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Old 02-13-2013, 10:49 AM   #1
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Best airstream interstate model to buy

Looking to buy an AS Interstate but not sure what year to buy. It looks like interior layout/design changed in 2009. Engine change earlier. Any suggestions/comments. Is maintenance DIY? Thanks
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:54 PM   #2
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Looking to buy an AS Interstate but not sure what year to buy. It looks like interior layout/design changed in 2009. Engine change earlier. Any suggestions/comments. Is maintenance DIY? Thanks
I don't think there is a "best year" to buy. Every model year has its good points. And its bad points. Every Interstate owner will have their own opinions about which is which. I also don't think there are many Interstate owners who have owned more than one to provide a first-person comparison between model years.

As for maintenance, that depends. If you're talking maintenance of the base Sprinter, probably not much except for fluids and filters will be DIY (but reliable as they are, not much else has to be). If you're talking living quarters, your ability to do your own maintenance will depend on your skill level. Most major components of the living spaces are off-the-shelf offerings by a variety of RV equipment manufacturers, not custom-built for Interstates, except for the cabinetry.
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:45 AM   #3
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Something else to keep in mind is the model year of the Sprinter chassis which will probably be different that he MY of the Interstate. Here are some of the major model changes for the Sprinters in North America (MB, Dodge, or Freightliner):
  • 2001-2006 Sprinters are called T1N; I4 or I5 cyl. engine.
  • 2007-Present Sprinters are called NCV3; V6 engine.
Note: MB introduced the BluTec system in MY2010; this is said to increase mileage and reduce NOx emissions but it also adds some complexity and cost (for the required AdBlue DEF). Personally, I'm glad I don't have it!

Re. DIY maintenance (On the Sprinter): many Sprinter owners do change their own fluids but these are complex vehicles and are not easy for the casual back yard mechanic to troubleshoot.
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:52 AM   #4
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Note: MB introduced the BluTec system in MY2010; this is said to increase mileage but also adds some complexity (and cost, for the required AdBlue DEF).
The BlueTec system does not improve fuel economy at all. Its sole purpose is to help the vehicles meet tougher EPA emissions standards by removing certain chemical compounds out of the exhaust. In short, it's a catalytic converter for diesels.

Added cost isn't onerous, as long as you buy DEF meeting the ISO certification from a source other than Mercedes Benz. Mercedes charges outrageous prices by the liter for DEF imported from Germany. You can buy a two-gallon container of the stuff at Walmart for less than $50, and you only need to add two gallons every 10,000 miles or so. This puts the DEF cost per mile near half-a-cent per mile.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:03 AM   #5
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"The BlueTec system does not improve fuel economy at all. Its sole purpose is to help the vehicles meet tougher EPA emissions standards by removing certain chemical compounds out of the exhaust. In short, it's a catalytic converter for diesels."

I have no personal experience but multiple sources indicate that using AdBlue will reduce fuel consumption by about 2% in most applications. Google "does adblue reduce fuel consumption" if you want to do some reading.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:11 AM   #6
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I have no personal experience but multiple sources indicate that using AdBlue will reduce fuel consumption by about 2% in most applications. Google "does adblue reduce fuel consumption" if you want to do some reading.
I typically get anywhere between 17 and 18.5 mpg based on road conditions and other factors, with occasional brief periods up to 19.6 mpg when conditionsa are just right. 2% of 19.6 mpg is less than 0.4 mpg difference. My mileage varies by more than that from one drive to the next, so who's going to notice? It would be different if they were claiming 10~15% difference in fuel economy.
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:58 AM   #7
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I typically get anywhere between 17 and 18.5 mpg based on road conditions and other factors, with occasional brief periods up to 19.6 mpg when conditionsa are just right. 2% of 19.6 mpg is less than 0.4 mpg difference. My mileage varies by more than that from one drive to the next, so who's going to notice? It would be different if they were claiming 10~15% difference in fuel economy.
You're right 2% isn't really noticeable, also the reduces fuel consumption is misleading. A more accurate statement would be that it doesn't increase fuel consumption as much as the previous pollution reduction system.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:51 PM   #8
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You have a 2010 but don't have the BlueTec system...but it was introduced in the MY2010? Can you clarify that for me? Do you know about interior upgrades? I'll go to the Sprinter forum and check it out based upon model years...thanks.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:07 PM   #9
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You have a 2010 but don't have the BlueTec system...but it was introduced in the MY2010? Can you clarify that for me? Do you know about interior upgrades? I'll go to the Sprinter forum and check it out based upon model years...thanks.
Sprinter model years are not necessarily the same as Mercedes model years. My 2012 Interstate started life as a 2011 Sprinter before Airstream got their hands on it.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:00 PM   #10
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My MY2011 Airstream Interstate is on a MY2010 Sprinter chassis. This happens because Airstream will have some older chassis left over when they change to the new model year Interstate.

I paid about $12 for 2.5 gal. of DEF @ Sam's. About the same as most of the auto parts stores around here. Read on another forum that some truck stops sell DEF from a pump from an auto shutoff w/ a nozzle that actually fit the tiny, tiny opening in the fill tube. The DEF tank holds about five gal. per the Sprinter manual which is what I put in to fill it.
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