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Old 07-28-2015, 05:34 AM   #61
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In reading the threads on this subject you would think they could never sell another airstream. I see so many on the road and read here of so many repeat buyers...something doesn't connect here.

If the quality is so bad you would think Thor would know it and do something about it. And maybe they are working on it?

Maybe commenter was right when he said the folks with a good experience don't speak up. We've had our 2016 GT a couple of weeks and had a few little things (including my error a few times) but nothing has shown up yet of the magnitude described. No heavy rain yet however.

Only real problem we are having is living in such a small space. That will take getting used to.

Drives like a dream. Visibility for touring is fantastic.

If there are essentially trouble-free owners of Interstate purchased new out there, can you weigh in?
One has to wonder how a thread can wander from this Airstream Interstate question to where it is.

Nonetheless, our 2007 Airstream 20' Safari was well built and our 2012 Flying Cloud is much nicer construction. The downward spiral must be occurring in the last couple of years. We have looked at the latest models and would buy one in a heartbeat if we needed one, but the 2012 Flying Cloud was excellent from the factory and remains so with regular inspections and upkeep.
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Old 07-28-2015, 05:50 AM   #62
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I've been on these forums for 6 1/2 years, and these kinds of issues have been talked about here since before that.

I don't think it is rocket science, how to insure work is done properly and completely at every step.....many of us could probably put that in place, and certainly JC could.

I don't get it, and the lack of inspections/corrections must be something sanctioned from the top

These chronic and longstanding issues don't speak well to many things......but all that said, I still love my Interstate, and the quality of life it has allowed is absolutely immeasurable.


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Old 07-28-2015, 05:59 AM   #63
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Funny thing or maybe not so funny is that after reviewing forums for several other brands the complaints are almost identical to the common issues discussed here. I do not think that Airstream has a monopoly on QC problems. It seems to be indicative of current manufacturing and management practices industry wide.
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Old 07-28-2015, 07:07 AM   #64
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Factory tour.

Hi, I just recently took the factory tour and there were things that were improved like the routing of panels for all of the cut-outs. Better sealing of the body to the frame. But, as an assembly plant, I saw way to much waste of product and time. Some people were constantly working and others seemed to have nothing to do. Parts were stacking up and collecting dust and new parts were being made in more numbers than trailers being built. Bottom line, for an assembly plant, it was too un-organized. This could cause lessor quality. In the end, they all looked pretty. Airstream, in my opinion, needs someone from Ford or Boeing Etc. to clean up their assembly line process. If properly organized, they could produce more trailers and have better quality at the same time. Management at Airstream should pay a visit to other factories and assembly plants. Mac Tools, Ford, GM, Boeing, or even the Tillamook Cheese factory. I'm sure that Airstream could learn something from all of them.


Note: Airstream is going through an expansion process now. And this could be part of what I saw.
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Old 07-28-2015, 07:27 AM   #65
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Unfortunately "need is the mother of invention" and Airstream just does not have a like competitor at this point. I grew up in the Semiconductor/Chip business and it wasn't until the Japanese began entering the market that production efficiency and quality improved in the US. Airstream runs the risk of being complacent and betting that no competitor will appear. No CEO should get a raise betting on that!!!
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:21 PM   #66
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And for those that have never worked in a production enterprise building something, you can't inspect quality in to the product. It has to be built in. Some mfg used to claim that they built the quality in their product. Can't remember who tho.
After many years with a Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award winning organization I can say with some authority inspecting in quality, and especially final inspection is a colossal waste of time and money. Quality must be engineered into the process and designed into the product and there has to be total commitment extending all the way from the CEO to the cleaning crew. Too many companies feel that level of effort is too expensive in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Inspecting in quality can easily increase unit costs to build 25 to 50% but unfortunately that appears to be the standard of practice in the RV industry. As a result they can get away with it.
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:59 PM   #67
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There is an elephant in the room when it comes to AS quality and that is the fact that there is an almost cult like acceptance of a less than perfect product based on the reputation, history and unique style of an Airstream. The perceived value of an AS travel trailer is the best marketing tool Thor has!

