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Old 10-05-2007, 07:10 AM   #61
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Hi Andrew T: You seem to know a lot about this, so my question is, what do you tow your 34' limited with? What hitch? In your post you state "If you sit on the sofa in a tow vehicle with independent rear suspension" What tow vehicle has a sofa? If you meant the sofa of the trailer what appropriate tow vehicle for a 34' has independent rear suspension? What about an Excursion, their settings are softer than most 3/4 tons?
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Old 10-05-2007, 07:59 PM   #62
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Hi Brad. If you would like to tow with a large SUV the Ford Expedition is a much better choice than the Excursion. The Expedition has 4 wheel independent suspension the Excursion has old fashioned straight axles front and rear.

One of the biggest enemies of a smooth ride is unsprung weight which is the weight below the springs. This is the weight of the axle, wheels, brakes and tires which have to follow every bump in the road. With independent suspension the unsprung weight is a fraction of that of a live axle. Most conventional trucks have a 34" spacing between the frame rails and springs 38" apart so even though the tire track is 65" wide the suspension stance what the body pivots on is only 38". With independent suspenson the track is projected out to the track. This allows you to have more control with softer springs. This link explains if better. http://www.cars.com/carsapp/boston/?.../ic_popup.tmpl

The Expedition's 5.4 litre and 6 speed combination has plenty of power but if you like the idea of a diesel it will not be available for a couple of years. Rumor is that it will be a 4.5 litre V/6 with the power of the original 6.0 litre.

There is a wide variety of vehicles that will handle a 25 Safari very nicely. What are you driving now?

Andy
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Old 10-06-2007, 04:38 AM   #63
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I am using an AirSafe air-ride Class V hitch which isolates the harsh suspension of my F250 from the butter-soft ride of my Airstream. The two Firestone airbags in the hitch allow my trailer to operate on the rough Interstates without feeling the stiff jarring and jerking of the tow vehicle. I believe this hitch has stopped the rivet-popping and skin-tearing that I experienced when I started using the F250 in place of my boulevard-ride Custom 500. There is a recent discussion on this hitch in the "Hitch" section of this forum.
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Old 10-06-2007, 11:57 PM   #64
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Hi Andrew: I only have one vehicle. I really thought I had the perfect tow vehicle--1 ton dodge diesel dually. Guess I'll have to investigate the expedition--they have a six speed? Actually thought about an F250 w/ the 5.4. The responders all said it was a dog and wouldn't pull properly--though I did hypothesize perhaps owning a 34' at retirement.
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Old 10-07-2007, 06:14 AM   #65
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Hi Brad

When you consider the cost of trading vehicles it might be worth makeing the Dodge work. If you like the truck and have a use for the box then the cost of eventually repairing the front end of the Airstream is going to be far less than the cost of trading vehicles.

There are couple of things you can do to minimize the impact on the Airstream.
1) if you look at the rear suspension of your truck you will see that the springs are progressive. As you add more weight they drop onto the next set of helper springs. When you set your torsion bars you do not want the springs to be just on top of the next helper with no movement left. You can tell this by bouncing on the hitch when you are connected. If you can move the back of the truck up and down fairly easily then you have the correct torsion bar pressure. If it feels solid when you try and bounce on it then you need more tension on the bars.

Once that is set I would take it to a scale and weight all the axles individually they have these at flying "J"s etc. Once you know your axle weights go to Goodyear Tire || Page not Found and set the pressure on your tires as soft as you can for the weight they are carrying. This will likely be about 40 PSI in the duals. Should you decide to move a yard of sand in the back of the truck or carry a Harley back there make sure you boost the tire pressure back up.

On the airstream there are two ribs below the front window. Have your dealer put Olympic rivets in those two ribs 1.5" appart for the first 15" up from the bottom and 3" appart from there up. It does not hurt to crawl in under the front sofa and add a bunch to the inside skin as well. It is the sheer between the inside and outside skins that makes an Airstream strong if the inside skin does not have many rivits in it then it is just along for the ride.

I hope this helps but if you need more clarification let me know. Do you have a second vehicle as well as the truck?

