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Old 05-11-2020, 08:42 AM   #1
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2020 19' Bambi
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Airstream Quality and Reliability?

Hello,

I just purchased a 2020 Bambi 19' and man I never knew Airstream had such bad quality issues. This is my first Airstream and going in I though I was going to have a pretty high quality low maintenance trailer. Well, I assumed that since they are definitely not cheap! These are my issues I've had with the trailer since purchase(5 months):
1. The emergency exit window above the bed was leaking because the latches weren't tight enough. Once I fixed that, it decided to start leaking though a panel gap below that same window. I seem to get that fixed by resealing all of the trailer lights.
2. Sometimes when I turn on the A/C unit, the fan doesn't come on until I turn it on the highest speed, then it will kick on. Meanwhile, this A/C unit isn't powerful enough for a Florida summer, but we shall see. Right now, I am having to run it on coldest setting and highest fan speed pretty much the whole day.
3. The drawer below the dinette sometimes falls off the tracks.
4.There is rust starting to show at the edge of the kitchen sink.
5. Some of the cabinet doors have uneven gaps on the top. This isn't a huge issue to me, but it does make me question the overall quality of the trailer.

Just a little background: me and my family bought this to place in the backyard for someone to live in for the next few years. The backyard is quite complicated so there was no way in hell I was getting it out for service if it was something I could fix myself, like the window latches and sealing the lights.

What are your guys thoughts? I am being super realistic here. I'm not one of those people that bash the whole trailer just because of one thing. I still love the trailer besides all of the issues above. I just would have never thought I would have these types of issues out of a brand new trailer thats $50k and only 5 months old.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:54 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waikelejake View Post
Hello,

I just purchased a 2020 Bambi 19' and man I never knew Airstream had such bad quality issues. This is my first Airstream and going in I though I was going to have a pretty high quality low maintenance trailer. Well, I assumed that since they are definitely not cheap! These are my issues I've had with the trailer since purchase(5 months):
1. The emergency exit window above the bed was leaking because the latches weren't tight enough. Once I fixed that, it decided to start leaking though a panel gap below that same window. I seem to get that fixed by resealing all of the trailer lights.
2. Sometimes when I turn on the A/C unit, the fan doesn't come on until I turn it on the highest speed, then it will kick on. Meanwhile, this A/C unit isn't powerful enough for a Florida summer, but we shall see. Right now, I am having to run it on coldest setting and highest fan speed pretty much the whole day.
3. The drawer below the dinette sometimes falls off the tracks.
4.There is rust starting to show at the edge of the kitchen sink.
5. Some of the cabinet doors have uneven gaps on the top. This isn't a huge issue to me, but it does make me question the overall quality of the trailer.

Just a little background: me and my family bought this to place in the backyard for someone to live in for the next few years. The backyard is quite complicated so there was no way in hell I was getting it out for service if it was something I could fix myself, like the window latches and sealing the lights.

What are your guys thoughts? I am being super realistic here. I'm not one of those people that bash the whole trailer just because of one thing. I still love the trailer besides all of the issues above. I just would have never thought I would have these types of issues out of a brand new trailer thats $50k and only 5 months old.
Hi waikelejake,*

We're very sorry to learn about the issues you are having. Please send us a direct message with your contact information, email and the last 6 digits of your VIN so we can learn more and escalate it to our Customer Service and Technical Support team. We look forward to helping you get these things resolved.

Thank you.*
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:24 AM   #3
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Crockett , Texas
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I have the 2020 Bambi 22, it’s almost a month old. So far there’s not really any issues but I haven’t used it all that much yet.

