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Old 07-03-2014, 09:01 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by rodsterinfl View Post
"Sometime in the 80's they put OSB floors in trailers. My 81 has plywood floors"

This is something that bothers me on the floor type- OSB versus plywood. Originally I was told all Safaris had OSB but that is not the case on mine. Then, like posted here that Airstream used OSB in all models from 1981-2007 or such and such. Does anyone know this info. I just know that my '06 Safari, built in June 05 has plywood.
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:17 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodsterinfl View Post
"Sometime in the 80's they put OSB floors in trailers. My 81 has plywood floors"

This is something that bothers me on the floor type- OSB versus plywood. Originally I was told all Safaris had OSB but that is not the case on mine. Then, like posted here that Airstream used OSB in all models from 1981-2007 or such and such. Does anyone know this info. I just know that my '06 Safari, built in June 05 has plywood.
Who knows...

The Safari is the bottom end of their lineup correct? Our 1999 Safari has plywood floors. No OSB. Still solid.

But the clear coat... peeled well before we bought it. Stripped the rest off. I like the look ours has now, my wife doesn't.
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:43 AM   #23
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The Safari is the bottom end of their lineup correct? Our 1999 Safari has plywood floors. No OSB. Still solid.

But the clear coat... peeled well before we bought it. Stripped the rest off. I like the look ours has now, my wife doesn't.
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Just finished looking over your website. Nice. I like the park listing with prices. It renewed my faith in lower cost campgrounds- that they are still out there. I think that $30 is pushing it for a night when you are bringing your own room!

So, at least yours and mine are plywood and that is a '99 and an '06. It must not be model line specific. I have seen pics of Airstreams with OSB flooring so they did use it at some point but on what or for what period of time?
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:22 AM   #24
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Beatrice purchased Airstream in July 1969

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Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
The Beatrice years were from '67 to '79. There are plenty of folks who think those are "bad" years for material quality, but I think its way blown out of proportion. The main problems seen with this era of trailer is rot in the rear end flooring, and tail end droop, sag, and separation. All of these problems are specific to the design (both the shape of the trailers, and the length), and are difficult to simply blame on "poor quality materials." As mentioned above, there are trailers built since 2000 that have cracked frames, and floors made of particle board that disintegrate when they get wet. At least the Beatrice trailers had plywood floors.
It is my understanding that 1969 (July) is when Beatrice purchased Airstream.....not sure how fast they acted but that might mean their changes came in 1970 or after IMHO.
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:23 AM   #25
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My 2001 Safari 25 has OSB.
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:49 AM   #26
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I found this posted in 2004 by Pahaska:

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The 22-footers use a single piece of OSB for the entire floor. As far as I know, all other models use T&G plywood; I know that the larger models do. If any other models use OSB, it would be the 16' and 19'.
That contradicts you Al and Missy but I would not be surprised if they used what they had at the time of build. Pahaska is probably making reference to general rule.

He worked on a few it sounds like and found OSB in International models. It would seem again that it is not model-line specific.
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Old 12-05-2020, 01:54 PM   #27
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Quality opinion

I know this topic has been looked over before on the forum but I bring it up again with opinions on the new built Airstreams.

I have owned 3 Airstreams and now thinking about buying a 2020 or 2021 and started wondering about what years are the top quality builds for Airstream. This to me is most interesting comparing my 2005 to a new 2020.

I have owned a 1978 30 foot Argosy, 1982 25 foot Trade Wind and currently own a 2005 28 foot Safari.

All three trailers I owned needed some work. The Argosy needed the tambour cabinet doors repaired several times, the 82 water pump and coper water lines leaked and the Safari’s door hinge bolts busted and a door rivet came out. I consider the repairs about normal for a travel trailer and not signs of a poor build so think I had 3 great trailers built to last especially compared to any other brand trailer.

I have read about and listened to folks who own a “new” Airstream tell about several required repairs some not so bad some requiring professionals to do the repair work. Most of these folks are first time AS owners.

