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Old 06-01-2012, 05:10 AM   #183
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You with newer units must have more switches than we do, ours are all in a little panel over the microwave, the water pump, generator, hot water and holding tank heater. Also in that area, the monitors for fresh water, etc.

Our AC only runs on shore power or generator, too. We never run the gen while driving, and get plenty of AC from the Dan unit for the interior.


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Old 06-01-2012, 08:14 PM   #184
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If, you have an onan genny be careful with the exhaust. Onan used to be very picky about warranty claims if the pipes were messed with. Of course this was five years ago. Jim
I didn't touch/modify the exhaust, just slipped my DIY chrome extension on.
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:56 AM   #185
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Rear AC

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Hi All

Finally have our interstate!

For what is worth, We paid $80k from a private party and they did a few upgrades such as Tracvision Satelittle in motion TV and TVs in headrests plus a cargo carrier on back.

What's interesting though that I just found out is even though it is a 2010 airstream interstate its chassis is a 2008 freight liner sprinter, but still under warranty. Go figure.....

Anyway I love it but seem to have so much to learn in operating it.

For example can you run the rear AC with inverter on while driving it? Also which switch on panel works what? Such as water heater, auto inverter or charger, amp switch. Also what is red rocker switch that illuminates above passenger seat where light switches are? How do you turn on lower cabin lights?

I could go on and on, I guess just have to spend time in it.....
I've seen some debate online about whether you should run your generator while running down the road. We do run ours when it gets hot - really no way not to with 4 passengers in the back, in summer heat the front AC is just not enough. If we are leaving from home or someplace with shore power, we crank the AC good and cold overnight and then when heading out we may not need it for a long time. When driving through the desert last summer, we were able to shut it off after a while. The sound starts to wear on me!

Sorry people are telling you to "check the manual." the manuals aren't that great! I would take the family out for a short trip close to home and get familiar. Or you could do like we did and head out cross country. We figured it out, but it wasn't pretty! My husband actually flew us home from that trip and had a friend drive the Interstate back to us.

Pack carefully for the little ones. It works well for me to have a small bag for each child in the rear overhead but one change of clothes for everyone and toiletries in my bag. Arriving at your destination after a long day of travel, or setting up camp, should be as easy as possible. I had someone helping me pack for our trip and we had way too much stuff on board.

Hope that helps. I haven't found any other young families out there so that's the little bit I wish someone had helped me with last summer. Have fun!
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:06 AM   #186
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The exhaust mods were generally meant for those putting extra silencers on the pipe or installing Venturi tubes? To exit the gas to the top of the van away from your or your neighbors windows. Both of these are effective, just onan discouraged them. Jim
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:11 AM   #187
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I've seen some debate online about whether you should run your generator while running down the road. We do run ours when it gets hot - really no way not to with 4 passengers in the back, in summer heat the front AC is just not enough. If we are leaving from home or someplace with shore power, we crank the AC good and cold overnight and then when heading out we may not need it for a long time. When driving through the desert last summer, we were able to shut it off after a while. The sound starts to wear on me!
Running them on the road is half of the reason motorhomes have generators. I used my B190's generator on the road more than any other time. In fact some people even recommend using the generator and roof air conditioner instead of the dash air because of the power drain from the dash air (seems kind of silly to me but there it is).
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:23 AM   #188
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Running them on the road is half of the reason motorhomes have generators. I used my B190's generator on the road more than any other time. In fact some people even recommend using the generator and roof air conditioner instead of the dash air because of the power drain from the dash air (seems kind of silly to me but there it is).
Hmmm, I had never heard that.

Would seem to be a huge waste of propane, to run the gen while driving, when everything but the AC runs fine without it. ??


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Old 06-03-2012, 07:37 PM   #189
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But when it's hot outside, the front A/C just can't keep the whole cabin cool even on Max/Recirc.
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:55 AM   #190
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But when it's hot outside, the front A/C just can't keep the whole cabin cool even on Max/Recirc.
Mmmm, we do okay with this, although the rear is not as comfy as the front.

Doug closes both the side vents, and directs the inner ones to the rear, which works pretty well.

Generally, too, who is sitting in the rear are grand kids, and their body thermostats are not quite as sensitive as we 60-plus-ers.


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Old 06-04-2012, 05:24 AM   #191
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The rear A/C and the microwave only work on shore power or w/ the generator running.

