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Old 10-15-2015, 02:45 PM   #57
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Joseph H Smith! I thought discussing insulation was within your parameters. Forgive my intrusion.
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Old 10-15-2015, 07:54 PM   #58
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Geeze, I thought there were some good ideas floated around up until the rivets started poping.
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Old 10-15-2015, 08:16 PM   #59
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I would like to see the Eddie Bauer 25/27 concept reworked as a traveler/boondocker edition, many of the items mentioned without the decorator influence. Just the goods. Call it the Airstream Traveler, designed for travel capability and comfort, not showroom bling.
I believe a smart move would be to market them modularly. The shell base by length, choice of floorpan, etc, The challenge would be the bathroom however, that might be an either/or choice. One thing that I have realized following RV forums the past five years is the bathroom condition. It seems that people want a large bathroom when they are using it and a small one other times. Many owners of SOB trailers, class C and even A have shared about bathroom woes - usually size yet others talk about it being just a place to do your business and get out. That says to me that by design it should be made up of other space when in use. Airstream has it right on some models utilizing the hallway space and closing it off for privacy. I do not like the hallway shower door personally but the shower accessed from the bathroom space yet a moveable wall or something similar to temporarily increase the bathroom would be a good idea.
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Old 10-15-2015, 11:22 PM   #60
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Once again the object of this thread and post was to list the reasonable and practical ideas that Airstream might consider incorporating in a Boondock version of it's trailers, things that are reasonably practical and could be done with low to moderate cost and might sell.
Given that Airstream charges close to 100k for a trailer it seems reasonable and practical that they could offer some degree of upgraded insulation. It's been discussed several times where better insulation could address many comfort and other related issues. It's also been shown that current Airstream insulation practices are left wanting. Some RV makers offer upgraded insulation as an option. I'd opt for such an option without hesitation. I built my home with extra insulation and have never regretted that decision as I'm always comfortable and enjoy lower utility bills.
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Old 10-16-2015, 12:19 AM   #61
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More Insulation Thoughts

Airstream says that they use a thermal barrier, and yes, they do. My photo shows a rib in my 2009 FC. There is 1/16th inch thick closed cell foam strip between the rib and the shell.



Yeah, you can hardly see it! While better than nothing, a 1/16th inch layer of foam isn't effective--insulation value is the product of R rating and the thickness of a material. If thickness is small, the R value of the install will also be small even if the material is a super insulator.

So maybe the answer is a different material for the ribs. A plastic, perhaps, with a similar coefficient of expansion to aluminum??

Sure would be nice to boondock with a thermally efficient trailer!!
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Old 10-16-2015, 09:58 AM   #62
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Airstream says that they use a thermal barrier, and yes, they do. My photo shows a rib in my 2009 FC. There is 1/16th inch thick closed cell foam strip between the rib and the shell.



Yeah, you can hardly see it! While better than nothing, a 1/16th inch layer of foam isn't effective--insulation value is the product of R rating and the thickness of a material. If thickness is small, the R value of the install will also be small even if the material is a super insulator.

So maybe the answer is a different material for the ribs. A plastic, perhaps, with a similar coefficient of expansion to aluminum??

Sure would be nice to boondock with a thermally efficient trailer!!
Regardless of what barrier you use, you still have the conduction through the aluminum rivets... Short of bonding the aluminum without the use of a metal system this problem is not going away... it is one of the "features" of that "cool" aluminum shell. There are other materials that conduct heat much less efficiently... like fiberglass. I had a couple AS fiberglass motor homes and they do not stand up as well as aluminum. If you want a true barrier then add another inch to the thickness of the shell and make a rib that is bonded aluminum and plastic. (or molded composites) Then the 2" of insulation plus the thermal barrier provided would keep the interior nice and cozy... and not to be prohibitively expensive to manufacture. You would have to give up the interior width and additional cost to get it though.

