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Old 08-04-2020, 05:52 AM   #1
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2020 23' Globetrotter
Towson , Maryland
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Newbie looking for perspective on issues

So my wife and I purchased a 2020 Globetrotter 23FB in June. We have already used it for a few trips.

I've been looking at doing this for a few years. Airstream was the only brand we looked at and I've always liked the iconicness of them. I was looking for the best of the best.

As a unit we love the Globetrotter so far.

That's all the good new.

The challenge has been the number of issues we have had. In the last 60 days we have had:
* propane leak in the stove (dealer had to remove all kinds of stuff to find and fix)
* speaker not working (wire was not connected, dealer fixed)
* power awning not work (wiring issue that dealer fixed)
* shower leak (dealer sent part to fix that I installed, this also caused another power awning problem)
* recall inspection for a demco hitch
* water coming out of the freshwater intake (Good Sam tech says I need a new water pump)

I've been surprised by the number of issues. I wasn't expecting to do much to the unit especially at first. I don't really mind tinkering with things, but don't really want to be working on a brand new unit too much.

Part of the issue for me is the dealer is 2.5 hours away.

I think I'm a pretty reasonable person and I can understand having issues occasionally. But from my perspective this seems a bit over the top.

Anyone have any perspective? Is this the norm? Should I be expecting to continuously need to address issues like this? How do others deal with distance to dealer issues?

The dealer has been plenty responsive (Airstream of Virginia) and willing to help and fix things. The issue for me is the number of issues and the distance to dealer to deal with them.

I'd welcome feedback. I'm going to be bummed if I bought the nicest RV I could and this is typical of the experience.
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Old 08-04-2020, 06:36 AM   #2
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McHenry , Illinois
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dream_stream, welcome to Airstream Community and Forums!

A couple of observations... The problems are not uncommon; weíre on our second new Airstream and both had different small issues.

One point for yours is the 23í GT was a ďnew modelĒ so there may have been a learning curve with the build. That said, the issues you described were preventable with some careful assembly. No excuses.

This is also why many buyers prefer a gently used model, one that the original owner fixed all the build issues. Pat yourself on the back for getting those resolved and enjoy it like the next owner will!

Kidding aside, you have a beautiful trailer, hope you have many more enjoyable trips.
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Old 08-04-2020, 06:49 AM   #3
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Jeff..
Welcome to the asylum.

This will drive you crazy! I had to replace the clearance lights on our Airsy... you would think they would last! Ours is a 1999, 34’ Excella.. geez

Ok, that was just funning around...

Your trailer problems are not severe (except the propane leak, that was bad!) and you are learning your Airstream (AS).. this will all sort out. Be diligent with observation and ask here if we can help

Happy trails..
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Old 08-04-2020, 06:59 AM   #4
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2019 25' Flying Cloud
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While unfortunate, what you are experiencing is normal. It is common across all RV's. That said, it is annoying that my brother's economy trailer has far fewer problems than ours.
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Old 08-04-2020, 07:59 AM   #5
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1986 31' Sovereign
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True enough but, your brotherís rig will be in a landfill in 7 years and, with diligent upkeep, your grandchildren will be towing your in 50 years...
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Old 08-04-2020, 08:18 AM   #6
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2019 25' Flying Cloud
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Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
True enough but, your brotherís rig will be in a landfill in 7 years and, with diligent upkeep, your grandchildren will be towing your in 50 years...
Agree. Plus, the Airstream is, as the price reflects, nicer.
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Old 08-04-2020, 08:34 AM   #7
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1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
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I have never bought a new Airstream. I have devoted a lot of time and money to fix issues with the older ones I have. I think you just need to stick with it until you get it all worked out. I had other campers before I had Airstreams. One of them bought new. The others were worse than the Airstream.
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Old 08-04-2020, 08:54 AM   #8
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2016 16' Sport
Miami , Florida
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I think Airstream is superior in design and materials. The execution is about the same as the others. There really isn’t much choice. Most of the small issues in my new trailer are simple things that any worker with an ounce of pride would have caught. The range hood installed crooked, a severely warped bathroom door, the little bumper on the bottom of the dinette in the wrong spot, light switches installed crooked ect. In the end it’ will all be corrected. There really is no excuse for this sloppiness but I don’t really see any great alternative except to not buy a travel trailer.
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Old 08-04-2020, 09:05 AM   #9
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2016 16' Sport
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For the OP. All the kinks will get worked out. If you find something you can live with but want it repaired make an appointment for late fall when the camper won’t be used much. In the mean time use the camper and add every little squawk you can find to the list for that date.
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Old 08-04-2020, 10:40 AM   #10
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We are future Airstream owners so I follow threads similar to yours with great interest.

