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Old 04-07-2006, 10:41 AM   #1
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
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Quality Control - How Bad Is It?

After surveying the messages on this board, it would seem that the happiest AS owners are those who have vintage models. I have read report after report of serious QC issues with the newer models. Are there any of you who purchased a new unit that was delivered to you with minimal to no issues? I want to get an AS so badly, but from what I'm reading here, QC has become a very low priority at the AS factory. Please tell me I'm wrong and that I don't have anything to worry about...

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Old 04-07-2006, 11:08 AM   #2
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We picked up our new 2005 31' Classic with hardly any problems. One ceiling light did not work and the antennae booster didn't work properly. Keep in mind that people with problems will post but generally people will not post that they are not having problems. We have owned 2 motorhomes which we purchased new and believe me, they both had many more QC problems then our AS, and I believe you will find that the case in other TT's also.

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Old 04-07-2006, 11:16 AM   #3
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Sad to say, I think you're right on the money. I take my 2004 CCD back to the shop on Monday for an electrical problem that won't go away. Poor manufacturer QC and/or poor dealer service may be to blame.
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Old 04-07-2006, 12:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by zombyw00f
After surveying the messages on this board, it would seem that the happiest AS owners are those who have vintage models. Please tell me I'm wrong and that I don't have anything to worry about...
Well if you own or are buying a vintage unit, your level of expectation is completely different. Most of the folks with vintage units have had problems, you just don't get the posts like those of us who bought new and expect perfection.

Now I don't disparage some of the problem that some folks have documented on some of these new trailers. Some are downright sloppiness and there is no excuse.

A lot depends upon the prep done by your dealer. Some like mine, catch most of the sin and you never see how the unit came in originally. Others don't put the time and effort. That's why I put a lot into asking for the opinion of others in their dealer experiences.

I've owned two SOB's prior to owning my two Airstreams. The first trailer was missing part of the water line that connected to outside city water hookup, thankfully I found that while prowling through the trailer over the long winter after a November purchase. The other SOB leaked from the ceiling from day one, and also had an interior plumbing leak. In the case of the second SOB, I eventually sold the trailer after 4 years, convinced that it eventually was going to fall apart.

My '01 Safari suffered from a bad hitch jack which was due to a defective electrical wire in the jack itself, and a shower door leak. I had no other issues. My '04 Classic has had the infamous shower door leak and a protruding screw in a pocket door that eventually worked its way into the pocket, eventually damaging the pocket door. I've also contended that the cabinet drawer system needs improvements.

Personally from what I have seen, some models are more susceptible to problems with probably the best quality being in the Classic and Safari units. Like anything else in the RV industry, you are not going to get perfection. I'd like to show you some of the defects left by the construction process when my house was built new and supposedly quality checked prior to me taking possession.

So while you do hear of the problems with new units, keep in mind there are a lot of others who you don't hear from. And if you think vintage is better, just ask the folks who did buy vintage and eventually discover that they bought into a lot more problems than they realized.

Also note that once you get whatever Airstream you purchase to a level of fit and finish that you feels justifies the dollars you spend, remember that what you bought will be around a lot longer than any other RV on the road today.

Jack Canavera
AIR #56
'04 Classic 30' S.O.,'03 GMC Savana 2500,'14 Honda CTX 700
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Old 04-07-2006, 01:35 PM   #5
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Use the search button and enter (your pick of year) 2004, 2005 or 2006, then follow that by the words "model year quality"

There are currently 3 threads (with a 4th just started) that have almost nothing but the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between that has to do with QC of new trailers.
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Old 04-07-2006, 01:47 PM   #6
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Jack --- I'm sure you correct in respect to those who are happy with their trailers not reporting. When I worked at a new car dealer one of the things we strived for was customer satisfaction. Bonuses, as well as many things were dependent upon a good score from the Customer Satisfaction Survey customers filled out after the sale or in our case after having their vehicle serviced. It was a constant struggle to get those happy customers to fill out their surveys. Typically a low score would show that 100 surveys sent out with 12 responces, 6 of which would be unsatisfactory, 6 happy. Thus resulting in a 50% satisfaction index when in fact it should have been 94% positive responces.
I'm sure much the same thing here happens. Personally I try to be as vocal about the good as the bad but an not sure that the good gets as much attention.---Pieman
PS my QC experience has been : 2004 16' CCD Bambi { very poor}
2005 25' Classic {very good}
2006 30' Classic {extremely good}
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Old 04-07-2006, 02:07 PM   #7
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hi zombyw00f and welcome to the forums....

