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Our First Batch of Airstream Warranty Repairs

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As a follow up to our recent review of Airstream of New Mexico, we thought we’d publish the complete list of warranty repairs that were required on our 2022 Airstream Flying Cloud after our first year of ownership. Most of these issues ranged from annoying inconveniences to bothersome cosmetic flaws. But we had one big problem—a roof leak—that required urgent attention.

It was a great relief to get all this repair work completed and behind us. I say that even though there were two items on our list where the main thing that needed “fixing” was our expectations. As I’ll explain below, the battery disconnect switch light and our stabilizer jacks have… let’s say “quirks”… that couldn’t be completely alleviated. Quirks are inherently better than problems, so we’ll take them as meaningful improvements!

🔥 Priority 1: The Show Stopper

Roof Leak

👎 Problem: On a stormy morning last December, I walked out to the trailer to fetch an HDMI cable and found water dripping from two locations in the ceiling of our trailer. After months of procrastinating, this was the incident that finally got our butts in gear to call an Airstream dealer for service.

Solution: Airstream of New Mexico removed all the sealant from the rear half the trailer’s roof and applied new sealant. Visually, the end result looked much better than the sloppy job we got from the factory, but that didn’t necessarily mean it would keep the rainwater out. For that, we needed a valid test. And I’m happy to say that just this past week we got very heavy rainfall in Austin and there are definitely no more leaks in our Airstream! Woo!


🤬 Priority 2: The Major Annoyances

Malfunctioning SeeLevel II Tank Display

👎 Problem: As you can see in the pictures and video above, our tank monitor display was glitching out, making it a little difficult to get an accurate sense of how full the tanks were at any given time.

Solution: The display unit was replaced.

Window Leak

👎 Problem: Airstream’s windows are designed to shed water away from the trailer during a light rain even when opened. In our trailer, we’ve found this to be true for all but one window by the couch. That one would allow water to seep in from the seal at the top of the frame, which would then drip through screen and on to the couch.

✅ Solution: New sealant applied to window frame. (Although we haven’t tested this one yet.) I could have fixed this one myself with some Sikaflex, but I let the dealer handle it since we already had to take it in. This was also a problem with one of our bedroom windows when the trailer was brand new. That one I did fix myself.

Malfunctioning Battery Disconnect Light

👎 Problem: The green illumination around the battery disconnect button does not consistently stay on. Sometimes it flickers. Other times it stays off completely. If I toggle the disconnect button off and then back on again, the light will stay illuminated for a random period of time, then turn off again. It doesn’t matter whether the unit is plugged into 50 amps or is running on battery power. Other people have complained online about exactly the same behavior, so we’re not alone on this one. One guy said he even replaced the entire switch and the faulty behavior continued with the new one.

Solution: Wait and see. Other than annoying us with its irritatingly unpredictable blinking pattern, it isn’t causing any real problems. We’re just going to keep an eye on it and see what happens over time. It seems to us that these switches have a fundamental design flaw.

Loose Bathroom Exhaust Fan Gasket

👎 Problem: At some point last summer, we started hearing a rapid flapping sound whenever we ran the bathroom exhaust fan. Turns out there is weather stripping that sits in between the exterior fan cover and the fan cylinder. The adhesive that held the weather stripping in place had failed, allowing it to droop down and flap whenever the fan was running.

Solution: I fixed this myself before bringing the trailer in for service. It was very simple. The fan is easily accessible with a tall ladder. Only a couple screws hold the cover in place. I removed the screws, removed the cover, removed the original weather stripping, and replaced it with new, higher quality weather stripping that only cost a few dollars at Ace Hardware.

Wobbly/Crooked Stabilizer Jacks

👎 Problem: Does the circular wobbling in the video above seem right to you?? It didn’t to us either, especially since the other three don’t do that. That was one problem. The other was that the jack on the opposite corner wasn’t perpendicular to the trailer when lowered. It’s hard to show effectively in a picture or video, but in person it was very obviously not straight when in the down position. It looked slightly bent, and it was that way since the day we first brought the Airstream home.

Airstream Corporate Fail: Airstream corporate denied the warranty claim to replace these two jacks. They said it was the selling dealer’s responsibility to ensure correct operation and functionality of the stabilizer jacks as part of the pre-delivery inspection. But Airstream of Austin sold us the trailer with the jacks in this condition. If they didn’t catch the issue during their PDI, are we just out of luck? After our warranty claim was denied, I called Airstream corporate about it. The representative gruffly explained this was not the factory’s fault. (Underlined twice.) This is the selling dealer’s fault. He said he’d research the issue with Airstream of Austin and follow up with me. As of this writing, that was five weeks ago. I never heard from him.

Solution: A technician at Airstream of New Mexico clued us in to the fact that these stabilizer jacks aren’t exactly pillars of engineering magnificence. Brand new, they are often wobbly and crooked. Oh. Wished someone had told us that earlier! This here was one of those situations where we needed to reset our expectations a bit. Functionally, the jacks did their job just fine—even if their operation was less than smooth. That said, Airstream of New Mexico did a terrific job mitigating the jacks’ deficiencies for us. Now the wobbly jack is far less wobbly and the crooked one is far less crooked. It only cost us a half an hour of labor time. (Read: not covered by our warranty.)