Allowing for the thought that issues and problems tend by nature to be over-represented on forums in general, and acknowledging that RVs and campers are pretty much built by hand and therefore have more production variables than mass-produced items like cars, there are times when I find the number of issues a little troubling.

In an SOB (some other brand) camper with your typical cardboard walls. pressboard cabinets, and cheap exteriors, sure. On a trailer that costs 3x - 4x as much and represents a "pass it down through the generations" investment, not so much.

In your situation, none of these items should have even occurred, but if they did, they should have been caught by QC at the factory (minus the Demco hitch issue which was a recall). Apparently that's not a realistic expectation, though I personally think it should be.

But that's why your dealer does a full PDI (pre-delivery inspection). They should have tested the speakers, run the stove and checked for leaks, tested the power awning (which are notoriously unreliable it seems) and tested all of the water systems for leaks.

I'm glad they are being responsive and cooperative, but their job was to catch the factory's mistakes before they delivered the unit to you. Instead, they have transferred this responsibility to you, the customer.

I would take issue with the dealer as much as with Airstream in your case.

Jim
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Old 08-04-2020, 11:00 AM   #11
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2016 16' Sport
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jameskuzman View Post
We are future Airstream owners so I follow threads similar to yours with great interest.

Allowing for the thought that issues and problems tend by nature to be over-represented on forums in general, and acknowledging that RVs and campers are pretty much built by hand and therefore have more production variables than mass-produced items like cars, there are times when I find the number of issues a little troubling.

In an SOB (some other brand) camper with your typical cardboard walls. pressboard cabinets, and cheap exteriors, sure. On a trailer that costs 3x - 4x as much and represents a "pass it down through the generations" investment, not so much.

In your situation, none of these items should have even occurred, but if they did, they should have been caught by QC at the factory (minus the Demco hitch issue which was a recall). Apparently that's not a realistic expectation, though I personally think it should be.

But that's why your dealer does a full PDI (pre-delivery inspection). They should have tested the speakers, run the stove and checked for leaks, tested the power awning (which are notoriously unreliable it seems) and tested all of the water systems for leaks.

I'm glad they are being responsive and cooperative, but their job was to catch the factory's mistakes before they delivered the unit to you. Instead, they have transferred this responsibility to you, the customer.

I would take issue with the dealer as much as with Airstream in your case.

Jim
I agree with this 100 percent. The only question I have is what to do about it. The OPs issues were not unusual. You canít really expect to get more out of the dealer if they are addressing the issues. I do agree that they should have been caught earlier.
I think the whole business model is based on getting the product out there and fixing what comes back for warranty work betting that a percentage will not. The only recourse I can think of is to bring every issue to the dealer no matter how small instead of fixing them ourselves.
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Old 08-04-2020, 11:53 AM   #12
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2019 25' International
Washington , Washington, D.C.
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Here is perspective I have after buying a second Airstream (both new): Use the hell out of it for the first 3 years in order to take full advantage of the 3-year warranty it came with. Plan on one or more trips to Jackson Center to get warranty work done. Call well in advance to get an appointment because I've always waited 3-4 months to get in. If something relatively minor needs fixing NOW, go to a reputable RV service center in the area and get it fixed and eat the cost. It helps that I've gotten more 'handy' i.e. I finally used the rivet gun I bought at JC 2 years ago and used it for internal rivets.
BTW - I agree with your complaints but am surprised you were surprised in that posters on this forum have documented numerous, sometimes major issues with their spanking new ASs. I've heard the new factory expansion at JC will incorporate great improvements to their build processes. I sincerely hope they do.
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Old 08-04-2020, 11:55 AM   #13
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1990 25' Excella
Sisters , Oregon
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After reading this forum for a number of years a few things have become obvious:

(1) The Airstream Factory does very little (if any) QC. I have read that they leave it to the dealers.

