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Old 10-01-2020, 03:55 PM   #1
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2021 changes worth it?

Hi all - First post here as my wife and I are trying to determine our first travel trailer (very challenging right now when the dealers have nothing in stock to physically see, lol). After doing a lot of online research (looking at Lance, Airstream, Forest River, etc.) we are currently leaning towards a FC 25FB as we really like the floorplan and are hoping the build quality of airstreams is really what folks make it out to be (we did get to see some Winnebagos and Grand designs in person and were frankly shocked at the amount of saw dust, rough cuts, and other lack of craftmanship).

We both really liked the design (color palette of seats, solid color countertops, wood curved doors, etc.) of the 2020 FC 25FB. The 2021 version seems to be a huge step backwards as they've gone to a weird grey flat door for cupboards, a different grey for cushions and a hideous fake stone swirl top that looks more like it belongs in a low end trailer (these are just our opinion on aesthetics and realize others may vary). That being said there are, to a newbie like myself, what seem like some upgrades for 2021 with composite flooring and tankless water heater that could be compelling.

All of this is a very long winded way of asking, are the "upgrades" for 2021 worth it (no wood floor, tankless water heater, etc.) in the practical world or is it mostly hype and the wood floors etc. in the previous version are just fine?

Thanks for any help
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Old 10-01-2020, 05:19 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bier View Post
Hi all - First post here as my wife and I are trying to determine our first travel trailer (very challenging right now when the dealers have nothing in stock to physically see, lol). After doing a lot of online research (looking at Lance, Airstream, Forest River, etc.) we are currently leaning towards a FC 25FB as we really like the floorplan and are hoping the build quality of airstreams is really what folks make it out to be (we did get to see some Winnebagos and Grand designs in person and were frankly shocked at the amount of saw dust, rough cuts, and other lack of craftmanship).

We both really liked the design (color palette of seats, solid color countertops, wood curved doors, etc.) of the 2020 FC 25FB. The 2021 version seems to be a huge step backwards as they've gone to a weird grey flat door for cupboards, a different grey for cushions and a hideous fake stone swirl top that looks more like it belongs in a low end trailer (these are just our opinion on aesthetics and realize others may vary). That being said there are, to a newbie like myself, what seem like some upgrades for 2021 with composite flooring and tankless water heater that could be compelling.

All of this is a very long winded way of asking, are the "upgrades" for 2021 worth it (no wood floor, tankless water heater, etc.) in the practical world or is it mostly hype and the wood floors etc. in the previous version are just fine?

Thanks for any help
From what I understand, and I may be incorrect, the tankless water heater does not allow one to use propane to heat water. While not quite a deal breaker for me, I would not like that. I will sometimes get the water heated while getting the trailer ready to go while I am not hooked up.

The color schemes are fine but I do like the old ones better (subjective). Not sure about the flooring; my wife is a clean freak so much of our flooring is covered with at least one carpet :-)

Best of luck! I know some have had issues with build quality but ours was fine. We had been looking at several brands (lower end) and when we walked into an Airstream it was love at first sight. We decided that was the only possibility for us at the time (we were not cross-shopping fifth wheels or Class A; the extra space in those could sway me if we were going full time).
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Old 10-01-2020, 06:27 PM   #3
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2021 changes worth it?

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Originally Posted by DewTheDew View Post
From what I understand, and I may be incorrect, the tankless water heater does not allow one to use propane to heat water. While not quite a deal breaker for me, I would not like that. I will sometimes get the water heated while getting the trailer ready to go while I am not hooked up. .

Itís the other way around. The Girard water heater on the 2021+ only runs on LP (does not have a 120v electric option).
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Old 10-01-2020, 09:47 PM   #4
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Build quslity

You donít buy an Airstream for the build quality, you buy it for how it tows, how the timeless aluminum exterior ages and how the floor plan works for your needs. If you want build quality and 3 season no hassle utility you get a nuCamp and just hit the road.

Airstream sells every single unit they can build and thatís been the case for years. Their build quality is better than the majority of their competitors but donít imagine itís like buying a Lexus or BMW for their engineering and QC.

If you buy any trailer, add a toolkit and be willing to get your hands dirty learning how to fix it on the road.
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Old 10-01-2020, 10:53 PM   #5
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Newport Beach , California
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I love my airstream. I have a 2019.

