

I have no doubt that doubling the price / size / weight of a TT gets you something better. If it doesn't the company would not stay in business. A MH with a small vehicle in tow is also a pretty legit answer. There are some good ones in the same general "near half million" price range. To me, a MH would make more sense than what you are looking at. A quick zip into town with a 450 is tough. Doing it with a Freightliner ... not so much. Campsite wise both aren't going to zip into the cute site at the lake in the state park ....

Bob
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:15 AM   #8
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Thanks for the input guys. Here are a few random thoughts on some topics brought up:

1. As a helicopter pilot, I move where the work is. Sometimes that means dealing with other than "Short sleeves weather".

2. I live full time in a RV by desire, not necessity. I own multiple homes, but none are where I work etc.

3. The New Horizons 5th wheel I am entertaining is only 34 foot model. With the location of the pin and how it overhangs the pickup body, it actually may overall be shorter than my 30 Classic bumper pull and truck. Really the only large change in size would be the height. I don't think much change at all would be required from the size of campsites I can already fit in.

4. The 34 foot NH model is ~16K empty, ~20K GVWR. Pin weight would be 3-4K, so no Freighliner required. Remember, this is only a 34 model, not one of those 40-46 beasts.

5. While granted an RV won't do as well in the cold or heat as a well designed house, New Horizons seems to be about as close as you can get. A real designed 4 inch foam core floor with an R-Value of 24 is in another galaxy than a pathetic Airstream floor literally composed of a sheet of plywood and some Infinity flooring. New Horizons claims non-freeze of underbelly down to -60F windchill.

6. The 30 Classic actually has enough storage space for me. I wouldn't be getting the 34 NH to carry more crap. It's basically for the much higher quality, design/systems, insulation.

7. I've looked at Augusta RV and their Luxe line, but they don't have any smaller 5th wheels that I am interested in. Plus I don't think their quality is quite near NH.

8. Here is the small 5th wheel layout that I am considering:




The largest hesitation I have is I would have to swap out my current truck for a larger one. This change would cost me a lot of money.

Some pro's and con's I've come up with for various areas:

1. Leveling - NH wins with hydraulic leveling. Manual leveling of AS a time waste.
2. Towability - AS wins, less sway/weight/lower CG. Although a 5th wheel is more inherently stable.
3. Hitching - NH wins, 5th wheels easier/quicker to hook up.
4. TV - AS wins. Would have to get rid of my off-road Power Wagon for a diesel, rough riding beast pickup.
5. Truck storage - AS wins. Less free storage in truck due to 5th wheel hitch.
6. Brakes - NH wins, disc brakes vs AS drums.
7. Insulation and hot/cold camping - NH Massive win.
8. Heating - NH wins with in floor heat.
7. Cooling - NH wins, thicker ceiling and ducting with much better duct insulation, less noise.
8. Exterior - AS wins, aluminum shell could in theory last much longer than NH hung fiberglass walls. Hung fiberglass walls may only last a decade or two?
9. Ease of damage - NH wins. AS aluminium is easy to damage and very expensive to repair. With NH, you basically don't even have to sweat hail storms with full foam core roof with solid fiberglass top.
10. Aesthetics - AS wins. As a pilot, I of course appreciate being in an aluminum structure.
11. Utilities - NH wins. 100 gal fresh water, 70 gal grey and black tanks allow much longer boon-docking.
12. Interior finish - NH wins. Real house quality cabinets, counter-tops, appointments, hardware, fittings etc. This is where a lot of the extra weight comes from.
13. Frame - NH wins. Definitely higher quality and more robust than AS. AS frame is flimsy and parts underneath already rusting.
14. LP storage - Tie. Both have two 40lb tanks.
15. Outdoor visibility - AS wins. Much more windows to look out of.
16. Natural light - AS wins. More skylights and vista view windows, etc.
17. Campsites - AS wins. Although both rigs would be about the same length, NH - more room is needed in regard to trees/branches for taller height and slide room.
18. Shower - NH wins, much more room.
19. Water lines - NH wins. PEX manifold for isolation.
20. Walk up height - AS wins, low floor and only a few steps. NH 5th wheel would be over double the floor height and twice as many stairs.
21. Roof work - Easier to work on NH roof. Flat "can walk anywhere" with ladder on back.
22. Appliances - Better in NH, AS uses junk.
23. Furniture - NH uses higher quality, more substantial furniture (heavier) that will last far longer than AS's.
24. Motorcycle lift - Ability to put on back of 5th wheel instead of on top of my pickup. NJ wins.
25. Utility reels - NH electric reels for electric cable and water cable. Faster/easier camp setup and tear down.
26. Washer/dryer - NH win, none in Airstreams.
27. Dishwasher - NH wins, none in Airstreams.
28. Boon-docking - Wash. AS is easier/lighter to tow onto dirt, but NH is easier/more space to fit tons of solar panels and lithium battery banks.
29. Backup power - NH. 6.5kwh built-in generator possible versus messing with portable generators for AS.
30. Slides - Wash. AS requires no maintenance in this regard, but much less space.


I am sure there are more things to consider than I can remember.

