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Old 01-17-2021, 11:54 AM   #1
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2021 25' Flying Cloud
Austin , Texas
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Common Quality Issues with a New Airstream

I am getting my new flying cloud 28 RB Airstream in late February/early March, or so they are estimating. They are having supply issues for parts because of COVID. My journey started out thinking that airstream would have a lot less build quality issues vs other RV providers but reading these forums makes me believe that I am in for my fair share of issues. Definitely disappointing. I want to do a very detailed walk through before giving the dealer my check. I figure once they get my money, they are less likely to fix issues in a priority way. So my questions are: where are the most common build issues, how and what can I test as far as the appliances, water systems, mechanical components, etc? I plan on having my first camping adventure in my back yard to make sure I know how to set up the RV, use the appliances & water systems, etc. before venturing out to close by (1-3 hour drives) camp sites and in May head out to the Davis Mountains in west Texas for my first long distance trip.
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Old 01-17-2021, 12:07 PM   #2
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Many people have their first camping experience at the dealership. Spend the night and check everything out. Enjoy your new trailer.
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Old 01-17-2021, 01:20 PM   #3
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Welcome Aboard👍

^
X2

Spend at least one night on the dealer lot, AFTER the orientation.
Take video notes, ask questions, determine the condition and build dates of the batteries, ask questions, inspect the roof, ask questions, open & close all doors, drawers and storage compartments, ask questions.

If you're not sure of what to do....Ask more questions.

Bob
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Old 01-17-2021, 01:28 PM   #4
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2020 23' International
Evergreen , Colorado
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I spent my first night at the dealership, as Richard mentioned above. It was nice because it gave my wife and I the ability to try everything and ask questions the next morning.

We haven’t had any significant issues with our 2020 International. I have found the build quality to be quite good, especially when compared to other brands that I’ve rented in the past. The only thing that wasn’t right was one of the sliders for the cutlery drawer. It wouldn’t lock into place properly on the back of the drawer. The dealership tried to fix it the next morning, but couldn’t complete the repair. They said a new drawer was necessary. After our first trip was complete, I repaired the drawer at home. It took less than 5 minutes and it works perfectly now. Everything else on the trailer seems to be well-built, and functions properly.

Your shakedown cruise is important whether it is at the dealership, in your backyard, or at a campground. It allows you to find problems, but it also allows you to figure out how to modify your trailer for your needs, and to determine what accessories make sense for you. The examples that come to mind are things like hooks and storage bins. None of these come with your trailer, and you’ll need to add them as required. I’ve also added things like propane tank monitors, additional USB ports, and more. I’m in the process of adding a TPMS system for the trailer, as well as a LevelMate Pro. The list never seems to end, but ultimately making it your own is part of the fun.

It’s also important to have your expectations in line with reality. Airstreams are expensive and they are better than most travel trailers, but they aren’t perfect. Additionally, a travel trailer is like a small apartment that sits right on the fault line in an earthquake zone. Towing your trailer shakes things, loosens things, sometimes breaks things, etc. It is all part of the experience. Take a deep breath, go with the flow, and expect some things to break. If you stress out about it, then it defeats the purpose of camping.
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Old 01-18-2021, 10:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis C View Post

Itís also important to have your expectations in line with reality. Airstreams are expensive and they are better than most travel trailers, but they arenít perfect. Additionally, a travel trailer is like a small apartment that sits right on the fault line in an earthquake zone. Towing your trailer shakes things, loosens things, sometimes breaks things, etc. It is all part of the experience. Take a deep breath, go with the flow, and expect some things to break. If you stress out about it, then it defeats the purpose of camping.

Yeah, what Dennis said. Also be aware that Airstream uses the same appliances and accessories as the SOB trailers, and some of those are prone to failure.
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Old 01-18-2021, 10:13 AM   #6
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And do not be disappointed if after a few days you have items on your punch out list. After purchase of three brand new Airstreams - they all had their issues that required tweaking! ��
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Old 01-18-2021, 10:19 AM   #7
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When we did our walk through there were a few things found. Very few. But I still wanted them fixed before handing over my check so we drove back home since it was only 2 hours and went back the next day to pick it up. If it is a farther drive don't hesitate to spend a night at a local hotel. Your only leverage is the check in your hand. Most dealer are great and will still work with you after the sale but nothing beats leverage. They want to finish up the sale so they can get paid. Then after you take possession spend a night camping at the dealership as others have said. Test everything twice. All that said. Our A/S had a few minor issues but much less than any other trailer we have owned. Enjoy your new home on wheels!
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Old 01-18-2021, 10:53 AM   #8
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I have purchased 2 new Airstreams. Since you asked, here is what I would check because all of these have happened to me.

