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Old 12-24-2020, 05:18 AM   #1
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Bad experience.

I hate posting something negative about Airstream, but I have had a fairly horrible experience with the company and product. I picked up my brand new 2021 Flying Cloud in November from the dealership. I have been living in it full time ever since. The process of getting the camper was tough. Understandably, COVID pushed everything back by a few months, which was fine. But I was told by the dealership that my camper would be ready by the end of October. With that date in mind, I ended my lease. October 31 comes, and the camper still isnít ready. The dealership canít give me a date because they outsource the shipping contracts. So I was stuck homeless for a week while we waited for it to show up. I will say, the dealership was flexible enough to allow me to stay on their lot, in my rv for two nights while they got everything ready. But still, I ended up paying $100ís of dollars trying to live out of a hotel, with a dog, and immunocompromised fiancť. Fast forward about two weeks after pick up. We loved our Airstream and everything about it. Then our furnace broke. In Connecticut in the winter, and again, I live with an immunocompromised person. So I pulled out the manual and checked the troubleshooting guide with no success. The issue was strange. It would work for an hour or so, or maybe even a day or two, then die again randomly and I would discover that by waking up at 3am to a 40 degree interior. Naturally I called up the dealership right away, and they gave me what guidance they could over the phone, because I lived 2.5 hours away from the dealer. I called Airstream directly, and Dometic for tech assistance and no one was able to help. Finally I towed the trailer to a close by rv shop that could do Dometic warranty work because unfortunately, there isnít a single traveling tech within range of my campground. Anyway, the tech said there was nothing wrong except a loose ground wire (which I know how to check for) and sent my home after I paid $130. That fix lasted almost a week until I woke up to a freezing camper again. So I call up the dealership and their tech told me to purchase a new circuit board, which I did, with my own cash and swapped it out. That fix lasted 2; hours. I had to get a hotel to keep warm. At this point I gave up and managed to shovel the camper out of a foot of snow and get it to the dealership. They kept it for 48 hours, then said it was ready for pick up. They said there wasnít anything wrong, except maybe some loose wiring, and that they only had trouble getting it to start the ďfirst timeĒc but it ran great after that. So I pick it up again, on the 23rd so that I get it before everything shuts down for the holidays, and so that I can stop paying more $$$ to live in a hotel instead of my $80,000 camper. The furnace was working when I picked it up, but I pulled into a rest area off the highway to rest for the night. And again no furnace. And to top it off, when I went to use the motorized jack, that wouldnít work either! So I am sitting at a highway rest stop, in my 49 degree camper with my fiancť and dog, wondering what the heck are we going to do for the holidays? I was depending on this camper being my home and it has caused me nothing but major stress and expense.
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Old 12-24-2020, 05:33 AM   #2
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Sorry for your experience, although there have been numerous posts such as yours in the recent past. It is well recognized that Airstream is not delivering trailers with uniform quality(said gently). What will likely happen here is that you will see a post from Airstream, Inc offering to help you. I don't have much faith in that. You seem to be doing all of the right things to get your trailer fixed, especially in these difficult times. I really wish people would stop buying from Airstream so that there would be some motivation to improve the quality. It doesn't matter that the furnace is made by Dometic; it is installed in an Airstream product!
Larry
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Old 12-24-2020, 05:50 AM   #3
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A long shot.

Furnace model number.

Referring just to current situation, not past, any codes anywhere?

If you can, open outside furnace access panels. Look at the wiring area in general. Post a few pics of it.

Good luck, keep info coming.

Gary
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Old 12-24-2020, 06:09 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum!

Sorry for your baptism by fire . . . however . . . as Larry said . . . your bad experience is not unusual . . . unfortunately . . .



You might consider applying to be on the 2021 "Customer Council" . . . just recently announced by the company:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f48...il-217789.html

Unfortunately the deadline to apply is soon . . . the end of next week.



