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wachuko 09-25-2017 01:00 PM

Our Journey Begins - 2018 AI TB Lounge
 
Apologies upfront for the long post. I tend to do this with all my initial threads as I join a forum. Just to give some background as to how I got here. In this case, I am going in all backwards into RV life… instead of researching the parks, facilities, things to know before you get an RV, etc… We just went and got one and now need to learn about it…

Never been one to camp but when I have done it, I really do not mind roughing it out. The idea of going out and seeing everything the USA and Canada has to offer has always been in my bucket list.

I had been looking at a Vistabule teardrop as a way to start small and see how things worked out. Well, my wife's idea of roughing it is staying at a hotel... so as much as I wanted that sweet looking Vistabule, it was a no-go with my wife.

I was not about to get a large towing vehicle to then get a large trailer... to me that was too much work and I worried about having to park, deal with the risks of pulling a trailer, balancing loads, etc. I know that there are things like a weight distribution hitch and sway control solutions to minimize the risk, but that was just not what I wanted. A small teardrop, I felt comfortable with... anything larger for towing, not so much...

So I started looking at what was the most effective, size wise, motor home that would provide some of the comforts that my wife would buy into, without scaring me to death driving it. Enter the Class B motorhomes. Long story longer... looked, did my spreadsheets, looked some more, YouTube videos, websites, etc. And narrowed everything down to something built on the Mercedes Sprinter. Selection came down to the Airstream and the Roadtrek. Roadtrek got eliminated after being able to see them side to side with the Airstream and not liking the interior build quality on the Roadtrek as well as the lack of safety features that were included in the Airstream. I mean, if I was seeing this on a new unit, what can I expect from the Roadtrek years down the line?? And I really liked their ETrek unit... but could not, for the life of me, buy it with so many issues that I saw and the lack of the security features.

Initially I was set on getting a 4x4 (and in the back of my mind, still wish I did) but came down to my senses that I was not going to go out that far into the unknown to need it... That and mixed feedback on harsher ride/softer ride (depending on the thread I read) that air ride was better, etc… still… I still have the feeling that I should have gone with 4x4… this one I might regret.

Also, initially, I wanted the normal unit and not have to waste money in any special edition version… enters the wife… she goes into a Tommy Bahama at the local dealer (Tampa RV) and falls in love with the darker tan seats, the matte cabinetry, and all the small details the TB has… on a purchase like this… best to get what the wife wants. Happy wife, happy life and all that.

We should get our Interstate in a month or two… as there was not one available (after we back out of buying a ’18 pre-owned unit with 3600 miles & without air-ride).

This is what we got: 2018 Airstream Interstate 3500 Lounge EXT Tommy Bahama w/ARS – US$149K purchased from TampaRV ( http://www.rvone.com/ )

So now I want to be ready for when it gets here…

1. What are the must-do mods (besides diesel and miles :) )?

2. Solar System Upgrades?
  • I already read that the first thing I should do is to get a decent solar controller: From this thread http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...de-170658.html -
  • Victron BlueSolar 100/30 MPPT Charge Controller - 30 Amps / 100 Volts http://amzn.to/2ud3Bho $201.45
  • Victron VE.Direct Bluetooth Dongle http://amzn.to/2uOgKkF $59.90
  • Because I just got into this immense debt to acquire this AI... I can't afford switch over to full lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries and a trip to Lew... so I will follow the humble approach of doing the swap for Lifeline 4CT batteries in the stock location. And later add a second tray (will order that in advanced since these seem to be backordered from Airstream) and additional batteries to double the capacity.
  • Should I also look at a larger inverter now or wait for when I go with LiFePO4 batteries?? If I do it now, should I go with 2500 or 3500 watts? The plan is to be able to run the A/C for a few hours...

3. Chassis protection? Should I be going under and coating everything with paint or anti-rust coating?

4. Read several threads of broken headlights… will get the front cover with 3M clear protection film.

5. Plan to make the front seats work as two additional beds for when the kids come with us... using a similar setup as to what Roadtrek did or just wait for a similar solution that is coming from Airstream (I think I read or watched somewhere that they were coming out with something similar...)... or just make my own.

6. Memory foam top for the bed...can't be comfy with all the different contours the seats have. But then, how the heck do I put it away. These memory foam tops are super compact until you open them the first time :huh:

7. Lots of threads on what gadgets to buy for the kitchen... reading those.

What else? :blush:

don000 09-25-2017 01:29 PM

Re question #3, Fluid Film seems to have rendered every other kind of chassis protection obsolete. It's about the only treatment used these days here in Vermont.

That said, I haven't applied it to my '17 Lounge. With so much equipment hanging underneath, I simply will not ever expose this vehicle to salted roads.

Re question #1, I would prioritize eliminating parasitic electrical drain. An inside series-wired switch for the LPG valve should have been original equipment, and as you can see in another thread I'm chasing a drain apparently from the Fusion unit that will kill your chassis battery within days.

Good luck with the purchase. No doubt you and you wife will enjoy it.

InterBlog 09-25-2017 02:47 PM

You've obviously done more homework pre-purchase than most people ever do post-purchase.
:)

It sounds to me like you're on the right track and whatever else may need to be considered is fairly minor at this point. Once you get a feel for how you intend to use your Interstate longer term, then you can cross those bridges when you come to them (lithium, etc.)

Lineolated 09-25-2017 03:57 PM

Re memory foam topper, you are right they do take up lots of space. You said you were a camper, so you might want to test out some of the camping pads to see if they work for you. We used 3 of the thermarest z fold pads for 3 years and thought they were OK. Finally we decided to convert our lounge to twin beds (still a work in progress). We’ll post description and photos when we’re finished.

Lineolated 09-25-2017 04:07 PM

One more thing: new dually tire valves. Checking and airing up the duallys is a PITA. Here’s a link:
http://yourtireshopsupply.com/produc...yvalve-dl1spal

I’m assuming the 2018 still has the Alcoa aluminum wheels.

wachuko 09-25-2017 04:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lineolated (Post 2013193)
One more thing: new dually tire valves. Checking and airing up the duallys is a PITA. Here’s a link:
http://yourtireshopsupply.com/produc...yvalve-dl1spal

I’m assuming the 2018 still has the Alcoa aluminum wheels.

Added to the list!

Edit, yes, still has the Alcoa wheels.

c21bill 09-25-2017 05:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lineolated (Post 2013193)
One more thing: new dually tire valves. Checking and airing up the duallys is a PITA. Here’s a link:
http://yourtireshopsupply.com/produc...yvalve-dl1spal

I’m assuming the 2018 still has the Alcoa aluminum wheels.