So basically in the spring, selling the Classic I'd be lucky to get $80K. NH would be about $180K, so 100 grand and then another 30 grand for truck swap.

Anything I miss?
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:52 PM   #9
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Better figure 25% pin weight at .85 of gross.

And that NH had better have independent suspension plus antilock disc brakes.

A are FAR less stable. Only the hitch type is good. The trailers are disasters.
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:53 PM   #10
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Sounds like you thought this thru like a pilot, nice write up. I totally agree and it's what we determined as well in our research although I was looking at the 40'.

Good luck. I am actually after a year of actually very few minor problems considering NH again as we seemed to have totally changed our mode of RVing. Prior to this past year it was three to four months traveling seeing different places every day or at most four days. Now, it's months in the same location with travel only being getting there and back. Going to look at the small units so I can go with an F450, but I do like the Frieghtliners.

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Old 09-09-2017, 01:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zybane View Post
I decided to supplement the underbelly floor insulation with spray foam. That is, until I found out the underbelly HAS NO INSULATION!

Either through my research I missed it or just assumed, I thought that the Airstream under-belly was insulated with fiberglass insulation. Come to find out that Airstream only really advertises a heated tank area, and that the rest of the floor as a layer of "Reflectix" type material as insulation.
This is quite the surprise to me. What's interesting is that I have seen posts with owners concerned that leaks or other plumbing mishaps "soaked" the insulation under the floors, in a couple cases even with black water. The advice ranged from "pull the belly pan and replace the soaked insulation" to "do nothing, it will dry out eventually" or "Drill some holes in the belly to help the insulation dry out." Stressful for the owners worried about their belly pan full of soaking wet insulation, and even worse, black water-soaked insulation.

And now it turns out...there isn't any down there anyway?

Just goes to show you, while there is so much great advice to be found here, it's often very incorrect based on assumptions/lack of knowlege.

Further...yeah, no wonder the floors are so bloody cold!

I wonder if it's a cost thing, or is it purposeful simply to AVOID underbelly insulation getting wet...which is a high-probability event due to an interior leak, and Airstream feels the tradeoff is not worth it since a majority of use is in relatively warmer temps?
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Old 09-09-2017, 01:47 PM   #12
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Feel your pain....

Zybane-

I went to the Mothership in Mar. 2016 and took the factory tour 5 days in a row just to watch them build our Pendleton (#62). I was surprised by the wiring and plumbing being "point to point" and not through channels or conduit runs. Saves a bunch of money I guess...

True for most all of the other manufacturers. I came across this article last year. It's a long read and one persons opinion. But worth looking at.

http://rvdr-cdn3.appxtreme.com/wp-co...ompilation.pdf

Another thought is that AS doesn't really market their product as an "all season" TT. I moved from Austin to Santa Fe last Jan. and did a poor job of winterizing. Fortunately, the only problems were the the water mix valve in the shower (Kohler), and the part was available at the "home store". Kohler replaced the kitchen faucet. No charge. I learned a lot about what the Airstream is good at and not so good at. Quality, at first really pissed me off. Finally made a long list of items and brought her back to the factory. We flew off to Chicago and came back at the end of the week to find that everything had been addressed. Lee, in the shop did a great job of walking me through my punch list and explaining each item.

This past season I made a poor decision to drive through a construction zone with 35 miles of fresh "chip seal". I thought my Rock Tamers would protect the front of the Pendleton. Not so much... just ordered new Segment Protectors but the area between two panels behind the LP tank cover is really chipped up. I'm thinking Line-X spray on bed liner in light gray from just below the window down to the lower rub rail. That's also where my only access door is, that opens up to the area below the queen bed.

This is in addition to some minor hail damage from the storm last May 8/9 that hit the Denver area so hard. We were right on the edge of it and I had no warning. At about 12:30-12:45 a.m. pea sized hail came down in buckets. Our house has over 20 skylights and I seriously thought that they were gonna bust open. I managed to get the F-150 into the garage but the could do nothing with the AS other than pray. It's minor, hard to see from the ground and I am not interested in having the roof and front dome torn off for a few little dents.

I did find a new entry into the TT market that I can't wait to see in the flesh. Not available until next year... maybe.

See the BruderX at www.bruderx.com

Thanks for laundry list, and ideas... keep the shinny side up!!!
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Old 09-09-2017, 04:24 PM   #13
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It's 100% your decision. Burger King and Wendy's are viable businesses because not everyone goes to McDonalds - same with aircraft and automobiles. There are many RV choices out there and they all seem to be surviving and even thriving ...
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Old 09-09-2017, 06:26 PM   #14
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Hi

Ok, the floor thing .... Since this started out as a "my mind's made up" sort of thing it did not seem worth going into earlier.

Heat transfer through a short convection cell is not very good. Thats exactly what you have under the floor. Heat loss through the floor is not the "big problem" in an RV in the first place. Putting pink glass wool in there *might* improve the heat loss numbers by 5%. If it gets wet, forget about any benefit from that insulation. It then turns into a worse situation than no insulation. When it gets cold out guess where the moisture condenses ...

All that vs the "keep it dry" recommendations for reducing all sorts of issues below the floor.

Bob
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