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Old 06-07-2020, 10:36 AM   #1
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2019 Basecamp
Eden , Utah
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 10
Angry Our Basecamp's Build Quality is Seriously Lacking

We purchased our 2019 Basecamp X with the belief that it would be built to Airstreams reputed quality. That does not seem to be the case at all.
On the exterior, overlapping aluminum is not finished, you can feel the edge left by saw teeth.
We have had the rock guard replaced (drivers side) once already, and it is in need of replacement again. The rock guard collapses during driving, leaving a crease in the guard itself.
The bathroom door cracked, and was replaced just last week; it is pre-hung so the entire frame is removced, and a new one installed. When the service representative showed me the finished door, it was clearly not right, the door's lockset was resting on the latch. To open the door you have to force it, metal on metal grinding on itself. The new door also has the back routed out of it for the continuous hinge; exposing raw particle board, this is water damage just waiting to happen. As soon as water reaches the particle board the door will swell and fall apart.
Three of our five window blinds have been reworked, with the other two needing to be done. The glue fails and the blinds pull away from the edges.
The refrigerator does not properly cool in warmer climates, at all.
This is definitely not what we expected when we purchased an Airstream, disappointed does not begin to describe our frustration.
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Old 06-07-2020, 10:42 AM   #2
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2012 25' FB International
Trent Woods , North Carolina
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Airstream has no reputed quality....if you study this forum. Basecamp seems to have collected a lot of quality issues. I feel your pain and welcome to the legion of those who expected better and did not get it.
Larry
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Old 06-07-2020, 11:20 AM   #3
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2019 22' Sport
Port Coquitlam , British Columbia
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We have had a bunch of issues with our new Sport 22FB. I have been working through them and correcting them as I go. We just approached the bigger issues first, like leaks. Our dealer is 300 miles away and needs to keep the trailer for what will turn into weeks so I have not bothered taking it back yet. I am going to fix most things first and then evaluate the situation. I may not need to go back for any repairs.

I think that you need to look at your Airstream as a reasonable investment that will last for a long time. It will need some tweaking along the way to fix things that break or wear out. There are always upgrades as well. Perhaps the door/frame can be replaced with a material that will not swell if it gets wet. The sharp edges are all over the place inside ours, When they cut the inner skin panels for the windows, they must of used a dull set of metal shears and left little metal teeth all over the place. These are easy to fix but it does speak to the the bean counters driving the quality. If that means lesser quality components that come in cheaper or unskilled labor in a rush to assemble the trailers, then I guess Airstream is working towards a business model of "profit first", with the hope that buyers will be able to fix the trailers on their own, or pressure the dealer network to be their quality control.

I am not too sure about the manufacturing process of the Basecamp, but if it is like the rest of the line, you will see good quality in many areas and crap in others. Most of the contents are not made by Airstream, they just install what they are given and that is most likely dictated by the bean counters.

I am sure that once you get over the hump and get the repairs behind you, you will feel a bit better about your purchase.
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Old 06-07-2020, 11:45 AM   #4
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
Airstream has no reputed quality....if you study this forum. Basecamp seems to have collected a lot of quality issues. I feel your pain and welcome to the legion of those who expected better and did not get it.
Larry
Bingo!

[sorry to say]

This Basecamp forum is chock full of similar tales of woe, notably the "Simple Survey" fridge thread IMO.

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f404/

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Old 06-07-2020, 11:50 AM   #5
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Normal , Illinois
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Ditto.

We all get distracted by the shiny surfaces, and quality control issues vented steadily here over the past decade plus have brought no substantive changes.

We still like our Airstreams, tho, most of us, so fix them up and carry on.

Maggie
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Old 06-08-2020, 10:10 AM   #6
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2007 19' Bambi
EUGENE , OR
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I can appreciate your frustration. AS doors are subjected to a lot of stress and racking in the door frame due to vibration and travel. The screws in my door were inadequate (too small in diameter & short) and my door was falling off the hinge which was undersized small for girth and weight of the door (AS Q&A issue). My solution was to increase screw size and add 1/4" thick adhesive furniture pads at top of jam to prevent door sagging in the door jam. This keeps the door from sagging and aligns the door in the jamb for both operation and support. It also keeps the weight of the door being supported by the lockset. If the door is not adequately aligned and supported in the jamb, more damage will occur. I used to build custom telephone booths and the doors and hinges were subjected to intense abuse. Good luck!
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Old 06-08-2020, 10:19 AM   #7
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Jackson , Mississippi
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For 11 years, we’ve camped in a restored ‘62 Globetrotter that my husband Is 100% happy with — NOT me who wants all the bells & whistles of a new trailer! However, from what friends who have bought new Airstream products have told us they’ve had to cope with, would never pay what they’re asking for the crap Airstream is putting out. This said, we have a “gutted” 26’ 1963 Overlander with a damage free shell and I am convinced that it would not cost us any more to pay a “reputable” restorer to build it back to our specifications for the same (or perhaps less) than buying a new 1. Thinking we would Have the look that “made” Airstream’s reputation but none of its issues (BTW, the interiors in vintages have space/convenience issues too — have told my husband for years that Wally should have consulted with his WIFE, who had to deal with them, before he planned cabinets, cabinets & shelves!). Would love to hear thoughts from experts my theory.
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Old 06-08-2020, 11:27 AM   #8
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2019 22' Sport
Iola , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2019
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Not perfect but we love her anyway

Yes, there have been issues.(22fb). Nothing major and nothing we couldn't fix ourselves (mostly). After two years and about 10k miles, the fun she has provided far outweighs the problems. We are pretty handy and have made improvements. Taking it to a dealer is a last resort.

