Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-02-2016, 01:38 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Camarillo , California
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 16
Newbie with Q's

Hello All, Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Jack, and I have been reading your posts here for several weeks. I have been contemplating the purchase of a brand new 2016 0r 2017 Interstate EXT for awhile. I am also brand new to RVing- so I have been researching, browsing, talking to folks, attending shows, lurking on forums, reading brochures, etc for almost a year. I am convinced that the B van is the right size/format and have also concluded the Mercedes platform is the best for me. I believe I have narrowed my choices down to Airstream or Pleasure Way and I am seeking wisdom and advice from seasoned users like yourselves. If you would please indulge me while I ask a few questions here it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance to those who're willing to share their wisdom, experience and opinions. Here is my short list of (hopefully not too stupid) questions...

1. Are the electrical systems in the newer Interstates a reliability nightmare? Can I expect to survive comfortably without shore power for more than a couple of days at a time? (I understand there are many factors depending on power usage, outside temperatures, etc) but generalized comments are welcome. I ask because there seem to be a lot of posts here regarding electrical system charging and battery reliability issues. Hard to discern what are inherent design issues vs. operator or other problems. The follow on question is, what is the general consensus on lithium ion systems vs more traditional batteries? Is LI a necessary(recommended) upgrade right out of the gate? (Pleasure Way is offering lithium ion standard now).

2. More on the power consumption off grid- I understand that Airstream offers 2-way fridges which cannot readily be swapped for 3 way as there is no venting. Is this a significant issue to be concerned about? (FYI 3 way standard on PW). Follow on- to date, my understanding is that the drawer microwave oven in Airstream has no convection feature, but the 2017 version is now showing a "browning" feature. Comments?

3. How about the Air Suspension? My test drives have been unladen and I am uncertain about the need for this relatively expensive option once tanks, gear and folks are on board. This one seems hard to evaluate.

4. The PW has a china bowl toilet in the bathroom. Although at the bottom of the list, I believe this is a nice feature. I welcome your comments. Please be nice. Follow on question- macerator and pump vs. gravity discharge?

5. PW is no longer offering a spare tire at in an attempt to make rear doors much more easily functional by eliminating the tire mount. Instead they are giving a roadside tire service arrangement. Of course, I understand that even with the spare tire present as with Airstream, roadside assistance is still needed to simply change the tire anyway. In your opinions, how significant is this?

6. In your opinions, is the wider network of Airstream dealers/service centers, solely reason enough to choose Airstream over a much smaller manufacturer as Canadian based PW?

7. At the moment I am absolutely leaning toward Airstream despite the premium pricing, but I am concerned about reliability and manufacturing quality, in part, due to some comments I have read here. What are your overall impressions of your coach quality and reliability and is my concern overblown?

Thanks so much for your answers and for providing this wonderful forum. I am delighted to interact with you here and perhaps I will be joining the Airstream B Van community! -Jack
__________________

__________________
jacobo1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 02:05 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 505
1) The electrical isn't a nightmare. You just have to accept its limitations. That means turning on the generator when unplugged and stationary for more than a day and plugging in for long term storage.

When we gripe about the electrical, it's mostly just us engineering/tinkering types chasing down dumb vampire loads that needlessly suck down the battery when not plugged in or using the generator.

2) Same as above. Use your generator for an hour or two per day and it will never be a concern.

3) If you and your passenger are going to spend most of your time up front you may never understand the suspension complaints. If you plan long road trips and think a nap might be nice, get the air.

4) A porcelain bowl sounds nice but may be a water hog. I have no issues with the AI toilet. I prefer a gravity dump, less to fail, but the pump is probably a cleaner/easier way to dump.

5) We haven't had many discussions of blowouts here so it's probably a non issue until it is.

6) Most of the RV appliances are common to many RVs and can be serviced anywhere.

7) If we didn't love our vans, we wouldn't pick on them or try to find ways to upgrade them so much. The Airstream specific parts like the cabinetry are top notch, it's the way the common RV stuff is integrated that drives some of us crazy. That and the premium pricing raising our expectations beyond what any RV manufacturer can deliver.

