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Old 07-23-2021, 02:12 PM   #1
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Angry Another AS Quality Control Problem

2016 International Serenity 25’ FB
I bought my AS used from a young military family down in Yuma, AZ in 2018. My wife and I have had many trip in it over the years. But on occasion we would find some water leakage at the base of the toilet. First thought was…well you know, not good aim. Of course we discussed it and the next time I saw it I knew that wasn’t it. Then I noticed that the toilet is in two pieces and that the top can tilt and separate from the bottom. That must be it. Time went on.
Well now we are living in the trailer while our house gets some remodel work done. Of course usage is up….and there is the puddle. Upon closer inspection the water is seeping from the base at the floor.
Now I’m in a position to take the toilet off since being home provides tools and hardware stores nearby.
I turn off the water at the base and disconnect the plumbing. Then I take off the nuts holding the base down. Lift the toilet off the floor and this is what I see.



Yes, AS personnel decided to leave 3 screws under the base of the toilet thus preventing a full level seal.
As you can see the water was going past the rubber seal on the back side where the screws were left on the floor.
I’m drying the area out right now so I haven’t replaced anything yet.
I am also worried about the floor there and the other side of the floor in the bedroom area.
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Old 07-23-2021, 02:47 PM   #2
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Definitely an oversight, but if you let it try like you say you are and clean it up I think you'll be fine. Just check and see if the wood is soft once it dries up.
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Old 07-23-2021, 03:01 PM   #3
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The hits just keep on coming.

The screws used to install the base look rusty. Water has probably seeped through and may have damaged the subfloor. If it seeped between the flooring and subfloor, it had no place to dry out over the years and that is a concern.

Best to remove that black base and see what you find. If damage to subfloor is not too bad, epoxy used for wood repair may save the subfloor without a replacement. The weight of the toilet and people who use it are concentrated on that small area and it has to be in good condition. If the subfloor is in reasonable condition, but has some rot, after restoring it, an additional layer of water resistant wood on top of the floor will provide more support, though you will have to fashion a sleeve to the black tank.

Reports of stuff left inside walls and elsewhere in Airstreams because the workers were too lazy to dispose of them properly have been noted for as long as I have been here. I too have found trash stuffed inside things. QC at the factory seems to be an illusion.
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Old 07-23-2021, 03:23 PM   #4
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Angry

Welcome to the "QC Problems Club" . . . [hot link in blue]

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Old 07-23-2021, 04:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Welcome to the "QC Problems Club" . . . [hot link in blue]

Peter

I checked out Otra's link for a Google search there were scores of threads about poor quality, many I had not seen in the past. After several pages of links I gave up. Some went back to 2006, a year before we bought our Safari. I know from following some threads about QC for years, some people learned and did not buy an Airstream, but enough went ahead and did buy them. We did even after I saw threads about poor quality in 2007.

One thing is clear—so long as Thor owns Airstream, quality will not improve. Low quality and high prices work for them and have for many years. No matter what people post here, nothing will change. There's one exception, if many people tell about a specific problem, Airstream may respond and fix that trailer, but others who have the same problem probably will get nothing.

It can take decades for a reputation to be destroyed. GM managed to do itafter their cars started being really bad. They even went bankrupt. They still sell a lot of cars and trucks. But my father loved V8 engines and GM cars, even after his mid-60's Buick had such a bad suspension it could make you sick on a highway and his 1985 Olds went through master cylinders every few years. Habits are hard to break.

The RV industry is consolidating. After decades of numerous small manufacturers, larger ones are swallowing them up. Ones with good reputations will often go downhill. The same thing happened in the US car industry. American cars led the world, but by around 1960 the big three were all that was left except for some last gasps by Studebaker and American Motors. The remaining three got overconfident. Then European companies started taking away market share and by the 1980's the Japanese companies showed up in force with much better cars and reliability. Things like disc brakes and rack and pinion steering were invented in the US, ignored by US companies as too expensive, and adopted by the rest of the world. Whether manufacturers from elsewhere will make a strong presence here someday is still up in the air, but if they do, companies like Thor, Forest River, etc., will be in trouble. A Toyota or Subaru RV would be a nice change.

We have had very few problems with our Nash and one major one that came up a couple of years after the warranty expired, was fixed at a lot of expense by the company and none to us because they stood behind their product. They didn't make excuses, didn't fight, didn't refuse to deal with it or give us the run around.

In recent years competition amongst companies has caused cheapening of RV's and parts. It only has gotten worse. The RV parts industry is also consolidating.

If you must buy an Airstream, look for a good used one. They go fast. Beforehand, go to dealers and familiarize yourself with them. Do not bring your checkbook or credit card. The appeal of aluminum is potent. And try to wait until prices stabilize.
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Old 07-23-2021, 06:03 PM   #6
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You still had a Nash with a warranty? ; )

I tried to get a new foam gasket for the toilet from the local AS dealer. They didn't have the part. So I reinstalled the old one. All good so far......
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Old 07-23-2021, 11:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gene View Post
. . .
One thing is clear—so long as Thor owns Airstream, quality will not improve. Low quality and high prices work for them and have for many years. No matter what people post here, nothing will change. There's one exception, if many people tell about a specific problem, Airstream may respond and fix that trailer, but others who have the same problem probably will get nothing.
. . .
A fine conclusion Gene . . . thanks. [IMO]

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Old 07-24-2021, 04:24 AM   #8
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Hi Gene, a point well stated and certainly not unique to Thor or Airstream. I could rant on and on about sewing machines. Gears that used to be steel are now nylon or even cheaper plastics. I learned that circa 1953 was the golden age of home machines.
The simple truth is that fewer and fewer women sew, though a few men are learning. They gravitate toward restoring cars, etc.
It is what it is.
I've gotten into Airstream Addicts on Facebook and OH My Goodness Gracious Me! 90% newbies and some "experts" with severe cranial-rectal inversion. Sometimes I despair, other times I just crack up. I responded to a person wanting more ways to find used Airstreams, listing several sources including Airstream Only Campgrounds. She immediately posted back, "How can I locate them?" Was I cruel when I sent back this? Google.