Good luck and Happy Holidays!
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Old 12-24-2020, 06:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
Sorry for your experience, although there have been numerous posts such as yours in the recent past. It is well recognized that Airstream is not delivering trailers with uniform quality(said gently). What will likely happen here is that you will see a post from Airstream, Inc offering to help you. I don't have much faith in that. You seem to be doing all of the right things to get your trailer fixed, especially in these difficult times. I really wish people would stop buying from Airstream so that there would be some motivation to improve the quality. It doesn't matter that the furnace is made by Dometic; it is installed in an Airstream product!

Larry


I very much wish I would have known that. Would never have given them my business knowing what Iíve gone through here.
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Old 12-24-2020, 06:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Welcome to the forum!

Sorry for your baptism by fire . . . however . . . as Larry said . . . your bad experience is not unusual . . . unfortunately . . .



You might consider applying to be on the 2021 "Customer Council" . . . just recently announced by the company:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f48...il-217789.html

Unfortunately the deadline to apply is soon . . . the end of next week.



Good luck and Happy Holidays!


I had really high expectations for Airstream. I already applied for the customer council haha. Itís a shame to hear that my experience isnít unique.
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Old 12-24-2020, 06:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by GCinSC2 View Post
A long shot.

Furnace model number.

Referring just to current situation, not past, any codes anywhere?

If you can, open outside furnace access panels. Look at the wiring area in general. Post a few pics of it.

Good luck, keep info coming.

Gary

Honesty Iíve been through all that. I get mixed indications. Sometimes thereís a warning light referenced on the troubleshoot guide, sometimes nothing, and sometimes the light just flashes rapidly (which isnít an option on the guide and the Dometic service line was stumped.) Iím not an expert but I expect a wiring issue. At this point I want a brand new furnace. Or to just get my money back for a faulty product and walk away from this situation. Not to mention compensation for the $$$ I spent on hotels, transport, etc along with all of the pain and stress this stuff has caused us.
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Old 12-24-2020, 06:28 AM   #8
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Please post pic of wiring.

Model number allows others to search.
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Old 12-24-2020, 06:51 AM   #9
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I am feeling in a "give advice" mood, which you get a lot of on the forum. If your only problem is is the furnace, it can be fixed...by a technician who knows what he is doing. Even if you must contact Airstream directly to get a warranty replacement, it can be done. A little tricky because it is a Dometic product, but you are still early in the warranty period and I think Airstream would have to agree to replace the whole unit, as opposed to dealers simply trying repairs.
The problem is that things things take time and persistence and are counter to the concept of someone trying to live in the trailer during all of this.
On a less optimistic note, you may want to rethink your plans to live in an RV. You say you are in CT in the winter. Well most RV's, including Airstreams, are not really winter trailers. They are not insulated, condensation is a real problem, and freezing pipes is a real risk. Many campgrounds simply close facilities so you cannot winterize your trailer and still live in it. Even Airstream's propaganda ultimately tells you that they are not intended for full time living, although there are plenty of people who do it. There are other brands built for 4 season living and maybe you can get your furnace fixed, sell in this seller's market, and buy something more suitable....or move back into a stationary domicile.
Larry
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Old 12-24-2020, 08:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amkost92 View Post
I had really high expectations for Airstream.
This is the mistake. All RV's, including Airstream, are troublesome when new. Just as an example, our furnace didn't work either because of a bad circuit board. Not Airstream's fault, but the buyer still has to deal with the new RV problem. Your problem might be Airstream's fault with the wiring or it might be the furnace manufacturer's fault. A new RV owner needs to plan to deal with initial problems. Unfortunate, but true.
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Old 12-24-2020, 08:19 AM   #11
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You should get a couple of electric space heaters in the meantime while this problem is fixed....or as others said, get into a better situation so youíre safe & comfortable while you run this gremlin down.

I understand your frustration. Thereís nothing worse than an intermittent problem....and of course the problem doesnít show up when you go to the dealer. The furnace on our 2020 AS has never been reliable. The local dealer (2 hour drive) replaced the sail switch. Problem not solved. At one point I was convinced it was the control board because I measured a widely varying voltage going to the fan motor. I neglected to check the input power voltage to the furnace. Selling dealer sent me a replacement control board. Same problem.

