Airstream vs Fiberglass - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-27-2017, 10:01 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Carl V View Post
Well if they bring in the same quality and interior finish that the euro units have, that's a pretty good price range.

What year is your Eriba? How did it got across the pond?
It's a 1988 16 foot Triton that was brought over by a German couple who moved to Tennessee around 1989. They used it to tour the USA and then parked it in their garage until about ten years ago when they decided to move back to Germany. They sold it to their neighbor who kept it about two years and then he put it up for sale. Another guy in Tennessee beat me to it by about ten minutes so I had to wait until he and his wife got a case of two-foot-itis and decided they needed a trailer with a little more room and a slide out. I chased this trailer for about six years before I was bale to bring it home. I also had a 1989 Eriba Puck that was bought new in Germany and used by its owner to tour Europe before he brought it back to Florida. He traded it in on a boat a few years back and I bought that one from the boat dealer in Tallahassee.
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Old 05-27-2017, 10:07 PM   #30
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It's a 1988 16 foot Triton that was brought over by a German couple who moved to Tennessee around 1989. They used it to tour the USA and then parked it in their garage until about ten years ago when they decided to move back to Germany. They sold it to their neighbor who kept it about two years and then he put it up for sale. Another guy in Tennessee beat me to it by about ten minutes so I had to wait until he and his wife got a case of two-foot-itis and decided they needed a trailer with a little more room and a slide out. I chased this trailer for about six years before I was bale to bring it home. I also had a 1989 Eriba Puck that was bought new in Germany and used by its owner to tour Europe before he brought it back to Florida. He traded it in on a boat a few years back and I bought that one from the boat dealer in Tallahassee.
Jack,
That is a wonderful story. Thank you.
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Old 05-28-2017, 06:48 AM   #31
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Great story, I like that!

Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2017, 03:15 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Dwainkitchens View Post
My wife and I took our first visit to a few RV dealers, and entered a TT for the first time. We looked at smaller units, 16-21. Unfortunately, they did not have any Fiberglass TT, but did have Airstreams. Of course, Airstreams were quite impressive with a huge price. Is there anyone who has had both and can comment on reliablity, leaks, etc... I think the Oliver would compare as far an interior quality to the Airstream, and Oliver would be less expensive, and being FG, a better TT.

If anyone has any knowlege in this area, please respond. I am still leaning toward an Escape due to price, and looks like a quality TT.

Thanks Dwain
Dwain,

We are three-years new to travel trailers. In my most recent "short list" comparison, the Airstream Bambis (single axle) did not fare well. However, it's all very personal. If I had been in the market for something larger, most of the molded fiberglass offerings would have come up "short" and Airstream would have "shined"... (Couldn't resist!)

I have posted the comparison below as an attachment. These were the trailers on my short-list for consideration, even though my heart wasn't really in some of the selections. The comparison does not address many other factors that were important to us including bed width, space, layout, design, storage, and construction.

Bed widths are generally quite narrow in the smaller Airstreams; the 22FB is an exception to many of their typical designs in that it is a narrower trailer, and in that it has a wider bed. The cargo carrying capacity was poor in the two Airstream Sport models in the ranking.

Additionally, I would actually prefer to use a much more conservative de-rating factor for the tow vehicle's capacities. The indicated prices are nominal. Some of the figures (in italics) are estimated. There's probably some apples-to-oranges comparisons in here. The 600-lb allowance for the gear and fluids that we haul is quite minimal; most folks carry more and we might too. Some of the indicated equipment is optional. In other words, this is not the final authoritative word on the subject of trailer selection! It's just an example showing a part of the process that I applied in our evaluation.

For what it's worth, we just got back from visiting the Escape factory and I think we found our "forever" trailer there. Only time will tell of course. If I understand correctly, one of our active forum members here is on his 8th trailer in eight years. No names, mind you...

Good luck on your search.

* On edit: The 5.0TA would have required a pickup truck. While the dry weight and hitch (pin) weight are part of the matrix for comparison, I was not intending to innovate a rooftop hitch on the Audi, as much fun as that may sound.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Shortlist Trailers Comparison.pdf (29.6 KB, 42 views)
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Old 07-07-2017, 12:04 AM   #33
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I've got one of each...