As Joemikeb said, Quality must be engineered into the process and designed into the product and there has to be total commitment extending all the way from the CEO to the cleaning crew.
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Old 07-28-2015, 03:51 PM   #68
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One has to wonder how a thread can wander from this Airstream Interstate question to where it is.
What are you saying here? This thread is clearly about Quality Control, hardly a question, and as the title stands, opens the thread up to a free for all.

I haven't said much here on this topic since others have expressed mutual opinions, but let me say that in our first year of ownership, I had so many issues, I had to keep "a list". The quotes are for a reason. Some items dropped off the list as they were resolved, and but they were always replaced by others. "The list" became a standing joke amongst our friends, to the point that my wife and I started referring to the Interstate as the lemon. Far more time was spent at the dealership than actually using it as a camper.
Since we had spent a large chunk of our retirement funds on this lemon, we were not happy then, and since then, the sour feeling never totally went away.
The dealer - who has become a good personal friend of ours - has been very sympathetic, and even offered us a Grand Tour in exchange, hugely discounted. As things currently stand with Airstream quality, I would definitely not go down the same path.

Update: I should add something else that may surprise everyone else as it did me: the dealer offered me a 4x4 version of the Grand Tour, complete with Air Suspension. I would have to wait some extra months for it, but he told me it is available for special order. That was very tempting, especially for forestry roads here in the southwest. But having been bitten twice (our previous Flying Cloud was also full of issues) we turned it down too.
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Old 07-28-2015, 04:26 PM   #69
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Funny thing or maybe not so funny is that after reviewing forums for several other brands the complaints are almost identical to the common issues discussed here. I do not think that Airstream has a monopoly on QC problems. It seems to be indicative of current manufacturing and management practices industry wide.
True enough, but isn't it reasonable to expect that for maybe 3x the price, a higher level of quality should be part of the equation?

I have heard some folk describe the Airstream as the Rolls-Royce of travel trailers and that is sort if what I anticipated when buying ours.

Of course if one hangs out on a Rolls Royce forum if there is one, it might turn out to be a mirror image our our Airstream forum!

I wonder if I would have bought the Airstrem had I spent much time on this forum first! Probably I would! My rationalization would have been that usually it is only the people with bad experiences that post about it!

I will say that we have had very few complaints with ours - but then that could be the advantage of buying one a couple of years old, the first owner had to deal with most of the quality issues!

Having owned ours now for about 6 years, I do wonder at times if I should take the plunge and buy a new one.

Basically what stops me is:

- filliform corrosion. It's one thing on a ten year old trailer (I have some) but I sure would be ticked off to experience it within a year or so of buying new as I think some folk have had happen.

- wooden floors. Maybe it is just me, but I can't see spending over $100k (especially now with the dropping Canadian dollar!) on such a nice unit but then having a wooden floor subject to rotting when (not if) the trailer leaks - the water will sooner or later wind up at floor level and do its dirty work!

- Quality issues - although I guess that is mostly just niggling little things that I could live with, and in many cases would just fix myself as we do not have a dealer that close to us.

When people speak of lists of problems, I well remember when my dad bought his first Japanese- made auto. (A long time ago!) In that era he told me that with every new North-American car he had bought, inevitably he had a long list of problems the day he brought the car home. With the Japanese car, he couldn't get over the fact that he had no list to deal with - nada!

I suppose comparing Automobile quality with Airstream quality may not be totally fair, but if we don't expect quality we won't get it!


