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Old 07-18-2015, 10:04 PM   #1
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Newbie Initial Impressions - 200 miles in 2016 Interstate w/VBB air suspension

In case anyone is shopping, on the fence, etc., I thought I would play it forward for all the great info we found on this site when researching.

Context- family of four, two boys, 8 and 10 yrs old. Primary purpose, long road tripping. Home base - Austin, TX

2016 Interstate Lounge EXT, VBB air suspension, silver/oyster/walnut. Delivery miles - 29, now 200 miles.

Obviously not a lot of miles yet, so just initial impressions.

1) air suspension, absolutely worth the wait... we test drove extensively before, and found the ride in the very back just way too bouncy... now feels like riding on a cloud, awesome

2) wasn't prepared for the amount of attention...people fall over looking, pointing, asking to see, etc. We certainly didn't buy it for attention, but its fun to have something unique enough that it draws admiration.

3) driveability very smooth. so torquey from a stop, more so than I recall from test drives previously, great power under speed, transmission shifts so smooth, very linear pedal feel, just love the way it drives. Braking is awesome. Exceeded expectations.

4) handling - this is why after shopping As and Cs, we got this B. So so easy to turn, back up, handle in general. This is so easy to drive. and we love how you can just pull it heads first into two parking spots and stay in the lines.

5) technology - absolutely astounding to have two TVs that can be set to different programming. we immediately plugged an Ipad directly to the HDMI and then plugged into the 110, we essentially have a permanent movie database (pre downloaded at home over wifi, etc.) The inverter handles pretty much everything but the AC or microwave. We even bought the Keurig K/B100 and at 700 watts, it does fine on the inverter also. Love all the Bluetooth, usb ports, 110 outlets, etc.

6) window shades - so convenient! to be able to pick any or all and adjust remotely from the drivers seat is great

Gripes:

- the captains chairs behind the driver/passenger sit very low, and they are lower than the two captain chairs in front. It makes it hard for kids to see out. I think we will have an upholster do something special to build them up.

- the generator is so finicky. I am not sure if its the one we got, or I am doing something wrong. but about 50% of the time it starts. the other 50% it just revs up for a second but then dies, doesn't every quite start. I have found no rhyme or reason, prime or not prime, etc. I usually just wait and try later and then it starts. Once it gets going, it runs strong

- the supplemental A/C in the back is so loud. I realize this is just the nature of the beast to some extent, but I have to believe with all the advancements in engineering, manufacturing, material, technology, etc. that there is some way to make a more quiet A/C

- ditto on the generator exhaust. must be some way to add muffler, etc. to quite interior/exterior noise, I am researching.

- there is no cupholder on the passenger side captairs chair by the sliding door. there was last year, but theres not now. not the end of the world, but I just don't understand why.
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtrichel View Post
- the generator is so finicky. I am not sure if its the one we got, or I am doing something wrong. but about 50% of the time it starts. the other 50% it just revs up for a second but then dies, doesn't every quite start. I have found no rhyme or reason, prime or not prime, etc. I usually just wait and try later and then it starts. Once it gets going, it runs strong
We had a very similar problem. Turned out to be a defective propane regulator. Suggest you have the gas pressure checked.
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Old 07-18-2015, 11:05 PM   #3
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Glad you are enjoying your Interstate, i would love to drive/ride in one with the air suspension.

BTW no need to prime the propane generator not sure why they can't imstall a switch without "prime" on it.
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Old 07-19-2015, 06:24 AM   #4
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I believe the same switch is used on gasoline generators - hence the 'prime'. I could not find instructions for this particular switch to understand the various codes that may be triggered. Guess I'll cross that bridge if I come to it.

Agree about generator noise. Once of my nexst mods is to install the Cummins resonator - 155-2449. Jury is out on how much it helps (1 to 3 db). But at least with it being a Cummins part I don't think it will hurt the engine.

I sometimes release the start switch a bit too soon compared to when I think it should stay running. But if I do, then the next time I push it (a delay seems to be built in???) it always starts right away.

My frustration with using the generator is that it takes appx 2 minutes for the EMS systems to get up and running so the the microwave is powered. Takes longer to get ready to run the microwave than the 1 or 2 minutes that I want to use it. But at least the Magnum charger kicks in sooner than that so I am getting some AGM charge 'for free'.

Does your 'awesome braking' have what seems to be a soft pedal? Our brakes works just fine, but seems that pedal depresses further than it should. I find myself wanting to pump the pedal - as the second depress always 'feels better' to my calibrated foot. MB dealer drove and and said it was normal. Maybe so...

