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Old 11-26-2020, 09:21 AM   #1
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2021 25' International
Winder , Georgia
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 127
New 2021 International - Excitement/Disappointment

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all fellow Airstreamers out there! If you are enjoying Thanksgiving in a campground in your Airstream, then even more to be thankful more.
I will apologize up front for the long post, but if it helps someone else to possibly avoid issues we had , then it's worth it to me.
Had I written this yesterday, it would have been a lot more negative and cynical. But after a good night's sleep and waking up to a beautiful Thanksgiving morning, I realized how blessed I am and am going to focus on being thankful for those blessings.
We have had a new 2021 International 2025RBT on order some time now. We live an hour NE of Atlanta , GA but bought our unit from Airstream of Tampa(owned by RVone). We have a dealer right up the road but they were unwilling to negotiate at all on price and frankly were very unresponsive to questions. So long story short, we wound up buying from Tampa. (best price in 3 states, 5 Rivet Dealer, and overall pleasant to deal with) I begged them for a complete and thorough pre delivery inspection. The last thing I wanted was to drive 7 hours and there be a problem and not leave with our trailer. They assured me that they would. So after much anticipation, the day finally came!(pretty much right on time) We drove down last Saturday for our demo. Any hesitations we had quickly faded as our brand new shiny International sat in the bay with all the gizmos and gadgets working. It was everything we had hoped for and more. The demo went very well. Everything seemed to be fine, we were a little overwhelmed with info frankly. Only issue was a glitch with the power awning, but they fixed onsite(more on that later). So we hitched up and left. Stayed one night at a local RV park and up bright and early the next day to head home. All without issue. Then a day later we headed to a local state park to camp for 2 nights to get the feel for our new trailer. That's when the problems started.
1. Dometic fridge not working on AC when in auto mode. it had actually been running on LP the whole time, we just did not know it. Called the dealer , he said to check 5a glass fuse in the control panel. Sure enough, blown. I replaced it. Worked on AC for 2 hours, blown again. Obviously something wrong.
2. Water leak on Kitchen drain. Where the horizontal PVC pipe turns down at
the sidewall of the trailer. Leaking at the coupling running down the side of pipe and onto the belly pan and dripping from the seams in the belly pan onto teh ground. (glad they switched to composite floors)The coupling looks like it wasn't even glued together.
Impossible to get to and fix without tearing out the cabinet.
3. Awning still not working right. Rear tilt only goes a few inches and stops, then wont do anything until you hit open or close. Same issue that they said they fixed in Tampa.
Driving the 7 plus hours back to Tampa, dropping off, driving back home, then going back is not an option. So now I have to use the dealer in Atl. that I did not buy from, and they are 3 weeks just to look at it.

So extreme excitement to extreme disappointment. The reality is, that the trailer never should have left Ohio like this. All of these issues should have been caught there. Even so, the dealer should have picked up on them in their inspection. Fridge - easy catch. Water leak- they would have had to run water continously and watch for leaks but isn't that their job??
awning - no excuse on that one.

As I said previously we are very blessed and Thankful to be able to own such a beautiful trailer and are focused on the long term so this too shall pass. I know these are minor issues in the overall picture but we pay a lot of money for these things. A brand that is supposed to be 'a step above'. The factory and the dealer failed miserably.

I say all of this to plead with you future newbie owners to please check, double check , and check again when you take delivery. Take as much time as you need. Don't get so caught up in the ooh's and ahh's that you forget to check the important things. Remember, although I feel the dealers have good intentions, they are pushing you out the door so they can work on the next delivery or close the next sale.

Anyway, just wondering if anyone may have had similar issues?
I know all of this is under warranty but just wondering if these are common issues.
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:54 PM   #2
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2016 30' International
redondo beach , California
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 527
Don't be so hard on yourself.
Trailer delivery day is very complicated and emotional.

Look up on the internet your various problems and maybe some can be solved without going to the dealer. Most everything on our airstreams is common across all RVs

And give the fridge a good visual inspection. Poke around in there. It might be something obvious. Then get the model number, take a picture and come back to the fridge section here on the forums with your questions. Also try a local RV repair person. It could be a simple inexpensive part.