Welcome aboard, I'm sure you'll enjoy either option.
__________________

__________________
LB_3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 02:30 PM   #3
2 Rivet Member
 
2016 Interstate Lounge Ext
Heathrow , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 58
Welcome. I believe the 2017 Interstate is going to have a new porcelain toilet. I have had mine for almost a year and have had nothing that I would consider a nightmare. It is a great rig but depending on what your expectations are and how you intend to use it, it may or may not meet your needs. But that is true of any coach. I believe the PW is a 22ft rig but I could be wrong. If true I would never give up the extra 2 ft. If I were to order my Interstate today, I would definitely opt for the VB Air Suspension. Also, the feel of climbing into the private jet type interior of the AI has not been duplicated by any of the competitors that I have seen. Best of luck with your decision!
__________________
Harleydeal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 02:44 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
HowieE's Avatar
 
1991 34' Excella
Princeton , New Jersey
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 6,813
Images: 12
Unless you are in a position to take the first year depreciation hit never buy new as your first venture into RVing.

You have listed quite a few questions but they are nothing to those you will be asking after the first night out. Some of which may cause you to question your purchase.

Buy a couple of year old unit and test it out.
__________________
WBCCI 12156 AIR 3144 WACHUNG TAC NJ6
2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

HowieE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 03:28 PM   #5
Rivets?
 
nvestysly's Avatar

 
1992 29' Excella
2010 22' Interstate
Van By The River , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,522
Hello and welcome to Air Forums. You've come to the right place for all things Airstream (including Interstate).

I second the notion that buying a used Class B motorhome is probably a good idea. In addition, you may be able to rent a Class B, even if it's not an Airstream, to allow you to answer questions for yourself.

There is quite a long list of people of who have purchased RVs only to find they shouldn't have. At this point you don't know if you're one of those people and purchasing new might be a poor decision.

I can understand the idea of buying new. I like to do that too when it makes sense. So I'll reiterate - renting a small motorhome, even if it was a Class C (yes, C) will help you understand if you like this mode of travel.

After determining that travel in a small motorhome is what you like then you can focus on answering all these questions regarding Airstream, PleasureWay, etc. and feel confident you're asking the right questions and not wasting your money.

on edit: I refer to Class C because they are typically readily available from local rental agencies and will allow you to understand RVing in a first-hand fashion.
__________________
Lucius and Danielle
1992 29' Excella Classic
1996 GMC Suburban C2500 7.4L
2005 Chevrolet Suburban K2500 8.1L
Got a cooped-up feeling, gotta get out of town, got those Airstream campin' blues...
nvestysly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 03:59 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
InterBlog's Avatar

 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 2,427
Welcome to Air Forums. Your questions and comments are very thorough and you've obviously done your homework. My question to you is, how do you envision yourself using a Class B most often? What are your goals? You eluded to the potential for significant off-grid usage... purely recreational? Or also work-related? Or pursuant to a specific hobby? In what target geographic areas? How many travelers? Pets?

The user experience and degree of satisfaction partially hinges on HOW the Class B is to be used. They are better suited to some styles of travel and lifestyle than others, unless modifications are made (or maybe a different model is chosen). For instance, there are many owners of the older T1N Interstates who had different ambitions than my husband LB_3 and I, and they were delighted with the Interstate as-is. But one man's meat is another man's poison, and ours almost drove us to self-harm until we got it closer to being outfitted the way we need it for our specific purposes, which involve boondocking and stealth-camping and related envelope-pushing almost exclusively.

