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Old 06-05-2019, 03:15 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
Blasphemy!!!! You just haven't realized you should be disappointed yet. Hang around here for a while and you will be informed how every single item from the frame, subfloor and flooring to the vents is junk and was chosen for only one of two reasons.

First reason, the person who specified the part has never stepped foot in a trailer and has never camped before, or second reason, greedy AS execs demanded the cheapest part is used in order to maximize year end bonuses

Seriously though, I don't think I can think of a single part on an AS that the Debbie Downers haven't all piled on and declared garbage, and yet another example of how crappy AS trailers are.
I shouldn't have read all these comments.
Now I am completely depressed and scared to death of moving my Airstream for fear of it falling apart going over the first speed bump I come across.
Get real people!
At the end of the day these are little houses on wheels stick built just like a house. And just like the house you will end up with a punch-list.
We have bought 3 new Airstreams and each one needed a couple trips to JC to get the punch-list taken care of and that they did 100 percent and afterwards hardly any issues.
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Old 06-05-2019, 03:22 PM   #142
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New Airstream Owner - not impressed and would not recommend

Ditto. Our 2007 has been sorted out for a long time, and now I’m just making improvements that I want, but are not by any means ‘fixing’ quality-related stuff from the factory.

I’m sure the first owner sorted it out. We are the second owner.

Like anything, Airstreams require maintenance at regular intervals, but not total rebuilds until 25-40 years later.
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Old 06-05-2019, 03:36 PM   #143
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Also, an Airstream is not like your car that you can take up the road for service. Most shops won’t touch them and thank God for that because they would only screw then up. Service may be hundreds of miles away.

The sad part about some of these posts is how little many people understand about manufacturing.
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:08 PM   #144
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RV's probably won't ever be built with the quality, reliability and durability of a car or truck. Pretty simple math. Total scale of the market. US automakers produced 17.4 million units in 2018. 2018 boom year for RV's was 483,672 units. 35 to 1 number of units.

I saw a video about the new GM Sierra truck plant. They turn out 1,000 trucks per day. Half a week and they have done what Airstream does in a year. Sorry but I don't see how you can ever recouped the cost of automation with robots with volumes of 10-15 units per day.
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:10 PM   #145
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Yup. Not without a ‘government budget’ to pay for all the expensive hardware, programming and maintenance. Been there, done that, and have video tape to show it actually worked before the budget and need went away.
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:29 PM   #146
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AS has no reason for the disruption; they sell everything they make. RVing is very popular and they have growing sales. If they had a mission statement, it would be just build and sell more campers.
Larry
Ok, that was funny, made me lol! I keep thinking these guys are smart or something.
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Old 06-05-2019, 05:02 PM   #147
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Airstream and Thor executives are very happy to hear so many people have no problem fixing their "premium" products, having to take them in for warranty repairs repeatedly and have difficulty finding a reputable dealer—they know some people become romantically involved with their possessions such as trucks and Airstreams.

If someone tells you Arctic (or Desert) Fox and Nash are the same, they are wrong. AF has an aluminum frame, Nash does not. AF has some upgrades (like a TV), but they are pretty similar in lots of ways. I would think the AF is better for a lot of use because of the frame, but that is not a problem for us.

I have a pretty good idea where Bob lives and I have been to the area. It snows a lot and winters are long. I may have met Bob almost 50 years ago when I had something done at a repair shop where he worked, but I haven't met him and known it. The lights of the Nebula are quite interesting and vibrant.
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Old 06-06-2019, 05:36 AM   #148
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The sad part about some of these posts is how little many people understand about manufacturing.
Yes, the whole TPS and robotic automation discussion was interesting. I worked at Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America in Kentucky for a couple years and spent a lot of time with the manufacturing engineers, and a fair amount of time at the Kentucky plant and local suppliers.

I'm by no means an expert on manufacturing or TPS, but I did learn that TPS was about standardization of processes, not automation. Automation and robots were used when they made sense and in most cases, full automation did not make sense. A combination of people and regular old machinery, jigs and fixtures did.

