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Old 04-16-2017, 11:35 PM   #381
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Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
Which air springs did you install?
As I recall they are the Boss springs. Still wish I had the air suspension, which I could do if I got rid of the generator. Striving for an Advanced-RV at something less than a quarter million dollars. But I will never be able to achieve its level of insulation and will not be able to eliminate the propane.
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Old 04-17-2017, 09:30 AM   #382
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As I recall they are the Boss springs. Still wish I had the air suspension, which I could do if I got rid of the generator. Striving for an Advanced-RV at something less than a quarter million dollars. But I will never be able to achieve its level of insulation and will not be able to eliminate the propane.


Thanks for info. I recommend you keep checking the frame mounting of those Boss airbags. They only use the bump stop mount which is a point load not design to carry a constant load. If you do remove the LP generator you would have room for the VB-Airsuspension. Agree that the insulation on Advanced-RV is top notch. I attended the A-RV Fest a few years ago. They have an impressive operation and make what I think is the best B-van RVs. Just wish I could afford one.
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Old 04-22-2017, 08:06 PM   #383
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Old 05-01-2017, 12:43 AM   #384
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Smile

We previously disconnected the relay between the house and chassis batteries because there were some gremlins causing random voltage drops and the occasional complete power outage while we were on the road. I spent half the day with a signal generator and my voltmeter trying to figure out how Airstream connected the two systems together under the driver's seat because something wasn't adding up.

I'll save you acts 2 & 3 and just jump to the spoiler: Turns out there is some cheap piece of crap circuit breaker between the two systems that had a terminal nut backed off about 5 full turns. When the truck was vibrating the wire leading to the power distribution panel was losing it's contact to the terminal and our fridge would go out and the propane detector would give a low voltage alarm. Nice to finally have that issue resolved. Did I mention the circuit breaker was a piece of crap? The idiotic thing is rated for 50A and has #10 studs for terminals. Seriously?!?! 4 awg battery cables running 50A with only a 3/16" stud?!?!?! Ugh.

After our solar install, our travels went from being battery limited to being propane limited. This was a great improvement but proved to be a real pain in rural Canada where regulatory costs have driven most of the propane dealers to give up on the RV market and focus on the more profitable residential heating market.

With everything hooked back together, we now have the ability to charge off our alternator again and perhaps more significantly, we can now run the refrigerator off the inverter while we're driving. Our ammonia absorption fridge uses a resistive heater when operating on AC power. This is a large 17A load on the battery which our 300w of solar barely keeps up with in full sun so it wasn't really practical for us to run the fridge on solar during the day. Now that we can run the fridge off the alternator while on the road, we should see us go from being propane limited to being black/grey water limited.
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Old 05-01-2017, 07:27 AM   #385
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If anyone wants to see more detail on said power fluctuations and failures, they are in this older Air Forums thread called "Intermittent house power". If this particular failure pathway happened to us, there's a real chance that it will happen to someone else at some point.

The question might come up yet again at this point (I know Lewster is thinking it):

Why persist with a propane fridge when we now have this electrical capacity completed? I've asked it of LB_3 myself.

The math still might not be ideal, solar plus alternator plus batteries vs. draw by the various refrigerator models. We'll have to re-run the numbers.

And I haven't had the time yet to do a physical inspection of what's on the market that might replace the current Dometic which IMO is a POS. Its construction is flimsy and cheap and its insulation is meager. Worst of all, it is extremely leaky around the seals and it is not uncommon for me to stop after a long drive, open the fridge door, and find the freezer compartment already caked with ice due to condensation in our subtropical humidity. And it hadn't been open at any previous time in the day - the ice is just a representation of how poor the seals are.

If I were to look at marine compressor fridges, that's the first thing I would examine - are they better constructed? Do they actually hold air? If the construction quality is not obviously better than the Dometic, then I would be hesitant to make the investment even if the electrical numbers DID work.
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Old 05-01-2017, 07:29 PM   #386
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This is the POS circuit breaker,(For scale, it's about the size of the last knuckle on your thumb):

https://www.zoro.com/bussmann-automo...FZY2aQod02EHhQ

3/8" nuts that go on those tiny 3/16" terminals. Most off the work I did yesterday was to try to avoid using that damn thing. Partly because it's a bit undersized at only 50A and partly because it is so insultingly cheap.