1. Look for cracks in all the glass. Once you leave the lot, you own it and those repairs start at $1,000.00. Most insurances will cover this repair. Suggestion, shine a flashlight around the edge of every window, inside and out. I am currently going in to have the door glass replaced.
2. Run the furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump. Here is where spending the night at the dealership will help. I am currently going in for repairs on my furnace.
3. While at the dealership, unplug shore power and see how long the batteries last using lights, fantastic fan, and other small loads. On my first AS the batteries would not hold a charge after being unplugged. They went from fully charged to 12% in 1/2 hour. Come to find out the unit had sat on the lot for over a year and was never plugged in.
4. Lastly, try to take a long trip before the warranty runs out. We did a run to Colorado and back on our first unit (Had to replace 2 "never adjust" brakes after that trip. They locked up on me at a rest stop in Indiana and I had to unplug the AS from my tow vehicle to make it back home). All these repairs were under warranty. With our 2021 we are planning a trip to Texas next fall.

These are handmade units and there will be "bugs" to work out. The current warranty is very good and considering how long they last, I view these things as pretty minor in the overall scheme of things. Have fun!!!
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Old 01-18-2021, 11:04 AM   #9
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Ask the dealer to lay out the manuals included in the owner’s packet on the table before the walkthrough, and point at the appropriate one as they explain the operation of various systems. Our packet was very hit or miss. I suspect that the manuals printed on flimsier paper were taken to the outhouse because of the TP shortage. (Maybe I’m living in the wrong century.) Some of these manuals (Dometic in particular) are for multiple models of A/C, furnace, water heater, etc. Ask the dealer to highlight which model is actually installed.
Your entertainment system: Many campers never use this, or rip it out and upgrade it. Consequently, Airstream has adopted a VERY marginal system, at least in my humble 23 FB FC. Look up the major television and radio stations in the city where you take delivery, and verify that you can tune them in. It’s lousy to be sitting in a remote area unable to catch up on local weather or developing news. Do you expect to be able to play a music CD in the DVD player through the overhead speakers? That wasn’t built into my system - I’ve got a $15 part on order to do the job. If that’s important to you, the dealer should be able to do the upgrade (IMO, at no charge).
You might want to have your surge protector on hand to make sure the A/C doesn’t trip it. If it’s the kind that shows current draw, the dealer can verify that appliances are running in the appropriate range.
Enjoy your camper!
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Old 01-18-2021, 11:30 AM   #10
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Most dealerships have a walk thru showing you how to use all the systems and gadgets on you new AS. Point out and document any defects you see during the walk thru. Being new to the Travel trailer plan on being somewhat overwhelmed at all the information. Your new AS will come with all the manuals and it will take sometime to read thru all the material. I agree with the comments try and spend a night at the dealership if possible. You can get discouraged reading the Forum but remember most of the posts are about problems not how much they love their AS. I've had two new AS and there were issues with both and were covered under warranty. Jackson Center, OH has provided excellent service and is an interesting place to visit the factory and have work done.
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Old 01-18-2021, 12:01 PM   #11
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I’ve purchased two new Airstreams. Both had significant safety, quality and cosmetic defects that I did not find at the dealer hosted walkthroughs. If I ever decide to buy another factory new unit I’ll hire an INDEPENDENT expert (similar to a marine surveyor) to conduct a comprehensive inspection prior to final acceptance. The cost of the inspection is modest compared to the potential dangers of a safety related defect or quality control lapse.
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Old 01-18-2021, 12:13 PM   #12
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Keep in mind on these forums the totally satisfied rarely post rather it is those with issues that come searching for answers.