I happened to be at Toyota at a time when the American car companies (GM in particular I think) were discovering that the big robotic-automation binge they had recently undertaken was having the opposite outcome they intended, namely lowering quality and increasing costs. And that's with automobiles where parts are made to much tighter specs than just about any part on an AS ever will be.

The other part of TPS that people who just casually say "Airstream needs to use TPS" don't know is Toyota basically "owned" many of their suppliers. They were either the same Japanese companies that Toyota used in Japan, and were for all intents and purposes were subsidiaries of Toyota, or they were local companies that Toyota bankrolled to build a factory within a few miles of the Toyota assembly plant. Toyota told them how to build the factory, how to set up the factory, how to set up the manufacturing line, what to build, how to build it and who to use as suppliers. The supplier was not "allowed" to have any customers other than Toyota, until Toyota decided it was ok.

Airstream will never have that kind of power over their suppliers, so all they can do is buy what's available.

Can Airstream improve quality? Of course they can, according to TPS, the answer is always yes. Will it be by installing a bunch of robots? No, even if you mistakenly believe building an Airstream is just like building an auto.
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Old 06-06-2019, 05:45 AM   #149
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Good points, thanks.

Peter
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:56 AM   #150
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"Can Airstream improve quality? Of course they can, according to TPS, the answer is always yes. Will it be by installing a bunch of robots? No, even if you mistakenly believe building an Airstream is just like building an auto."

While this is true, I do believe some additional automation and "precision tooling" can be of great value.
They did install a robotic sheet cutting table for window, door, etc cutouts some years ago. I wonder what else might be in store with the plant expansion and investment. If this sort of robotics were employed, perhaps we wouldn't see the jagged tin snip cutouts for wiring access, etc. Robot applied sealers, in conjunction with robot pre punched panels could greatly reduce infancy leaks.....etc. I believe there is a place to increase quality with robotics, while maintaining the hand-built heritage.
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:41 AM   #151
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While this is true, I do believe some additional automation and "precision tooling" can be of great value.
If I was a production engineer at Airstream the first thing I would do is create a process/procedure and any tooling needed to neatly and accurately apply the caulk around the Fantastic fans. If they are still doing it like they did when our trailer was made in 2013 there is clearly a better way. But I also give current management the benefit of the doubt since I have no real idea what all the issues surrounding even that one process are.
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:57 PM   #152
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At one time Airstream did have a lot of clout over suppliers. Back when Wally Byam was running things, he helped a number of companies get started in the 1950's and showed them what he wanted so he could make Airstream a better trailer. So Wally, a consummate promoter, entrepreneur and designer, preceded Toyota in strategy. That advantage was lost long ago, though with Thor's clout you'd think they could dictate to their suppliers for better quality. Some large companies push vendors for quality (Toyota) and others for lower prices (Walmart). How far would a Walmart car or RV go?

The RV industry has long been fractionalized, but Thor and others are buying up smaller manufacturers and we may see the market, like the US auto market did, have only a few major manufacturers in the near future. As the US manufactures were reduced to three and before foreign manufacturers came here with lots of vehicles, US car quality kept dropping. Consolidation too often means lower quality. Consolidation is also taking place in the hospital industry and also brings higher prices and lower quality. A trailer is an option, health is not.

The OP may be wondering what he started. Welcome to the Forum, it gets better.
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Old 06-06-2019, 05:04 PM   #153
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Airstreams are not turnkey machines. They require owner participation in useage. A little common sense helps too. They are what they are and they are not perfect.
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Old 06-06-2019, 07:55 PM   #154
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New to AS although we have always admired them from afar so to speak. Not new to forums, and I will say I was initially surprised that this thread did not die a quick death, but now I think I get that it is allowing us a chance to state our defense of a timeless design that to our frustration suffers from some apparent QC problems.