Sluggish Rear Fantastic Fan Operation

👎 Problem: The rear fantastic fan was sluggish when opening to the point that I often had to twist the manual override knob in order to force it open all the way.

Solution: Fan motor was bad and required replacement. Now it works great!

Ineffective Office Drawer Latch

👎 Problem: More than once after traveling down a particularly bumpy, pot-holed road, we went into the Airstream to find that one of the office drawers had exploded open, dumping its contents out and, at one point, putting a decent sized gash in our floor.

Solution: Drawer latch replaced with a stronger, 10 pound latch.

✅ ✅ Paranoid Solution: I still don’t trust the latch to hold firm on extra bumpy roads. For extra insurance, on travel days I affix our suction cup antenna mount to the surface below the drawer.

Loose Wall

👎 Problem: The wooden wall that separates the bedroom from the living area kept moving and shifting during travel. Substantial gaps between the two wooden pieces would appear and we’d have to push them back together.

Solution: They secured the divider to the interior aluminum wall with a small L-bracket. (When recording the video above, it occurred to me that I might need to install a second L-bracket at the bottom of the wall where a gap is still present.)


👎 Priority 3 – Other Vexing Issues

Damaged Refrigerator Doors

👎 Problem: Funny story. Last summer, while staying at Blue Spruce RV Park in Bayfield, Colorado, I walked over to our refrigerator to demonstrate for my mother in-law how the latch on the refrigerator prevented it from opening while driving.

“Watch,” I said, grabbing the side of the door. “Unless I release the refrigerator door by pressing the latch, it can’t swing open during travel. See…?” I then firmly tugged the side of the door, only to find that it swung right open like nothing was holding it back whatsoever. The bracket that secured the doors, as it turned out, had not been installed correctly.

We’d already traveled some 6,000 miles with the Airstream without a refrigerator mishap, so what were the odds of anything going awry on our way from Bayfield to Kanab, Utah?

Apparently the odds were pretty good. The road to the Four Corners monument is riddled with potholes the size of Pluto. Upon our arrival, we popped inside the Airstream to change clothes. The first thing that caught my eye was an egg carton on the floor just beyond the doorway. Then I saw a few canned drinks strewn about. The refrigerator and freezer doors were both closed, but the new dents in the stainless steel that corresponded exactly with the positions of the drawer pulls in the adjacent cabinet—along with the spilled food items—indicated that the doors had swung open and slammed back shut while we navigated one of the worst roads in the country. Before departing the Four Corners, I secured the doors with rope. When we arrived in Kanab, I reinstalled the bracket so that the refrigerator was actually secured during travel.

Solution: Replaced the stainless steel panels on both the freezer and refrigerator. Looks new again!

Running Lights

👎 Problem: Four of the running lights that came on our unit had moisture in them at delivery.

Solution: New running lights installed.

Kitchen Drawer Misalignment

👎 Problem: One kitchen cupboard door wouldn’t shut completely closed. I tried adjusting the latches, but could not get it to close flush. 

Solution: The service techs worked some magic and now the drawer closes properly.

Ripped Weather Stripping

👎 Problem: The weather stripping around the door had been torn since we took delivery, causing it to bulge out like a puffy blister when the door was shut.

Solution: They completely replaced the original weather striping on the main door.

Popped Interior Rivets

👎 Problem: Approximately half a dozen popped interior rivets required replacement. 

Solution: Very common issue on Airstreams and very easy to replace with new rivets. Simple!

😯 The Surprises

We weren’t even aware of these two things. Airstream of New Mexico identified and fixed them for us. Kudus to them!

Bad LP Regulator

👎 Problem: Since we were about to transport the Airstream away from freezing weather conditions, we paid to have it dewinterized the day before we picked it up. During this process, a technician found that our cooktop wouldn’t stay lit and determined that a LP regulator had gone bad. So glad this was found before we took the trailer home!

Solution: Replaced the LP regulator.

Additional Running Lights

👎 Problem: Two additional running lights were found with moisture trapped inside. Sheesh!

Solution: More replaced running lights.

🙌 Thanks For Reading!

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Comments (2):

  1. Doubting Thomas

    June 24, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    Maybe I’ve just been around too long but Nick has had (a) terrible luck with his Airstream, (b) some competitor of Airstream slip him some dough and/or (c) Airstream of New Mexico chip in with some compensation. Sorry, your bad luck is too much for me to believe. Hasn’t been our experience with our Airstream.

    Reply
    • Nick

      June 24, 2023 at 6:14 pm

      YES!! Our very first hater! New blogging achievement unlocked. Anyway, to address your concerns:

      1) Believe it or not, it’s all true, as evidenced by our pictures and videos.
      2) I wouldn’t call it “terrible” luck but, no doubt, the quality of our airstream wasn’t quite as good as we expected. You should see some of the problems other owners post in the Airstream Addicts Facebook group!
      3) We have collected a grand total of exactly zero dollars from Airstream of New Mexico and/or Airstream competitors. The fact is, Airstream of New Mexico is just plain amazing. They went above and beyond for us and we felt they should be recognized for their superior service.
      4) We’re thrilled you’ve had such wonderful luck with your Airstream. This might be shocking to hear, but not everyone has the same experience.

      Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to like and subscribe!

      Reply

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