Andy
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Old 10-07-2007, 06:16 AM   #66
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I don't know why the link did not post but it is there. Go to Goodyear.com and then to the RV section and click on load inflation tables.
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Old 10-08-2007, 12:36 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew T
I don't know why the link did not post but it is there. Go to Goodyear.com and then to the RV section and click on load inflation tables.
On The Wings of Goodyear | RV Tires - Tire Care: Proper Tire Inflation
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:38 PM   #68
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Thanks Andrew: I have copied the thread and will take it to the dealer. The dodge is my only vehicle. I have been hearing Toyota & others may come out with a 1/2 ton diesel. Actually don't need the box any longer just never needed a camper shell until I purchased the AS. I started out wanting an AS but a couple of friends spoke so highly of 5th wheels, ie. more room, slideouts and better pulling so I bought one without comparing it to an AS. I hated the d**n thing and it just wasn't my cup of tea. The only thing I missed was the storage. So I put a camper shell on to get some closed storage

I have been thinking about this issue and it seems to me we have a 50's-60's trailer design that was suited to car engines of the day and at the time of the design the interstate system was in its infancy and I suspect the trailers were being pulled at 50-60 mph back then. Trucks in the 60's were work vehicles and not very comfortable. Well the reality now is the we have an interstate system and 65 mph is the old 55 mph. Problem is that extra 10 mph at least doubles the wind resisitance, compounds the road jar and the stiffer suspension of the tow vehicle takes its toll as well. Today, some of these modern quad cabs are the Cadillacs & Lincolns of yesteryear; they are plush, durable vehicles outfitted with every option and powerful longlasting engines. They pull 5th wheels, horse trailers and race cars with great effect. It should come as no surprise that some will use them to pull an AS. Just a thought but perhaps AS should build this fix into the trailers and just recognize the modern conditions their trailers are subjected to. Reality is "the times they are a changin" and I will happily make the fix to my 07' but perhaps by 09' or even 10' AS should have the issue solved right from the start.
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:45 PM   #69
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welcome aboard andrewT...

the info you are providing is fantastic!

really you should start another thread on 'dialing in the rig' combos.

there are loads of directions and approaces to preparing the vehicle, and your offerings are sound


reads like you have an understanding of the issues and help folks out.

none of that constant 'checking your running grear banter'

excluding collisions, how many issues lead to front end separation...

1.here are a few:
-hi frequency vibe continuously on smooth roads
-low frequency vibe like pot holes, speed bumps, road seams, uneven pavement and so on.

these can be dealt with using the air-ride hitch, the mor-ryde system, lowering tire pressures as much as the guide tables allow.
and so on...

2. shell issues:
-the shell resists (somewhat) compression, flexion, torsion and vertical/horizontal forces.

but the skin is thinner than ever before and the grade alum use has less resistant to fatigue.

ribs and rivets have been removed. a thermal brake tape is now used between the outer skin and the rib.

they buck the rivets through the 3 layers and one isn't metal.

they are using many fewer rivets and fasteners too.

front bracing has been removed, the floor channel is changed, the rib are now 3 pieces, not contiuous arcs.

they claim it is stronger...i don't accept that.

3.the frame:

virtually unchanged for years.

we complain it's not galvanized but really the issue is, is it beefy enough for a 8-11,000 trailer?

my unit has a 12-1400 lb tongue mass,

and with the w/d bars engaged and progressively tension to the scale derived setting...

the tongue flexes UP significantly and the front end cap bulges like a goiter from this flex.

the frame should NOT flex enough to harm the shell or junction, but it does.

everyone with a 800 lb tongue or more can see the tongue flex and the skin bulge IF they know what to look for.

a/s knows about this issue, yet they continue to build trailers with heavy noses and relalize we will tow with 3/4 tons or more...


it is quite likely that howiE's separation is as a result of the frame flex under tension issue.

and NOT vibrational, or made worse from vibration

mine absolutely has frame movement...
and after the tongue frame flexed up, the factory guys trimmed the skin and reattached the front in the new flexed position,

but added NO bracing, elephant ears or support ribs or extra tie downs..

so andrew you should start a thread on creative tweeking of tv to better mate with a/s....

cheers
2air'

brad, your comments are spot on...
i'd add that a/s is building 8-11.5 thousand pound trailers with 13-1400 lb tongues, on the same basic frame used for 6-7,000 pounders with 6-800 lb tongues.

they need to admit there is an issue and develop/authorize a proper repair for all these units instead of blaming it on running gear, too much hitch or too much truck!

cheers
2air'

.................................................
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:07 PM   #70
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Frame Comparison

Just for comparison purposes....

My '77 Airstream had a 4" deep channel section for a frame, like a C.
It has a 4" deep box section for the A-frame, and there are two members making up the A.
The newer ones had a 5" deep channel section. That helped with the sag and separation.

My '87 Avion has an 8" deep box section frame. For about 12-14' over the axles, there is a separate 4" deep box section running gear frame that is welded to the 8" frame above. So in the area of highest bending, you have a 12" deep frame. It is very strong. The A-frame is 6" deep box section, and it has three members making it up; the two on the outside angled to come to a point and one right up the middle.