Ditto on the Dually Valves

FlyFishinRVr 09-25-2017 07:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2013095)

What else? :blush:

Binge read this thread:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...ng-100347.html

I apologize in advance for the headache.... ;)

LB_3 09-25-2017 07:38 PM

Welcome aboard. I hope you get a lot of use out of your new van.

You didn't go wrong with the air suspension. Given your wife's limited camping experience, I don't envision you camping down at the end of many washed out dirt roads. And with kids, you likely won't be venturing very far from Florida during their winter break.

As for upgrades, a new solar charge controller and 6v batteries will get you off on the right foot. Once you get a bit more experience actually using the van you'll have a better idea of where you need to expand the limits of the current systems. You seem to have realistic expectations so I don't expect you to freak out when your expensive new tow isn't optimized for exactly how you end up using it.

Since your wife sounds like she may have followed you into this purchase and isn't a super big camper, I would plan some early non camping trips to help show her the versatility of the van. Maybe you can go tailgate before a college football game, or take a weekend trip to a local casino, winery, or a charming little artsy-fartsy town.

c21bill 09-25-2017 08:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LB_3 (Post 2013305)
Welcome aboard. I hope you get a lot of use out of your new van.

You didn't go wrong with the air suspension. Given your wife's limited camping experience, I don't envision you camping down at the end of many washed out dirt roads. And with kids, you likely won't be venturing very far from Florida during their winter break.

As for upgrades, a new solar charge controller and 6v batteries will get you off on the right foot. Once you get a bit more experience actually using the van you'll have a better idea of where you need to expand the limits of the current systems. You seem to have realistic expectations so I don't expect you to freak out when your expensive new tow isn't optimized for exactly how you end up using it.

Since your wife sounds like she may have followed you into this purchase and isn't a super big camper, I would plan some early non camping trips to help show her the versatility of the van. Maybe you can go tailgate before a college football game, or take a weekend trip to a local casino, winery, or a charming little artsy-fartsy town.

You'll also find you can go places in the AI that you can't go in a larger RV such as the Blue Ridge Parkway or Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Many of our state and national parks were built before there were Class "A" pushers with slide outs running around so the spaces tend to be tight and many parks restrict larger units (Big Sur in California comes to mind). Not a problem with your AI.

wachuko 09-26-2017 03:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr (Post 2013288)
Binge read this thread:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...ng-100347.html

I apologize in advance for the headache.... ;)

One of the first threads that I subscribed to when I got to this forum :)

wachuko 09-26-2017 03:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by c21bill (Post 2013317)
You'll also find you can go places in the AI that you can't go in a larger RV such as the Blue Ridge Parkway or Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Many of our state and national parks were built before there were Class "A" pushers with slide outs running around so the spaces tend to be tight and many parks restrict larger units (Big Sur in California comes to mind). Not a problem with your AI.

This is the main reason I went with a class B. The test drive was great. It felt great on the highway as well as when we went through smaller roads. How it turns, ease of parking, etc. did not feel intimidated at all driving it.

And the suggestion of finding a spot/parking where the rear of the AI can overhang, to keep it from sticking out so much, was great.

wachuko 09-26-2017 03:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LB_3 (Post 2013305)
Welcome aboard. I hope you get a lot of use out of your new van.
...

Since your wife sounds like she may have followed you into this purchase and isn't a super big camper, I would plan some early non camping trips to help show her the versatility of the van. Maybe you can go tailgate before a college football game, or take a weekend trip to a local casino, winery, or a charming little artsy-fartsy town.

That is the initial plan!! Savanah, Georgia then New Orleans, will give it sometime to recover and also hit the Keys... and looking at some of the state parks as well. That should give us a feel for how to pack, if it makes sense to add one of those ARB Coolers to expand food carrying capacity... Then we can plan longer trips.

wachuko 09-26-2017 03:18 AM

Further down the road I want to also get a hitch trailer to carry my Triumph Thruxton motorcycle... and that might get replaced by a two seater scooter :rolleyes:... but no plans to add that for now as I do not want the hassle of having to unload it just to open the rear doors.

And I don't want to pull a trailer...that was the whole idea of buying this rig.

wachuko 09-26-2017 05:53 AM

Something else that I forgot to add... bright red LED strip on the front TV/Screen... can't count the times I hit that sucker while looking at the unit they had at the local dealer :angry::lol: . I don't even know why we need that one there? Most likely a newbie reaction, but thinking about removing that one...

On another note, saw that my wife had downloaded an app for RV parks and places... and already has a list of local parks to visit :brows: She has bought into it and is excited to start using it. Woohooo!!!

TayaraTravel 09-26-2017 06:07 AM

Regarding lumps in the bed, we have no topper and don't find them troublesome. We use the RV Superbag https://www.rvsuperbag.com/

FlyFishinRVr 09-26-2017 11:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2013380)
And the suggestion of finding a spot/parking where the rear of the AI can overhang, to keep it from sticking out so much, was great.

Just be VERY careful when doing this. It is really easy to scrape the propane "box", or tear it off entirely. Until you crawl under there, or try to, you have no idea of just how little ground clearance there is back there. :blush:

c21bill 09-26-2017 11:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr (Post 2013570)
Just be VERY careful when doing this. It is really easy to scrape the propane "box", or tear it off entirely. Until you crawl under there, or try to, you have no idea of just how little ground clearance there is back there. :blush:

Good point. I have my wife go back and check for clearance when backing over a curb or parking stop.

wachuko 09-26-2017 11:44 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr (Post 2013570)
Just be VERY careful when doing this. It is really easy to scrape the propane "box", or tear it off entirely. Until you crawl under there, or try to, you have no idea of just how little ground clearance there is back there. :blush:

Valid point... did not think about that. Looking under it (photos found online), there are a lot of places where things can get impacted... I am also seeing some components that are quite exposed... probably should make some sort of shields to avoid accidents...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/atta...1&d=1506447811

Boxster1971 09-26-2017 12:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr (Post 2013570)
Just be VERY careful when doing this. It is really easy to scrape the propane "box", or tear it off entirely. Until you crawl under there, or try to, you have no idea of just how little ground clearance there is back there. :blush:


I've lost one LP fill panel cover rolling over a big pothole and damaged another backing over a snow bank. That panel behind the RH rear tires is the lowest point under the van and very vulnerable. I considered trying move it higher for better clearance, but that meant unhooking the LP fill line which requires emptying the tank. I added air bags to rear axle that allow me to raise the rear for better clearance.