I'll bet the drain problem can also be fixed with out going to the dealer.

Did you search the forums about the awning problem? Everybody has trouble at first with those things.

Also a dealer is a dealer. Use your local dealer for parts and service. You don't have to feel bad that the trailer was purchased elsewhere. The service people don't care.
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Old 11-27-2020, 04:59 AM   #3
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,323
Any trailer or.RV you buy will test and ultimately modify your expectations of the.manufacturing and maintenance process. Most brands have more problems than Airstreams.

Becoming a handyman/handy-woman is far easier than any other path you might choose. Truth is that Thor and most other manufacturers are in a war to put more and more leading-edge technology into every trailer... and no one thinks to thoroughly train the poor saps who have to do the troubleshooting and repairs.

First, YouTube is your friend. The problems with your refrigerator are relatively simple to diagnose and repair. Blowing a fuse is often a grounding problem although it can be a problem with the control board on the refrigerator. A super simple trouble shooting test is turn off the propane bottles and plug the refrigerator into a heavy duty extension cord. Run it on electric divorced from all the trailer systems. If it runs the problem is in the trailer wiring. You actually can camp this way while you wait for a service appointment. If the fuse still blows ask the dealer or Jackson Center for help (a new card). You can install this yourself. YouTube will help.

The power awning is fraught with problems. I don't have one so I tend to ignore those posts, but I do remember that in some models the controls are behind the kitchen sink where leaks... yeah, stupid design. There are many threads on this forum. Search function works better from a computer so good luck on that.

Finally, most of the great help I have received has come from other experienced owners. Camp at Top of Georgia and/or join WBCCI, the Airstream owners club. You will probably find 10 "been there, done that" stories from owners in a 50 mile radius from your location. They will help you get to a solution, often faster and cheaper than any dealer can. Ask for people to send you a PRIVATE MESSAGE, and exchange emails or phone numbers that way.

Oh and most important point - many systems are NOT Airstream exclusive. The electric jack on my new to me Eddie Bauer failed when I drove it home from the dealer. Then I found out I had the wrong manual crank. I was about ready to lose it when a random guy across from me came over and offered to help. He observed that I was not crazy and that I had the wrong crank, but that a hex head wrench should work. I pulled out my ratchet set and found the right head while he went to collect his toolbox. He checked the inside fuse (I had done that visually) and the grounding. He redid the ground wire as "general maintenance" and then used a meter to find a loose connection in the wiring. Then he fixed the bad wire and again redid all the connections adding shrink insulation and new electrical tape to each - and showed me the difference between quick and dirty and durable work. He refused all my offers of money, but did accept a new pack of shrink insulating strips I bought the next day. Got 2 packs, one for my toolkit, one for his. I now keep several $10 gift cards in the trailer for such occasions, the guy who changes a tire for me will get all of them!

Happy Trails, Paula
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Old 11-27-2020, 07:37 AM   #4
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2019 25' Flying Cloud
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 321
We also bought from a dealer far away. In our case it was because that dealer had a left over prior model year trailer that we could purchase at a good price. It was our first RV, but others in my family have owned trailers and motorhomes over the years. Between that and reading I knew that even very expensive RV's were going to have problems. Your defective fridge is not materially different than ones other manufacturers put in units a fraction of the cost you paid. We had that experience with our furnace. Defective from the beginning. We also had a couple of manufacturing issues.