The reason they moved away from the curved doors is because over time they can warp. Keep in mind, that is a real long way down the road so the decision is small but still an perceived improvement.

To me the subfloor upgrade is significant. If it really ends up working to help prevent rot, that alone is worth it. All trailers leak eventually.

The interior colors are preference. I personally hated my interior colors so I redid it all even though it was new.

Bottom line - if you can afford an airstream, you can afford to make it however you want. Make it your own and enjoy!

Donít hesitate to jump in and join the fun.
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:35 AM   #6
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Thank you all for info
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:35 AM   #7
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If you are looking seriously at an AS 25 FB, and particularly if you want a queen bed, please take a look at the AS 27 FB. We found the extra 2 feet to be quite worth it plus the queen bed is a walk-around and a lot easier to make and get up from in the middle of the night.
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:51 AM   #8
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We picked up our 2021 Flying Cloud 27FB Twin about two months ago. We appreciated the flooring upgrade, so really hope it lives up to expectations. We also liked the updated interior move to ultraleather and the colors were not that important (although we happen to like the new mist option). Although only a couple trips so far, it's held up to 3 kids and a dog.

I like the change to the square sink (and its cabinet), but less enthused with the cabinet finish. I don't like the gloss and finish on the and I wonder if it's going to look beat up quickly but we'll see.

As pointed out, the on demand hot water heater is LP only. It would be nice to have an electric option while we are plugged in. We've taken to turning it off most of the time, so we only turn it on in short stints when needed.

Good luck with the search.
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:59 AM   #9
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I have a 2019 FC. The new floor is clearly an improvement. The water heater seems to me like a terrible idea if you boondock ever. Loss of 6 gallons of water plus needing to run the water longer to get hot water which both wastes water and fills your gray tank. It is perfectly fine if all you ever do is have hookups. The new interiors are just a matter of taste, although I think the curved doors look like a more expensive finish. As to build quality, all RV's have issues from the factory, usually minor, that will need to be sorted. Airstream is no exception. Hopefully, long term ownership experience with Airstream will be better.
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:19 AM   #10
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Hi

I realize this is *not* easy advice to follow right now.

You very much want to go out and sit in multiple candidate trailers. Look at everything. See how you fit here or there. See what the seating feels like after sitting here or there for an hour. Work out what might go where and what compromises that implies.

Airstream floor plans doin't change dramatically year to year (there are indeed exceptions). Sitting in "last year's" trailer is almost as useful as sitting in this years (if you are looking for new ...). Color schemes do change year to year. If they are a big deal to you (they were not for us) then you probably need to see this year's version.

If you will be traveling with pets and kids, bringing them all along while shopping probably isn't going to work very well. *DO* consider how they will fit if that's part of how you will be using the trailer. Sleeping arrangements are the obvious thing most look at. Storage for added gear is indeed a pinch point in any RV.

Do not go into this with the assumption there will be no problems / no issues. All RV's use appliances from the same basic group of folks. All of them are made in small batches by hand (compared to computer assembled automobiles ...). The result will be things that come up and need to be addressed. Three year warranty is a *good* thing. Living a couple hours from the factory is a *very* good thing. Indeed proximity to the factory would be a major deciding factor for me .... ( = if you need things fixed, that's the best place to get it done).

No matter what you buy, it's a pretty big pile of money. AS is pricey, there are others who cost significantly more. If that money goes to a "lifetime" of use, that may be ok. If it turns into a buy / use / sell / buy / use / sell sort of thing ... yikes. Better to take time shopping than to buy something you trade in a year ....

Indeed, this all can be fun. Don't let any of this suggest it's a chore, it's not. Simply understand that there does need to be some time invested.

Bob
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:40 AM   #11
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If that money goes to a "lifetime" of use, that may be ok. If it turns into a buy / use / sell / buy / use / sell sort of thing ... yikes. Better to take time shopping than to buy something you trade in a year ....

For good or for bad, it's a sellers' market right now. I just sold my 2019 FC for substantially more than I paid for it when I bought it new last year. I understand that Airstreams hold their value, but I didn't expect to turn a profit.

The prevalent advice out there is "buy your second trailer first". I thought we had done that, but now we're upgrading after only 19 months, 17000 miles, and and 61 nights. Like many families, we didn't really know what we wanted until we embraced the lifestyle for a bit.

