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Old 09-28-2016, 01:34 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
2017 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Marco Island , Florida
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 32
New 2017 AI Owner

Hello all. We have been following these threads while waiting to get authorized to post to the forum.
We were excited about purchasing our first RV. We had been thinking of a sprinter based RV for quite some time as we didn't care for the behemoth class A buses which required you to tow a car. The sprinter seemed like a good compromise between utility and drivability. When we visited North Trail RV in Fort Myers and looked at the Airstream Interstate we were blown away with the finish and features. A test drive and some negotiation we ended up purchasing a brand new 2017 AI.
A couple days later we were at the dealer to pick up our dream traveling machine. A very young tech was assigned to give us our orientation. As we were not familiar with RVís at all it was a bit overwhelming. It turned out he was not that familiar with the specifics of an Airstream Interstate.
In fact, when we signed all of the papers to take delivery after the systems briefing there was a checklist which should have been used for the orientation which we were obligated to sign as having performed the required inspections.
There were two obvious issues one was the cabinet above the stove which wasn't fitted properly, a tech adjusted but it still isn't right. Not a big deal but when you pay this much for a vehicle that is combination Mercedes Benz and Airstream we had high expectations. The second was DVD player. We are not big DVD watchers so we didn't get too excited about it. The dealer promised a fix on our next visit.
Upon arriving back home with our new prize we quickly planned a trip to the Florida Keys. Our first issue was with the inverter. The little light was red and an error code of ďno comĒ. After some research I found the error code suggested that the line from the inverter to the remote was the issue. I attempted to solve the problem by disconnecting the line and reinserting. No joy. So back to the dealer (100 miles roundtrip). Of course they found no issues and blamed the malfunction on low batteries.
On to the Keys. We found a great state camp on Key Largo - John Pennekamp state park. The park itself is outstanding with beaches, boating and scuba and snorkeling trips to the great offshore reefs. The camp itself was nice with decent facilities but a bit tight with campsites close together.
The next issue that arose was the macerator hose refused to retract. The motor seemed to burn out. We called Coach-net and within 3 hours a technician was at our campsite. He confirmed the motor was inoperative and was able to retract the hose. So much for using our on board facilities and sinks!
One thing we did not try out when looking at the van was the air-conditioning. It is uber loud! Our first night was quite restless as the cycling on and off of the system awakened us. We soon found the setting for low fan which kept the fan on. The noise differential between low and high is nominal but still better.
As we were plugged in all the time in the Keys we hadn't used the inverter so to check if the batteries were the issue we tried it again on the way home. No joy once again. Same error message.
As we were going on a weeks trip to of the country we dropped the vehicle off at the dealer on August 5. This was a little over a week after purchasing it. We told the dealer we had a trip planned to leave September 3 and wanted to make sure the inverter and the macerator were working. They said no problem.
After returning from vacation and giving the dealer a few extra days, I called to check the status on August 17. Hadnít looked at it yet. I reminded them that we had trip planned, they promised to get right on it. They finally concluded what I already knew that the hose retraction motor was broken and started the process with Airstream to get a replacement and negotiate the warranty repairs. Another week went by with no part to the dealer. To make a long story somewhat shorter after numerous discussions with the dealer and directly with Airstream the part finally arrived and we were able to pick up the vehicle on September 1 - 25 days after dropping it off.
I had possession of the vehicle for a little over a week and the dealer almost a month. I am convinced that without my intervention the vehicle may still be there.
BTW no problem was found by the dealer with the inverter and they still could not fix the DVD player.

On to our epic journey to Chicago, Wisconsin, Canada, Niagra Falls, New Jersey and home. We left home September 3 in the morning and drove to just north of Valdosta, Georgia. Easy drive even though it was a holiday weekend. We both became somewhat comfortable with right lane driving at or below the speed limit.
On the first night shortly before bed I made the same mistake which I have read about many times, I closed the lid of the sink without turning the water faucet all the way to the cold setting. Within a short time the gray tank filled and the water overflowed onto the floor. I cleaned this up and vowed to never make that mistake again. In the morning we noticed more water on the floor near the rear cabinets. I thought I had missed that and cleaned it up only to find more leakage. Having read some posts regarding high pressure at some campgrounds we unhooked from the camp water and used our fresh water tank which appeared to solve the problem.

