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Old 02-28-2023, 06:01 PM   #1
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Advice for which tree to bark up

Not sure if this is the right place to post, but Iíll go for it

Iím looking for some advice on how to proceed with an issue with our 2022 Flying Cloud 23CB, hereís the story:

In a nutshell, the fresh water tank dropped from the trailer while headed out of town last week. We were stuck, pinned against a concrete barrier and heavy 75+ mph traffic for 30-40 minutes until highway patrol got there to completely shut down the traffic so we could get off the freeway at 5 mph while dragging the water tank and pan.

All 6 screw/bolts that secure the backside of the water pan fell out somewhere over the past 7 months of ownership, or possibly never installed I suppose (less than 10 weekend camping trips). All 6 screw/bolts on the front side of the pan were still tightly secured and in place. I ended up removing the 6 remaining bolts and cutting out the hoses so the tank could be completely removed and tossed inside for transport to the dealer. This should not have happened on a new trailer.

The trailer is at the dealership we purchased from, so the repairs will get done eventually (theyíre currently saying 4-6 weeks, but wonít actually order the parts until the mothership approves the warranty repair). Never mind the fact I signed a repair order that stated I would pay for the repairs if airstream denied the warranty for whatever reason (I have an attorney should AS deny warranty claim for this, so Iím not worried). This should not have happened on a new trailer.

What do I do now? For peace of mind I feel like this trailer should undergo a major inspection. On whose dime? If yíall say mine, then fine, thatís my decision to make, butÖÖ. This was a brand new trailer purchase. Should I push the local dealer to perform the inspection? Should I request it shipped back to JC for inspection? Should I find a 3rd party? Will this turn out to be a ďCOVID TrailerĒ?? Am I supposed to add ďcheck the water tank boltsĒ to my pre-trip checklist? Where does it stop at that point, check the mounting of the AC unit before each trip to make sure itís not gonna fly offÖ.????? Like what a joke if I have to take those steps! Is Airstream even a viable brand at that point?

Simply for a little more info, I have become friends with the finance manager since our original purchase of a 19í, so heís likely the only one I trust to talk with at the dealership. The service department has been a joke, they donít return emails, they rarely ever answer the phone or return messages. Every time I go in there all they want to talk about is my Rivian. Maybe I should motivate them by saying Iíll give a show-n-tell of the Rivian once my trailer is repaired (We previously had a 19CB we purchased from this dealership, so thatís how I have experience with the service department).

I just donít know how to get this fight started. Any advice is greatly appreciated, thank you for taking the time.
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Old 02-28-2023, 06:15 PM   #2
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I would ask my attorney to write a letter to both the Mothership and the selling/servicing dealer asking them to inspect the trailer and declare it to ďmeet mfrís standards and ready for useĒÖ.and give a reasonable time-frame for that inspection completion.
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Old 02-28-2023, 06:48 PM   #3
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At the very least you should contact Airstream directly, not just have the dealer be a middleman.
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Old 03-01-2023, 06:27 AM   #4
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I think all you can hope for is to get the water tank replaced. Hopefully under warranty. Yes, it sounds like those screws were not installed. I doubt if that means that there were other errors in the build. There could be or not. But the pan was installed at one point in the build and the trailer moved on.
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Old 03-01-2023, 06:52 AM   #5
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2022 trailer, I would be very surprised if Airstream would not repair and replace the tank and resulting damage including labor under warranty, given your explanation.
Returning the trailer to JC is another issue, if it were me I wouldnít want them trailering or towing it back ní forth, and I doubt they would authorize it under warranty. People have had cabinets fall off the bulkheads etc. your issue doesnít necessarily mean itís representative of the whole build.
I certainly understand your frustration.

I would take one step at a time and carefully document in writing the steps your taking with Airstream.
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Old 03-01-2023, 08:58 AM   #6
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Airstream Warranty Denier Program?

Scott.... welcome to the Airstream Warranty Denier Program.

Ask those with the Front End Compression issues... AWDP as well. A pick and choose coverage at best.

I would insist on a Replacement Fresh Water Tank and hardware to be ordered and given to you by you Airstream Dealer. Unless the fresh water tank has no damage is and is usable. At least you would have the parts.

Maybe the dealer in Tucson, Arizona is a better option for service. At least they had a nice Showroom and Maintenance shop.

I would imagine that the 'issue' is your Dealer wants to be paid more, than Jackson Center wants to cover. Airstream Jackson Center 'warranty costs' could be a significant chunk of their profit margin already and a big issue to minimize costs by corporate.

Ford was mentioned in an article about their costs for warranty work has cut into their profits. (Wall Street Journal within the last two weeks.) They are working on cutting down warranty coverage by 'improving assembly and components'.

Warranty: A guarantee from a seller that if their product fails to meet certain specifications, a remedy is available.'

...or Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware).
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Old 03-01-2023, 09:10 AM   #7
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I would contact Airstream directly. This one is on them. Please let us know what response you get from them.

