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Old 07-18-2018, 10:40 AM   #1
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Airstream and Tow Vehicle Comparisons

- Tow Vehicles- My Toyotas and current Ford F350 come with a jack and lug nut wrench to change a flat tire. It comes with a rod to retrieve the spare tire. A service manual explains how everything operates and fits into the glove box. I can receive air pressure reports within my tires with the press of a button.

The warranty is extensive and leaves little to debate what is and what is not covered. Years or Mileage limits the warranty.

My responsibility is to have the engine oil and filter replaced at regular maintenance schedules.

The quality of my Toyotas and F350 have been 100% reliable during the warranty period.

- Airstreams, my 2006 & 2014- My Airstreams come with a ten pound satchel of service manuals and guidebooks. Ownership Safety towing CD’s and brochures AFTER the purchase. Your current vehicle may or may not be compatible to tow anything larger than the smallest trailer… not found on the dealer’s lot.

The warranty during ownership is limited by years of ownership, not use. The trailer can sit for three years, lived within or traveling for three years with the warranty expiring, either way. Unless you track towing mileage, no one knows how much one trailer for sale can be compared to another that appear well maintained.

No service bearings or self adjusting brakes, require service and adjustments by the owner. Hardware assembled cabinets, provided, are designed for homes that are stationary.

- I may have 30 pounds of tools and hardware to maintain our trailer in the event of a failure while traveling.

- My Equalizer hitch requires a thinner, special order, socket and a breaker bar specific to keep the ball tight, when necessary. Other large bolts are metric, requiring metric and US dimensions for maintenance. Many interior components are installed before cabinets and difficult to access. Lug nuts are advised to be checked as often as possible.

Battery powered hand drill screwdriver with attachments is a necessity during trips. Grease for the tow ball, for some of us. Protection of plastic and metal water system valves, copper propane lines are in difficult access, or behind tires, exposed to gravel while traveling are left to each owners discretion.

This is the compromise we all must make with trailer ownership. Airstream is better than the average mass produced projects on wheels. There are smaller specialty trailers that are now squeezing into the competitive market. Not enough to make the large manufacturers take notice, yet. Much like the USA 1960’s and 1970’s automobile manufacturers, being forced to improve quality due to imported automobiles, change will force quality improvements. We all recognize that change.

Of course. This is a casual comparison that may be considered mostly my opinion, without one morsel of merit. Although… I discovered that when you need a very specific tool that is not ‘on board’, you are literally… stranded without a screwdriver.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:56 PM   #2
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Jeeze Ray, you probably even get annoyed when your door handle falls off and you are locked inside the trailer. You just need to manage your expectations.

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Old 07-18-2018, 02:08 PM   #3
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After reading the Thread about having a screw loose, I had to look in the mirror.

First thing I did was to snug up those three black screws on the interior door handle. The two larger ones on the left side were tight.

Today, if I need a tool. I go to the Airstream, for anything.

I needed a wide tipped plier to remove porcupine quills. Had the tool. The entire camp in Colorado had to watch the blood and saliva running. I advise you not wear a light colored shirt... A dog quits howling after the first three or four.

Porcupine Quill Removal: Pliers, wide nosed. Bowl of water to wash quills off the end of the pliers. One or two people to hold the dog steady. Repeat, as necessary.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:12 PM   #4
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That looks painful.

Mike
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:15 PM   #5
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After I had a beer... it did not hurt one bit.

Your photo looked like a Porcupine Quill situation...
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Old 07-18-2018, 07:52 PM   #6
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I had a dog that sniffed a Cholla in AZ. Now tweezers are part of my kit. Also was at the start of a hike in AZ and one of the ladies wearing thin runners stepped on a Cholla - my Leatherman Squirt yanked the needles out of her shoes, socks and feet. The dog only sniffed that one time and never again . . . the lady I'm not so sure about.
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Old 07-18-2018, 08:23 PM   #7
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The dog will remember the scent and avoid cactus in the future. The lady will no doubt make the same mistake again. Sturdy boots are the only thing to wear in cholla cactus country.
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Old 07-19-2018, 09:50 AM   #8
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Heelers.. I knew they would be ACD's. I have 2
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Old 07-19-2018, 10:28 AM   #9
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After owning our first AS globetrotter, my wife and I are feeling the "bloom coming off the rose". Especially after the galley locker fell off and destroyed the kitchen. We now are looking at one of those new companies with a quality unit. I will sell the trotter to someone who will apreciate it. After you own a Porsche and marvel at the quality and engineering it is hard to accept mediocrity. This my cross to bear but I always expect the best out of people period.
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Old 07-19-2018, 01:35 PM   #10
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If you look at an older Airstream you may find the same quality and engineering as the Porsche. IMHO
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Old 07-19-2018, 03:14 PM   #11
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Qa/qc

Both auto and RV manufacturers are run by MBA's who get paid more when they extract every penny out of a sale. Do not be surprised when you buy a new car that comes WITHOUT a spare tyre, or an RV that has been poorly assembled, or wheel bearings with no grease.
Buyer Beware must be your motto.