(2) The dealers vary widely in the quality of their QC (if any).

(3) Itís important to realize that buying a new Airstream is not like buying a new blender. You canít just plug it in and go. It appears that a new trailer almost always requires a period of sorting (aka QC) by the new owner.

(4) The high price of Airstreams creates an expectation on the part of the buyer that a high quality product where everything works will be delivered. Thus frequent disappointment as we see here.

Easy to fix. Just rein in the greed somewhere along the line and do the right thing.

I know, I know - 76 years old and still hopelessly naive.

Cheers,
John
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Old 08-04-2020, 12:10 PM   #14
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2012 25' FB International
Trent Woods , North Carolina
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I may well be classified as one of the naysayers on here, why? Because I feel I got sucked into the iconic trap. I read posts for a while before we bought ours, but my attitude was "won't happen to me". My 2012 was almost never used in the year before we bought it, the selling dealer was a good one and did a good PDI. So, there was really nothing wrong when I hauled it home. I felt I got a good deal because the dealer I bought it from was not into Airstreams and needed to get rid of it.
Really just some cosmetic stuff in the first year, before the warranty expired. Again, I just laughed the little stuff off, doing my own repairs. Then stuff started breaking and I started seeing how poorly made these things are and how maintainability is really bad. For example, why would you install a water heater in a manner that does not allow you to access the element for replacement, without pulling the whole water out from the side? One of many examples.
I think it depends on your personality. I cannot drive 4 hours each way to a dealer and wait weeks in the queue and I am getting too old to do some of the stuff required to keep this maintained. Moreover, my list of poor access, dumb design, and lack of quality just keeps getting longer. I think you are in for an awakening.
Larry
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Old 08-04-2020, 12:46 PM   #15
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Napa , California
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While the company should attach wires and double check the systems before they let you take it, each dealer is different. Our Airstream dealer checked every system and even hooked up the trailer to our truck and had an experienced driver take it out on the road to be sure it was all working smoothly. They asked that we stop by after our maiden voyage to be sure everything was working.

We have a 2019 GT and have had far fewer issues than we did with our last new trailer (which was a major brand). One huge difference has been the willingness of the dealer to help and fix the little issues (drawers opening, flooring hunping up, stuff just not perfect!).

On our older trailer, when we went back to the dealer after our first trip (having owned that for exactly 2 weeks) with dead and corroded batteries he shrugged and said "that's too bad". When we discovered a serious leak because the antenna had not been sealed properly and which also destroyed the stereo system and two speakers he just shrugged, at that point we'd had the trailer for only 6 months. We learned quickly we were on our own to fix anything that went wrong and not to waste time trying to get the dealer to help, we bought new batteries, we fixed the antenna mount. And, there was more...a wall delaminated, the stove quit working, the bathroom skylight was not sealed, a never ending litany of repairs.

Hopefully you will get the kinks worked out. After a few "fix it" trips, we found only one rogue rivet in the last trip (6,250 miles) and the dealer had it fixed instantly for us when we dropped by.
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Old 08-04-2020, 12:57 PM   #16
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Your Airstream is an iconic American product and an exemplary testament as to why "Made in America" is so highly desired throughout the world. It's superior build quality is the benchmark for maligning all those SOBs marketed for pennies on the dollar domestically. Every buyer knows, "You get what you pay for!," and that is why no other trailer can claim a 75+ year production history. Ok, so you bought the hype, now here is the reality. Is this the norm - YES!

The aluminum trailer's monocoque shell is unique and that is as far it goes. The Class Bs and Nest just leverage the name. Yes, they could do a better job at assembly and QC before factory departure, but customers continue to buy in droves and are doing so at an increasing rate lately which means there is no revenue pain incentive for improvement near-term. The remaining innards and appliances are the same products used by the competition and experience the same industry failure rate. Take it on the road and the shake, rattle, and roll of highway use will have you chasing repairs the rest of it's life in your care.

