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STOP #228

In order to break up the long travel day I planned a surprise stop for Tricia and I.

Does anyone have a guess as to what we are parked in front of in the photo below?

If you pass your mouse over the photo you'll find out the answer.

In the town of Newark, OH there is a seven story building built to resemble a giant basket, more specifically a giant Longaberger Basket. From 1997 to 2015 the building served as the Longaberberger Basket Company's corporate headquarters. In 2018 the $30 million building and it's 25 acres was sold for just $1.2 million, a luxury motel is going to be the future occupant of this uniquely odd property.

You may remember that two years ago we came to the Airstream Factory to get our kitchen sink fixed. Well it seems this time around we are here to get everything but the kitchen sink either fixed or upgraded.

We arrived around 4:00PM to find only 2 of the 24 camping slots unoccupied. We got set up in one of them, then ate dinner and relaxed a bit before retiring to bed. We have an 8:00AM appointment to speak to the Service Advisor tomorrow morning.

MONDAY - When we talked to the Service Advisor on Monday morning and submitted our lengthy TO DO list he had us separate items into two catagories, WANTS and NEEDS. Little did we know that one of our simple wants would turn into one of our biggest needs.

First off is the WANTS category, these are things we would like to have done, but aren't necessary for us to continue our travels.

Items in this category included:

1) Our outside light for illuminating the area around our dump valves was damaged by a rock and no longer works (FYI - During our 3+ years on the road have never dumped our tanks in the dark, so this is not a necessary repair). But it has been replaced now!
2) When one of us wants to sleep in (usually me), we leave the bathroom door half way open to separate the bedroom from the rest of the trailer. A problem arises when we turn on the overhead LED lights in our dining/kitchen area because there is one light fixture on the opposite side of the bathroom door that illuminates the foot of the bed area. Rather than disable that one light completely, we asked to have a push on/push off fixture installed at that location, problem fixed!
3) The wooden trim that surrounds the mirror on the back of the bathroom door has warped due to the high humidity areas we have visited. I keep tacking it back down, but I know they have some kind of super epoxy wood glue here because they used it to repair our kitchen sink problem two year ago. A little dab of glue and a clamp overnight solved that problem!
4) Our kitchen's overhead storage cabinet has two sliding doors for access to the area. When we bought THE POD one of our conditions before the sale was for them to supply us with two additional Bahama shutters to match the other storage cabinets over the dinette and bed. For three years we have been transporting them around and if they weren't able to install them this week I was ready to purge them from our possessions. They are installed now and look great!
5) All of our drawer pulls are made of leather and are attached with special nuts and bolts. Several have popped loose and no longer look right. I asked for at least three sets of hardware to fix our broken ones and they were able to find five sets for me in stock.
6) Our air conditioner has been working just fine but no one has looked at it since we had a soft start device installed on it in February of 2020. They took the cover off, blew out some dust and everything else checked out fine.
7) When we are not plugged into electricity we use nine inch 5V fans to cool the dinette and bedroom areas. The bedroom already has USB outlets, but the dinette area does not. We had them install a USB outlet on the kitchen side of the trailer to plug in our fan.
8) When I get up in the middle of the night to do my business I like to turn on the light in the bathroom. It's almost impossible to be in the bathroom and comfortably close the door, so when I turn on the light it reflects off the aluminum wall, the mirrored medicine cabinet and the mirror on the back of the bathroom door. All that reflected light ends up illuminating Tricia's side of the bed. There are two very bright LED lights in there and my solution was to have a dimmer switch installed. Problem solved!
9) All of the windows in THE POD have three different positions you can open them to (LOW-MED-HIGH). On the low setting most of them don't remain open at all. We previously had the three windows in the dinette and kitchen area adjusted to fix that problem, but they never did the three windows in the bedroom. Now they are done too!

For some unknown reason the service technician decided to tackle all of these little minor problems first and spent all of Monday and Tuesday doing so.

Maybe he just got the two lists mixed up, I don't know, but I'm glad these items are completed.

WEDNESDAY - In the last two years we have had THE POD serviced at several different Airstream Dealerships. One pesky problem that just doesn't seem to go away is a screw, that is hidden behind the lower front body molding, keeps backing it's way out and pushing out the molding. The repair seemed simple, screw it back in and push the molding back in place. I suspect, but can't prove, the third guy to attempt this repair simply removed the screw, pushed the molding back in place and called it fixed.

We also thought it was just a cosmetic problem, as did the three dealership repair technicians who performed the repair, but it turns out to be a symptom of a much larger problem.

The crew here at the Airstream Factory Service Center recognized the problem immediately.

