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Old 03-11-2015, 08:48 PM   #1
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AI 2012, 13 or 14 Model?

We're looking at used Interstate EXT's. Does a 2012, 13 or 14 model offer anything new/significant from one model year to the next year?

Just curious if I should be favoring one year over the others.
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Old 03-11-2015, 11:41 PM   #2
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I believe that the 2013's were the first to have the awning without the support rods.
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Old 03-12-2015, 12:28 AM   #3
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The biggest change of all is the introduction of the Grand Tour model in 2014, which has a floor plan optimized for camping (as much as a B-van can be optimized, anyway) rather than people-hauling.

The 2012 model did not include an extended floor plan; that was introduced in 2012.5 I believe, but I bought mine a couple of months before the first EXT Interstate was even available.

Other than that, as weirdstuff pointed out, about 2013 they introduced the Fiamma F65 Eagle awning that doesn't have support rods and that auto-retracts. Which can be a good thing or a bad thing. Good because you don't have to get up in the middle of the night to take it in if the weather turns nasty, bad because you can't really hang patio lights off of it or install a screen room on it lest it auto-retract before you can remove whatever you hung on it.

2013 was also the model year that they started using Magnum inverter/chargers instead of TrippLite inverter/chargers. The Magnums are definitely superior.

2013 models are the first to have the "boost" feature that lets you use the house batteries to jump-start the engine if the chassis battery is dead. Most owners haven't used this feature and hope to never need it. It's a great way to ruin your house batteries, which aren't designed to discharge that quickly, but it's still better than being stranded.

2013 is also the first model year to have a remote switch for the main battery disconnect near the sliding side door. Older models had a single switch behind a panel under the sofa/bed or under one of the twin beds if you had a twin-bed model. I don't know of anyone who hates having the remote switch.

In 2014, besides the Grand Tour model, all Interstates incorporate more of the optional Mercedes-Benz Sprinter safety equipment than in previous models. But bear in mind, that really only applies to the 2014.5 and later, because early 2014 Interstates were built on 2013 Sprinter vans.

I have a 2012 (built on a 2011 Sprinter), with the TrippLite, and the standard Fiamma F65 awning that has support legs, and without the newer Sprinter safety features or the remote disconnect or the boost feature. I get by just fine without the improvements, and see no reason to trade mine in on a newer model. I'll keep mine for as long as I'm still healthy enough to use it, and as long as I can still find parts to keep it in good repair.
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Old 03-12-2015, 07:47 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by MN CakeEater View Post
We're looking at used Interstate EXT's. Does a 2012, 13 or 14 model offer anything new/significant from one model year to the next year?

Just curious if I should be favoring one year over the others.
Not to hijack this thread, but if anyone wonders whether it would be worth considering an even older model year, that's an interesting pro and con discussion as well, perhaps for a separate thread.
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Old 03-12-2015, 08:02 AM   #5
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Thanks for the useful information! Every model year seems to change slightly and as the changes happen the prices go up. We're still trying to find our 'sweet spot' on year and price.

We've been looking at versions from Winnebago and Leisure Travel Vans, but keep coming back to the Interstate. Being on a Airstream forum, I wouldn't expect to hear many complaints, but I love to hear some constructive criticism about the Airstream Interstates.
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Old 03-12-2015, 08:11 AM   #6
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Not to hijack this thread, but if anyone wonders whether it would be worth considering an even older model year, that's an interesting pro and con discussion as well, perhaps for a separate thread.
That is not a hijack. It extends the original topic, and doesn't send it off at a tangent.

The first Airstream Interstate was produced in 2004.

Although I'm not up to speed on which model year particular changes occurred before 2012, some of the differences on older models are:

No macerator pump; waste discharge through a slinky.
No on-board Onan generator (they were optional for years before they became standard equipment).
Dometic propane refrigerator rather than a Nova Kool 12v/120v. The Dometic is also larger.
Smaller propane tank (without the generator you don't need as much).
Different floor plans.
Built on a Sprinter 2500 rather than a Sprinter 3500, lower GVWR and only four tires on the ground, but more comfortable ride for those in the back.

For the curious, you can go to the Airstream website and download copies of any year's Interstate Owner's Manual. The manuals haven't always been updated as often as the vans themselves so they're not necessarily 100% accurate, but you can download them for free and they'll at least give you an idea.
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Old 03-12-2015, 09:52 AM   #7
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Airstream makes changes during a model year. My 2013 has the Magnum inverter/charger, but not the remote battery cut-off or the armless awning. The OP indicated they wanted an EXT 24 foot version, so that means 2012 or newer. I'd say get the newest model you can afford. The newer models stating in about 2014 also have a larger 100 watt solar panel.

Regarding constructive criticism of the Interstate: 1) the very low propane fill panel behind the LH rear wheel is a disaster waiting to happen. IMHO it's the worst "feature" of the Interstate; 2) cheap PWM solar controller does not provide optimal charging profile, but easy to upgrade; 3) the movable bathroom door is a bit of a joke.

Don't get me wrong I think the Interstate was the best B-van available for my needs when I got it in 2013. On the plus side the Interstate is built on a very well equipped Sprinter. I give credit to Airstream for starting with a Sprinter including many options not offered by its competitors.


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Old 03-12-2015, 10:29 PM   #8
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other brand class B's

U said U had looked at other brands, but U didn't mention Coach House. A/S B's are likely the most expensive. U are definitely in CH territory. U may have already decided on A/S. If U haven't checked CH, U should.
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:47 PM   #9
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U said U had looked at other brands, but U didn't mention Coach House. A/S B's are likely the most expensive. U are definitely in CH territory. U may have already decided on A/S. If U haven't checked CH, U should.
I never heard of them until now, so I took a quick look on their web page. The Coach House Arriva is new for 2015, which explains why I haven't previously heard of them as a B-van maker.

