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Old 11-11-2017, 04:27 PM   #1
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Question Now that I have a 2017 AI what to I upgrade first?

Just bought a a used 2017 AI GT with air suspension. It had 9700 miles on it. Everything looks perfect, tires, paint etc. We got the oil changed, the generator serviced and had it winterized before we headed North with it. We drove it home last night.

We are in Wisconsin so it will stay in the (heated) garage and plugged in until Spring. Before getting it I read hundreds of post here on this forum. It is a great resource but it's all jumbled in my head as to what we should tackle first.

My guess is that next summer it will be relatively short trips with maybe one long (two week) trip. The following year we are planning on doing the ALCAN Highway.

So where to begin?
  • solar controller upgrade
  • inverter upgrade
  • more house batteries
  • try to resolve all the rattling when going down the road
  • tires look good but should I get front alignment now?
  • different front shocks?
  • more solar panels
  • new speakers (I did upgrade the software for the Fusion without any problems - thanks to tips I found here.
  • tint dirver and passenger windows

If there is a list for the 2017 I may have missed it but would appreciate thoughts as to what is essential, best value or what you found to be essential

Thanks!

Kevin
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Old 11-11-2017, 04:37 PM   #2
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You really can't go wrong with a solar controller upgrade. It will only improve what you already have.

Re. an alignment, how did it drive on the way home? If it was Cadillac smooth, leave it alone. If not, get it aligned.

As for the rest, use it next spring/summer and see what's working and what needs work. No sense in spending more money on things you don't need. Save it for fuel for next year's adventures.
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Old 11-11-2017, 04:53 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick response!

[QUOTE=FlyFishinRVr;2033436]You really can't go wrong with a solar controller upgrade. It will only improve what you already have.

Which is your favorite solar controller?

Re. an alignment, how did it drive on the way home? If it was Cadillac smooth, leave it alone. If not, get it aligned.

It was a bit off at first, vibrations coming thru the steering wheel but mechanic at the dealer said that it sat for a while (and it was cold this week) and maybe a flat spot for awhile. Could have been pavement but later the vibration went away. Seem to track true, but it was pretty windy yesterday nevertheless, I sensed no pulling.
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Old 11-11-2017, 05:18 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=sheakev;2033444]Thanks for the quick response!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr View Post
You really can't go wrong with a solar controller upgrade. It will only improve what you already have.

Which is your favorite solar controller?

Re. an alignment, how did it drive on the way home? If it was Cadillac smooth, leave it alone. If not, get it aligned.

It was a bit off at first, vibrations coming thru the steering wheel but mechanic at the dealer said that it sat for a while (and it was cold this week) and maybe a flat spot for awhile. Could have been pavement but later the vibration went away. Seem to track true, but it was pretty windy yesterday nevertheless, I sensed no pulling.
On the solar, depends on what you want in regards to remote monitoring. Is it important that you have a physical remote monitor like you do with the Atkinson? If yes, are you up for pulling new wiring through the coach? If both of those are yes, get a Victron MPPT. Very good stuff. If the first answer is yes but the second is no, I recommend the Renogy MPPT since it uses the same type of cable as the Atkinson which makes it plug and play. If the answer to the first question is no, get the Victron MPPT and use their Bluetooth dongle to get your solar info on your smart device (tablet or phone). Of course others will likely chime in with their favorites, but honestly almost any MPPT controller will be leaps and bounds better than the Atkinson.

Re. the ride, double check the air in all of the tires and drive it some more. It should be glass smooth if all is well. If not, get everything balanced and if necessary, aligned. Mine went out of alignment after going through road destruction....err, "construction"...in Yellowstone this summer so it needs some work.
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:20 PM   #5
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Solar Controller, Dually Valves (if previous owner didn't add them) and a Tire Pressure Monitor System (a lot of us use the TST System (don't try to install on the rubber valve stems, wait until you get the Dually Valves), I wouldn't mess with battery's unless yours go bad, then I would consider 6V batteries (2 6v's will give you a 37.5% increased capacity). No reason to swap out invertor unless you are doing a monster solar/battery upgrade. Solar, just depends on how you use your coach. In our case, we don't really camp off grid but we wanted to be able to leave the coach parked all day with the frige running (meds) and the fantastic fan set to auto. We swapped out the OEM 50w panel for a 100w + added a 2nd 100w panel. This combo along with a decent MPPT Solar controller has worked well for us. The key here is using your coach for a while to decide what your needs are. I would get the alingment done as well as balance all 6 tires. You can have this done when you have the Dually Valves installed. Speakers and window tint are kind of a personal choice. I've been happy with my OEM speakers but then I'm not exactly an audiophile. Good Luck.
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:58 PM   #6
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If you bought your AI from a dealer, odds are the batteries have been abused sitting on the lot and may be toast (although it's hard to tell since the stock AI's boondocking capabilities are pathetic even with fresh batteries). There are plenty of posts here on how to check your batteries. Also be sure to read all the posts on parasitic drain and how to prevent it.
Congrats on the new rig. They are a great road trip machine.
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Old 11-11-2017, 08:37 PM   #7
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Thanks c21bill!

