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Old 12-04-2020, 08:02 PM   #1
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2019 27' Flying Cloud
Boulder , Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2019
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Question Do we have a lemon?

My husband and I have 2019 27 ft Flying Cloud and have had so many issues with it. We have had the batteries replaced 2 x and just upgraded to AGM batteries, our sail switch trips a lot and our heat frequently doesn't work. Now it appears that our Converter isn't working. It feels like everytime we head out there is something that goes wrong. Does everyone else feel this way or do we have a lemon? This is our first camper so I don't know if this is the norm or not. I know that they take a beating while driving but expected an Airstream to run better than this.

Any thoughts????

Sue
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Old 12-04-2020, 08:08 PM   #2
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1990 25' Excella
Tucson , Arizona
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Repairs

Hi Sue,
Welcome to the RV world.
Hope you are handy or know someone who is.
Good luck.

Ray
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Old 12-04-2020, 08:24 PM   #3
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Dewey , Arizona
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Battery issues can be caused by running them down too low. Once the voltage drops to 12.0 volts, you are in the area of causing damage to them. Low voltage can cause heater failures as the fan might not be turning fast enough to cause the sail switch to close. A defective converter could also cause all of the above issues.

If the converter is failing, replace it with a quality unit. I have had very good results with converters from Progressive Dynamics.

I would not consider your trailer a lemon, but you might have a bad component or two.
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Old 12-04-2020, 08:39 PM   #4
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2021 23' Globetrotter
Somewherein , Pennsylvania
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoulderRoos View Post
Any thoughts????

Sue
You don't have a lemon those parts mentoned are not made by
Airstream but come from aftermarket suppliers. Just got to take care of them one at a time and try to not get overwhelmed.
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Old 12-05-2020, 06:52 AM   #5
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2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
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Welcome Aboard 👍

Hi...Don't despair we have all been there.
Batteries and converter were the first 'upgrades' we did for
"Cloudsplitter" 16 Seasons ago.
Invest in a quality inverter/charger,(we used an IOTA 55a DLS IQ4, our Lifeline AGM's lasted 11yrs). A screen over the furnace exhaust tube will keep the critters away from the sail switch, pet hair can also be a concern there also.

Bob
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Old 12-05-2020, 09:26 AM   #6
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2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Brookhaven , Georgia
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It's just another house to maintain, but it's not attached to the grid. There's a learning curve with energy management. Watch 100's of Youtube videos. Fix it and get it back on the road. Happy trails.
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Old 12-05-2020, 09:43 AM   #7
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Trent Woods , North Carolina
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It does feel that almost every time I go camping there is something else to fix, yes. Strangely, almost nothing breaks sitting in the driveway. I say almost nothing because eventually there will be a leak, or more. I think you need to just expect that these things will happen. I don't get as upset anymore, but it has not diminished my regret for having gotten into this. I was happier sailing.

Larry
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Old 12-05-2020, 10:04 AM   #8
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Rogers , Arkansas
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Just Curious

Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
It does feel that almost every time I go camping there is something else to fix, yes. Strangely, almost nothing breaks sitting in the driveway. I say almost nothing because eventually there will be a leak, or more. I think you need to just expect that these things will happen. I don't get as upset anymore, but it has not diminished my regret for having gotten into this. I was happier sailing.

Larry
Why aren't you sailing then? Life is short. Better start doing what makes you happy than complaining about what doesn't. Now is the perfect time to sell a Travel Trailer. It's a sellers market.
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Old 12-05-2020, 10:16 AM   #9
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Trent Woods , North Carolina
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Originally Posted by Mikebrady62 View Post
Why aren't you sailing then? Life is short. Better start doing what makes you happy than complaining about what doesn't. Now is the perfect time to sell a Travel Trailer. It's a sellers market.
That decision was made because my wife does not enjoy sailing and her physical issues precluded sailing trips of more than a day sail. Yes, life is short and I chose to do something that we can do together. My complaint is that, even after spending months browsing the forum years ago, I still chose to buy an Airstream. Like many other buyers, I thought that only the complaints showed up on the forum and they couldn't all be that bad. My dumb mistake! When I finally do sell, I will not shed a tear. As I have said before, a major draw to staying with it is the good friends we have made with Airstreams. Just buying an SOB, if there were a quality SOB, would generally eliminate our ability to spend time with them. Besides, it isn't the time to buy an RV, as you said. Chess isn't an option either.
Larry
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Old 12-05-2020, 10:36 AM   #10
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Larry,
You are a smart man. "Happy Wife...."
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Old 12-05-2020, 10:52 AM   #11
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2019 25' International
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You've got a 2019 trailer so you are nearing the end of your warranty period. I would use the hell out of it, track everything that needs to get fixed and make an appointment however many times you need to for service at Jackson Center. BTW - you don't have to get your trailer in for service before your warranty expires. What is important is that you REPORT discrepancies BEFORE it expires so it's covered.
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Old 12-05-2020, 11:29 AM   #12
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2017 30' Classic
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Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