You will never hear of these problems with an Avion.

I looked at a '77 Avion, and it had its frame made the same way.

I do believe Airstream should build a better frame. As for weight, the current 34 footers weigh more than my 34' Avion does. They could put a decent frame under the coach and only add 150 pounds or so. Ditch the corian and replace it with formica if that 150lbs is the straw that breaks the camel's back.

I still like Airstreams, and have my eye on my grandpa's '58 Traveler. But I do believe that the longer ones need a heavier frame.

See ya on the road,
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Old 10-22-2007, 07:48 PM   #71
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...Sometime I think the laws of physics are different for other people. (And different in Canada where you can tow 34 footers with Jags and Mercedes)...
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It's a combination of factors, the exchange rate and english to metric...
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:45 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman

excluding collisions, how many issues lead to front end separation...


2. shell issues:
-the shell resists (somewhat) compression, flexion, torsion and vertical/horizontal forces.

but the skin is thinner than ever before and the grade alum use has less resistant to fatigue.

ribs and rivets have been removed. a thermal brake tape is now used between the outer skin and the rib.

they buck the rivets through the 3 layers and one isn't metal.

they are using many fewer rivets and fasteners too.

front bracing has been removed, the floor channel is changed, the rib are now 3 pieces, not contiuous arcs.

they claim it is stronger...i don't accept that.

3.the frame:

virtually unchanged for years.

we complain it's not galvanized but really the issue is, is it beefy enough for a 8-11,000 trailer?

my unit has a 12-1400 lb tongue mass,

and with the w/d bars engaged and progressively tension to the scale derived setting...

the tongue flexes UP significantly and the front end cap bulges like a goiter from this flex.

the frame should NOT flex enough to harm the shell or junction, but it does.

everyone with a 800 lb tongue or more can see the tongue flex and the skin bulge IF they know what to look for.

a/s knows about this issue, yet they continue to build trailers with heavy noses and relalize we will tow with 3/4 tons or more...


it is quite likely that howiE's separation is as a result of the frame flex under tension issue.

and NOT vibrational, or made worse from vibration

mine absolutely has frame movement...
and after the tongue frame flexed up, the factory guys trimmed the skin and reattached the front in the new flexed position,

but added NO bracing, elephant ears or support ribs or extra tie downs..

so andrew you should start a thread on creative tweeking of tv to better mate with a/s....

cheers
2air'

brad, your comments are spot on...
i'd add that a/s is building 8-11.5 thousand pound trailers with 13-1400 lb tongues, on the same basic frame used for 6-7,000 pounders with 6-800 lb tongues.

they need to admit there is an issue and develop/authorize a proper repair for all these units instead of blaming it on running gear, too much hitch or too much truck!

cheers
2air'

.................................................
Was there a particular critical year in the past when the frames, etc. began to be inadequate? On the newer units, say, 2004-2008, is there a size (and lower) where the frame strength is adequate? How much does the wide-body design impact these problems? - are the narrow designs mostly immune from body separation in these newer years? Have there been any improvements in any of these these newer years that has cut down on body separation problems? Are there any pre-emptive upgrades to the frame, etc. that can head off these problems?

FWIW, I'm asking because I'm interested in buying a 2004-2007 22' Intl CCD, which is not a wide-body design & at the moment I'm especially interested in knowing if there is a particular year in that range that I should shoot for...

Thanks!
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:55 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AIRzilla
Was there a particular critical year in the past when the frames, etc. began to be inadequate? On the newer units, say, 2004-2008, is there a size (and lower) where the frame strength is adequate? How much does the wide-body design impact these problems? - are the narrow designs mostly immune from body separation in these newer years? Have there been any improvements in any of these these newer years that has cut down on body separation problems? Are there any pre-emptive upgrades to the frame, etc. that can head off these problems?

FWIW, I'm asking because I'm interested in buying a 2004-2007 22' Intl CCD, which is not a wide-body design & at the moment I'm especially interested in knowing if there is a particular year in that range that I should shoot for...

Thanks!
The frames have always been adequate.

The method of construction is called "Monocoque." It means the shell is load bearing.

Therefore the shell holds up the chassis.

The problem that causes the rear end separation, is that the shell is not fastened to the frame well enough, to hold the frame up under tough conditions.

Basically, the last 20 to 25 years of Airstreams are ok. But, mount something on the rear end of the trailer, and you will see the problem happen to you.

Yes, a few have gotten away with it, but by far, those that ignored the fact, have paid to fix the problem, usually dearly.