I think the 1978 Argosy was the best build of the 3 AS trailers I owned, least needing any repairs even though built under the ownership of Beatrice Foods. It had a rear bath and far as I knew it never leaked and I never had a problem with floor rot. Many folks say Beatrice made lower quality Airstreams but my 78 contradicts this.

So hear is the question, what years are (in your opinion) the best built Airstreams? And as a bonus question opinions on the 2005 models compared to a new 2020 unit for dependability and build quality.
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Old 12-06-2020, 05:07 AM   #28
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Quote:
So hear is the question, what years are (in your opinion) the best built Airstreams? And as a bonus question opinions on the 2005 models compared to a new 2020 unit for dependability and build quality.
I shared previously, consider this an update.

It is a good question; however, I believe the answer can only be inconsistent because there is too much variance on the product. Let me explain.

Right after I purchased my 2006 I began updating it and ran across statements on the forum about the early to mid 2000s trailers that had several problems. I became concerned and started looking for the issues on my unit.

My unit had been hardly used when I got it. The flooring was pristine but I made the decision to slice into it because I read about floor rot in certain areas on much of the first 2000 decade models. There were statements about how all Safaris had OSB flooring instead of plywood, rear bumper areas not sealed letting water in freely to rot the wood, etc. You get the idea.

I started treating my unit as if I had the problem. I tore the plastic covering, carpet and pad out of the rear trunk, side trunks and bedroom area down to the bare PLYWOOD. I discovered that my unit had plywood and no rot. I left the plywood bare in the side trunks and covered the rear trunk with a metal sheet. While there, I checked the rear sealing and it was there. I added more but It put my mind at ease over the post information that described "those years as having issues." I also sliced into the vinyl flooring to find plywood flooring throughout and then had to replace the flooring. No leaks. I have a spot in the center of the bedroom that is a low spot that I thought was something and then realized it was just a floor fluke- not a soft spot.

It is important to consider that because one person who experiences a particular problem, while potentially significant, may not impact a model year- perhaps a week or day of production, but not all.

My thought on broader issues that it would be the materials made or a design change- adding wrap around windows and window leaks (first panoramic models), rimless sinks, heated floors, a batch of faulty ac units, heated floors, etc. Airstream supposedly added rivet seal washers on 2013 and newer (shared by Airstream rep at a Rally in Sarasota.

On current model buyers, I would highly recommend being diligent in looking for issues inside and out as with any product. Horror stories are not particular to Airstreams alone and, as far as I know, not particular to any model year.
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Old 12-19-2020, 12:02 PM   #29
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Hi, and welcome to the forums!

In your vintage Airstream search, I think you are taking the correct approach--try to find one that has already had the work done, so you can spend your time using your trailer, rather than restoring it. You might try monitoring the AirForums classified ads, as you may have a better chance of finding a good trailer there than Craigslist. Be sure you have a complete idea of what full "restoration" entails. Fresh carpet, upholstery, interior paint and exterior shine do not a Restoration make.

As far as good years/bad years I can make some generalizations:

Pre-1969 trailers are generally considered by the vintage crowd to be better built, and at least less prone to floor rot in the rear of the trailer (body style changed in 1969 that promotes water draining into the rear of the trailer). They are also constructed of 2024 T3 Alclad aluminum, which will take a nice mirror shine and is tougher (less prone to dimpling in a light hail storm).

1970's and newer trailers generally have the same body shape and design shortcomings that result in problems like floor rot in the rear and rear end separation. Airstream has experimented with different alloys of aluminum ever since ~1970. It is a common belief that as time has gone on, the aluminum has gotten less tough, and more prone to damage, and less beautiful. If you look around the forums, you will find owners reporting floor rot in trailers that were built in the last 10 years, so be careful about thinking a newer trailer will eliminate the worries about leaks and rot.

I would recommend you choose the genre of trailer based on what you like (length, width, features, etc.), and then try to find one that has already had the work done.

Good luck!

Just as another data point, it appears that 2017 through perhaps mid-2019 Basecamps are susceptible to this in the front kitchen area. (From experience.)
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Old 03-18-2021, 01:39 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by roc97007 View Post
Just as another data point, it appears that 2017 through perhaps mid-2019 Basecamps are susceptible to this in the front kitchen area. (From experience.)