Unfortunately I couldn't pull enough cable out from under the seat to connect the cable anywhere else and didn't have enough access to splice any new wire onto it. I considered relocating some of the Mercedes wiring but wisely decided against that. In the end I decided to put both wires on a single post with a second locking nut thus improving my reliability by probably 75%. But if I had a better option I would explore it.
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Old 05-01-2017, 09:04 PM   #387
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Originally Posted by LB_3 View Post
This is the POS circuit breaker,(For scale, it's about the size of the last knuckle on your thumb):

https://www.zoro.com/bussmann-automo...FZY2aQod02EHhQ

3/8" nuts that go on those tiny 3/16" terminals. Most off the work I did yesterday was to try to avoid using that damn thing. Partly because it's a bit undersized at only 50A and partly because it is so insultingly cheap.

Unfortunately I couldn't pull enough cable out from under the seat to connect the cable anywhere else and didn't have enough access to splice any new wire onto it. I considered relocating some of the Mercedes wiring but wisely decided against that. In the end I decided to put both wires on a single post with a second locking nut thus improving my reliability by probably 75%. But if I had a better option I would explore it.
The other problem is they are Type I - Automatic Reset breakers that will keep cycling ON and OFF when there is a short condition.

http://www1.cooperbussmann.com/pdf/3...33b67204d0.pdf

Type I - Automatic Reset
Circuit breaker automatically resets after opening. If the fault still exists, the
breaker will continue to cycle between ON and OFF positions until the
overload is corrected. These devices are sometimes called "cycling
breakers." Type I/Automatic Reset circuit breakers do not address, or
correct, overcurrent or fault conditions. They only react by cycling OFF and
ON. Any overcurrent or fault condition that causes any Type I circuit breaker
to operate should be corrected as soon as possible. Continual vehicle
operation under an overcurrent or fault condition (causing the Type I circuit
breaker to cycle) is NOT recommended.
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Old 05-02-2017, 04:11 AM   #388
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Given how inaccessible this relay is, I can understand why someone wanted it to have an auto reset feature. It just goes to show how little Airstream's engineers or techs understand electrical safety that it exists at all. It really serves little purpose given that the power is fed from the fuses at the battery:
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Old 05-02-2017, 01:25 PM   #389
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There are a bunch of lower power ones in my newer AI too and just as well, was buried behind the fuse box. And way too close to AC circuits for my comfort. I relocated it and reduced the count. It was also not fused right from what I recall.
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Old 05-05-2017, 10:12 AM   #390
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An anecdote here for the partial sake of venting (double entendre intended), but with an advisory. And I bet this will put a smile on Lewsterís face this morning because heíll know exactly what Iím talking about.

In order to do intensive Airstream Interstate work, you basically must possess one of every object that exists in the known universe, whether it be tool or hardware. My husband and I joke about this. Whenever one of us is en route to the big box hardware store and the other asks, ďNeed anything?Ē the answer is invariably, ďYeah, go ahead and pick up one of everything while youíre there.Ē

Acknowledging this, those of us who do this work are then left with the monumental task of ORGANIZING the residual quantities of [every object in the known universe] once we are done with every possible project. This is especially difficult for my husband and me, because we donít have a dedicated business premises or shop. We are working out of a residential garage (albeit a 4-car). I go to Samís Club and buy cases of gallon-sized freezer bags. Every time there is left-over hardware, I put in individual bags with a date and a description of what it was used for.

Such was the case with the left-over hardware from my computer table project. I knew Iíd need it for a downstream project, so I carefully cataloged it. And then I lost it. Itís in the garage somewhere for sure, but I canít find it despite being a very organized person, because thereís JUST SO MUCH STUFF.


So imagine my unbounded delight upon discovering that the residual hardware for our stinky slinky expansion project proved to be perfect for my lithium chamber ventilation cover project. Itís stainless steel, so itís really furniture-grade hardware. Remember, lithiums canít be charged if they go below freezing. Anything behind the walls or cabinetry of the Interstate tends to get really hot or really cold depending on prevailing conditions Ė Iím learning this even with LB_3ís newly-installed electronic control panel, because its ventilation fan tends to kick on automatically even when itís not that hot in the coach. So that lithium chamber has to be able to exchange air with the interior space, which requires free ventilation. I addressed this by repurposing Airstreamís OEM electrical converter mounting panel as the photo below shows (it requires the slate gray oak overlay / masking panel because it was cut sloppy by Airstream given that it was never intended to be used as a finish piece). I figured Iíd need the computer table hardware because Iím using the same perforated aluminum sheet as I used for the table and for our under-cabinet suspended shelves project (which also has its own big zip-lock bag). But the stinky slinky hardware works unexpectedly well.

