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Old 12-11-2015, 08:06 PM   #1
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Our 2016 Classic - The Good, Bad, & Ugly

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, we drove from Orlando to Foley RV in Gulfport, MS to pick up our new Classic the next day. It turned out to be an eventful and stressful trip for this pair of newbies and a few tears (mine) were shed. Weíre planning to travel full-time beginning in February and we had (have) a lot to learn.

In brief:

The Good
The Classic is eminently livable. Every aspect (except the size of the gray tank, ha) worked for us: the sofa with recliners, the twin beds that incline, the surround sound speakers, the dinette, the bathroom and shower, the window coverings. We found it extremely comfortable and feel we can live quite happily for several years. Also, we got the light furniture/light countertops, and the combination is beautiful.

The Bad
As I feared from some earlier reports, our Classic has many quality control issues. In addition to a 3-inch noticeable scratch on the lower exterior panel below the galley area, there are a few dozen scratches and abrasions in the cabinetry. (The Foley service manager said he thought all the cabinets should be replaced.) Thereís a problem with the awning latch in that itís very difficult to latch, yet on the road it becomes unlatched. The propane oven was dead on arrival and is awaiting a part sent from Germany which probably wonít get installed until March when we make it to Foleyís again. The LP is never available when we want it and appears to go off when towing. When we become aware of it, my husband fiddles with the switch and valves and it becomes available again. But then later, it's not available again.

Over the course of the week, we spent 3 nights at Foley. They fixed some issues not mentioned above, but recommended we go to Ohio for all the cosmetic repairs. We were on their property all day Monday, most of Tuesday, much of Thursday, all of Friday, but our trailer didnít really get attention from them until Friday, when our original plan had been to leave Gulfport on Thursday. Instead, we didnít leave until Saturday late morning. We also had some issues with the ProPride hitch power extension, in that it didnít work. Sean expedited a new one that was delivered on Friday at noon. The hitch is whole other topic.

The Ugly
Hoping to make up some time, we stupidly drove into the night on Saturday. After all, itís interstate driving - what could happen, right? Well, when merging onto I-75, we unknowingly sideswiped a semi-truck. Seventy miles down the road a FHP officer chased us down and pulled us over. Fortunately the officer was a nice guy and realized pretty quickly that we didn't know we had hit the semi. The only damage to the semi was a broken side mirror. Our Airstream, however, has a big dent forward of the street side bedroom window. Now weíre looking at have two panels replaced when we go to Jackson Center, probably this summer.

Itís taken this whole week for me to have the heart to post about all this. I know this sort of thing happens, but it couldnít help but shake my confidence. Iím hoping that weíll figure out how to back up the trailer (this has proven to be much harder than expected and having a cab topper makes it even harder), that we wonít have any propane issues we canít resolve ourselves until we get to Foleys again because weíre gonna need that furnace in February, and that in June, Jackson Center will make our new trailer new again.

Joanne
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Old 12-11-2015, 08:21 PM   #2
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I had the same problem on my new FC with the propane shutting off. The issue is the changeover valve knob creeping back towards center.


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Old 12-11-2015, 08:29 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by khollister View Post
I had the same problem on my new FC with the propane shutting off. The issue is the changeover valve knob creeping back towards center.
Hey Keith,

Thanks for posting. So what did you do about the valve knob?

Joanne
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Old 12-11-2015, 08:48 PM   #4
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I replaced the regulator. The Sturgis regulators AS installed on the recent trailers have been recalled anyway for a different issue. See my thread over in the LPG section.

I am in Oviedo, so if you guys need help on this, drop me a PM. I'll be glad to assist if you are uncomfortable switching it out.


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Old 12-11-2015, 09:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by khollister View Post
I replaced the regulator. The Sturgis regulators AS installed on the recent trailers have been recalled anyway for a different issue. See my thread over in the LPG section.

I am in Oviedo, so if you guys need help on this, drop me a PM. I'll be glad to assist if you are uncomfortable switching it out.
Thank you so much for the offer. PM sent.
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:23 PM   #6
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Seems like the dealer could have fixed everything. The propane issue is a known problem. Nothing wrong with going to the factory though. Good luck, this will all come out okay.
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:42 PM   #7
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I am very sorry for your experience with the QC issues with your new Classic. Please do not feel you are alone.

