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Old 02-27-2013, 10:02 AM   #1
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Riding on the back row in new Interstate

Hi,
I am planning to buy a 2012/2013 Airstream Interstate Ext lounge in couple of months. However I have a concern about the back row seats. I have 3 children who require car seats. One of the car seats has to go to the back seat. We are planning to do extensive traveling during this summer and wondering how comfortable is the ride in the back row. We will mainly be using the rv for traveling and occasional camping. I have couple of questions and would greatly appreciate for any inputs.

1) I have heard that the back row could be bumpy, so need to get inputs from any folks who have rode on the back seat on long distance traveling.
2) I like the look and the comfort of the Interstate. I know this is the wrong forum to ask this question . Would you think the 20k price that I would be paying for Interstate over most other new class B rvs, is worth?

Thanks in advance for any inputs.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:34 AM   #2
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Just like any van / SUV with back seat located right on the rear wheel, you will feel the bump each time you go over bumps. With the extended 24 ft version rented twice for long family trips, I felt comfortable at the back bench seat (Thru NYC & Chicago inner city roads) and both trips were smooth. The other consideration is load. The more the load, the better the ride for all the passengers during inner city rough road ride. On regular interstate road, rides on the rear seat are as smooth as any high-end luxury coach. YMMV
Test drive with a cup of water in a catch tray placed under or front floor of the rear seat. Have your partner watch and Iphone record the vibration in the water, then determine if in excess or just right for you. ( It's Harley Davidson test done many times)
20K price variance is a matter of taste and if you are interested in trade-in value or asset evaluation. Personally, it's a beauty and an icon everywhere I went especially gas stations, parking lots and suprisingly in traffic hold ups. Rent is all I can do and that's all I ask for anytime my grandkids want a big vacation treat . Best wishes in your search & purchase.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tishaeisha View Post
Hi,
I am planning to buy a 2012/2013 Airstream Interstate Ext lounge in couple of months. However I have a concern about the back row seats. I have 3 children who require car seats. One of the car seats has to go to the back seat. We are planning to do extensive traveling during this summer and wondering how comfortable is the ride in the back row. We will mainly be using the rv for traveling and occasional camping. I have couple of questions and would greatly appreciate for any inputs.

1) I have heard that the back row could be bumpy, so need to get inputs from any folks who have rode on the back seat on long distance traveling.
2) I like the look and the comfort of the Interstate. I know this is the wrong forum to ask this question . Would you think the 20k price that I would be paying for Interstate over most other new class B rvs, is worth?

Thanks in advance for any inputs.
I think your children will love the travel in an Interstate, and any bumping or swaying will all be part of the adventure.

We have traveled with our grandchildren many times, no complaints.

We love ours, worth by penny. . If you're concerned about cost, buy a gently use one.


Maggie
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:19 AM   #4
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Same here. They're busy w/ games or watching movies. And snacking.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:16 AM   #5
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Would you think the 20k price that I would be paying for Interstate over most other new class B rvs, is worth?
If you can afford it, YES! Before I ever looked at an Interstate, I also checked out the Winnebago Era and Roadtrek Adventurous. While they're much the same on the outside (if you ignore those ugly vinyl graphic swirls on the Era), the difference in the interior is immediately obvious. The Interstate has the only interior that looks like it belongs in a Mercedes! The others are cheap and tawdry by comparison.

On the test drive, the Interstate experienced less road noise, thanks to superior sound insulation in the flooring, and fewer creaks and rattles as well.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:43 AM   #6
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We had looked at Roadtreks and Pleasureways, but when we saw the Interstate we had to have it. It is beautiful inside.



