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Old 11-04-2014, 02:00 PM   #1
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HELP! Warranty Work by Non-Airstream Dealer?

We have a relatively new Airstream trailer that we bought in April. After six months of shakedowns, there are various things that need to be fixed. Unfortunately, there isn't an Airstream dealer in Atlanta. The place that we used to bring our PAPOS* will not work on Airstreams (though they told us before we bought it that they would!).

That leaves us with closing our eyes and picking a name out of the phone book ... or driving 500 miles to have the dealer work on it. I know that many people must be in this situation, so I'm curious what people do.


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Old 11-04-2014, 02:10 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Belbein View Post
We have a relatively new Airstream trailer that we bought in April. After six months of shakedowns, there are various things that need to be fixed. Unfortunately, there isn't an Airstream dealer in Atlanta. The place that we used to bring our PAPOS* will not work on Airstreams (though they told us before we bought it that they would!).

That leaves us with closing our eyes and picking a name out of the phone book ... or driving 500 miles to have the dealer work on it. I know that many people must be in this situation, so I'm curious what people do.
It varies by state. Some states (Louisiana is one of them) do not allow third-party warranty repairs. In those states, if you want warranty work done, you have to take it to a dealer. Check your state's regulations, and if you end up having to go out-of-state, also check the state where you intend to have the work performed. It could save some surprises where the repairs you thought would be free aren't free at all.
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Old 11-04-2014, 02:15 PM   #3
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I suspect it is like asking why a Ford dealer won't do warranty work on a Chevy.
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Old 11-04-2014, 02:25 PM   #4
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If this indeed is a warranty issue call Airstream and they will direct you to a dealer that they would approve. I think you are talking about repairs in general and here is my take. A lot of what goes into an Airstream is the same as you find in the typical white box. Appliances, electronics and such can be handled by any shop that typically works on these things. It gets much tougher when you have distinctly Airstream issues like body panels and such.

Atlanta has to have a good number of reputable RV repair/dealers. Contact some and explain what you want done and you should be able to find one willing to work on your Airstream. If not, you will have to seek out your nearest Airstream dealer. How far would that be?
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Old 11-04-2014, 02:32 PM   #5
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OP, question. The work you need done, is it the trailer structure or onboard systems. If systems such as appliances, frig, water heater, AC, fans, etc. they are covered by the manufactures warranty. If so contact that maker and see who they recommend in your area.
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Old 11-04-2014, 06:05 PM   #6
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If this indeed is a warranty issue call Airstream and they will direct you to a dealer that they would approve. I think you are talking about repairs in general and here is my take. A lot of what goes into an Airstream is the same as you find in the typical white box. Appliances, electronics and such can be handled by any shop that typically works on these things. It gets much tougher when you have distinctly Airstream issues like body panels and such.

Atlanta has to have a good number of reputable RV repair/dealers. Contact some and explain what you want done and you should be able to find one willing to work on your Airstream. If not, you will have to seek out your nearest Airstream dealer. How far would that be?
"Has to have," eh? So far, the only one I've found who will even talk about the possibility won't work for Airstream's dictated labor charges. When Protagonist said "surprises ... work you thought was free isn't free at all," that's the nightmare it seems like I'm facing.
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Old 11-04-2014, 06:14 PM   #7
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If this indeed is a warranty issue call Airstream and they will direct you to a dealer that they would approve. I think you are talking about repairs in general and here is my take. A lot of what goes into an Airstream is the same as you find in the typical white box. Appliances, electronics and such can be handled by any shop that typically works on these things. It gets much tougher when you have distinctly Airstream issues like body panels and such.

Atlanta has to have a good number of reputable RV repair/dealers. Contact some and explain what you want done and you should be able to find one willing to work on your Airstream. If not, you will have to seek out your nearest Airstream dealer. How far would that be?
By the way, contrary to what Aftermath said--which is what I would've thought before today--Airstream would NOT give me the names of anyone that they would approve of, much less anyone they've dealt with. What, mine is the first AS that needed warranty work in Atlanta? Airstream will give me a list of repair shops who have national RV repair certification, presumably certification to work on Big White Boxes, not AS's. AS corporate undoubtedly know who's good and who's bad, but they're not sharing.

So doesn't this strike you as odd? AS treats the trailers like they're just generic RVs that anyone can deal with, hence giving me a generic list. The repair shops treat Airstreams like they're either too special for them to deal with, or on the other hand, if they don't have to abide by AS's pricing and if I agree to do all my own warranty cost submission. Seems a little contradictory.
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Old 11-04-2014, 06:36 PM   #8
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Sorry you are in this predicament.

We are 200 -300 miles from the closest dealer, and 2 of them are in smaller metro areas than where we live. So I feel your pain.

This is one of the considerations we look at in the new vs used question. We also have visited 2 of the 3 dealers to see and touch and meet them. Still haven't seen the third. It was a good way to get the impression of what they know and if you would trust them for good work.
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Old 11-04-2014, 06:47 PM   #9
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Sorry you are in this predicament.

We are 200 -300 miles from the closest dealer, and 2 of them are in smaller metro areas than where we live. So I feel your pain.

This is one of the considerations we look at in the new vs used question. We also have visited 2 of the 3 dealers to see and touch and meet them. Still haven't seen the third. It was a good way to get the impression of what they know and if you would trust them for good work.
Yep, PB, you're right. It's a major consideration. If you buy new to get the warranty but can't get the warranty work done without driving a day each way, then it sure discounts the value of that warranty, and therefore of "newness."
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Old 11-04-2014, 06:52 PM   #10
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By the way, contrary to what Aftermath said--which is what I would've thought before today--Airstream would NOT give me the names of anyone that they would approve of, much less anyone they've dealt with. What, mine is the first AS that needed warranty work in Atlanta? Airstream will give me a list of repair shops who have national RV repair certification, presumably certification to work on Big White Boxes, not AS's. AS corporate undoubtedly know who's good and who's bad, but they're not sharing.

