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Old 08-05-2008, 10:05 PM   #1
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norsea's Avatar
2008 30' Classic
On the road since 2000 ,
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 254
Couch/Goucho replacement in new Airstream


I have read every thread on this subject on this forum.

But, alas, I cannot find anything about installing two swivel rockers or recliners in late model Airstream trailers that have the twin battery boxes located under the front couch.

It is just the two of us and we have no need for the front couch/bed combination; besides, the couch is the most uncomfortable thing I have ever sat on.

We have been in contact with Airstream at Jackson Center and they tell us they can relocate the converter located under the front couch of our 30' Classic (2008) and enclose it in a "box" that will be like an end table for the two chairs with the table located in the center of the trailer between the chairs.

They also tell us they have never installed two such chairs as mentioned above either from Flexsteel or Ekornes when making such a modification.

Given the size of the two battery boxes we are very concerned that the chairs will be located so far from the front wall of the trailer that they will dominate the living area and waste lots of space behind them. This is because the height of the battery boxes will necessitate the chairs being far from the battery boxes to prevent the bottom or back of the chairs from hitting the top of the battery boxes.

This has reached critical proportions for us because we have been told that Jackson Center can take our trailer in the first weeks of September to do the modifications; eg; remove the couch and build the "console" housing the converter.

I suspect that we could have additional storage built into cabinets along the front wall that would hide the two battery boxes. This could probably be easily incorporated into the design/look of the "console" and would make up for the storage we will loose when the sliding drawer under the couch goes out with the couch.

We are VERY concerned that the need to maintain the space the battery boxes require will position the two chairs too far into the living area of the trailer. We would also like to have a footstool for each chair which complicates placement as well.

Has anyone seen anything like this done on late model units with the two battery boxes?

I know about this being done to units that do not have these battery boxes. I do not see relocating the battery boxes being an option given the issues this would cause for wiring, converter relocation, etc., etc.; keep in mind that our Classic is 9 months old.

Anyone have any recommendations?

Any/all help/recommendations appreciated.


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Old 08-05-2008, 10:41 PM   #2
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1986 32' Excella
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Citrus Heights , California
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I've got a similar situation with my Excella. I'm throwing the convertor away and getting a new 4 stage unit that will operate better and weigh 1/8 and consume a small footprint. I'm thinking of cutting holes in the floor and glassin in some recessed battery boxes. Gotta figure in the spare tire mount also.
Also thinking of moving the batts more to the area above the axles, gotta watch the weight and balance tho.
None of this is difficult , the problem with having the factory do mods like this seem to be tied to liability, transfer of wealth, you know all that legal mumbo.
Then again you could mount them on the tongue like they do on some of the new small AS's. put a bike rack on the back to counteract this change.


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Old 08-05-2008, 11:02 PM   #3
Rivet Master

2005 25' Safari
Salem , Oregon
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Move the batteries

Hi, Is there any reason that you can't have a battery box mounted on the tongue like on my Safari? It is behind my propane tanks and right in front of the body. Mine holds two group 24 batteries, but I've heard that two group 27 series batteries can be fitted into this box.

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Old 08-05-2008, 11:37 PM   #4
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2005 22' International CCD
Buckhorn , Ontario
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What about dumming up the battery outside doors and access the bats from inside only - then you could turn the batteries to be parallel and save you at least half the depth of the battery space that it is taking up. - still have compartments that vent to the outside - you would just service them from inside instead of outside.

Also consider the flip up chairs that rock and twist and turn with the handle that flips up the foot rest. - I think having the chairs on an angle more into the corners you will have plenty of room - and if you use the flip up style and not have separate foot stools you could save lots more room.

If money is no object...... but if it is - then a cabinet maker could certainly make you a beautiful credenza across the front of your trailer. The couch is fairly easy to remove but if they still make them like the 2000's then the floor stops short so new flooring will have to be match up as well.

Perhaps purchasing your own special chairs from a Surplus RV place - 100's in Indiana - you can catch yourselves some gorgeous ones for 50-60% less than new. And they are brand new! And would be easily anchored or not depending on what you wanted - there are tie down systems for free standing chairs when you travel that you might want to consider as well.

Just ideas.....
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Old 08-06-2008, 06:24 AM   #5
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Maybe instead of two battery boxes, and two access doors, and having the batteries mounted fore-and-aft, you could have a single, wider door. Slide the first battery in the hole side-to-side, hook up the electrical connections, slide it over into the space to one side of the access hole. Then put the second one in, hook it up, and shove it in the rest of the way. Close the door, and it's done. Inside would have a single protrusion about 12" deep, and about 30" long and about 12" high, across the front of the trailer.
You could then build (or have built) a small cabinet to enclose it, with a small storage area above for magazines or books, and a shelf on top to hold your drinks.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:28 PM   #6
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2008 30' Classic
On the road since 2000 ,
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Keep those idea comin' floks....

Today we removed the couch.

We also visited the Scandinavian Furniture store to get another look at the Ekornes chairs we looked at two months ago.

We also found a Flexsteel dealer in Medford that has a showroom and we stopped in there as well. It turns out Flexsteel sells a chair that is much like the Ekornes; they pay a royalty to Ekornes for the right to manufacture and sell it.

We ordered two of the Ekornes chairs. They should be here in 10 to 14 days. This is much better than the 4 to 6 weeks it was taking two months ago. Well, better for us that is. It seems business is very slow so the production que is very short.

We now are working out a design for the cabinetry that we want in the front to hide the battery boxes and provide storage. We are also continuing our conversations with Jackson Center for the construction of the cabinetry.

As for the suggestions offered so far, I am partial to putting the batteries on the tongue. This will require a special carrier that can slide from side to side in order to allow access to the brake fluid master cylinder that is in a box that has its top even with the top of the tongue; the price we pay for hydrolic disk brakes. Also this area is where the mechanism for lowering and raising the spare tire is located.

I'm not sure how this would work given that the cables for the batteries would have to be exposed in order to provide sufficient slack for the carrier to be moved. Probably not a show stopper; just something to engineer.

I have to say that after pulling the couch and taking lots of measurements of the chairs it may be possible to have the chairs and the battery boxes coexist as is. But, that will not be known for sure until the chairs arrive and we come up with a design for the cabinetry.

Keep those ideas coming folks. We need to explore lots of different ways to accomplish this task and I am positive that the collective wisdom on this forum is something that will be beneficial.


We are travelers with an attitude. We get to go anywhere, anytime, and have attitudes about what we see and hear.

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