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Old 11-29-2012, 01:00 AM   #1
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Do Interstates have leak problems like the TTs do?

Hi. I'm new to the forum and considering the purchase of a new airstream (2013).

I had first considered a Classic trailer, but since they seem to be plagued with leaks, I have begun to look at the B-vans.

Though they do not seem to be as "liveable" as the trailers, I do like the idea of them a lot. It'd be nice to own an RV that didn't LOOK like an RV.

My concern here is, do the vans have any of the leak issues that the TTs do? My gut feeling is, since they are entirely housed in the Mercedes coach, perhaps this problem is not so pronounced on these units as it is onn the TTs.

Also, any experience regarding their suitedness to winter camping.

Hope someone will share their experience with me, since I have none of my own.

Thanks.
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:28 AM   #2
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I have a 2007 Interstate built on a 2006 MB Sprinter. Leaks are not a problem. So far the only problem we have had is slight leak around the Fantastic Fan. We pulled out all the old original caulking and replaced it with new stuff. This cured the problem. At his time we added a fan cover since when the fan was in the open position and if it rained we got some water coming in the coach. The cover has completely cured this issue. Very happy with our Interstate -- just finished a 6200 mile trip and looking forward to the next one. Mileage running around 22 mpg when pulling our little 4x6 enclosed trailer and 23.5 without it.
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:44 AM   #3
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They ALL leak. Even the post above that says theirs doesn't leak tgen went on to say it did.
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:48 AM   #4
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We have had a 2006 Interstate for 5 1/2 years. We love it.

The only leak issues we had were around the Fantastic Fan and the black tank vent. Both were the result of install issues and, once fixed years ago, we have had no more problems.

The windows don't leak and there aren't all the segment issues as there are with trailers.

You do have to getup on the roof at least once a year to check and recaulk as needed.


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Old 11-29-2012, 07:20 AM   #5
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Late-model Interstates replaced the Fantastic Fan with a MaxxAir fan that has an integral cover that can be left open in the rain. I leave the MaxxAir open all summer to vent heat when I'm not using the vehicle, and it doesn't leak even in New Orleans thunderstorms. I did close it for Hurricane Isaac; I'm not quite as stupid as I look. Anyway, no leaks in my Interstate. Yet. It's still only a year old, though, and it's inevitable that a leak will develop sooner or later.

Basic rule of engineering, man can't build ANYTHING that Mother Nature can't eventually break.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:47 AM   #6
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Niles,
Your original post mentions B-vans. To avoid confusion, Interstates are not B-vans; they are entirely different critters.

I have had two leaks in 2.5 years with my 2010 Interstate. Both were minor and both were easy to locate and fix; one by a dealer and one by me. The first leak was the result of a bad (really bad! ) caulking job on the roof. Water entered through one of the roof penetrations and dripped inside above the curbside aft locker. This one leaked only in a serious rainstorm while driving at highway speed. The other leak (very minor) was from the bath exhaust fan. The cheap open-cell foam gasket disintegrated and was sucked into the fan blades resulting in a minor leak and an inoperative fan.

All motorhomes, campers and travel trailers are subject to leaks. There tend to be multiple penetrations through the roofs and the engineering and workmanship to seal these potential leak spots is not always done to MIL spec. Plus, things are constantly being flexed and vibrated as you drive. It's something you should be watching for.

All things considered (including leaks) I love my Interstate.
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:07 PM   #7
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Niles,
Your original post mentions B-vans; to avoid confusion, Interstates are not B-vans. They are entirely different critters and couldn't be compared regarding leaks.
Actually, they ARE B-vans, legally. A B-van is a van conversion. ANY van conversion. An Interstate is converted from a Sprinter commercial van. The fact that the entire conversion fits inside the original body, without the need to add a roof cap, doesn't make it any less a B-van.

That said, it's entirely true that they can't be compared to the more typical B-van with a roof cap. The fact that they do have the original high-roof steel Sprinter body throughout is a definite plus, not only with regard to leaks, but also rollover protection and other safety factors. Not that I ever intend to roll mine…
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:46 PM   #8
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Actually, they ARE B-vans, legally. A B-van is a van conversion. ANY van conversion.
I know Sprinters are Class B motorhomes. But the name of this sub-forum "Sprinter and B-van Forum" clearly indicates that they are treated as different things here. Therefore my comment.
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:54 PM   #9
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I know Sprinters are Class B motorhomes. But the name of this sub-forum "Sprinter and B-van Forum" clearly indicates that they are treated as different things here. Therefore my comment.
Sorry. I interpreted it another way, because there is a Forum member who uses (or possibly used, past tense) a Sprinter flatbed to haul his Mini Cooper while towing an Airstream trailer. Not all Sprinters are Interstates, more's the pity.
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:59 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the feedback.

What is the suitability of the roof of the Sprinter van for climbing on (as in a 225 lb man doing caulking maintenance)?

Also, can I safely use the plumbing in freezing temps, or do I have to retire the RV each winter?
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:08 PM   #11
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The b van on this forum refers also to the b190 van built by as. It had a roof addition. Jim
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:32 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the feedback.

What is the suitability of the roof of the Sprinter van for climbing on (as in a 225 lb man doing caulking maintenance)?
According to the Sprinter documentation, the roof of the Sprinter van is rated for 300 pounds for the high-roof version, and 600 pounds for the low-roof version. But that's for traveling with a roof-mounted load, not for maintenance access, and has a lot more to do with stability than with causing dents in the sheet metal.


This may be a question for Jim Parrett, guru of all things Airstream. Surely he knows if they put people on the roof to install the AC, and if they did, then there shouldn't be a problem putting people on the roof to caulk one.

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Also, can I safely use the plumbing in freezing temps, or do I have to retire the RV each winter?
I'll defer trying to answer that one. I've only had mine a year, and haven't tried camping in freezing temps. Not yet, anyway. I have trips scheduled for Christmas weekend and New Years' weekend, so maybe I'll find out then.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:42 PM   #13
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No, you can use it in freezing weather - my wife and I have done it several times in our B190 and now our trailer. We obviously use the furnace to keep the trailer warm, which keeps the pipes inside from freezing. We use the internal fresh water tank (not a hose), and if it gets too cold you really have to start worrying about the gray/black water tanks freezing. I've camped in the B190 down to 17 degrees overnight and the only problem I've ever had (which was on a different trip) was a tank dump valve froze...we eventually got it open though.

If you're planning to stay an extended time in cold weather, then you might want to invest in a heated garden hose, etc. But we do fine with our regular equipment, just being careful.

If you search around the site there are a bunch of threads about camping in cold weather. The same basic concepts apply.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:38 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by NilesLinus View Post
Thanks for all the feedback.

What is the suitability of the roof of the Sprinter van for climbing on (as in a 225 lb man doing caulking maintenance)?

Also, can I safely use the plumbing in freezing temps, or do I have to retire the RV each winter?
My husband gets on our roof, and has had no problems. Roof is firm and plenty able to support the weight of an adult man.

We have camped in freezing temperatures a number of times, down into the teens, and never had a problem with pipes freezing. We have always been told that if it is warm enough for us, it is warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing, and that has proven to be true.

That said, we don't choose to camp in freezing temps. Just not terribly comfortable. We have found ourselves in snow and/or ice storms, though, and one just gets through it. Make some tea, soup, pull out the slipper socks and fleece blankies. .


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