From my reading and my family experience, I knew that once you got the initial issues corrected, things got better. That has been our experience. Hopefully, it will be yours too.
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:05 AM   #5
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2012 25' FB International
Trent Woods , North Carolina
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 3,047
I just have to say welcome to the real world of RV's! We bought very lightly used(only once) and thanks to a great dealer PDI(Colonial) we had nothing wrong when we picked it up. We had a few problems in the first 2 years, roof leaks were not covered by the warranty(??), the others I fixed myself. In the next few years I learned that RV's have stuff that breaks or was poorly assembled at the factory, requiring my attention. The only real project I did not undertake myself was replacing a leaking fresh water tank.
Over the years I have been maintaining my own Airstream, I have developed a real disdain for Airstream. Their maintainability and quality are far below what I wanted or anticipated. I continually find myself saying that if it were not for the great friends we camp with in our Airstream local unit, I would just sell and get rid of the aggravation.
Larry
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Old 11-27-2020, 11:46 AM   #6
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2021 28' International
Cape Canaveral , Florida
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 3
Bcc75, just read your post and I will be very thorough on 12-03 when we take delivery of our 2021 Int. 28rtb from the Tampa dealership. We will spend at least one night on their property and try to "test" everything we can. We can only hope that ours came through the factory final inspection well, but with the pace of units that are being built and delivered, it is sad that they can't pay more attention to quality control. For the cost of these, there shouldn't be these issues. Best of luck with yours. Enjoy, and safe travels.
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Old 11-27-2020, 11:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bcc75 View Post
First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all fellow Airstreamers out there! If you are enjoying Thanksgiving in a campground in your Airstream, then even more to be thankful more.
I will apologize up front for the long post, but if it helps someone else to possibly avoid issues we had , then it's worth it to me.
Had I written this yesterday, it would have been a lot more negative and cynical. But after a good night's sleep and waking up to a beautiful Thanksgiving morning, I realized how blessed I am and am going to focus on being thankful for those blessings.
We have had a new 2021 International 2025RBT on order some time now. We live an hour NE of Atlanta , GA but bought our unit from Airstream of Tampa(owned by RVone). We have a dealer right up the road but they were unwilling to negotiate at all on price and frankly were very unresponsive to questions. So long story short, we wound up buying from Tampa. (best price in 3 states, 5 Rivet Dealer, and overall pleasant to deal with) I begged them for a complete and thorough pre delivery inspection. The last thing I wanted was to drive 7 hours and there be a problem and not leave with our trailer. They assured me that they would. So after much anticipation, the day finally came!(pretty much right on time) We drove down last Saturday for our demo. Any hesitations we had quickly faded as our brand new shiny International sat in the bay with all the gizmos and gadgets working. It was everything we had hoped for and more. The demo went very well. Everything seemed to be fine, we were a little overwhelmed with info frankly. Only issue was a glitch with the power awning, but they fixed onsite(more on that later). So we hitched up and left. Stayed one night at a local RV park and up bright and early the next day to head home. All without issue. Then a day later we headed to a local state park to camp for 2 nights to get the feel for our new trailer. That's when the problems started.
1. Dometic fridge not working on AC when in auto mode. it had actually been running on LP the whole time, we just did not know it. Called the dealer , he said to check 5a glass fuse in the control panel. Sure enough, blown. I replaced it. Worked on AC for 2 hours, blown again. Obviously something wrong.
2. Water leak on Kitchen drain. Where the horizontal PVC pipe turns down at
the sidewall of the trailer. Leaking at the coupling running down the side of pipe and onto the belly pan and dripping from the seams in the belly pan onto teh ground. (glad they switched to composite floors)The coupling looks like it wasn't even glued together.
Impossible to get to and fix without tearing out the cabinet.
3. Awning still not working right. Rear tilt only goes a few inches and stops, then wont do anything until you hit open or close. Same issue that they said they fixed in Tampa.
Driving the 7 plus hours back to Tampa, dropping off, driving back home, then going back is not an option. So now I have to use the dealer in Atl. that I did not buy from, and they are 3 weeks just to look at it.

So extreme excitement to extreme disappointment. The reality is, that the trailer never should have left Ohio like this. All of these issues should have been caught there. Even so, the dealer should have picked up on them in their inspection. Fridge - easy catch. Water leak- they would have had to run water continously and watch for leaks but isn't that their job??
awning - no excuse on that one.

