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Old 07-22-2013, 05:02 PM   #1
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Interstate wish list

I know the Interstate is far from perfect and like everything else we buy, it's a compromise between price, functionality, build quality and what we demand from Airstream.

In fact I did write to Bob Wheeler a while back asking him to consider various options, modifications and design ideas. I did get a friendly reply back from him, but really it was a typical Corporate response, with no commitment of any sort, just a happy camping message.
I used to have a Bambi and therefore still maintain a strong degree of brand loyalty, but I'm getting increasingly concerned that other Class B manufacturers are beginning to leave Airstream behind with their innovative ideas, particularly with regard to new technology, livability, environment friendly, etc. I feel Airstream should be the one to take the initiative here, particularly to justify its higher prices.

Anyway, I thought an open wish list might be one way to let Airstream know what we want, so here's my list:

1) I ordered the Lounge/Wardrobe EXT model - the main reason being that I have ideas of relocating the fridge and microwave into the wardrobe at a more appropriate height. In fact the wardrobe is wide enough for a much larger fridge, and looking on the NovaKool website, it may take a 5.8 cu.ft. model or one with a separate freezer.

2) I want to be able to make toast and coffee in the mornings without having to start the generator. This probably means I need a 2000W inverter. And maybe extra batteries.

3) I live in AZ so I really need more solar power. 200W would be my ideal given the space on the roof. And perhaps a roof deflector as on the E-Trek.

4) The topic of the bathroom size is always controversial, but my wife and I would really like it to be a tad bigger. And to include cabinets top and bottom. My little Bambi had it, and other Sprinters have it - why not the Interstate? In fact older models of the Interstate did have it at one time.

5) The rear sofa bed is not that comfortable to us, particularly since there are large gaps between it and the side seats. I would like to do away with the side seats and have a single three-sectional sofa that not only makes a flat bed, but can also slide forward on rails to provide a usefully large area for transporting bulky objects, etc. Or move right back to the rear doors to maximize living space.

6) Finally, a hydronic heating/hot water system, properly ducted around the interior.

Am I asking too much? Lets have your ideas!
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:34 PM   #2
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Slide-out steps for the driver's and passenger's front doors to match the one at the sliding side door. The molded-in steps are ankle-breakers!
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:10 PM   #3
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Secondary factory A/C in place of roof vent. Able to run off engine.

Actually trying to install now.

Live in Florida and the heat and humidity!!!
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:11 PM   #4
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Diesel generator
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:58 PM   #5
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Along the same lines, I'd go for way more solar, bigger battery pack and a much larger pure sine inverter that would be able to run the roof top a/c without starting the generator. And yes, eliminate the propane powered Onan and either provide a diesel generator or spin a generator off of the sprinter motor with a PTO (is this possible?) or at the very least add the factory optional dealer installed 2nd alternator to charge the large battery pack off of while driving (or ideling). Oh and on that note, the factory optional high idle control so that extended ideling is not a bad idea. Actually there a lot of things I'd like to have off the MB factory options list such as OEM backup camera, parking sensors, factory stereo with OEM quality bluetooth phone connection, and other's I'm sure I am not thinking of right now. Spray foam insulation in the walls and roof (I'm pretty happy with the floor), any insulation at all between the bathroom wall and the dummy window (or better yet, no dummy window, just leave the sheet metal there). Essentially, I'd like the coach to be set up for extended boondocking in summer heat without constantly having to worry about how little generator fuel I have left (I get no more than 36 hours of generator run time with a/c cranking on one tank of propane ... I'd like at least 2 times that). 2nd row coach seats that are not so rinky dink (OEM quality instead of motor home quality ... I don't like to think about what those flimsy seats would do in an accident). Larger diesel tank. All the A/V equipement to be integrated and controlable from the drivers seat. And all the best mods from that other long thread.

I'm not asking for much, am I?

You touched a nerve.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:43 PM   #6
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UKDUDE and russ240,

Your wishes are found at Advanced-RV

Mercedes does not provide a PTO for the second alternator/generator in the states but under-hood alternators or generators are available. I think this year will see the start of propane generators on Sprinters being replaced by engine generators.

Diesel generators hang too low and will soon be very low since the 2014 Sprinters will be lower by over an inch.

I wish Airstream would update the Interstate with everything you both mentioned but I finally gave up and started looking elsewhere.

Barry
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:56 PM   #7
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Wow! I just looked up the "E-trek" as I had no idea what that was. Sounds like Roadtrek has been monitoring my dreams at night, I love their power system! And apparently, YES it is possible to run a genny off of a PTO since that is exactly what they are doing. Where is my nearest Roadtrek dealer? I gotta see this.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:08 PM   #8
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russ240,

Where did you get the information that the E-Trek is using a generator off of a PTO? I believe they are using a Nations belt driven alternator. Roadtrek calls it a generator for marketing reasons.

Barry
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:14 AM   #9
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Just saw pattonsr's post. I retract calling what Roadtrek is doing with the E-trek generator a PTO as I honestly have no idea how they are using the chassis engine to run the generator, I just assumed it was a PTO. Whatever they are doing though, I like it.