Chuck
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Old 10-16-2015, 10:07 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
Once again the object of this thread and post was to list the reasonable and practical ideas that Airstream might consider incorporating in a Boondock version of it's trailers, things that are reasonably practical and could be done with low to moderate cost and might sell. It was not intended to be a place to post blue sky ideas of anything which might possibly be done, cost be damned, market be damned. Airstream is not, and will not, be a custom manufacturer of limited speciality trailers. There are one off custom shops that fill that nitch for those with the money, time, and inclination to have special work done.

Like all threads, this one can and has gone away from it's original intention, but I hope to bring it back, or have it killed as not very useful.

Maybe we have already exhausted the reasonable possibilities at this point.
Sometimes the best ideas come out of those insanely crazy proposals...
It is a process used by think tanks (groups like this forum) to develop new products. Often the wild idea provokes the thought process and other ideas form from it. In the end they take all those ideas and pick out the few that have significance... but those may not have come without the other wild proposals first.

Just something to think about...

Chuck
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Old 10-16-2015, 12:49 PM   #64
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Hello all. I've really appreciated everyone's comments since I'm building my 1949 18' Trailwind for boondocking. It will have 34 gal fresh and 43 gal grey tanks in the 6" frame, and an undetermined black tank that will sit on floor. I'm taking notes and will be using many of the suggestions here, so thank you! My list of must-haves is growing and I think I'll need a bigger fresh tank.

I've used closed-cell spray foam insulation in three homes - all built in the 1800s - and am planning on using it in my AS. Not trying to start another discussion on that, but I'm not worried about the movement inherent in a trailer. It's not only the R values that matter. It's also about eliminating air infiltration, which the foam would do. I'm also planning to put something on the ribs before I reinstall the interior skins - probably thin cork tape. You can't do a radiant barrier with a foamed AS, but I've always wondered why the shell wouldn't act as it's own radiant barrier by reflecting UV rays out, just like Prodex-type products.

I don't see AS using foam anytime soon, but they could easily switch to something like Prodex and a better rib thermal barrier and they could easily use a 5" - 6" deep frame to accommodate bigger tanks. Upgraded solar, and a better 12v system are no-brainers as well. As far as stopping conduction? I wonder how hard it would be to make the ribs out of carbon fiber? Hubby's carbon downhill bike can take a serious beating and has never creaked or failed. They're supposedly stronger than steel and CF is not as spendy as it used to be. My neighbor's a materials engineer who designs CF parts for aerospace ... We might need to chat

Oh, and AS could absolutely do a modular version like they had early on. When researching my trailer, I came across a sales brochure from the early 50s which included drawings of all their modular options and sample arrangements. Why not do it again in a boondocking line of trailers?
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Old 10-16-2015, 03:15 PM   #65
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A boondocking Airstream

The modular idea would allow for configuration based on intended use including boondocking. Yes, another option would be tank size. I have a 39 gallon fresh tank but a 33 gallon black tank. I don't know why the black tank needs to be that big. Meanwhile the gray tank is 33 gal and fills quickly. If I could opt, I would take black down to 18 or so and increase the gray to 40 and the fresh to 47-Same total amount just adjusted.
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Old 10-17-2015, 12:46 PM   #66
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New to Airstream/RV-ing, but boondocking has always been the dream (it seems like THE reason to do this... getting away, not getting even CLOSER to your neighbors and noise). I'm all for camaraderie and conversation, but I also want to get way away as often as possible.

I've got a 25' '72 Trade Wind gutted to the skin (starting from scratch is a serious advantage in overcoming all the "mistakes" AS makes in finishing out a mechanically fantastic and really cool looking trailer), and everything I'm doing is to maximize being in the wild as long as possible.

Regarding the insulation... I'm still baffled by people nay-saying spray foam. It gets into every nook and cranny (sealing instead of just filling), it's incredibly durable (if you use the right stuff, it doesn't crack and crumble like so many have claimed --most are speaking from their experience of the cheapo stuff you buy at Lowe's in an aerosol can), the closed cell doesn't absorb water like batt (actually repels water), and it adds structural integrity to your AS. It's been used in travel trailers forever, and the material has only improved in regard to durability. Also, what do you think every refrigerator truck running down the highway is lined with? They travel millions of miles on bumpy roads. If it didn't work, we wouldn't have cold food transport.