All Airstreams leak and if they have wood they all rot. If they have steel frames they can rust away. Any Year is susceptible. The best medicine is frequent use or inside storage. Airstream had 2 choices build a trailer that does not leak. In my opinion the only way that will happen is if they start welding the seams. I really hope we see that soon. Option 2 is to build at least all the structure out of materials that can handle water contact. They chose that route but they still have work to do. The frames can still rust away. I expect to see aluminum framed trailers within the decade. Airstreams can be family heirlooms that do not need to be rebuilt. We are well on the way.
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Old 03-18-2021, 02:07 PM   #31
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My 1999 Safari has plywood floors and had rot at the rear storage area that I repaired by cutting out & replacing about 2' x 6' section...haven't been able to 100% determine if I eliminated the leak but seems ok after a couple years.


It has peeling clearcoat but only in 2 small sections at the top of the awning brackets...I've thought about trying to "spot apply" clearcoat to the affected areas but seems somewhat not recommended in looking over the advice in the forums...I can live with it.


I park the unit outside (plugged in) and run a dehumidifier. I also have a structure that covers the back end of the trailer. (where the suspected leak is)...I'd prefer a full cover since one half it gets dirtier quicker...dust, algae, etc.


Pretty happy overall with the Safari despite the "low-end" stigma! Haha...


Biggest issues I've had:
  • Windows and gaskets...hard to get replacement parts for the Hehr openers
  • Escape window has been caulked & sealed far too much (probably from the PO trying to solve the back end leak)
  • Additionally the plastic rear window latches are broken (as have other 20 year old plastic pieces) and I have not located replacements
  • The Carefree awning...it's an adventure every time you open and close it
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Old 03-25-2021, 11:17 AM   #32
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Are there any good years?

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Originally Posted by Mountair View Post
Starting to look for a used 16-25' AS and wonder if there are certain years/models that have better workmanship and fewer problems than others.
Ideally, I'd like to find vintage that is already completely restored but they seem to be hard to find. So, probably looking for something between 1993 and 2003.

The snarky side of me wants to ask "are there any good years?" All Airstreams from the first year through 2020 are an aluminum shell which demonstrably leaks, over a plywood subfloor, which demonstrably rots. Ours rotted out in less than three years from manufacture. Airstream doesn't consider that a warranty issue. Apparently they're expected to rot out in that time frame.


The good news, I guess, is that with 2021 they're going to composite subflooring, which won't be as affected by water. (I say "as affected" because it's still fastened to a metal frame that tends to rust. In our third year of ownership, our blackwater tube just dropped off on the freeway when the tapped holes in the frame rusted out. But that's another story.)


So, I would guess, the good year for Airstreams is the most recent year, when they've designed out the previous decades' bad design decisions. And hopefully haven't created too many new ones.
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Old 03-25-2021, 01:58 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roc97007 View Post
The snarky side of me wants to ask "are there any good years?" All Airstreams from the first year through 2020 are an aluminum shell which demonstrably leaks, over a plywood subfloor, which demonstrably rots. Ours rotted out in less than three years from manufacture. Airstream doesn't consider that a warranty issue. Apparently they're expected to rot out in that time frame.


The good news, I guess, is that with 2021 they're going to composite subflooring, which won't be as affected by water. (I say "as affected" because it's still fastened to a metal frame that tends to rust. In our third year of ownership, our blackwater tube just dropped off on the freeway when the tapped holes in the frame rusted out. But that's another story.)


So, I would guess, the good year for Airstreams is the most recent year, when they've designed out the previous decades' bad design decisions. And hopefully haven't created too many new ones.
I think you make a lot of valid points. I think Airstream as a company was extremely disappointing from the 80's until now. Look at the old marketing videos from the time. The adventures of the African caravan were a distant memory.
Long heavy trailers that required long heavy tow vehicles were all they sold. They sat on their haunches for 40 years and made no improvements to the longevity they achieved 80 years ago.