RV battery systems are relatively fragile. That's just the way they do it. There is no practical way to put I a system that just runs forever and ever. It would weight more than your entire trailer does.

The net result is that you have to very much stay on top of the state of your batteries. It takes a *long* time on shore power (like a day) to fully charge them. They discharge very quickly in use. They even discharge in a couple weeks when you aren't using. them. Take them dead flat one time (and leave them there) .... you probably did major damage to them.

The converter / charger dying is not at all unusual. The stock part lasted us about a year. The aftermarket replacement lasted for almost three weeks. The next one after that has been doing fine for a couple years. What's the difference? The stock unit likely cost $100. The aftermarket part was $200. The one that works for years and years cost about $1300. It is a bit of a "you get what you pay for" sort of thing.

Bob
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Old 12-05-2020, 11:55 AM   #13
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2019 27' Flying Cloud
Anacortes , Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoulderRoos View Post
My husband and I have 2019 27 ft Flying Cloud and have had so many issues with it. We have had the batteries replaced 2 x and just upgraded to AGM batteries, our sail switch trips a lot and our heat frequently doesn't work. Now it appears that our Converter isn't working. It feels like everytime we head out there is something that goes wrong. Does everyone else feel this way or do we have a lemon? This is our first camper so I don't know if this is the norm or not. I know that they take a beating while driving but expected an Airstream to run better than this.

Any thoughts????

Sue
Hi, we have a 2019 27' Flying Cloud. Our InterState batteries died as well. We decided to add solar panels, lithium batteries and a new inverter. We are very happy with our new system.
I was a sailor as well and RVing is very similar. You have tools onboard, so you can fix things that fail while you are traveling. I do miss boating and especially sailing, but we have started another chapter in our life.
We just traveled across country and are very happy with our AS. We did upgrade to the new 16" Michelin Cross Climate tires. After 5,000 miles the Goodyear tires were okay, but worn. Don't give up!
Rich
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
That decision was made because my wife does not enjoy sailing and her physical issues precluded sailing trips of more than a day sail. Yes, life is short and I chose to do something that we can do together. My complaint is that, even after spending months browsing the forum years ago, I still chose to buy an Airstream. Like many other buyers, I thought that only the complaints showed up on the forum and they couldn't all be that bad. My dumb mistake! When I finally do sell, I will not shed a tear. As I have said before, a major draw to staying with it is the good friends we have made with Airstreams. Just buying an SOB, if there were a quality SOB, would generally eliminate our ability to spend time with them. Besides, it isn't the time to buy an RV, as you said. Chess isn't an option either.
Larry
Although I understand that you miss sailing, I am surprised that you feel that the Airstream was a mistake. Yes, Airstreams are nowhere near as well built as a “typical” boat and yes they do need constant fiddling but in more than 25 years of sailing and now cruising on a power boat, I’ve never had a day go by without having to look at something! in fact, I’d say that a typical day aboard a boat is actually more challenging. Boating is certainly far more work than Airstreaming.
We have been aboard our tug about 50% of the time in the past 3 years. It is a beautifully built and well maintained almost 4 year old boat now and it just demands time! I love the work so I simply chug away at it. And... you can purchase a brand new 30’ Classic Airstream and the tow vehicle of your choice for less than any new sailboat made of similar living accommodation. If you have never owned a new boat in that price range, you will be surprised at the work it takes to shake it out.
Then there is dockage, hauling, electronics, bottom paint etc...
All in all, I’d say that our take on Airstream vs boat is that the Airstream is far less costly and far less expensive!
Yes, I fully expect that there will be a small stream of silly failures with our new Airstream (due to be released from the factory floor this coming Monday!) but I see it as just part of the experience.
Of course, we could get really unlucky and then I’ll be angry for a bit but...
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Old 12-05-2020, 03:22 PM   #15
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2006 34' Classic S/O
Fort Worth , Texas
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The batteries probably died because the shore powered converter could not keep up with the demand. There are a couple of fuses on the output side of the converter. Check them as well as the input AC socket for power. If the inverter is out the factory will replace it or send you another one. Otherwise, the AGMs should charge up to full. If not, they may be defective. Are they LifeLines? That battery has the most capacity per pound, albeit expensive.
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Old 12-05-2020, 05:19 PM   #16
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Napa , California
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ALL make and all models of trailers have battery issues unless you are fully aware of the necessity for upkeep -constant trickle charge, adding water, desulfation, and using them wisely. We had one brand new trailer with dead batteries and the dealer just shrugged at us -no remediation at all. Good news, Costco carries them and are always willing to give you the remaining "value" even if they died young (and you've got to know we learned that on a long trip with dying batteries...).