So doesn't this strike you as odd? AS treats the trailers like they're just generic RVs that anyone can deal with, hence giving me a generic list. The repair shops treat Airstreams like they're either too special for them to deal with, or on the other hand, if they don't have to abide by AS's pricing and if I agree to do all my own warranty cost submission. Seems a little contradictory.
I said above that Airstream must know the names of folks in the Atlanta area but they're not sharing. I need to correct that. It turns out from my personal e-mail that they are trying to be helpful. I will say that their customer service folks are really good.

I remain perplexed, nevertheless, by some of the factors in this equation.
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Old 11-04-2014, 07:18 PM   #11
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FWIW, Three Way Camper was at one time a respected Airstream dealer and they still have a bunch of Airstream specific parts. I heard very few good reports on Camping World when they were an Airstream dealer. The closest Airstream specific dealers to the Atlanta area, are Foley's in gulf coast AL, Chilhowee in TN, and Out of Doors Mart in NC. They are all about the same drive time of 5-6 hours depending on which side of ATL you are on.
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:24 AM   #12
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Aviator (I met you in Hiawassee, didn't I?): Have you used any of these Atlanta-area folks or know anyone who has? One of them told me they'd work on it, but would not be bound by Airstream's labor price limits, which sounds like an argument waiting to happen.
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:34 AM   #13
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any service that is a/s specific has to be done at a/s flat rate . no discussion.
if problem is not a/s specific the appl manufacturer has their own flat rate .
I have always found a/s to be fair with my shop in the past and as such don't know why your local has a problem ? I'm not a dealer but do warr work for them , have to call for ok , this may be the problem for your local as can take time ?
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Old 11-05-2014, 01:10 PM   #14
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I have not used any of the commercial businesses. I have used Rob (Skaterio) for some work on my 1970 and have seen his other work on his trailer which is great.

Yes, we did meet at Falluminum.
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Old 11-05-2014, 02:56 PM   #15
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If the problem area has its own manufacturer's warranty, use it. We went down that road and had great experience with the manufacturer standing behind the warranty on our furnace and refrigerator. If it is AS specific, then you have no choice.
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Old 11-05-2014, 03:33 PM   #16
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any service that is a/s specific has to be done at a/s flat rate . no discussion.
if problem is not a/s specific the appl manufacturer has their own flat rate .
I have always found a/s to be fair with my shop in the past and as such don't know why your local has a problem ? I'm not a dealer but do warr work for them , have to call for ok , this may be the problem for your local as can take time ?
CrestonRV: I think you're on to something. What's interesting is that I've gotten three results from the Atlanta-area RV shops. (1) No, we don't work on Airstreams [no explanation, not willing to discuss, just no no no] (2) We will work on Airstreams if we have to, but we're not working for their rates, won't submit paperwork to them and don't want to deal with them and (3) Yes, glad to.

Given that I'm a loyal customer of Shop #1--I was a loyal customer of Shop #1--I found that particularly bizarre. Shop #2 lead to my question about whether AS is just difficult to work with on repairs. Of course we're going to be using Shop #3.

Thanks, everyone, for your input. It helped.
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Old 11-05-2014, 03:36 PM   #17
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Sanders rv in Alachua, fl. Is about 300 miles south on I75. Been an AS dealer for years. Give them a call with your problems.
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Old 11-06-2014, 04:41 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by crestonrv View Post
any service that is a/s specific has to be done at a/s flat rate . no discussion.
if problem is not a/s specific the appl manufacturer has their own flat rate .
I have always found a/s to be fair with my shop in the past and as such don't know why your local has a problem ? I'm not a dealer but do warr work for them , have to call for ok , this may be the problem for your local as can take time ?
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CrestonRV: I think you're on to something. What's interesting is that I've gotten three results from the Atlanta-area RV shops. (1) No, we don't work on Airstreams [no explanation, not willing to discuss, just no no no] (2) We will work on Airstreams if we have to, but we're not working for their rates, won't submit paperwork to them and don't want to deal with them and (3) Yes, glad to.

Given that I'm a loyal customer of Shop #1--I was a loyal customer of Shop #1--I found that particularly bizarre. Shop #2 lead to my question about whether AS is just difficult to work with on repairs. Of course we're going to be using Shop #3.

Thanks, everyone, for your input. It helped.
To the best of my knowledge most if not all RV manufacturers require the repair shop to contact the manufacturer prior to performing warranty work. Some manufacturers are more responsive than others. I have friends with a variety of units, one company takes weeks to respond to requests for warranty work. Another all it takes is a quick phone call. YMMV

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Old 11-06-2014, 08:26 AM   #19
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Couple of folks asked what you need fixed. If it is not an 'aftermarket' product like the store, fridge, A/C then why not simply go back to Jackson Center on a road trip and get the work done at the factory?
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Old 11-06-2014, 08:40 AM   #20
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When I bought my 78 AS it needed plumbing work and some electrical so I took it to a big RV place 2 miles from my house,,,,,$4500.00 later almost all the repairs were not working the plumbing was leaking and some of the switches were hooked up wrong. Over 90% of the bill was labour.
Now I take it to CanAM RV a 4 hr drive from my house. Most of the work had to be redone so if you have to take your AS a days drive from your house I'd say do it some AS dealers have parking and you could stay over. Taking an AS to a rv repair place could be just throwing your money away.
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