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Take a Factory Tour

Ever wonder how an Airstream is made? Come see how we craft every piece of the Airstream Travel Trailers, and how we really do put every one of those rivets in by hand.

TOUR SCHEDULE: Every Monday through Friday at 2 p.m. The tour includes a ¾ mile walk, beginning in the service lobby. Eye protection and hearing protection required; no sandals or open-toed shoes, please. Requests for special needs or groups of 10 or more must be made in advance. Walk-ins welcome. Hope to see you soon!

 **Airstream will be closed for the holidays beginning Tuesday December 23rd and we will reopen, with tours at 2:00 pm, on Monday January 5th, 2015.

419 West Pike Street

P.O. Box 629
Jackson Center, OH 45334-0629

Phone: 877-596-6111

Schedule a Tour

In-person tours of our Jackson Center, Ohio factory are available Monday through Thursday at 2 p.m. Friday tours take place after normal production hours. The tour includes a ¾ mile walk, beginning in the service lobby. Eye protection and hearing protection required; no sandals or open toe shoes, please. Requests for special needs or groups of 10 or more must be made in advance. (937) 596-6111.

Want to get a little taste of what it’s like to see an Airstream being built in person, before you travel all the way to Jackson Center? Take a virtual tour of the full process from start to finish, right here on this very page. Click through the tabs to the right to navigate the different parts of the process.

01) Assembling the Shell

Airstream floors are made from 5/8″ tongue and groove or OSB flooring. Aluminum channels are then fastened to the floor and shell assembly, with the slots firmly in the channels, embracing and protecting the wood floor edge — and providing weatherproofing and a strong floor / shell joint.

03) Stretch Form the Shell

The end shell segments are stretch formed on a mold for each segment, then trimmed and punched for assembly.

05) Construct the Roof

Aluminum sheets used for the roof assembly. Each sheet has been coated with white pre-baked enamel paint, reducing the trailer’s temperature up to seven degrees. The roof requires no maintenance other than normal cleaning and waxing (which prevents black streaks from forming on the sides of the trailer).
The aluminum roof sheet, along with the other roof assembly pieces, are riveted together. Then holes for the roof air conditioner, ceiling fans, and bath fans are made. Airstreams are given extra strength with structural I-beams and U-channels, allowing you to walk along the rivet lines on an Airstream trailer roof without worry.

02) Attach the 5 Main Components

The classic trailer shell is constructed of five main parts: the two side sheets, the front and rear end, and the roof. These are attached with aluminum aircraft rivets on a steel fixture. Then thermal barrier bonding tape is used to create a thermal break between the ribs and the aluminum sheets, helping control condensation and heat or cold transfer from outside.

04) Meet the Ends With the Floor

The seven front and rear end assemblies began as flat sheets and are stretch formed by a hydraulic press. Then the different parts are riveted together and the end assembly and the floor assembly are placed on a level platform. Finally, the ends are mounted to the plywood floor using bowed floor channels.

06) Rivet It All Together

Watch how those hoists are guiding the roof and side sheet assemblies over the floor structure. Once they’re in place, all five assemblies will be riveted together — forming a classic Airstream trailer shell. Dan uses
aircraft routers to cut holes for the side windows, then he rivets the windows into place. The routing platform is where holes are made for the main door, the water fill door, and the access doors. Then the aluminum channel around the wood floor is hand riveted to the shell.

01) Install the Doors, Antenna, Wiring and Air Conditioner

After the trailer is pulled off the leveling jacks, the main and access doors, roof air conditioner, TV antenna, and electrical wiring are installed. Then a high grade sealer is added to all interior seams. After that cures, the shell will be fully protected from the elements.

03) Place the Wiring and Vinyl Wall Liner

The interior aluminum skin is now hand riveted to the exterior shell. After it is in place, the wiring is pulled to its proper interior locations and the windows, doors, and vents are trimmed. Finally, an insulating vinyl wall liner is glued to the aluminum interior skin, forming a barrier to extreme changes in the temperature and preventing condensation.

02) Place the Insulation

Now we insulate the rest of the interior with 2 1/2” thick batt fiberglass insulation. The insulation is carefully placed throughout the shell’s entire inside body.

01) Start with a Strong, Light Chassis

Each Airstream chassis adheres to the Airstream concept of the lightest possible weight with maximum strength. The frame’s strength comes from box channel steel with welded outriggers and cross members. The open areas in the center of the steel save weight. Airstream is the only trailer manufacturer that caps exposed openings in the structural steel. Any water in the underbelly area quickly drains out, preventing rust. The chassis is also painted to prevent rust.