Moral of this story: There is an astounding amount of mental overhead that goes into this work. What should be simple and straightforward is never so. Ugh.

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Old 05-05-2017, 06:19 PM   #391
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Got that right!!!!
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Old 05-05-2017, 06:54 PM   #392
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My Interstate Lithium Battery Adventures

Coca Cola went up my nose while reading this......I have same problem. Add to that the load of stuff I inherited from my father and brother, both of whom had the same problem.
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Old 05-10-2017, 10:07 AM   #393
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My technical summation blog posts on this lithium project are still forthcoming, BUT, in the meantime, I wrote this one as a example to people that you can successfully tackle projects even if your skills are limited, as mine certainly are.

Sometimes I hear from people via email and they are hesitant to try their own van DIY because they don't think they can do it. "Sure you can," I tell them. "You just need to break the project down into the smallest possible steps."


LITHIUM BATTERY CABINET MOD ON AN AIRSTREAM INTERSTATE
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:17 AM   #394
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You're right about some being apprehensive to tackle van projects. My biggest angst is always the "How the heck do I get that off." or "Just where are the fasteners holding this cabinet up?"
I had planned a major solar/battery project, even bought most of the gear, but a back injury stopped that cold. I surrendered and had the Lewster do a really major upgrade instead.
When I'm released by doc, I do plan to tackle a couple of changes in the van.....again I'll be dealing with disassembly fears.....
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Old 05-11-2017, 09:47 AM   #395
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Sorry about the back injury. I've had two back surgeries and luckily, after losing almost 3/8" in height I don't have enough disc material left at L5-S1 to cause any more major problems.

No individual task in any of our projects has really required any particular skill. It's mostly been a matter of having the right tools for the job and being able to contort your body into unnatural positions while doing each individual task. My last task on this project is to put a final schematic together for IB so she can hopefully trouble shoot the van on her own if anything fails while she's traveling solo. But we deferred our taxes this spring because I was busy so it may be a while before this gets completed. Luckily no contortions required to complete that task.

Our next big adventure will be installing a full air suspension to make riding in the back a bit easier when we drive through New England. We don't have access to a lift so this will probably be 3 weekends laying on my back in a hot storage unit griping about how I brought the wrong tools with me. The suspension should be on a boat from the UK by now.
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Old 05-11-2017, 10:42 AM   #396
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.....

Our next big adventure will be installing a full air suspension to make riding in the back a bit easier when we drive through New England. We don't have access to a lift so this will probably be 3 weekends laying on my back in a hot storage unit griping about how I brought the wrong tools with me. The suspension should be on a boat from the UK by now.

Off topic - but inquiring mind want to know which full air suspension you ordered?
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Old 05-11-2017, 11:01 AM   #397
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Off topic - but inquiring mind want to know which full air suspension you ordered?
We're going with Glide-Rite. Last time I checked a couple years ago VB's American distributor didn't sell to DIYers so I didn't give them much attention when I decided to pull the trigger on this project. It looks like a bolt in kit but I'm prepared for some custom fab and welding if needed.
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Old 05-11-2017, 02:07 PM   #398
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We're going with Glide-Rite. Last time I checked a couple years ago VB's American distributor didn't sell to DIYers so I didn't give them much attention when I decided to pull the trigger on this project. It looks like a bolt in kit but I'm prepared for some custom fab and welding if needed.
It's a big project, but doable since you don't have a generator behind the rear axle.
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Old 05-11-2017, 02:23 PM   #399
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The original owner installed Air-Lift rear airbags with wireless adjustment.

I've never ridden in back, but it does seem to help stabilize the Van with the proper air. It also allows some leveling F/R and side to side (only if rear needs to be raised of course).

(They also fit an auto-leveling system, but someone took the jacks off- everything else is still there)
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Old 05-11-2017, 05:24 PM   #400
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It's a big project, but doable since you don't have a generator behind the rear axle.
With the Glide-Rite T1N kit there is supposed to be enough room between the differential and the generator for the panhard bar to fit.
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