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Old 06-12-2021, 06:10 PM   #1
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Exclamation Nervous Newbie (Wanna buy an Atlas, but the horror stories are unreal, haaalllpp!)

Hey all, we're from the far east of Canada, province of Nova Scotia.

I'm sure from the title, you've guessed it, the misses and I really want to buy an Atlas. However the horror stories we've read online are a massive deterrent. So much so, that we likely won't purchase any motorhome now. Decided to give AS one more try, and was hoping to hear some encouraging stories here.

The way we see it is, ... how does a reputable company like AS / Mercedes still exist in partnership if AS is putting out garbage quarter million plus products. If I was Mercedes I'd be ashamed and pull that partnership immediately.

The AS Atlas is exactly what we were looking for, from style, technology, safety, size & layout and for that reason even after all the negative stories, decided to come here and reach out and get some opinions.

We looked at other B+ options to the Atlas, but nothing seemed to peak our interest enough to drop such a sizable amount of money. Our largest worry is to drop that kind of money, and then have issues like the stories I read here.

Anyhow, I'm on quite the rant...

I should fill you all in, we are newbies to RV'ing and have little to no experience and another deterrent is that we have no dealers anywheres in proximity. We would have to likely buy a AS from the US, and get it imported into Canada, or order one from across the other side of the country.

Can some Atlas owners please chime in here on their experiences.

Thanks all
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Old 06-12-2021, 06:38 PM   #2
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NEW Car Syndrome
Humans buy emotionally, but justify it afterwards with "logic". Sadly the Pink Cloud of ownership rarely if ever lasts more than six months, and often fades in days or weeks when build problems and the reality of the payments plus other costs hit.
Unfortunately, I've heard Prevost owners make similar compalints... tho speed and quality of service seems to be much better.
And then there is Return On Investment - which virtually no trailer or motorized RV has.
There are almost NO truly qualified RV mechanics who know how to repair all of the systems and appliances in the trailers and mohos they are supposed to service. Try to set an appointment at Jackson Center.

It is your money, and you will have to live with whatever choice you make. If $250,000 is chump change to you go ahead... but try to rent one first.
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Old 06-12-2021, 06:38 PM   #3
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Donít have an Atlas but it appears to me that you are pre-loaded to be disappointed so you probably will be.

I fully agree that the stories you find on this Forum are heartbreaking. Folks are picking up brand new units with problems that should have been caught at either the factory or the selling dealership.

You may want to explore other options.
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Old 06-12-2021, 06:50 PM   #4
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
. . .
You may want to explore other options.
Copy that.
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Old 06-13-2021, 06:30 AM   #5
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Anyone know of comparable models? We're looking for a B+ on the Mercedes chassis, that has a generator and a large lithium battery bank. Any ideas?
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Old 06-13-2021, 06:35 AM   #6
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Roadtrek

Welcome to the forum.

Check the Roadtrek line from Canada. We almost bought one years ago. Good design thinking at the time for a van camper . . . they lowered part of the floor without raising the roof much.

Smart!

https://roadtrek.com/

SS Agile: https://roadtrek.com/models/#ss-agile
Toggle on $$$ for CDN >200k.

Great compact unit IMO . . . not inexpensive . . . any good used ones?

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Old 06-13-2021, 07:58 AM   #7
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PS -- A more direct link to that model:

https://roadtrek.com/models/ss-agile/
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Old 06-13-2021, 09:25 AM   #8
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NEW2RV.... Tale a look at the Leisure Travel Vans Unity and save yourself $100,000.

https://leisurevans.com/build/unity/...2e1eddb1c2f0ab
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Old 06-13-2021, 09:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New2RV View Post

Anyone know of comparable models? We're looking for a B+ on the Mercedes chassis, that has a generator and a large lithium battery bank. Any ideas?


Greetings,

On the Mercedes chassis..... check out:

> Coach House


There are a few other quality-built manufacturers out there, but they don't currently build on the Mercedes platform.



Best of luck with your decison.


Cheers,
.
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Old 06-13-2021, 09:28 AM   #10
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This isn't likely a help, but I just posted on another thread what an old mechanic friend of mine used to say regarding passenger vehicles.