The Scamp is a 1997 13ft Deluxe with a full bathroom and roof A/C that weighs 2480lbs and is just horrendous to tow...it just feels super heavy, even with 400+ horsepower tugging it. I wrote on this site in a lengthy thread over 10 years ago about my troubles, and never did figure out why it felt like there were 10 Scamps behind me. It just feels WAAAAAAY heavier than it should. I don't use weight distribution with the Scamp. I did everything short of installing a new axle to get it to roll easier. Nothing helped.

The Airstream is a 19ft 2006 Bambi 75th Anniversary Prototype built by David Winick; it weighs about 5000lbs and is all solid wood as it has a handmade 50's type walnut interior. But, it tows GREAT. It feels as it looks in that the perceived weight I'm pulling matches the trailer's size. The truck actually rides better with the Airstream in tow. I use a Husky Centerline weight distribution hitch. The combo is amazing; perfect handling, power, style, and ease.

The Scamp is built better, but I've put it through hell. After Hurricane Katrina struck here in south Louisiana, I actually lived in it for a number of years. The back window and door leaked, of course, and I redid the floor with a few gallons of epoxy (you could launch a rocket off of that floor now haha). But, I lived in that thing literally in the middle of the swamp...parked over a steaming 100% humidity engrossed grassy muddy campsite next to the bayou. The worst most punishing conditions you could imagine this side of a jungle. Hot, wet, sticky, slimy, nasty. The Scamp survived. Just the normal things have needed attention...floor rot in spots, leaks, plumbing, etc. The Coleman A/C finally failed after being on continuously for over 10 years. Some of the gelcoat has cracked from the sediment in the A/C drain water dripping continuously down the side growing mold when parked in the swamp...mold here grows in a matter of hours, and the outside of the trailer was always wet due to the humidity and the A/C being on. But, nothing too major broke down. Had a blowout in Arizona but it did no damage. One bad design that needs mention...the vent tube for the black tank was not sealed well outside, and water leaked in between the outer fiberglass exterior and inner fiberglass bathroom walls. That water went straight to the floor and rotted it from the SIDES of the plywood as the top (and bottom) was totally sealed with epoxy. But, I didn't get EVERY SINGLE CENTIMETER of the edges sealed. It's amazing how water will find that ONE spot to seep into...but it did. I found out when I dropped a Coke can on it and a 1" diameter chunk of epoxy broke out to reveal a wet slushy mush where WOOD should be. But yes, check and MAKE SURE that your black tank vent is completely sealed (except for the opening in the tube itself) and that NOTHING can get in between the inner and outer fiberglass skins in the bathroom. A very hidden stubborn place to get a leak, and you will NOT see it until it's too late.

The Airstream is beautiful, but it is delicate. It's truly a rolling work of art.
But, any ding is permanent. You have to be careful where you go. It is built better than a production Airstream by a million miles in that being a hand-built prototype when I walk into a production Airstream I laugh at the horrible quality control and cheap materials. I have had the toilet leak, drawers fall out, A/C will freeze you (but it will also freeze itself), the shower door assembly fell off (just from being in a hot garage), the door has needed adjustment, there is some slight filiform corrosion, the factory crap Parallax converter failed 3 times (now has a PD 9280), and the ZipDee awnings are always finicky (they need their springs tightened). But, no leaks, no floor rot, no actual structural issues. But, I have to add: I had some custom work done at the factory that was of horrible terrible cringe-worthy abysmal quality...again AT THE FACTORY. Those mods alone cost me over $10,000...and again, the quality of the custom work was ****. AT THE DAMN FACTORY!!!

But...I love both trailers. The Airstream looks better behind my truck, and in all honesty it pulls MUCH easier than my tiny Scamp. The properly set up hitch has much to do with that. I dread pulling the Scamp...I get the same gas mileage as when towing the much bigger Airstream and the Scamp feels just as heavy going up mountain climbs at half the weight. Even with low rolling resistance tires on lightweight aluminum rims with new bearings, the Scamp feels like a train behind me. The Airstream has giant super heavy 16" steel wheels and stainless trim/hubcaps with huge Michelin XPS Rib unbelievably heavy steel side-walled truck tires and it STILL tows easier than the Scamp. I don't know why...I've towed the Scamp with 4 different vehicles and regardless of engine power (from a 4 cylinder Neon to a 400+hp LS2 V8) it feels about the same. I guess I'll never figure it out...

