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Old 09-16-2010, 12:07 PM   #1
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2007 25' Classic
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An Expensive Substandard Product

I think I might sell it if I could break even on it. It looks good but it is SO poorly put together. Just went to fix my bathroom sliding door that has never closed quite right. There is a valance that covers the track on the out side that was cut to short and with ragged edges that I removed to expose the track which was held by only two of the six screws. The track was installed at an angle so the door didn't close properly. The valance on the inside was 1/4 lower on one end and the seams were covered by the same wallpaper on the bathroom walls except it was put on at an angle so that only cover the lower edge. You can sit on the couch looking toward the bedroom cabinet on the back wallover the twnins and see that it was installed out of level. It slopes at an angle. Platforms for twins cut to short. water pump on the blink , replaced two actibrake actuators. Repaired a leaky toilet the other day and found the ductwork below the toilet had never been connected and hand fulls of screws and rivets swept in the area. Curtain tracks at angles. Corner mouldings tight on one end sticking out an 1/8" on the other end. Bath fan started acting up and found that only two of the three screws were holding it to the ceiling. CO detector went up and replaced. Pop up ( kitchen)shelf brackets installed at slight angle as well as some of the outlets. Where credenza and upper kitchen cabinets meet the wallpaper cover panels it stretched the paper leaving wrinkles.Bathroom door and folding table top showing slight delamination. Screws most every where put in at angles and heads stripped. Cheap carpet and skylight that leaked and had to be replaced. Chrome moulding on the outside cut short and discoloring. Corrosion like fungus on battery door frames. Wheels showing alot of spyder web corrosion. I really could go on but you get the idea. Most if not all I'll fix. Dealers were just to far to take it to. Drove from N.C. to N.J dealer to have the third actuator installed and ruined the brakes on my truck. Actuator also destroyed my built in controller at a cost of $800.00. New tires because of bubbles forming on the original Marathons. I like Airstreams but I would never ever buy another new one and I wouldn't hire one of their workers to build me a dog house. They should be ashamed of themselves for putting out a poorly built product like this. I advise everyone interested NOT to buy an Airstream and if they do to find an older unit at a fraction of the cost. Yea they look great but they are so poorly built. End of rant.
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:29 PM   #2
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Not much more to say about this.

I wouldn't buy one that's less than 40 years old.

Regards,
Rich the Viking
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:39 PM   #3
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Sad but true. Profit has become everything. We'll be off the road soon and I may look for something much older and smaller to restore. That's the only way to insure quality.This is just very expensive nice looking rolling junk. Oh forgot to mention I'm replacing both fantastic fans because of bad motors. They're sitting in a box under the table. Just replaced the batteries with Lifelines too while in Los Alamos.That's where i had $1500.00 brake work done to the truck because of towing it to the dealers with a crummy actuator= broken.
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:58 PM   #4
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You'll have to go back more than 10 years because my 1997 Classic shared many of the same problems as Jack's 2007 Classic. First trip we took with it, Corpus Christi to Victoria, BC, we compiled a list of items requiring immediate attention. By the end of the trip the list had 51 items on it, and there were no "gimmee's". All were honest problems like leaking skylight, cabinet doors falling apart, shower door which wouldn't stay on it's track, etc. One by one I fixed each problem and fixed them the right way. Everything from switching to 16" wheels and Commercial LT tires to installing a new microwave oven, to glueing cabinet doors back together was completed. Since then, the trailer has been a dream to live with. We've pulled her nearly 90,000 miles with only a few issues like needing to replace the propane regulator and flex hoses to replacing the shock absorbers. I know her from stem to stern and I know I can rely on her to serve us well. Maybe we can't make it here anymore, but there's still a bunch of us who can fix it right and give it a long useful enjoyable life.
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:07 PM   #5
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I actually tried to buy the rolling shell from Airstream when I ordered mine but no deal. Maybe I'll just gut this one and start over
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:16 PM   #6
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One day.. maybe soon...... you'll be the PO the next guy is talking about.

Ironic almost....35 years from now you could even be
the PO blamed for the condition.

----------------------------

Such a blistering "Rant" lends itself to a bunch of questions...
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:20 PM   #7
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I hardly think so. Any questions? Ask away.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethowens View Post
One day.. maybe soon...... you'll be the PO the next guy is talking about.

Ironic almost....35 years from now you could even be
the PO blamed for the condition.