I'll trade you my cupholder in the sliding door panel for a window in the sliding door that doesn't leak - interested?
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Old 07-19-2015, 06:31 AM   #5
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I would suggest you check the oil level in your generator. As it gets low (and it will during break in at least) the auto low oil level shut off will cause problems just as you describe. IIRC I had to add oil to mine twice in the first 20 hours of usage. After that it may still use a little but the rate will drop off dramatically. Getting to it to add oil is not much fun. I use a turkey baster.
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Old 07-19-2015, 08:55 AM   #6
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There should be a manual for the Onan generator in your portfolio that comes with the RV. There is a code flashing explanation in it and there is one for low oil. Two blinks indicate a shutdown fo low oil pressure.

It also explains the maintenance schedule for the generator which calls for the first oil change at 25 hours and every 150 hours after that or once a year. It uses 1 quart of Onan generator oil. You can get it on Amazon.

FWIW, I covered the "Prime" label with some black label tape.

I agree about the feel of the brakes. It always seems like the second pump is a lot firmer than the initial one is. However there does not seem to change the effectiveness of the brakes themselves. It just seems like the first pump has a little bit further pedal travel than the second.
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Old 07-19-2015, 09:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtrichel View Post
...

2) wasn't prepared for the amount of attention...people fall over looking, pointing, asking to see, etc. We certainly didn't buy it for attention, but its fun to have something unique enough that it draws admiration.
....
Advisory to all, whether older or newer Interstate owner --

This phenomenon of distraction can become surprisingly dangerous, and very rapidly. A few personal examples:

(1) We've only put about 2,000 miles on our 2007 Interstate since buying it used 10 months ago, and there have already been TWO bad rear-ender accidents within two or three car lengths of us. Both occurred when I was executing turns. We suspect that the at-fault drivers were craning their necks to see the Interstate as it was turning, and were not paying sufficient attention to what was in their immediate fields of view.

(2) While in Airstream-crazy Austin Texas, I almost ran over a hippie pedestrian who stopped in the middle of Riverside Drive to gawk at my Interstate. Mine is one of the older ones that has
A I R S T R E A M
emblazoned above the windshield and the look on his face clearly revealed what was going through his mind - "THAT is an Airstream?!" He was crossing the road well ahead of me and I naturally assumed that he would complete his crossing in the normal fashion, but he froze as this weighty question dominated his awareness. At the last second, I realized "Oh dear God, he is NOT going to move!" Fortunately the Sprinter has very good straight-line braking and I did not hit him.
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Old 07-19-2015, 04:15 PM   #8
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re: maintenance on the generator: can anyone tell me where it is? I've got a 2015 Grand Tour, and have been paging through the manuals and can't find it. Plus, I keep it on a storage lot, and don't get to it except every couple of weeks when we're going to use it or take it out.

I THINK it's underneath, and kind of in the middle of the back half. Not sure if it's closer to curb or roadside. If you don't have blocks or a way to raise the vehicle, is it accessible? Is it relatively straightforward to check and add oil?

if not, and if it's more advisable to get serviced ... would it be better to have the Airstream or Mercedes dealer do it?

Sorry if these questions have been answered elsewhere. THX

btw: 2015 AI manual, AND Onan operating manual both say to check oil every 4 hours ! up until the first 20 hrs of breaking in a new generator; then CHANGE the oil.
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Old 07-19-2015, 04:21 PM   #9
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OK well this is lame. Now I've found a recent thread that talks explicitly about checking and adding oil. I could have found that earlier before posting my question.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...il-137052.html

HOWEVER, I find it too intimidating. Mine's on a lot, and I don't have an easy way to raise or get under it. So I think I'm going to have it checked by someone. Any suggestions on Airstream, vs Mercedes, vs. any other?
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Old 07-19-2015, 06:22 PM   #10
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Any RV service place can handle the generator. MB won't be much help as this is an RV item. You don't need an Airstream dealer unless you want to have something done under the warranty. Just make sure the RV service shop does Onan generator. They are VERY common in the RV world.


- - Mike
2013 Interstate Lounge EXT on 2012 Sprinter
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Old 07-19-2015, 07:16 PM   #11
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Thanks. Makes sense. That's what I'm going to do.
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Old 07-19-2015, 07:42 PM   #12
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I love cup holders, i have a suburban with 18 cupholders. See if u can get one and get the boys up higher to see out.
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Old 07-19-2015, 10:13 PM   #13
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It wouldn't surprise me if Airstream forgot to put the cup holder on the slider door. You could order one and put it in yourself. You would just need to cut a hole in the door panel to mount it.
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Old 07-20-2015, 06:01 PM   #14
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jtrichel, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the VB Air. I'm also in Austin, TX (Travis Heights Area) and have a 2014.5. I was thinking of upgrading to the Grand Tour for several reasons, but VB Air was a main consideration.

I agree that the AC is too loud, but I haven't found a good replacement option. Advanced RV uses a different one that's slightly quieter and stronger, but it's apparently still loud. I'm going to rent one of their vehicles later this month to see if it would be a better fit for me than a new Interstate. There are other articles on this forum about mufflers for the generator and people have found good improvements.

Enjoy the RV. Hopefully, I'll see you around Austin.
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