I would like to see AS improve their quality control. It is pretty easy to fix. The problem as I see it is that everything else is inferior so they don't have to. One day maybe they will take the term "American Built' more seriously. With the boomer market, I do fear the onslaught of imports.

In the meantime, we will gleefully tow our flawed but beautiful Bambi around the country.
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Old 06-08-2020, 11:50 AM   #9
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2019 22' Sport
Port Coquitlam , British Columbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMaiden View Post
Yes, there have been issues.(22fb). Nothing major and nothing we couldn't fix ourselves (mostly). After two years and about 10k miles, the fun she has provided far outweighs the problems. We are pretty handy and have made improvements. Taking it to a dealer is a last resort.
Good to read that we are not alone!

On a side note, does your forward facing shower wall move when you gently push in it? Ours moves almost an inch and we are concerned about the longevity of the enclosure but wondering if it is typical or they missed putting the backing in on ours.

Sorry to side track this thread!
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Old 06-08-2020, 02:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTB Basecamp View Post
We purchased our 2019 Basecamp X with the belief that it would be built to Airstreams reputed quality. That does not seem to be the case at all.
On the exterior, overlapping aluminum is not finished, you can feel the edge left by saw teeth.
We have had the rock guard replaced (drivers side) once already, and it is in need of replacement again. The rock guard collapses during driving, leaving a crease in the guard itself.
The bathroom door cracked, and was replaced just last week; it is pre-hung so the entire frame is removced, and a new one installed. When the service representative showed me the finished door, it was clearly not right, the door's lockset was resting on the latch. To open the door you have to force it, metal on metal grinding on itself. The new door also has the back routed out of it for the continuous hinge; exposing raw particle board, this is water damage just waiting to happen. As soon as water reaches the particle board the door will swell and fall apart.
Three of our five window blinds have been reworked, with the other two needing to be done. The glue fails and the blinds pull away from the edges.
The refrigerator does not properly cool in warmer climates, at all.
This is definitely not what we expected when we purchased an Airstream, disappointed does not begin to describe our frustration.
Hi MTB Basecamp,*

We're very sorry to learn about the issues you are having/had. Please send us a direct message with your contact information, email and the last 6 digits of your VIN so we can learn more and share it with our Customer Service and Technical Support team. We look forward to helping you get these things resolved.

Thank you.*
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Old 06-08-2020, 03:57 PM   #11
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1969 18' Caravel
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Originally Posted by amollere View Post
I am convinced that it would not cost us any more to pay a “reputable” restorer to build it back to our specifications for the same (or perhaps less) than buying a new 1.
I agree. Easy call, not even close!

And you get it customized and tailored to your needs and wishes.

And you really get to know your trailer and it's systems inside and out.

And you get all the fun of designing and building it yourself.

And you'll know exactly how to fix anything that breaks or wears out.

And you won't have to deal with shady dealers, clumsy knuckle busters, long waits and other frustrations.

To to OP; Yes, sadly after all these years the BaseCamp is still in Beta. What I would do: If it gets to the point where the dealer offers an even trade for a 16' or 19' Bambi (single axle) I would seriously consider taking it. AS does the regular trailer a wee bit better than the still new BaseCamp, a great idea in theory, a nightmare in execution.
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Old 06-08-2020, 04:05 PM   #12
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Looks like the mothership will take care of you ...
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Old 06-08-2020, 08:18 PM   #13
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2015 25' Flying Cloud
Bettendorf , Iowa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PB_NB View Post
I am sure that once you get over the hump and get the repairs behind you, you will feel a bit better about your purchase.
I canít agree or disagree with this member as we purchased a used 2015 last year.

We havenít had any real issues at this point but my wife is very concerned by all the stories on the forum. I recently read a posting by one member that compared Airstream to American car companies prior to competition from overseas. Once that happened they improved their products. I think she was correct.
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Old 06-08-2020, 09:09 PM   #14
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1969 18' Caravel
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So, actually, this is very common situation with AS.

In a nutshell, quality control at the Factory is virtually non-existent. You should hear the horror stories of what arrives fresh from the factory at the dealerships!

The dealerships are supposed to basically clean up the trailers and fix whatever is most egregious, but it is always up to the original owners to find, complain and either fix themselves or hound the dealership and/or the mothership (factory in Jackson Center Ohio) to fix the many flaws, problems, etc.

You purchased an AS the "best" way, a recent model from the original owner who took care of the original flaws. This is the way many AS owners buy their second Airstream. They save tons of $$$$ in depreciation, and get a trailer with all the bugs squashed. Then, they are not so bad.