----------------------------

Such a blistering "Rant" lends itself to a bunch of questions...
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:24 PM   #8
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Don't slam the $%&# Door


You might want to check this
informational video


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Old 09-16-2010, 01:28 PM   #9
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Yea that's a great video, really funny. Love to send him up to Airstream to give management an ear full. Maybe they should hire him for quality control. He would sure get their attention. The one they have now only knows two words, O.K. and passed.
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:41 PM   #10
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Jack,

I am not going to begin asking you questions. The natural
responses are to either "take it at face value" or
begin "questioning".
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:51 PM   #11
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Well, sure, but it's not like any of that should have been a surprise, if you read the forums. And it's not like anyone else in the industry is doing any better than Thor.

Airstream quality is not what any of us would like. This has been pointed out time and again, to regulars, to newcomers, to dealers, to people at Airstream. We tell buyers to inspect carefully before taking delivery and to plan on at least one lengthy warranty service session at the dealership.

I don't think it's realistic to hold up the 1960s product as the ideal. The discipline, the materials, the automation, and the management techniques that have given us cars that go 30,000 miles requiring no service except oil changes didn't exist in the 1960s. I doubt very much that Airstream produced a product materially better in those days.

Rather, expectations have changed, and we expect a traylah that has the flawless perfection we now get from Detroit. My '06 Charger made it 50,000 miles before it needed anything, and I'm picky. There's no reason Airstream couldn't do that, other than little things like production cost, supplier quality, labor relations, engineering cost, you know, stuff like that.

And yes we should insist that Thor improve their game.

But if you want to camp withOUT those problems, your choices are:

... a hand-crafted, lovingly restored and customized trailer OR...


... a tent.
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:52 PM   #12
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Well it's all true, no secrets. I may be leaving a few issues with the Airstream out but it's without doubt a substandard product. Anyone out there reading this thinking of buying new should really look at what your buying. A nice looking Aluminum trailer with a history a lot of myth and some pretty horrendous builders and installers. To be completly fair the company that built the cabinets for my Airstream does really nice work. The shell is not bad either. I have a feeling that the most dangerous workers are the half trained $8-$10 guys that they turn loose on the interior armed with a screw gun and hangover.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethowens View Post
Jack,

I am not going to begin asking you questions. The natural
responses are to either "take it at face value" or
begin "questioning".
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:35 PM   #13
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You do make some very good points but Airstream is touted as being "top of the line in travel tralers". Which is simply advertising BS. And yes some of the problems with QC are very surprising. Most of the poor construction isn't readly apparent on a delivery walk through,and on a special order like mine it wouldn't matter anyway. I owned it before it was built. They could do much better but it would cut into their profits and they would rather let these poorly constructed top of the line trailers roll out their doors than to take a hit on profits. Look the president got on the forums to open a dialog with customers and as soon as he saw how pissed they were with the quality he ran for cover and hasn't been back. We buy these new beatifully designed trailers that really don't live up to their reputations and then slobber all over each other touting how absolutly wondeful they are. When in actuallity they really aren"t that well built. I like Airstreams. I loved land Rovers but I can tell you from working for the company they were another " quality, top of the line"product that was and is poorly put together.When the Range Rover was introduced to the U.S. you would have thought a roll back was their main means of locomotion. But they were well hyped. Most in the corporated office could have been selling refrigerators. And... I think the older Airstreams may have been better built. It was a time when being a crafts person in any trade meant something. Now if you tell someone your a craftsman they look at you like you just sprouted another head and say yea "but what do you do for a living". No pride and you can see it in the work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
Well, sure, but it's not like any of that should have been a surprise, if you read the forums. And it's not like anyone else in the industry is doing any better than Thor.

Airstream quality is not what any of us would like. This has been pointed out time and again, to regulars, to newcomers, to dealers, to people at Airstream. We tell buyers to inspect carefully before taking delivery and to plan on at least one lengthy warranty service session at the dealership.

I don't think it's realistic to hold up the 1960s product as the ideal. The discipline, the materials, the automation, and the management techniques that have given us cars that go 30,000 miles requiring no service except oil changes didn't exist in the 1960s. I doubt very much that Airstream produced a product materially better in those days.

Rather, expectations have changed, and we expect a traylah that has the flawless perfection we now get from Detroit. My '06 Charger made it 50,000 miles before it needed anything, and I'm picky. There's no reason Airstream couldn't do that, other than little things like production cost, supplier quality, labor relations, engineering cost, you know, stuff like that.

And yes we should insist that Thor improve their game.

But if you want to camp withOUT those problems, your choices are:

... a hand-crafted, lovingly restored and customized trailer OR...


... a tent.
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Old 09-16-2010, 03:22 PM   #14
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I see it as the smarting-down of our culture. Too many genius's with computers and not enough people who can use a screwdriver or saw. I work in the cabinet industry and I see it every day. The next generation of cabinetmakers will have to be robots, 'cause no one is learning the trade anymore, and those who are in it now are for the most part self-trained. I could just imagine what it would be like trying to manufacture something like an Airstream with the labor force we have today. The term "clusterf*#k is the only thing that comes to mind.