Next night near Clarksville Tennessee ( we subscribe to getting off the road early in the day) same problem now with any water source. In addition, the pesky red light was back with the inverter. I haven't mentioned but this was Labor Day weekend so getting help was impossible although we were able to speak with Coach-net personnel who attempted to help us trouble shoot.

Our next stop was the Chicago suburbs and a great unknown camp site in Palatine, Illinois a suburb of Chicago. The camping area is in a beautiful forest preserve with miles of bike and hiking trails and hundreds of acres of unspoiled forest. If anyone is interested I can provide more details.

The plumbing issue was a priority either we find a way to fix the leak or we abort the trip. Coach-net was great once again in finding a dealer 10 miles away with availability to deal with our issues. It turns out that there was a bad solenoid in the inverter that was causing the fault. This in turn is the likely reason why the house batteries were not properly charging. They were also able to track down the leak which was caused by a plumbing fitting that was not properly assembled by the factory.

On to Wisconsin! We drove to Wausau, Wi and stayed with friends on a beautiful farm and delighted our selves with a traditional Friday evening fish fry. From there we stayed two nights in a spectacular state park in the Manitowish waters area. This campground with a site right on a lake had access to paved off road biking trails to many nearby towns. A real gem for bikers! Here is where the battery issue really displayed itself. There were no electrical hookups and no generators from 5 pm to 10 am. As there were no restrictions on running the vehicle I was able to charge up the batteries before bed by running the motor. By morning the battery charge was down to 45% (with only the fridge running) which was solved by again running the motor until we could start the generator.

Here is where we were first able to use our furnace as the morning temperature was 42 degrees. The furnace heated up the camper quickly but just as quickly set off the smoke alarm. I read that if the heaters are not run before delivery a burn off of material will cause the detectors to activate. We tried again the next morning and again the detectors went off. We didn't have need of the furnace again so it went on our growing list of items to be fixed.

The next issue was the neck of the faucet blowing out while my wife was doing dishes. This was easily resolved as the fitting could be tightened by hand and cleaning up the water on the floor and counter. What we missed was water had gotten into a bottom drawer below some cookware and not discovered until we unpacked two weeks later. The drawer bottom seems to be made of some kind of compressed wood like material and with the moisture swelled and is flaking away probable destroying the drawer.

The screen door stopped closing completely and seems to be out of shape. It is possible that the massively heavy side sliding door slammed on the screen door at some point and bent it. I became adept at getting the screen door back on the track which it managed to get off track multiple times daily.

One day driving across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and a pleasant campground not far from Sault Ste Marie. Here the doors below the couch/bed started coming off their hinges. We were initially able to force them back on but they finally wouldn't attach.

Next day crossing into Canada was a breeze except for the fact that we were carrying pepper spray as our 12 year old Lab had been attacked by a pit bull once and we decided on some non lethal protection. It was confiscated and we were on our way. We had gotten some information on traveling in Canada that WIFI is available at Tim Hortons and we thought we could get travel information etc at a roadside donut shop. This true but between the Soo and Sudbury there are no Tim Hortons and precious few fuel stops. We vowed to get a international data plan on our next trip.

We found a great Provincial park with camping facilities on a lake. These campsites are unique in that the electrical outlet is between two campsites by the access road. My electrical cord is 25 feet and I only brought another 25 foot extension cord. This caused us to have to park in an unusual position to access the electric. Next trip more cord!

Next stop Muskoka lakes region to visit friends. It is difficult to describe the beauty of this region. Crystal clear lakes surrounded by huge boulders and pine trees with multimillion dollar "cottages" up the hills with multimillion dollar boat houses on the lake. The local villages and brew pubs are an attraction on their own.

Back to the US through Niagra Falls. It was disgusting to see such natural beauty surrounded by the abject commercialism on the Canadian side of the falls. We didn't linger. The US customs agent was very interested in our RV and impressed.

Down to NJ to visit family and friends. We were able to park in driveways and plug in to keep the fridge and freezer going. The freezer was now stuffed with NY bagels which we cannot attain in SW Florida, so this was very important.