I checked out the website for Advanced-RV. Cool stuff!
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Old 07-23-2013, 07:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pattonsr View Post
russ240,

Where did you get the information that the E-Trek is using a generator off of a PTO? I believe they are using a Nations belt driven alternator. Roadtrek calls it a generator for marketing reasons.

Barry
At the risk of being a killjoy (like that's ever stopped me)

Personally, I'd rather stick with a separate propane-fired generator. Running the main engine to charge the house batteries while parked isn't all it's cracked up to be.
- You run the risk of running out of fuel at the campsite and being stranded if you spend too much time recharging. Especially if you didn't park it with a full diesel tank.
- You have to add DEF more often if you use the main engine as a stationary power source, too.
- It also exhausts on the curb side where everyone socializes, rather than on the street side, unless Mercedes or the upfitter has rerouted the stock exhaust system.
- Besides, from a fuel economy standpoint, running a 3.0-liter (3000cc) V6 diesel engine while parked to charge the house batteries makes a lot less sense than running a dinky little 7cc one-holer generator.

Side note, thirty-one States (so far) have passed "anti-idling" laws that limit how long a vehicle engine can be left running when the vehicle is not in motion. At present, the laws don't pertain to RVs as far as I know, only public and commercial vehicles, but that's the thin end of the wedge. We all know that environmental laws only get more stringent with time. That's also why a lot of truck stops have added shore power, so semis can plug in instead of idling; it sure wasn't for the benefit of RVers, who are only a tiny fraction of their customer base.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:50 AM   #11
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A powered sliding door would be good.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:54 AM   #12
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Protagonist,

Very good points. The high idle option only extends the idling time to two hours max. One must still drive the Sprinter before doing another extensive idle. So the recharging while idling is oversold and the problems that can occur are glossed over especially by Roadtrek.

However, I do not think one will enjoy socializing when the Onan propane generator is running either.

When driving and it is very hot, do you have to start the generator to run the roof air and how long does the propane last? Not very long so this is why people are trying to find a better way to recharge batteries or provide power while driving. I would rather press a switch while driving to take the engine generator out of standby and have 30 pure sine amps flowing (just like being on shore power). So far I have only seen Sprinters for TV crews use an engine generator.

I hope the Interstate stays up with the competition. The Interstate was state of the art when introduced. I still remember being surprised that the Interstate used a Nova Kool Danfoss compressor fridge. You even commented previously how neat that was since it allowed you to not deal with leveling.

Barry
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:13 AM   #13
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When driving and it is very hot, do you have to start the generator to run the roof air and how long does the propane last?
Actually, I've never run the rooftop air conditioner while driving. I don't have rear seat passengers often enough for it to become an issue.

For those that do carry rear-seat pasengers, one thing I recommend is to add a low-emissivity film to the tinted windows. All of them. The film would have to go on the outside of the glass to keep heat out, but it works really well. Only problem, the film itself gets very hot to the touch (maybe even too hot to touch!) because all the heat that's blocked from entering the coach stays on the film until it's radiated back to the outside. Low-e film blocks infrared light, but is otherwise very lightly tinted, so it won't change the view out the windows very much

Haven't tried it yet on my Interstate, but we've used the film on an office building we constructed for one of our field offices at work, and I was favorably impressed with it.

Side note, for those who plan to do a lot of winter camping, applying low-e film to the inside of the windows instead will help retain heat. But don't use it both outside and inside; that turns your windows into the next-of-kin to a Thermos bottle, so there's hardly any heat transfer in either direction.

Quote:
So far I have only seen Sprinters for TV crews use an engine generator.
I've only seen Sprinter ambulances with them. We have a lot more of those around here than we do Sprinter news vans. Acadiana Ambulance uses them for patient transport (but not for emergency response; Sprinters are not big enough to carry the full "blue star" kit).
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:54 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
At the risk of being a killjoy (like that's ever stopped me)

Personally, I'd rather stick with a separate propane-fired generator. Running the main engine to charge the house batteries while parked isn't all it's cracked up to be.
- You run the risk of running out of fuel at the campsite and being stranded if you spend too much time recharging. Especially if you didn't park it with a full diesel tank.
- You have to add DEF more often if you use the main engine as a stationary power source, too.
- It also exhausts on the curb side where everyone socializes, rather than on the street side, unless Mercedes or the upfitter has rerouted the stock exhaust system.
- Besides, from a fuel economy standpoint, running a 3.0-liter (3000cc) V6 diesel engine while parked to charge the house batteries makes a lot less sense than running a dinky little 7cc one-holer generator.

Side note, thirty-one States (so far) have passed "anti-idling" laws that limit how long a vehicle engine can be left running when the vehicle is not in motion. At present, the laws don't pertain to RVs as far as I know, only public and commercial vehicles, but that's the thin end of the wedge. We all know that environmental laws only get more stringent with time. That's also why a lot of truck stops have added shore power, so semis can plug in instead of idling; it sure wasn't for the benefit of RVers, who are only a tiny fraction of their customer base.
There is another very good reason you might not want to run the Sprinter engine to charge batteries. Extended idling of the V6 is a VERY BAD practice. See this thread from the Sprinter-Forum Cautionary Tale - Idling and the near death of an '08 Sprinter - Sprinter-Forum
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