So that's where'd I'd suggest putting a finer point on your already-thorough analysis. To a certain extent, you can't know until you go. But in part, you can look at your life to date and predict trends. I was a backcountry camper for years, and I involved my husband in that pursuit. "Five nights in the west Texas desert sleeping on the ground miles away from any other human being, wondering where the heck we would find good water, and watching carefully to ensure no javelina tried to disembowel our dog" type of experience. With that type of profile, it's no big surprise that we turned out to be poor candidates for RV parks.
__________________
InterBlog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 04:08 PM   #7
Rivet Master
 
73shark's Avatar
 
2011 Interstate Coach
Overland Park , Kansas
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,748
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobo1 View Post
1.The follow on question is, what is the general consensus on lithium ion systems vs more traditional batteries? Is LI a necessary(recommended) upgrade right out of the gate? (Pleasure Way is offering lithium ion standard now).
I believe that LI can not be charged below freezing which means they either have to be located where the temperature can be maintained above freezing or not charged below freezing.

2. More on the power consumption off grid- I understand that Airstream offers 2-way fridges which cannot readily be swapped for 3 way as there is no venting. Is this a significant issue to be concerned about? (FYI 3 way standard on PW). Follow on- to date, my understanding is that the drawer microwave oven in Airstream has no convection feature, but the 2017 version is now showing a "browning" feature. Comments?

No experience w/ a propane frig but from what I've read on here, they have several drawbacks such as being level to operate properly and minimum achievable temp. Also uses up the limited supply of propane which you may need for A/C and/or battery charging.

3. How about the Air Suspension? My test drives have been unladen and I am uncertain about the need for this relatively expensive option once tanks, gear and folks are on board. This one seems hard to evaluate.

Not req'd if you don't plan on any rear passengers. The front seats are great and the ride is nice.

4. The PW has a china bowl toilet in the bathroom. Although at the bottom of the list, I believe this is a nice feature. I welcome your comments. Please be nice. Follow on question- macerator and pump vs. gravity discharge?

Not sure what the utility of a china bowl is (easier to clean?) but it is probably a lot heavier than the one AS uses. Never used the gravity "stinky slinky" but the macerator/pump seems to be the way to go to me.

5. PW is no longer offering a spare tire at in an attempt to make rear doors much more easily functional by eliminating the tire mount. Instead they are giving a roadside tire service arrangement. Of course, I understand that even with the spare tire present as with Airstream, roadside assistance is still needed to simply change the tire anyway. In your opinions, how significant is this?

While I've been fortunate enuf to not have had to change a flat, I think it would be doable provided you have an adequate place to pull off and do it. If it's a nail/screw type leak, MB provides a can of "Slime" and a 12 VDC air compressor to fix w/o removing wheel.

6. In your opinions, is the wider network of Airstream dealers/service centers, solely reason enough to choose Airstream over a much smaller manufacturer as Canadian based PW?

There are a lot of independent RV dealers that can work on most brands.

7. At the moment I am absolutely leaning toward Airstream despite the premium pricing, but I am concerned about reliability and manufacturing quality, in part, due to some comments I have read here. What are your overall impressions of your coach quality and reliability and is my concern overblown?

Once you've owned one for a year or two, you'll have found and fixed most of the niggling problem. As several others have said, I'd recommend buying used. I did and looking back, glad I did. There are a lot of AS Interstates less than a year old and under 10K miles for significantly less money. And as someone said, I normally buy new and keep it 'til the wheels fall off.

Thanks so much for your answers and for providing this wonderful forum. I am delighted to interact with you here and perhaps I will be joining the Airstream B Van community! -Jack
Good luck w/ which ever way you go.

PS: Mine is for sale. PM me for details if any interest.
__________________
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.
73shark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 07:47 PM   #8
4 Rivet Member
 
2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 260
Looks to me you have already thoroughly researched this space so I'll congrats you early on your future purchase Here is my add to the good advice you have already received.


1. If you are going to be a serious Boondocker, take a hard look at the RoadTrek CS series with Lithium. The electrics on the AS are fine, but if you are after more off-grid independence and minimum Generator use, then more solar is certainly required (and easy) and AH capacity. Doesn't have to be lithium, but you need to watch weight closely. If you will mostly be where you have hook-ups then the OEM setup is fine.