From my quick glance I'm not thrilled with the space allocation on the Arriva. Considering the amount of time one typically spends in the galley versus the amount of time one typically spends in the bathroom, I'd expect the galley to be bigger and the bathroom to be smaller. As is, it seems like a lot of volume is wasted on a space that doesn't see so much use.

But that's just me. Other folksó including the OPó might just love it.
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Old 03-12-2015, 11:02 PM   #10
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Coach House builds Class B's since 1985. There's 3 model lines now.
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Old 03-12-2015, 11:26 PM   #11
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Coach House builds Class B's since 1985. There's 3 model lines now.
Two of them (Platinum and Platinum II) are class C's; only one (Arriva) is a class B. They made class Bs from 1985 to 1999, then quit making them to concentrate on their Class C's. The new Arriva is their first Class B since 1999. That's straight from their own webpage.
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Old 03-13-2015, 07:53 AM   #12
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That is not a hijack. It extends the original topic, and doesn't send it off at a tangent......
.
OK, I'll bite, at least a preliminary nibble, especially given that the original poster followed up by mentioning that they were trying to identify what *for them* would be the sweet spot on price.

The main benefit to choosing an older used Interstate (by that I mean primarily the T1N) is obviously the lower price. However, given:

(1) the scarcity of them in the market due to the facts that
(a) not many were produced in the first place, and
(b) owners tend to hold onto them; and

(2) the fact that most owners are early retirees who tend to take very good care of them, and

(3) the fact that the new Interstate prices have risen so dramatically,

the older used prices are actually not as low as you might expect. The earliest Interstates tend to hold their value. In in the hunt for our Interstate, the lowest price we saw was about $32,000, but that was for a private sale of a 2005 that had been partially gutted for tailgating purposes (sacrilege!) and probably was beyond being restored to original condition. For a used vehicle typically you're looking in the ask range of $40,000 - $60,000 even if the engine has 100,000+ miles on it. That being on a vehicle that was stickered around $95,000 to start with (depending on option package) which means it was probably sold new for comfortably less than that.

And those prices might sound mighty good compared to the $70,000 - $100,000 ask for a younger 3500 or the $150,000 ask for a brand new Grand Tour, but of course there's no such thing as a free lunch. The Airstream execution factor figures into this analysis very strongly. As has been opined many times in this forum, Interstates regardless of model year (to date, at least) are characterized by superb design but deeply flawed execution. When comparing different model years, I think that the relevant questions to ask are NOT whether it has this awning or that awning, or this macerator vs. that slinky. The real question is - how much agony are you willing to endure in the process of dealing with the inevitable maintenance, repairs, and upgrades? How much can you do DIY vs. do you have to wait weeks for service only to then pay a mechanic a larger hourly wage than you yourself probably make? IMO, older Interstates may cease to make financial sense if you're the type of person who has to contract everything out. What you save on the initial purchase price, you might end up spending in fees. If that's looking like it might be your scenario, you'd be better off buying a younger Interstate and forestalling those eventual costs.

When evaluating how much maintenance, repairs, and upgrades you can stomach, I think it's important to recognize that a lot of your energy might get expended in the NORMAL process of customizing your Interstate - forget about the EXTRAORDINARY portion of the energy you'll need to devote to troubleshooting and repairs. This is particularly true if you plan to use your Interstate in non-typical ways (e.g., internationally or for work purposes, both of which are among my intended uses).

As an illustration, let me give you some stats from our personal punch list, for our 2007 Interstate that was acquired in September 2014:

Total items on punch list - 54
Obligatory items (required repairs plus can't-live-withouts) - 18
Items that would characterize any Interstate of any model year - 19
Total items fulfilled to date - 27

So you can see that I've got 19 items on my list that would apply even if I were spending $150,000 on a new vehicle. Luckily for me, I have an overabundance of mental energy, but for many people, by the time they get done achieving what they WANT to do with the vehicle, they might not have much stamina left over for the less fun tasks that they NEED to do. This is a consideration that people tend to overlook.

I guess this turned out to be longer than a nibble at the topic.


When I told my father that my husband and I bought an RV, the first thing he did was deliver the classic joke, "I had a buddy who said that he had only two happy days with his RV - the day he bought it, and the day he sold it." It's a nod to the fact that these things are a handful no matter which purchasing strategy you adopt.
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:15 PM   #13
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Thanks Interblog for reminding me of my agony with a Class A diesel pusher we bought new 3 years ago. Two weeks of my life spent in a small Iowa town and numerous trips to a local dealer to get everything workable. Oh and that didn't include my own time working on our rig.

There was lots of great information that helps make me more informed as we move to a purchase. Please feel free to ad more to thread.

One other quick question. I noticed that there are 2014 and 2014.5 brochures. I understand running changes at the factory, but were there 1/2 model years brochures put out in past years? I couldn't find any.

Thanks,
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Old 03-16-2015, 08:06 AM   #14
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Thanks Interblog for reminding me of my agony with a Class A diesel pusher we bought new 3 years ago. Two weeks of my life spent in a small Iowa town and numerous trips to a local dealer to get everything workable. ....

Thanks,
Thanks MN for reminding me of the reason why my husband and I are doing so much work pre-emptively - because we DON'T WANT to have to spend two weeks of our lives in a small Iowa town getting everything workable. Actually as non-retirees, we simply wouldn't have that option. Our Interstate better be well-hardened before it ever leaves our driveway.
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