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Old 06-08-2014, 01:59 AM   #1
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Seriously considering an Interstate

We're new to the Rv world and we are seriously considering a 2015 Interstate.., black on black with walnut. We're city slickers looking for some advice on part time RV'ing. I've read just about every article I can find on the web, and we just test drove a 2014 model today. We're sold on the idea. Tired of trekking in the sedan!

Please share any knowledge you may have... We'll continue the thread from there... I have a ton of question for the veterans out there!
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:39 AM   #2
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That's a very broad question.

What do you want to know?



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Old 06-08-2014, 06:07 AM   #3
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We're new to the Rv world and we are seriously considering a 2015 Interstate.
Welcome to the AirForums!
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Please share any knowledge you may have... We'll continue the thread from there...
All right, let's start with the absolute basics. As a fellow city-slicker (New Orleans metro area) before you think of buying…
Where are you going to store it when it's not in use? As RVs go, an Airstream Interstate is practically a "stealth" model, since there are so many Sprinter vans on the road, but zoning ordinances still come into play. For example, where I live, they can be stored at home, but when parked they can't extend any closer to the street than the front of the building, i.e. have to be parked on the side of the house or in back. At my apartment complex, there's gated parking in the rear, and my landlady allows me to park it at home.

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I have a ton of question for the veterans out there!
Ask away! We're always ready to chip in our 2¢ worth.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:27 AM   #4
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Thanks for the quick replies!

So we have thought of that (storage).... We live in Wisconsin. So parking it outside is out of the question. However, there are plenty of nice storage places around where people keep boats and RVs. Question... I was watching a review on YouTube on one of the Roadtreks (another Sprinter model), and they pointed out that the water hoses were exposed to the elements underneath the vehicle. Because of this the reviewer said that this was NOT an all-season RV. Surely, the engineers at Airstream thought of that when they designed the Interstate, right? Can someone please confirm?

We plan on using our new Interstate all year long.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:59 AM   #5
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Because of this the reviewer said that this was NOT an all-season RV.
It's not really all-season. No Sprinter-based motorhome is, as far as I know. But you can camp in winter weather, within limits. But you'll do it without the macerator pump for discharging waste because the pump has to be winterized or it will freeze. You'll do it without municipal water service, meaning you have to use on-board supplies. And even then, you can only do it if you're connected to a reliable source of shore power so you can use the freshwater and graywater tank heaters (the blackwater tank is mostly above the floor level so it's heated by the furnace).

Most of the plumbing except for the lines from the black and gray tanks to the macerator pump are above floor level so as long as you can keep the furnace running, they won't freeze.

Oh, and don't think of running the generator to power the tank heaters. The generator is air-cooled, but your on-board propane supply will only run the generator for 24 hours, and that's if you're NOT running the furnace as well. So winter camping in an Interstate definitely requires reliable shore power.
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:02 AM   #6
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I don't know about other brands, but the Interstates are certainly all-season RV's.

We have travelled the country, all times of the year, had temps up to 100 and down into the teens. Never had a problem, except once in AZ when we were surprised by an early morning drop to 14 degrees. Our hose and water filter froze outside, causing an incovenience but nothing more. We were newbies then, also a time before we carried a computer with us and monitored temperatures more closely.

We were told when we bought ours in 2007 that, if it is warm enough for you inside, it is warm enough to keep pipes and internal things from freezing. That has always proven to be the case. In cold weather, we fill the fresh water tank rather than leaving a hose connected.

It is important to understand that these are basically tricked-up camper vans. In cold and windy weather, you need to pull out your warm slippers and blankies to be comfortable, if you are hanging out inside. That's just the way it is. This is not your well-insulated home you are taking with you.

All part of the adventure. Nothing quite compares to having everything you need with you, and the ability to park and stay places larger rigs cannot.

148,000 miles, and couldn't love her more.


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Old 06-08-2014, 10:11 AM   #7
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I don't know about other brands, but the Interstates are certainly all-season RV's.
Ah, but yours discharges through a slinky. The macerator pumps in the newer models WILL freeze if not winterized, and as soon as you discharge black or gray water, they're no longer winterized. Found THAT out the hard way just a few months ago.

So winter camping in the newer models is limited to how long you can go without emptying your tanks. Sure would be nice if the tank heaters on the newer Interstates also included a macerator pump heater…
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:16 AM   #8
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Protag got in here while I was typing, so I will add a couple of things.

You don't have to have a macerator pump. We have never had anything but a regular discharge hose.

Our general rule of thumb is to be hooked up to electricity if we need AC or heat. It's just easier and more comfortable. Other than a few nights at Padre Island National Seashore last year, when we had to be there even tho it was quite chilly, we boondock and dry camp only when outside temps are moderate.

The Fantastic Fan pulls air in beautifully through the rear windows, directly across the bed, so that comfortable sleeping minus electricity is very doable unless temps and humidity are very high.

We set out last year to expand our boondocking experiences, and did. Spent several weeks in the Rocky Mountains, in beautiful campgrounds with no hookups. Had a fantastic time and no issues. Your coach batteries keep things running inside, and who needs television when you have a mountain river a few feet from your cargo door.

We have found our Interstate to be trustworthy and reliable, at all temps and all elevations, with and without electricity.


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Old 06-08-2014, 10:22 AM   #9
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Ah, but yours discharges through a slinky. The macerator pumps in the newer models WILL freeze if not winterized, and as soon as you discharge black or gray water, they're no longer winterized. Found THAT out the hard way just a few months ago.

So winter camping in the newer models is limited to how long you can go without emptying your tanks. Sure would be nice if the tank heaters on the newer Interstates also included a macerator pump heater…
Well, Okay, but how difficult would it be to put a little antifreeze in that macerator pump after each dump, if that's what they come equipped with? Seems to me it would be logical for that to be optional, too.

I, quite frankly, don't understand the attraction of camping in the winter. We travel in winter, don't pull out into the snow and stay for a few days.

That's not what Interstates are best for, IMO, although it could be done.


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Old 06-08-2014, 10:24 AM   #10
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I think the new ones only have the pump. No way to use a hose? Jim
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Old 06-08-2014, 01:41 PM   #11
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Wow... This is a lot of great information! I definitely will google many of the terms you guys are throwing around ( boondock, etc...). Good news is that I'm still super excited. Honestly, I don't know how much camping I'll be doing in the winter anyway. Driving south to visit family, yes. But, camping other than a few hours at a rest area or Walmart will probably be the extent of it. And that would only be during the milder winter months, not January or February. Next question... Do Interstates really get +20 mpg?
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Old 06-08-2014, 01:47 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Porchelf View Post
Wow... This is a lot of great information! I definitely will google many of the terms you guys are throwing around ( boondock, etc...). Good news is that I'm still super excited. Honestly, I don't know how much camping I'll be doing in the winter anyway. Driving south to visit family, yes. But, camping other than a few hours at a rest area or Walmart will probably be the extent of it. And that would only be during the milder winter months, not January or February. Next question... Do Interstates really get +20 mpg?
Not so much with the V-6 engines, but the others do. My V-6 gets 18-19, though.
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Old 06-08-2014, 02:03 PM   #13
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Next question... Do Interstates really get +20 mpg?
Yes, the older ones do.

We get 22-25 mpg.


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Old 06-08-2014, 04:29 PM   #14
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Another question.... Are there options to add a tankless water heater to an Interstate... Or, it is even worth it? I can't imagine wanting to stay in the shower that long as small as is anyway.
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