The low point in the middle are not as vulnerable.

wachuko 09-26-2017 12:44 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Boxster1971 (Post 2013626)
I've lost one LP fill panel cover rolling over a big pothole and damaged another backing over a snow bank. That panel behind the RH rear tires is the lowest point under the van and very vulnerable. I considered trying move it higher for better clearance, but that meant unhooking the LP fill line which requires emptying the tank. I added air bags to rear axle that allow me to raise the rear for better clearance.

The low point in the middle are not as vulnerable.

Thank you FlyFishinRVr and Mike... very clear now with this photo...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/atta...1&d=1506451398

I did order it with the air ride... but can't risk forgetting to raise and taking all that out in the process...

FlyFishinRVr 09-26-2017 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Boxster1971 (Post 2013626)
I added air bags to rear axle that allow me to raise the rear for better clearance.

I thought I read somewhere that with the air ride, you can stop the van and raise the back up, but the moment you put it in drive or reverse, it automatically goes back to a "normal" ride height. If true, would the air ride really provide a benefit when parking, or does it just naturally ride a bit higher? Even 1" would be a big help..... :blush:

Boxster1971 09-26-2017 01:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr (Post 2013654)
I thought I read somewhere that with the air ride, you can stop the van and raise the back up, but the moment you put it in drive or reverse, it automatically goes back to a "normal" ride height. If true, would the air ride really provide a benefit when parking, or does it just naturally ride a bit higher? Even 1" would be a big help..... :blush:

That is true with the VB Airsuspension. Someone who has it on their van will have to clarify if it can be used to raise the rear in such situations to back over a curb. I installed a pair of Dunlop airbags that I sourced from the UK. With my remote controlled AirLift compressor I can adjust the ride height manually from the drivers seat.

FlyFishinRVr 09-26-2017 01:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Boxster1971 (Post 2013661)
That is true with the VB Airsuspension. Someone who has it on their van will have to clarify if it can be used to raise the rear in such situations to back over a curb. I installed a pair of Dunlop airbags that I sourced from the UK. With my remote controlled AirLift compressor I can adjust the ride height manually from the drivers seat.

Good to know Mike, thanks! I thought the VB system was the only one that would work with our vans, so it's good to know there are options. :wally:

MISGM 09-27-2017 03:40 AM

Hello All: New to forum and posting - I too have just purchased a 2018 AI and bought the metal stems for my duallys. I need a recommendation from folks for a competent installer on east coast (yes I have the Alcoa Wheels).. Thanks in advance...

wachuko 09-27-2017 05:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lineolated (Post 2013193)
One more thing: new dually tire valves. Checking and airing up the duallys is a PITA. Here’s a link:
http://yourtireshopsupply.com/produc...yvalve-dl1spal

I’m assuming the 2018 still has the Alcoa aluminum wheels.

A few $ less from eBay

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dually-16-St...-/361945587746

Lineolated 09-27-2017 05:29 AM

Discount Tire in Richmond VA installed mine in new tires I purchased. They did a good job; I’d go back.

wachuko 09-27-2017 05:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MISGM (Post 2013964)
Hello All: New to forum and posting - I too have just purchased a 2018 AI and bought the metal stems for my duallys. I need a recommendation from folks for a competent installer on east coast (yes I have the Alcoa Wheels).. Thanks in advance...

Can't help there, newbie here as well without my rig as I wait for delivery...

I ordered them and was going to ask the dealer to install them before delivery... Not sure what they would charge for this. Remove wheels, remove tire (or push to have the access without removing the wheel), install, guessing they will need to balance the wheels if the tire rotates in the rim, install it all back...

Welcome to the forum!!!

Lotus54 09-27-2017 08:08 AM

I would suggest not doing any solar/battery changes at first. Go use the AI a bit and see where you are really staying and how much you even use it.
Some like to stay in places with no power (I’m one of them) but many like to stay in places with full hookups etc. If that is the case, I don’t see a lot of reason for $$$ upgrades- although understanding how the charging works when plugged in etc is good. (My older AI had a single stage battery charger, it would cook the battery if left on for extended periods).

I always see a lot of rigs in the RV parks, so it appears many always want hookups. I personally don’t like how they crowd the sites in those and avoid them whenever I can (off season it seems many times nobody else is in them, so ok).
But you may like the social aspect of lots of others around and the convience of hookups. And you may not even know until you have done some trips and tried both ways?

The often suggested idea of staying very close for the first trip or two seems good (I didn’t, I flew down to pick it up and promptly drove a several day trip home). That way if you have questions on how systems works (It takes awhile to figure them all out) or need to get something you don’t have it is easy.
I would also suggest that rather than loading it up with everything you can think about, get the bare minimum at first, then (since you are local and close to stores etc) you can get what you need. Not a ton of room in these (see the ‘Small Space Living’ thread) and weight is always a consideration.

I come from an extensive hiking (When I worked trail crew, I would be hiking in, camping out for 8 days at at time) background. So the ‘car camping’ thing was easy. Plus we had a Eurovan for a year to see if we would even like it, and what sort of things we really wanted and didn’t want.

Just a few thoughts- no right or wrong way, but I know I learned loads of things I wouldn’t have thought about by reading these forums. Even layouts that I wouldn’t have thought about made me change what I wanted even before looking at them.

Mostly, have fun!
Mark

wachuko 09-27-2017 09:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lotus54 (Post 2014030)
I would suggest not doing any solar/battery changes at first. Go use the AI a bit and see where you are really staying and how much you even use it.
Some like to stay in places with no power (I’m one of them) but many like to stay in places with full hookups etc. If that is the case, I don’t see a lot of reason for $$$ upgrades- although understanding how the charging works when plugged in etc is good. (My older AI had a single stage battery charger, it would cook the battery if left on for extended periods).

I always see a lot of rigs in the RV parks, so it appears many always want hookups. I personally don’t like how they crowd the sites in those and avoid them whenever I can (off season it seems many times nobody else is in them, so ok).
But you may like the social aspect of lots of others around and the convience of hookups. And you may not even know until you have done some trips and tried both ways?

