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Old 01-22-2009, 08:31 PM   #1
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New Air Streamer-almost

My wife and I have committed to owning an Air Stream by the end of Feb. We are looking at two 2007 models, both new. A 19 ft. and a 20 ft. There is some basic difference in price etc., but the biggest difference is distance to dealer. Is there any rating system for dealers? One is a large RV dealer with various lines and many services, the other does Air Streams as part of an auto dealership. We have tent camped for 35 years, and finally decided that with retirement, getting off the ground was important. (It still amazes me that my wife ever got me to camp again after Vietnam). Anyway, we are looking at VW Touareg's, Nissan Pathfinders and perhaps Toyota's for tow vehicles. If anyone has advice, I would love to hear it. We plan to do a month in the Arizona desert for our first trip. Thanks for listening.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:14 PM   #2
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I myself would wait to purchase because the WBCCI International rally is in Madison this summer! What a great opportunity to meet with current owners and see what they tow with. June 28- July 4 2009 Good luck with your decision and I am sure you will find lots of help on the forum
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Old 01-23-2009, 06:10 AM   #3
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We tow our 20' with a Mercedes ML500 and are very pleased with both. Our dealer is about three hours away- and if all else fails the factory is a 10 hour drive.
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Old 01-23-2009, 06:16 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum - you will receive many comments to your questions. Be sure and check "Forum Listings"
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Old 01-23-2009, 06:32 AM   #5
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Welcome from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

Look hard and choose carefully. The RV dealer sounds like a better bet. Their service department would have more experience in dealing with RV issues. Remember that the systems that usually have problems on an Airstream are the very same systems that are found on all RVs.

Also, make sure that a 19 or 20 is going to be large enough for month-long trips. That sounds a little tight for my liking, especially if you will be bringing a pet with you.

As far as a tow vehicle, also choose carefully. An insufficient tow vehicle is the primary cause of a perfectly good Airstream becoming a very expensive piece of yard art.

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Old 01-23-2009, 07:06 AM   #6
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new airstream

My wife and i just went through the same decision process and decided on the 20' Safari SE. We also moved up from pop up tent camping to the Airstream for longer trips and trips to bear country. In our opinion the extra 1 foot made a huge difference in terms of counter space, storage and functionality, i.e 2 fantastic vents instead of 1 for example.
Towing with any of those vehicles should be okay but going with a V-8 instead of a V-6 will result in less wear and tear on the vehicle.
As for dealer as long as they are certified by Airstream, either should be fine. My biggest concern with a camper / car dealer is will they be in business given the state of the auto industry.
Good luck and happy camping
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Old 01-23-2009, 07:25 AM   #7
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Good Morning, Madison, Wi.

Welcome to the forum from SW Colorado. You will find as many opinions on the TV as you could ever use. You will find that like Brian (Moosetags) says the 19-20 ft. could be a little cramped for fulltiming it or long trips. The 23-25 ft. units are quite popular and seem to fit those that take long trips. The idea of the International Rally being in Madison is good to take a look at. There is usually a dealer there with their units and they have "show specials". The Airstream Co. has indicated they will no longer be able to justify having their shop at the Internationals but being closer to Jackson Center than NW U.S. is they might be there this year. The Internationals are fun. We attended the one in Salem, Or. in 2006. You can visit but to attend the functions you need to be a member of the Wally Bayam Club (WBCCI). The Toyota Tundra is a popular TV for the size of unit you are looking at. We have a variety of opinions on that also. If you do pick up the unit you are looking for and visit the SW desert country, watch the forum for rallies held by the Four Corners Unit. We try to do the rallies in the mountains in the summer but have plenty of rallies in the desert country in fall/winter. I know in Wisconsin it is still deep winter.
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Old 01-23-2009, 07:56 AM   #8
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Welcome! As others have suggested---consider the size carefully---the most common thing it seems is that at first new AS owners think that they can get by with the smaller size; however, after travel for a while---wish they had gotten larger---but the price to sell/trade is a problem. In that line, you may want to consider the TV---perhaps get something that could pull something larger if in the future you decided to go to a larger unit----perhpas the new Toyota. I'd have to agree with a previous person that the 23' and the 25' units are pretty good for longer trips than the 19' or 20'.
As to the dealership, you can always take the unit for service to wherever you wish or to whatever, authorized dealership you want----thus, consider who is giving you the best deal (price). Market is way down----so expect and demand hudge discounts!
Again, welcome and let us know what you get!
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:39 AM   #9
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Thumbs up thanks for all the feed back

