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Old 08-28-2019, 06:22 PM   #1
Rivet Master
Ray Eklund's Avatar
2019 27' International
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Fort Saunders , Wyoming
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,085
NEW Airstream Checklist... and your additions

(I had this in the International Trailer thread. This would be good for New and USED trailer inspections. The Dealer may not like it... but then again... there are lots of Airstream Dealers that will help you check out- 100%.)

This Friday we pick up our new 2019 International 27FB Signature. Just had a call from Steve at the Service Department from the Las Vegas Airstream dealership to verify if the add ons were correct. Hitch, Lift Kit, solid frame 90watt (or so) Solar Panels with AGM glass mat batteries. They were. Also discussed their checkout process, which I was very happy hearing. What I had written below... they actually check out and pressurize the water system.

This was not done by my Denver dealership. That is why I said I plan to check out the following myself... and they do that.

In any event, this may seem long but is very important to you... the buyer. Novice or experienced in Airstreams. Please add to the list or question anything. We have hundreds of experienced owners ready to help. If you want it...or not.


After two new Airstreams there is a short list that can be checked for major issues. These are usually electrical and water issues that can be checked before purchase.

Our 2006 23 foot Safari needed to be taken to Jackson Center, Ohio and given the final tweak. There are some issues that cannot be discovered sitting at the Dealer's Lot. Like wheel well dust inhalation into the interior of the trailer due to gaps, as an example. Everything was tweaked in Ohio and we were happy 'campers'.

Our 2014 25 foot International we checked what we could out from experiences from the 23 foot. Other than problematic Dexter Brake wiring into the drum and magnetic no longer operating that was resolved by us replacing all four brake plates and wired into the system. Few issues afterwards, other than the standard screws and hinges coming loose... that were eventually resolved by replacing and reinforcing some with more reliable piano hinges.

Our pending purchase of a 2019 27 foot International will get a much more intensive check out. The cost of the trailer. The more complex electronics. And of course we are more experienced trailer owners. It is easier to find the problems before owning and leaving the dealer's lot. There is incentives to get it fixed, paid and out the door.

For those who are purchasing new:

Water hose to add water, under pressure to check plumbing. Fresh water tank for leaks. Black and Grey water tanks, valve checks.

When we get home we will drain the system and tanks. (If you do not let a partially filled fresh water tank slosh within the new tank... it will not rinse off the foul taste of the interior tank. You WILL know if it was filled and sloshed... it is foul.)

- Ladder to observe the roof and attached hardware. Are the Air Conditioning unit(s) bolted firmly and that kind of checking. Vents caulked, etc.
- Hose to pressure up the interior water lines. Fill fresh water tank. Add water to the Black and Grey water tanks. Looking for leaks. A small or large leak are just as bad.
- Level to put against the wheels to check if they are consistent to one another.
- Flashlight. No telling what is behind or in the dark areas on the interior.
- Tape measure to measure the distance between tires of the double axles. If one side is off, ask why and is it an issue in alignment.
- Electrical items. Lights. Air Conditioning. Check switches, instrument panels of sorts. Just like buying a used or new home.
- Hitch. If on a level surface, does the trailer and tow vehicle look level, or close? I like level. Undersized tow vehicles will sit down in the rear.
- Trailer connected to to vehicle lights, turn signals, brake lights… should all be operational.
- If the roof leaks, which we never had that problem, it will be tested during the first camping trip during a rain. About the best you can do.
- I want to get a wheel in the air, spin and see that the manual braking from the tow vehicle will lock it up. Go to next , etc. I use leveling blocks under a wheel.
- Windows. They usually are stuck to the rubber from sitting, but casually separate and make sure they open and can close tight.
- Rolling shades. I saw some in 2014 that were already not working and being replaced by the dealer. They either work… or don’t.
- Ceiling vents. Either work or not. Fan speeds.
- Keys to fit outside storage locks. Key to front door should be firm, but not needing pliers.
- Are you getting the Power Cord 30A or 50A with your trailer? Grey and Black water dump hose?
- Open and set up awnings. ALL. They work well or they don’t. The door side awning is the most important. The electrical one needs more attention.
- Linoleum separation and ripples on the floor. You will feel or see them immediately. Fix first before driving into the Sunset is best.
- Missing screws in cabinets, bolts, hardware to hold visible propane and water lines.
- Shower door. Opens, swings and not catching on the bottom frame of the shower aluminum. It should open easily and close no different.
- Radio test. Television test. Front power jack to level trailer, test.
- Walk around and look down the sides of the trailer for panels that bulge in or out from excess material during buck rivets.
- Look at the ceilings, walls of the interior for popped rivets or fit. It is normal to see the ‘dimples’ where rivets are used to adhere to frame.
- Check sinks for holding water. Faucet operation. Cook top. Refrigerator. Does water pump sound like a chain saw or a moderate… purring to pressure up.
- Propane tanks… full? Smell for leaks around tanks.
- Batteries… most often are DEAD and RUINED. Make certain they are good. If on solar… probably good. If not… be very careful. Mine were DEAD.

