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Old 01-07-2004, 04:49 PM   #1
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2003 25' Safari
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2003 Quality Issues

2003 quality issues have been mentioned here a few times... and I happen to own one. The problems are generally minor and more annoying than anything else. When the snow melts and it is safe to tow I am taking mine to Jackson Center for repairs, as the local dealer was inept. Here are some photos of problems with my unit...

This first one is under the dinette, showing exposed wiring due to an improperly cut or installed trim panel:
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Old 01-07-2004, 04:53 PM   #2
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This one shows the front left window, which will not close completely from the inside. Pushing on the outside while turning the crank inside will close it. The frame does not fit properly.
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Old 01-07-2004, 04:57 PM   #3
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This one shows the clearcoat peeling along a seam in the upper left front of the trailer. Peeling clearcoat is a problem in several areas in the front of the trailer. Some along seams, others where a bug splat has hit.
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Old 01-07-2004, 05:01 PM   #4
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This is the inside of a upper front cabinate door - delaminating. This is happening in several spots...
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Old 01-07-2004, 05:05 PM   #5
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Here is a wheel that is experiencing filliform corrosion - looks like worm tracks under the clearcoat, especially around the hub and lug nuts. All 4 wheels have this problem.
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Old 01-07-2004, 05:08 PM   #6
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Even the aluminum around the Airstream logo is corroding.
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Old 01-07-2004, 05:16 PM   #7
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For reference, I purchased the trailer new in 12/2002 from an authorized dealer near Tampa FL. The dealership is east of Tampa and quite a distance from the Gulf, so I don't think salt spray while it was on the lot should have been a major factor(?). I immediately towed the unit to northern WI where it was stored outside until October. Since then it has been stored indoors. It has been Walbernized twice. It has only been used three times in our first year (due to cranky teenage kids, but eventually they will move on!):

- trip home from Florida
- a long weekend trip to northern Minnesota
- a one week trip to Yellowstone

I have high hopes that Jackson Center will be able to fix the problems and we will be okay going forward.

The purpose of this post is to document the problems so others might actually see the quality issues that have been mentioned, and look for them on their own units. If others have similar problems - feel free to add you own photos to this thread.
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Old 01-07-2004, 05:45 PM   #8
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Dmac:

So You said Airstream is standing behind any unresolved issue and will be taking care of this In Jackson Center?

However, it is unfortunate that you have had these issues but atleast Airstream will and are standing by there product.
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Old 01-07-2004, 07:57 PM   #9
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dmac
Well join the club. Our 03 AS has many of the same problems. Most I fixed myself but the wheel rim problem and the Airstream logo has the same exact problem. Let us know how Jackson Center handles it.
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Old 01-07-2004, 08:11 PM   #10
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Hi dmac,
I'm glad you created this post. I also have some minor problems, have also taken only a few trips, and I have no respect or use for the dealer the trailer came from. Airstream has been understanding and helpful, they are willing to send replacement parts, I wish I lived closer to Jackson Center.
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Old 01-07-2004, 10:50 PM   #11
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Hope you get your trailer repaired to your satisfaction.

By the way, I visited the Bates dealership 2 years ago, and when I asked one of their salesmen (who happened to be wearing a heavy gold chain, bracelet and other flashy jewelry) about a new 30' Classic Ltd, he looked at me and my wife and said "Are you sure you can afford it?"
To which I replied, "Where I come from we don't wear all our assets around our neck." My wife and I are still mad about that visit, and I'll never go back there again.

John
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Old 01-07-2004, 11:34 PM   #12
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I am sure that Jackson Center will take care of you. Of all you have posted, the only thing I have not yet seen yet and am most concerned about it the peeling "clearcoat".

In reality, that is plasticcoat and it is done at Aloca, the alum manuf. The clearcoat peeling was suppose to be done by about the 1999 model year.

It's been my understanding that the alum is actually coated with plastic at the Aloca factory and is not really clearcoat. What you have there looks like the plastic seperating from the alum.

