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Old 10-27-2014, 12:50 PM   #1
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First trip in our new 2015 Interstate Grand Tour

Well, we finally got it. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. We thought about this for a long time, we have never camped. If you were to ask my friends they would say we are not camping people. Whatever that means. I guess we proved them all wrong. What a great decision this was. My husband, although he should retire, still works long hours and is never unplugged. I worry about his stress level. This first trip was just an overnight to a fairly close campsite. We found Olema through Moon West Coast RV Camping. Great camp site, we met such nice people. The stress just melted away, as evidenced by the fact that my wonderful husband slept EIGHT hours. He has not slept eight hours in ten years.
We purchased it through Bay Area Airstream Adventures. We picked them because they have a large dealer network up and down the west coast. We will probably stick to traveling up and down the same corridor. The walk through went very well. A nice young man, Cedric, spent close to three hours with us. He is obviously very knowledgeable about the Interstate, and very proud that he works there. It showed. He answered all our questions, took his time and had lots of patience with our dumb questions. We brought our son with us, he's an electrician, he was very interested in the power stuff. It's a total guy thing. We ordered the coach with the screens, but they didn't have them. They have promised us an install shortly. The vent in the bathroom is a little too tight, they will fix that at the same time.
My husband was a wiz at setting up. We had no problems with the coach (is that the right term). Our problem was getting the furnace to work. We dug out the instruction book and voilŗ it worked. When all else fails, read the instructions. The bed is a little tricky to make up, but I'm working on that. The awing was easy, press the button. The LED lights are a nice touch, we were able to sit out and play cards. We even got to listen to the Giants game. A couple of camp sites over they had a crowd and a big screen TV going. Go Giants. A friend of ours suggested we get those battery operated candles. What a great idea, they worked as a night light. They even substituted as a flash light. Okay, first trip, we forget one.
Driving the coach was the easy part. I drove it out of the dealer, well just to the street, but it was smooth. It has a built in warning system, if something is getting too close to the side the red lights on the side mirror goes on, if you cross over the white line on the road you get a beeping noise, if you pull in too close to something there is a series of lights on the front dash. The rear camera can be a little deceiving it's pointed straight down so you don't see cars right away. The side view mirrors make up for this little issue as they are large and easy to adjust you won't miss anything. Again, once you readjust your brain to "I'm driving my house" mode everything will be fine.
Overall, I think this was a great decision for us, it may not be for everyone, but it sure was for us. I have no complaints about the coach, or the dealer. I can't wait to go again. Our next trip is to Big Sur. Maybe we'll meet some of you down the road.
I forgot to mention how helpful the airforums.com site and Rich Luhrs Airstream Interstate 3500 Motorhome were in helping us to decide. We referred to Rich Luhrs book the first night, his illustrations really helped. Keep up the good work everyone.
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Old 10-27-2014, 01:01 PM   #2
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Wow! Congratulations, LizabethLane, I think you may be the first on this forum with the new Grand Tour, and I'm sure we'll all be interested in how you find it. Please keep us posted, some pics maybe.
The rear view monitor uses a wide angle camera mounted high above the rear doors. So vehicles behind you at a regular distance will appear far away. You should get used to using the side mirrors (4 of them actually) instead of the monitor. The monitor is only useful for backing up, in my opinion.
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Old 10-27-2014, 01:07 PM   #3
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If your rear camera is mounted like mine, it can be loosened and rotated up to give you a more distant view of what's behind you. Since it is a "fish eye" lens, I put distance marks on the monitor delineating 10', 20', & 30'.

Good to hear from someone that got a new one w/o a plethora of problems.
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Old 10-27-2014, 01:20 PM   #4
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Liz - welcome to the forum. I can identify with your husband's ability to sleep better in the Interstate. We added a memory foam and pillow toppers to our lounge bed. It sleeps better than our expensive "Sleep Number" at home. During our recent three month Alaska adventure we could easily sleep 8-9 hours or more a night.


