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Old 08-13-2016, 08:59 AM   #1
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2013 Interstate, will miss her

She was black, onyx, and only 15k miles. Will miss the community here, and in that spirit wanted to share why I traded and experiences thus far. There will always be a compromise as none of us will have the same usage pattern or requirements. But the points which drove my decision others may value as well, and since it cost me $20k to trade, I want to pay it forward so others may evaluate it as a feedback for their decision.

I traded for a 2016 ERA 170A. There were two reasons, and only two, that made me consider giving up our Interstate which we loved:

1) The unbelievably loud air conditioner
2) Inability to sleep more than two

I'm not being paid to sell Winnebago's so interested readers need to do their own research. But if you have similar issues with teen sleeping needs, this alone, was worth the trade-in hit.

What I miss:
- Loved the black color, but being in Georgia it stayed hot inside much of the year. It also showed dirt much more, and I had to wash it quite often.
- the drivers seat is a masterpiece of art for its comfort. I never got fatigued. I was hoping that part stayed the same but there was some loss in this area.
- elegant interior, but there are some things that I was happy to lose here, like the annoying blinds. They fixed this in the newer models, but that didn't help me with the ones I was afraid to operate for fear of breaking threads.
- this community. Haven't found anything similar for ERA. Sprinter forums have spotty threads, but nothing like this group

What I ended up loving, quite expectedly:
- the ride. OMG, I don't know if Sprinter gets the credit or if the ERA is lighter which is why, but the ride of the coach is unbelievably superior. You know the wig wag that happens any time you turn - gone.
- I didn't realize how bad I hated the bath bump out till it was gone
- AC sounded quiet when I bought. We have spent nights out now, and I can confirm Airstream needs to copy the competition here. Even with the genny on it is quieter than before! Our family can actually carry on a conversation in temps above 78 again.
- twins in back with ability to make full, and the couch that converts to a twin - though this was a major decision point for change I have to add it again here given it exceeded expectations how well it worked. Sleeping 4 comfortably, and that is with two older teens.
- as I get older I learn the more simple the better I like it. Fancy auto steps are something to break and more fuses to check. In candor, the fit and finish in the ERA all around is cheaper than our 2013, so certainly this is true of the Grand Tour. You know what? That has become a selling point. Good old simple shades for the windows, easy access to wires for tv connections, no worries about wind making my awning auto retract and collide with an open side door, and no macerator. Some of you may love the macerator, but gravity and manual valves haven't failed me yet!
- With the above theme of simplicity, no inverter to parasitically kill my batteries, or 50watt solar panels to trick you into thinking they are useful. I park always plugged in so I have a luxury here many don't. But Everything inside is 12 volt. If the kids want to use the PlayStation then plug it into the portable inverter powered from a lighter jack. And the coach batteries are outside and easily accessible. I'm a gadget person by nature, but losing all this complication has made things much simpler and is why the ERA costs less. No more explaining to my kids if the inverter is on and to check the GFI outlet when they don't have power.
- Got a few niceties that Airstream has added as well, like the screen doors for side and back. I certainly would not have traded just for this, but the little upgrades and having a fresh warranty from Mercedes is nice.I'm dreaming here I know, but just to throw it out maybe consider letting your customers loyal to the brand have some catch up options as new things happen? Not always feasible I know, and the large fridge could not be retrofitted. But better shades and screen doors can. Maybe I would have stuck with Airstream if it felt like that better preserves my investment as things change.
- 20k mile oil change intervals! Wow. I didn't put that many miles on our 2013 in 3 years, but had done 3 service A's in that time. This comes with the newer Interstates as well of course.
- Large fridge is wonderful, so much better than I would have thought, but Airstream does that now too. I didn't care, but my wife did. Now I'm sold too, this is so much nicer. And no need to stand on my head to get something out or use the microwave!

That's probably enough for now. I'm not sure how this loyal group will take this so don't want to go overboard. It was not easy for me to throw more money into this RV thing, but having done it I wanted to pass on the things that made a difference for my specific usage.

Brian
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Old 08-13-2016, 09:16 AM   #2
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There's no reason why you can't still participate on the Forums. Lots of not-yet owners and former owners on here. And having been an owner up to now, you probably still have insight to contribute to those of us who still have Airstream Interstates.
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Old 08-13-2016, 09:45 AM   #3
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I hope someone at Airstream reads the OP. And like pro tag said, you're welcome to stick around.
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Old 08-13-2016, 09:54 AM   #4
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Thanks for the detailed write-up Brian. I really like these kind of posts as it makes me aware of other options out there. I took a look at the unit that you traded too. On the sleeping quarters, it is nearly identical to our dual bunk 2016 Interstate. There is only two of us so we don't put the fillers in between but we could.

Bathroom arrangement also seems very similar.
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Old 08-13-2016, 10:34 AM   #5
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Certainly stick around! Who am I to get all exclusive, I've never owned an Airstream.
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Old 08-13-2016, 11:03 AM   #6
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Great post!