As to the switches, I went thru and labeled all of mine. Not sure about the red rocker unless you're referring to the generator start switch.

FWIW, mine is a 2011 w/ a 2010 chassis. Sometimes Airstream has more chassis than they need, so carry them over into next model year although your example seems extreme. But the 2008 was when the economy tanked, so they may have had a lot of them left.
The red rocker switch near the sliding side door is for the tank heater. The tank heater is for winter camping, and keeps the fresh tank and gray tank at 40F~45F so they don't freeze. No heater on the black tank, but the black tank is actually mounted above the floor under the toilet and so doesn't need heating as long as you run the furnace. Fair warning, only use the tank heater when you're on shore power or generator power; it will drain your batteries overnight all by itself.
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:31 AM   #192
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Hmmm, I had never heard that.

Would seem to be a huge waste of propane, to run the gen while driving, when everything but the AC runs fine without it. ??
I forgot that the Sprinters were propane generators (mine was gas - but since your vans run on diesel, that's not an option for a small generator). That changes the equation somewhat, due to the hassle of getting propane refilled in a motorhome, but it all depends on what you're doing. I probably still would've run the generator.

We travel with our cat, and the dash air conditioning didn't work in my B190, so it was generator + rooftop AC or nothing. And fixing the dash air wasn't enough in my case anyway; when I stop for breaks/food, the cat still needs A/C, so I had to have a working generator. I used that generator on the road more than any other time.

Since we sold the B190 and bought a truck and trailer, we've done fairly well so far keeping the windows open and one of us staying with the truck at breaks. But we've also been lucky to have great weather for our trips (meaning, not overly hot) so far. The long term plan is to get a remote start installed on the truck so we can keep the A/C running for him. I don't particularly like leaving it idle like that, but that is the sacrifice we'll make to travel with our cat.

For those giant Class A motorhomes, though: The dashboard A/C just isn't going to cut it for them in summer. I think they run with the generator on pretty often. They usually have diesel generators, too, I think.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:32 AM   #193
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I forgot that the Sprinters were propane generators (mine was gas - but since your vans run on diesel, that's not an option for a small generator). That changes the equation somewhat, due to the hassle of getting propane refilled in a motorhome, but it all depends on what you're doing. I probably still would've run the generator.

We travel with our cat, and the dash air conditioning didn't work in my B190, so it was generator + rooftop AC or nothing. And fixing the dash air wasn't enough in my case anyway; when I stop for breaks/food, the cat still needs A/C, so I had to have a working generator. I used that generator on the road more than any other time.
I suspect that cat fur is strictly decorative, it serves no warming purpose. Cats were first domesticated in Egypt, and today, 2000 years later, cats still find the warmest spot in any room and lie there like they own the place even while wearing a thick fur coat. They probably have a much higher comfort zone than people do with regard to temperature. All you really have to do is keep the inside temp the same or cooler than the outside temp, and they should be fine. Pets in vehicles suffer when the inside temp is higher than the outside temperature.

I can't say much about pet ownership in an Interstate; I gave up on owning a pet long before I bought my Interstate.

However, thanks to dedicated experimentation and an indoor/outdoor thermometer at Lake Dardanelle, Arkansas last week (outside temps in the high 90s/low 100s), I think I have come up with a decent routine for keeping interior temperatures as cool as possible without running the AC.

1 - Cover that big greenhouse windshield, because you want to park facing south to get the maximum effect of the awning on the right side.
2 - Extend the awning, but leave it at as close to a 45 angle as you can and still have standing headroom under the edge, so the awning casts as much shade as possible on the side facing the afternoon sun.
3 - Open the side vent windows all the way at the back end of the vehicle. Leave all the other closed.*
4 - Open both rooftop vents and turn on the fans. The bathroom vent only has one speed, but the MaxxAir fan in the center is adjustable, and needs to be set as high as it will go.

If you do this, you should be able to feel a breeze anywhere between the open vent windows and the roof vent, and the inside temperature should be between 5 and 10 cooler than the outside temps, without running the AC.

Now, obviously you won't always be able to put the awning out for every stop. If you can't put the awing out, try to point the vehicle to the north when you stop, to minimize heat gain though that greenhouse windshield. If you can't do that, either, then you can still follow the other steps outlined above.

*The reason for not opening ALL of the vent windows is that if you open them all, then you get more air circulating between the windows closest to the roof vent, and not as much for the windows farther away. To get the maximum breeze inside, you have to open only the vent windows farthest away from the roof vent. And preferably only vent windows on the shadier side.