Ohter issues happen, heater doesn't work or converter goes on the fritz...but usually those are covered by warrantee. The big difference between RV and houses is you are on the move and you aren't always using everything on any one trip so you may not have given the trailer a full shake down to start. Not only that, some folks only travel on nice, smooth paved roads and others...well, they see the dirt road as a challenge. So many systems, so much can go awry.

Airstream is really good for taking care of most issues, other brands are not. If you really feel you got a "Lemon" -get rid of it and try a different type of trailer. In our 40+ years of trailering, our Airstream has fewer issues than any of our other brand trailers and with ALL the others, major issues were dealt with a shoulder shrug and a cost to fix estimate...at least Airstream has covered everything so far (2019 GT).
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Old 12-05-2020, 07:04 PM   #17
UnklJoe
 
2015 28' Flying Cloud
Box Elder , South Dakota
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 98
I wonder if the super-intuitive USE/STORE switch is being used properly....

Also, we don't know if the OP is boondocking or camping with hook-ups, in which case there should be no real reason to use the Inverter for anything.

In my personal opinion the configuration of the USE/STORE switch is really, Really, REALLY poor! Did I mention how bad it is??? It's an abomination and an embarrassment because it's too easy to think it's in the "right" position when it's not. While there's a very, very faint difference in the sound of the latching solenoid when the switch is cycled, it can't be trusted all the time.

Do yourself a favor and get a good multi-stage converter/charger (I don't know what brand were used on 2019 models, but WFCO does not qualify.)

I am actually thinking of designing my own USE/STORE switch--one that would be a direct replacement for the existing one and would have sufficient indicating lights (meaning at least two) to quickly let the user know if the batteries are being charged or not if the trailer is plugged into shore power.

Lastly, I don't think this was mentioned before but leaving the trailer unplugged when you're not traveling--even with the USE/STORE switch (there's that confusion factor, yet again!) in the right position--DOES NOT remove all the load from the battery. At a minimum, the propane detector is ALWAYS powered on, and in a couple of weeks it will draw a battery down to its knees. In my 2015 FC28 the subwoofer was also powered continuously.... I have heard and read of this in other people's trailers as well. And, if when camping the inverter switch is left in the ON position there is a steady drain on the batteries, also.

Personally, I only use the inverter when I gotta have coffee in the morning in a big box store parking lot, or when the DW (Dear Wife) wants to watch videos when there's a power outage in the campground or we're boondocking. Other than that, the inverter is always OFF.

It won't be long before I install my battery disconnect switch to completely disconnect the battery from the trailer loads. I don't want to put a switch on the propane detector power supply; too easy to forget and I was started by it one morning when it alerted us to the fact that one of the stove burners had gotten bumped and propane was slowly leaking out. (I had heard a slight hissing noise, but didn't know where it might be coming from and neglected to check the stove.)

