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Old 08-04-2019, 09:28 PM   #61
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Purchase the Flashlight before the Airstream

When Costco begins selling Airstreams... I may reconsider buying another 25 foot, although a Flying Cloud. Not an International.

Since Costco does not sell Airstreams, I bought a nice flashlight. I am happy, content and satisfied.

I may have to spend some time searching the Internet to find a Forum discussing flashlights and their problems. I am sure there may be.. one?

Arabian versus Quarter horses. An Arabian owner flew their horse from the United Kingdom. Her dream was to ride across the western USA. Well, she ended up at Harrison, Nebraska at the Shalimar Ranch who bred Arabians. I was fossil collecting and camped out in the Badlands when the Rancher needed a favor of me... He wanted me to tow a horse trailer with the Arabian within and the woman riding shotgun to DuBois, Wyoming.

Obvious to me there was some confusion as to the great wilderness west of Omaha, Nebraska. Her sleeping bag was one of those aluminum foil things. She may have been around 60 years old. A wife of a well to do attorney in the UK. The rancher was in a pinch as he could not do much more than point west... but I was an unwilling participant in this International Dead End.

Backing up a horse trailer is not like a long Airstream. First lesson.

Second Lesson... Arabian horses require a better diet and a rider would need to stop at Ranches that might have whatever they would eat. Dropping this adventurous rider off in the center of DuBois, Wyoming was like buying my first Airstream. Down right confusing and a bit intimidating.

If I ever consider purchasing another trailer, I always come back to the Arabian horse from the UK, in western Nebraska needing a lift further out West. Why?

I compromised and purchased a 1500 lumen flashlight. Why? In the event I do purchase another trailer. I can get into the tight spots to fix, repair and replace what does not work, was not installed or just have an excuse to make comments on a Forum. BEFORE purchase, not after.

This is the first step all of you trailer owners miss completely.

Buy that flashlight at Costco FIRST.

When you see that shiny new or older Airstream... the flashlight should be the first purchase to check it out. Otherwise, you will be towing that Arabian horse, out in the western USA, wondering how in the Hell did I get suckered into something I knew nothing about.

That is all I have to say about Olivers, Airstreams, Quarter Horses, Arabians and... flashlights.

Oh... yes. I received a post card from the UK and she enjoyed our conversation and trip to DuBois, Wyoming and to where ever she intended to go afterwards. A win / win to this 'TAIL'.
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Old 08-04-2019, 10:16 PM   #62
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New AS (Vintage) Owner

I’m a new AS product owner having just purchased a 1978 Argosy 30. I bought it to replace my 1990 SOB (I have to laugh at that euphemism) Award 30. Yes, that’s right, I bought a 12 yr. OLDER AS Argosy BECAUSE of the difference in quality.

This thread has really shaken my confidence in AS. I can state this: No manufacturing concern that is living on its historical reputation can long survive. You’ve simply got to have quality product or you will perish.

I offer as a prime example Chris Craft boats. Sold in 1960 by the founding Smith Family, it changed hands many times in the next 30 years and their quality suffered with each successive owner. Until they were purchased by a couple of very savvy “heritage brand” investors who returned the company to its roots and brought back high quality products. They have just been sold to Winnebago with the hopes that CC will bring the kind of quality to their RV lines while giving CC the capitol to step up their production capacity. (I wish them well but have my doubts).

I look forward to many years of use from our Argosy 30.
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Old 08-04-2019, 11:29 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by MotoMannequin View Post
Talk of "quality" usually assumes talk quality workmanship, but that's not the only aspect to quality. There are very few SOBs that compare to Airstream with regard to materials and design. Just about all of them are put together poorly, and all use the same 3rd party appliances.

The auto companies have turned quality assembly from unskilled workers into a science. RV companies are decades behind, as are a great number of other medium-volume manufacturing industries in this country. Oliver may be an exception, although I'd say they are low-volume, low enough that they can still rely on skilled labor to do quality work. We looked carefully at Oliver, but found their largest trailer was smaller than what we wanted.


Regarding materials, Casita or Lance are the only ones I'm aware of that compared to Airstream regarding materials. Most SOBs look like they grabbed the cheapest cabinets from the local big box store - pressboard with woodgrain stickers on the outside - and slapped them in regardless of fit or use of space. With Airstream you're going to get real wood, or marine-grade plywood with high quality laminate.