The BaseCamp concept is great, but the build quality has been poor, even by AS standards because it is a new design that, unlike the regular trailers with decades of knowledge behind it, is still being "designed the Airstream way" which is to say, "I dunno, let's try this and see if it works/saves us money/fixes the problem."
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Old 06-08-2020, 09:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rltports View Post
I canít agree or disagree with this member as we purchased a used 2015 last year.

We havenít had any real issues at this point but my wife is very concerned by all the stories on the forum. I recently read a posting by one member that compared Airstream to American car companies prior to competition from overseas. Once that happened they improved their products. I think she was correct.
I think my position is such that I need to be positive. I really don't see any other alternative. We have had our new trailer for about 6 weeks now so we are relative newbies to Airstream.

I think the "American Made" statement is a fair one. I see it with my truck as well. I have a Honda that is made in Alabama, I have never been to Alabama and I would expect that it is a very nice place.

I do know that my Honda has many traits that I would not expect to find in a Japanese vehicle. There are lots of weird build issues, but I would rather deal with them than deal with a Ram truck. So this is sort of the same sort of thinking but in reverse. The expected quality of an import is reduced by the origin of manufacturing.

When it comes to our trailer, we certainly expected things to be tight and well finished and filled with the coolness and history of the brand. We had no experience with Airstream other than a notion that they are fantastic and when they weren't fantastic, they were very cool!

We are trying to keep that in the forefront while we move through the quality and build issues in our trailer. We have worked our list of 18 items down to 4 and still plowing through the remaining items.

We do know that the contents of the trailer are not made by Airstream but they install these parts so they have to take some of that responsibility. The chassis, frame, inner skin and overall designs are what sets these apart from all the other trailers out there. This is what we feel is the real investment. I only hope that this turns out to be true for us and for everyone who has ventured into this market.

We are planning our second little outing with the trailer in a few weeks and expect that we will be able to enjoy the trip with everything working well.
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Old 06-08-2020, 10:40 PM   #16
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2020 16' Basecamp
Kenai , Alaska
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Airstreams aren’t perfect, but at least they are worth fixing. Have you seen the quality on most other brands out there?
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Old 06-17-2020, 11:26 AM   #17
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2019 30' International
Dallas , Texas
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Sorry to hear of your problems, I can’t imagine anything more frustrating than to worry about those issues instead of enjoying camping and the outdoors.
Last year my husband and I upgraded our 22’ Sport (it was great just a couple of minor issues) to a 30’ International Signature. We were sitting in it at the dealers and I realized that the 30’ Serenity that we just sat in had reading lights over the lounge areas but the Signature we were in did not. Asked our salesman and he called and checked that yes, reading lights were standard in the Signature. Airstream had forgot to install them in that trailer. And the low flow gas port. Wow.
We went over our trailer in detail when we picked it up as I was nervous about an item being omitted. Lucky for us all was well but I wonder if the person who purchased that floor model ever realized they were missing reading lights and a low flow gas port. That really is inexcusable. Salesman should not have to call to check to make sure they won’t forget standard equipment. With the uptick in orders and popularity of TT’s currently with the pandemic, I can only imagine how quality will suffer as they push to get out more product because of the shutdown and demand.
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Old 06-17-2020, 12:31 PM   #18
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2012 25' FB Flying Cloud
albany , Georgia
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Yep, the above gentleman has said something very true. There have been companies starting up all over the place, knocking up units that are atrocious in quality terms. Their products will not last past seven or eight years in our climate. We have all driven past ruff looking units, that are worth pennies after a year.
You mentioned saw marks on the aluminium skin, when I was at the factory when we bought our 2011, they used press shears, so saw marks have me baffled !!!
The work pool area that they draw from is very small up there.
We will not be buying any new unit, had two a few years old and their issues were sorted, I have never had an issue other than replacing interior rivets and that is easy, and replacing and upgrading the AC unit. I did that myself and did a way better job of securing and sealing the new one than the factory installed.
I was parked next to a guy who worked in the industry, said that they never did much to new Airstream units when they arrived but other companyís products were so bad that they refused delivery of them even before they were taken off the hauling truck !!!!
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Old 06-17-2020, 12:32 PM   #19
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2018 Basecamp
Beaverdam , Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2017
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Iíve been impressed by AS Customer Support

I picked up a used 2018 Basecamp in November. There were a few issues outstanding and AS Customer Support worked with my dealer to get them resolved. Iíve seen how some of the other less expensive trailers hold up...Iím still happy with my decision.
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Old 06-17-2020, 03:20 PM   #20
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2018 16' Sport
Vacaville , California
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I bought my 2017 Basecamp new in Feb 2017, traded it one year later for a 2018 Bambi Sport 16'. The Basecamp was fraught with numerous problems and recalls and leaks and refrigerator problems. It was not an equal exchange but frankly I couldn't wait to get rid of it. I bought it because I am an old woman who camps alone and I wanted reliability. HA! Airstream in Jackson Center didn't care. If you are interested, read the entries in this forum, "2017 Basecamp Issues" started 2/12/2017 by 4WetPaws.
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