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Old 05-26-2015, 12:21 AM   #15
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I'd look at the Sportsmobile 19 foot Mercedes Sprinter
The pop up is a great feature.
If I did it over again, I think I would have got the sportsmobile instead.
Well made too.
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Old 05-26-2015, 06:28 AM   #16
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I believe the Roadtrek is a Canadian product. Might be important to some or a nonissue for others. Jim
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Old 05-26-2015, 06:56 AM   #17
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In my quest for a B Van I found that Airstream utilized materials, components and systems that were supperior to those used by manufacturers of the other competitive vans. This is everthing from the premium Sprinter chassis to things like Lifeline Batteries, Magnum Invertor/Chargers, Floor System, Upholstery, Refrigerator, Microwave, Cabinets, Cabinet Hardware, Macerator, Wheels, Automatic Awning etc. etc. Delivery bugs are common across the rv industry and usually easy enough to deal with. If you want a better built B Van you'll need to look to the custom manufacturers at a much higher price point.
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Old 05-26-2015, 09:55 AM   #18
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We looked at Roadtreks and Pleasureways before just happening upon an Interstate.

Once we saw the inside, that was the end of that.

The interior of the Interstate was beautiful, compared to the others. Beautiful, in every way....quality of materials, aluminum walls, colors used, etc.

After that, an Interstate was the only thing we wanted.

Ours had some issues, as they all do, but we never regretted the purchase and continue to get compliments on it 8 years and 160,000+ miles later.


Maggie
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:34 AM   #19
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I have looked at several Airstream Interstates now and I have some questions.

One airstream I looked at had the 50 watt solar panel on top. When I went to test the generator, it wouldn't crank over because of dead house batteries. I asked the owner what happened and he said that he left the lights on inside the coach. Not sure how long they were left on, but surprised that a few LEDs would be able to knock out the house batteries especially with the solar panel. When I turned off the coach, i heard a clicking in the back that sounded like a turn signal click. The owner said it was the solar system trying to charge the batteries, but because it was so low it wouldn't be able to start charging. He said if he plugged the coach in for a day or two it would be good as new. Is that truly the case or are new batteries in store for the RV?

On another unit I looked at, it was 3 years old and under 10K miles. I asked the owner when he had the oil changed and he said never because the first service was due at 10k. Isn't there some sort of time OR mileage requirement even if it is synthetic? I looked at the dipstick the oil was dark but not black. I looked at the hour meter on the generator and it had an hour on it. I asked him why he didn't exercise it and he said that you don't need to on a propane generator. I think that sounds like malarkey to me? Don't you need to exercise under load every month?
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:46 AM   #20
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Why not look at a Winnebago View/Navion or other manufacturers Sprinter based MH. Same length but more room inside than Interstates or Roadtreks.
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:56 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
Why not look at a Winnebago View/Navion or other manufacturers Sprinter based MH. Same length but more room inside than Interstates or Roadtreks.
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They have more room because they are a Class C RV.
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:08 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by rwcmick View Post
I have looked at several Airstream Interstates now and I have some questions.

One airstream I looked at had the 50 watt solar panel on top. When I went to test the generator, it wouldn't crank over because of dead house batteries. I asked the owner what happened and he said that he left the lights on inside the coach. Not sure how long they were left on, but surprised that a few LEDs would be able to knock out the house batteries especially with the solar panel. When I turned off the coach, i heard a clicking in the back that sounded like a turn signal click. The owner said it was the solar system trying to charge the batteries, but because it was so low it wouldn't be able to start charging. He said if he plugged the coach in for a day or two it would be good as new. Is that truly the case or are new batteries in store for the RV?

On another unit I looked at, it was 3 years old and under 10K miles. I asked the owner when he had the oil changed and he said never because the first service was due at 10k. Isn't there some sort of time OR mileage requirement even if it is synthetic? I looked at the dipstick the oil was dark but not black. I looked at the hour meter on the generator and it had an hour on it. I asked him why he didn't exercise it and he said that you don't need to on a propane generator. I think that sounds like malarkey to me? Don't you need to exercise under load every month?
Someone else will have to answer your technical questions, but I turn the engine on every time I want to start my generator. It just gives it a boost, seems the generator start up draws a lot of power.

Peterbilt told me recently that the Interstate does not have synthetic oil. I was sure that was what Doug had said, but have no reason to believe Peterbilt would lie to me. They recommend changing the oil every 5-6,000 miles.

If the house batterises are dead, I think that is a bad sign, as the talk here always is to not let them discharge too low or you will ruin them.

I can charge everything running the engine for awhile, so that is my usual daily routine when dry camping,


Maggie
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:10 AM   #23
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Apologies in advance for the long reply.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwcmick View Post
One airstream I looked at had the 50 watt solar panel on top. When I went to test the generator, it wouldn't crank over because of dead house batteries. I asked the owner what happened and he said that he left the lights on inside the coach. Not sure how long they were left on, but surprised that a few LEDs would be able to knock out the house batteries especially with the solar panel. When I turned off the coach, i heard a clicking in the back that sounded like a turn signal click. The owner said it was the solar system trying to charge the batteries, but because it was so low it wouldn't be able to start charging. He said if he plugged the coach in for a day or two it would be good as new. Is that truly the case or are new batteries in store for the RV?
New batteries ARE in store. Anytime that batteries are discharged that deeply, it damages them. He may have parked it with the batteries already low. And he may very well have left something on besides the interior lights, such as the inverter, or the refrigerator, or the antenna amplifier…

The solar panel has a charge controller that is powered by the house batteries. When the house batteries are drained too far, the charge controller won't work. Which means the solar panel will not charge the batteries at that point. A 50-watt solar panel is not a battery charger. It will KEEP the batteries charged— if the van is parked where it gets plenty of sun, and nothing of consequence is left on. But it will not charge deeply-discharged batteries all by itself.