This is a home on wheels. You are paying a premium price and even the factory makes mistakes and misses something. It is best to find anything and talk to your guide on the walk through checkout. The list is long. You may be hot, sweaty, anxious to leave, impatient… well that is your choice. Our choice… is to look the trailer over like a used home. It makes happy customers and a happy dealer to have another sale roll off the lot.

We will be doing our Walkthrough and Inspection next week. Our first walk around took hours in the Las Vegas 105 degree heat, but was well spent. This trailer looks good and we will give it a final, powering up everything to avoid complications that do not turn up when we set up camp 300 miles down the highway without telephone service.

If you do the due diligence above, you will be confident and now an experienced Airstream owner. Paying the dues upfront with a rigorous checkout is smart. If you are happy, the Dealer is happy and hopes you will refer future customers to them.
Human Bean
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Old 08-29-2019, 12:58 PM   #2
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Gulfport , Mississippi
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 1
This is amazing! We are once again considering......and likely to bite the big bullet this time. Thanks so much for this thorough and detailed checklist!
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Old 08-30-2019, 09:24 AM   #3
Rivet Master
Ray Eklund's Avatar
2019 27' International
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Fort Saunders , Wyoming
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,085
Hours to Inspect... Years to Enjoy

Originally Posted by Bullylvr View Post
This is amazing! We are once again considering......and likely to bite the big bullet this time. Thanks so much for this thorough and detailed checklist!

Make allowances for the husband's and wife's likes and dislikes. It will make it a happy home on wheels.

Nancy and I think much alike. We like the upper cabinet doors better in the Globe Trotter, than the sliding ones with lights on the Serenity. Our International has sliding doors and we figured out how to secure them when traveling.

We liked the floor better in the Serenity. The color scheme of the 'fake wood' or whatever it is suppose to look like. The faucet. Shower was the same as our 2014, which has the heavy glass door that can sag and catch on the lower door frame. Will reinforce that part of the hinge and add a bracket to the top so the door does not bounce up and down.

Windows. I could do with fewer windows. Nancy loves the windows.

We both like the position of the queen sized bed. The twin would have been fine as well. The twins had more storage options, too.

Two Air Conditioners. Well, Off the Grid we have no power, but you need them for resale here in the Mohave Desert.

Make sure you break the seals of the windows sticking to the rubber. The dealer will show you by using a flexible plastic card. If the window breaks then, they own it. It took myself and the salesman to get the front window open. If the rubber comes apart, again the dealer owns it. Once you own it and try to figure out how to do this... breaking the tempered glass, damage the rubber, bend the inside levers... lots of bad things can happen when it appears... simple.

Have them check tire air pressure. All should at least be almost if not the same and not exceed maximum pressure listed on the sidewall of the tire and the Airstream pressure on the side ID sticker.