The often suggested idea of staying very close for the first trip or two seems good (I didn’t, I flew down to pick it up and promptly drove a several day trip home). That way if you have questions on how systems works (It takes awhile to figure them all out) or need to get something you don’t have it is easy.
I would also suggest that rather than loading it up with everything you can think about, get the bare minimum at first, then (since you are local and close to stores etc) you can get what you need. Not a ton of room in these (see the ‘Small Space Living’ thread) and weight is always a consideration.

I come from an extensive hiking (When I worked trail crew, I would be hiking in, camping out for 8 days at at time) background. So the ‘car camping’ thing was easy. Plus we had a Eurovan for a year to see if we would even like it, and what sort of things we really wanted and didn’t want.

Just a few thoughts- no right or wrong way, but I know I learned loads of things I wouldn’t have thought about by reading these forums. Even layouts that I wouldn’t have thought about made me change what I wanted even before looking at them.

Mostly, have fun!
Mark

Mark, thank you for the valuable feedback. My only concern, and the reason for updating the Solar controller was to ensure that, based on so many threads on this topic, it had the proper controller to avoid issues already faced by other owners. I would like to address those and not have to learn from my experience ;) . I am still not clear if the solar panels only maintain the house batteries or if they also keep the truck's battery as well... I need to read some more and better understand that... I sure do not want to come back to the AI after a few weeks of sitting and find that it is all dead... based on how we end up using it, then I can determine if I need to increase solar/battery storage capacity.

Everything else, I agree... will use it as is and then learn and adapt.

I subscribed to the small-space-living thread . Already have some stuff added to a wishlist in Amazon and bookmarked a few things. Again, not buying anything else for now, but a lot of good ideas and suggestions on things that would make life easier in such a confined/limited living space.

I downloaded the parts catalog...

https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...Parts-Book.pdf

Also downloading the user manual to start reading while I wait... and I know that there seems to be some conflicting/or outdated information in the manuals, but I have to start somewhere :)

https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...ers-Manual.pdf

FlyFishinRVr 09-27-2017 10:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2014076)
Mark, thank you for the valuable feedback. My only concern, and the reason for updating the Solar controller was to ensure that, based on so many threads on this topic, it had the proper controller to avoid issues already faced by other owners. I would like to address those and not have to learn from my experience ;) . I am still not clear if the solar panels only maintain the house batteries or if they also keep the truck's battery as well...

So here's the scoop on that. The problem is a combination of the BIM and the Atkinson solar controller. If you plan to maintain your batteries, ALL your batteries, with the solar while not using the coach, read on.....

First, the Atkinson is a POS. With 300W of solar on the roof, ANY MPPT controller can do a significantly better job. The Atkinson is a single stage charger (BOOOO!!!), and it only does anything once the house batteries are already down to 12.4v (assuming it comes with the blue wire clipped like all the others we've seen), which is 30% discharged (remember, 50% is max discharge level!). This is ridiculous. Any MPPT charger is at least a 3 stage charger and most also equalize. If you want a solar controller that will keep your batteries topped up with a nice Float charge, swap out the Atkinson for something else.

Here's where the BIM comes into play. Assuming the Atkinson does finally "wake up" and decide to do something, it's going to start charging the house batteries. That's good. However, because of how the BIM operates, unless the chassis battery is below 12.6v, the BIM won't close, so the chassis battery won't get charged. Now play that forward a few days. Assuming you've been good and have everything in your coach turned off, and the Atkinson actually got a full day of sun into them, they may be over 13v. Tick tock, time goes by, and as long as the house batteries are above 12.4v, the Atkinson does nothing. Meanwhile, your chassis battery could be getting dangerously low, certainly below the 50% DOD level that we want to stay away from.

The first order of business to help fix some of this is to swap out the solar controller. Why Airstream is still using the Atkinson is a mystery to me, unless they have a contract and/or stock of them that says they have to keep using them. Anyway, going with a MPPT controller does a couple things. First, they are all highly programmable so you can set the Float voltage to 13.4v. Why? Because this does two things. First, that voltage level is still within the Float spec of the Lifelines, so no worries there. Second, the OTHER part of the BIM's "logic" says that unless there is a charge source of 13.3v or higher, it won't close, regardless of the voltage level of either battery bank. By setting the solar controller to Float at 13.4v, you guarantee that any time the solar is Floating your house batteries, your chassis battery is also getting charged. I can't tell you how nice it is to go out to the coach after a week of it sitting and popping open the cabinet to check voltages and seeing both the house and chassis at 13.3v. That NEVER happened when I was running the Atkinson.

The second order of business would be to replace the BIM with something more sensible. I haven't done that yet, but my choice for a relay is the Blue Sea ML-ACR. It will close any time it sees a charge source at either bank above 13v, doesn't have a timer to open after 1hr so it lets the charge keep flowing, and comes with a nice remote switch that allows full manual control (force open, force closed, or stay in Auto) and has a LED that lets you know what it's doing (LED on, relay is closed....simple). Another member here has gotten their Blue Sea and should be installing it shortly (Pahaska, follow his adventure here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...ml#post2013823 ).

There you go. Sorry for the long post, but this topic isn't straight forward and requires a bit of "splainin'". ;)

wachuko 09-27-2017 11:20 AM

FlyFishinRVr,

Thank you.

Blue Sea ML-ACR 7622 added to the list. 169.00 from here:

http://www.sailsmarine.com/ItemDetail.aspx?c=40286&l=g

And a video explaining its function:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_oKQ_N8_EY

So the first two mods that I plan to do will require:

Blue Sea ML-ACR 7622
Victron BlueSolar 100/30 MPPT Charge Controller - 30 Amps / 100 Volts
Victron VE.Direct Bluetooth Dongle

wachuko 09-27-2017 11:39 AM

Purchased from here...

http://shop.pkys.com/search.asp?keyw...t+ACR+&search=

174.95 with free shipping...

An install link I found...

http://roadtreklife.blogspot.com/201...ue-sea-ml.html

wachuko 09-27-2017 02:08 PM

Do not mind me... site does not allow to edit post after 1/2 hour... so I have to make additional updates for stuff like this... just capturing some threads, as I find them, for future reference.

Setup done by FlyFishinRVr - I like the fact that you were able to reuse the existing wiring... hummm

Upgrading the solar charge controller from Atkinson to MPPT

FlyFishinRVr 09-27-2017 04:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2014242)
Do not mind me... site does not allow to edit post after 1/2 hour... so I have to make additional updates for stuff like this... just capturing some threads, as I find them, for future reference.

