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Old 05-12-2021, 01:01 PM   #1
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Sarasota , Florida
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Posts: 31
Question about newer Caravel

On Youtube, there is a young couple who purchased a new Caravel and have had multiple quality problems. It seems perhaps they just got a lemon. You who have the new Caravel, have you had any significant problems?
Thanks for info!
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Old 05-12-2021, 01:49 PM   #2
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2021 16' Caravel
Smithville , Tn
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I have a 21 16rb Caravel just like theirs with a dozen 5 day trips on it and have had zero issues with it or complaints about it. We love it. That said, if I had the issues they considered bad enough to think they had a lemon I still wouldn’t have thought twice but I’m handy and I could tell they were a sort of a helpless city couple. Adorable. But helpless. Most of their issues were regular maintenance related or quickly fixable on the road, and, one, if memory serves, was a slow (inexcusable by AS) plumbing leak that caused probs with their flooring. That was their main problem it seem to me. That video did cause me to go double check all our plumbing connections. I am glad we haven’t experienced any of that but ours has been absolutely issue free.

BTW, I did enjoy their series on the Caravel, it’s part of what made us choose the 16RB. My wife got tons of decorating ideas from them, particularly the small shelf for the paper towels. We did the same and it’s perfect.
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Old 05-13-2021, 07:29 AM   #3
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2020 16' Caravel
Garland , Texas
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Just got home from a Colorado trip. Camped on & off grid, crossed 11,000ft passes, brief snow packed roads, wind thru W TX, etc. Only issue was one popped rivet over the bed, 10 minute fix. Thinking about reducing tire PSI from 75 to 70? Great trailer.
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Old 05-13-2021, 07:32 AM   #4
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Little falls , New York
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You find the 16 nice for boondocking?
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Old 05-13-2021, 07:59 AM   #5
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2020 16' Caravel
Garland , Texas
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Perfect for boon docking. I have the solar option & carry a portable panel. If off grid for more than 3 days I'll carry my generator, used to recharge the batteries. So far I have not had to use it with this trailer, I've been lucky with mostly sunny off grid days. The 2 lifeline batteries are amazing and once have fallen below 50%, with very quick recovery. The short wheelbase is also great for traveling unpaved road, although slowly. Living in TX I appreciate the 2/w Nova Kool refrigerator.
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:05 AM   #6
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2021 16' Caravel
Smithville , Tn
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I find the 16rb perfect for boondocking as well. I put in two 100ah Battleborns in place of the AGMs (which now power my trolling motor), an Easy Start, and use a portable panel along with my solar package and use a 2200i Honda Inverter Generator when necessary.
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:15 AM   #7
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Little falls , New York
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Thanks! Is exactly what I’d like to do someday. The 16 looks like a perfect little base to do other things from.
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:54 AM   #8
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2020 16' Caravel
Garland , Texas
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civeng99. Did not realize your from the NY area and assuming you'll do most of your boondocking around there? Almost 100% of my camping is along the gulf coast, Florida to S TX, NM, AZ, CO, UT. Camping in a cooler climate a 3 way, propane, refrigerator (reefer) could be a better option for you? Also, not sure about how useful the solar option would be up north? That being said the 16ft is built like a tank, light and easy to tow. Because the AS is insulated, the 16fter carries a smaller heater which saves on battery usage, but is somewhat offset by the small 2 way refrigerator. In Texas, when you add fans to a 3 way fridge with an LED panel, your battery saving goes down the drain, pretty quick. It amazing to go boon docking and almost be outside with the wrap around windows open.
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:59 AM   #9
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Little falls , New York
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Yes. The 2 way fridge is pretty disappointing.

I figure solar is a take what you can get proposition in terms of charging.

We’ve got some fantastic places to boondock. The terrain here is so varied.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenjeans View Post
civeng99. Did not realize your from the NY area and assuming you'll do most of your boondocking around there? Almost 100% of my camping is along the gulf coast, Florida to S TX, NM, AZ, CO, UT. Camping in a cooler climate a 3 way, propane, refrigerator (reefer) could be a better option for you? Also, not sure about how useful the solar option would be up north? That being said the 16ft is built like a tank, light and easy to tow.
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:13 AM   #10
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2020 19' Caravel
Wapakoneta , Ohio
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We've had our 19CB for close to a year with about 6 or 7 multi-day trips under our belts. No issues at all other than a single popped rivet (in the corner and easily fixed). We've had everything from full hookups to no hookups and things work just as I'd expect. About the only thing that caught us a little bit was that we started to get some "water hammering" late in the season. After reading a bit, it appears that there should be an air gap in the hot water tank to handle this situation (it gets absorbed over time which explains why it didn't do it at first). For the start of this season I went with the more permanent solution of installing a water accumulator which took care of the problem.