What I did notice was that the windows don’t seem to shut really tight. What I noticed is that I can see a little daylight at the bottom corners when I shut the windows. It seems as if they need to be tightened up but I haven’t researched how to properly do that.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:26 AM   #4
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
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I agree with you on the quality issues on such an expensive trailer. I think Airstream needs to improve their quality inspection process and be way more selective who gets to sell and service them. That said they are way better than any other trailer on the market. A good inspection process would catch 99% of all the new trailer issues before they leave the factory, then the dealers need to do a thorough pre delivery inspection before handing the unit over to the customer. Don’t get me wrong we love our Airstream but I see a lot of room for improvement especially for the cost.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:37 AM   #5
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I love reading these threads on quality of airstreams because the replies are so varied. And of course I laugh when I see a reply form airstream wanting to help. This has not been my case with them. Here are my facts. We finally pulled the plug and purchased a 2018 flying cloud 27fb. From the start there were many of the little things you have mentioned. Stairs falling off, breakers not working, dead batteries, radio not working, etc. However, we had an issue with a water leak in the bedroom and it could never get fixed. half a dozen tests at the dealer and it kept leaking. Then a new window and even more leaking. Enough water that it soaked the mattress full of water on standard rains. The dealer agreed they had no idea how to fix. Keep in mind this was a 4 month old unit. After many calls to airstream they were trying to send me all over the place to get other opinions and the dealer was saying no we are doing everything Airstream recommends. In other words Airstream was throwing the dealer under the bus. We finally had to bring up the lemon law with the dealer and of course Airstream said they have no part in this. It was apparent this was a lemon. We ended up trading this in for a smaller 25fb as a consolation prize and because we all agreed to not get into the lemon law issue.
However, here is the real answer to your question from my experience. It is definitely quality issues at the factory, but in my experience it is the lack of communication and teamwork between the dealers and Airstream to service the repairs of the marginal quality. we as buyers have no choice but to return to the dealer for repairs. The dealers are usually slammed and you are lucky to get into see them in a month or two. Then dealers have to get approvals for every repair. And if you call airstream for help they will try to throw it back to the dealers or in my recent case on dead batteries, they told me I had to bring it up with interstate batteries. So, I feel the real issues of this is really airstream not wanting to deal with the customer after the purchase. They throw it to the dealers who have no time, energy or resources to fix and repair all the quality issues that come from the factory.That has been my case anyway. All facts no BS, Have documents to prove it. And I am only talking about large repairs. I am happy to take care of small issues.
So what I would say, and have said to friends who expressed interest in buying an Airstream is if your into taking chances, buy from a dealer who has a large and efficient dealership and can handle the larger repairs in a timely manner because you will get no help from airstream. As a matter of fact in my dealings with them my wife kept saying it couldn't be that bad, however, when I put her on the phone with them she couldn't believe that they were trying to blame us for the water Leaks. it was unreal.
That is our Airstream experience on quality. I trust the reliability part will stand up once the major issues are resolved.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:46 AM   #6
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Those are very interesting comments. I'm actually looking at potentially purchasing an Airstream Nest, or Basecamp X, however, I'm still evaluating immediate needs, vs long term goals.

I just spent some time looking at both yesterday at my local Airstream dealer, now I'm a bit concerned. I really liked both but this isn't the first time I've heard of people mentioning build quality, or lack thereof.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane74 View Post
I have the 2020 Bambi 22, it’s almost a month old. So far there’s not really any issues but I haven’t used it all that much yet.

What I did notice was that the windows don’t seem to shut really tight. What I noticed is that I can see a little daylight at the bottom corners when I shut the windows. It seems as if they need to be tightened up but I haven’t researched how to properly do that.
I am not sure of all of the windows, but the emergency window that has the latches can be tightened with a screw driver. It was pretty easy.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:52 AM   #8
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2020 19' Bambi
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This is my first camper. After doing thorough research, it seems like Airstream was superior. After my purchase, I cannot say that, that is true.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:53 AM   #9
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Sorry to hear about your quality issues and condolences for the disappointments and frustrations you feel.

If it is true that misery loves company, you may be relieved to discover that your experience is far from unique, and in fact seems to be par for the course.

Search the forms here for “quality” And you will find dozens of lengthy threads discussing numerous issues with the fit and finish, functionality problems, customer service, and numerous other problems new owners have found with their trailers.

The overall bottom line is this: airstream slaps these trailers together as fast as they can, cutting cost whenever and wherever possible, using the cheapest components they can acquire. There is so little quality control that it is essentially nonexistent. Airstream relies on the dealership and you, the beta tester, to find and fix all the innumerable flaws in construction. They offer a Three year warranty ( only recently increased from a two-year warranty) so Go over every inch of the trailer and assume it was assembled by a rookie on a Friday afternoon right before their vacation.

The good news is that once the trailer is tightened up, sealed, and adjusted properly it should last for years, But it will require at least as much ongoing maintenance and TLC as a house of equivalent size.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:56 AM   #10
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Of course. My goal for posting was to see if anyone has experienced the same issues with quailty and to shed light on the topic for potential buyers. The only thing I wish I had was owning other brands that I could compare to.
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Old 05-11-2020, 10:01 AM   #11
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2020 19' Bambi
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Well, shame on me for not doing the proper research LOL. I went with the Airstream because I thought it was the the best of the best. At least most of my issues are pretty minor besides the leaks which we fixed. However, it does worry me a bit that these issues happened so soon and no telling what will happen in the next 4 years. At least we didn't buy the $150k classic. I would be LIVID if these things happened for something so damn expensive.
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Old 05-11-2020, 10:13 AM   #12
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Undoubtedly this thread will join the dozens if not hundreds of others on this site discussing the very real issues airstream has with quality control.

Sadly, only a fraction of potential new buyers will think to come here and research before purchasing.

I have always encouraged those interested in acquiring an airstream to seriously consider buying used. Not only will they save literally thousands of dollars in depreciation, but they will also get a trailer that has already been through quality control, i.e. the original owners fixing of the many flaws that came with the trailer when new.
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Old 05-11-2020, 10:20 AM   #13
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That is also part of the conundrum. We assume the more we pay the higher the quality. As far as being able to pre-check before it leaves the dealer, this is spot on. As well as the buyer being the beta tester. The downside is I as a new buyer in 2018 had no idea what I was really looking for other than breaks and dents and surface stuff. Just last week I had to bring my 2019 trailer in for its 1 year inspection. I suspected the Airstream installed batteries were having some issues. so I made sure that the dealer check them to give an update. I go to pick up trailer and ask about batteries and they said the water level was fine. then I said how are they reading. UGH..we didn't check. Of course they were dead and dealer said they came this way from airstream probably because they put them in when they start a build. So, dealer says can't replace over a year old. Call Airstream who says issue is with interstate batts who say they are not covered by warranty. so, I gotta buy 2 new batts. I would have just replaced no questions asked if I was in charge. No brainer. Point of story is that if I had known what I Know now, I would have pulled the batteries out when I purchased to check on date to see how old they were.
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Old 05-11-2020, 12:01 PM   #14
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An eternal AS truth...buying 3yrs behind new and gently used will yield fewer regrets.