As I said previously we are very blessed and Thankful to be able to own such a beautiful trailer and are focused on the long term so this too shall pass. I know these are minor issues in the overall picture but we pay a lot of money for these things. A brand that is supposed to be 'a step above'. The factory and the dealer failed miserably.

I say all of this to plead with you future newbie owners to please check, double check , and check again when you take delivery. Take as much time as you need. Don't get so caught up in the ooh's and ahh's that you forget to check the important things. Remember, although I feel the dealers have good intentions, they are pushing you out the door so they can work on the next delivery or close the next sale.

Anyway, just wondering if anyone may have had similar issues?
I know all of this is under warranty but just wondering if these are common issues.
Hi Bcc75,*

We're very 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 and share it with our Customer Service and Technical Support team. We look forward to helping you get this resolved.


Thank you.*
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:26 PM   #8
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 39
Post purchases repairs and adjustments

We also bought far from our RV home. We finally got an appt at factory in Ohio. They offer overnight camping so you can stay in your rig if they donít finish. We found them much more knowledgeable and quick to understand and address issues. No waiting or leaving it there for 3 months.
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Old 11-27-2020, 02:31 PM   #9
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​2020 Atlas​
Cleveland , Georgia
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 39
Happy Thanksgiving to all. I can sympathise with everyone who experienced problems and breakdowns with their Airstream products. We just returned from a trip from Georgia to Oregon and back with many stops and boy did we have problems with our Airstream/Mercedes Atlas. I have compiled a list of 16 items that require repair or replacement ranging from replacing the black tank autodrain valve to lights that don't illuminate. (I spent a lot of time on our trip, underneath the rig opening the valve manually so I could drain it. Yuck!). We already lost a month of use when the slide jammed and the entire frame had to be replaced. Our dealer is a Mercedes franchise in an upscale area and they have facilities for working on Sprinters because they sell a lot of them. We are still under warrenty so we're tied to the dealer. We approached several RV service centers while on our journey but all of them had 2-3 month waiting lists. Does anyone have a better idea for getting repairs made that doesn't involve travelling up to Jackson, OH?
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Old 11-27-2020, 02:31 PM   #10
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2016 22' Sport
2018 25' International
Chino Hills , California
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 34
Sorry to hear of so many malfunctions.
My recommendation for anyone purchasing out of town an Airstream to factor staying at the dealership or near the dealership for a week. We found out there is quite a learning curve as to how everything functions.
Also we had joined an airstream club and had an extremely knowledgeable member who gave us their phone number and permission to call them 24/7 while experiencing our first weeks of Airstream living .
We also were inexperienced Travel trailer owners. They all gave us the confidence which you only can acquire over many years. The Airstream community is amazing. I’m sure this will be a memory to be forgotten as you learn all about your beautiful new Airstream. I am very confident you will have many mechanical-free adventures ahead of you. Happy Thanksgiving �� !
Owning an airstream is amazing. But the real silver lining is the people you will meet on this journey .
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Old 11-27-2020, 10:26 PM   #11
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2019 30' Classic
Castle Pines , CO
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 4
BCC75, thank you so much for sharing. We are meeting with our local Airstream dealer early next week to place our order, and your experience will surely help us a) caution them to not take delivery from Ohio without their own "demo" and b) that we will expect the trailer to be fully hooked up, and we will be spending a few hours operating every single item in and on the trailer before we take delivery. We are very concerned that with the surge in demand from COVID, that AS is cutting corners and rushing through construction. While you can understand they are under pressure, they should never sacrifice their reputation or the trust of their customers...and can fix any "pressure" issues with hiring more staff (they must be making money hand-over-fist!).

So, let me say THANK YOU, for help us and others avoid the pitfalls you experienced. Will be eager to hear how the local dealer handles things, and if things are fixed right the second time.

