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Old 06-15-2018, 11:31 AM   #41
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This is the deal, we have a 1988 325 Classic Moho, so of course we expect things to be breaking down, the two other owners before us took good care of her, but there are things to fix. The problems we first came across are the very same problems that people STILL talk about today in their Classics, whether they are motorhomes or trailers. The windows are near to, or actually impossible to open because they don’t slide, their latches break. Drawers slide out and cabinets open and dump contents while on the road. Leaks at vents. Furnaces that don’t work. Dometic Fridges that don’t stay cold. Wiring and electrical problems, switches that don’t do what they should, wires not heavy enough a gauge. I could go on, but I think I’ve made the point. Airstream never fixes known problems.

If Airstream is going to use customers as their final fix point for each Airstream, shouldn’t the customer be paid for each fix job that Airstream missed? I wish
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Old 06-15-2018, 11:32 AM   #42
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Thanks, Interblog-- I spent a week or so in a VW Westfalia van back in 1986 and was really impressed by its efficient interior design. Most of us today are probably looking for something more spacious. One still sees a few old VW Rialtas on the road, as well.
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Old 06-15-2018, 11:57 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Countryboy59 View Post
If you sent a modern house down the road it would fall apart in half a mile.
True only because it wasn't designed to perform that function.

But if my modern house were subjected to 120-mph sustained hurricane winds, it would do just fine, because it was designed and built for exactly that scenario (I have the blueprints).

Furthermore, given that it is guaranteed to withstand 120 mph, by conventional engineering safety margins, it can probably take considerably more. Show me any Airstream for which the same could be said.

I probably should have added:

(3) Construction codes

to my original list. Competition, lawsuits, AND codes, of which codes are potentially the least efficient at inspiring change, but which can serve as a whopping good basis for lawsuits when code provisions are proven to have been broken by manufacturers.
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Old 06-15-2018, 12:01 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by blacklab View Post
This post probably should be in a different AS forum, but I'm not sure which one, so I'll post it here, as this is the one I'm most familiar with.

My spouse and I have been and continue to be in the "looking" mode for our first RV trailer. We're both still working (too much) to really enjoy a trailer to warrant its purchase, but we do see that changing in the not-to-distant future. So, we're spending a bit more time looking at potential RV trailers, including AS, and particularly a 23' Flying Cloud.

What I find stunning, and inexplicable, is the common thread of quality issues with AS trailers. And, the recognition and acceptance that's just the way it is in the RV manufacturing world. It doesn't have to be that way and it should not be that way, with AS or others.

One of the key reasons that American car manufacturers transitioned from their awful quality control issues of the late 60's and into the 70's and 80's is that they all adopted the key components of the Toyota Production System (TPS) (a/k/a Lean Manufacturing) whose foundation was developed and inspired by Dr. Deming, an American. The design and manufacturing of American cars today is far superior to the dark days of the late 60's, 70's and 80's. TPS/Lean Manufacturing is the primary reason. And, TPS is the key reason that Toyota had its success in penetrating the world markets in such a relatively short time while also producing staggering amounts of positive cash flow, year after year after year.

I have studied both Dr. Deming and TPS, including visiting several Toyota production facilities. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that AS (and other RV manufacturers) couldn't benefit from TPS and dramatically improve their designs and their quality. And, here's the critical point: By doing so, their financial performance improves---it results in creating additional shareholder value, not less.

The negative financial impacts, to both AS and its Dealers, from their design defects and manufacturing quality issues are not insignificant. Why the Dealers put up with it and have not forced a change in how AS senior management does their job is a mystery.

The "bottom line" point is that AS/Thor could make more money--not less--if they were to institute (deeply, not just cosmetically) TPS or Lean Manufacturing (or something very similar). Perhaps they've tried to do so, and failed (obviously). But, that's not an excuse. Try it again, and this time, do not fail.

I hate the idea of spending $70,000+ on something with the assumption that it will have significant quality issues that I will have to waste countless hours and money to fix. There is nothing else in the marketplace like that---nothing.

And, the damnable point is that it does not have to be that way. The responsibility rests solely with the senior management of AS (and Thor). They can make the necessary changes---and make more money---so why don't they?

Cheers,
Bryan
You could wait until Toyota makes an RV.
PS I can member the junk cars Toyota was sending our way in the late sixties and early seventies. Not only that they were ugly as sin.
They used the US market to put them on the map while keeping their markets closed to our exports.
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Old 06-15-2018, 12:03 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
I'm willing to bet that audience mainly consisted of retiree couples...one of the reasons I now have the current family Airstream is that it only sleeps 4 easily (with dinette made into bed), and son's family is now 5 individuals total. When his kids get bigger, he will need a few more sleeping spaces available...

