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Old 03-17-2016, 08:52 AM   #1
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Airstream Interstate 4x4

2016 Airstream Interstate 4x4 is out.

Increased traction with 4 wheel Hi / Low but also comes with increased ground clearance. Not sure how that would affect on road stability.

http://youtu.be/jIE9gvImaZo
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Old 03-17-2016, 09:19 AM   #2
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But it still has that very vulnerable LP fill panel mounted low behind the curbside rear wheels. UGH!
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Old 03-17-2016, 11:28 AM   #3
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I took a look at a RoadTrek 4x4 the other day. It certainly looks higher (and sort of more commanding), but that rear overhang is still going to prevent most folks from venturing down any real 4x4 trails. My personal goal is to drive my RV round the Monument Valley trail, and for those who don't know it, it really requires a proper 4x4 with a high ground clearance.
Incidentally, from Airstream or RoadTrek, you cannot have the VB Air Suspension with 4x4; it's an either/or option. You must get an authorized VB fitter to do it for you. Advanced RV is one of those.
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Old 03-17-2016, 02:14 PM   #4
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Probably ought to call it all-wheel drive rather than 4◊4, because really it's 6◊6 with the dual rear wheels.

Anyway, I suspect the main advantage isn't the marginally increased ground clearance; you could still high-center it on the low-hanging generator and your break-over and departure angles haven't improved by more than a degree or two. And of course you can get an all-wheel-drive vehicle stuck even better than you can get a rear-wheel-drive vehicle stuck; you just have more wheels dug axle-deep into the soft soil.

I think the main advantage will be the improved control in slippery conditions due to having power to the wheels doing the steering.
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Old 03-17-2016, 03:55 PM   #5
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Probably ought to call it all-wheel drive rather than 4◊4, because really it's 6◊6 with the dual rear wheels.

Anyway, I suspect the main advantage isn't the marginally increased ground clearance; you could still high-center it on the low-hanging generator and your break-over and departure angles haven't improved by more than a degree or two. And of course you can get an all-wheel-drive vehicle stuck even better than you can get a rear-wheel-drive vehicle stuck; you just have more wheels dug axle-deep into the soft soil.

I think the main advantage will be the improved control in slippery conditions due to having power to the wheels doing the steering.


From what I found this is not an AWD system..."unlike Mercedes-Benzís 4MATIC all-wheel drive, the torque split isnít variable, so itís best to leave the Sprinter in two-wheel-drive mode on dry pavement unless you enjoy the sounds of binding driveline components."

Plus an Airstream still won't have enough ground clearance for real "offroading" except gravel roads and such. I wanted one but didn't want to wait for it so I got the regular ol' 2WD.
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Old 03-17-2016, 04:49 PM   #6
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I just looked at that video again and man those things are jacked up

One thing I didn't see is if there is an auto mode for the 4wd. Didn't sound like it. For example, my GMC Sierra has 2wd, auto, 4 wheel Hi and 4 wheel Lo. I run around in the winter (OK it rains once in a while) in auto mode a lot, if you start to lose traction the 4 wheel drive will kick in. Could be helpful.
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Old 03-17-2016, 05:06 PM   #7
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I think you can switch on the fly. I used to run my 2011 F350 in 4wd on rainy days while driving down the freeway and then switch back to 2wd anytime I needed to turn past 4 degrees to keep it from binding. Worked great off the line too. Traded it in this past Monday on my new Airstream...
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:06 PM   #8
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Anyone notice the apparent ripples in the plank-effect flooring about 1 minute into the video? That would irritate me!
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:14 PM   #9
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Anyone notice the apparent ripples in the plank-effect flooring about 1 minute into the video? That would irritate me!
Can't say that I did on a re-watch.
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:52 PM   #10
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Anyone notice the apparent ripples in the plank-effect flooring about 1 minute into the video? That would irritate me!

Yes - I also noticed those ripples. Must be another feature of Airstream quality. 😀


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Old 04-06-2016, 11:29 PM   #11
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We saw the all wheel drive version a week ago in Boise while passing through the area. We liked it and have ordered one. This will be our third ASI in three years, and we'll likely keep this unit for a bit longer than the rest.

The additional height of the vehicle was negligible to me, but the clearance underneath was a welcome addition. The real reason for the purchase was the extra winter traction for us - we'll benefit by expanding our winter travel options because of the all wheel drive.


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Old 04-07-2016, 09:19 AM   #12
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Were you able to drive one? Curious how the increased center of gravity will feel especially in windy conditions and on uneven transitions like driveways.

Regardless, Congrats! And enjoy your new toy.
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:23 AM   #13
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Were you able to drive one? Curious how the increased center of gravity will feel especially in windy conditions and on uneven transitions like driveways.
Height of the CG might not even increase. Sure you've got a (slight) increase in ground clearance. But mounting both house batteries under the floor lowers the CG versus having them in a tray above floor level on older models. Having a 4◊4 drivetrain lowers the CG versus a 2WD drivetrain due to the weight of the transfer case and front differential below floor level but also increases the unsprung weight on front wheelsó which makes front end alignment and tire balancing even more critical. The added weight below floor level might lower the CG enough to offset the increased CG due to added ground clearance. I haven't crunched the numbers to see.
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:52 AM   #14
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True, really hard to say. One thing for sure is the wind will continue to push our vans around. Probably not gonna be much different.
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