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Old 03-01-2023, 09:11 AM   #8
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Hi

Unfortunately Airstream dealers are a mixed lot. Some have terrific service departments and others have absolutely horrible ones. Even the good ones do indeed mess up from time to time, it's the nature of the business. Same thing goes for parts.

Right now, we still are rattling around in "supply chain" excuses for not having parts here or there. Just how much faith you put in those statements is up to you. Eventually they will switch to a new excuse.

I would spend some time asking local AS owners about service experiences with the specific dealer you are hooked up with. If the net is mainly positive with maybe 1 in 5 unhappy, that's about as good as it gets. If 4 out of 5 are unhappy, that's not a good sign.

As noted above, most certainly get JC involved right now. Don't wait for this or that. Get in contact with them real soon.

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Old 03-01-2023, 09:21 AM   #9
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Another option other than your dealer

I’m really sorry to hear this. My guess is the rest of the trailer is fine. Something got missed and it was unfortunately your tank strap screws. Thank the lord it wasn’t your axle bolts. I highly doubt Airstream will deny coverage, I wouldn’t even go there. I hear your frustration, unfortunately you’re working with a dealer, not Airstream. We purchased our first AS from an AS dealer in MN (Lazydays) the service department was the worst, I’ll skip details.
Option
I needed help with the furnace and AC units last month. I contacted a mobile RV tech who conducted the repairs, I submitted his invoice to AS for reimbursement. AS approved the charges less travel expenses for mobile service. I would consider finding a local RV tech who can do the work. These dealers are just RV techs who have a relationship with AS, no different than any other RV tech. The goal is to get back up and traveling with your AS.
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Old 03-01-2023, 09:41 AM   #10
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I live at the east edge of the Phoenix sprawl. I have watched the local Airstream dealership move, change names and owners many times. One constant in my personal experience was poor service by unqualified and untrained folks and many just did not care.

I was belittled for stating what a problem was (lack of hot air to the rear of trailer) and what the solution should be on the new 2014 31' Classic purchased from the dealership of the day in Mesa. I was taken aback by the arrogance of the service rep.

I then showed him the photo I had taken at the factory when the main cabinet kitchen cabinet was coming inside the trailer. It showed that the ducting was crossed over on itself within a couple of feet of the furnace and was not straightened out to make the two runs parallel.

Changing locations, name changes and keeping the same attitude does not make me ever want to visit that current facility. I have always used an independent shop for all repairs and upgrades since that time.

From personal experience, A&P Vintage Trailer Works in Paradise, TX stands behind their work. They are also an authorized warranty facility for Airstream.

The tank in question was put in when the frame was bottom side up and all the tanks and running gear were installed. Then it is covered with the metal skin. Surprised it did not fall down then.
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Old 03-01-2023, 01:09 PM   #11
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Take it to the Jackson Center Service Center call for a C appointment or drop off date. By the time your dealership gets it done and if they can do it right you could have been there and home.
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Old 03-01-2023, 01:13 PM   #12
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We had an JC issue a number of years go when I was told by the local AS dealer during service that our propane tray was on a safety recall. Something about using self tapping vs self threading screws. Their first pass was "OK, all done, looks good". When I pulled the tanks for a refill the next week, I noted the work and was surprised to find that of the 4 bolt locations, two had never been tapped/installed, one was in tight and the 4th came off with the slight pull of the box wrench. That hole, while tapped, was was filled with rust and the head had about 1/8 in of stud remaining. The hole had paint but no end of the tap screws? I guess they thought the paint would hold it in place.

Needless to say, words were exchanged between myself and the dealer who said repairs had been made under the recall requirement. I spoke with JC but it was in one ear and out the other.

It was about this time that QC issues at JC were par for the course, be it using too small a screws so no bite, missing the backing, over torquing, you name it to every bonehead construction methodology. Somebody isn't paying attention.

For me, it made more sense to just fix it the correct way and move on. I can't say that having a JC/Dealer one over would solve anything as they would have to remove every screw (as an example) and re-set it to make sure it was long enough, it hit it's mark and wasn't over torqued.

As for the tank I'm with life is a highway but insist on inspection at construction stopping points. They generally resist patrons from the bays, but I would push for it or at least some pics of the progress.



Happy trails
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Old 03-01-2023, 01:57 PM   #13
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Thank you all for the great advice, as well as sharing your personal challenges to help me realize weíre not alone in this.

Yesterday I set the expectation with the dealer about their lack of follow up and follow through. I went as far as to say if they donít respond to messages or return voicemails then they can expect me to be walking in the door for a face-face conversation instead. Iím not looking forward to it, but i will get them to exert some energy towards proper customer service one way or another. Weíve got many years ahead of us together.

Today I had a 20 minute chat with Jackson Center. He looked at the pictures while we were on the phone. Like everyone so far, he was shocked this happenedÖÖ. The outcome of the call is that he was going to get with the person who approves the warranty claims and push for an expedited approval. He didnít sound at all interested in having the trailer come to JC, so I didnít push the issue for now. At this point Iím pushing to get things progressing, then Iíll restart the discussions about inspection.