.
Suspect strongly that you are correct. Mostly AS owners who are retired who attended the event. School was not out at the time of the event so there would not be to many Airstream owners with families who have a need to sleep more than two people attending.

I am not surprised that the AS team asking the question where surprised by the response but suspect that in review they would have realized that the demographics of those attending would give results that may well be different from the over all demographics of their TOTAL Airstream buying group.

Would be a big mistake for any manufacturer to change their design layout based on the results of a vote taken given the demographics of those attending such an event.

The only need room for 2 to sleep group is no doubt a fairly high % of AS buyers but I doubt that overall % of AS sales to such buyers is as high as it would be at that particular event.

Heck on any given day one sees people asking on this forum as well as the various AS Facebook pages "whats the best trailer layout for a family of 4?'" and often more.

I am in the group that generally only requires room for 2 to sleep but I would not want to give up the ability to sleeping 2 more on the rare occasion by getting rid of the drop down dinette completely. Just leave it up and forget about the fact it can be dropped down if you do not use it.

Not to mention that from a resale point limiting the trailer to sleeping only two would reduce the % of your potential buyers greatly. Pretty sure you will find the demographics of the buying group looking at used AS is more likely to include a higher % of people with young families needing room to sleep more than 2.
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Old 06-15-2018, 12:45 PM   #46
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Let's see. Two guys form a corporation in order to buy Airstream. Their goal is to revitalizing an iconic American Company, saving it from bankruptcy and/or dissolution. They succeed wildly, not only bringing Airstream back from the brink, but go on to purchase numerous other RV manufacturers. The corporation they formed currently owns about 45% of the RV market. But the problem is, I read a book and took a class that tells me they don't know what they are doing, so...
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Old 06-15-2018, 01:06 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
I would suggest that you not buy one. The only "higher quality" RV's out there ( at least by common consensus ) are motor homes in the > $500K range.
Just for fun, watch all the videos on the "Living Vehicle" on YouTube. No, it's not cheap ($150K) but some AS's are in that range.
They have great ideas, designed by architects, seem to be concerned about quality, and they can be pulled by a 3/4 ton TV.
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Old 06-15-2018, 01:29 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turk123 View Post
while attending Alumapalosa this past month, AS had senior management fielding questions for over two hours. .... but one was very surprising and enlightening to them. ..... They ask for a raise of hands of those who don’t .... The team was shocked.

This example shows you that management could be doing a better job at listening to their customers instead of following tried and true methodology.
Wow I am surprised that the SENIOR MANAGEMENT could stay awake.. let alone were shocked... for over two hours. Every time you call they seem to be "OUT"... (must get their rest meditating for stress relief..
Wait till you get into the engineering department... that is supposed to be 'IMPROVING THE DESIGN AND TAKING CARE OF ISSUES' that SR management dumps you off too.. when you have problems... Their you can listen to whole music scores without intro-uption.. only to get more issues than you started with as they want you to do their survey instead of addressing the issue you have.

... and if you ever get back to the mother ship.. JC... and want to talk to a live (I use the term loosely..) person about your AS issue ... The janator seems to hold the key as to directing you...

.... want to see them duck out the back door.. start talking about who is going to pay for the repairs... When you start that.. the person you are trying to commucate with.. suddenly gets to play phone switchboard... and every call coming in becomes a inter-rupt-ion... to your issues... that ends with the person saying ...'well sorry I have to go to a meeting now...' .... and what is it you traveled miles to have a face to face with this Sr Management person .... and amazing... the next appointment date is the second Thursday of the week... 3 month from the date your their...

.... Never buy another new one... its too stressful... etc.... If you have to work on it.. might as well save the money and buy one that someone else has had the frustration on...

.... think of the money you save... let alone the overage charges on the phone calls to JC...

....as one said... management.. management... they ain't got on stinking management at Airstream... lunch!!!!
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Old 06-15-2018, 01:48 PM   #49
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I think you need to reevaluate the nature of Forums. I am the Service Manager for a large high end car dealership. We service/repair on average about 1400 cars and SUV's per month. Just like Airstream there are very high expectations based on price and reputation. I can tell you from experience that the unhappy people will go to great lengths to make me aware of there feelings. The happy people generally are not as vocal. They vote with their pocketbooks, so to speak, by returning to us time and time again. I think this is just how people are. I purchased a 2015 25FB new and have had exactly three very small problems in those three years. The switch for the stove fan, the little blue light on the shore power plug and a leaking propane regulator. All things were quickly sent to me by AS upon my request under warranty as I preferred replacing them myself. I view their quality and customer service as excellent.
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Old 06-15-2018, 01:53 PM   #50
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[QUOTE=blacklab;2115209]Pam,
Yes, we could stay in lodges, etc. But, it just ain't the same as being at a campsite!