We are almost settled on a Toyota 4 Runner, V-8. It seems to have all the towing and carrying capacity that we need, regardless of what trailer we pick. (and it is a tremendous deal right now) The tough part is picking the trailer, the offers we have right now include the 20 Flying Cloud or a 19 foot Safari SE with about a six thousand dollar difference. We prefer the Flying Cloud, but the dealer (full RV Shop) is two hundred miles further, and the Safari is at the car/Airstream dealer. I wish it was easier to pick. We are pretty sure that for the foreseeable future we will be happy with the size after years of small tents, but can not figure out if the extra foot of room and better floor plan are really worth 6000 dollars to us. Continued feedback would be appreciated.

Also, from the feed back, I gather that Air Stream will pull the dealerships if their are too many complaints from owners?
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:21 AM   #10
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Having gone through exactly what you folks are going through, let me add our experience to the above. Many good suggestions - and you'll always get great suggestions on these Forums. I've learned how to 'stream from these Forums. My wife and I knew NOTHING about trailering when we started our hunt for something. Having been boaters, we knew there were "good" trailers and there were probably "very good" trailers - just like boats, but we didn't know one from another. We finally discovered that Airstream was the way we would go - seeing and falling head over heals for a 19' when we first walked aboard. We decided to go just a little larger and thought the 23' International CCD would be perfect. We looked and looked for exactly the right one. We visited rallys and talked with owners - all steps that reinforced our belief that we were on the right trail. The day came to purchase our new 23' CCD and off to the dealer we went (combination auto/Airstreams) but a dedicated AS sales staff and mechanics. We indicated which one we wanted and had settled on a price but wanted to take one more walk through the 25' he had on the lot. Had to go home and sleep on our decision. We talked, listed pros and cons and the next morning returned to the dealership and purchased the 25 footer - on Feb. 29th of last year. We've had it for almost a year - one summer of learning and travel. We didn't know anything about tow vehicles (TVs) and purchased a used 2004 Nissan Armada (V-8) with a tow package and tow capacity of 9,000+ lbs. After our learning year, we made it to six states and spent thirty nights aboard it and cannot wait for another season to travel. We both work part-time so are limited to our travel even though we are both retired. We LOVE our 25' AS - it is so comfortable, easy to tow and easy to get into and out of campgrounds. Fuel economy dropped from 19 to 13 mpg pulling the trailer through the PA mountains and through Virginia last summer. We couldn't have been happier with everything about our purchase. The best way to decide is to talk with others at the local, state and any other rallys. That helped us a bunch! Then, know what you want and what you need to be comfortable. It's going to be the time of your life. We're so busy planning our weekends and our two and three week tours next summer. Our fear is they could be so much less interesting than the planning - but that hasn't happened yet. ENJOY and Happy 'Streaming! (Wisconsin is on our schedule for visiting this coming summer.)

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Old 01-24-2009, 11:06 AM   #11
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PILGRIM - smart...

PILGRIM smart... Paula, not so much.
(Foiled AGAIN = 2 Airstreams and counting)

I bought a 22 CCD in 2005 - 15 months later I bought a 25 Safari FB SE and about three monsths later those bastards at Airstream had released their new 27 FB SE.... which I have resisted so far.

I fulltime which is a lot different than camping for a month. Closet space is a big deal for me and the walk around queen would be a lot easier at sheet changing time. AND I like the microwave in the drawer and the lobsterbowl sink..... and and and ( Airstream junkie moment )

Do spend a lot of time looking before you buy - and look at the real thing, not just the websites. Can you live with a corner bed? Who's going to crawl out on top of whom? Can you sit on the throne with the door closed? It's important if you've eaten chili... trust me on that! Imagine four days in the rain. The trailer can get mighty small. Before I got my 22 CCD I was set on the 19 ft Safari. Visiting the factory convinced me that getting in and out of the bathroom at 2 am would be miserable and that having a bedroom, even if tiny was worth the extra money.

If you DO decide to go bigger, you may need a more robust tow vehicle. I have a 3/4 ton Diesel Chevy Silverado that I'd pull a 34' with if I wanted. Settle on the Airstream before you get the tow vehicle. If you make the right choice the first time on the Airstream, it will outlive your tow vehicle by 15 - 20 years. If your tow vehicle is too small for the Airstream you choose, you may be able to tow, but stopping will be hairy and your knuckles will ache for four hours after you stop at night.