Once the older trailers rear end has been modified PROPERLY, they are also ok.

The elephant ear fix is about as hokey as a repair can be. It doesn't last because the repair using the elephant ear approach, is a patch job, which is "not" a real fix.

Andy
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Old 05-15-2008, 12:01 AM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AIRzilla
...On the newer units, say, 2004-2008, is there a size (and lower) where the frame strength is adequate? How much does the wide-body design impact these problems?...
hi airzilla...

if you looked over this thread from the beginning, it's MOSTLY about front end separation.

and i see no need to alter or retract ANY of my posts on the issue.

i don't wanna get into a debate on a/s design theory, but it is SEMI-monoque and

NOW that the shell is 5 pieces stuck together, then dropped onto a frame/floor and weakly attached...

i'm really not sure it is even sorta-semi-mono-anything.

the 'bike rack on the back' theory is irrelevant (and it's questionable that it has ANYTHING to do with rear end failures too)...

imo (i'm just a customer) the 23-25s are adequately matched (frame/body/shell/axles)...

longer units have issues (28,30,34s)

and the longer SINGLE axles units have very little reserve capacity (the ability to carry STUFF for camping)


Quote:
Originally Posted by AIRzilla
...Have there been any improvements in any of these these newer years that has cut down on body separation problems?
Are there any pre-emptive upgrades to the frame, etc. that can head off these problems?...
YES there are things that can be done, a/s FIXES the issue by adding structural bits to the front that have been REMOVED from newer designs.

in terms of "preemptive" upgrades, it would be GREAT if we could order a stronger frame or BETTER construction, but we can't...

newer long units are heavy, with many weighing 8000lbs to 11,500 lbs loaded.

the front end of the FRAME and front skin can be seen to FLEX/MOVE when PROPERLY HITCHED to an APPROPRIATE tow vehicle.

that this happens, and that nothing is done about it, is completely irresponsible of the manufacturer...

blaming the problem on towing with a PROPERLY SIZED vehicle for the task, is total nonsense....

it is foma from an a/s wrang-wrang

much like the notion that OXYGEN is responsible for corrosion.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f142...ams-31743.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by AIRzilla
...FWIW, I'm asking because I'm interested in buying a 2004-2007 22' Intl CCD, which is not a wide-body design & at the moment I'm especially interested in knowing if there is a particular year in that range that I should shoot for...
here is a thread on some of the issues in these 22s....

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f349...rse-39275.html

follow the links in post 16.

consider changing your focus to a 23 or 20 over the 22.

happy hunting!

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-07-2008, 03:29 PM   #75
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Ok, I was just turned onto this thread....and what an eye opener this one is. I assume that any front "plate" would require me to open up the inner skin to attach any type of plate. Anyone have a picture of what this plate looks like? Airstream is kidding right, about $2k to fix this issue that even to me seems like a design flaw. I mean how cool is this, a $50k trailer and and the front end has a tendency to separate, the shell corrodes, I mean what next?!

If this thread holds any truth to it, I have to say, as much as I love the Airstream brand, I am really starting to get a bit concerned about this brand. Looking at the QC threads, the corrosion threads and now this one really and truly has me thinking that buying one of these was just not such a great idea in retrospect. I will only say that I really didn't expect all these things from what I considered a premium product.
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Old 10-08-2008, 04:12 AM   #76
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You it is easy to get negative about some of these problems that you wish the factory would move quicker to fix in the design phase. However we sell 7 lines of RV's and fix many others and I would still hands down purchase an Airstream ahead of any of them. For one thing you can work on an Airstream, on the laminated a glass coaches there is often very little to work with and sometimes you wonder where you will stop. Structural rot problems are very common in most other brands. Though you can have some corrossion with Aluminum if you catch it early it can be stopped. No matter what you do the fibreglass will fade out and usually at different rates. Of coarse none of them perform like an Airstream.

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Old 10-08-2008, 07:10 AM   #77
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You it is easy to get negative about some of these problems that you wish the factory would move quicker to fix in the design phase. However we sell 7 lines of RV's and fix many others and I would still hands down purchase an Airstream ahead of any of them. For one thing you can work on an Airstream, on the laminated a glass coaches there is often very little to work with and sometimes you wonder where you will stop. Structural rot problems are very common in most other brands. Though you can have some corrossion with Aluminum if you catch it early it can be stopped. No matter what you do the fibreglass will fade out and usually at different rates. Of coarse none of them perform like an Airstream.