Open a door and see if there is excess play. A hinge may be needing some tightening. If you don't check... it could be on the floor with a big cut on the linoleum. Pull drawers should be firmly snapped into those cheap plastic mechanisms that are suppose to hold them from coming out and off their slides.

All of this flashes through an experienced Airstreamer's mind just by glancing. It seems like a lot, it is a lot, but much like watching traffic when towing... it gets easier after you do it.

Every time you pack up and leave on a camping trip... inspect your trailer like you are buying it. Pull the top of a tire and see if it is loose. You will know. Any bubbles in the sidewall, tread appear flat and even wear.

This is helping me for today's Airstream Checklist Grand Slam.

The last paragraph you sign on the Warranty. Read every word... slowly. Both of you. If you sign on the line... you are saying the trailer is as perfect as one can expect. Afterwards you need to make an appointment. Take your time. We are not embarrassed to find anything that is important. Or... not. Sometimes it is something that may not affect the operation of the trailer, but appearance. It can be a last minute negotiating issue.

There will a New Trailer for sale today, tomorrow, next month, next year. If both of you are happy... this one will be a... KEEPER.
Human Bean
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Old 08-30-2019, 07:20 PM   #4
Rivet Master
Ray Eklund's Avatar
2019 27' International
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Fort Saunders , Wyoming
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,085
Las Vegas Airstream: A Satisfied Customer

Bullylvr... looks like we are going to have our two member Airstream Tango!

I want to thank the Las Vegas Airstream organization for making this not only selling us a trailer... but the staff made the experience even better. Bobby worked with us on the Sale and Jaime the paper work. Nancy wrote the check. I was the one with the big grin.

Nancy checked out the interior. I did the exterior, took the creeper and liked the: added 3" Dexter lift installation, the Solar install of two 80 watt panels, the Lifeline AGM sealed batteries, the set up of our Equalizer hitch with 1,000 bars and Marciela doing a fantastic job making the interior sparkling new.

Stephen (Steve) did the walk through. The difference between 2104 International Serenity and the 2019 as far as electronics and gizmos was an eye opener. By this time the 110 degrees, outside, was better with the Air Conditioning operating within the trailer.

Henry was involved with the Dext Lift Kit and mated the F350 and Equalizer hitch using five washers, like I had used in the past setting the trailer level towing.

It was amazing how a 3 inch Dexter Lift raises the trailer. The sheet metal protecting the fresh water tank is three inches higher. I checked and the center to center of the wheel hubs. Exactly 30 inches, as those without.

I was just as liberal with my criticism of my dealer for the 23 and 25 foot. I am now liberal with the 100% approval of the Airstream, itself and the Staff in Las Vegas.

We paid a fair price and did not need to shop around... much. Bobby Martino, Sales Professional, knows his Airstreams. Nancy tortured him to the point that he made concessions that I probably would have paid full retail to get.

We followed our list above. The Solar Panels had some extra cable which was promptly secured (the ladder came in handy, didn't it?). I found nothing scooting under the trailer with my creeper. Easier with the lift kit clearance.

Hit Four Aces and a 'kicker' at Sunset Station Casino, after Nancy and I had our lunch break, winning $300.55 on a nickel machine, bought a Ball Mount locking mechanism and another to lock the shank onto the hitch... with the winnings from Steve in parts.

Also a military 10% discount.

We are draining the fresh, black and grey tanks, as well as the hot water tanks, when we had it all checked out and operational. Propane tanks... I checked were full.

Now... maybe later in the week Nancy will hit Four Aces and a kicker for our first trip as soon as things get below 110 degrees, which it was today.

Few compliment their Airstream Dealer. This is my opinion... and I am sticking to it. You will also if you live in the area and visit.

I saw three or four shorter trailers on a long flat bed unloading 2020's while there... and others in the back lot.
Human Bean
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