But again...you can't really go wrong with either. The Scamp I feel is a part of me. I could never let it go. But, I love 'em both and will have them until I die.

Hopefully.
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Old 07-07-2017, 12:19 AM   #34
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I've got one of each...

But again...you can't really go wrong with either. The Scamp I feel is a part of me. I could never let it go. But, I love 'em both and will have them until I die.

Hopefully.
Great post Jeff!
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Old 07-07-2017, 01:00 AM   #35
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in those pictures, the scamp looks like its riding with the hitch too high, you should either lift the scamp at its axle an inch or two (can often be done by resetting the torque-bar suspension), or use a drop shank to lower the tow ball a few inches, and I bet it would tow 10X better.
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Old 07-07-2017, 01:07 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
in those pictures, the scamp looks like its riding with the hitch too high, you should either lift the scamp at its axle an inch or two (can often be done by resetting the torque-bar suspension), or use a drop shank to lower the tow ball a few inches, and I bet it would tow 10X better.
Good observation...it DOES look like that in the pictures, but that was due to the uneven ground on each picture. The second pic was leaving Kodachrome Basin with the truck going down a good sized little incline; the first was at Red Canyon across two sections of concrete that were uneven; you can compare the placement of the trailer wheels vs. the front wheels of the truck to see the inclines.

I have airshocks on the truck as well...I tried all different combinations; front of the trailer low, front high, even...nothing helped. I thought of weight distribution for the Scamp, but being that it has a 2000lb axle that is already at 2480lbs it wouldn't be wise to transfer any tow vehicle weight to it. And...something so small just shouldn't need it. I've towed bigger U-Haul trailers full of pianos and Hammond organs with my truck that literally felt like they weren't there.

Doesn't make sense.

Here's a couple other pics...



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Old 07-07-2017, 02:36 AM   #37
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Like Mike said, good post Jeff. Kind of surprised that the FG tows so much harder but got to thinking of some real off the wall possible reasons. Is your axle or wheel stubs good, no unusual tire wear? Or even more off the wall, are either of the bearing castle nuts over tightened causing a drag? Being both TTs have the same shape and your HP covers the weight difference that cancels out. You do mention your axle is overloaded though. I've towed trailers and equipment well over 50K lbs and the difference with the tow is easy to understand.....this one is interesting to find an answer for.
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Old 07-07-2017, 02:58 AM   #38
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Like Mike said, good post Jeff. Kind of surprised that the FG tows so much harder but got to thinking of some real off the wall possible reasons. Is your axle or wheel stubs good, no unusual tire wear? Or even more off the wall, are either of the bearing castle nuts over tightened causing a drag? Being both TTs have the same shape and your HP covers the weight difference that cancels out. You do mention your axle is overloaded though. I've towed trailers and equipment well over 50K lbs and the difference with the tow is easy to understand.....this one is interesting to find an answer for.

I kind of gave up a long time ago. I tried everything except getting a new axle installed. I had no strange tire wear, no cupping or scrubbing, no obvious signs of an alignment error. The wheels seemed to measure straight and true using crude methods with string and a yardstick. I always planned to have the alignment checked, but every place I inquired responded with a "What???" sort of answer; they had no clue why anyone would align a trailer axle let alone how to do it.

I installed new hubs with studs, mechanically loosened the brakes for no drag, completely electrically disconnected the brakes, installed new bearings/seals with synthetic grease, bought super lightweight aluminum rims with road force balanced low rolling resistance lightweight super stiff tires inflated to the max pressure, loosened the spindle nuts one space, changed towing hitch angles (high, low, even), installed a flat piece of wood under the bathroom to eliminate wind buffering, changed the load in the trailer from full load to nothing extra, water in tanks/no water in tanks...NOTHING made a difference.

You can roll the trailer around by hand with a dolly with no problem or resistance. It just doesn't like to go down the highway easily whether it was towed by a '95 4cyl Neon, '92 V6 Caravan, '99 LS1 V8 Trans Am, '02 Turbo 4cyl Beetle, or '06 LS2 V8 SSR. The Beetle probably towed it the best power-wise...with only 160hp; it just seemed a bit easier than the other vehicles to keep the Scamp at speed. The Caravan was the best match for towing stability but with a headwind I'd be in 2nd gear foot to the floor going 40mph down the interstate while the temperature gauge started to rise. Not fun.