I was at the factory every day when our 2014 Classic was being built (started the day before the Christmas closing in 2013 and finished in the first few weeks of 2014. I wanted to photo the progress.

One day I caught the wrong flooring installed in the trailer and incorrect wall treatment in the bathroom. Since the shop floor work order lacked that information, I was able to produce the approved change order from my laptop. So the interior and flooring had to be removed and was replaced with a poor attitude that resulted in our having to completely replace the flooring in April of 2015.

The dealer's workers blew the side pin striping off the trailer with a power washer when cleaning the road salt off the unit. I knew better than to have the selling dealership even touch the trailer for the additional damage caused by the speeding hotshot driver that brought the trailer to Phoenix from the factory (I knew the hour it left the Jackson Center area and the time it arrived at the dealership). I knew the amount of legal rest time for the trip. To get there that fast the speeds were faster than posted. Even though the GoodYear tires of that model year are speed rated to 65 mph, the trailer was beat up pretty bad inside which reflected speeds considerably faster.

We have retained the services of a third party shop that restores Vintage Airstreams, does custom work and is also an authorized Airstream warranty repair shop. They have done all repairs and custom modifications correctly the first time.

Then we acquired a 2015 23D International Serenity built in September of 2014. Plastic film was left on the inside skin from assembly. When the factory folks put the mattress on the bed frame, the wad of plastic sheeting was there. When the dealer put the mattress bed spread on the mattress, the plastic wad was there. They had to move the plastic to do those two jobs. The shower was mis-aligned when assembled inside the trailer. The door stops were installed on the wrong side to the bathroom door latch. I think they were so ashamed of their work, they left the word "AIRSTREAM" of the rear of the trailer. There was other cabinet issues as well. Even the wash job was poorly done. Since I owned an another Airstream, they presumed the walk thru wasn't really necessary.

I truly believe that the factory is expecting the dealers to fix the QC issues. The dealer fabricates doing the pre-delivery inspection so that the customer comes back and the dealer gets paid at a higher rate to fix the issues that should have been fixed before the customer ever saw the trailer.

If repairs are done at the Jackson Center factory service center, stay there and monitor what is going on every day and speak up if something looks amiss. Take the time to go over square inch of the trailer and look to see if every rivet is in place, screws are in place, cabinets are snug against the inner skin etc. If the cabinets are taken out to be replaced, photo the insides so you have a picture reference of where and how things are installed before the cabinets go back in so you will know where things are if you have to do repairs in the future yourself.

I wish the OP all the best in getting the repairs done properly.
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:14 PM   #8
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It sounds like you had a trying time but persevered. The best news is no one was hurt in the accident.

The quality control has been talked about ad nauseam and it may likely gets worse before Airstream takes it more seriously and slows down the production line to improve the quality and craftsmanship.

Hoping your trip to JC makes things right.

Hang in there, it will get easier, your proficiency will improve, your confidence will go up and in a year your posts will be chipper Ind informed.
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:17 PM   #9
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Hi. Well - that's a lot to go through. Sorry to hear it.

I see you started posting about a year ago and this is your first trailer.

I'm going to guess about a year from now, it's going to be much more "good" than "bad or ugly".

In the meantime.... The nuisance stuff is just that. That can all be corrected and smooth sailing. Yes, these trailers should come off the line perfect. Sometimes they don't. Issues like the ones you describe should be caught at dealer inspection. Sometimes they aren't. The only saving grace is that for 2 years, stuff like that is all usually covered under warranty. If you're retired now - you can make a fun trip out of it by visiting the Mothership to get the work done or try Colonial in New Jersey (more to do while your trailer is being worked on, they're amazing and they know what they're doing).

The semi run in - ouch! That's going to be a bit of a setback and probably some hefty out of pocket expense but also repairable.

I recommend highly going to an RV Safe Driver school. My wife and I did that the first weekend after we bought our trailer a few years ago - our first too. There's a relatively local (to us) commercial drivers license (CDL) facility that offered the course. We were signed up months before we picked up our trailer and it was the best money we've spent! 80% of the class that weekend was backing up! And we have the ProPride too - our instructor noticed it was different and had some great suggestions about driving and backing up with it.