Setup done by FlyFishinRVr - I like the fact that you were able to reuse the existing wiring... hummm

Upgrading the solar charge controller from Atkinson to MPPT

That's the main reason I chose the MPPT controller that I did. It's not that I'm lazy, it's just that I like to conserve energy.... :p ;)

If re-using the Cat5 cable that's there for the Atkinson isn't important to you, then by all means go with another controller. Honestly all the big name brands are good, and I think the Victron that you've selected is an excellent choice. If it used Cat5 cable instead of phone cable, that's the one I would have gone with. But if you don't mind using your smart phone to check on it, or don't mind pulling a new cable through the coach to add the Victron remote, then just go with it. :cool:

TayaraTravel 09-30-2017 06:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2013417)
Something else that I forgot to add... bright red LED strip on the front TV/Screen... can't count the times I hit that sucker...

Our standing practices is to fold back the rear TV against the driver-side wall of the van once we park for the night. That gets it out of the aisle way.

TayaraTravel 09-30-2017 06:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr (Post 2013654)
I thought I read somewhere that with the air ride, you can stop the van and raise the back up, but the moment you put it in drive or reverse, it automatically goes back to a "normal" ride height. If true, would the air ride really provide a benefit when parking, or does it just naturally ride a bit higher? Even 1" would be a big help..... :blush:

The moment you put in in drive or reverse it BEGINS to go back to normal ride height. It adjusts slowly, giving you useful extra elevation to get out of a tight spot. If you want it to stay elevated during a parking maneuver, you can shut off the engine ASAP and it will keep that height.

wachuko 10-01-2017 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TayaraTravel (Post 2015423)
Our standing practices is to fold back the rear TV against the driver-side wall of the van once we park for the night. That gets it out of the aisle way.

Ours is a Lounge and has this setup (photo found in the web, not ours)

https://assets.lazydays.com/922622_Detail.jpg

During the time looking at it at the dealer, and moving back and forth from the driver or passenger seat, I kept hitting it.

I see now a few photos where folks are able to raise it inclined above the front cabinet... something to test when I get mine....and I know it is just getting use to it.

wachuko 10-01-2017 01:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TayaraTravel (Post 2015424)
The moment you put in in drive or reverse it BEGINS to go back to normal ride height. It adjusts slowly, giving you useful extra elevation to get out of a tight spot. If you want it to stay elevated during a parking maneuver, you can shut off the engine ASAP and it will keep that height.

I will just stay away from doing this. I don’t want one day forget and rip everything out...

wachuko 10-10-2017 08:41 AM

1 Attachment(s)
This came in while I was traveling...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/atta...1&d=1507646458

Called the dealer to confirm delivery date of our AI. Delivery will be between mid Nov/early December.

Also documenting some additional things we should get:

Leveling block and chocks
Wheel chocks

FlyFishinRVr 10-10-2017 09:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2019831)
This came in while I was traveling...

Called the dealer to confirm delivery date of our AI. Delivery will be between mid Nov/early December.

Looks good! :cool:

With a new solar charge controller, the Blue Sea ACR, and your stock 300W of solar, you will be in great shape right from the start. I think you'll be surprised how well it all works and may find that for overnight stays. Once you get some time with the coach and where/how you guys like to use it, you'll have a good idea of where to go next with regards to the electrical system. :wally:

wachuko 10-10-2017 09:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr (Post 2019841)
Looks good! :cool:

With a new solar charge controller, the Blue Sea ACR, and your stock 300W of solar, you will be in great shape right from the start. I think you'll be surprised how well it all works and may find that for overnight stays. Once you get some time with the coach and where/how you guys like to use it, you'll have a good idea of where to go next with regards to the electrical system. :wally:

I have been reading the feedback on some of the sub-components (generator, fridge, etc.) to know what changes I might need to look at down the road.

The challenge is that I can't find in the parts manual the exact model numbers for these items... for example, the fridge is listed as Refrigerator, 3.1 CF, LH, Novakool - I don't see a 3.1 CF fridge listed in the Novakool site. The only one that I see is the R3100 R3102 3.0 cu.ft. (85 liters)... all this to be able to determine correct dimensions for finding a replacement that is more energy efficient when the time comes.

I did read your thread ... and 2018 has the same fridge. So not in a hurry to change anything since you seemed to be okay with the stock unit. Just reading on the Vitelloni refrigerators....

Loved this photo from your thread!! :)

https://photos.smugmug.com/Camping-2...IMG_1827-L.jpg

wachuko 10-10-2017 10:46 AM

Adding the teak shower mat to the list of first mods. It just looks so sharp. Being 5'7" I am not too concerned with loosing some headroom space.

Teak Shower Mat for Airstream Interstate Lounge

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/12...g?v=1486399242

Natuzzi 10-11-2017 09:52 AM

One item(s) to add to your list that is small, compact and can save LOTS of potential headaches is; a good set of walkie talkies! Even with backup cameras, side cameras, visual checks, etc., there will be times you will have to rely on a set of eyeballs on certain spaces especially when backing and it will most likely be your wife (or kids if old enough) doing the guiding and/or giving feedback. Also make sure you are in agreement on hand signals, verbal commands, etc. IN ADVANCE of trying the first time. We have witnessed some absolutely hilarious (for us at least) incidents resulting in some VERY heated and prolonged discussions!

wachuko 10-11-2017 10:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Natuzzi (Post 2020289)
One item(s) to add to your list that is small, compact and can save LOTS of potential headaches is; a good set of walkie talkies! Even with backup cameras, side cameras, visual checks, etc., there will be times you will have to rely on a set of eyeballs on certain spaces especially when backing and it will most likely be your wife (or kids if old enough) doing the guiding and/or giving feedback. Also make sure you are in agreement on hand signals, verbal commands, etc. IN ADVANCE of trying the first time. We have witnessed some absolutely hilarious (for us at least) incidents resulting in some VERY heated and prolonged discussions!

Thank you. We do have a set... but find, unless signal is an issue, that using our phones is better. But I will placed those in the AI just in case.

Protagonist 10-11-2017 11:42 AM

Ever since an unpleasant encounter with a low-hanging tree branch at a campground a few years ago, I have a telescoping pole that I can extend to the height of my Airstream, and use it to measure whether I have enough clearance under any suspected overhead obstruction. The pole I have accepts a variety of cleaning attachments, but sees the most use as a measuring stick.

When they say, I wouldn't touch that with a 10-foot pole, that's the pole they mean!

InterBlog 10-13-2017 05:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2020312)
Thank you. We do have a set... but find, unless signal is an issue, that using our phones is better. But I will placed those in the AI just in case.