"They're all junk. You just have to decide if you want to drive 100k dollar junk, or 10k dollar junk"

I think same goes for rv's. Mechanical issues, manufacturing issues, little doo dads breaking, poor quality control, etc. etc., in the rv industry across the board.
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Old 06-13-2021, 10:20 AM   #11
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There is a dedicated FaceBook page full of Atlas owners (and shoppers). You should check there - you will find a lot of good, first hand info from owners... like me... and yes, I love it...
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Old 06-13-2021, 10:57 AM   #12
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Hi

Some of the issues you hear about are related to the Sprinter chassis. Every manufacturer using that chassis will have the same issues. Other issues are related to the appliances / systems. There are a *very* small number of folks making that stuff. Not every manufacturer uses *exactly* the same parts. They all do use very similar ones. Again, same issues across multiple brands / models.

If you are looking for perfection, don't buy an RV, don't buy any RV. For that matter don't buy any car or any truck. Also don't buy a fridge or a TV. If you dive into the right forum, you will find all sorts of horror stories about any make / model of anything.

Why do you see this?

Most people buying most things are lucky. A few are not. When a problem comes up the solution may be good, or it may not be so good. If they are unhappy with the solution. They may spend a *lot* of time blowing off steam about it. That is very much their right.

I have seen a number of cases where somebody is still yelling very loudly about a single issue on a single gizmo that happened 20+ years ago. If you didn't read all the fine print, you would think it happened earlier that day. Still they go on and on about it.

People that don't have problems rarely get all excited and spend the next 20 years putting up posts about the fact they didn't have a problem. Again, that's human nature. What you read in this or that forum is skewed as a result.

None of this is to say that folks *don't* have very real issues with stuff. They most certainly do. It's also not in any way to claim that the manufacturers ( all of them ) could not do better. They all most certainly can.

One way to minimize the problems is to minimize the number of options on whatever you buy. The most basic model of pickup truck will have fewer problems than the fully tricked out top of the line. They both will indeed have issues, you simply have better odds with the bottom of the line model.

Simple answer on just about any large purchase: Go see one. Spend time with it. Ask a lot of questions. Buy it from a dealer with a good reputation for after sales support. Spend time learning about all all the systems and options. Expect. bit of a learning curve if this is your first truck / boat / airplane / RV / television.

No, none of this is actually specific to the Atlas or even to Airstream ....

Bob
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Old 06-13-2021, 12:13 PM   #13
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Buy Used

if you want to find a good rv buy a used one from a meticulous owner. They have fixed the problems from shoddy workmanship and found work arounds for the shortcomings of the design.

This is not new advice. That bit of wisdom was around when I bought my first RV back in the 80's. Good luck with your quest. The rewards are wonderful.

Find, Gone with the Wynn's review of the Atlas on YouTube. Jason's mother bought an Atlas. Jason and Nikki went through the design. The Wynn's have been traveling nomads for the over a decade.

I suggest you read more threads about the rewards of Rving. Just the other day I read one about how much fun the poster was having in the Keys. It is amazing how much fun you can have in an imperfect vehicle.

Mike
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Old 06-13-2021, 01:33 PM   #14
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Personally I[ve owned 3 different Motorhomes and Travel Trailers. I had issues with all 3. Someone once told me a MH or TT is like putting your house and wheels and vibrating down the road. Expect mechanical issues even with new RV's. I must say that Airstream at Jackson Center has repaired any issues I had with our travel trailers.

I think your wise to seek out other Atlas owners. Remember for the most part only owners with complaints post on the Forum and not many" I'm so happy" comments do you see.
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Old 06-13-2021, 03:35 PM   #15
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I highly recommend looking at Living Vehicle- all aluminum trailer that, in my opinion, is the best trailer ever. I renovated a 79 sovereign airstream and the living Vehicle has everything a trailer should have.
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Old 06-13-2021, 04:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pygmypoacher View Post
I highly recommend looking at Living Vehicle- all aluminum trailer that, in my opinion, is the best trailer ever. I renovated a 79 sovereign airstream and the living Vehicle has everything a trailer should have.
Hi

I believe the OP is looking at a motor home ....