Regarding design, we could find nothing we thought compared to Airstream. Either you get quality but sterile look (Oliver) or grandma's house (everyone else). You get 3" gaps around cabinets, in a place where space is a premium, because that's the closest they could fit in budget. With Airstream, you get windows. We could find nothing that gave us the feeling we got when sitting in the back of an FB airstream.

We spend almost a year shopping for a trailer. We were amazed that the 16" Basecamp felt more roomy inside than a 23' Lance. We figured it came down to design, and windows. We tried really really hard to talk ourselves into something cheaper; we looked at Oliver, Castia, Grand Design, Black Series, but could not find anything we thought was even close to equivalent.
It isn't a materials problem with Airstream it is workmanship. I cannot fault Airstream's choice of appliance or materials, it is just that they do a sloppy job of putting it all together.
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Old 08-05-2019, 12:58 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by brokeboater View Post
Perhaps that's what happens when CEO pay is 271 times worker pay. Time to stop blaming the victim. US workers didn't suddenly decide to become uncaring but Corporations did suddenly decide to shortchange the workforce to benefit management and investors.
It's actually worse now:

"In the 1950s, a typical CEO made 20 times the salary of his or her average worker. Last year, CEO pay at an S&P 500 Index firm soared to an average of 361 times more than the average rank-and-file worker, or pay of $13,940,000 a year, according to an AFL-CIO’s Executive Paywatch news release today."

Being in the military I always find it funny that relatively speaking, say a Brigade Commander (COL/06) makes only ~3 times the average military member. This is someone leading an organization with 3,000+ people. Going into combat, living in a tent in the desert.

A corporate CEO sits in a penthouse office drinking $30 cups of coffee and gets money thrown at them in briefcases. Strange world we live in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nixpix View Post
<Snip>
I looked at three DRV supposedly "higher end" 5th wheels, some top of the line Class B's and some half million dollar diesel pusher Class A's. What a sorry state the American RV industry is in. I found tons of quality issues across everything I looked at.
<snip>

I switched from Airstream to Lance (Model #1985) about two years ago. I modified the Lance with higher clearance axles and 15" tires and rims and have been satisfied with the result. The Lance is more appropriate for my purposes as a 4 season boon docking platform. All the Airstreams I owned leaked too much dust and often had vibration induced problems. The Lance architecture also provides for a slide out which affords much more interior room but also can fail. While I have never experienced a slide out failure I am sure it would not be fun.

For a truly high quality rv you might look at the EarthRoamer from Colorado, Spinifex from Australia, Kedron from Australia and I have heard the nuCamp Avia is worth a look. There is also the Bowlus Road Chief and as many have mentioned the Oliver. The Aussies have it down for sure, any kind of failure in a travel trailer can be catastrophic in the way out back.
I've looked hard at Earthroamer. VERY high quality stuff but absolutely laughable pricing. Only toys for the rich, like supercars.

Earthroamer takes a $70K chassis, modifies it. Cost about $100K. They have a fiberglass camper shell with about 100 sq feet of living space.

New they are half a million dollars. I added up all of the camper systems etc before, materiel etc. Came to about $150K with labor. So the chassis+camper cost to "build" is ~$250K. They sell them for double or more.

I guess if the market is there, why not?
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Old 08-05-2019, 03:09 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by vintageracer View Post
Don't ya just love the quality and pride in their work exhibited by many American workers today?

That's what happens when you become a lazy and entitled workforce with a negative unemployment rate.

Lord help em if the Japanese or Koreans decide to get into the American RV business!
Well if you spend some time over there you might find some quality of life differences to go along with that work ethic, that you might not like.
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Old 08-05-2019, 04:59 AM   #66
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While at the International Rally in Doswell I had the opportunity to talk with Justin Humphreys, COO of AS, one on one. Based on my many years of experience in manufacturing, as a supplier to the auto industry, he gets what needs to be done. The Customer Advisory Council has been selected and has had the first meeting. The new plant is being laid out with lean principles in mind. They listened for hours, taking notes, as customers gave them feedback, some positive but much of it was negative. And they are working with dealers (and eliminating some) for a better customer experience.