You're right about that, Bryant! And, like you, we went directly from tent to A/S. We camp with a group of friends who have all different kinds and sizes of campers (no other Airstreams), but honestly, we don't laser in on the quality of the rigs. Everybody has things to deal with.
Whatever you choose, have fun with it. Don't stop the research because you know how it could have been made better. Let that mindgame stop.
Move forward, submit suggestions to Airstream- you never know what might happen Find the best for you.
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Old 06-15-2018, 02:03 PM   #51
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1978 Argosy 30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turk123 View Post
while attending Alumapalosa this past month, AS had senior management fielding questions for over two hours. .... but one was very surprising and enlightening to them. ..... They ask for a raise of hands of those who don’t .... The team was shocked.

This example shows you that management could be doing a better job at listening to their customers instead of following tried and true methodology.
Wow I am surprised that the SENIOR MANAGEMENT could stay awake.. let alone were shocked... for over two hours. Every time you call they seem to be "OUT"... (must get their rest meditating for stress relief..
Wait till you get into the engineering department... that is supposed to be 'IMPROVING THE DESIGN AND TAKING CARE OF ISSUES' that SR management dumps you off too.. when you have problems... Their you can listen to whole music scores without intro-uption.. only to get more issues than you started with as they want you to do their survey instead of addressing the issue you have.

... and if you ever get back to the mother ship.. JC... and want to talk to a live (I use the term loosely..) person about your AS issue ... The janator seems to hold the key as to directing you...

.... want to see them duck out the back door.. start talking about who is going to pay for the repairs... When you start that.. the person you are trying to commucate with.. suddenly gets to play phone switchboard... and every call coming in becomes a inter-rupt-ion... to your issues... that ends with the person saying ...'well sorry I have to go to a meeting now...' .... and what is it you traveled miles to have a face to face with this Sr Management person .... and amazing... the next appointment date is the second Thursday of the week... 3 month from the date your their...

.... Never buy another new one... its too stressful... etc.... If you have to work on it.. might as well save the money and buy one that someone else has had the frustration on...

.... think of the money you save... let alone the overage charges on the phone calls to JC...

.. But, you do get the sheep who think buying new absolves them of any financial responsibility... under the word... comes with warrentee... (ever notice how that takes up 6 full pages in the owners manual... and how to operate the AS has 1... Hmmmm)

I am not a fan of buying something brand new... paying the big bux... and then having to have people who can't even speek english or know which end of the screwdriver to hold on too...
(ever notice how AS production increases during the winter months.. when all the farmers can't plow the frozen fields.. etc )
...gets in and 'FIXES' the problem... and now that that one is fixed with band aids.. you now have 3 more issues... that they caused... only to get frustrated and 'accept' minor problems.

While at the factory suddenly all the work quit...we heard this over the workfloor PA..

Él salió pero dijo que nos encontraría para almorzar.
....He left but said he would meet us for lunch.....

No tomes nada de esa tarta. Vamos a comerla para el almuerzo.
(Don't take any of that pie. We're going to eat it for lunch.)

¿Qué tal si almorzamos unos burritos con aguacate?
...How about we have burritos with avocado for lunch?

Ya es casi hora de comer, señora Presidenta.
...It is almost time for lunch, Madam President....

Is this anyway to run a rarilroad.... oh thats right they are making Airstreams their..

....as one said... management.. management... they ain't got on stinking management at Airstream... its a figment of your imagination... lunch!!!!
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Old 06-15-2018, 02:16 PM   #52
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We have an A/S 2001 moho, our second, so our comments may not apply to A/S trailers.

What drew us to A/S in the first place was the trailers, but we couldn't justify buying a TV when we're not really "truck people," so were delighted when we found our 1985 Classic 345.

After 12 years of traveling in our consecutive A/S products, every time we come across yet another squirrelly jury-rigged installation or stupid design choice, we've learned to just shrug, sigh, and say, "It's an 'Airstream thing.'"

We've finally decided that "Airstream things" arise because A/S designers, builders, and management don't camp in the products they design/build and never try to repair and/or upgrade/renovate them, either.