Like I said, Airstream won't leave you hanging, but if what I think will be involoved, is involved, they may have to replace panels. I don't think the proper fix is a strip and recoat, but don't quote me on that.

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Old 01-07-2004, 11:41 PM   #13
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BTW Dan.... what have you been waxing the exterior with? Just a hunch here, but I had an '03 and for all it's faults, the exterior shell was one of the things that I found near flawless.

Eric
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Old 01-08-2004, 10:08 AM   #14
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I have Walbernized the entire trailer twice, and the front of it about 4 times. No car wax has been used on the trailer.

Jim at Airstream has been helpful on the phone and through email. I will bring the trailer to Jackson Center in the spring to effect repairs. I believe the fix will be to strip the affected panels and spray them with some other clear product (I don't know what).

The FL dealer was a joke - but they did have great pricing!

The local dealer in Minnesota was able to fix the improperly installed pantry, but nothing else.
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Old 01-08-2004, 10:45 AM   #15
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Its the wheel corrosion / cracks? that would seem to be a major concern.
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Old 01-08-2004, 11:25 AM   #16
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The wheels are corroded, but no cracks. The black marks on the photo are from lines and text I had added to describe the problem to Airstream on a higher resolution version of the image. However, I suspect that stripping, polishing out the corrosion, and recoating of the wheels may be more effort and cost than just replacing them with new wheels. Does everyone have corroding aluminum wheels, is the clearcoat inherently bad on these? Any solution if replacement wheels start doing this?
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Old 01-08-2004, 01:21 PM   #17
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Dan,

Just so that I'm clear, you might want to ask Jim if the suggested process is any different that what used to be done to the older coaches that had clearcoat peeliing issues. The only reason I say this is because if it is the same process that was used in the past and you find later that it begins to peel as it did in the past, you could be out of warranty.

Either way, my suggestion would be to ask the question before work begins.

I've also PM'd you as well.

Eric
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Old 01-08-2004, 02:34 PM   #18
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I agree with Silvertwinkie. When we had the '01 Bambi, I had some spidering/web problem starting at several places on the exterior front panels. We went to Jackson Center where they REPLACED the panels. Never had a final answer as to what caused this affect except that they and Alcoa felt it might have been in the manufacturing / treatment process of the panels before shipping to AS. I don't think you want AS to just try and spray over the problem. They cannot replicate the finish process Alcoa uses.
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Old 01-08-2004, 02:44 PM   #19
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I hear what you guys are saying - but at the moment I'm having trouble believing that the Alcoa plasticoat process is much better! The plasticoat seems to peel off just like protective plastic over a new piece of plexiglass. I do appreciate all input though - so I can discuss with Airstream when I bring the unit to JC for repairs.
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Old 01-08-2004, 03:01 PM   #20
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Dan,

The plasticoat is a lot more robust than a type of plexiglass protector. It is not suppose to peel or do what yours is doing at all. That's why they went to the plasticoat.

I had an '03 and it sat outside....I walburnized it at least 3-4 times and washed it about a dozen times. It was in the freezing cold, sun, rain, snow, ice, made bug pizzas all over the front...... No plasticoat issues. Others have had the plasticoat since it was introduced in 1999. As far as I know few have had issues compared to the original clearcoat process of the 80's and up through the mid 90's. Of course, it's still a bit early in the game to say thumbs up or thumbs down on it, but outside of not being able to shine it up like the vintage units, it's always been my understanding that the plasticoat is far superior to the orig clearcoats of the past. Others please chime in here.

I know that if my '04 did that, I would want the panels replaced not clearcoated if the process uses similar techniques and products that were used on the old clearcoat peelers.

In the end Airstream will take great care of you, but I would start the conversation now so that when you arrive the stage is set and there is no misunderstandings later after a 400+ mile trip. The other worst case is that it is the same clearcoating process and if/when it does peel again, you'll be out of warranty.

I might have had a reservation about pulling the panels off until I saw the job the service center did for Jody from this forum when he rode a guardrail from the front curbside all the way down to the back. When Airstream was done, you could not tell the panels were replaced.

Eric
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