2. Follows on above. If hook-ups no worries. Off-grid with frig only not a big issue, frig and freezer you'll run the genset more to recharge. All electric does not require the unit to be level and there are more safety concerns with LP. Something to consider. The microwave we use rarely and we certainly do not need a convection feature. Wouldn't know wha to do with it anyway.

3. I have air. It is my first RV so I can not comment on what no air is like. But from all the complaints I've read about the harshness of the Sprinter ride in the back I can say I do not have those complaints. AND when I pull into a campsite I use the Air suspension to help with leveling and often never need to do anymore than that.

4. You will not spend much time in the toilet I hope and China is heavy. I'll take the lighter Theoford any day. Weight is an enemy.

5. For me, I'm not going to be changing one of these tires roadside. I'm calling someone. That said, I carry a plug kit and a pump as the more likely scenario is a puncture. I'll plug and inflate and drive it somewhere to get it properly repaired. If you are going to be in really remote areas, then a properly sized spare starts becoming more relevant.

6. Not for me, but I do a lot of my own trouble shooting and problem solving. It is support for the Sprinter Chassis that I focus on and neither have an advantage on that front. Your lucky to find a Mercedes Dealer that will even service the Sprinter Van.

7. For me the build quality of the AS has exceeded my expectations. Given the reputation of the RV industry in general I expected a year of repairs. Instead, the fit and finish is great and all my tinkering has been on upgrading, personalizing and as an engineer we are also trying to improve things while breaking things in the process I had the odd loose screw hear or there, rattle here or there, but nothing major.

This may be minor, but we could not image being without the screen door. We use it constantly and I can not count the number of Roadtrekers that have asked where they can get one.

Good Luck
__________________
Mcrider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 08:30 PM   #9
Airstreamer In Training
 
FCStreamer's Avatar
 
2014 30' Flying Cloud
Tampa , Florida
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 1,263
Blog Entries: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobo1 View Post
7. At the moment I am absolutely leaning toward Airstream despite the premium pricing, but I am concerned about reliability and manufacturing quality, in part, due to some comments I have read here. What are your overall impressions of your coach quality and reliability and is my concern overblown?
The short answer is yes.

The analogy I like to make in describing Internet forums is like walking into a hospital and asking "anyone sick in here?". The number of hands raised might make you think there's an epidemic. There isn't. You are just in a place where sick people congregate.

Same with Internet forums. People with issues tend to come seeking help. So there tends to be a skew towards negative experiences. Few people with positive experiences post about them. "I bought my RV and there was nothing wrong with it!" They don't. They're too busy enjoying their RV to be posting here.

Airstream has a reputation built on years of quality construction. Do they have issues? Of course they do. Everyone does. And you'll get to hear all about them here. But at the end of the day, Aitstream as a company would not survive if they consistently put out the garbage product some make it out to be.

Having said that, RVing is not for the timid. You need a certain level of self sufficiency and initiative. If you are looking for a 100% turn key solution where nothing ever goes wrong, RVing ain't it.

Good luck!
__________________
2014 Airstream Flying Cloud 30 Recliner - WBCCI #4850 - AIR #110821
2013 Cadillac Escalade Tow Vehicle, Equal-i-zer Hitch
Visit Our Flying Cloud blog for my latest adventure!
FCStreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 09:00 PM   #10
Rivets?
 
nvestysly's Avatar

 
1992 29' Excella
2010 22' Interstate
Van By The River , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,522
Going on a tangent here but I think it's useful...

Friends of ours just purchased a luxury Class A, diesel-pusher motorhome. They searched, looked at floor plans, went on factory tours, attended manufacturer seminars, worked directly with the factory sales rep, etc. AND... they still had problems.

This couple did more homework than most people would when buying an RV. They are very thorough and tried to anticipate what seemed like every conceivable problem that might occur during ordering and construction of their motorhome. In the end they still experienced some disappointment.

They purchased a top-shelf, name brand Class A and did everything they could do to avoid problems. When they arrived at the factory to take delivery, anticipating a few days of get acquainted, how does this work they instead found themselves helping to solve problems that occurred.