I just bought a pair a few days ago at Cabela's. $20 off sticker plus $30 mail-in rebate for a net of $50. Texas is gearing up for deer hunting season, so there are deals to be had. I didn't want to pay too much for an item that would get used only rarely (such as where there is no phone service).

wachuko 10-13-2017 07:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by InterBlog (Post 2020932)
I just bought a pair a few days ago at Cabela's. $20 off sticker plus $30 mail-in rebate for a net of $50. Texas is gearing up for deer hunting season, so there are deals to be had. I didn't want to pay too much for an item that would get used only rarely (such as where there is no phone service).

I might look to see what is new out there... the ones we have use 4 AA batteries each, and these do not last long... we have to remove them every time after use to avoid wasting them between uses...

Natuzzi 10-13-2017 10:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2020955)
I might look to see what is new out there... the ones we have use 4 AA batteries each, and these do not last long... we have to remove them every time after use to avoid wasting them between uses...

I have Motorola’s and Cobra’s, both of which have rechargeable batteries but the Motorola’s will also take 4 AA alkalines if no charging options available. Plus, I always have my Goal Zero panel available when there is enough light. The Cobra’s have the longest range though and we use them to keep in touch when camping, hiking, biking, etc. Too often in poor cell service areas especially in rural VA and WV.

wachuko 10-17-2017 03:42 PM

Nothing to see... since the forum does not allow to go back and edit after 1/2 hour... just consolidating the list that I have so far. The list is the must-do modifications to make the experience better. There are a lot of additional things that we will get as we start to use it. These mods I just want to make as soon as I get the Interstate to avoid some of the issues you all have already encountered:
  1. Additional battery trays and strap downs (ordered). Part numbers: 454679 Strap, Battery hold-down and 454982 Battery tray, AGM CL24, End mount. This is to double the house battery capacity. Will be using two additional stock batteries for now (Part number for batteries: 511828 Battery, 12 Volt, Deep cycle, AGM Lifeline)
  2. Victron BlueSolar 100/30 MPPT Charge Controller - 30 Amps / 100 Volts
  3. Victron VE.Direct Bluetooth Dongle
  4. Blue Sea ML-ACR 7622 Automatic Charging Relay - (already have this ready to install when I get the Interstate)
  5. Water pressure regulator for when hooking up at RV park facilities. Read somewhere that this prevents damage to the Interstate water lines when the pressure at the RV Park is higher than expected
  6. Surge protector/EMS - Progressive Industries SSP-30XL Surge Protector with Cover - 30 Amp - same reason as for having the water regulator...but in this case, to protect the electrical system in the Interstate when hooking up at a camp site
  7. Memory foam top for the bed or RV Superbag https://www.rvsuperbag.com/
  8. Build two boards (that can fold away for storage) for additional sleeping space for my two kids
  9. 3M Clear protection film for the front to protect headlights and windshield
  10. Sound deadening material to wrap generator and bring down the noise it makes - Thread on this
  11. Duallys valvesDually 16'' Steel / Aluminum Valve Stem Extension Kit DL1SPAL - or install an ARB compressor and have the correct air adapter and leave the stock air valves in place.
  12. Teak Shower Mat for Airstream Interstate Lounge
  13. Telescoping pole to make sure there is clearance before driving through areas with limited height, because I want to keep all the stuff on top of the Interstate in one piece... ouch! :blink:
  14. Rubber Wheel Chocks
  15. Leveling blocks/pads and the wheel chocks for these...
  16. MotoTote MTX Sport Motorcycle Carrier for when I want to take my motorcycle on a trip


That is all for now... still reading threads and pulling ideas for the first must have mods for a newbie with an RV...

Natuzzi 10-17-2017 05:26 PM

wachuko, another alternative to the 3M protective film is Xpel. I have 3M on one vehicle and it is very good but the Xpel product is even better. It has “healing” property that can actually cover and fill in any of the inevitable stone chips that occur. If the mark is too large it may not completely heal but get darn close. I have no idea if there is much of a price difference.

wachuko 10-17-2017 06:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Natuzzi (Post 2022999)
wachuko, another alternative to the 3M protective film is Xpel. I have 3M on one vehicle and it is very good but the Xpel product is even better. It has “healing” property that can actually cover and fill in any of the inevitable stone chips that occur. If the mark is too large it may not completely heal but get darn close. I have no idea if there is much of a price difference.

I use Xpel for the headlights in my cars... I do the install myself of those. Was not aware they had other products.

Southtown 10-17-2017 06:58 PM

I had my 2017 grand tour ext 4x4 xpelled before I drove across country. I also had the entire windshield done. Zero road or windshield chips in 10000 miles. Great stuff and easy to maintain.

wachuko 10-17-2017 07:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Southtown (Post 2023042)
I had my 2017 grand tour ext 4x4 xpelled before I drove across country. I also had the entire windshield done. Zero road or windshield chips in 10000 miles. Great stuff and easy to maintain.

Do you mind sharing how much that was? You can send me private message if you prefer. Just want to added to my budget spreadsheet

Southtown 10-17-2017 07:32 PM

It was 3800.00 full xpel kit, windshield, and side window tint.

wachuko 10-17-2017 07:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Southtown (Post 2023058)
It was 3800.00 full xpel kit, windshield, and side window tint.

Thank you!

wachuko 10-18-2017 07:11 AM

Just consolidating the list that I have so far and adding some last minute items I had forgotten.

Anything else that would be classified as a must-have-now for a newbie starting the RV life?

As I mentioned, the stuff around cookware and inside gadgets will come from the Small Space Living thread...