While I was dismayed at the hidden poor sheetmetal fabrication quality I discovered, it was easy enough to fix, and there is simply no SOB out there that makes us feel as good as our AS to look at and camp with, not even close. They are not that complicated. I would be embarrassed to admit I could not fix any problem to get us through a week of camping with minimal discomfort should it arise, and they are bar none the most attractive camping trailer out there and always have been.

How many SOB owners can say that they have folks approach them and tell them how beautiful their camp trailers are? I never have in the past (no comments like "nice decals" LOL), yet in the short time we have owned our AS we have had that happen numerous times (some would say welcome to the club in that regard). I don't think it is arrogant to have pride in ownership, it just feels nice to get compliments like that.

A friend who is in an HOA said they were debating prohibiting parking RV's and Trailers in their neighborhoods but might exempt Airstreams *laugh*

Someone mentioned regarding QC that they are not aircraft, but having read the latest on Boeing potential FOD debris perhaps not so different.

Anyway we love our AS always will and will never consider another brand. Cheers.
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:26 PM   #155
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Done right is done once.

Yes, we all love our AS trailers, especially after we invest so much $$ and sweat into getting them right.

I think much of the frustration that many new owners experience with their new purchase could be remedied with a few options: 1) Charge less for the shoddy assembly work and cheap appliances not always installed correctly, and be honest about the quality of product they are buying and/or 2) build them with the same sense of pride the owner will hopefully eventually feel and match the brand promise touted in the sales brochure.

But to charge luxury prices for a luxury trailer only to find leaks, poor fit and finish, appliances that don't work, garbage in the walls, mis- or unconnected lines, plumbing leaks, heating systems that don't work or break, shower doors that fall off, cabinets that fall apart on the first road trip, windows that fall out of their frames... well, is it any wonder new buyers are upset?

Mercedes, or heck, even Ford would not get a pass charging $70,000 for that kind of machine. Why should Thor get away with it with a far less complex product (and yes, made in far fewer numbers)

Done right is done once, fix it or manage your customer's expectations by disclosing the many flaws they are likely to find, and have a competent dealer network in place with trained techs who can expertly diagnose and repair the factory issues locally. I have always believed that something worth doing is worth doing right.

Or... hey, don't be surprised when your new customers bad-mouth your product and service. Is this really that hard to understand?
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Old 06-07-2019, 06:28 AM   #156
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I agree with the comment that AS are not that complicated and the idea of care and feeding for them is and idea that I expected to come with the territory of owning one. Perhaps it’s the absence of slide outs, or maybe some other function where the number of things that can go south in a AS is simply less then much of the market. The caveat to that is that the more bells and whistles (power recliners and beds, power jacks and awnings etc) that you pack onto a unit, the higher the chance something will misbehave. As it stands now, there are around 10 systems I focus on and if they all check out, life is good and off we go. If one of them is amiss, I have a plan to tackle. The disclaimer here is that there are a couple of showstopper issues that are beyond me or simply too big and require the folks at JC to tackle: axles, water intrusion and ac replacement. If any of those arise, drive to JC we shall do. But beyond that, my AS is much closer to my home then my car in terms of care and repair. My sense if people equate their camper to their vehicles as they both go down the road. As such, the expectation is that oil and fuel and the not so often repair should be the norm for their camper. I disagree with that notion. Like my home, regular doses of TLC keeps things running and occasionally there are surprises.
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Old 06-07-2019, 05:12 PM   #157
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Try building a $70,000 Lincoln or Mercedes in volumes of 12 per week and see what it costs. And see what quality level you get.
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Old 06-07-2019, 05:55 PM   #158
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I just read the op post and I get his frustration.....he paid a lot of money for an Airstream and there was a problem, and it took the wind out of his sails.....

It would be wise to remember why an airstream is an airstream.....

The average lifespan of your SOB is 15 years.....at which point it is worthless....The average lifespan of an Airstream is 40 years, which is why you see many 50 year old Airstreams for sale for $50,000 plus......One is a quality camper, made to last and one is a pos, made to get your money.
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