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Old 10-27-2014, 01:24 PM   #5
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The rear view monitor uses a wide angle camera mounted high above the rear doors. So vehicles behind you at a regular distance will appear far away. You should get used to using the side mirrors (4 of them actually) instead of the monitor. The monitor is only useful for backing up, in my opinion.
One other thing the mirror is useful for: If you pull a toad, or you use a hitch-mounted carrier of some sort, the rearview camera allows you to keep track of the load.
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Old 10-27-2014, 02:17 PM   #6
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Congratulations, and wishing you many happy miles.

The first year or so of our retirement, we traveled a lot and caught up on our rest.

There's something about being out in that beautiful rig that takes you away and relaxes you.

And....it's not really camping...it is traveling, in style.


Enjoy!


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Old 10-27-2014, 02:59 PM   #7
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haha!! I also slept better in our Interstate on our recent 4 month trip, than I've slept since being home. Might be the stress of being back in the real world that's hindering my ability to sleep. And this is why we're planning another trip asap! LOL!
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Old 10-27-2014, 04:12 PM   #8
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Congrats on your new GT.
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Old 10-27-2014, 04:33 PM   #9
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Here's hoping that the Interstate and camping will help him decide to retire! It certainly does change perspective for the best!

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Old 10-27-2014, 04:34 PM   #10
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Greetings, all. I'm new to: RVing, Airstream, forum-posting and everything else. So don't hesitate to "learn" me how to do this stuff right. I also just purchased a Grand Tour, and made the first trip a few weeks ago. I have had a pile of problems, but after a few trips to the dealer, a few calls and e-mails to Airstream, some calls and e-mails to the manufacturers of different components, and even some personal mods, I'm finally getting to the end of my fix-it list.
Here's one I can't find an answer to, and I hope someone can help. What should the solar output be as shown on the SunExplorer panel? Mine ranges from .2A to .4A, even in full sun. To me, this seems low, based on a stated rating of 100W in the AI brochure. If there's something wrong, that would explain why the batteries seem to lose 15 - 20% of their charge in a 24-hour period with the coach parked in full sun and the battery disconnect in the "off" position. The problem will be when I park it in my neighborhood storage area. At that discharge rate, I'll have to bring it home and plug it in practically every week. It would be great if someone can check their panel and let me know if my readout is typical.
Many thanks to all who contribute here. I've learned a lot, and it seems to be a great group.
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Old 10-27-2014, 04:55 PM   #11
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If there's something wrong, that would explain why the batteries seem to lose 15 - 20% of their charge in a 24-hour period with the coach parked in full sun and the battery disconnect in the "off" position.
Shutting off the battery disconnect doesn't necessarily shut off everything. You also have to turn off the breakers on the 120vAC side, and if the antenna amplifier is turned on, you may have to shut it off separately as well. Newer models supposedly have the propane solenoid switch wired so that power to it is interrupted by the main 12v shutoff switch, but it can't hurt to check that, too.

Also if you're using the remote disconnect, you might want to make sure the big red twist-knob shutoff switch under the sofa is actually turning all the way off when you turn it off at the remote switch.

As long as you have enough propane in your tank, and enough power in the house batteries to start the generator, you should use the generator to recharge the house batteries. Plug into shore power only if the generator can't be started. You need to exercise the generator every so often anyway, so two birds, one stoneÖ
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:29 PM   #12
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Congrats BillyBoy!

That isn't right. Either as Protagonist suggested, when turning off the battery disconnect switch it really isn't turning off or you have another issue.

My 2015 Interstate with 100 watt solar will stay fully charged in direct sunlight when parked so something isn't right with yours.

Mine is currently parked in my garage and can't remember the exact solar output but it was a lot more than .2 or .4 amps.