Looking more for guidance in stuff like the water pressure valve to avoid damage to the AI... recommendations of that nature.
  1. Additional battery trays and strap downs (ordered). Part numbers: 454679 Strap, Battery hold-down and 454982 Battery tray, AGM CL24, End mount. This is to double the house battery capacity. Will be using two additional stock batteries for now (Part number for batteries: 511828 Battery, 12 Volt, Deep cycle, AGM Lifeline)
  2. Victron BlueSolar 100/30 MPPT Charge Controller - 30 Amps / 100 Volts
  3. Victron VE.Direct Bluetooth Dongle
  4. Blue Sea ML-ACR 7622 Automatic Charging Relay - (already have this ready to install when I get the Interstate)
  5. Water pressure regulator for when hooking up at RV park facilities. Read somewhere that this prevents damage to the Interstate water lines when the pressure at the RV Park is higher than expected
  6. Surge protector/EMS - Progressive Industries SSP-30XL Surge Protector with Cover - 30 Amp - same reason as for having the water regulator...but in this case, to protect the electrical system in the Interstate when hooking up at a camp site
  7. Memory foam top for the bed or RV Superbag https://www.rvsuperbag.com/
  8. Build two boards (that can fold away for storage) for additional sleeping space for my two kids
  9. 3M Clear (or Xpel) protection film for the front to protect headlights and windshield
  10. Sound deadening material to wrap generator and bring down the noise it makes - Thread on this
  11. Duallys valvesDually 16'' Steel / Aluminum Valve Stem Extension Kit DL1SPAL - or install an ARB compressor and have the correct air adapter and leave the stock air valves in place.
  12. Teak Shower Mat for Airstream Interstate Lounge
  13. Telescoping pole to make sure there is clearance before driving through areas with limited height, because I want to keep all the stuff on top of the Interstate in one piece... ouch! :blink:
  14. Rubber Wheel Chocks
  15. Leveling blocks/pads and the wheel chocks for these...
  16. MotoTote MTX Sport Motorcycle Carrier for when I want to take my motorcycle on a trip
  17. Windshield cover for when parked to reduce interior heat. Also looking at this thread for maybe doing something similar for the side glass/windows. Anything that will help lower the inside temperature of our Interstate in this hot Florida climate (I know, not as harsh as in Arizona and Texas, but still...)
  18. 3M Crystalline film on windshield (clear) and side windows (legal tint) - to reduce heat inside while driving.
  19. Gloves, hoses (separate hoses for water fills and for tank cleaning)
  20. Inline water filter for filling tanks - to keep all internals in great shape and avoid build ups...


That is all for now... still reading threads and pulling ideas for the first must have mods for a newbie with an RV...

Tincampers 10-18-2017 07:22 AM

Water pressure regulator should already be installed. 2 would be overkill.

wachuko 10-18-2017 07:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tincampers (Post 2023206)
Water pressure regulator should already be installed. 2 would be overkill.

Thank you. I must have missed it. Did not see it in the 2018 parts diagram. Reason for having it on the list.

Not buying anything else until I get the AI. I will be able to confirm then.

Tincampers 10-18-2017 08:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2023209)
Thank you. I must have missed it. Did not see it in the 2018 parts diagram. Reason for having it on the list.

Not buying anything else until I get the AI. I will be able to confirm then.

Owners manual, page 6-5:

Quote:

Your plumbing system has a built-in pressure regulator
to protect your lines and faucets from extremely high
pressures on some city water systems.
https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...ers-Manual.pdf

Jererae 10-18-2017 07:11 PM

Regarding the need for a mattress foam pad - we love the way our 2017 sleeps without one! Suggest you try it first. I simply use a down comforter covered in a sheet duvet - and it sleeps wonderful!

txntravlr 10-18-2017 08:14 PM

As to storage of the memory foam topper - we use a duvet cover on ours (to encase the memory foam) as a bottom sheet and a light comforter on top. The comforter can be folded and put in overhead storage, and we simply roll the foam with duvet cover and leave on the “head rest” portions behind the sofa during the day.

rmkrum 10-18-2017 08:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2023209)
Thank you. I must have missed it. Did not see it in the 2018 parts diagram. Reason for having it on the list.



Not buying anything else until I get the AI. I will be able to confirm then.



Uh, the reason for an external water pressure regulator is to protect your fresh water hose from excessive pressure. Some campgrounds have very high pressure and can easily rupture a hose. Get an adjustable regulator with a gauge, put it on the spigot and then attach the hose.

Another handy accessory is a 90 degree elbow to screw into the trailer inlet and take some of the strain off the inlet. I attach the water filter to the hose, then put the elbow on the short hose on the output of the filter and then into the trailer inlet.

It’s a little more stuff to carry, but I think it ends up being s bit easier on your hardware in the AS and the somewhat expensive drinking water hose...

wachuko 10-19-2017 07:05 AM

Thank you all for the additional comments and suggestions.

90 Degree Hose Elbow added to the list.

Also, a duvet cover to encase the memory foam sounds like the way to go. We just want something on top of the seats to fill the voids.

The Amazon wish list continues to grow, lol.

Lily&Me 10-19-2017 08:04 AM

I would add a tarp to your list...you can even get ones at WalMart that are silver. :)

They don’t take up a lot of space, but come in handy at times for covering firewood or anything else that may be vulnerable in a sudden rainstorm.

Also a 30 to 50 amp adapter, for those occasions when 50 amp is all that is available...we have been in a couple of RV parks where this was the case.

Maggie

wachuko 10-19-2017 08:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lily&Me (Post 2023654)
I would add a tarp to your list...you can even get ones at WalMart that are silver. :)

They don’t take up a lot of space, but come in handy at times for covering firewood or anything else that may be vulnerable in a sudden rainstorm.

Also a 30 to 50 amp adapter, for those occasions when 50 amp is all that is available...we have been in a couple of RV parks where this was the case.

Maggie

Ahhh yes! Thank you!
Adding tarp and Camco 55175 PowerGrip Dogbone Electrical Adapter with Handle, 18-Inch, yellow (or this one, less expensive)

Protagonist 10-19-2017 08:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lily&Me (Post 2023654)
Also a 30 to 50 amp adapter, for those occasions when 50 amp is all that is available...we have been in a couple of RV parks where this was the case.

A dogbone-style 30-to-15 adapter is also good. Less likely to pull out of the household outlet due to weight cantilevered from the adapter than the straight type.
https://www.amazon.com/Camco-55165-P...+15amp+adapter
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....-L._SX355_.jpg

wachuko 10-19-2017 09:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Protagonist (Post 2023677)
A dogbone-style 30-to-15 adapter is also good. Less likely to pull out of the household outlet due to weight cantilevered from the adapter than the straight type.
https://www.amazon.com/Camco-55165-P...+15amp+adapter
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....-L._SX355_.jpg

I understand the need for the 50 to 30 amp adapter.

Why the recommendation of a 30 to 15 amp adapter? In what situations would I need that one? Learning here...

Or is this more a 15 to 30 adapter to hook up from a normal receptacle at home if I do not have access to a 30 amp receptacle??

Protagonist 10-19-2017 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2023696)
Or is this more a 15 to 30 adapter to hook up from a normal receptacle at home if I do not have access to a 30 amp receptacle??

Exactamundo! It allows you to hook up in your driveway— or someone else's driveway when you go visiting— without needing a 30amp receptacle.