posting about defects, construction issues, failed applicances and so on is useful.......
it lets us know what others are experiencing. we read about each others issues, commiserate and get ideas for how to solve issues or move forward....better than any time in the history of airstream'n.

of course sometimes mis information is posted scoundrels and scalliwags.....

i am a happy owner of new....'05.

i was a happy owner of new 26 years ago.......
eventually becoming the happy owner of old/vintage....
and my 25 year old airstream was better than it was when new.....
and paid for twice again during the relationship.

there have also been brief periods of absolute unhappiness with the company, a dealer or the product....

great vintage coaches thrive on and from care and feeding.

problems get fixed or design issues get revised, appliances get replaced, skin gets polished. past years have had issues too like plumbing pipes or furnace recalls and poor design leading to breakup!

so like a compfy pair of shoes that can be resoled again and again...
while becoming more customized over time, older units are tailored to please the owners....
and crappy trailers get weeded out for parts or target practice.

new coaches get scrutinized here like a baby just from the womb....
fingers and toes? what's that noise? she hasn't talked yet? a fever....
oh my god whats wrong!....

while 20-40 year old units are viewed like a class of bright young students or cadets....
serving proudly.....smiling and handsome.
but deviants and under achievers still hide in the crowd.....

looking at new coaches........
it is important to consider model lines and trim.....
for example a classic cabinet door made from solid wood sections will have fewer issues than any stylish laminate with glued veneers, trim and edging....over an extended time...
what subfloor material was used? and so on....

the same might be true for some appliances.....but i view the airstream trailer shell and running gear as more durable than the gadgets it contains....

and shell construction has been significantly revised 3-4 times over the decades.....
only time will tell regarding newer methods....

do not draw any conclusions about which years are better built or the evolution of quality from threads or posts here......or even who (as a mass) is more happy with a given unit/year/model/size and so on.....

discussing quality issues here is......

a great way to bond with other air owners? definitely.....
useful to read? perhaps.......
guidance for buying? sometimes.....
drawing firm conclusions on quality?.....never

what trailer are you considering and why.....tell us more.....

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 04-07-2006, 02:39 PM   #8
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2air - I think that was the most elequent (sp?) verbage on the whole AS quality thing. Would I buy new? If I had the dough (and I don't) - in a heartbeat!

Is my "vintage" Argosy perfect - HAH! Not by a longshot (I just came in after replacing some running lights) - but it gives me (and the family) ultimate joy.

Zomby - I say just get one! (which one are you leaning towards?)
And welcome by the way!
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Old 04-07-2006, 02:41 PM   #9
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I have 05 Safari 25 SS. The quality is about what I expected. Nearly all the problems I've had were from 3rd party appliances, or typical RV construction techniques.

The power converter cooling fan failed, I replaced the electrode in Dometic fridge (wouldn't always light on gas), water system needed an accumulator tank to buffer pressure rises, the plastic dome vents deteriorated in the bright southwest sun, the Sony CD receiver generally stinks, and a few other little things.

I can't really complain about Airstream. A few detail issues, such as outlets being a little crooked, but generally the trailer is water tight and roadworthy.

Most of the little stuff wrong with mine is typical of any RV. IMO a new RV always "needs a little work." The whole industry could stand a little reality check on quality control.
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Old 04-07-2006, 03:41 PM   #10
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The model that I am interested in is the 28 CCD. Why? It looks incredibly cool, inside and outside. I feel it reflects our characters. I love the history of AS as a whole. But we are buying this unit to undertake a full time excursion through our great states and the last thing we need are major headaches. Other brands of travel trailers, such as Sunline, have no major reported QC issues, at least from the many dozens of posts I have read regarding their line. One thing that people here keep bringing up is that "your AS will outlast you." Well, I plan on selling whatever I buy after we are done with our trip (2 years, give or take) so that argument may not apply to us. I have read the QC threads and frankly, these issues seem well beyond what should be expected in a $65k trailer.