Of course talking and doing are two different things. But I was impressed and encouraged.

And, just for the record, I've had a SOB. Night and day difference between them (now out of business) and my AS. Considering the abuse it takes on some of the road I've traveled, I'm pleased!
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Old 08-05-2019, 05:34 AM   #67
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When I started w/1st AS in 1963 these kind of prob. that AS has now were unheard of. I pur. last AS new in 1976 still no prob. of 5 AS 1 argosy 2 were used, also had 2 box before first AS no prob. w/them. IMO the whole rv Industry is a complete joke just make much profit at little expense.
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:31 PM   #68
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We are doing a complete interior renovation on our 1985 30’ Excella. Floors are in decent shape for age no major issues. Took down walls around shower: peeling contact paper over 1/8” ply on CORRUGATED CARDBOARD! Also other bulkheads were “fake ply” meaning corrugated paper center with plywood boarder!!! Unbelievable! Replacing with 1/2” Baltic birch with Nevamar laminate on both sides; setting each piece on a “footing” of poplar grooved to hold ply off the subfloor in case of future leak; poplar stained and polyurethaned to match vinyl plank floor. May west tech shower but have not decided yet. Fiberglass over old thermomolded plastic shower pan and endcaps; corian of course for countertops. Total cost of remodel by DIY; under 3k.
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Old 08-09-2019, 04:07 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by drjudy View Post
We are doing a complete interior renovation on our 1985 30’ Excella. Floors are in decent shape for age no major issues. Took down walls around shower: peeling contact paper over 1/8” ply on CORRUGATED CARDBOARD! Also other bulkheads were “fake ply” meaning corrugated paper center with plywood boarder!!! Unbelievable! Replacing with 1/2” Baltic birch with Nevamar laminate on both sides; setting each piece on a “footing” of poplar grooved to hold ply off the subfloor in case of future leak; poplar stained and polyurethaned to match vinyl plank floor. May west tech shower but have not decided yet. Fiberglass over old thermomolded plastic shower pan and endcaps; corian of course for countertops. Total cost of remodel by DIY; under 3k.
Sounds like you are doing a great renovation. Really smart idea to having "footings" for the plywood. The old "ounce of prevention" idea.

And I think it's pretty amazing that a 35 year old trailer can be renovated and made new again!
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Old 08-09-2019, 08:46 PM   #70
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The cardboard core bulkheads were a weight-saving idea. Renovating an AS is a fun thing to do, but be mindful of how much weight you are adding.

I think many of the complaints about the quality of workmanship in AS are indeed valid. The choice of materials used however isn't always made to be cheap, but to be light, and so make it easier to tow and prolong the life of the frame, axels, and so on.

Many renovators discover too late that putting residential quality materials in a travel trailer is a mistake. Go for quality materials that are engineered to be durable and lightweight and you will be happier down the road, literally.
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Old 08-10-2019, 06:59 AM   #71
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I hope they take notice of issues like these

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans627 View Post
While at the International Rally in Doswell I had the opportunity to talk with Justin Humphreys, COO of AS, one on one. Based on my many years of experience in manufacturing, as a supplier to the auto industry, he gets what needs to be done. The Customer Advisory Council has been selected and has had the first meeting. The new plant is being laid out with lean principles in mind. They listened for hours, taking notes, as customers gave them feedback, some positive but much of it was negative. And they are working with dealers (and eliminating some) for a better customer experience.

Of course talking and doing are two different things. But I was impressed and encouraged.

And, just for the record, I've had a SOB. Night and day difference between them (now out of business) and my AS. Considering the abuse it takes on some of the road I've traveled, I'm pleased!

These may seem petty but its a lack of craftsmanship or simple attention to detail that is missing, see attached photos. They need to step up their game!


The inverter (last pic) was held in by one top screw and the half inserted bottom screw. The dinette seat (2nd pic) had all three brackets assembled as pictured. The DC electric box (3rd pic) the screw is to small and pulled into the plastic hole also only the top 2 screws were install. (sorry about the picture order).
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Old 08-10-2019, 07:50 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by forestgirl View Post
.......