Now is a good time to buy, there ARE great deals on gently used Airstreams, and even on new ones. Wait for the International Rally, or make the "Haj" to Jackson Center and tour the factory on a friday - production is slow or stopped and you can walk through many partly finished trailers. Or visit Airstream of Arkansas or Colonial Airstream which both have fairly large inventories and both have great reputations with owners.

Living close to a dealer is a plus but the dealer's rep is most important. I generally go to the factory for the big stuff, but I have family in Ohio so it's a 2 birds with 1 stone situation. IF I buy another one anytime soon, I'll travel the extra distance to go to Colonial.

Happy trails whatever you choose.

Paula
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Old 01-24-2009, 12:42 PM   #12
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Do you both really want to sleep in a 48-inch confined corner bed now that you'll be retired and taking longer, more leisurely trips?
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Old 01-24-2009, 04:34 PM   #13
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Thumbs up bed size-trailer size

Keep the comments coming. It is fascinating seeing that most folks went through the same process we are going through. Our thoughts at this time:
One, we want to spend time in Nat. Parks, State Parks, Nat. Forests, State Forests and such type of places. It seems that the 20 Foot FB Flying Cloud really gives good counter space (I like to cook, my stove is worth more than my present car), and decent bed space. We desperately want to get out of the winter weather, and celebrate our 35th anniversary in Feb. with our first trip. The small size of the 19-20 footer allows easy access to public camp sites, where the larger units might not fit (I understand that some Nat. Parks area limit size to 21 ft., but may be wrong), and again, three man tent, vs 20 feet, that is huge. Also, resale stays good from what I can see, and so far, there have not been many used available at all. We are looking at a 4 runner for towing, but the MB320 and the BMW x5 remain in the running because of the mialage and general overall performance. Please keep your thoughts coming, I appreciate all the ideas. Thanks.
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Old 01-25-2009, 07:39 AM   #14
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I'll just echo some of the former responses: 1) take time---don't jump the gun too quickly when making a major investment; 2) be sure that you are getting the best price---for 2007 new---at least 30% or more off retail price of the unit; (3) look at other dealers---large discounted ones even if they are not located near where you live---like: Colonial Airstream, Camper Clinic II, Jim May RV, etc.; (4) consider used Airstreams---often as you can tell---many airstreamers at first buy small units---like what you are considering to quickly decide that they need larger ones---check craigs list for used airstreams besides the Forum Classifieds; (5) consider the idea of buying a TV that will tow larger unit if you decided later to go larger.
To answer your question about dealerships---no rating and Airstream does not pull dealership unless really unfair, dishonest practicies or low sales. Airstream service at dearlerships vary and are often poor---thus, one has to find best service dealerships in area by talking with Airstreamers in your area.
To answer concern about size of unit and State and National Parks---the limit size in most are 25'---especially in the Northeastern US; however, many will take 30' and over. That's probably why one of the best Airstream sellers is the 25' unit.
As to the TV, I do not know the 4 Runner, MB320, or BMW X 5 tow ratings---go with whichever has the highest---if you are set on just those three---again, give consideration to something that has more tow capacity.
Bottom line, I am so happy to see you interested in an Airstream---you'll find that fellow Airstreamers are the best and the most fun. I just want you to get the very best deal and be as happy as possible----all which require much research, investigation, and bargining----dont' jump too quick. If you really want the 20', try and get it at a lower cost and decrease the $6,000 difference between it and the 19'. Of the two, I would suggest the 20'; however, feeling that you all by what your write, will end up really using the trailer and spending more and more time in it as time goes on----would suggest even a larger unit even if it meant you might have to consider and search for a used one.
Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 01-25-2009, 09:10 AM   #15
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Decision's,Decision's


WELCOME ABOARD!!!

Another vote for the 25'. We sold our "63" Safari in 2003 and got the Classic. No regrets on the functionality at all, (QC ..not so much).

We do a lot of camp'n in State and DEC parks and the 25' is the perfect size for us. Have spent 10 days boon-dock'n with four adults and two dogs, it was doable & FUN.
As others have said you may be surprised at how soon you covet something larger. (27' FB in our case)

Feel lucky you have two dealer choices, we have NONE in NYS.