Hang in there, and hope you get you trailer back soon, and have years of headache-free trips in it!
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Old 11-28-2020, 07:14 AM   #12
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2021 25' International
Winder , Georgia
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 127
Really appreciate everyones support. One of the reasons we did decided to jump into this new hobby/lifestyle was to meet new friends and I certainly think we will do just that from what I have seen so far. In Airstreamís defense, 2 of 3 malfunctions are solely the components they put in the trailer, not the trailer construction itself. (Awning and fridge). However it is Airstream and the dealerís responsibility to check these before delivery to the customer. I know Dometic is a standard in the RV industry. Has been for years. But one would think that AS would go a step above. Iím sure there are higher end refrigerators out there for RVís??? I mean if I am buying a million dollar house I would expect to see to see a Sub Zero or Wolf fridge over the Home Depot brands right?
One other thing to point out when you take delivery. Make sure you check your brakes and brake controller setting before you head out with your new trailer. The dealer tech took my keys and hooked everything up for me. (He demonstrated the hitch). He pulled the rig around front and said everything was set to go. My truck is brand new. Never pulled a trailer before. The I-75 is right beside the dealership so we jumped on and headed out. When we stopped at a rest area I smelled my truck brakes burning. The brake controller was not properly set for the load!! So I bumped up the setting and no more issues. Point is that I should checked that myself. I know better. Again, caught up in the moment.
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Old 11-28-2020, 08:09 AM   #13
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2008 19' Bambi
2012 23' Flying Cloud
Bandera , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 588
It is disappointing to read about lists of problems (Be they long or short) encountered on a newly delivered unit. I would suspect that today, at the factory, everything rolling off the line Is already sold......someone could confirm that if desired. This being the case, it would seem like an opportune time to slow the shipping process by some percentage and increase the final QC process. Yeah, the dealer should be catching issues as well, but it all falls back on the brand, and once the brand is damaged, it is hard to fix. And Iím curious about outcomes when I read that AS has responded to a posting such as this, saying to contact them; did you, and did it help?
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Old 11-28-2020, 08:27 AM   #14
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2007 23' Safari SE
2016 23' International
Fernandina Beach , Florida
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 499
We bought our International from RVOne and thankfully no major issues over the years. We bought with the full expectation that having any major repair work done under warranty, we would likely be best to go to JC. We actually had that discussion with them. You get what you pay for and besides the distance to take it back to Tampa (300 miles for us), just scheduling an appt would be a long wait (not that JC is that much better). They sell ALOT of trailers and most to out of state buyers. It's still the best deal going IMO.

As others are pointing out, some stuff you can fix yourself. Some stuff, like your fridge, if you can isolate the issue to it, can be repaired on its own warranty, at any authorized Dometic repair shop. I am sure you can find one in the ATL area and not necessarily an Airstream dealer. We had our AC replaced that way.

As for the awning... well, the more complicated these beasts become, the more prone to failure they are. I am happy to pull out the good old manual awning whenever I want and it's infinitely more reliable and adjustable than the power ones!