I just checked the valve stems, The two front and the two outside rear ones are metal but the two rear inside ones are rubber. Getting a TPMS, changing out rubber stems, and getting everything balanced and aligned will be on the top of the list.

I would like to get two to three more solar panels on the roof but need to do quite a bit more research on that.

Batteries appear good, so I will leave them alone for now.

As to the speakers, it sounds like the one in the driver door is bad so I need to get that sorted out.

As to the film, when we were driving the AI home from purchasing it on Thursday we had two sunny, but cold days. The sun is at a low angle and it was really (hot) coming in the side door window. In addition, UV is a concern because of getting sunburn, it seems everyone in my family has developed skin cancer but me so no sense tempting fate. The 3M Crystalline film is pretty clear, not going for a "tinted" look rather cut down on UV and some heat gain.
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Old 11-11-2017, 08:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BurntAsphalt View Post
If you bought your AI from a dealer, odds are the batteries have been abused sitting on the lot and may be toast (although it's hard to tell since the stock AI's boondocking capabilities are pathetic even with fresh batteries). There are plenty of posts here on how to check your batteries. Also be sure to read all the posts on parasitic drain and how to prevent it.
Congrats on the new rig. They are a great road trip machine.
I do recall reading how to properly test the batteries, I had asked the dealer to do that but I am 99% certain they did not. I believe it was only on the lot for about six weeks.

I will search for parasitic and work on getting it reduced.

I plan on looking into another battery holder so I can eventually add more house batteries. Thanks for the tips
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Old 11-11-2017, 09:47 PM   #9
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Congrats and welcome to the forum where “misery loves company” It’s the Ferrari of RVs if you know what I mean
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Old 11-12-2017, 01:08 AM   #10
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On batteries, leave the fridge and freezer on overnight and see how much charge you have left in the morning. If it is less than 50% then you are out of capacity. That was the case with ours and so our AGM batteries are history.
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Old 11-12-2017, 03:59 AM   #11
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[QUOTE=sheakev;2033522]Thanks c21bill!

I just checked the valve stems, The two front and the two outside rear ones are metal but the two rear inside ones are rubber. Getting a TPMS, changing out rubber stems, and getting everything balanced and aligned will be on the top of the list.


Contact yourtireshopsupply.com for a set of Duallly Valves for the rear of your coach. The ones you want are DL1SPAL. They will cost about $120. Then of course, find a competent tire shop to do the alignment, balance and Dually Valve installation. Not all shops can align the Sprinters. Usually a shop that has the capability to align trucks.

As to your speaker, your coach should be under factory warranty so you should be able to get that changed out under warranty at your dealer.

Good luck
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Old 11-12-2017, 06:55 AM   #12
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I would change to metal valve stems because that is important regardless of how you plan to use it. By 9700 miles your tire wear would show if there is an alignment problem. plus you said it handles OK. I would wait on all the rest, until you learn what is important to YOU. Batteries and other electrical improvements are not important if most of you time is spent at campsites having electricity. We have gone on 10ish 2 week trips, and plug in appx 1x per week (at most). And we typically drive at least an hour or two per day. So 200W solar and an MTTP controlled works fine for us (though probably not if we had a two fridge GT).
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Old 11-12-2017, 07:10 AM   #13
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We have a 2016 AI GT. We did 16,000 miles this summer, Florida to Alaska and return. Before the trip, we added two 12v AGM Lifeline batteries, a Victron MPPT controller and two 100w solar panels. We dry camped for three months in Alaska we only ran the generator when in a shaded campsite.
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Old 11-12-2017, 08:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheakev View Post
Re. an alignment, how did it drive on the way home? If it was Cadillac smooth, leave it alone. If not, get it aligned.
My recommendation is to get it aligned anyway.

Also, adding Koni shocks front and rear, and Sumo Springs front and rear (or front only if you have an air suspension in the rear) will help.

Airstream purchased your Sprinter with the front end aligned for an empty cargo van. Then Airstream added over a ton to the curb weight, and that threw off the alignment. But Airstream is not equipped to do front end alignments on their B-vans, so the alignment was never adjusted for the new curb weight. Catching the alignment issue early will help prevent uneven front tire wear later.

By the way, Mercedes Benz routinely does all-wheel alignment, not just front end alignment. That helps the rear wheels track straight. Ever follow a pickup truck or cargo van and it looked like it was going down the road at an angle? That's what happens when the rear axle is not precisely aligned to be perpendicular to the vehicle's centerline, and it causes a drop in fuel economy as well as excessive wear on the tires, as well as affecting the front-end alignment. The all-wheel alignment takes care of that.
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