The furnace then ran ok for months. Now on the current trip itís acting up again. Luckily weíre in the FL panhandle and can use the heat pumps.

Iím scheduling a visit to Jackson Center as I now believe the problem is external to the furnace itself....maybe input power or T-stat?

My problem and maybe yours too is probably some marginal connection in a wiring harness somewhere. Itís unfortunate but a crazy gremlin like that can cause a lot of frustration until itís exorcised.
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Old 12-24-2020, 08:20 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by DCPAS View Post
This is the mistake. All RV's, including Airstream, are troublesome when new. Just as an example, our furnace didn't work either because of a bad circuit board. Not Airstream's fault, but the buyer still has to deal with the new RV problem. Your problem might be Airstream's fault with the wiring or it might be the furnace manufacturer's fault. A new RV owner needs to plan to deal with initial problems. Unfortunate, but true.


100%. There is a shakedown period for a new RV. Something isnít going to work exactly right, you will have to fix it, and then once your few issues are settled and working well, you have a fantastic trailer to go travel the country in.

I would not be too upset with Airstream, I would be upset with a decision to jump straight to full timing in it before you even picked it up. Deal with the hard weeks of breaking in the trailer, and then consider the starting point as when your first few challenges are resolved. Also, since you are in a trailer, consider driving south.
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Old 12-24-2020, 09:10 AM   #13
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OK

Suggestions for anyone thinking they have a wiring problem.

IF the gas furnace worked, stops working, starts working pattern and trying to figure out possible fix short of hiring a tech or firing the parts cannon and testing the CC. Consider this approach.

Open both outside panels, look at the wiring. See all of the crimped connections and in particular TAP connections? Carefully check them, see if they are fully seated onto the terminal, a SLIGHT pull to see if the wire is loose and can be wiggled IN the crimp, now for the one that got me the inline TAP connection. This is a connection where one wire connects to a running wire mid run, not at the end of the wire run. These are possible a blade type insulation piercing connection. Simple and effective IF they are done correctly and working.

If you're able, have the furnace in the run condition and if it doesn't run, now carefully bump the suspect crimp or TAP connection. If it starts to run, bingo shut it down and do something with the suspect connection.

That's how I found bad connections on my furnace years ago and I made a real connection and that was that.

Of course other conditions may exist. But when temp is a dropping I get busy trying to fix it. Like a few weeks ago furnace was running but heat was about 100 deg output not it's usual 160-170 deg output. I pulled the burner, nothing, but after pulling the gas diffuser and then the orifice found that bugs laid eggs(?) in the hole and the remains were blocking gas output. Cleaned and back to full heat.

Nothing but thinking about how it should run vs how it was running and getting into it.

Gary
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Old 12-24-2020, 10:55 AM   #14
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Are you running your furnace while on batteries or are you hooked up to shore power? The batteries don’t have enough capacity to run the furnace all night. If on shore power do you some supplemental electric heaters?
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Old 12-24-2020, 11:19 AM   #15
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Two small electric heaters, one in front and one in back, will keep the trailer relatively warm till you can get the furnace straightened out. Though, this will not keep the belly warm. Try to keep the waste tanks emptied.
I use Lasco Tower heaters (not too expensive, available at local stores, quiet, and digital thermostat)
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Old 12-24-2020, 11:32 AM   #16
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Amkost92,
As Alan said, space heaters will go a long way towards keeping you comfortable at a camping level. Or an electric blanket... Or lots of cocoa and hot tea...
Are you tied to the location? (Job, family, medical, etc?) There are lots of easier places to spend the winter.
Bottom, the difference between a successful camper and a frustrated one is the willingness to be flexible. Have a Plan B. Don’t get stampeded into using up all your resources on an untenable approach.
While it must seem like a “rotten” holiday is looming, things will get better. As Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Make the most of the best and the least of the worst.” We’re all pulling for you to get things sorted soon.
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Old 12-24-2020, 12:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
I am feeling in a "give advice" mood, which you get a lot of on the forum. If your only problem is is the furnace, it can be fixed...by a technician who knows what he is doing. Even if you must contact Airstream directly to get a warranty replacement, it can be done. A little tricky because it is a Dometic product, but you are still early in the warranty period and I think Airstream would have to agree to replace the whole unit, as opposed to dealers simply trying repairs.

