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Old 05-11-2016, 05:57 PM   #1
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New purchase failing miserably 24 hours into our 1 trip (our anniversary)

We purchased our 2015 interstate ext airstream yesterday, on our trip the following day with our purchase and about 300 miles into the drive we ran into trouble. When trying to turn the generator on, it suddenly just clicked and nothing happened. Slowly, our navigation system started blinking, then slowly disappeared. Our battery disconnect also started flashing red. None of our lights worked. At this point, we have no idea what is going on, as we are newbies at airstream/RV in general. From one of your forums, I was able to see that if the battery is too low, the generator will not turn on. The car was running and our batter not charging. Can anyone help with that?

Question 2: why do you think this was not caught on the PDA?

Question 3: 30 minutes after this happened, our Ac stopped blowing cold air and continued to make the noise as if it was blowing, but no air coming out.

This was our one year anniversary. My husband worked so hard to make it special. Instead, we feel we have been completely misguided and ripped off. We are now in southwest Virginia and in despair. Any insight would help from anyone.
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:17 PM   #2
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So sorry to hear about your problems!

I can offer a welcome to the AS forums and AS life, and sympathy.

And maybe some perspective in that I would expect that spending the night in your new rig, even with nothing but candle light, will be an occasion to remember. (perhaps not fondly, but memorable nonetheless).

Can you make your way to a campground with electric hookups? I am no Interstate expert, as I have a trailer. But I would imagine that by plugging into shore power your rig may be able to run the AC, etc.

If not, then maybe it's one of those "that's why we have a credit card" moments to get a hotel and dinner out.
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:25 PM   #3
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One question you can answer for us if whether the Interstate is brand new or whether it is used. Either way I'm assuming that there is some Airstream original warranty left. Is there an Airstream dealer either close by or within reasonable driving distance? If there is an Airstream warranty still active on your Interstate, you should be able to get it checked out, albeit not without requiring you some modification of your trip plans.

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Old 05-11-2016, 06:30 PM   #4
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First and foremost - I'm sure I'm with anyone else reading your post - just so sorry for the bad experience.

Did your purchase come with Coach Net? Do you have AAA or Good Sams? If so, perhaps a tow to a camp ground with power would help get through a few days anyway where you can strategize what to repair/replace.

It can't possibly feel this way right now, but to quote the pretty smart Bruce Springsteen - "...someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny..."

Until then - best of luck, give each other big hugs and welcome to the forums!
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:47 PM   #5
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Is the engine running ok? I am asking to figure out of the alternator is working ok.
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guerraarcher View Post
When trying to turn the generator on, it suddenly just clicked and nothing happened.
There are several possible reasons for this, including low oil in the generator, but your litany of other problems does make it likely the house batteries are too dead to start the generator.
Quote:
Slowly, our navigation system started blinking, then slowly disappeared.
While the key was turned on and engine was running? The Kenwood/Garmin head unit should be wired up through a relay that provides power from either the starting battery or the house batteries. If the unit blanked out with the engine off, that's house batteries again, but if it blacked out with the engine running that could be a problem with the engine alternator not providing charging current. If so, that's a Mercedes Benz problem, not an Airstream problem.
Quote:
None of our lights worked.
Does that include headlights and dome light, or just "house" lights? Important because "house" lights draw current from the house batteries, but headlights draw current from the chassis battery and engine alternator.
Quote:
30 minutes after this happened, our Ac stopped blowing cold air and continued to make the noise as if it was blowing, but no air coming out.
I assume you mean the dashboard A/C because the rooftop A/C only runs on shore power and generator power. If so, that's another indication that it could be a bad alternator.

Trying to troubleshoot long-distance by description only is not easy. But since your litany of electrical failures seems to also include Mercedes Benz systems and not just Airstream systems, going to an MB/Sprinter dealer to have them check out the alternator would be a wise first move. If that has failed and your starting battery is also running low, you could be looking at getting towed when the engine fails to start next time.

And if it was the alternator, then going straight from the MB/Sprinter dealer to a campground with shore power connections to recharge your house batteries would be the next step.

The timing of your difficulties, occurring at the same time as your anniversary, probably makes an already bad situation seem worse. But on the bright side, you'll have a great story to tell your kids and grandkids later! After all, the only functional difference between a disaster and an adventure is how you tell the story when it's all over. Gripe about it and it's a disaster. Laugh about it and it's an adventure.
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:16 PM   #7
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Is the engine running ok? I am asking to figure out of the alternator is working ok.
Engine is diesel, but has an electric fuel pump, so it would keep running— for a while— on the starting battery because at least the electric pump doesn't draw as much power as do spark plugs. But the starting battery will eventually get depleted as well.