Good luck on the impending sale, and even better luck with your new vintage Airstream!

Rich the Viking
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:46 PM   #15
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It is in every industry...people DON'T take pride in their work anymore, all they want is a paycheck. I fight this on a daily basis.

Too many people don't learn how to do things the proper way. Every job I have learned, I sought out the oldest person and asked him to show me how to do it the "old way". I learned to build things using hand tools, then learned how to do it using power tools. Makes a huge difference. We used to have apprentice programs in this country, unfortunately those are all but gone.

Current generation isn't interested in working with their hands anymore, they all want a corner office making big bucks without getting dirty.

My average crew age has increased by 7 years in the past 15 years, getting youngsters interested in working is nigh on impossible.

Aaron
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:24 PM   #16
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The CEO himself should be down on the assembly floor with a level, straight angle, and broom on a regular basis. ( If he is already I apologize ) Show them all what's expected. Wally would be there.
A team is only as good as it's coach. Product quality and customer service should trump the stock holder every time.
Don't blame the little guys. They don't set the culture.

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Old 09-16-2010, 06:16 PM   #17
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Talking

Sad but true. Most people don't want to work hard to make money. A few more years of hardened recession might change that, but I'm sure the government will pander to the masses and bring on more entitlement.

Oddly enough I have one of those corner office jobs that I worked my butt off to get, and continue to bust keeping it. I actually find working with my hands really relaxing.

From what I've seen, the RV industry is nowhere near as bad as the boat builders are. Every boat owner will confirm that the two happiest days of ownership are when you buy, and when you sell. I've rarely heard that in the Airstream world. However, my boat ownership experience was one reason I did not buy new, or from a dealer.

Maybe you should have bought a boat first.
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Old 09-16-2010, 06:21 PM   #18
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airstream quality issues

Craftsman, After 30 plus years of "trailering" with 4 different Sunline trailers, we decided to buy an Airstream. We bought a used 2004 - 30 foot Classic in 2007 and have been disappointed in the quality of materials and construction. So far we have put over 30,000 miles on it and something always needs to be fixed after a trip. We never have had half the problems with the other trailers.
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Old 09-16-2010, 06:37 PM   #19
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All ofthe problems on our new trailer (there weren't a bunch) were damage done by the installers, including at least two cases of installers obviously damaging something that had been previously installed. All of them were repaired to our satisfaction. You know those repairs cost Airstream money. For one problem, we hired an outside professional counter top guy and Airstream paid for it. That cost them the equivalent of several hours of installer wages.

We are having some kind of record unemployment right now. I find it hard to believe that there aren't people out there willing to do a proper job for an appropriate wage.
I am guessing that apropriate wage is the problem.

Regards,

Ken
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Old 09-16-2010, 06:58 PM   #20
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I've posted on this issue before, but let me re-iterate a bit.

From my purview in the RV industry as a Certified Master RV Tech, I get to see the innards of most types of RVs, but especially the high end luxury motor home segment. Believe me when I tell you that these same problems exist in the over $250K market segment as well.....all the way up to the $million super busses!

The line workers on most production RVs are just that.......WORKERS. They are NOT CRAFTSMEN, nor do the really care about anything else in the coach other than their small area of installation. Many times you will see unqualified workers doing work outside of their specific area if a line worker is out; ie: the electrician is out today so one of the plumbers is 'filling in'! THIS IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!! and results in many failures down the road.

This might start to change and improve, at least in the motor home segment, with a company called Monaco LLC. They were previously known as Monaco Coach Corp and had 40% of the diesel pusher luxury bus market before they went bankrupt. Now they are owned by Navistar, who is rapidly bringing their automotive style quality control to their new company. It will be interesting to see just how this will affect the market.

The second part of the problem is the low level of the techs that RV dealers use. Most of these guys barely have a high school education and little or no training other than what they get on the job. I spend 30-40 hours yearly in component manufacturers tech training schools to stay current and get a total in-depth knowledge base of their products. Only then can you really begin to properly diagnose and correct a problem.

The third part of this conundrum is the owners. Unfortunately, after their warranty is over, many owners would rather try to DIY a fix, or get a cheap labor rate from an unqualified tech. I have seen this time and again. I will say this: if you want the problem fixed properly the first time, find a qualified tech who is certified by the component manufacturer in question (unless YOU are qualified to do such a job). If you have doubts, contact that OEM and get their referral. While this is still no guaranty of job quality, it will at least point you in the right direction.

Yes, Airstream could come a long way in the QC area and probably would be there if: 1. Wally was still at the helm, 2. it was not owned by a profit before all else publicly traded company and 3. they really cared about their customers opinions of the product.
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