The entire front of our trailer frame has been flexing up and down as we travel, to the point it has separated the front skin of the trailer from the support ribs. We found out this is a common problem that most 2017-2019 trailers will eventually experience. With us living fulltime in our trailer, we have probably put the equivalent of ten years of wear and tear on ours in just the first two years.

The solution is to remove the front center outside skin and put in stronger and heavier duty ribs to attach the walls to. Additionally there are now reinforcement brackets bolting the trailer's tongue frame to the square frame that runs the entire length of the trailer.

The good news is that Airstream is going to cover the cost of the repair under warranty, even though our's expired over 18 months ago. I'm glad they did because my position would have been that this is a design flaw, and not a wear and tear issue caused by me.


The repair begins by removing the entire front skin of our trailer.
This cracked aluminum panel gave away what was hidden behind the wall.
Here you can see the bent ribs and interior wall.
Our new heavy duty ribs are bolted in place.
All done except for the finsihing touches.
Now THE POD is better than new.

A different technician who specializes in metal work spent all day Wednesday pulling apart the front of THE POD. Then he spent all day Thursday putting it back together with new and improved parts and his Friday morning was spent on the finishing touches like reinstalling the window latches and hooking up the electrical plug on the front of the trailer.

Because THE POD was all torn apart on Wednesday night we had to get a hotel room in town. It was nice sleeping in a king sized bed, taking an unlimited hot water shower and the FREE breakfast in the hotel lobby was more than I was expecting.

There were scrambled eggs, cheese omelettes, mini pancakes, cinamon buns, pork and turkey sausage, biscuits and gravy, fruit, cereals, milk and chocolate milk, juices and of course plenty of coffee. We would have spent $30 or more for a breakfast like this next door at the Waffle House, which made the $100 room seem even more affordable.

The good news is that while this major repair was going on out front, it left our regular technician to start on the NEEDS portion of our TO DO list.

1) While we were in Pennsylvania last week I had 5 new wheels shipped there to put on THE POD. I spent Tuesday morning at the Goodyear Tire store having tires mounted with special bolt in metal valve stems. Before having the new wheels and tires installed on THE POD we had them install a 3" lift kit to accommodate the larger tires. This will add some much needed ground clearance to THE POD so we can safely go down the unimproved forest roads we will encounter next year. Also after the lift kit was installed we had the axle checked for proper alignment, we don't want to prematurely wear out our new tires.
2) We have several loose or missing rivets on the inside and outside of THE POD. Those need to be replaced before it causes an even bigger problem.
3) We are having the outside of THE POD sprayed with a ceramic coating in December, that will mean we no longer have to wax the aluminum body. It should also make it much easier to keep the outside looking clean. In preparations for that we are finshing up the stainless steel upgrades to the outside components like the heater vent, stove vent, furnance vent, electical covers, fresh water door and outside shower door. These too will now receive the ceramic coating.
4) I purchased a new backup camera for THE POD with a higher resolution monitor for a clearer picture. It also includes two side view cameras to eliminate our blind spots when traveling down the road and backing into our campsites. It was a bit of a tricky install because the side cameras had to be placed to the rear of the awning arms in order to not have an obstructed view.
5) Our rear hatch has gone askew and rubs on the left side of the doorway. The hinges at the top are not adjustable so a shim was installed to guide the door into a proper closing position. Not an ideal fix, but at least we can once again use the hatch when the circumstance is right.
6) THE POD was checked for seam leaks by pressurizing the cabin and spraying down the outside with soapy water, the same technique used to find a leak in a tire. We had none that needed attention!

FRIDAY - It's now Friday afternoon, we've been here at the service center since Monday morning. Each day this week we've awoken at 6:30AM, ate breakfast and made sure THE POD was ready to be pulled into the service bay before 7:00AM. And I thought the days of my setting an alarm clock were over, HA!

There are only two things left to do, one on the list and one not. Since installing taller 16" tires to replace the stock 15" tires and adding a lift kit on THE POD we now have to adjust the stabilizer/weight distribution hitch on ROVER to accommadate the new sizes.

Not an easy thing to do because changing one thing affects everything else. After about an hour we finally found a place where THE POD was level and ROVER's hitch was at the right height without removing too much weight from the front steering axle.

By the time we were finished it was closing time and they did not have a final bill prepared for us. Since we are staying here for another week to attend the Alumapalooza Rally it was decided we would settle up our debt on Tuesday after they enjoy their three day holiday weekend.

Pretty trusting on their part since I'm sure the bill is going to be north of several thousand dollars!

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