I'm in agreement that it sounds as if the alternator or the voltage regulator built into it could be faulty.
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:19 PM   #8
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If its a alternator failure shouldn't a dummy light on the dashboard should have alerted the driver?

My alternator failed on my truck last fall and the dummy light is what alerted me. The remaining battery charge gave me about 50 miles, barely enough to reach a dealer for repairs.
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:26 PM   #9
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I don't have an interstate, but I do have both class C and B motorhomes, and have had both an Airstream 325 and B-190 van, so I'll offer some generic things to check.

All is not lost, so don't despair... but you'll need to take a logical approach to troubleshooting exactly what's going on.

First, did you have any dash trouble indicator lights on? Was there any indication that you were having any issues with the starting battery, or the van's 12v charging system?

Next,most motorhomes have two separate 12v electric systems in the coach. One is the 12v van system that runs the engine, headlights, and the chassis. The other is the 12v coach system that is installed and runs the living quarters. There is likely a master "on-off" switch for the coach system. When it's in the off position, it keeps the battery from draining when the coach is sitting idle because of all the sensors and other electronics that draw current. The coach system is charged by both the van's 12v alternator, the 110vAC shore power converter system, and the generator when it runs; however if that master switch is off, the van's alternator can't charge the coach battery, and if the coach battery is low, it will all just go dark.

So, you mention that your nav system faded out. Is it in-dash or is it an after-market unit that you had plugged into the coach battery system? Will the van's engine start after it's shut off? If the nav was plugged into the in-dash, van 12v system, and the van won't start, then the alternator has issues and needs warranty work by Mercedes.

If, OTOH,if the van chassis is fine and it's just the coach that's not getting 12v, it could be the master switch, or a breaker or fuse. First, start the van's engine and then turn the master switch on. You should have lights in the coach. If that doesn't work, plug the coach into 110vAC and see if your lights work and the battery charges. If it all works when you're plugged into AC, and the switch was off, just turn it on, and it'll charge off the engine going down the road. If however, it doesn't work on 110vAC you have issues that need to go to an Airstream dealer to resolve.

Last, with the generator, if the coach battery is seriously discharged, and the master switch was off, it may take a few minutes of charging with the master switch on and the engine running before the generator will turn over... and that again depends on the brand and size of generator you have.

Good luck and let us know what you figure out! Welcome to the forums and welcome to Airstream ownership!
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:32 PM   #10
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I'm not familiar with the Interstate, so cannot offer much help - but I do believe that your problems will soon be resolved if you can get to a competent RV shop, and that you will go on to enjoy many happy years of RV'ing and be able to look back upon this first trip with a sense of humour!

Best wishes ............. Brian.
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
If its a alternator failure shouldn't a dummy light on the dashboard should have alerted the driver?
One would think so, but if we're looking for a single root cause for all of the reported failures, it's hard to imagine anything else that could be at fault.

The alternative would be multiple concurrent unrelated failures. Which is theoretically possible, but impossible to troubleshoot until at least one root cause is fixed and we see which problems weren't solved by the fix.

And because an alternator failure would eventually leave the OP stranded and in need of a tow, while most other possible causes of individual system failures wouldn't, best to assume the worst for now, at least until an eyes-on hands-on examination tells the OP otherwise. If a system failure can get the OP into worse trouble— such as the engine suddenly quitting on the road— I can't in good conscience suggest checking anything else first.
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:34 PM   #12
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Not what you want to hear but.......

Hi, as someone who started working at new car dealers since 1968, it still amazes me that people will buy a car, truck, trailer Etc. and take that cross country trip the next day.


Buy the vehicle, take it home, read the owner's manual, try everything out, drive it around, get the feel of it, ask the dealer for help on things that you don't understand or about things that you think aren't working. Stay close to home until you understand what you bought.


Now start by going on short trips. Longer trips when you are somewhat experienced.
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Old 05-11-2016, 08:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, as someone who started working at new car dealers since 1968, it still amazes me that people will buy a car, truck, trailer Etc. and take that cross country trip the next day.


Buy the vehicle, take it home, read the owner's manual, try everything out, drive it around, get the feel of it, ask the dealer for help on things that you don't understand or about things that you think aren't working. Stay close to home until you understand what you bought.


Now start by going on short trips. Longer trips when you are somewhat experienced.
While I'd agree that in a perfect world, this is good advice, Bob... it's singularly unhelpful for the OP in this thread. And, as someone who has gone great distances to buy motorhomes and drive them home, it's not always practical advice either. My '85 Airstream 325 was 600 miles away when I bought it. The B-190 was 400 miles away, and so was the Coachmen B-van I have now. Motorhomes aren't like cars. Sometimes the one you want is further away than your local dealer. You just have to be prepared for exigencies.
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Old 05-12-2016, 02:17 AM   #14
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look and see if the alternator belt is still there.
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