You don't have to take my word for it. Try it yourself. Your results may vary. For example, I don't know how much effect my solar panel has on blocking heat transfer. However, it is mounted about an inch over the roof, and casts a bit of shade on the roof that can help keep interior temps down slightly.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:51 AM   #194
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We were talking about using generators on the road... it's easy when you're at a site to keep the camper cool. But what about when you're at a rest area eating lunch? You're not going to cover the windshield and pull out the awning there...
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:52 AM   #195
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We were talking about using generators on the road... it's easy when you're at a site to keep the camper cool. But what about when you're at a rest area eating lunch? You're not going to cover the windshield and pull out the awning there...
I cover the windshield every time I park. I do that for every vehicle I own, just from force of habit due to living in a hot and humid climate like the Gulf Coast. It's not an onerous chore if you pick the right cover and get used to doing it.

But you're right, you proabably won't put out the awning at a roadside rest area. I certainly wouldn't. I did say in my previous comment

Quote:
Now, obviously you won't always be able to put the awning out for every stop. If you can't put the awing out, try to point the vehicle to the north when you stop, to minimize heat gain though that greenhouse windshield. If you can't do that, either, then you can still follow the other steps outlined above.
Pets in parked cars die of heatstroke due to excessive buildup of heat. Mostly it happens in vehicles that are not designed as living spaces, and which don't have forced ventilation. You Interstate is designed as a living space, and has features that you can beneficially use to protect your pet, without running the rooftop AC.

In most parked cars on a sunny day, the inside temperature will be about 40F hotter than the outside temperature, within about an hour. Even with the windows cracked open. However, it is possible to make the inside of your Interstate about 5~10F cooler than outside without the AC, but you do have to work at it.

The goal is to protect your pet. If you want to pamper your pet, that's another issue and you're left with no choice but to run the generator 24/7 to keep up with the demand from the AC. A pampered pet may need an inside temp of 72F, but for just safety, all you have to do is keep the inside temp the same or cooler than the outside temp.

Covering your windshield is essential. Inside cover needs to be reflective to bounce light back out, but the glass itself will still get hot. Outside cover should be white instead, to minimize heat gain to the glass. Doesn't matter which you choose, but to protect your pet, you should get in the habit of always covering your windshield when you park. Your other windows already have a 90% tint, and that helps. Note: Even if you run your AC while parked, covering the windshield helps improve the cooling efficiency of the AC by reducing the amount of heat buildup it must overcome.

Closing all of your blinds will help as well. Only leave blinds open partway where you have open side vent windows, so you don't block the vent openings.

Open your roof vents all the way, and turn on the fans full-blast. Since these fans are at roof level, and hot air rises, the hottest air will be drawn out of the vehicle to make room for the incoming air.

Open only the rearmost vent windows farthest from the roof vent. If one side is in the vehicle's own shadow, open only the vent window on that side. This ensures that you get the maximum benefit from the forced breeze you're creating. If everything is set right, you should actually feel a breeze on exposed skin, at least close to the open vent windows.

I will not say that doing this will keep your vehicle cool. You won't get the temperature down to 72F when it's 95F outside just with fans. But if you get the temperature down to 90F inside, with a forced breeze, when it's 95F with no wind outside, your pets will be safer inside the vehicle than outside. Even if you or I would still be sweating buckets inside, you still won't have the SPCA or PETA looking to lynch you.

I have verified these temperatures in an asphalt parking lot with the vehicle parked all day, with no awning deployed, and the vehicle facing west because that's the only way I could park it at work. An indoor/outdoor thermometer showed an inside temp 5F cooler than the outside temp at 2:30 in the afternoon two weeks ago. The outside temp was an indicated 92F (one foot off the ground, in the shade under the rear bumper), inside was indicated 87F (on top of the galley countertop).

And, since the fans were the only DC appliances running at the time, the rooftop solar panel kept up with the minimal electrical demand.

That sounds to me like it's adequate for protecting pets, without using the AC. But as I said before, try it yourself, testing with a thermometer, before trusting your pets to it. And if it doesn't work like I said it does, then I suppose your pets are worth the price of propane.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:31 AM   #196
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Umm...okay. I don't even have the B190 any more so this is a really moot point for me, so it's probably not worth discussing any more. Thanks for your suggestions.
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