If you think you got a lemon, by all means contact JC and start planning a trip up North! Trailers are not like cars and their dealerships are spotty at best. Good repair shops even more so. But with the boom in trailer ownership, maybe that situation will improve with more dealers adding more services, but more likely, we'll just see longer wait times for appts. So don't hesitate to schedule a visit to JC as soon as possible.
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Old 11-28-2020, 09:49 AM   #15
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2007 23' Safari SE
2016 23' International
Fernandina Beach , Florida
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 499
One other note on the individual component warranties, call the manufacturer and ask them where is the best repair shop nearest you. Sometimes, their tech support staff can assist you in trouble shooting it. Your awning is probably covered under a separate warranty as well. The only reservation I would have, is to trust them on the reinstallation given the fragility of the Airstream exterior. I know I was nervous about having our AC repaired, but in the end, more often than not, they simply pull the old unit and replace it with a new one ordered to spec. That was certainly the case for us. It's no doubt cheaper, and faster than trying to repair in the shop.
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Old 11-28-2020, 10:39 AM   #16
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2021 25' International
Winder , Georgia
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by banderabob View Post
It is disappointing to read about lists of problems (Be they long or short) encountered on a newly delivered unit. I would suspect that today, at the factory, everything rolling off the line Is already sold......someone could confirm that if desired. This being the case, it would seem like an opportune time to slow the shipping process by some percentage and increase the final QC process. Yeah, the dealer should be catching issues as well, but it all falls back on the brand, and once the brand is damaged, it is hard to fix. And Iím curious about outcomes when I read that AS has responded to a posting such as this, saying to contact them; did you, and did it help?
I immediately sent AS a direct message as soon as I saw their post. I have yet to hear from them. I assume that may be because of the holiday.
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Old 11-29-2020, 10:48 AM   #17
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
High Point , North Carolina
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 149
The more I read here, the luckier I feel. We wanted an AS for quite a while. I gained valuable experience in SOB for a couple years then took the plunge, buying a FC. Where we lucked out is we live 4 miles from Outdoor Mart in NC. One of the oldest and most reliable dealers in the country. When we took delivery, the tech who gave us the walk through had been there for 20+ yrs. and was an owner himself. I could tell immediately that while we were inside finalizing our purchase, he was outside with our trailer, fully hooked up, testing everything, making tweaks and fixing leaks. He also did a complete hitch setup. He demonstrated everything and then made me do it 2-3 times to insure I knew it. He pointed out every part of the manual that was important. The whole process took around 4+ hrs. In the 4 yrs we've used it, I think we've had maybe 3-4 simple issues I easily fixed myself. That all said, last year we toured Jackson and saw the mountain of QC issues they have. It is better than a lot of other brands but I came to realize how important the dealer delivery phase really is and which dealer you buy from.
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Old 12-02-2020, 07:42 PM   #18
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2021 25' International
Winder , Georgia
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 127
UPDATE

Trailer is now at dealer in Atlanta for warranty work.
They have been very helpful btw which surprises me a little since we did not buy from them. Anyway the issues have been diagnosed.
1. Grey water drain under kitchen sink leaking at pipe couplings. Careless assembly at factory.
2. Bad heating element & control board on refrigerator. Most likely defective from factory
3. Rear arm on awning installed incorrectly at factory.

Brand new trailer literally had it 2 days. Entire kitchen sink and floor cabinets will have to come out to fix the leak.
First Airstream and certainly very disappointed in the quality of work from the factory. Where is the level of QC gone??
Dealer in Tampa failed miserably also with their PDI.
Representative from Airstream actually reached out to me today which was a plus I guess.

Oh well. You guys on this forum warned me.
Others who are awaiting delivery beware.
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Old 12-03-2020, 08:54 AM   #19
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2021 28' International
Cape Canaveral , Florida
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 3
Bcc75, Our 28Int has come in at Airstream of Tampa. It arrived with a slightly discolored or faded floor in one spot. We were given the option of taking delivery and coming back for a repair after Jan 1st. We opted to hold off on delivery until the repair has been made.
Kinda lowers our enthusiasm for this Airstream.
Hope all of your issues get corrected .
No excuse for the awning malfunction, heating element, and control board not being noticed at the factory or the dealership before delivery. and the leak may have developed during your trip back home.
Com'on Airstream, tighten up.
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Old 12-03-2020, 06:43 PM   #20
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2021 25' International
Winder , Georgia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retirednow View Post
Bcc75, Our 28Int has come in at Airstream of Tampa. It arrived with a slightly discolored or faded floor in one spot. We were given the option of taking delivery and coming back for a repair after Jan 1st. We opted to hold off on delivery until the repair has been made.
Kinda lowers our enthusiasm for this Airstream.
Hope all of your issues get corrected .
No excuse for the awning malfunction, heating element, and control board not being noticed at the factory or the dealership before delivery. and the leak may have developed during your trip back home.
Com'on Airstream, tighten up.
The plumbing leak was clearly diagnosed by the Atlanta dealer as improper assembly at the factory. It appears they cut a pipe too short and tried to piece it together with a coupling which leaked.

I sincerely hope you get your floor issues fixed as well. As I have said before, we pay too much money for these things to accept this kind of poor craftsmanship.
The fact that they are making you wait until Jan 1 is is obsurd.
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