But that's not a Caravel issue although I'm curious how the newer models with on-demand hot water tanks deal with this as there is no reserve tank for the air gap to live.

I've added several items and made minor updates, but that was personal preference and not to fix any defects. We've had nothing but great luck with ours. Enjoy!
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:43 AM   #11
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2018 22' Sport
Ludlow Falls , Ohio
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Folks, we have a serious problem in manufacturing these days. I am a owner of a small business in southwest Ohio in the general area of Jackson Center where AS units are produced. Currently anywhere in this area there are help wanted signs in the front of most business's. The shortage of manpower is extremely critical, and the quality of many workers available is subpar. Why, currently many workers can make about the same pay staying home as working due to our government passing out stimulus checks. Due to the lack of workers, companies are trying all kinds of work a rounds to get product out. I wish I knew the answer, as my company is fighting the same issues. I'M sure the folks at AS are just as concerned and are equally as troubled. IMHO
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:53 AM   #12
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2021 22' Caravel
SEATTLE , WA
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I have 21 Caravel 22FB that we have taken out for about 20 days over the past 3 months. Very impressed with the build quality. After reading the forums (and watching that same video) which made think we would have a long list of problems I was surprised to find very few issues with the trailer - basically a blind fell off and it seems like the Seelevel monitor is only accurate +/- 10% (seems to be a problem with other owners here on the list, so may just be part of the deal). The Airstream dealership scheduled us a check-in with their service department to repair any issues that have come up.

I am very confident in our trailer and confident in the Airstream brand to stand behind their products. And honestly owning and learning about this trailer has made me confident in my own ability to fix things that come up. I loved that couples videos, hope they do more!
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:54 AM   #13
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1966 17' Caravel
1972 21' Globetrotter
SW , Missouri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenjeans View Post
Just got home from a Colorado trip. Camped on & off grid, crossed 11,000ft passes, brief snow packed roads, wind thru W TX, etc. Only issue was one popped rivet over the bed, 10 minute fix. Thinking about reducing tire PSI from 75 to 70? Great trailer.
Your psi is probably way to high. Tires are part of the suspension system. your trailer should tell you what it should be.
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Old 05-13-2021, 10:03 AM   #14
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1966 17' Caravel
1972 21' Globetrotter
SW , Missouri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhmack View Post
I have a 21 16rb Caravel just like theirs with a dozen 5 day trips on it and have had zero issues with it or complaints about it. We love it. That said, if I had the issues they considered bad enough to think they had a lemon I still wouldn’t have thought twice but I’m handy and I could tell they were a sort of a helpless city couple. Adorable. But helpless. Most of their issues were regular maintenance related or quickly fixable on the road, and, one, if memory serves, was a slow (inexcusable by AS) plumbing leak that caused probs with their flooring. That was their main problem it seem to me. That video did cause me to go double check all our plumbing connections. I am glad we haven’t experienced any of that but ours has been absolutely issue free.

BTW, I did enjoy their series on the Caravel, it’s part of what made us choose the 16RB. My wife got tons of decorating ideas from them, particularly the small shelf for the paper towels. We did the same and it’s perfect.
I also came here to say this. Helpless. They also spelled their name wrong on the back window in the early videos. Airstreams are coming up on 100 years of r and d. They are still hand made so expect some issues. It's not a bad product it just needs to be tweaked into perfection. Use your trailer and find the issues. Get them fixed. These campers will last for 50 years, look at my avatar. Does anyone know what the average lifespan of a travel trailer is? Go run a web search on that.
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Old 05-13-2021, 10:04 AM   #15
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Old 05-13-2021, 02:59 PM   #16
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2006 34' Classic S/O
Fort Worth , Texas
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If your maiden trip was to Alaska and back by the Factory Service Center they would have fixed all you discrepancies and your trailer would be in perfect condition. I did not make the trip when new, so it cost me a few dollars. It was still worth it in the long run.
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Old 05-14-2021, 05:55 AM   #17
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Little falls , New York
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Appreciate the thoughts!
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Old 05-23-2021, 10:39 AM   #18
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2021 16' Caravel
Callao , Virginia
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We have put about 11,000 miles/50 nights on our 2021 Caravel 16RB traveling from Virginia to Florida and back and to California and back. We are very pleased with it.