I also towed the Scamp with a friend's V6 Ford Aerostar up the steep climb from Strawberry to Pine, Arizona and it about killed that van.

Thing's probably possessed.

lol
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Old 07-07-2017, 03:15 AM   #39
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for what its worth, I tow a 16' Casita Spirit Deluxe with a 2008 Tacoma Access Cab 4x4 TRD Offroad. Combination of the tall all terrain tires and tall TRD suspension and short wheelbase of the Casita SD16 made this very pitchy, such that any bump porpoised and made you downright queasy in the drivers seat. Cure was a minimal WDH, just enough to push some of the trailer tongue weight onto the truck's front axle, The Casita has a 3500 lb axle, and weighs 2200 lbs dry, maybe 3000 lbs with the typical load we put in it, and has only maybe 200-300 lbs tongue weight, so you wouldn't think a WDH would be needed but it made it ride SO much nicer.

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Old 07-07-2017, 03:58 AM   #40
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Seems like you've checked a lot of things out Jeff and found nothing wrong. You did say in your post that you're not going to get rid of it so I really have one comment for you. The TTs weight and age pretty much is begging for a new and better rated axle change out. Certainly can't hurt and it's easy for me to spend your money. OK, that was two comments .
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Old 07-07-2017, 04:01 AM   #41
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for what its worth, I tow a 16' Casita Spirit Deluxe with a 2008 Tacoma Access Cab 4x4 TRD Offroad. Combination of the tall all terrain tires and tall TRD suspension and short wheelbase of the Casita SD16 made this very pitchy, such that any bump porpoised and made you downright queasy in the drivers seat. Cure was a minimal WDH, just enough to push some of the trailer tongue weight onto the truck's front axle, The Casita has a 3500 lb axle, and weighs 2200 lbs dry, maybe 3000 lbs with the typical load we put in it, and has only maybe 200-300 lbs tongue weight, so you wouldn't think a WDH would be needed but it made it ride SO much nicer.

I agree, weight distribution almost ALWAYS makes the ride and handling much nicer. But, proper weight distribution not only transfers a bit of weight to the front axle of the tow vehicle but it also transfers some of the tow vehicle weight back to the trailer. And, being that my Scamp has a 2000lb axle and weighs 2480lbs loaded for travel, the last thing I wanted to do was put MORE weight on the trailer axle.

But then again...even with all the different tow vehicles I used with the Scamp over the years, I never had a pitch problem or a freeway buck problem. All the vehicles were pretty stiffly sprung, even the Caravan. The others, even the short wheelbase economy cars towed the Scamp with a great deal of stability; none of them were bad per se; all the hitches were set up properly as were the tow vehicles' suspensions. Again...it just felt like there were 10 of the damn things behind me.
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Old 07-07-2017, 04:09 AM   #42
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Seems like you've checked a lot of things out Jeff and found nothing wrong. You did say in your post that you're not going to get rid of it so I really have one comment for you. The TTs weight and age pretty much is begging for a new and better rated axle change out. Certainly can't hurt and it's easy for me to spend your money. OK, that was two comments .
No, I will NEVER get rid of the Scamp. When I was basically homeless after Hurricane Katrina, that Scamp saved me. I could NEVER part with it.

I may one day change the axle...if I found a competent shop around here (which is near impossible).

Truthfully I use the Airstream more...and I wish I didn't for fear of scuffing it. I'd like to use the Scamp more, but its relegated again to those trips where the trailer needs to be able to take a little more abuse (such as long dirt rocky roads, Moab, etc.).

But truthfully, the main reason I use the Airstream more is that it is a pleasure to tow; there's never any drama or constant adjusting of anything just trying to make it feel like I'm not towing a train.

I WOULD like to get the Scamp in shape for the next trip; I'm contemplating it. But whereas I'd have to start redoing and fixing crap, finding a competent shop, going through all that crap again that I did for years isn't something I'm looking forward to...when I can just hitch up the Airstream and go.

And, that's too bad...cuz I REALLY love my Scamp.
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