Prodex and Refelctix aren't going to do anything for you (outside of the psychological aspects of thinking you did something to help your insulation). Your AS is made of reflective material (aluminum foil!). Reflective material on either side of an air cavity is a good insulator, but the amount of air in the bubbles of these products does nothing (you need a bigger air cavity to be effective), so you are essentially just laying a layer of reflector next to an already reflective surface. When you do it, you usually use tape to seal up the cracks, so that helps, but it would be equally effective to just tape up the cracks and rivets (without spending money on the Reflectix). To be honest, thick, corrugated cardboard would probably be more effective (though it would absorb moisture).

The thermal bridge is an interesting problem. Yes, it's a huge issue where the ribs meet the interior skin. Some people are saying nothing can be done because of the rivets (even if you create a barrier, the aluminum rivets still penetrate), but the surface contact area of a rivet is pretty negligible compared to the entire flat surface of the rib, so creating a barrier is hardly wasted time just because the rivets pierce the barrier.

I would LOVE to use Aerogel for the thermal break, but I think it's going to be cost prohibitive, so I'm doing some tests comparing 65 mil EPDM rubber left over from a roofing job and the rolled, closed-cell, light blue poly that you use between a concrete foundation and the framing sill plate on a house.

I plan on being able to stay in my Airstream while skiing.

Other stuff: composting toilet (thinking about a "drain" or at least a larger tank for #1), huge batteries, lots of solar (especially here in Colorado), coated and reinforced underside for bumpy back roads, moving the a/c compressor from the roof to the tongue (more solar, less top heavy), etc.

FWIW... I have actually been considering the practicality of customizing a composing toilet so the removal system is all through the outside of the trailer. There would be an access panel like for the fridge, battery, water heater, etc., and "drawers" that you would empty from the access panel instead of carrying them through your cabin space.
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Old 10-17-2015, 12:52 PM   #67
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FWIW... I have actually been considering the practicality of customizing a composing toilet so the removal system is all through the outside of the trailer. There would be an access panel like for the fridge, battery, water heater, etc., and "drawers" that you would empty from the access panel instead of carrying them through your cabin space.
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That is a great idea. Imagine having some sort of track system to slide out/slide in tanks. This could help with upgrading replacement and of course draining at least in the case of the compost style.
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Old 10-17-2015, 01:57 PM   #68
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Enjoying this thread. I bought a new 25 FB Flying Cloud in August 2015. Added 16 inch wheels, 400W solar, 4 6v Lifeline batteries, and a 2000w Magna inverter/converter. Bike rack for a road bike and a mountain bike. Switched out faucets, putting Grohe in the kitchen and bathroom. Completely redesigned the AV compartment, adding a wi-fi booster and satellite tv.

I would have loved sprayed in insulation and wish it was an option. But for a $100M i have a house I can take anywhere and live comfortably. I tend to follow weather between 70 and 80 degrees. I spent four months in Mexico last winter, four months in the eastern Sierra this past summer, and am now located just south of Tucson for the winter.

I personally think Airstream provides a great generic product, that with some customization can become a superior product to anything else on the road. The funny thing is that Airstream owners have the ability to make the changes to improve their vehicles but profess that they would pay (a premium) to have Airstream do the work. My opinion is that a good dealer makes all the difference in the world.

I would recommend that anyone that has the option look at using Orange County Airstream (in Westminister, CA) for the improvements. They did mine and I am very happy with what my Airstream has become and the lifestyle that it affords me.
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Old 10-17-2015, 02:03 PM   #69
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I would recommend that anyone that has the option look at using Orange County Airstream (in Westminister, CA) for the improvements. They did mine and I am very happy with what my Airstream has become and the lifestyle that it affords me.
I am really loving working on mine and seriously considering making a business out of it (in Colorado). I love the "starting point" of a gutted Airstream, and there are just so MANY cool things you can do to make them awesome.
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Old 10-17-2015, 02:14 PM   #70
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Look at Hofarc to get the business plan more defined.....
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