It's always nice to hear why people come to Airstream and why people leave (or don't come at all). As someone who just went through the long (2 year!) looking/shopping process to arrive at the AI, I can certainly appreciate the points you made because one of them, not sleeping more than two, was a BIG concern for me since there are three humans and two large dogs in our family (well, one is large at 120lbs, the other passed away recently but we're getting a new puppy in 5 weeks that should end up around 70-80lbs). At the end of the day, my solution to this weak spot was to do a lot of research and realize that while not ideal, there are so many DIY solutions out there from cots suspended above the front captains chairs to a simple plywood sheet across the front seats with an air mattress on top (my favorite) that I wasn't willing to sacrifice the build quality and most importantly the storage in the AI over the Winnie (ERA or Travato). Maybe over time all of the B's will come with factory-supplied solutions to this glaring limitation, but for now I think it's up to us to decide if DIY is acceptable or not.

And yes, please stay around and report back on your new rig! It will be great to hear how you're getting on with it and if it meets your expectations long term.
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Old 08-13-2016, 12:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlantaCpl View Post
She was black, onyx, and only 15k miles. Will miss the community here, and in that spirit wanted to share why I traded and experiences thus far. There will always be a compromise as none of us will have the same usage pattern or requirements. But the points which drove my decision others may value as well, and since it cost me $20k to trade, I want to pay it forward so others may evaluate it as a feedback for their decision.

I traded for a 2016 ERA 170A. There were two reasons, and only two, that made me consider giving up our Interstate which we loved:

1) The unbelievably loud air conditioner
2) Inability to sleep more than two

I'm not being paid to sell Winnebago's so interested readers need to do their own research...

Brian
2016 Era 170A
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Old 08-13-2016, 01:40 PM   #8
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Your ERA sounds great!!!

I always thought that slapping the "Airstream" name on their Sprinter thingies was the best thing Thor could have done, sales-wise.

There are quite a LOT of people that buy based on the Airstream name alone with the misguided idea that it meant something more, quality-wise.

I doubt they would sell anywhere NEAR what they do if Thor didn't borrow the Airstream decals to stick on the Interstates.
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Old 08-13-2016, 02:32 PM   #9
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I doubt they would sell anywhere NEAR what they do if Thor didn't borrow the Airstream decals to stick on the Interstates.
Thor doesn't "borrow" anything for the Interstates. The Interstates come off the assembly line at Jackson Center just like the trailers. I for one resent the implication that the Interstate is a Thor with an Airstream label and not really an Airstream.

As far as I know, Airstream is the ONLY company under the Thor umbrella that even makes a Class B. No other Thor assembly line except Jackson Center produces any Class B, only Class A, Class C, and trailers.
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Old 08-13-2016, 03:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
Thor doesn't "borrow" anything for the Interstates. The Interstates come off the assembly line at Jackson Center just like the trailers. I for one resent the implication that the Interstate is a Thor with an Airstream label and not really an Airstream.

+1

Let's not feed the trolls Protag.
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Old 08-13-2016, 03:37 PM   #11
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Before we purchased our AS trailer, a class B was in play & the Winnebago ERA was our choice class B. Good luck with the new rig & like said before "stick around" & give us your future observations & comparisons as to both coaches.
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Old 08-13-2016, 03:41 PM   #12
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The Interstates come off the assembly line at Jackson Center just like the trailers.
...across the street in a separate Thor factory. If they were "just like the trailers" they wouldn't be built off of another manufacturer's complete (minus the interior) vehicle. And, they would be made out of aluminum and look somewhat like an Airstream.


Quote:
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I for one resent the implication that the Interstate is a Thor with an Airstream label and not really an Airstream.
Thank you for proving my point.

This is no doubt the exact thinking Thor's marketing team was counting on when they decided to assemble the Interstate under the "Airstream" moniker and add a camping interior to the Dodge/MB Sprinter cargo van in Jackson Center. Jackson Center is Airstream mecca.

As I stated, GREAT marketing, and GREAT for sales. People love to get attached to that Airstream name and resent anything otherwise.

That's why Thor didn't call it the "Bison Coach Interstate." No one would buy it using Thor's "Bison Coach" nameplate.

If it's one thing Thor is good at...it's marketing the Airstream name and aura. Line 'em up and they will come. And buy.

Just don't call anything "Bison Coach."
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Old 08-13-2016, 04:10 PM   #13
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And, they would be made out of aluminum and look somewhat like an Airstream.
You and I will never agree on this subject. Feel free to think that Interstates aren't really Airstreams if it makes you feel superior. My time is too valuable to waste it arguing with people whose minds are already made up.
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Old 08-13-2016, 04:37 PM   #14
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Feel free to think that Interstates aren't really Airstreams if it makes you feel superior.
I never stated that; you inferred that.

I was commenting on Thor's marketing of the Interstate as an Airstream, which was a brilliant move sales-wise...and profit-wise.

Interstates are every bit as much of an Airstream as the trailers in that they are massively over-priced compared to their competition for a substantial reduction in comfort, features, build quality, bathroom design, innovation, and most importantly quality control.

In those respects, they really ARE Airstreams. They wouldn't be able to sell them if they weren't.
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