I **REALLY** want to buy an Airstream. Should I just take my $65k and buy a restored vintage unit? I'm very confused and more than a bit disheartened.
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Old 04-07-2006, 03:48 PM   #11
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just a musing here....

Owners of new coaches spend lots upfront and expect things to be right (as is proper) whereas vintage owners invest less on the front end, expect quirks to arise (infact, some seem to relish this) and expect to spend a fair bit as they go along. I guess it both a matter of finances and temperment as to which way you go....

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Old 04-07-2006, 04:24 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by zombyw00f
The model that I am interested in is the 28 CCD. we are buying this unit to undertake a full time excursion through our great states and the last thing we need are major headaches. I plan on selling whatever I buy after we are done with our trip .
hi zomb'

this will be your first rv?
and your first 2 years?
and you don't want any major headaches?
i though new yorkers were game for the task?

happy rv travelers must embrace the unknown...
and be willing to deal with LOTS of issues...
an rv brand without issues...
doesn't exist.....not one.
at any price....

as for airstreams....
in 28 size....
the safari is a better coach imo for serious travel....
double sink in galley and other features that favor real travel...
also the 28 classic would be a better choice for extended travel for the same reasons....
and greater water supply...

the ccds carry a premium....
for the 'ccd'
but aren't imo...
ideally suited for long trips...
or living on board...
the features serve another purpose...
they are beauty queens...
but can they cook a meal?
or make reservations...
for dinner...

given you are on a "2 year and out" plan....
shop for a 2-5 year old unit....
some one else will have done the duty...
the big issues should have been addressed...
it will still be very new...
the big depreciation is past....
wide body means more living space....

a custom/restored vintage WILL still have issues......all rvs do....
but any repairs may require the 'customizer' to resolve...
not ideal....since a/s dealers aren't everywhere...
and custom help is less available...

if the buy-in price is an issue....get a big 5th wheeler or
a nice class a with slides....
these are ideally suited to full timing.....
and i'm sure someone makes a model that...
reflects your character...

people who use rvs learn to deal with the issues....
or travel by other means.....
enjoy the search...
and the journey.

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 04-07-2006, 04:59 PM   #13
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If you think we're bad, you should see our competition!!

I recently met a guy who bought a $285,000 40' brand spankin' new motorhome. He bought it 6 months ago. I asked where he's been with it. "Nowhere" he says. Just back and forth to the dealer to fix warranty items - for SIX months! And, he felt this was NORMAL!

I'm a recent A/S owner - bought a used one in December. We took our 1999 30' A/S apart to recarpet, reupholster etc. Also, put in more powerful water pump, flush system, etc. I was surprised at how well built some systems are, and how slap-happy other parts of the construction are. Some areas look like a lunatic with a sabre saw went at it, then just covered it with carpeting!

Our previous owners comment: "You'll love her. We did all the work of taking her back to the factory for all the warranty work. Now she's great!"

So I agree with the posts that say, get a 2-5 year old unit with a single owner.

Someday, Toyota is gonna get into the RV business, and then everybody will have to shape up!
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Old 04-07-2006, 05:07 PM   #14
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Yes, we are new to the world of RVing. Of course, we expect many headaches, but not the kind of headaches that will spoil the trip (i.e. the AS needing to spend more time in the shop rather than on the road.) I understand all RVs are prone to problems here or there, but my big fear is that the AS's problems are greater than some of the other brands.

We live in a very small apartment right now, and don't see being in a small space together as a problem. Yes, the CCD is a beauty queen and thats one of the reasons we have fallen in love. The Safari just doesn't feel right for us, and the Classic, well... it's a bit TOO classic.
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Old 04-07-2006, 05:21 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by kjmorle
Someday, Toyota is gonna get into the RV business, and then everybody will have to shape up!
I like that statement. However remember that after 75 years and thousands of trailers, Airstream is now the best of all possible production trailers in the world. ………But the world doesn’t stand still.
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Old 04-07-2006, 07:10 PM   #16
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[quote=zombyw00f] we expect many headaches, but not the kind of headaches that will spoil the trip. Yes, the CCD is a beauty queen and thats one of the reasons we have fallen in love.[quote]

hi zomby'

so you've been inside some trailers? great!
the more ya try on the better....
and if the ccd is right for you.....fantastic.
there are many very happy ccd owners....
it's a great hut....