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Old 02-28-2013, 08:09 AM   #7
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We love our Interstate (not EXT) and I have a hard time saying anything negative about it ... but we did have a full load of passengers over rough roads on New Years Eve (I'm always the DD ... control freak I suppose) and over some rough roads we ended up having to move our more sensitive passengers (a 50 year old with back problems, an other wise healthy 85 year old and a younger person who gets motion sickness) from the rear bench up to the front captains chairs due to their discomfort over bumps. I will say that the heavy duty rear suspension with the dual tires that makes the 3500 chassis so stable and confidence inspiring carrying the load of the RV also makes the ride back there much rougher than you might expect. I have also noticed that when I have a 5000 lbs trailer hooked up with 600 lbs of tongue weight sitting on the hitch the ride is MUCH smoother. I don't know if the springs in the EXT are the same as the standard length bus, if so the extra weight of the EXT might smooth things out somewhat. Note that Doug and Maggie's chassis is a single rear wheel setup so their experience regarding rear ride comfort may be much different than in the duallys. I suggest taking a test drive with someone sitting back there to test it out. I doubt the ride on the highway will be an issue, but around town over city streets (speed bumps are the worst, I crawl over them much to the dismay of anyone stuck behind me) is where you might have a concern.
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:34 AM   #8
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I will say that the heavy duty rear suspension with the dual tires that makes the 3500 chassis so stable and confidence inspiring carrying the load of the RV also makes the ride back there much rougher than you might expect.
It has to do mainly with un-sprung weight (the weight of everything below the springs). Not only do the dual rear wheels have more unsprung weight just from having four wheels/tires rather than two on that axle, but the metal wheels themselves are heavier for the duals than for singles, due to the different shape and increased thickness. Could be worse, though; at least they're ALCOA aluminum, not steel wheels on the duals. Anyway, more un-sprung weight means a rougher ride for every pothole or bump.

Suspension is the same for the extended model as for the regular model; one reason why the regular model has a 7500-pound towing capacity and the extended only has 5000 pound towing capacity. A Stock Spinter 3500 with 170-inch wheelbase has a GVWR of 11,030 pounds, and a GCWR of 15,250 pounds, regardless of whether it's an extended model or a regular model. For all Sprinter 3500 models with a 170-inch wheelbase, the Gross Rear Axle Load (GAWR Rear) is 7720 pounds. The Aistream Interstate conversion has exactly the same GAWR (Rear), GVWR, and GCWR as the stock Sprinter.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:48 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the information. I really appreciate it.
Actually I drove a new Interstate EXT couple of weeks ago, but it was slightly snowing and my wife and I couldn't do much testing riding in the back. My wife briefly rode on the back and thought it was a ok ride, however i was driving mainly on decent roads.

I have couple more questions..sorry..

1)Does any of you know if airstream add/modify any special suspension/systems to the back wheels when they do the conversion? I see the benz 3500 originally comes with the following according to benz website.. "rigid rear beam suspension with leaf springs" ( in addition to these, 2500 also has a stabilizer bar). I was wondering if airstream add any additional things to the rear suspension system other than the benz factory installed suspensions?

2) Do any of you feel the Interstate has little harder time when you pass another vehicle on the highway? Just curious since the 188 h.p doesn't look adequate enough to push 11000+ pounds on a highway, specially on a little incline… When I test drove the Interstate, i had a little harder time passing a truck(on a flat highway). I know this is what we have to live with, since all the sprinters have the same engine.
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:33 PM   #10
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1)Does any of you know if airstream add/modify any special suspension/systems to the back wheels when they do the conversion?
Don't think so. As prevously stated, GAWR (Rear), GVWR, and GCWR are all the same on the Aistream vs. the stock Sprinter.

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2) Do any of you feel the Interstate has little harder time when you pass another vehicle on the highway?
It's slow taking off from a standing start, and when accelerating up an incline one needs a manual downshift because the transmission is kind of slow to downshift for you; the engine will bog down if you leave the downshift to the onboard computer. Other than that, I have no problem.

