Rough Night for Airstreams - Fiberglass RV

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Old 04-10-2008, 03:15 PM   #1
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This part of Arkansas had a terrific hailstorm last night. Up to the size of golf balls. It was bad enough to break windshields, house windows, and tear holes in vinyl siding. My garbage can lid had holes like it was shot with large caliber slugs. It looks like my insurance company will be buying me new shingles. My vehicles were in the gargage. My dad's truck looks like it was worked over with a ball peen hammer.

The good news is that my Bigfoot trailer is completely unscathed. I can't find any evidence of damage anywhere on it. I guess fiberglass really is the strongest thing to make RV's with. A couple of weeks ago, I was looking at a decent deal on a used Airstream. It sure was pretty. I sure am glad I didn't buy it.

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Old 04-10-2008, 03:21 PM   #2
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We have our share of natural disaster here on the left coast, but hailstorms of this magnitude do not seem to happen here. When I saw this on the news I was astounded at the damage done.

I think your point about fiberglass vs. aluminum is spot on. I'd never consider aluminum-skinned vehicles of any kind. I wonder what the experiences/anecdotes are from people whose Airstreams have endured this kind of treatment.

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Old 04-10-2008, 04:09 PM   #3
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They talk about having to take into shop, the FullTimers gripe about having to find alternative home while the work is being done and the InsCos grind their teeth about the cost...
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:04 PM   #4
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This is the main reason I chose Bigfoot over Airstream. (The other reason is Bigfoot has a better cold weather package). I had it in the back of my mind for years that I was going to get an Airstream. In 04 when I finally started shopping and compairing I saw my first Bigfoot. They are both nice but I realized that sooner or later my trailer would likely encounter a hail storm.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:21 PM   #5
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I've had Airstreams for twenty years, since 1987 until I bought my Bigfoot 25RQ. Frankly, I cringed at every thunderstorm, and the insurance on the last Airstream I had, a 1994 34' tri-axle was twice what I pay for my '06 Bigfoot.

Now, that said, in 1993 the WBCCI International Rally was held in Bismarck N.D. One night during the International that year, a terrible thunderstorm hit with golf ball to soft ball size hail. Those Airstreams became known as "Bismarck Units" and were easily identified because they looked like silver golf balls. Some of them were totalled, and some repaired. Many folks took the insurance settlement and continued to use their units. As the years passed, and the heat/cold summer/winter cycles continued, after a couple of years most of those dents returned to their original form. Occasionally you can still see hail dents, but after a couple of years most of them heal themselves, so it's not as catastrophic as it might seem. I think the later model Airstreams are more susceptible to damage as the aluminum alloy is so much more thin than it was even in the '70s.

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