FWIW....Interstate will pro-rate the batteries.

Bob
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Old 05-11-2020, 12:29 PM   #15
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Does Airstream company understand that once they hire a team of Quality Control, it would pay for itself by paying for this team. No returns, no fixing up sloppy work or replacing low quality appliances.


And I usually never buy a newly designed auto until the design is 3 years or older due to replacing, repairing the new auto. Like the Ford Explorer had a new design in 2011 but I bought mine in 2014 that had no problems except that the Ford caught one issue with exhaust. It is working flawlessly. Bambi and Caravel are new in 2020 and expect problems with these. I would not buy either models until 2023. Unless there is NO Quality Control team in AS, expect all kinds of problems.

Bought 2017 AS Bambi with all its issues resolved beforehand. I am left with a good AS.
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Old 05-11-2020, 01:22 PM   #16
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Airstream quality can be improved. Quality meaning conformance to customer requirements which is to not leak, not fall apart, etc.

But inspection is not going to be nearly as effective as prevention. Prevention comes through product and manufacturing process design.

Better designs come from analyzing the product failures, getting to the root cause and then changing the product design or process design so that the root cause is eliminated.

I would like to see Airstream hire one or two people that are Six Sigma black belts and who are really good at root cause analysis. The nearby Marysville, Ohio Honda plant would be a good source of this kind of expertise

They need to 5S (clean and organize) their factory floor and service center (look at, and comment on, the amount of junk on the floor the next time you are there).

I assume their employees take pride in their work and are doing the best they can with what they are provided. I have worked in a lot of factories and found that the people that do the job are really good at solving these problems once they are empowered and listened to.

If they train their employees about lean manufacturing, how to see and remove both waste and variation, they could easily raise their quality levels to meet customer expectations at the price points they are selling at.

Until then, the best thing we have is this forum, where dedicated owners do the investigations, get to the root cause, develop corrective actions, but can do nothing to change the product design or the manufacturing process, or the workplace culture.

I love my Airstream but I have had my share of as delivered quality issues and experience with design flaws coming from both Airstream and their suppliers. I encourage them to raise the level of their game so we can take even more pride as owners of their product.
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Old 05-11-2020, 01:46 PM   #17
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Welcome to the forum!

At least you are in good company.



FYI some informative search results:

"Airstream QC" -- https://www.google.com/search?q=Airs...=airforums.com
"Basecamp issues" -- https://www.google.com/search?q=base...=airforums.com
"Nest issues" -- https://www.google.com/search?q=Nest...=airforums.com

Hopefully Airstream will make you whole.

Peter
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Old 05-11-2020, 02:09 PM   #18
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I used to work as a service manager at a BMW motorcycle shop until the business was sold to a car dealership. The dealer is the one who ends up finding a solution most of the time. Regional service reps did help out alot. I think AS needs more regional service representatives who have had hands one riveting and manufacturing background.

Occasionally we would get a customer who had a bad attitude even when we bent over backwards for them. This customer would find that if a factory rep was going to come by and help with the problem, there attitude would change. Changing times are going to require the RV industry to get their QC act together. This recession is going to be around awhile longer than the last one. I think major RV consolidation is going to take place.

AS has improved some of the products on their trailers such as the Goodyear Endurance tires, now how about using marine grade composite flooring instead of plywood. Saves weight and will be no rotting. Every RV will have a water leak. Lance uses a composite flooring for example.
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Old 05-11-2020, 02:17 PM   #19
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Well, pointing to issues with the BaseCamp and Nest, those trailers, at least, are fairly new, not that their newness excuses the excessive (even by AS standards) number of issues with those trailers.

You know, one would think that after more than75 years or so, Airstream would have manufacturing these trailers down. This is what happens when you have a company laser focused on the bottom line rather than their product and their customers.

Other successful companies long ago figured out that by focusing on their customers and how their product can best meet their needs, the bottom line has a way of taking care of itself. (see, for example Apple Inc, a modestly profitable company, so I hear)

But since AS sells each and every trailer as fast as they can shove them out, little is likely to change until they are at death's door.
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:36 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by skyguyscott View Post
Well, pointing to issues with the BaseCamp and Nest, those trailers, at least, are fairly new, not that their newness excuses the excessive (even by AS standards) number of issues with those trailers.
. . .
If anything, one could argue that new designs like the BC and Nest offered a rare opportunity to "get it right the first time" . . .

. . . . . .
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