I have been around Airstreams my entire life. They have a healthy dose of fashion over function. An Airstream is not some time capsule ark that will roll through time for the next 50 years unscathed after the factory kicks it out the door. I think that a lot of new owners see them that way. Really an Airstream just decays to a much lesser extent when compared to your average box trailer.

A diligent owner who pays attention, who looks for leaks who keeps things sealed will be rewarded with a trailer that will last a lifetime.

This new floor and the new focus on 20ish foot trailers makes me excited about Airstream again. That excitement will fade though. I am with you, Airstream has to make the frame aluminum. For 40 years Airstream made only changes and hardly any improvements.

I hope Airstream has a goal to build time capsule arks that are rot free and functioning 50 years from now.
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Old 03-26-2021, 10:40 AM   #34
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I think you make a lot of valid points. I think Airstream as a company was extremely disappointing from the 80's until now. Look at the old marketing videos from the time. The adventures of the African caravan were a distant memory.
Long heavy trailers that required long heavy tow vehicles were all they sold. They sat on their haunches for 40 years and made no improvements to the longevity they achieved 80 years ago.

I have been around Airstreams my entire life. They have a healthy dose of fashion over function. An Airstream is not some time capsule ark that will roll through time for the next 50 years unscathed after the factory kicks it out the door. I think that a lot of new owners see them that way. Really an Airstream just decays to a much lesser extent when compared to your average box trailer.

A diligent owner who pays attention, who looks for leaks who keeps things sealed will be rewarded with a trailer that will last a lifetime.

This new floor and the new focus on 20ish foot trailers makes me excited about Airstream again. That excitement will fade though. I am with you, Airstream has to make the frame aluminum. For 40 years Airstream made only changes and hardly any improvements.

I hope Airstream has a goal to build time capsule arks that are rot free and functioning 50 years from now.



The thing I don't understand is this: My grandparents owned trailers my entire life. I grew up helping my grandfather set up and tear down at campsites, so when we bought a trailer I already knew a lot about the care and feeding of one.


They traded up twice, the last time while I was in high school, probably 1972 or so, to a 24 foot Ideal. They used it regularly for many years, finally willing it to my aunt, who gave it to her daughter. It was on the road at least 30 years total.


The floor never rotted out on any of their trailers. In fact, I'd never heard of a floor rotting out until it happened to me, with the Basecamp.


Mind you, I hadn't done my due diligence. We had decided on Airstream because it was a high end product and we thought that meant high quality, which didn't turn out to be true (fit and finish was terrible) and longevity, which also didn't turn out to be true. (Floor rotting out 3 years after manufacture, stuff falling off on the road.) I'm wiser now, but I'm also saddled with a trailer which quite frankly I don't want anymore.


We invested $33,000 in the 2017 Basecamp, (purchased off the Airstream dealer lot toward the end of 2018) plus about $3000 in upgrades and repairs, we're looking at an additional $7,000 in floor repairs, and we haven't even used up the first bottle of propane yet. I checked on trade-in, and the dealer offered us maybe a third of what we paid. We'd essentially be buying the trailer over again.


This is not what I expected of Airstream.


Researching AFTER we got in the current situation, I find that we have a lot of company, and had I known all of this ahead of time we would have purchased some other brand.


I freely admit that this is my fault for not doing my due diligence before hand.


Live and learn, I guess.


The real tragedy: We're not getting any younger, and we had really looked forward to doing some traveling while we're mobile enough to do it. As I'm sure everyone realizes, traveling by trailer is hard work and you have to be up to it.


But instead of being on the road these last almost-three years, we've been sitting at home while the trailer was sitting at the dealer.


I think that had we initially made a much more modest investment in some other brand, at least we would have had some road time between then and now.
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Old 03-26-2021, 10:49 AM   #35
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My 2 Airstreams both have the OSB floors. Not really a problem. Yes, we have had leaks and some rotten areas and some repairs. Plywood rots and delaminates when wet also. Look for the overall condition of the trailer and not so much if the floors are OSB.
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