A relatively uneventful trip down I 95 and a pleasant and rare trip through DC on a Friday without significant delays. We stopped in a creepy RV park outside of Fayetteville, NC filled with mosquitos and chiggers. An overnight in Ponte Vedra, Florida to visit a daughter and then back home.

Yesterday we brought the AI back to the dealer with a long list of issues to be resolved. I will let everyone know how we do and when we get it back.

In summary, there were times when we wanted to turn around and drop it off back at the dealer and investigate the lemon law but thanks to Coach-net and a dealer with available mechanics after a busy labor day weekend we solved most of the critical issues and were able to motor on. We were certainly glad we did. The AI is extremely comfortable and pleasant to drive. Except for the plumbing and electrical problems the camping was very easy and once we weren't using AC the bed and sleeping is very comfortable. It would not have been possible to do the trip we did, see and experience the natural beauty of our upper midwest states and Canada and do it in a very relaxed manner.

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Old 09-28-2016, 02:43 PM   #2
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FlyFishinRVr's Avatar
2017 Interstate Lounge Ext
Northern , California
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,021
First, congrats on the new coach! The AI ranks keep growing.....

Thanks for the great write up, and sorry to hear about your difficulties.

The more of these I read, the more I am convinced that 90% or more of these "teething pains" can be completely avoided if two things happen:

1 - The dealer does a proper PDI. That means running through all systems and confirming correct operation of each BEFORE delivering to the customer.

2 - Customers do a proper walk through at time of delivery and test all systems. This will basically duplicate what the dealer should have done, which should duplicate what the factory should have done. If things aren't right, you choose whether to accept the coach with "Due Bills" or tell them they need to make them right ASAP before you will accept it.

Finally, a bit of advice going forward: NEVER tell your dealer you are going away/don't need the coach for X amount of time. It is virtually guaranteed that they won't even look at it for days, weeks, or even months.

Best luck in your next adventure.

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Old 09-28-2016, 03:01 PM   #3
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2012 28' Flying Cloud
Avila Beach , California
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 150
Images: 2
Your story is a common one! We too had a similar problems with our 2012 FC, faulty inverter, AC tripping breaker, stove vent hood blowing fuses, door hinge screws loose, fresh water level sensor not working etc. These lapses in quality are a function of two things at Airstream, 1) lack of vendor management and 2) lack of quality management systems. I worked in the semiconductor field for 35 years and these kinds of issues would not have been tolerated. AS really has no competition in its current sphere but that can change in a hurry...hope they will be ready for it?
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Old 09-28-2016, 05:55 PM   #4
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2013 Interstate Coach
Fulton , Maryland
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,368
Thanks for the detailed write-up and welcome to the ranks of Interstate owners.

Problems with RV systems are not limited to Airstream. The various RV forums are full of problem stories much like yours. I'm convinced RVs have more quality problems than any other product made in the USA/Canada.

- - Mike
2013 Lounge EXT on 2012 Sprinter
- - Mike
2013 Airstream Interstate Lounge EXT
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Old 09-28-2016, 06:17 PM   #5
2 Rivet Member
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2016 Interstate Lounge Ext
Columbia , Missouri
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 54
Once again with the solenoid issue causing the no comm fault. I hope anyone with this issue in the future catches the several posts on this forum about the solenoid being insufficient and needing to be upgraded to a higher amperage or eliminated as some have done.

Your story makes me feel better about my own. My dealer is also over 2 hours away but has been extremely accommodating as have those at Airstream. Very pleased with the customer service around these problems so far.
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:21 AM   #6
2 Rivet Member
2017 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Marco Island , Florida
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 32
Thank you