Use your warranty freely and frequently while you have it. That will mean it sits idle at the dealer awaiting attention or you can go online to YouTube, watch innumerable hours of how to DIY RV stuff, buy a bunch of tools & spare parts, and get on the road promptly. Many here can supply insight and hard won knowledge freely if you do the latter, so ask. Some will offer 'better' solutions than others and, of course, there will be some who chime in with questionable arm chair opinions. However, we all only hope you use the Search function first!

What you didn't know is the best part of buying an Airstream is the people you'll meet who also own one! And,... they only last fifty years and get to be family hand-me-downs if you do the all the repairs and maintenance annually.
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Old 08-04-2020, 03:52 PM   #17
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1988 32' Excella
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One warning though, most of the time the water pump issue in caused by dirt/debris getting into the pump. This could be from not using a filter to fill the tank or could be manufacturing debris in the tank when built.
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Old 08-04-2020, 03:58 PM   #18
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2020 23' Globetrotter
Towson , Maryland
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Thanks for all of the feedback. I appreciate it and believe it or not I'm glad to heare the experience is not entirely uncommon. I'd rather know now and adjust my expectations.

I do love my GT and am looking forward to many happy memories. And, of course, that will take some TLC and attention to keep in top shape. I'll make the most of the warranty and learn a lot along the way in terms of DIY.

Thanks!

Greg
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Old 08-04-2020, 08:40 PM   #19
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Murfreesboro , Tennessee
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New Airstream

Well. I wouldnít worry about the small problems. I bought a new 25 FB in 2018. The biggest issue I had was a leak in the bathroom ceiling. Our dealer as well was a 3 hour drive. It took three trips and leaving it a total of three months to get the leak fixed. But I did get it resolved. Iím constantly making small repairs and improvements. Thatís the nature of the beast for all travel trailers. They donít take care of themselves. Get yourself a nice set of tools and some spare screws and other things youíll need over time. You are moving a house down the highway at 55-70 MPH and things happen. Get to know you rig. Find all the valves vents etc. Get someone to mentor you on boondocking. Learn how to operate you batteries. Learn to read a lead acid battery chart. Be sure to keep your grey and black tanks are very clean before you store it. Take a course in winterizing it properly. If you donít then..... youíll have many problems. Tighten the screws on your hinges after a long trip. And last and not least, read the forum and pickup on problems you may be having or might have in the future and head them off before they happen. Donít waste time if someone post something stupid. You canít fix stupid. I bought a new truck when I bought my Airstream. Itís been in the shop for repairs more the the AS. I only us it to tow the AS so if thatís any indication.
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Old 08-05-2020, 08:47 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dream_stream View Post
So my wife and I purchased a 2020 Globetrotter 23FB in June. We have already used it for a few trips.

I've been looking at doing this for a few years. Airstream was the only brand we looked at and I've always liked the iconicness of them. I was looking for the best of the best.

As a unit we love the Globetrotter so far.

That's all the good new.

The challenge has been the number of issues we have had. In the last 60 days we have had:
* propane leak in the stove (dealer had to remove all kinds of stuff to find and fix)
* speaker not working (wire was not connected, dealer fixed)
* power awning not work (wiring issue that dealer fixed)
* shower leak (dealer sent part to fix that I installed, this also caused another power awning problem)
* recall inspection for a demco hitch
* water coming out of the freshwater intake (Good Sam tech says I need a new water pump)

I've been surprised by the number of issues. I wasn't expecting to do much to the unit especially at first. I don't really mind tinkering with things, but don't really want to be working on a brand new unit too much.

Part of the issue for me is the dealer is 2.5 hours away.

I think I'm a pretty reasonable person and I can understand having issues occasionally. But from my perspective this seems a bit over the top.

Anyone have any perspective? Is this the norm? Should I be expecting to continuously need to address issues like this? How do others deal with distance to dealer issues?

The dealer has been plenty responsive (Airstream of Virginia) and willing to help and fix things. The issue for me is the number of issues and the distance to dealer to deal with them.

I'd welcome feedback. I'm going to be bummed if I bought the nicest RV I could and this is typical of the experience.
Hi dream_stream,*

Congratulations on your new Airstream and we're 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.

Thank you.*
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