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Old 01-22-2015, 11:19 AM   #1
Gio
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Newbie, could really use some help before purchasing a new Interstate

Hi everyone, I am a newbie here but have benefited greatly from the knowledge and experience of many of the forum members, so firstly, thank you all for that.

My wife and I just sold the travel trailer and we were looking to purchase a 2015 Interstate Lounge EXT (we think the AI styling is best in its class, in our humble opinion). We really didn't need all the space in the trailer and thought the class b would provide some additional conveniences and functionality.

Please forgive my ignorance, I was hoping to get your opinions before making this purchase.

two general scenarios:

Would it be okay to drive into the city, park on the street in the middle of downtown (assuming a space is available), start up the generator on a warm day (say mid 80’s) and use the AI as a mobile office, sit in the back with the laptop, fridge and A/C running, maybe fire up the microwave too for lunch. Is this realistically possible? If so, how much time could I expect to get out of this, at least 3-4 hours? Would the generator running in the middle of the city upset anyone, passersby, police officers, nearby business owners etc..? Is this proper class b etiquette?

Could my wife and I run into a museum downtown or grab a bit to eat for a few hours with the generator running outside, our small dog in the AI lounging on the sofa with the A/C and refrigerator running. With our previous setup, if’d we go into town for a couple hours and the temp was mild, our dog would just stay in the trailer at the rv park with the AC running (shore power) and vents, windows open. Is leaving the generator running unattended while parked in the middle of the city, suburb or anywhere for that matter a bad idea? is it even legal to do so?

Alternatively, would a Roadtrek E-trek be a better option for these scenarios? Is this “Etreknology” setup ready for prime time versus the conventional Onan generator? Assuming the batteries are fully charged, Could I expect at least 4 hours of A/C and fridge use while parked in these same scenarios?

Again sorry for my ignorance, any advice, thoughts or opinions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-22-2015, 11:45 AM   #2
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We have parked in many cities.. Philadelphia, Boston, New York to name a few.. We left the gen running so our lab would stay nice and cool while we explored.. I don't think the gen would bother anyone in a city.. Not sure how long you would get running everything.. I would run a test on a hot day and see how long the tank lasts.. Good luck and welcome.. We have had a blast in ours..
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:13 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum, Gio.
We did have an Airstream travel trailer and exchanged it for an Interstate and we're very happy with the decision to move to a Class B.
We live in Arizona, which means the AC gets used a lot! So managing it and the battery charge levels is always a major consideration.

This is my personal opinion, but I'm not very fond of the generator - it's noisy and pollutive. And living in a sunny part of the country I'd rather make use of greater solar and battery capacity, even to run the AC for a limited time. If I can comfortably get 4 hours of AC use from the batteries, and then rely on solar to top them up, then I would be happy. But I don't know if the E-Trek really has that ability - yet. I haven't seen any test results so far.

Regarding running the generator while leaving it unattended, I know some cities have ordnances forbidding the main engine from being run while unattended, so I suspect the same may apply to the generator. But who's to know whether there is anyone in the rear, so probably no-one will say anything.

The generator is limited to 20Amps so you won't be able to run the AC with the microwave and/or water heater. You'll have to turn off one to use the other.

Hope that helps.
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:26 PM   #4
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I should add that when I don't want to use the AC, I find the Maxxfan (ceiling fan) to be extremely effective if I also open a couple of windows on the shady side of the van, even in hot Phoenix. The flow of air from the outside through the van seems to be able to cool the interior enough to make it bearable and I've been able to sit in it for a couple of hours when it's hot outside. Of course if you have pets, then that probably wouldn't be acceptable.
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Old 01-22-2015, 05:16 PM   #5
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To me, everything you have described that you wanted to do, IS THE REASON to buy a Class B.

Not sure what part of town you are in but I just brought my van home from it's sleeping quarters in a garage at another property I own. It's in my driveway and I would be happy to take you and your Wife for a drive and further explore the functionality you are desiring.