Until we turned on our tv and tried to have the sound come through our speakers. My engineer husband found that the Clarion stereo model had been changed at the last minute and no longer supported playing tv through the speakers. He also found the speaker wiring was incorrect. The new stereo model supports a separate subwoofer output and that was not wired correctly. The tv output had been incorrectly wired (they took the tv output and connected to a speaker output from the radio thinking that was the aux input that no longer exists.)
......
We have a 2017 FC 23D. What you described re: the Clarion seems similar to what we have. The Clarion is a joke. This is not a manufacturing issue in my opinion. It’s just that it seems nobody at AS gave any thought to how to implement a sound system. This is a design flaw. I don’t care what the sales guy told you. The fact that they still haven’t improved that design reflects a ‘don’t care’ attitude on the part of AS management. To me that’s really disturbing. We simply don’t use the sound system. It’s not worth the effort.

AS management shows up at the international and Alumapalooza and conduct feedback sessions where they seem to take copious notes, but nothing seems to happen as a result.
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Old 08-10-2019, 11:16 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by cptdzl View Post
These may seem petty but its a lack of craftsmanship or simple attention to detail that is missing, see attached photos. They need to step up their game!


The inverter (last pic) was held in by one top screw and the half inserted bottom screw. The dinette seat (2nd pic) had all three brackets assembled as pictured. The DC electric box (3rd pic) the screw is to small and pulled into the plastic hole also only the top 2 screws were install. (sorry about the picture order).
To get screws screwed in all the way is an extra option.
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Old 08-10-2019, 12:10 PM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cptdzl View Post
These may seem petty but its a lack of craftsmanship or simple attention to detail that is missing, see attached photos. They need to step up their game!


The inverter (last pic) was held in by one top screw and the half inserted bottom screw. The dinette seat (2nd pic) had all three brackets assembled as pictured. The DC electric box (3rd pic) the screw is to small and pulled into the plastic hole also only the top 2 screws were install. (sorry about the picture order).
I couldn't agree more. It is not petty. And the dealer has some culpability as well. This kind of thing is totally unacceptable!
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:20 PM   #75
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I'm going to tiptoe into this discussion and build on what Featherbedder said a few posts ago, to mention another brand...
Quote:
When I started w/1st AS in 1963 these kind of prob. that AS has now were unheard of. I pur. last AS new in 1976 still no prob. of 5 AS 1 argosy 2 were used, also had 2 box before first AS no prob. w/them. IMO the whole rv Industry is a complete joke just make much profit at little expense.
We had an Arctic Fox, bought it in 2000, and dragged it over all kinds of bad roads. This trailer was made in the times when Arctic Fox / Northwood was considered a real quality manufacturer. The trailer really held up; only one small problem in a drawer slide, due to a knot being in the wrong place. Had that trailer for almost 15 years. All we did was keep up on the routine stuff, and the trailer held up really well. This trailer had NO slide, we wanted it that way. Yet the layout worked just fine without one.

This is indeed a case of 'not making them like they used to'.

Our mistake was letting a dealer talk us into selling it rather than fixing it. Now I will admit my mistake with the Fox in not seeing the connection between the hard front/rear caps and the rest of the coach body as being a potential problem. We ended up with rot in the floor under that spot. Could have fixed it and driven out.

We sold the trailer we had in the interim for the AS. I'm not new to this game, having been camping together in one form or another for some 45 years. So far I see and recognize all the things in the Airstream that I saw in the old Fox: Quality design, great interior layout, good workmanship (hey, you over there - stop laughing... It's been good so far!) and some other things that people don't often think about:

The trailer is accessible for my disabled wife. Only two steps up, and everywhere you move inside, there's a place to either grab or to put a hand down.
Everything is accessible for this older guy on the outside. Except that stupid storage for the dump hose. And the fresh water drain.
I love the low profile. A number of places we used to routinely go (and will again) had low clearances. That kept out the giant motorhomes and toyhaulers, with the rolling rock concerts.
On the road, the trailer tows and handles every bit as well as the old Fox.
She doesn't have to help me park it (she can't). I can look at where it's going to go when backing, and it goes there, reliably. Love the addition of the rear camera. But I do wish it had backup lights for nighttime parking.

I don't miss the old Fox anymore.
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Old 08-12-2019, 11:30 PM   #76
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Thank You!!

Yay Steamguy!! You’ve salved my conscience!! Glad to hear you’re having a great time of it!!
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