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Old 07-28-2015, 04:33 PM   #70
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I was at Foley RV— AKA Airstream of Mississippi— earlier today, and had a chance to talk to the service manager at length. He indicated to me that of the Thor brands they sell, they perform fewer warranty repairs on the Airstreams than they do on the Colemans and other brands. Make of that what you will.
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Old 07-28-2015, 04:39 PM   #71
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Airstream trailers are as good as they come.I would not have anything else personally but they are though a work in progress for there owners.With just a few adjustments from the factory they could be a lot better.
All they would have to do is watch this forum and react.It is the same complaints over and over again.Simple stuff not hard to remedy.
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Old 07-28-2015, 04:50 PM   #72
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I just did a short web search of Bob Wheeler (CEO, Airstream). I found not a single piece of information where he talks about quality...not one. It is all about marketing and sales. Unfortunately, the issue just has not risen to the point where it needs to be in the conversation. Attached is a typical interview he gave to Trailer Life.
Interview with Airstream CEO Bob Wheeler

I tried finding his email to send him this thread but it does not exist on the web. Probably he just does not want to hear it.
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Old 07-28-2015, 05:13 PM   #73
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One way to avoid all the petty new Airstream issues is to buy one several years old. Let the original owner deal with them and take the normal depreciation. Mine is 9 years old and has pretty much been 100% serviced and repaired by the service dept. at Jackson Center. I have had it for 1 year and now am dealing with the occasional normal wear and tear and upgrades to my taste. No current issues that I can blame on Airstream.
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Old 07-28-2015, 05:40 PM   #74
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I just did a short web search of Bob Wheeler (CEO, Airstream). I found not a single piece of information where he talks about quality...not one. It is all about marketing and sales. Unfortunately, the issue just has not risen to the point where it needs to be in the conversation. Attached is a typical interview he gave to Trailer Life.
Interview with Airstream CEO Bob Wheeler

I tried finding his email to send him this thread but it does not exist on the web. Probably he just does not want to hear it.
bwheeler@airstream.com
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Old 07-28-2015, 05:49 PM   #75
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After many years with a Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award winning organization I can say with some authority inspecting in quality, and especially final inspection is a colossal waste of time and money. Quality must be engineered into the process and designed into the product and there has to be total commitment extending all the way from the CEO to the cleaning crew. Too many companies feel that level of effort is too expensive in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Inspecting in quality can easily increase unit costs to build 25 to 50% but unfortunately that appears to be the standard of practice in the RV industry. As a result they can get away with it.
And then you have this signature:

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Old 07-28-2015, 05:57 PM   #76
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It will catch up to AS just has British motorcycle industry has, now defunct same with autos. When Japanese saw some thing not rite scrapped all parts etc. fixed problems thats why they flourish. US auto ind. same thing few years ago had to be bailed out by feds. AS PT Barnum stated there is one born every minute. So many complaints time to wise up quit talking sales dwell on quality as balloon will break. joemikebe post hit nail rite on head, time to wake up at corperate hqs.
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Old 07-28-2015, 06:05 PM   #77
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AS PT Barnum stated there is one born every minute.
A common misconception: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There%...n_every_minute

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Old 07-28-2015, 06:12 PM   #78
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When recall for suburban furnaces for people dying from them. [gasses]. AS did not notify me as original owner with papers of purchase and regist. With AS so this is not new prob. with front office. I found out yrs. after from friend that worked in AS repair at jc. I pur. replacement furnace hadn't any idea of recall. No reimbursement of costs. Yes I like my tin can.
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Old 07-28-2015, 06:15 PM   #79
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But P. T. Barnum DID say, "Every crowd has a silver lining."
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Old 07-28-2015, 06:27 PM   #80
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When I was installing 15" SenDel wheels with 15" Michelins to replace the stock 14" tires and wheels on the 23D, I found that the leading edge of the curb side wheel well was 2" longer than on the street side. I had to trim the skin metal and bend the wheel well frame so the tire would not rub on the skin metal. Obviously the chap working on the street side did not do the sheet metal work on the curb side or vice versa.

Both pieces of metal were pre-cut on a huge router table where the cutter head is computer programmed.
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