My neighbor just bought a brand new F150 and paid extra for the trailer package. He found the trailer package did not include electric brake controller, so he took it to local trailer repair shop where they told him the F150 did not come equipped with a spare fuse space in the block for the controller, so they had to wire one with it's own in-line fuse direct to the battery!!
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Old 07-19-2018, 03:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
After I had a beer... it did not hurt one bit.

Your photo looked like a Porcupine Quill situation...
Sprinkles from a a donut that the Doxie is insisting he never touched.
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:23 AM   #13
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I think the perfect tow vehicle would be a one ton service truck with a small machine shop in the back in an enclosed space. There would be adequate space for the comprehensive selection of tools and the welder could also function as a generator.
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:48 AM   #14
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We are on our 3rd Airstream. All purchased new.Each had some issues mostly minor stuff. Our current 2017 30' Classic had the least problems and very minor at that. We have never experienced cabinets falling of drawers flying open, microwaves crashing etc.etc.etc. I would think reading all these complaints we should have had more problems with 3 different units. I don't seem to be that lucky buying lotto tickets.
My only beef is that AS dealer network sucks. Most are incompetent even to fix the most minor issues so if you need anything done right big or small do it yourself or of to Jackson Center.
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Old 07-29-2018, 10:16 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by switz View Post
I think the perfect tow vehicle would be a one ton service truck with a small machine shop in the back in an enclosed space. There would be adequate space for the comprehensive selection of tools and the welder could also function as a generator.
Hi

We pulled up next to a couple that indeed were pulling their AS with a truck that you could fit a machine shop in the back of. That was not what they were doing with it, but they could easily have done so. We talked through the plus and minus features of a "really big TV". Putting a hitch on one turns out to be a bit more complex than you might think ....

====

Sitting here chatting with the neighbors, I really can't see that I'm any more up the creek than they are maintenance wise. We all seem to have an amazing range of tools and issues. The neighbors have some advantages and some disadvantages. Fifth wheels vs MH vs TT always changes things a bit.

Bob
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:18 AM   #16
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Hi

We pulled up next to a couple that indeed were pulling their AS with a truck that you could fit a machine shop in the back of. That was not what they were doing with it, but they could easily have done so. We talked through the plus and minus features of a "really big TV". Putting a hitch on one turns out to be a bit more complex than you might think ....

====

Sitting here chatting with the neighbors, I really can't see that I'm any more up the creek than they are maintenance wise. We all seem to have an amazing range of tools and issues. The neighbors have some advantages and some disadvantages. Fifth wheels vs MH vs TT always changes things a bit.

Bob
Our neighbours just purchased a brand new MH
Huge and very expensive. They just got is back from the dealer after waiting 5 weeks for warranty repsairs that was supposed to take 2.
5 different roof leaks, one cabinet dtopped to the floor, all cabinet hardware had to be replaced. They could have bought 3 30' as classics for what they paid for that MH.
The fact remains that we can not compare RV manufacturing with cars.
Regardless which RV one buys they are all individually hand built and assembled. Beyond the frame and running gear very little can be automated.
IMHO final inspection at each stage becomes the most essential component of this system.
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:39 AM   #17
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We are on our 3rd Airstream.... We have never experienced cabinets falling of drawers flying open, microwaves crashing etc.etc.etc. I would think reading all these complaints we should have had more problems with 3 different units.

You must travel on some nice roads...come boondocking out West and let's see what you can rattle loose!
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:14 AM   #18
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I like the idea of a one-ton utility body service truck loaded with tools for a tow vehicle. Yesterday, a star-wheel break adjustment bolt decided to fall off my brake assembly. The metallic squealing was horrendous. Tools added to my arsenal to fix this problem we’re a snap ring pliers https://www.amazon.com/Channellock-9...SwL&ref=plSrch and a 1-7/16” socket. I already had the hammer, breaker bar, flat head screwdriver and torque wrench. To have every tool needed for on the road repairs, I’m going to need that service truck tow vehicle

And on the topic of Airstream dealer service, I called several dealers and the soonest any could fix this problem was Mid-September! Better have these tools with you and learn to remove the brake drum so you can at least get the star-wheel adjustment bolt out.

I try to at least have enough tools to repair a wheel bearing or brake issue when on the road. I figure if I can Keep the wheels turning, I can tow it home. But I learned I needed a couple of more tools to keep my wheels turning on this trip. Maybe I should buy a spare set or two of wheel bearings before my next trip! More things to add to my service truck!
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:45 AM   #19
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Every trip I seem to need a part or tool I don't have. This time for the trailer it was a coax stripper and crimper to fix a bad cable on the satellite dish. For the TV it was a Y-tube for the cooling system and some friends to help install it since my warranty was WORTHLESS! I called four dealers before I gave up and bought the part since not one of them could get me into the shop in less than a week. Hoses crimped on a plastic Y for $106. Seriously?

And while in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons my Nav unit said I was just east of Calgary, Alberta.

Disc brakes and EZ-Lube bearings installed at my axle change to minimize maintenance down time. I've just got to figure out how to keep the center caps on the wheels and still get access to the grease fittings. Oh well, worst case I have to pull the wheels but not the hubs and drums.

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Old 07-31-2018, 08:04 AM   #20
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Hi

Just for reference on the brake problem - there are a *lot* of shops that can fix Dexter brakes under warranty..... You don't need an AS dealer to do the job.

Bob
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