Thanks for the comments and advice. We are new to the RV life but not to travel or camping. I am learning lots from my mistakes and the comments on this forum.
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:08 AM   #7
2 Rivet Member
2015 Interstate Coach
MEDFORD , New Jersey
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 57
Congratulations on your purchase.. Sorry to hear about all the issues you experienced. I also purchased my preowned 2015 AI with 1900 mi ,in Feb, from North Trail, and had a overall good experience. I would highly recommend that you elevate your experiences with Northtrail to the owner/ Principal, Sales and service manager, if you haven't done so.. After my purchase, I received follow ups calls to express my purchase and delivery experience. I was very impressed, and felt they really care about customer service. Also, when back in NJ, contact me and would love to get together with you. Your more then welcome to spend a few nights, plugged into my shore power.. I live in Medford, NJ 08055. Good Luck
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Old 09-29-2016, 11:46 AM   #8
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2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Bellevue , Washington
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 640
Congrats also for the purchase and great write up. I did not suffer the same fate with my 2016. I read this forum and got good advice on what to check for and spent hours in the unit before delivery. Found very little wrong and a few months later, still very little wrong.

I ripped out the entire power system and replaced with new so can't help with the Magnum fault. For the duration I had it, it worked reliably.

I wonder if your issue is SB164 solenoid that has gone bad causing the remote to report that the inverter is not responding. When you take it to the dealer, ask them to bypass this. If they won't, there is a thread here on how to do that. The solenoid is external to the inverter and is a "hack" to fix a problem but the solution is worse than the problem itself!

Use the forum as you have started with resolution to your problems. There is an incredible body of knowledge here able to guide you in many of the issues.
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Old 09-29-2016, 02:18 PM   #9
1 Rivet Member
2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Berwyn , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 9
As a 6000 mile newbie with our 2016 GT Interstate I can sense your pain and joy quite well. Some quick responses and suggestions follow.

1) To all, ask your dealer if the solenoid yo have was one that AI stopped using. After several attempts to remedy the battery drain issue they replaced it using a different manufacturer and all is now well,

2) under sofa doors coming unhinged - agree a bear to reconnect - suggest you Velcro a 1" x 1" board just inside the doors and that will prevent you from pushing items into the doors which often unhinged them.

3) like all the commentary on bike trails. We travel with two folding bikes (Bromptons) and a Burley dog trailer for our Bailey. Who, who reads this is willing to share campgrounds that are convenient to leisurely bike rides? A bike riders thread for us casual bikers would be greatly appreciated. I would post there the awesome Pine Creek multi use trail the runs through the awesome Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania for 45 miles! All easily accessible from numerous campsites in the Tioga State forest.
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Old 09-29-2016, 03:08 PM   #10
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2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Taylor Ridge , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 121
New 2017 AI Owner

A thread dedicated to great places to bicycle. That's a great idea!
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Old 09-29-2016, 10:51 PM   #11
1 Rivet Member
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Sanibel , Florida
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 17
What a tremendous story. You've reminded many of us what we went through to some extent. I too bought at North Trail and live on Sanibel Island, soon to move to Naples. We are in our upper 70s and like a quiet night's sleep. Like you we didn't appreciate the loud AC unit cycling on and off all night. So we made a small unit that is very quiet that we take with us if we plan to overnight in warm weather. It is covered in the following discussions several months ago. You might find it of interest.

Good luck! Hang in there. The AI is a great unit.
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Old 09-30-2016, 09:07 AM   #12
2 Rivet Member
2016 Interstate Lounge Ext
Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 87
I purchased two units from Northtrail RV from their east coast store. My first unit was a new 2015. I had exactly the same experience of very poor service. I took the unit to Airstream to have most of the problems repaired. It was there I saw the air ride system. I spoke to them about my problems with service and ordering one from another dealer. Airstream must have spoken to Northtrail, I got a phone call from the GM who promised me he would make sure things would be different.

I ordered the 2016 unit and service has been great. They got rid of the old service manager and the manager of the store now directly handles service. I get treated great and any problems I had with the 2016 have been fixed.
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Old 09-30-2016, 09:24 AM   #13
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2014 Interstate Coach
Arroyo Grande & Central Point , California & Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 555
A friend of mine bought a Thor Palazzo motorhome and just got back from a 35 day 8,000 mile trip. He had a 1 1/2 page punch list of things that needed fixing. Stuff like leaks, shades falling off the wall, frige sliding out of it's hole, etc, etc. I think all in all most of us have been pretty fortunate with our AI's compared to a lot of the junk that's out there.

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