I opine that you CAN get Airstream corporate to.wake up and smell the coffee. Simply hit them in the wallet. Sending their service dept.a little missive titled HAPPINESS IS A DRY RJ45 CONNECTOR. The phone connectors inside the cover of the A/C is snapped together and the inside cover is screwed shut. All is well until it drops into the drip cup in high humidity....
Once it dries out a day or so later, everything is fine. The owners repeatedly take it in for.service under warranty, replacing circuit boards, thermostats, OR even putting in new air conditioners. Airforums described this almost 2 years ago and nada. I am hitting it thusly, AIRSTREAM CORPORATE WASTING 12 MILLION IN WARRANTY WORK when the real fix is ONE ZIP TIE inside each air conditioner. So maybe it is only 6 million, but I figure - make the bean counters pop a 'roid . We shall see how that goes.
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Old 07-24-2021, 01:22 PM   #9
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You still had a Nash with a warranty? ; )
No. The warranty had expired, but the problems with the fiberglass coating on the external wall were obviously poor patches at the factory. I wrote the CEO and he approved fixing the entire wall and having the trailer towed to the factory about 1,000 miles away and returned to me. There is a very good fiberglass shop in town, but they wanted to do it in Oregon. It was a product liability claim, not a warranty claim. I have found that dealing with warranty people sometimes is to be avoided. Their jobs sometimes rely on saying “no”. I go over their heads when I can.
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Old 07-24-2021, 01:44 PM   #10
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Thanks Peter and Paula (a 1970’s singing couple?),

I had success contacting the head of customer relations at Airstream many years ago. I have a hunch he has retired by now. He was helpful and nice, but I made it my mission to develop a positive relationship with him. That may have helped me get free repairs in the shop, but maybe others do too. I also made a deal on new (and much better looking wheels) with him so I could upgrade to 16” ones. He also introduced me to Bob Wheeler. I have written about Wheeler more than once—boiling it down, a typical corporate suit who got his job because he married the right woman, a daughter of one of the Thor honchos.

In dealing with companies large and small, you have to decide whether to be firm, friendly, mean or whatever gets you what you want in the most efficient way. Usually a combination is necessary, but assessing what works is a skill. One of my professions enabled me to develop some skill and I usually get what I want from them. It also help to have “attorney” on your letterhead.

Using the Forum to get what you want has worked for some people. But I suspect the majority of aggrieved owners either don’t know what to do, don’t know about the Forum, or give up. Some people negotiate with themselves and they usually lose the argument before the company even hears from them. That means you have to believe in your claim and present it in a friendly but powerful way. I see people talk themselves out of things all the time.

It shouldn’t be this way, but it is. Poor quality and customer service plus outrageous prices are all products of greed. Things used to be better, but power shifted and so did how the public is treated.

And, yes sewing machines seem to be made badly now. My wife is good at sewing, but shows little interest in it. My mother tried to teach me the basics and I can sew on a button, but all my shirts have snaps. Otherwise I am a terrible sewer, but can cook pretty well, can push the robotic vacuum button, clean windows and furniture, but my wife cannot change the oil or grease the vehicles. Just doesn’t seem fair.
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Old 07-25-2021, 06:13 AM   #11
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Gene is correct Nash does (sometimes) stand behind their product. I have 2 co-workers with Nash TT. Both purchased 1.5 years ago. Both have had nothing but problems with their trailers. They have been in the shop for warranty work one for 240 days total and the other for almost 200 days. Both for a myriad of reasons. One just got and authorization for a full credit towards any new unit, the other is still fighting to get his fixed on a regular basis. Even though my AS was about double in price, I'll stick with it even though I did have to replace the door knob on the bathroom door, which AS sent to me at no charge.
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Old 07-25-2021, 11:14 AM   #12
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Mike, that is a bummer. Northwood Mfr, the company that makes Nash and Arctic Fox, has had a very good reputation.
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Old 07-25-2021, 06:23 PM   #13
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Mike, that is a bummer. Northwood Mfr, the company that makes Nash and Arctic Fox, has had a very good reputation.
Agreed -- I would gladly make my second, 'winter camping,' trailer an Arctic Fox any day.
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:49 AM   #14
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Update after a few days.
Seems to be flushing okay now. There has not been any liquid on the floor or base.
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Old 07-26-2021, 10:08 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by kbmwrs View Post
Update after a few days.
Seems to be flushing okay now. There has not been any liquid on the floor or base.
Good news . . . thanks for the update OP.

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Old 08-12-2021, 11:34 AM   #16
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Bad news. It leaked again.


At least I already ordered a new gasket. It should arrive tomorrow.
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