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Old 05-04-2015, 07:18 PM   #1
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Matching Paint

In my endless pursuit of trying to improve cross-wind handling performance of the Airstream Interstate, I've decided to give AirTabs a try. Online reviews of actual users seems promising. They are, however, a bit ugly. Painting them to match the van makes them look a lot better.

I'm wondering, where do I go to get the right paint so it's an exact match and how do I make it look good on my own? I have no equipment so I'm not sure what I might need. I have a Silver 2014 Interstate. Is this something I buy from Mercedes directly or do I go to a regular paint store to buy? Do I need any special equipment to make it look good?

Here are some guidelines from Airtab: http://www.airtab.com/Site/documents/paint.pdf

Thanks for the help! I'll post back on whether they were a success in a different thread. I've already tried all of the recommended upgrades from the SprinterStore.
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:05 PM   #2
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Your best bet is to find out the paint code of the paint Mercedes used on your van. Armed with this paint code, you can get exactly matching paint.

Most Mercedes models use a three-digit paint code; Sprinters use a three-digit or four-digit code, which should be located somewhere on the underside of the hood and somewhere on the driver's door frame.

Here's a resource for you…
2011 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Colors of Touch Up Paint

You'll have to tell us how this works— from the web page these AirTabs look like inside-out NACA ducts.
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:05 PM   #3
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These guys will mix up a spray can with the color code of your choice. I assumed you have a '14 Interstate on a '13 Sprinter:

2013 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Touch Up Paint - for Sprinter Paint Repairs - PaintScratch.com
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:08 PM   #4
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Looks like Protag had the same idea.
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:17 PM   #5
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Here's one place you can try. Here' another.
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Glass half full or half empty to an engineer is the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

PM me for sale info on my 2011. SOLD!
Upfitted Transit 350 sitting in driveway.
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:54 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the quick replies. Super helpful!
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Old 05-04-2015, 09:22 PM   #7
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A quick word of caution about AirTabs on newer Sprinters.

I have been a dealer and installer for Airtabs since the were first marketed. I had them on my '04 Sprinter service van and noticed a great improvement in drag (clean rear door and windows without the normally associated rear end turbulence and a bit of improvement in fuel mileage and stability. I also used them on 2 subsequent motor homes with impressive results as well.

I have yet to find a good location (after owning my 2011 Sprinter) for the Airtabs. The rear side panels curve in more aggressively than those on the '04, and I could not mount them properly on the curved surface with the same expectations of working as the ones on my '04.

I would suggest buying a few and trial fitting them to be certain that you will get maximum adherence of the adhesive to the surface of your Sprinter at the rear mounting locations.
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Old 05-05-2015, 10:55 PM   #8
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I finally looked up what airtabs were and as an aerospace engineer who has no interest in becoming the defendant in a frivolous slap suit, I'll just say that I'm pretty skeptical that these devices can do many of the numerous things that are claimed. Although keeping your rear glass clean might actually be one of the things they could accomplish.
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Old 05-06-2015, 06:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LB_3 View Post
I finally looked up what airtabs were and as an aerospace engineer who has no interest in becoming the defendant in a frivolous slap suit, I'll just say that I'm pretty skeptical that these devices can do many of the numerous things that are claimed. Although keeping your rear glass clean might actually be one of the things they could accomplish.
AGREED! Most of their claims are spurious, but using them has had some benefits. I did notice a slight uptick on fuel mileage on my old service van, and the back certainly did remain much cleaner in highway driving.

Being an engineer also, I was skeptical at first, so I did a little test. Not having access to a wind tunnel , I placed a few Airtabs on the suggested location at the back of my '04 Sprinter and ran a stream of high pressure water from a hose horizontally along the sidewall of the van, both at the Airtabs and at the plain sidewall area.

There was a definite difference in the way the water exited both surfaces, with the Airtabs creating a swirling action on the water jet.

Bottom line; are they worth it? Maybe, but my remaining stock has been sitting in my warehouse for several years. I just purchased a cargo trailer with a sharp, square trailing edge, and I'll probably stick some on there to see if they increase stability and rear door cleanliness a bit.

Anyone need some cheap????
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:39 PM   #10
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Lewster What's cheap for 50 for a 2005 model? Do they look "Mickey mouse?
Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise, I've learned a great
deal from your posts.
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:35 PM   #11
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Lewster What's cheap for 50 for a 2005 model? Do they look "Mickey mouse?
Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise, I've learned a great
deal from your posts.
You're most welcome!

I have a bunch on my now mothballed '04 Sprinter, but I'm on the road to Oregon and can't get a picture of the item count. Plus, all of the AirTabs I have are in my storage area in FL......... I won't have access to them until Nov.1 when I return to FL.
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:02 PM   #12
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Here are some pictures of what they look like on Sprinter Vans:
Airtab | Aerodynamic Fuel Savers | Application
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