Andrew T
Though I clearly don't disagree that other RVs have issues and that I too prefer Airstreams over SOBs, it would seem to me that the factory is not moving at all, and depending on how you look at it, the factory actually regressing.

If you take a look at the QC threads since 2004, you find patterns of items that there are simply zero excuses at this point. For example, shower leaks. Something easily fixed with maybe $1-$2 of additional caulk. If I had a buck for each time I read this one or heard about it, I could have bought a Skydeck outright (ok a slight exageration, but you get my point). How hard is it to do a good caulking job? The practically pour caulk on with buckets on the roof, but the shower is somewhat skimpy and constantly leaks, moreso on certain models than others. Yet every year, someone posts a new model still leaking and owners wind up solving the issue mostly on their own. Five years of QC threads is more than enough time to get some caulk and solve the issue. This of course is one small example. There are others...read the 5 years of QC threads and draw your own conclusions.

Second the corrosion issue has been out there in full view for at least 2 years and Airstream knew about this as early as 2002 or 2003. 2Air was just out there and said their fix, if accurate doesn't seem to be a good long term fix. BTW, that fix started in late 2008 or early 2009 model year. I think nearly 7 model years is more than enough time to come up with something solid.

Third, according to this thread alone, take all the rest of the issues and put them aside for a moment, there were how many of these at the factory service center for this very issue? How many Airstreams have to have this happen before production replaces the plates and supports that were according to this thread, removed from production? Who knows really how long they have known about this? Who knows if the plates and supports have been placed back into production? Who wants to spend about $2k on a design flaw repair on top of the premium price paid for a unit where these plates and supports were deleted and now show front frame separation?

Sure SOBs have issues, but in many cases you can buy up to three SOBs for the price of one Airstream. When I bought my two new units, I thought I was getting a premium well designed and built product. Frankly, my experience been anything but that.

It almost made me laugh when I read "you wish the factory would move quicker to fix in the design phase" as anyone can see by reading the threads on this forum, clearly we've waited a significant amount of time (read years)...here are some of the threads to dive into and draw your own conclusions:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f142...ity-41668.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f142...ams-31743.html
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Old 10-08-2008, 02:46 PM   #78
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production problems.

Gosh, last I knew, Ford and GM and still working on problems from the early 70's.

And coupled with that, they have some brand new ones for the last 10 years.

How dare Airstream create a product, that's less than perfect?

And so it is.

Andy
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Old 10-08-2008, 03:25 PM   #79
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Andy...I hear what you are saying...BUT...I do believe AS should be able to incrementaly improve their product each year. Particularly since the design/style changes are minor...vs the major model changes in the auto industry.

Sure "feels" like AS is enjoying the profit margin of their brand premium and putting very little into product quality evolution and improvements.

They certainly could start with an improved frame rust resistance (galvanize??...like in Europe?)...better floor water resistance/material...maybe marine grade treated plywood??...state of the art aluminum corrossion resistance...read Alcoa's new specs. And it goes on...listen to the customer's and review your service claims.

A day will come that AS will not be able to get their premium price...if they don't show the customer they have a premium product....worth the 2-3 time price multiple vs SOB.

Comments for what little they are worth...Thanks...Tom R in Two Harbors, Minnesota

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Gosh, last I knew, Ford and GM and still working on problems from the early 70's.

And coupled with that, they have some brand new ones for the last 10 years.

How dare Airstream create a product, that's less than perfect?

And so it is.

Andy
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Old 10-08-2008, 03:54 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomR View Post
Andy...I hear what you are saying...BUT...I do believe AS should be able to incrementaly improve their product each year. Particularly since the design/style changes are minor...vs the major model changes in the auto industry.

Sure "feels" like AS is enjoying the profit margin of their brand premium and putting very little into product quality evolution and improvements.

They certainly could start with an improved frame rust resistance (galvanize??...like in Europe?)...better floor water resistance/material...maybe marine grade treated plywood??...state of the art aluminum corrossion resistance...read Alcoa's new specs. And it goes on...listen to the customer's and review your service claims.

A day will come that AS will not be able to get their premium price...if they don't show the customer they have a premium product....worth the 2-3 time price multiple vs SOB.

Comments for what little they are worth...Thanks...Tom R in Two Harbors, Minnesota
Airstream has always been willing to improve and update the trailers, beyond the production at the time.

But, Airstream is not willing to do it free.

And, the buyers are not willing to pay for it either.

So, just maybe, just perhaps, kinda sorta, Airstream compromises?

Could be, maybe, sorta.

Business is business. If it's not cost effective, it ain't gonna happen.


Andy
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Andy Rogozinski
Inland RV Center
Corona, CA
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