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Old 07-06-2005, 11:23 PM   #1
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Airstream "Westfalia" Sprinter van

While at the International last week, we began to look at the Sprinter Van Westfalia with the Airstream nameplate on it. We are thinking it would make a great alternate tow vehicle for our Globe Trotter. During our research, we were told there was a problem with the diesel fired furnace that heats the coach. One faction told us it won't work over an elevation of 2,500 ft above sea level. The other factions told us a retro-fit has been done and there is no problem.
Anyone have any expereince with the diesel furnace equipped Westafalia, or the Westfalia in general? Any thought?
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Old 07-07-2005, 06:47 AM   #2
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Hi Coloradobus,

I don´t habe any experiences withthe Westfalia Sprinter but my car at the moment is a Westfalia Californis Exclusive on a VW Eurovan (long Wheelbase) Basis. We have the diesel furnace in it and I love it!! Our heats on nearly any level, from what I have tried. Westfalia is one of the Top Brand over here and they have a very good quality. Did you check the Tow ratings of the Dodge Sprinter?? I am not shure if they are rated that high, as the Airstream/westfalia Interior is quite heavy, I would guess...

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Old 07-07-2005, 08:09 AM   #3
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My understanding is the "westy" on the Sprinter chassis is rated to tow 5000 LBS. I do not know what they have published as the tow rating on the Interstate variant of the Sprinter, but I bet it is higher since there is less weight on the chassis overall.
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Old 07-07-2005, 09:35 AM   #4
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Thenewkid64 and Pschoerrn, The tow ratings will handle our GT. It weighs about 4,000 lbs. The Interstate has the same tow ratings as the Westy. The Westy is totally made in Germany. UIpon its arrival off the boat in Florida, Airstream slaps its name on it. Airstream totally outfits a Sprinter shell and calls it the Interstate. Our concern is what we heard about the diesel furnace not working in higher altitudes, say Denver and higher. ( a mile high and up) Seems like your Eurovan platform car's furnace works well, Pchoerrn. Thanks
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Old 07-07-2005, 10:13 AM   #5
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My understanding is that Westfalia sent a crew of people over from Germany to fix the Heater and AC issues that were causing some trouble. This was a costly endeavor, but they did it to make sure the product lives up to the Expectations of both Airstreamers and Westy fans alike. All the units in the pipeline were done in Jacksonville, the rest of the inventory was done on dealer lots by the Westfalia guys.

At this time I know all of the units that are new for sale have either been refitted to fix these problems and the new ones are coming over with the fix applied. Used units you may have to ask about it. I do not believe it was a "recall" I think it was more a making it right process.
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Old 07-07-2005, 10:36 AM   #6
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Most of the comments concerning diesel and high altitude has mostly to do with fuel to air mixture, example: At an altitudes like Denver, compared to sea level, the fuel/air mixture is extremely rich.(Translated: Sluggish/poor fuel performances..)
These are issues mostly associated with fuel injection engine and, may or may not be a problem with the furance in the Westy/Interstate, but..this issues could be attacked the same as the vehicle's engine.( if this proves to be the case.)
Several things to consider~
1)For higher altitudes, simply readjust your air/fuel ratio.
2)Westy/Interstate all have "extra" heating flow into the driving/living compartment upon shut-off of the diesel engine..(You knew that???)
3)Since you're planning to tow your GT, Why not use the furnace in the GT when you arrive at your destination??
Finally, I would seriously question towing a GT at altitudes, say, the likes of the Rockies~Towing 5K on flat land is one thing but, these vehicles are not your 3/4 ton Duramax brutes~
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Old 07-07-2005, 02:39 PM   #7
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53FlyingCloud. With 265 Hp, the Westy will tow the GT Okay. For most applications we would use our duramax. But there will be times carrying the dogs, the Westy's A/C would come in handy. We just completed the International using our '69 Cadillac towing the GT. All went well to Springfield, but the return trip to Denver had an adventure. After travelling 408 miles from Springfield, the cadillac's timing gear stripped all the teeth in Russell, Kansas. AAA RV Plus towed us 100 miles, then we hired a tow/flatbed to Denver. This was easier than returning on our own to collect trailer and car today. A Westfalia would have come in handy.
The Mercedes engine in the Westy, ofcourse is a turbo diesel so altitude is less of an issue. The furnace burner set up is a nozzle spray into the burner. I don't totally know all the internal workings, but I agree with you about fuel/air mixture. Stopped at Windish this a.m., and the Westfalia engineers are there retro-fitting one Westy they have.
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Old 07-07-2005, 03:00 PM   #8
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Fyi

I suggest that you recheck your info on the horsepower of the Westy..
The last I knew, the engine spec for the Westy is:
This a direct quoted from published Airstream material.
" Total displacement: 2.7 litres, Horsepower: 154hp@3,800rpm."
This is a great engine, with excellent mileage but, I still stand by my personal feeling concerning the towing of 5k over anything like the Rockies..
Sorry to hear abt your breakdown..Glad it worked out for you..
ciao
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Old 07-07-2005, 11:26 PM   #9
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53FlyingCloud,

Thanks for the reminder. I did re-check the Westy's spec sheet. Given such a cool shoulder this morning at our local dealer, (think they have been burned by the original inadequacies of the Westy), we have cooled our jets. The Sprinter is a neat unit, but... One thing that really bothers us, is the lack of tilt steering wheel. The wheel has a funny feel where they have placed it. It very high and you need to under hand the wheel at 8 and 4 instead of the more traditional 10 and 2 hand placement.
Maybe wait to see what 2006 brings....tilt wheel?
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Old 07-08-2005, 12:54 AM   #10
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Coloradobus,
More details about the "cool shoulder" at the local dealer..Please
As for the Westy, it can be the perfect vehicle for those who are looking for something to step out of a Huge Class A MO. 22 mpg is quite impressive, to say the least..
One Note:
The wife and I went to a local Rally held here in NE last month using a borrowed Interstate. Not a Westy but cloned from the same basic unit and, it was a pleasure to use. On the highway, it was all too easy to hit 75 to 80 mph. It had more than enough spunk for moving out. I agree abt the steering wheel but, after a few minutes behind the wheel..You sorta forget abt that issues. I'm thinking the original background for the design has a lot to do with that..It was, after all, design as a "delivery" vehicle for UPS, FEDEX, etc..(Interstate, not the Westy)
The Westy has been in use for many years in Europe, under the label known as the James Cook. It has been well designed and tested as such. Recently improved upon by Airstream with a more capable A/C unit.(twice the original performance)
I viewed one of the new replacement A/C units being installed and, to be quite honest..was extremely impressed with the design and workmanship of the new unit~Just wished I had taken pictures of it then.
One minor drawback..
Just my take..
When one is boondocking, the use of propane to fuel the generator can be a limiting factor as it's propane tank is not huge. We ended up only running it while inside the unit after sunset for comfort and, then cutting it off just before hitting the sack to conserve fuel.
With proper use and understanding, this could be an excellent "let's get away" type of vehicle for those spur of the moment weekend trips or several weeks of vacation.
One thing: alot of RV companies are leaning toward this type of vehicle.
ciao
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Old 07-08-2005, 10:11 AM   #11
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53FlyingCloud,

Yes, on our test drive last week, the Westy drove very well. Along with towing th GT, we were also considering putting a drive-shaft disconnect on a Westy and towing it behind our class A. That way, where the coach is too big, we can do a mountain or desert get-away where campsites are hard to get to. Blue Ox at the moment has given me another cold shoulder about creating a baseplate for our Aventa II towbar. Remco, can make the drvie shaft unit.
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