That clicking noise was not the solar charge controller; the owner was mistaken. It was the BIM, Battery Isolation Module. The BIM is a relay that either connects or disconnects the house and chassis systems, to allow both battery banks to charge from one source. With the house batteries being stony dead, the BIM should keep the systems disconnected to keep the chassis battery from also being discharged. But just like the solar panel, if the batteries get too low to power the BIM (yes, it draws power too) it quits working properly, so you get that endless click-click-click of a relay trying to move. As soon as shore power is connected the clicking would stop and the two battery banks would be connected again.
Quote:
On another unit I looked at, it was 3 years old and under 10K miles. I asked the owner when he had the oil changed and he said never because the first service was due at 10k. Isn't there some sort of time OR mileage requirement even if it is synthetic? I looked at the dipstick the oil was dark but not black.
Actually, there's no time requirement stated in the owner's manual. Motor oil, especially synthetic motor oil, doesn't degrade in an engine that's not running. Heat is what causes oil to eventually break down, and if the engine's not running there's no heat. But it's bad for the engine to let it sit for long periods of time without running the engine. Oil is viscous; it clings to surfaces, which is a good thing for a lubricant. But viscous is not the same as sticky; give it enough time and it will eventually succumb to gravity and run off from the surfaces it's supposed to coat; such as engine cylinder walls. That means an engine that sits too long without being run will not be properly lubricated when you do start it. Which leads to excessive wear and to tiny bits of metal in the oil that makes the oil work more like sandpaper. It is for this reason that there is usually a time requirement to go along with the mileage requirement for oil changes. The oil doesn't break down, it collects metal particles. If the van doesn't see 10,000 miles of use in a year, it's probably a good idea to change the oil yearly just to be safe even though the manual doesn't say so.
Quote:
I looked at the hour meter on the generator and it had an hour on it. I asked him why he didn't exercise it and he said that you don't need to on a propane generator. I think that sounds like malarkey to me? Don't you need to exercise under load every month?
Same thing. You need to exercise the generator on a regular basis to keep it properly lubricated. Plus that particular generator still has about 24 engine hours to go on its break-in period. Assuming it doesn't seize the first time you try to start it after not being run in so long due to a lack of proper lubrication.

On Edit— Addressing the point Maggie brought up about Interstates not using synthetic oil, I have it on good authority that Mercedes Sprinter do have Mobil-1 synthetic oil, and that's the only oil my Mercedes dealer will use on any vehicle. But older Dodge or Freightliner Sprinters might not be the same in that regard.
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:30 AM   #24
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Excellent information, Protagonist. Okay, so my battery fears on confirmed but good to hear about the engine oil not being a bad as I thought.

What kind of cost should I expect for new, good quality house batteries? Can I replace/service them on a 2010 or 2011 model? I think they made some improvements to the battery tray on later years?

I presume that I can drop the spare tire and service the generator myself?


Let me also throw this out there. Given the prices I am looking at, there is a brand new 2014 (not 2014.5) unit that would be about 20-30k more than the used units. That's a chunk of change for sure, not sure if it would be worth it. I live at least 60 miles from the nearest dealer (in pretty thick traffic), so having to go to them for warranty work would be a hassle but the newer unit would have all the upgrades including the extra airbags, second tv, heated seats, hvac control upgrade, energy management controls upgrades, navigation system minus the 2014.5 styling changes and additional electronic safety nannies they have added.
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Old 05-26-2015, 12:00 PM   #25
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My experience with the 50 watt solar panel has been marginal. It will keep some charge on the coach batteries if you have good sun. This past winter here in East Tn that was not the case. I had to pull out of storage so I could get a full charge back on the batteries.


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Old 05-26-2015, 02:53 PM   #26
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The oil in a diesel engine will be black as soon as you pour it in and start it and then check it. I changed the oil in my generator without dropping the spare but others on the forum have indicated that they can't even check the oil without dropping a spare. Apparently there are some minor differences in placement of the generator depending on the model year.

I am pretty sure that the Service A @ 10,000 miles for the V6 includes an oil and filter change.
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Old 05-26-2015, 03:45 PM   #27
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We looked at Road trek and Winnebago.. The Road trek and a few nice touches to it.. What we didn't like about it was the passenger seats looked very uncomfortable.. We are use ours as a road tripper to hotels or vacation rentals..

The Winnebago didn't have the same level of comfort and style that the Air Stream had, the AI also has larger holding tanks which is nice when you are traveling with people that go to the bathroom a lot.... It all comes down to how you're going to use the van and what your price threshold is..
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Old 07-18-2015, 05:51 PM   #28
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We have the Pleasure Way because we got a really good deal we couldn't pass up. It's now an AIRSTREAM puller. Pleasure Way is Canadian and well built. It's a 2006 and we bought it 2 years ago with only 3,600 miles on it.-----some of our friends call it our 2 bedroom unit. True and it has a bath and 1/2. A generator to run the A/C boondocking in hot weather and a propane heater in the trailer to use in cold weather.
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