That's if I don't take off somewhere first....Love this van.
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Old 01-22-2015, 06:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UKDUDE View Post
This is my personal opinion, but I'm not very fond of the generator - it's noisy and pollutive.
And yet, propane is one of the cleanest-burning fossil fuels, less polluting than gasoline or diesel.
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Old 01-22-2015, 06:27 PM   #7
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And yet, propane is one of the cleanest-burning fossil fuels, less polluting than gasoline or diesel.
But not as clean as solar and batteries
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:27 PM   #8
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The standard length AI is easy to drive and park just about anywhere. I've even parallel parked a few times in the end slot so the overhang didn't intrude in another space. Not sure how easy the Extended version would be. You might want to drive one and park to see how it works out.

My experience w/ the rear A/C is that when the temp. is over 90* outside, it cannot keep the rear cool even w/ the chassis A/C running. I mounted a couple of 9" fans under the cabinet over the galley to push the cooler air from the front to the rear. It helps a little.

You can read about the Roadtrek E-Trek here.
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:49 AM   #9
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But not as clean as solar and batteries
Except on the Roadtrek e-trek, you're not going to find solar and batteries that can reliably operate a rooftop air conditioner.

And even in the e-trek, solar won't keep up with the demand of a rooftop air conditioner; you have to run a 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder diesel engine to provide your electricity, instead of a dinky little one-cylinder propane generator on an Interstate. Which one pollutes less? The propane generator, of course.
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Old 01-23-2015, 06:28 PM   #10
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I'm not so sure about the 'of course' on the LPG vs diesel emissions emissions statement. At the risk of boring you with technical details:
Indicated power on the big diesel is a bit higher than that on the small LPG when producing the same kWe needed to power the A/C. But 2010 on-highway diesel engine emissions standard is much lower than that of the LPG engine which is subject to the EPA's LSI (large spark ignited) nonroad standards. There may be other reasons to prefer running the LPG, but emissions is probably not one of them. Lots of opinions on whether/not it is OK to run a diesel with SCR system and deisel particulate filter for a long time at low load. But I think I'd put my faith in a Mercedes diesel instead of a Cummins Onan LPG engine crammed into a space with questionable cooling, difficult to service, etc.
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:57 AM   #11
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We HAD the Intestate. Didn't like the noise/vibration from the propane generator and the noise/sound of the Suburban furnace and hated the half door on the bathroom. Now have the E-trek. More solar than the AI. No propane generator. Just start and idle the Mercedes engine about 45 minutes. Have not had a real test of battery power for A/C. But everyone seems to be able to run at least 2 hours and more on full battery power before starting the engine to charge the batteries back up.

And Roadtrek is now experimenting with more solar on the roof with Lithium batteries also which will have more amper hours.
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Old 01-25-2015, 03:47 PM   #12
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My wife and I attended the Charlotte RV show today. There was a Roadtrek and a Leisure Way conversion on the Sprinter chassis. I was not impressed with either one, less so with the Leisure Way than the Roadtrek.

Maybe Roadtrek makes different quality conversions but the one we looked at could not hold a candle to the AI. The cabinet doors were cheap and small, the cabinet hinges were flimsy, the cabinet openings were small (don't think my wife's small Keurig would fit), the finish inside the cabinet was poor, and the cabinet sizes were small as well. The rear cabinet over the sofa did not reach side to side and was divided with one half accessible from the inside and the other half being an open cabinet accessible from the rear...if you had a stepladder! The cabinet above the cab was also considerably smaller with a small opening. The cabinet hardware was much cheaper as were both the sink and the gas cook stove.

The shower was not a one piece unit and the double doors were very flimsy. On the exterior, the lower trim package was not equal to the quality of the AI and the hitch was exposed. The rear storage area was plastic with a very small access panel. And the equipment below the rear seat was exposed with no covering. The floor thickness was considerably less.

The marketing was as cheap as the motorhome. The sticker price was inflated to $172K and was marked down nearly $50K to $123K for the show.

To say the least, I was not impressed.
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Old 01-25-2015, 04:03 PM   #13
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I think Airstream uses quality materials, they just have shoddy assembly procedures.
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Old 01-25-2015, 07:18 PM   #14
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I agree on the shady workmanship. Roadtrek is more ahead in technology but has also the benefit B class vans is all they make. Advanced RV is the most advanced van I looked it and if I would get another B van properly what I would get.
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