seems i read somewhere that the 28 safari with special edition upgrade is coming? these have most of the blush of a ccd with a few more long-trip-user-features...

i wondered if the ny,ny was legit.....and if the current abode...measured postage stamp size.

airstream dimensions do have the benefit of a changing view...
and using the out of doors for added living space...

if you are gonna buy new....plan a few 3-10 day shake down trips....or just leave it at the dealers lot....take it camping, then back to the dealer for tweaks....before your epic journey....

i still think you'd have an easier time with a near new one...already tweaked.....
but new is new and no body has slept in the bed or used the toilet!

i don't think you need worry that any issues on a new one will ruin a 2 year trip or leave ya standed....honestly.

and your biggest fear.....
"that the AS's problems are greater than some of the other brands".....
is unfounded imo....
we are a pretty demanding clan of campers....
perhaps the most demanding...
in trailer land....

besides when ya leave new york....
just opt for a easy western first leg...
with jackson center circled on the map....
they build 'em, so they can repair 'em...
and the camping is free in the terraport..

post more about your buying process....

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 04-07-2006, 08:47 PM   #17
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New build QC

Being in the 'business' , I see all kinds of RV's with all kinds of problems. The new $300K-$500K Class A units have just as many...maybe more problems as any other type of RV...including Airatream. I have visited a bunch of factories and it's important to remember that most RV's are built on a factory line with many people doing many tasks. Some are not the best at what they do....but should be! Sometimes you have electricians running water lines, or plumbers hooking up stereos and satellite systems. Sure, they can be trained in the proper install technique, but it is not their specialty.

The RV industry as a whole needs to address the build quality issue while the unit is in production. They (some) are beginning to realize that is costs far less to get the job done right the first time than to have to tear it down to fix something that is deeply buried in the bowels of the unit under warranty. Every RV manaufacturer must show a profit to stay in business and they are beginning (slowly) to realize that high warranty costs are eroding that profit. If the trend that is being discussed and pushed in the industry now takes hold, we should be seeing a lot of RV's that have fewer problems in the future.
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
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Old 04-08-2006, 12:59 AM   #18
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QC is bad. Very bad. Believe it. I looked at some other brands this week, and their quality was so far beyond AS... I saw integrated LCD tv's with mounts which made sense and actually worked. I saw clever designs and thoughtful features through out the trailer. This is and AS site, so you are going to get AS cheerleaders here. That's to be expected. While the AS frame is undoubtedly more long-lasting (if you get one that doesn't leak), the units may be twice the price. Past the QC issue, look at the posts on the attitude of the company. Call them yourself. Check out what passes for AS dealers. It was me, I would take the risk and get a quality other brand, then buy another unit in 10 yrs if you are still into it.
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Old 04-08-2006, 02:41 AM   #19
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My wife and I bought a 2005 Interstate last September from Out of Doors Mart in Greensboro, NC.
After a thorough checkout, we drove it home, made an overnight, and then drove it out to Tucson. When we got to Tucson we had two complaints.
1. The water connection to the toilet leaked.
2. The seat back of one dinette hadn't been properly fastened.

Oasis fixed both problems under warranty.

No problems on the way back.

The Dodge Sprinter van with its Mercedes engine is trouble free to date.

This compares favorably with my experience with VW Westfalia campers. I bought one in 1984 in Bonn, drove it until 1996. No problems with the camping unit for about 5 years, then had a problem with the fridge.

Of course, there is a difference in scale here. But the point is, Airstream QC does pretty damn good, in my opinion.

I'm satisfied with the Interstate.
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Old 04-10-2006, 05:34 PM   #20
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06 28' Ccd

I'm crazy about our 28 CCD. This is our 3rd new AS in less than a year and a half. All of mine have had unique personalities and problems. I put up with the problems and fix some of them myself. I get mad as hell at some of the QC problems, but I can't imagine towing anything but an AS. Style. Style. Style. And yes, Quality. There's nothing else out there like 'em. My dealer in Albuquerque has been fabulous with warranty work. They have fixed everything right the first time. We travel in our AS 3-6 months out of the year.


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