I, for one, am happy that Airstream has transitioned out of traditional water heaters. In our short time of ownership, I had to replace ignition board 3 times (including a bad Dinosaur board!), electric element twice, and the thermal cutoff fuse once. That's 6 different trips where we had to do without hot water for some or all of the journey. Crossing my fingers that the tankless heaters are more reliable.

I just wonder what we're getting into with the Alde system in our soon-to-be new trailer....
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Old 10-02-2020, 02:53 PM   #12
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Loss of 6 gallons of water
That is not really usable water, unless you drain the water heater, bypass the water heater and put the water back in the fresh water tank.
I would still rather have a 6 gallon water heater with electric option.
NOTE: For electric instant water heater would require about 50 amps 240v (the entire 50 amp service), not an option on a trailer.
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Old 10-02-2020, 07:26 PM   #13
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Whoa - composite floor? Finally? That's reason enough to buy a 2021, as you won't be replacing wood in a few years. Everything else is icing on a now well-baked cake. That's good to know - I'll be watching for a used one in a few years!
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Old 10-03-2020, 04:38 AM   #14
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I just bought a 2021 FC 25 RB twin off the lot two weeks ago. I thought I was getting something that would just work but I've had a number of issues:
* two rain leaks, including a steady drip that is luckily over the kitchen sink
* front AC sensor is mounted to the fridge wall so it reads 20 deg higher than the actual inside air temperature (from this forum it looks like they've been building them all like this for years)
* continuous water heater shuts off unless the hot water is mostly open, meaning you can't use it for moderate temperature, or for taking a low flow shower to conserve water
* numerous other quirks, people love the awning but the setup process was very unintuitive, I bent one of the bars on my first try. plus the interior AC ducts have different levers for controlling air direction and airflow, which is cool until you realize that you can't aim them properly without looking inside the vent with a flashlight because it closes itself at various angles that you can't see from the outside

In hindsight I would still make the purchase, we love the trailer and I'm handy enough to fix this stuff myself. But I wish I'd had my eyes more open going into this and that the dealer (5 hrs away) would have corrected some of these issues, especially the water leak
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Old 10-03-2020, 04:49 AM   #15
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I think many of us wish we had our eyes more open when we jumped in. After 8 years of this, my eyes are fully open. Unfortunately, I am not sure what I would have done differently. I bought very lightly used and the selling dealer did a fine job of fixing delivery issues, apparently. But, that was small compensation for the the things that Airstream did not do right or did poorly, resulting in issues for me later. The one saving grace is the new friends we have made through our local Airstream club. Only that stops me from selling this thing and making my hobby bourbon tasting.
Larry
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Old 10-03-2020, 06:31 AM   #16
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That is not really usable water, unless you drain the water heater, bypass the water heater and put the water back in the fresh water tank.
I would still rather have a 6 gallon water heater with electric option.
NOTE: For electric instant water heater would require about 50 amps 240v (the entire 50 amp service), not an option on a trailer.
It's useable for hot water.
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Old 10-03-2020, 09:29 AM   #17
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nuCamp is pretty new and there aren't a huge number of them out there to really know how good the quality really is. Why would I think that a nuCamp would be a better quality rig than an Airstream?
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Old 10-03-2020, 09:40 AM   #18
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Buying an AS is like buying a house.

The first house you buy and live in for 10 years is the one you will actually learn what you want. Living as a child in your parents house is not the same.
2nd and subsequent homes will be better as your requirements get more specific

The same for a trailer, you must own one and use it for a few years first.
Then you will have a better idea for your MUST AND WANTS

As technology changes over time ,so will your future requirements
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Old 10-03-2020, 10:37 AM   #19
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Assuming we do go with the 2021 as it sounds like the composite floor really is a big deal, any recommendations on good resources for what can be done for changing aesthetic portions I described?

Sorry if this sounds like a newb question, but just trying to understand if it's like a home in that the doors to cabinets are easily sandable/paintable and simple upholstery redo or are there special things to consider for an airstream (like if the doors are not actually wood or?)

Thanks again for all the input from responses, much appreciated
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Old 10-03-2020, 10:54 AM   #20
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Hey, for a price, you can do anything. There are specialized firms that do minor and major remods, there are lots of independent guys capable of changing laminate, Corian, flooring and so on. It is really a question of how much you want to spend, especially after buying a new trailer.
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