We, too, enjoyed the YouTube videos by the couple you mention, but several of their problems seem likely to be owner caused.

Their batteries failed, but they had earlier extolled how long they were able to run them without recharging. I'm pretty sure they ran them way down below half charge (indicated by 12.5 volts on Caravel's meter); I suspect they fully discharged them. This seriously damages AGM batteries and is a feature, not a defect. When you get to 50% charge, you need to recharge. This should be explained at delivery but any reading in this forum or in many other places would have told them this. We have switched out to lithium to get more usable amp hours. The 100 usable amp hours available from the two stock AGM batteries on the Caravel 18RB do not last long when using the all electric reefer at the same time as the electric fan on the furnace.

As I recall, they were in some very cold weather, but said nothing about winterizing. It seems likely to me that they had a frozen water line which burst, causing their leak. This seems likely to have been related to their flooring problems as well. There may have been a factory defect, but I suspect a frozen line. Our water lines and floor have been fine.

It is not clear to me what caused them to end up in the hospital; it does sound like possible propane poisoning. If so, this may have been a defect. However, the Caravel comes with a built in propane detector, so it's hard to say what happened.

Our only significant issue has been with the sink, which became detached from its anchoring clamps. With some advice from JC, we were able to get it temporarily anchored and sealed, and we have an appointment to have a new sink installed. Not sure if this is a design defect or just a one time failure. The Caravel 16RB has a brand new model of sink and we will have to see if our new sink has a similar problem. Meanwhile, the support from JC has been very good and the temporary repair has held fine for about 4,00 miles.

Our other complaint has been the tankless water heater. It works as advertised - endless hot water on demand - but each time you turn it off you get cold water the next time you turn it on until the hot water arrives, not ideal for military showers. We have found that this is greatly improved if you turn the water completely off at the tap, not at the showerhead, and have good water pressure. We now turn on the water pump when we shower and this issue has been manageable. Not ideal, but quite acceptable.
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Old 05-23-2021, 10:43 AM   #19
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2021 16' Caravel
Callao , Virginia
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Quote:
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Your psi is probably way to high.
Our 2021 Carvel 16RB decal says 80 psi.
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Old 05-23-2021, 12:31 PM   #20
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2021 16' Caravel
Fullerton , California
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Our 2021 Caravel 16 has been great, two people, live the windows, especially looking up at stars and waking to the ocean or Mountain View.

Our Baraldi hood vent motor became out of balance and made horrible rumbling noise. I had to remount the motor, it’s useable now but still nosier than it should be. Took it in for warranty this week, no parts until after a Memorial Day.

I just added a custom bathroom sink (functional, but not finished yet) for our trip this week. The lack of a sink has been the only major complaint about this model.

I resolved the under bed storage access by adding 24” sliding trays, and modifying the doors. BIG improvement!

90W Solar package with AGM batts not enough. I added two 45W Zamp obsidian panels to roof (removed Omni antenna), and carry two 100W Zamp obsidians (needed on last trip when Victron charge controller stop working). BB lithium batteries go in after next trip (tired of watching the meter).

We boondocked for 7 days, on solar (mostly sunny, Lone Pine Ca) and 23 gal fresh water tank only. Black tank at 85% (24 gallons-ish), fresh water down to a gallon (could have added more if needed).

FYI, fresh water tank in the 16RB is suppose to be 23 gallons, I can only get 20-21 gallons into it. And yes, I have drained it completely before filling.

We also decided since the microwave can only be used when on shore power it was wasted space for us. I built a drawer and installed with soft close sliders. It hasn’t opened yet while traveling, but have latch if necessary. I also built a custom silverware drawer to maximize that space, and a larger drawer under the right dinette bench (much more useful now).
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