Good luck in your search and keep us posted. We love photo's.
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Old 01-25-2009, 04:39 PM   #16
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OK! Here's another two cents. There are Chevy and Ford dealers in just about every small town across the US and Canada. If you get the Bimmer or any other vehicle like it you might have trouble getting it worked on in the middle of nowhere while just down the street are both FD and GM just waiting to help you! Good luck in your choice.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:14 PM   #17
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I don't know about the 4Runner for towing anything heavier than a Bambi. Check the payload of the 4Runner. A lot of vehicles can tow a lot of weight, but have insufficient payload. This is something a lot of people ignore. Check the endless threads on tow vehicles and weight and hitches. You'll be confused at first, but keep reading and eventually you'll be an opinionated as the rest of us.

I hear you when you say upgrading from a tent to an Airstream is a big, big change, but in a few years, the 19 or 20 may seem small. Then you'll have too small a tow vehicle of you buy the 4Runner and too small a trailer. Check the Tacoma double cab—it's a pretty big truck nowadays and may be a better tow vehicle for the smaller trailers. We used to tent camp too, but choose a 25'. The Tundra fits well with the 25' FB, although if you really want an SUV, there's the Sequoia or Land Cruiser—both a lot of money.

As for dealers, there are some good ones and some bad ones. I don't know anything about your area, but a problem for a lot of us is distance to a good dealer. Personally, we are going to get some things done at the factory after our experience with closer dealers. Maybe some Forum members can PM Slipiotro info about dealers around his part of the world.

Welcome to the Forums. There's a lot to learn, prices are low now, and there's plenty more winter. Take you time and make the right decision for you. Aluminitis hits hard and it difficult to hold back, I know. Stay strong and learn as much as you can.

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Old 01-25-2009, 06:49 PM   #18
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Welcome to the forums, and congrats on your research mode before buying. Smart. I'm not going to vote for what size you should get. That's really a personal thing and it depends a lot on how you plan to use your AS how you do in small spaces and whether you are large or small people (something some folks tend to overlook).

We opted for a 19' Safari SE LS and love it. It is small ... and we know that ... but we also do well in small spaces, we are not large people (but do travel with 2 cockers), and we can go anywhere we want without issues of length. We do lots of short trips ... long weekends, 1 or 2 weeks and eventually we'll do longer trips. So far so good. We would not be afraid of making a month-long (or longer) trip with the 19'...and we know those who go for much longer trips with them.

We also wanted to not have a huge truck, as it's also our everyday vehicle. We tow with a 2007 Tacoma Doublecab 2WD TRD with a factory tow package rated for #6500 and fine it totally adequate for this AS. Anything larger than 20 and we'd probably be looking for a new truck.

IF
and when we go to a larger unit we will look at the new 23' front bed floorplan, which has a lot of appeal...especially the walk-around bed. Many with smaller Airstreams complain about the corner bed and the small bath, but that's part of having a small trailer! I personally think the use of space is terrific.

Look at them all, consider the pros and cons, see them in person and make your decision on what fit your needs and means.

And we hope to see you in our beautiful state soon!
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Old 01-27-2009, 08:11 PM   #19
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Thumbs up follow up, life is strange

Wanted to continue with the update. We had firmly decided on the Toyota 4-runner, plenty of tow and capacity (actually almost identical to the Diesel Mercedes) and about 400 a month less. Called the Mercedes dealer to tell them (I had a little c-220 for the last 12 years and they have been good to me). The salesman tells me they got in a new incentive package, I can lease the car for less than a hundred more than the Toyota. I will pick it up tomorrow and then drive down to Jim May in Ohio and Thomas in Mo. to look at a 20 ft. and 23 ft. used unit. If I can get a decent price, we are really leaning towards a 23 ft. front bedroom, but they are hard to find discounted. Anyway, your comments are very helpful. The new car eliminates the worry of finding dealers/repair, because they have the service system like chev. on-star. We found that by building a graft of the pluses and minuses and costs and expenses, we were able to see the tow vehicle choice pretty clearly. Hopefully after this weekend, we will know on the Air Stream also. Will keep you informed, and thanks again for all your help and advice.
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Old 01-28-2009, 05:46 AM   #20
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Slpiotro,
Well it looks like you are getting really close to sealing the deal. Good for you. Not to muddy the waters any, but have you looked at Airstream of Arkansas? They frequent the forums and they advertise "Nationwide Delivery". I know service is a big concern. Our two nearest Airstream service centers (DJ RV Center in Dannville, PA and Colonial in New Jersey) are a bit of a drive. But for PA state safety inspection and common RV service I take ours to a local RV dealer that does not deal in Airstreams. So far I have been very pleased. Everything else, I do myself. It helps to be handy.

Good luck and be sure to post pictures of the coach and the TV.
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