Bob
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Old 06-13-2021, 04:44 PM   #17
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An Atlas would be the last thing I would buy. Look at cheaper alternatives - https://www.coachhouserv.com/, https://leisurevans.com/ , https://www.phoenixusarv.com/
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Old 06-13-2021, 06:04 PM   #18
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Atlas is a great RV

Hey, don't be afraid of the Atlas. We drove ours rom Georgia to Oregon and back and it was great. The Mercedes chassis, engine and transmission are superb and it handles like a car. Sure there were some issues but all were solveable with a little effort. No "horror stories." From what I hear, every new RV will have problems. They are very complex machines. You can compare to other models, including others on a Sprinter chassis, but the Atlas is a fine machine and good choice.
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Old 06-13-2021, 08:41 PM   #19
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Greetings Halifax,

I bought a new Interstate in 2016 and have been happy. I’ve got 50k miles on it and have been all over the US and the Maritimes. I have had problems, but nothing major. Usually, I complete a trip and return to RBM in Atlanta for service. It helps to have a large Merecedes/Airstream motor coach dealer 30 minutes away. There is also an Airstream dealer in Atlanta that sells trailers, but they are not on the same level. I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking my Interstate there unless I had to. I get the impression that they would be getting on-the-job-training if I left my van with them.

The things that did go wrong on the road were little things that could either wait or I fixed myself. I’ve walked through an Atlas at the Hershey Show. It seems heavy to me and looks ponderous. There is also a video from the Wynns complaining about the tankless heater taking too long to heat and wasting a lot of water. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice, but I like my Interstate.

My question for you is- where do you get it serviced? You probably won’t have problems with Mercedes, but there will be some shoddy workmanship issues that Airstream passes on to the dealer. A rattle, or whatever. I was able to track down some road noises behind panels and secure loose wires, add a missing screw, and put in some Dynamat where I could. It helps to be mechanical and to have the right tools. On my last trip north in 2019, I stopped in Albany for a small problem. This dealer has the right stuff and quickly sent their senior tech to take a look. I continued on my way without issue.

In 2016, I also looked at Roadtrek and was interested in their E-Trek at the time. I couldn’t get the sales guy in Atlanta to even provide a quote much less a delivery date. When I was at the Hershey show in in 2019, the Roadtrek people didn’t even acknowledge my presence. I do remember going to a dealer in Columbia, SC who sold both Roadtrek and Airstream vans. The two models were side by side so that I was able to step off of one and on to another. My impression was that the Airstream was the higher quality machine. The people I talked to including Patrick in NJ confirmed that Airstream was the better choice.

My thoughts are that if you want to try some RV travel and like the Atlas, go for it. Just like your house or boat or plane, you will have some maintenance. But I will tell you this- an RV will take you to places that the rest of the world and the CFA’s don’t know about. I just bought a Goal Zero 6000x and am putting it through some tests. It looks like it will run my Interstate for four plus days without needing a recharge. I’m working on a seamless integration with my van so that I can go longer and avoid campgrounds.

When the border opens, I’m headed you way. Maybe we can connect and you can show me your shiny new wheels.

Happy trails
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Old 06-14-2021, 10:42 AM   #20
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New2RV

I own an Atlas, All Motor homes will have issues you need to accept that fact. If that is a problem for you then this is not the direction you should be going in.

Our Atlas has had some small issues, nothing that would prevent me from buying another one. You just need to accept that once or twice a year you book it into the dealership for maintenance when it is under warranty. Any issue on the chassis side will be repaired by a MB dealer, so if you plan to import make sure MB Canada will honor the warranty.

Airstream is not a manufacturer, they are an assembler of 100's of parts purchased and then installed on top of a MB chassis.

Could they do a better job of ensuring that all the parts work before leaving the factory....YES. However many of the defects will occur during shipping as the vehicles shakes, rattles and rolls down the highway. Could the dealers do a better job of making sure all defects are found before they sell them on....YES. However most of the issues will not be discovered until the MH gets used for a few days.

Since Canada has so few AS dealers you could be in a disadvantage as the closest dealer to you is in Montreal 1000km away. I am fortunate, my AS dealer is only 45 minutes away from my house.

If you do decide that the Atlas is the Travel lounge for you, as we did. Then buy it from the dealer in Montreal or Toronto or go through the hassle of importing one.


Plan ahead and make sure you go Camping nearby for a week or so after delivery to figure out the issues and have an appointment booked to bring it back to the dealer to make all the adjustments or repairs before you head home.

I would also make arrangements to have the dealer sub out warranty repairs to a local repair shop.

Remember people generally complain on forums, they never get on here to say how thrilled they are.


I would also suggest as other have to join the Atlas Facebook group, it is a lot more active and positive.

Feel free to contact me directly for an actual users real life experience.
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