Sounds like another trip to the dealer may be in order. What were your other issues?
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:43 PM   #13
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Greetings, all. I'm new to: RVing, Airstream, forum-posting and everything else. So don't hesitate to "learn" me how to do this stuff right. I also just purchased a Grand Tour, and made the first trip a few weeks ago. I have had a pile of problems, but after a few trips to the dealer, a few calls and e-mails to Airstream, some calls and e-mails to the manufacturers of different components, and even some personal mods, I'm finally getting to the end of my fix-it list.
Here's one I can't find an answer to, and I hope someone can help. What should the solar output be as shown on the SunExplorer panel? Mine ranges from .2A to .4A, even in full sun. To me, this seems low, based on a stated rating of 100W in the AI brochure. If there's something wrong, that would explain why the batteries seem to lose 15 - 20% of their charge in a 24-hour period with the coach parked in full sun and the battery disconnect in the "off" position. The problem will be when I park it in my neighborhood storage area. At that discharge rate, I'll have to bring it home and plug it in practically every week. It would be great if someone can check their panel and let me know if my readout is typical.
Many thanks to all who contribute here. I've learned a lot, and it seems to be a great group.
Hello BillyBoy,
Congratulations on your New Grand Tour! And welcome to the forum.
I have an older model than you, but it does have the 2014 upgrades, which includes the Magnum inverter, the disconnect switch by the door, etc.
The disconnect switch, when it's working correctly, should remotely disable the motorized battery disconnect switch. On mine it's under the sofa, but I know it's been moved elsewhere for 2015 - perhaps under the driver side jump seat. Check that the coach lights don't come on when it's in the disconnect mode. Another user has reported problems with the motorized switch, so that could be faulty or need adjustment.
When the coach batteries are disabled, the propane solenoid and TV antenna booster are now also disconnected.
The Sunexplorer display is a little confusing: the Solar Amp Hours value is a cumulative value only. Mine shows a measly 0.9 and that is after more than a year, although I do have the 50W panel, and its mostly parked in the garage.
If everything is off and you are down to less that 75% after a couple of days, then there's a problem. Remember also that the dealer may have effectively ruined the batteries by allowing them to discharge too much while it sat on the lot. The dealers are known to do that all the time, and they are therefore responsible for getting new batteries for you.
Hope that helps. Peter
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Old 10-27-2014, 07:09 PM   #14
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Congrats BillyBoy!

That isn't right. Either as Protagonist suggested, when turning off the battery disconnect switch it really isn't turning off or you have another issue.

My 2015 Interstate with 100 watt solar will stay fully charged in direct sunlight when parked so something isn't right with yours.

Mine is currently parked in my garage and can't remember the exact solar output but it was a lot more than .2 or .4 amps.

Sounds like another trip to the dealer may be in order. What were your other issues?
I did everything just as Protagonist suggested, except that I didn't pull the AC breakers. I'll try that tomorrow. But good idea about using the generator.
As for the solar output, I'll wait to hear from someone in the sun so I can compare with my reading. In any case, when I looked up the solar manufacturer listed in the manual (Ameresco Solar), there is no 100W unit in their product listing. There's a 90W and a 120W, but no 100. So, either the AI brochure or the manual is incorrect. I have addressed this directly with AI, but, like all my previous requests for info, it will probably take several days and a few follow-up e-mails to get answers.
In answer to your question about what else was wrong, this and many other inconsistencies in the manual is just the tip of the iceberg. Other issues, among many others, were incorrectly installed black tank flush hoses, wrong screen for the passenger's side rear window, defective video A-B switch and remote battery cut-off. As of now, after three visits to the dealer, most issues have been addressed, so I'm really not an "unhappy camper". I just question strongly the mystique of the "Airstream" best-of-class quality reputation.
One design flaw that I don't think can be fixed is the fact that the screen on the sliding entrance door makes it impossible to completely close the privacy curtain that is now trapped between the door and the screen. I know that the screens are new on the Grand Tour for 2015, but I would have assumed that someone at Airstream tested a mock-up before they went into production. This is a bush-league mistake that should never have happened.
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