I'd opt to spend a few days either at the dealer or close enough you can run in should you need to (we stayed 20 minutes from the dealer for our maiden voyage-perfect). The dealer should go through the trailer with you as you pick up and they may find a few things, but your best bet is to spend time and try everything out. How you are treated by the dealer often reflects how you treat the dealer! And, since these trailers are hand built the "issues" vary widely. We have had one major issue; our woven flooring buckled (and was restretched 2X). Other things were minor: a drawer the popped open (they put a heavier lock on it), our medicine cabinet popped open -and part of that was it didn't close properly to begin with and a single rivet appeared on a bed. Everything was handled promptly by the dealer. None of those things would have showed up on a walk through at all, you had to haul it around a bit to have them happen.
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Old 01-18-2021, 01:15 PM   #13
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My saga: retired. Bought 2020 AS Atlas. Undoubtedly unrealistic expectations as a surgeon. Newbie and darn cold in Missouri so walk through too short. Murphy bed on 2nd trip just not right and then arms on the couch pop out. I crawl under couch and find 4 loosened lag screws into floor but they are all stripped!! Back to dealer for repair. Windy day on interstate on trip home and I see something flopping on my rear corner. I pull over. Tail light housing open and nearly destroyed. I buy tools and hours of time to repair it temporarily. Design geniuses have a massive tail light fixture with inside hingeing and closure parallel to side of vehicle into the wind utilizing a single round magnet for closure security —it failed. $2,300 later and 3 months hassling with AS about repairs it was repaired. Next trip bed fails again and lugs still stripped. Mercedes now had sent me 4 recalls on chassis. Done— traded it in for 2021 Newmar Dutch Star and am sitting in Texas for January. I needed more room as well. Newbie mistakes. The Atlas was an elegant vehicle indeed but I got ticked off and wanted more room so likely I was impulsive (my wife thought I was stark raving mad but she is happy now)
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Old 01-18-2021, 01:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melchior View Post
My saga: retired. Bought 2020 AS Atlas. Undoubtedly unrealistic expectations as a surgeon. Newbie and darn cold in Missouri so walk through too short. Murphy bed on 2nd trip just not right and then arms on the couch pop out. I crawl under couch and find 4 loosened lag screws into floor but they are all stripped!! Back to dealer for repair. Windy day on interstate on trip home and I see something flopping on my rear corner. I pull over. Tail light housing open and nearly destroyed. I buy tools and hours of time to repair it temporarily. Design geniuses have a massive tail light fixture with inside hingeing and closure parallel to side of vehicle into the wind utilizing a single round magnet for closure security óit failed. $2,300 later and 3 months hassling with AS about repairs it was repaired. Next trip bed fails again and lugs still stripped. Mercedes now had sent me 4 recalls on chassis. Doneó traded it in for 2021 Newmar Dutch Star and am sitting in Texas for January. I needed more room as well. Newbie mistakes. The Atlas was an elegant vehicle indeed but I got ticked off and wanted more room so likely I was impulsive (my wife thought I was stark raving mad but she is happy now)
Nice move on your part on the trade in, Doc !
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Old 01-18-2021, 01:45 PM   #15
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2021 22' Bambi
Clayton , North Carolina
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I follow a number of various forums. I have found that it is easier for people to air their complaints than write compliments. Doesnít matter if itís an Airstream, a truck, or a toaster, people like to complain and vent.
We took delivery of our Airstream last October. Being our 4th RV the walk through went well. I found 2 minor problems on our fist outing. No big deal. Expect to find something as these things are man made.
However, compared to my 3 previous RVís this AS is a jewel!
Good luck and enjoy your new Airstream!
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Old 01-18-2021, 01:55 PM   #16
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Check the age of the tires. They age out before they wear out.

Download a copy of the manual now. Read it cover to cover, a few times. Prepare questions in advance.
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Old 01-18-2021, 02:07 PM   #17
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Pappy3393,
An update to my post: I got my Techole HS202 D-A audio converter ($15 from Amazon) today and had it installed in about ten minutes. I am very happy with the results, and as a bonus I get an headphone jack.
The installation is basic - velcro’d next to the DVD player with the input and output cables snaked behind the DVD player through its opening. Power is from the USB power plug above.
It’s not what I would have installed from scratch, but it works and the wife is spared the pain of seeing me take a saw to the cabinetry.
And, in addition to other items to look for mentioned above, bring a stepladder to inspect the top of the trailer for caved in spots or lousy sealant application. At some point, after several service people have handled your baby, you will notice an odd looking dimple and you will forever wonder who put it there or if it came from the factory that way...
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Old 01-18-2021, 02:47 PM   #18
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screws, stripped screws. Also wrong screws. many of these wont be found until you shake it down a road for a bit.
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Old 01-18-2021, 04:22 PM   #19
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Jim Falls , Wisconsin
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Frankly I had very few issues. Most have been extremely minor and easily repaired.
1) Latch wouldn’t keep the vanity door shut. Just added a bit heavier one.
2) A few vents fell down from the ceiling. Used some silicon to stick them up better.
3) Batteries went south (thing sat too long on lot). Replaced. This is one thing to remember that with any trailer sitting on the lot request new batteries.
4) Small leak in the bedroom closet area. Used a little sealant on the outside. Fixed.

That was about it.

Remember you will be constantly doing maintenance on your Airstream. Hinges will need to be tightened or replaced. Latches will break. Faucets will leak. I tell people that when you buy a house expect repairs. Same is true for an Airstream.

Much of what you need to learn is how to use the stuff and some of the quirks of the appliances and equipment. Doable.
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Old 01-18-2021, 06:07 PM   #20
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Columbia , MO
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We are new w a 2020 classic 33ft. It was getting hot water in shower, alde system came out of factory with settings set to prevent scold, 2 adjustments there, hope your hands are as small as mine, second adjustment has to be done on shower handle, oh and another adjustment on the computer panel...so plan on adjust 4 things at least to get a warm shower...we are having dealer do a confirmation since We have yet to get a hot shower but optimistic, our dealer is very good
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