In the end they are pleased with their motorhome and will likely enjoy it for many years.

My point is... stuff happens. As mentioned above, RVers need to have some level of proficiency with solving problems and addressing issues as they come up. No brand is perfect. No dealer is perfect. Problems of some sort seem to be part of the equation.

I still think renting an RV to go boondocking (or whatever you want to do) is one of the best ways to gain an understanding of whether this life is for you before you take the plunge on ~$150k Class B motorhome.

At a minimum, hook up with some Interstate owners in your area and go meet them face to face. Attend a rally or two, even if that's not what you ultimately plan to do with your RV, so you can get some experience with Interstates.
__________________
Lucius and Danielle
1992 29' Excella Classic
1996 GMC Suburban C2500 7.4L
2005 Chevrolet Suburban K2500 8.1L
Got a cooped-up feeling, gotta get out of town, got those Airstream campin' blues...
nvestysly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 09:06 PM   #11
2 Rivet Member
 
LoveToWander's Avatar

 
2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Seattle , Washington
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 39
This is interesting to me because my wife and I did almost exactly the same thing you did. We had it down to the Pleasure Way FL and the Airstream Interstate. At that point we found an RV dealer that would allow us to rent the Pleasure Way for a week. We did that, and to my surprise, I couldnít use the bathroom with the door closed. It just isnít big enough, and I have a pretty average build. That isnít to say the Airstream bathroom is that much bigger, but I can get my pants down and back up with the door closed. I suppose each person will have their own feelings about such matters.
As far as boon- docking goes, I just turn everything off and pretend itís a fancy tent. Youíll only be there to sleep at night anyway. The rest of the time youíre out exploring the area youíre camped in. Just be frugal with power and water. Itís part of the adventure.
The only real question I have with the Airstream, so far, has to do with the service bulletin regarding a relay to turn off the inverter when the main power switch is off. The relay works as advertised, but it does get pretty hot, as pointed out by others on this forum. If something ends up getting changed in my rig, it will likely be that.
Also, for what itís worth, I think the macerator is the envy of the dump station. If it isnít, it should be! I just pray it keeps working.
Good luck. I hope this helps.
__________________
2016 Interstate GT Twin
LoveToWander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 10:09 PM   #12
1 Rivet Member
 
2017 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
barrie , Ontario
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 10
Another newbie with same questions

This really hit home for me because we did similar research and have the same questions. Our Grand Tour should be on the production line this week and it's a huge investment. Finger crossed. It's been scary reading about the electrical concerns and since we hope to do some boondocking we're hoping things will go as anticipated without problems. Love that there are so many out there who can offer help when/if needed. Thanks for all the input.
__________________
catjer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 10:24 PM   #13
Figment of My Imagination
 
Protagonist's Avatar
 
2012 Interstate Coach
From All Over , More Than Anywhere Else
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 10,317
Quote:
Originally Posted by FCStreamer View Post
If you are looking for a 100% turn key solution where nothing ever goes wrong, RVing ain't it.
At least RVing is better than boating! If your RV breaks down, you don't have to swim homeÖ
__________________
WBCCI #1105
TAC LA-4

My Google-Fu is strong today.
Protagonist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2016, 07:40 AM   #14
Airstreamer In Training
 
FCStreamer's Avatar
 
2014 30' Flying Cloud
Tampa , Florida
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 1,263
Blog Entries: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
At least RVing is better than boating! If your RV breaks down, you don't have to swim homeÖ
This is very true!
__________________

__________________
2014 Airstream Flying Cloud 30 Recliner - WBCCI #4850 - AIR #110821
2013 Cadillac Escalade Tow Vehicle, Equal-i-zer Hitch
Visit Our Flying Cloud blog for my latest adventure!
FCStreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Newbie help request from Newbie southsaglejim Plumbing - Systems & Fixtures 18 09-10-2014 08:39 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:03 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.