03) Add Airstream’s Immovable Rubber Torsion Axle System

The Airstream chassis employs the world’s best rubber torsion suspension system. It has far greater ground clearance than a conventional chassis. So even if a tire goes flat, an Airstream trailer can still be towed short distances at a slow speed because the axle system prevents the hubs from touching the ground.

05) Add Trim and Taillights

The exterior trim, taillights, and graphics are added to the exterior shell construction at this point. Then inspectors go over the trailer with a fine tooth comb. If even the smallest thing seems amiss, our production crew makes it right before the trailer moves on.

02) Flip Over the Mainframe to Add Elements

Rubber torsion axles, aluminum under belly, the step, tank pans, stabilizer jacks, spare tire carrier, and gas lines are then installed.

04) Thaw Out the Frozen Rubber Axle Tubes for a Tight Joint

The four rubber tubes inside the Airstream axle are actually frozen when they are inserted between the blue spindle shaft of the wheel and the red steel axle tube. As the rubber thaws, it expands and joins the two parts, producing an immovable torsion axle system that is virtually maintenance free.

01) Add Waste, Plumbing and Heat Systems

Next, the chassis assembly, nearly finished, is turned back over. We insulate and install the main, auxiliary, and fresh water tanks and their dump valve assemblies. Earlier, we added the hitch jack, the sub floor plumbing and the heat ductwork that supplies warm air to the water tanks to prevent them from freezing.

03) Stain and Finish the Wood Furniture

Wood panels, face frames, drawers, solid wood trim, and Corian® tops are then sanded, glued, and finished. Once that’s completed, the raw wood is stained and finished with a polyurethane finish. Sand, mud, dirt, water, and just about anything you can imagine gets on the furniture and cabinets so we’ve made sure the interior can be cleaned easily.

05) Install the Bathroom

After the Airstream has had its floor cleaned and carpet and padding installed, the lavatory cabinet, one-piece fiberglass shower stall, and toilet assemblies are installed. All Airstream bathrooms feature ample storage, Corian® countertops, Moen faucets, quality fixtures, and a hard, easy-to-maintain floor.

07) Complete the Kitchen

Airstream installs a complete kitchen, carefully designed for convenience and maximum efficiency. Residential grade appliances, comfortable dinettes, pantries with convenient storage, stow areas for pots and pans, Corian® countertops, Moen® One-Touch faucets with built-in water purifiers, and stainless steel sinks are installed next.

02) Make and Install the Wood Furniture

Our furniture artisans handcraft and assemble all Airstream galley cabinets, wardrobes, lavatory cabinets, dinettes, roof lockers, and all other Airstream furniture in the Airstream wood shop. All Airstream furniture is designed to be built first, then fit through the trailer’s door, allows increased furniture serviceability later.

04) Install Plumbing, Carpet, Furniture, Appliances and Ductwork

After all furniture is built, the completed shell is moved to the final assembly line where the plumbing, carpet, furniture assemblies, and appliances are installed. The interior plumbing is then roughed out and furnace ductwork is put in place.

06) Install the Bedroom

Next, the bedroom furniture is installed. Airstream uses only comfortable innerspring mattresses or high-density foam for our twin and queen-size beds. Airstream bedrooms are also outfitted with a large wardrobe, phone hookup, television cabinet, and sound system. Because of all these comforts, some Airstreams are used as guest quarters for visitors when parked at home.

08) Install All Other Furniture and Window Finishes

Finally, we install lounges, chairs, dinette cushions, curtains, and window shades. The front lounge of this trailer converts into an extra bed and includes a deep storage drawer underneath. Other models have a slide-out section with an overhead TV, a fireplace, or a computer table.

01) Test for Water Leakage

Once the exterior shell is inspected and completed, every Airstream trailer is rigorously checked with our high pressure water test. We rarely find any leaks, but when we do, they are fixed and the trailer is tested again.

03) Pass Quality Control Inspection

Before any Airstream leaves the factory, our Quality Control team performs a series of detailed tests, looking at the overall cosmetics of the trailer, making sure all systems are working properly and testing all interior and exterior parts. Other tests include pressure checking the liquid petroleum gas system, filling the drain system and checking it for leaks, pressurizing the fresh water system, heating the furnace and cooling the refrigerator.

05) Launch Finished Airstream

Finished Airstreams are sent throughout our dealer network. If you’d like to find a dealer near you, please visit the dealer locator search function of this web site. Once you’ve located a dealer, use the online quote request form to get pricing information on your particular Airstream model. Happy exploring!

02) Check the Final Shell

After the interior shell is complete, an inspector uses a high voltage electrical device to check all electrical outlets and connections before interior furniture and appliances are installed.

04) Go Through Final Cleaning

Now, the trailer’s interior and exterior are thoroughly cleaned.