In closing:

--Get a good multi-stage charger/converter.
--Leave the Inverter OFF unless you're using it (you can plug the TVs and DVD player into non-inverter outputs)
--Learn to use the super-intuitive USE/STORE switch (forget what's written in the manual); a red LED means there is 12 V to power the trailer's 12 V circuits--it DOES NOT indicate where the 12 V supply is coming from, it could be from the batteries or it could be from the charger/converter (the most serious shortcoming of the USE/STORE switch); everyone with an Airstream has had to learn how to use this super-intuitive feature, as well as the fans in the ceiling
--If plugged into shore power at a campsite, I usually leave the USE/STORE switch in USE mode for a couple of days, watching the battery voltmeter; this allows the charger/converter to charge the batter (which also supplies the power for the trailer). When I see 13.6 or 13.7 V, I then switch the USE/STORE switch to STORE and let the converter/charger supply the majority of the 12 V power for the trailer, while keeping an eye on the battery voltage, which will drop slowly. I flip the USE/STORE switch back to USE when the battery voltage gets down to about 13.0-13.2 VDC.

--Put a small piece of Stainless Steel screen in the vent of the heater; I have had mud daubers and other flying creatures get up in there (I used to live in Berthoud).

When the trailer is unplugged from shore power and the USE/STORE switch is in the USE mode, then lights and fans and the radio can be used in the trailer. The red LED on the USE/STORE switch will be on in this case. When you click the USE/STORE switch to the STORE position, the red LED will go out and you won't be able to use the fans or lights or radio in the trailer. HOWEVER, the propane detector is still being powered (always) and in my trailer so was the subwoofer. On my trailer the battery voltage would drop to 12 V, sometimes 11.7 V, in two weeks. Solution? Disconnect the negative terminals from the batteries--that completely disconnects the batteries from any loads. (A battery disconnect switch is easier, but more costly and time-consuming to install to make it look like it was probably done at the factory.)

Finally, I got a nifty new battery charger for the winter when I take the batteries out of my trailer and store them indoors. It's brand name is Xtreme XC100P, and it's pulsating, desulfating charger. I'm hoping for good things from it! Not cheap, but then neither are new batteries, and for me it's the time spent getting them replaced under warranty that I don't like wasting. (I ordered mine off ebay; best price I could find.)

I hope you're not dealing with the local Northern CO Airstream Dealer for warranty issues. And, their walk-throughs are also pretty weak. Make a list of the issues you're having and do contact Jackson Center to make them aware of your concerns.

Hope this helps!!!
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Old 12-05-2020, 07:07 PM   #18
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2020 25' International
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It's just another house to maintain, but it's not attached to the grid. There's a learning curve with energy management. Watch 100's of Youtube videos. Fix it and get it back on the road. Happy trails.
Another house to maintain! A house that withstands an earthquake most of the time you pull it to your destination!!! You don't have a lemon and are not alone. Mine is a 2020! Every time I read a post like this, it brings me a little peace knowing Im not alone. Bring a small tool set, roll of duct tape, can of silicone spray and a bottle of wine! ...or 3!!! Pull that cork, and enjoy your Airstream. ...its all so worth it!!!
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Old 12-05-2020, 07:29 PM   #19
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Naples , Florida
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Yup...I went the solar route, upgraded inverter and batteries, too. Best $ I ever spent on my FC...never a worry about the batteries going dead.
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Old 12-06-2020, 03:30 AM   #20
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Trent Woods , North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
Although I understand that you miss sailing, I am surprised that you feel that the Airstream was a mistake. Yes, Airstreams are nowhere near as well built as a “typical” boat and yes they do need constant fiddling but in more than 25 years of sailing and now cruising on a power boat, I’ve never had a day go by without having to look at something! in fact, I’d say that a typical day aboard a boat is actually more challenging. Boating is certainly far more work than Airstreaming.
We have been aboard our tug about 50% of the time in the past 3 years. It is a beautifully built and well maintained almost 4 year old boat now and it just demands time! I love the work so I simply chug away at it. And... you can purchase a brand new 30’ Classic Airstream and the tow vehicle of your choice for less than any new sailboat made of similar living accommodation. If you have never owned a new boat in that price range, you will be surprised at the work it takes to shake it out.
Then there is dockage, hauling, electronics, bottom paint etc...
All in all, I’d say that our take on Airstream vs boat is that the Airstream is far less costly and far less expensive!
Yes, I fully expect that there will be a small stream of silly failures with our new Airstream (due to be released from the factory floor this coming Monday!) but I see it as just part of the experience.
Of course, we could get really unlucky and then I’ll be angry for a bit but...
Rather than hijacking this thread further, I'll start a new thread.
Larry
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