The problem is that things things take time and persistence and are counter to the concept of someone trying to live in the trailer during all of this.

On a less optimistic note, you may want to rethink your plans to live in an RV. You say you are in CT in the winter. Well most RV's, including Airstreams, are not really winter trailers. They are not insulated, condensation is a real problem, and freezing pipes is a real risk. Many campgrounds simply close facilities so you cannot winterize your trailer and still live in it. Even Airstream's propaganda ultimately tells you that they are not intended for full time living, although there are plenty of people who do it. There are other brands built for 4 season living and maybe you can get your furnace fixed, sell in this seller's market, and buy something more suitable....or move back into a stationary domicile.

Larry


Yeah I see your point, but Iím pretty much committed at this point. I took care of the condensation issues and the freezing isnít a problem as long as I use my heated hose and trickle the water to keep it moving when itís below freezing. And yes absolutely, a replacement furnace would do the trick. The issue is being displaced while I fight for that over the holidays. Tough to manage life and a broken house.
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Old 12-24-2020, 12:15 PM   #18
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It's unfortunate the OP did not come here at the onset of this issue. It seems now frustration has built to the point where working through this may not be an option. Gary has tried to provide some initial guidance, to no avail so far.

Two space heaters as was mentioned with a 1000-1200 W setting would be great as a start that will stay below the 15 Amp trip point.

Next a couple photos will help us help you.

Most likely is loose connection(s) as Gary indicated. The fact that you put it back on the road and then it works again is more indication of that. It is possible it is a bad component with an internal bad connection also. It may be in the furnace or it may be in the Airstream wiring, or it may even be the Heat Pump as it tells the furnace to run. The only practical time to troubleshoot this is when it is not working. Much of it is analog so we can jumper around stuff to sort out the problem but you need to be a bit handy with electrical systems and careful to avoid getting hurt.

So if you are willing to try again, let us help you. It may be time consuming and may be frustrating, but we will either get it working or determine what must be replaced. Taking this back to the dealer is going to be hit and miss.
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Old 12-24-2020, 12:36 PM   #19
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As well we all know that Airstream makes money by mistake, and enough said about their wiring.....leaves a lot to be desired ! But in this case it may not be their fault. Winter times decrease battery usage by as much as 50%. A descent multimeter should be able to diagnose your problem and as others have said, a back-up plan of an extra electric heater would not be a bad idea. My guess is that you are losing battery voltage which prevents the heater from igniting. Although the fan and/or pump may be running their is not enough voltage present for the board to fire the flame. Do you carry a small 110 volt generator ??? Although you spent a lot of money on your trailer you can't count on someone else fixing your problems regardless if it's new/under warranty or whatever.....so unless you want to keep complaining and spending a lot of money on hotels or whatever you better learn how to care of these things yourself, Regards, Bob
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Old 12-24-2020, 03:47 PM   #20
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Mr. Buddy Heater is a good way (IMHO) to take the chill off and keep the trailer warm while saving the batteries. Could be a couple of different things from the propane pressure regulator, thermostat, wiring, etc... Sadly, RV's do not have the same level of qualitity that an automobile has from the dealership. Add to that, the RV industry has worked hard to keep the lemon-laws written for RV's in their favor. That, along with folks thinking since they purchased an "Airstream" due to the cost, there should be less problems. The only thing that Airstream really has control over is the chassis, wiring, plumbing and cabinets. All the systems, running gear, etc... Are built by the same folks that a cheaper RV company gets their stuff from as well.

One quick solution would be to drive south 18 hours down I-95, that should put you close to the Florida line, there you'll need the Air Conditioner, not the heater ;-)

Good Luck
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