He also let me know they only have 4 tanks in stock so my dealer better hussle up and get one ordered.
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Old 03-02-2023, 05:03 AM   #14
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Sorry to hear, horrible story. Hope it all works out.
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Old 03-02-2023, 06:58 AM   #15
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Real customer service is taking one tank off the assembly line and sending it to the customer whose new trailer is completely inoperative to get him back on the road sooner and build good will.

I have had a few auto dealers take a part off an instock new vehicle to get me back on the road. I went back to them in the future or at least put out positive press.

The way it works is that when the tail lights clear the exit door of the assembly line, Airstream debits the dealer's account and title/ownership passes to the dealer. So one would think that the dealer would be interested in getting his inventory fixed ASAP and have a vested interest in excellent customer service.

Too many hoist the "Give a s**t" flag and let the customer languish since the dealer has been paid and has no financial skin in the game after the sale.
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Old 03-03-2023, 11:50 AM   #16
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If we lived closer than 1600 miles to JC, then Iíd definitely consider that an option, but Iím still a working stiff so itíd take me some time to schedule and do some back/forth trips. For now I donít feel like I have much choice but to continue to build a relationship with the local dealer.

I asked the dealer for an update this morning, and their response was theyíve ordered the parts, but warranty claim had not been approved.

So, being the pain in the ass I am; I called JC and asked them directly. Iím sure nobody is going to be surprised when I tell you JC said it has already been approved

My service advisor sure isnít building much trust with meÖ.. itís taking everything I have not to ask for a tracking number for the parts
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Old 03-04-2023, 07:38 AM   #17
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Actually, do get the tracking number. Use it and when the parts arrive at the dealership, you personally go in and discuss the scheduling of the repair with the proof the part is there. An informed customer helps to keep the BS level lower.

Lying to customers is not a great way to keep a business going. If the economy tanks later this year, they will be desperate to off load all their floor plan inventory as that interest rate is tied to the The Fed rates.
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Old 03-04-2023, 10:22 AM   #18
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Dealer's Position: You are unhappy now, so why care?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottnAZ View Post
If we lived closer than 1600 miles to JC, then I’d definitely consider that an option, but I’m still a working stiff so it’d take me some time to schedule and do some back/forth trips. For now I don’t feel like I have much choice but to continue to build a relationship with the local dealer.

I asked the dealer for an update this morning, and their response was they’ve ordered the parts, but warranty claim had not been approved.

So, being the pain in the ass I am; I called JC and asked them directly. I’m sure nobody is going to be surprised when I tell you JC said it has already been approved

My service advisor sure isn’t building much trust with me….. it’s taking everything I have not to ask for a tracking number for the parts
******
Travel Trailer brand dealers often have a zoned regional area to themselves. They expect to lose a previous customer from time to time for bad service or bad warranty decisions as to who, what, why and how finger pointing.

Lose too many customers, a dealership changes name, possibly owners. Bad restaurants change their name and the food and service still sucks as nothing has changed, but the name. Restaurant Impossible is an excellent program to watch.

We used to call it... "It ain't my fault, it's assfault". Which meant it is on your dime and not theirs.

The cost to travel to Jackson Center may even exceed the warranty costs if done yourself or by a Travel Trailer service center.

It appears that this is a time and labor consuming warranty issue. Parts are inexpensive in comparison.

I cannot imagine the Airstream warranty cost overhead and their attempt to limit coverage, but it has to be eating into the profit margin. The 'your fault, not our fault' conversation.

You improperly .... fill in the blank.

Often you cannot take a new trailer off the lot... with the sales person for a test tow. Even then... you would have to be inside the trailer while being towed for that part.

You would also want, on the lot, have the trailer 'watered up' to check all the plumbing. Propane cook top. Refer. Furnace. Check the AC on the lot. Get a ladder and check out the roof and components. I even have a 'creeper' to roll around underneath the trailer in the parking lot at the dealership.

The dealer's advantage is a NEWBIE Travel Trailer customer. The new trailer is .....aaaaaah wonderful. Then you are not told to flush the fresh water a couple times to get the uggggg taste out of it.

We are on our third and last new Airstream. Buy used. If out of warranty, the price has to be very good and you still need to do a top to bottom inspection. You are still at a disadvantage.

Dealers can lose Service Staff and go from excellent to hacking repairs. I can give examples, but good service staff move to better working environments.
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Old 03-05-2023, 06:35 AM   #19
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Hi

In most of the country, this is "slow time" for RV dealers. It's still cold out and customers aren't thinking about summer trips in their RV's. That is likely to change in the next few months. When it does, getting anybody to do this or that at JC or various parts suppliers will get a bit harder .....

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Old 03-05-2023, 07:45 AM   #20
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Advice for which tree to bark up

In the NE there is at least one RV Show in the Albany area and recent past in Syracuse, with the mild winter here ( until recently ) I for one am anxiously awaiting an early spring. I am sure there are others in this camp also ( no pun intended ) schedule now or it will get much harder to get service. Itís like tax season, here before you know it.
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