In the interim, you can practice in empty parking lots and everyone will tell you the key is to imagine the top of your steering wheel (the 12:00 position) is the front of your trailer and the bottom (the 6:00 position) is the rear of your trailer - so you put your hand on the 6:00 position of your steering wheel and move it where you want the rear of the trailer to go (so...if you're trying to move the rear of the trailer behind you to your left you move your hand to the left, like from 6:00 to 9:00 - to go to the right, move your hand to the right - like from 6:00 to 3:00). With the ProPride, it can take a little longer for the trailer to swing where you want but then you need to "follow" it fairly quickly (meaning starting to "straighten out" a bit by going the other way).

This doesn't translate well in writing. You learn by doing - but if you can do it with a guide, coach, or certified instructor - all the better.

See if there's a CDL center near you that offers such a course. You'll feel much more confident about your skills and be able to focus on the fun of camping. Stick with it - it really will be fun. It's one of the greatest joys in my life - I knew I was going to like it - I had no idea how life changing it would become. The nuance stuff for us is small potatoes compared to the sheer joy we get from it.

Best of luck!
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by switz View Post
I am very sorry for your experience with the QC issues with your new Classic. Please do not feel you are alone.
Yes, it's so disheartening, isn't it? Didn't you have a problem with some crossed pipes that you were able to photograph while your unit was being built?

I've only heard good things about the Jackson Center Service department, so my fingers are crossed. But from your post, it seems you weren't willing to have them do the work?

I got a call today from Airstream's Randy McNeely, Mgr of Owner Relations. He promised that AS will make it all better. I'm hopeful.
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:36 PM   #11
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It sounds like you had a trying time but persevered. The best news is no one was hurt in the accident.
So true. The upside is that we learned a lot by so much going wrong. My husband really handled everything very well and took it all in stride (except maybe the accident, as he was at fault). It was my confidence, not his, that was shaken.

And you're right about the accident. It will be a very expensive repair, but it's just metal, not flesh and bone. We're also lucky the damage to the semi was minor and that the trooper was sympathetic.
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:44 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
I recommend highly going to an RV Safe Driver school.
Thanks, this is definitely something I plan to follow up on within the next few weeks.

Quote:
Stick with it - it really will be fun. It's one of the greatest joys in my life - I knew I was going to like it - I had no idea how life changing it would become. The nuance stuff for us is small potatoes compared to the sheer joy we get from it.

Best of luck!
Thank you for the encouraging words. It helps! And we will stick with it. We got only a taste (at Buccaneer State Park) but I feel sure we will love this life once we get going in February.
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Old 12-12-2015, 07:47 AM   #13
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Our shakedown over night we had no heat in the bedroom. The photo of the crossed ductwork before the kitchen cabinet was placed on top of it and squashed the ducts flat was very useful is solving the problem.

Thus the suggestion to be on site if the cabinetry has to come out and photo the walls and floors behind the cabinets. Discover where the cross over is under the floor to bring water and some power wires from the street side to the curb side. Also note how the drain lines are routed. See where the various power wires come out of the walls for the kitchen exhaust fan and other services.

These trailers generate their own internal earthquake going down the road, so the operative word is not "if" but "when" will repairs need to be done. Knowing where stuff is becomes half the battle to fixing it.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:40 AM   #14
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Congratulations on your new baby! Post pictures when you are up to it. I bet the light leather and light cabinets look fabulous. Have never see that combination together. Congrats to you for surviving the rough patch and looking to the future. We are picking our new 2016 Classic up from Foley 1/4 and after staying a couple of nights at Foley, heading to our first rally(Canopener at Topsail). We are excited about our first Airstream, but going into it with our eyes wide open. We purchased a new motorhome and new large sailboat in the past. We were young and hopefully have mellowed some since those days. My goodness, you can't even imagine the issues we had with both having purchased new and both were a LOT higher $$ than an Airstream. Said back then we would never purchase new again..... Well here we are purchasing new. Hopefully the Airstream has much easier systems to figure out. We know there are going to be issues, but hopefully we will handle them with grace. We are so excited and can't wait. DH is retiring 1/16. I have another year, that will hopefully go by quickly. SteveSueMac said it so well and I feel we will be right there:
" It's one of the greatest joys in my life - I knew I was going to like it - I had no idea how life changing it would become. The nuance stuff for us is small potatoes compared to the sheer joy we get from it. "
Best of luck to you in your future travels!
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