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Old 04-16-2016, 09:27 AM   #1
mdf
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4x4 Specifics / Differences

Hello all,

My 4x4 is "on the truck" so to speak, and is expected here in CA during the next week or so. I have been reading everything I can on these forums in an attempt to get smart. What a wealth of information! My family and I are very excited to take delivery, be part of this community, and start with a couple small trips to try everything out, learn, etc. before a 6000 mile round trip this summer.

I was wondering if there is anyone here who knows the answers to these questions:

1) I know that the suspension system is different on the 4x4 as it is raised by a few inches. Do we know if the sway bar is the same? Sounds like that mod is worthwhile if it is the same as the non 4x4's.

2) Do we know of any other "differences" in the vehicles vs. stock? For example, are any of the AS added gear (generators, etc.) in different places because of the drivetrain differences? I would expect not, but thought it worth asking.

3) Does anyone know if they spec the same tires (model, sizes, etc.) on the 4x4?

Thanks in advance!
Matt
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Old 04-16-2016, 09:38 AM   #2
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I'm taking an educated quess that you're refering to a Sprinter based 4x4 chassis?

If so, just remember that when asking questions concerning your vehicle, start with model year, model, trim level. i.e. 2016 Interstate 4x4 SLT as I'm sure a number of trailer guys would be wondering what 4x4 P/U you're refering too.

As for vehicle specs, wouldn't the sales brochure have it all?

Cheers
Tony
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Old 04-16-2016, 09:44 AM   #3
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I would ask Airstream or just wait until delivery. You'll know soon enough
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Old 04-16-2016, 09:51 AM   #4
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Airstream doesn't hang anything off the front of the chassis where the transfer box would be located so I think it would be safe to assume the propane tank, generator, and waste tanks would all be in the same spot.

I doubt that Mercedes would put a larger sway bar on a 4x4 since it could exacerbate rocking on unpaved roads. Since most of our time is on paved roads at higher speeds, whatever size sway bar they use is likely adequate for high winds. You will need to drive it to determine if the ride quality is acceptable to you.
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Old 04-16-2016, 10:20 AM   #5
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I've said this before regarding non-4◊4 Interstates, but your first stop after purchase should be to get a front-end alignment. This is especially important for a 4◊4 because the higher unsprung weight on the front axle will accelerate tire wear if the front end isn't aligned properly.

The base Sprinter cargo van purchased by Airstream was aligned properly for an empty box. But then Airstream added a couple tons of assorted stuff, which affected the alignment. But the Airstream assembly line does not include a capability to realign the front end. Meaning you have to do it.
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Old 04-16-2016, 11:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
I've said this before regarding non-4◊4 Interstates, but your first stop after purchase should be to get a front-end alignment. This is especially important for a 4◊4 because the higher unsprung weight on the front axle will accelerate tire wear if the front end isn't aligned properly.

The base Sprinter cargo van purchased by Airstream was aligned properly for an empty box. But then Airstream added a couple tons of assorted stuff, which affected the alignment. But the Airstream assembly line does not include a capability to realign the front end. Meaning you have to do it.
Ya think after building a vehicle that you have modified you would check alignment. Wow can't believe Airstream doesn't do that. You see, that's something that would never cross my mind after coughing up that kind of cash on a new vehicle; that I'd have to pay for an alignment.

Thanks Protagonist for the heads up. I hope that it's in a sticky at the top of the Interstate page.

Now you have me wondering about spring rates, shocks and tires; are they up to snuff carrying all this weight around all the time. My Dad has a 93 Westphalia; one day he ran into a friend with a newer version. The friend had recently changed his tires, but they weren't 10 ply as was my fathers camper. It turned out the Westy's used a 10 ply Continental, but an ordinary Vanagon ran a lighter more pliable tire. The friend had to go out and a get another set for his rig.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 04-16-2016, 11:46 AM   #7
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It is very probable "The Sprinter Store" just outside Portland Oregon has the information you are looking for. They really keep up with the subtle or major changes to the Sprinter. AEW
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Old 04-16-2016, 11:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
I've said this before regarding non-4◊4 Interstates, but your first stop after purchase should be to get a front-end alignment. This is especially important for a 4◊4 because the higher unsprung weight on the front axle will accelerate tire wear if the front end isn't aligned properly.

The base Sprinter cargo van purchased by Airstream was aligned for an empty box. But then Airstream added a couple tons of assorted stuff, which affected the alignment. But the Airstream assembly line does not include a capability to realign the front end. Meaning you have to do it.


I concur with that 100%. Our AS was purchased with 2600 driven miles and showed slight outer tire wear. Although the camber was at MB spec, we had too much positive camber, so front end being a bit light for its intended purpose as a cargo van (with heavy loads centered or even forward). That would be about right because most of the AS added weight sits right in front and behind the rear axle. Camber on the ASI should be about neutral or 0 degrees. So moved, plus correct tire pressure and no more uneven wear issues.

Additional modifications well worthwhile is suspension; at least rear shocks, something like sumo springs, sway bar upgrade and such will stiffen the ride and make it a little less tiresome.

Air suspension perhaps. Keep in mind though, it is very (too) expensive on this particular vehicle and mostly a load leveling device, not to "soften" the ride, though it will definitely do all of the above.
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Old 04-16-2016, 12:01 PM   #9
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Ya think after building a vehicle that you have modified you would check alignment. Wow can't believe Airstream doesn't do that.
I don't know of any manufacturer of B-vans who does, actually. They would consider that a Sprinter issue rather than an Airstream (or Winnebago, or Roadtrek, or Pleasureway, etc.) issue.
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Old 04-16-2016, 01:37 PM   #10
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Yeah Doyle, once again your mastery of pertinent minutia comes to the rescue of those who risk asking the 'dumb' questions. Keep it up!
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Old 04-16-2016, 01:39 PM   #11
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Yeah Doyle, once again your mastery of pertinent minutia comes to the rescue of those who risk asking the 'dumb' questions. Keep it up!
There are no dumb questions! Only dumb answersÖ
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Old 04-16-2016, 08:32 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone. For reference, it's a 2016 /2016 airstream interstate 4x4 on the sprinter 3500 platform. My first two weeks of ownership will include a battery upgrade, a solar upgrade, and now an alignment! All thanks to this forum. I appreciate all the guidance and please forgive my newbie ignorance.
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