To maintain their reputation for quality, A/S should require all designers, builders, and levels of management to actually camp in one of their new models for no less than 2 consecutive weeks, one week with hook-ups and one without, and to keep a diary of QC failures and instances of poorly-thought out designs. Of course, all tested trailers should be selected randomly.
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Old 06-15-2018, 02:46 PM   #53
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Cool

Not only AS but Ford also, my 2012 Escape had government mandatory safety recall. Took 14 mos. to fix. when called Ford after 1 yr. hung up on me & I was pleasant. I have owned AS since 1963 and still do, all but one had minor issues and one had major issue. Have only been to fact. for damage repairs, never to dealer, but qc much dif. now. I agree some designers & engineers don't have a clue but looks good on paper.
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Old 06-15-2018, 03:09 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by featherbedder View Post
Not only AS but Ford also, my 2012 Escape had government mandatory safety recall. Took 14 mos. to fix. when called Ford after 1 yr. hung up on me & I was pleasant. I have owned AS since 1963 and still do, all but one had minor issues and one had major issue. Have only been to fact. for damage repairs, never to dealer, but qc much dif. now. I agree some designers & engineers don't have a clue but looks good on paper.


Thats because Ford has not “been sued enough” to have improved the quality as one posted earlier.

Or at least they said AS needed to be sued more?
Not sure but, if someone thinks lawsuits are how quality is achieved, I would rather they go elsewhere IMO.
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Old 06-15-2018, 04:07 PM   #55
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I HAD a new Fleetwood 5th wheel. I got to use it on week ends as the rest of the time it was in the shop. After calls and letters,I got a letter from the regional manager "IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE PROBLEMS; TRY LEGAL ACTION" TWO MONTHS LATER THEY FILED CHAPTER 11. I traded and next person had same problems. They returned it to dealer and got a replacement.
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Old 06-15-2018, 05:03 PM   #56
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Bells, whistles, third party suppliers, and hand built limited production are going to conspire to make for “quality” that isn’t going to impress everyone. Some will have big problems, more will have small problems, and a few will have the problem of a customer party that can’t be satisfied because their vision of perfection is not attainable. That’s just how it is. That’s reality, that’s life. In this model, someone is going to end up with the short end of the stick, and usually it isn’t fair.
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Old 06-15-2018, 05:09 PM   #57
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"Autonomation"

AS
1: A Legacy Product 1940 <
2: Large Manual skilled industry.
3: Minimal Synthetics (ecology)
4: Analog Product.
5: Generation to Generation life cycle.

TSP
1: Secound Principal Automation.
2: Dumb minimal workforce, 6 sec clock.
3: Maxamin Synthetics (ecology)
4: Short Life Cycle.
5: Digital.

Why & for what ? Max Shareholder profits.

60years ago I brought my Thor Mallet its moved alot off metal for me . I'm sure we have all admired its beauty, Thanks Thor..
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Old 06-15-2018, 07:09 PM   #58
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I totally agree with you. I was a LSS Master Blackbelt when I was working (now retired) and I ate, breathed, and slept TPS and Deming. I went on a factory tour in 2005 when I bought my first Airstream and was dismayed to see the sloppy and cluttered state of the work surfaces around the factory. Several years ago, I was reading at an article on how AS has improved their quality and noted (again) the cluttered table the Airstream tech was working from. Ford adopted TPS in a very tepid way decades ago and suffered with tepid sales. It was only when they decided to re-embrace TPS in toto that they started making great vehicles, namely the current F-150 that I drive. I am thankful for forums like this and rallies where I can get help from fellow Airstreamers to continuously improve/make my AS a better quality choice.
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Old 06-15-2018, 08:16 PM   #59
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Blacklab, you are right on target, wish management would be enlightened. It will not change if not driven from the top.
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Old 06-15-2018, 08:26 PM   #60
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PatLee,

In fact, it was a couple of recent posts on this Forum by folks who had taken a tour of the JC facility (which I have not) and reported the considerable mess and debris on the floor. To me, that was a dead giveaway of "waste" in its many forms and confirmation of a system in need of significant process improvement.

As I stated unequivocally in my earlier posts here, AS/Thor must be doing alot right, and I certainly recognize it. The sole theme of this thread for me is that they could be doing so much better if they implemented (successfully) TPS (or some variation). The fact they are making low volumes of each model, each being "handmade" does not preclude it; in fact, TPS and its variants are focused exactly on such manufacturing scenarios. The substantial benefits would add to their financial performance, reduce negative issues related to design and quality, and would enhance customer satisfaction.

For the senior management of AS, there is no reason not to do it. And, there are at least five compelling reasons to do it: Responsibility to their customers, to their employees, to their dealers, to their suppliers, and to their shareholders.

Thanks for everyone's input on this topic.

Cheers,
Bryan
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