However— and I haven't gone fast enough to confirm it— I'm told by a fellow Interstate owner that US-market Sprinters have a governor that keeps the speed from exceeding 80mph. Not a problem for me, because if I had to go that fast to pass, I wouldn't pass at all, but other drivers have different driving styles.
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:27 AM   #11
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I believe the suspension is stock. There are stiffer aftermarket rear shocks (Koni) available that I may add in the future. There are also larger anti-sway bars available and air springs that can replace or assist the stock leaf springs. I may consider the larger sway bar but personally would not mess with the air spring conversion.

The 325 lbs/ft. of torque the little 3.0L v6 puts out is what really matters when thinking about the load it has to push around (not to mention the considerable size of the hole it has to make in the wind). For what it is I find the Sprinter to be surprisingly quick. But if you compare it to a big turbo diesel torque monster like a modern pickup truck or a Class A with a big diesel pusher in the back the Sprinter is a bit of a slug. Of course the big dogs don't get the fuel economy we do either. So you have to make a choice on what you want. Two lane road passes must be made with forethought and discretion.

Yes our sprinters have a governor. If you touch 85 mph it will cut throttle and slow you down to 80 before it gives control back to the driver. Drives me crazy. I will eventually spend the $1300 and send my ECU off to Renntech to remove the limiter (and with their tune pick up an alleged 80 hp and 97 ft lbs or torque in the process). Yes this probably voids the warranty. I'm not concerned about that. I plan to install an auxiliary transmission oil cooler when I upgrade the power to extend the life of the transmission with the increased load this modification will put on the driveline. Modify at your own risk.
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:43 AM   #12
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2) Do any of you feel the Interstate has little harder time when you pass another vehicle on the highway? Just curious since the 188 h.p doesn't look adequate enough to push 11000+ pounds on a highway, specially on a little incline… When I test drove the Interstate, i had a little harder time passing a truck(on a flat highway). I know this is what we have to live with, since all the sprinters have the same engine.
First, any one ton chassis is going to ride stiff when lightly loaded. Just ride in a 1/2 ton pickup and then try a one ton pickup. Since the extended version weighs more, I'd expect it to ride a little smoother.

Second, the 188 hp is not what gets you started at a stop or when passing. It's the 325 ft-lb of torque. That's as much as some small V8s. I was surprised at how much pep this relatively small engine displays w/ such a heavy vehicle. Mine has never embarrassed me in traffic. I'll admit that you do want to plan your passing when at hwy speeds. Of course when you get to higher altitudes, you can expect a little turbo lag at starts and a little reduced power at higher speeds. But that's basically true of most vehicles.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:52 PM   #13
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Napa , California
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We bought our Interstate mainly to travel in, rather then camp with. Our single real complaint with it is the ride quality in the back. It's VERY bumpy if the roads aren't super smooth.

At 65-70 people come completely off the seat on the freeways with rough roads.

I've looked around for options and on the low end I have read about these:
Mercedes Application Guide for Timbren Suspension Enhancement Systems

Although I haven't really found an article where someone flat out says they made a world of difference for passenger comfort.

The up side is that they are inexpensive and look fairly easy to install.

On the other side of the coin, just today I called Bespoke Coachworks. They made Beyoncé and Jay Z's $500k sprinter conversion and I can't see putting up with delivery truck ride quality for that money.

I got a call back about an hour ago. They use a custom 4 airbag suspension replacement with shock and stabilizer and could do the install on my Airstream

All for the low-low price of $10500 installed. He told me it was 34 man hours of labor to do the conversion.

He didn't tell me the company that makes them, but did say they are made in the UK.

Not sure if anyone here might know the kit in question, but I'm wondering how much the parts alone would be.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:40 PM   #14
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I rode in the back of our 2013 Interstate Ext for a couple of hours on our very first trip. It is a little bumpy, but I am prone to motion sickness and was reading manuals the whole time (usually a no-no for me in the car) and did not have a problem. I do not think it would be an issue for kiddos.
One other note, though. There is no latch system in the Interstate, so you will have to use the seat belt to install the seats. Fortunately, our child is just getting to be big enough to use a booster seat instead, so we won't have to worry about that anymore.
Excited for you...we love ours!
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