The dealer will probably give you one, but it will probably be a straight one like this that will try to pull itself out of the receptacle due to all the weight sticking straight out from the the socket:
http://www.sportsmanswarehouse.com/i...99011_1_og.jpg
The dogbone style is much preferred even though it takes more room to store.

wachuko 10-19-2017 11:24 AM

Excellent. Thank you. Added to the list. And also validated which 50-30 to get... not the straight unit but the first one I listed with the dogbone-styled. Cool.

Air99 10-19-2017 11:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Protagonist (Post 2023732)
Exactamundo! It allows you to hook up in your driveway— or someone else's driveway when you go visiting— without needing a 30amp receptacle.

The dealer will probably give you one, but it will probably be a straight one like this that will try to pull itself out of the receptacle due to all the weight sticking straight out from the the socket:
http://www.sportsmanswarehouse.com/i...99011_1_og.jpg
The dogbone style is much preferred even though it takes more room to store.



I found this adapter not working at all locations I have been to, including my garage and all my relatives, got something to do with GFI in series. This is without any loads in the RV and with shore power setting at 20A, I gave up and put in 30A socket with proper wiring.

Air99 10-19-2017 11:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Air99 (Post 2023746)
I found this adapter not working at all locations I have been to, including my garage and all my relatives, got something to do with GFI in series. This is without any loads in the RV and with shore power setting at 20A, I gave up and put in 30A socket with proper wiring.



To clarify, I meant this and 3 other 30A to 15A dongles as well, all tripped the breaker or the reset on the GFI outlets. This maybe unique to my AI who knows.

Protagonist 10-19-2017 11:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Air99 (Post 2023750)
To clarify, I meant this and 3 other 30A to 15A dongles as well, all tripped the breaker or the reset on the GFI outlets. This maybe unique to my AI who knows.

If you plug into a GFCI-protected 15amp outlet, turn off the breaker for the GFCI circuit inside the Airstream and just use the other circuits.

When you have a GFCI-protected circuit plugged into another GFCI-protected circuit, the upstream one can see the downstream one as a ground fault because of the circuitry the downstream one uses to detect ground faults.

Natuzzi 10-19-2017 12:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2023742)
Excellent. Thank you. Added to the list. And also validated which 50-30 to get... not the straight unit but the first one I listed with the dogbone-styled. Cool.

Just a comment; a few years ago we bought our first RV and went through the exact same exercise as you are currently. We are now getting ready to sell that 31’ Kodiak to get a smaller self-contained Class B+. When going through all the “stuff” we bought 5 years ago in anticipation of all our upcoming adventures, at least half of it was still in the original box! Some things like the surge protector, fresh water hose(s), window tint, etc., are a given and you should proceed. But, other things can wait until you have taken a trip or two to determine if you are really going to “need” or use them. Also, be sure to learn what items your selling dealer is going to include with purchase. Some dealers are more generous than others and some give great discounts on supplies from their store as a result of your purchase. Have fun and enjoy!

Air99 10-19-2017 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Protagonist (Post 2023755)
If you plug into a GFCI-protected 15amp outlet, turn off the breaker for the GFCI circuit inside the Airstream and just use the other circuits.

When you have a GFCI-protected circuit plugged into another GFCI-protected circuit, the upstream one can see the downstream one as a ground fault because of the circuitry the downstream one uses to detect ground faults.



Bingo Protag! I’ll definitely try it next time, beats running the noisy generator for hours just to keep the fridge cold when parking in relatives driveways. Thanks!

TayaraTravel 10-21-2017 09:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2023201)
Just consolidating the list that I have so far and adding some last minute items I had forgotten.

Anything else that would be classified as a must-have-now for a newbie starting the RV life? ...

If you haven't had enough to spend money on, here is a similar thread we used when preparing for our Interstate a few months ago:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...ar-164408.html

As others have noted, I'd keep the initial list short and add to it after experience. We bought-then-disposed-of several items from our startup list.

Pahaska 10-21-2017 09:57 AM

After driving through the "love-bug" swarm in SE Texas and, later, a swarm of migrating butterflies, I found that a long-handled squeegee/windshield-scrubber is an absolute must.

I store it behind the second-row seat with the business end out by the sliding door and the handle held in a spring broom holder mounted on the front wall of the black-tank enclosure. Because I have a bump installed on the sliding door rail, the sliding door ordinarily doesn't open far enough back that the squeegee is visible unless I roll the door past the stop to the Airstream-installed stop.

Protagonist 10-21-2017 10:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pahaska (Post 2024559)
After driving through the "love-bug" swarm in SE Texas and, later, a swarm of migrating butterflies, I found that a long-handled squeegee/windshield-scrubber is an absolute must.

Ditto. The long handle of mine is the collapsible 10-foot pole that I mentioned in Post #46 that I use for measuring questionable overhead clearances.

wachuko 10-21-2017 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Protagonist (Post 2024561)
Ditto. The long handle of mine is the collapsible 10-foot pole that I mentioned in Post #46 that I use for measuring questionable overhead clearances.

Yes Sir. On my list.

https://www.amazon.com/Cleaning-Exte...window+cleaner

wachuko 10-30-2017 12:34 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Just documenting... finally found some photos of the roof setup for a 2018 AI.... so much for trying to easily accommodate one more solar panel.... if Airstream would have done a better placement of the one in the rear, It would have been easy to add one more there without major modifications.

Trying to do that now will mean removing the existing rear panel and making the space for the 4th one. Will also mean getting a different connector that can combined all four (the one on there does not look like it has additional plug for one more)...

And then there is that wiring coming from what looks like the awning... :sad:

Protagonist 10-30-2017 12:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2028239)
Trying to do that now will mean removing the existing rear panel and making the space for the 4th one. Will also mean getting a different connector that can combined all four (the one on there does not look like it has additional plug for one more)...

For flexible panels, you might consider fastening one lengthwise to the top of your A/C shroud. It looks like one panel should fit, as long as the front end of the panel can curve down.

wachuko 10-30-2017 12:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Protagonist (Post 2028247)
For flexible panels, you might consider fastening one lengthwise to the top of your A/C shroud. It looks like one panel should fit, as long as the front end of the panel can curve down.

Or find, if available, low profile roof rack for the back and install both there to avoid doing anything else to the roof....

FlyFishinRVr 10-30-2017 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2028254)
Or find, if available, low profile roof rack for the back and install both there to avoid doing anything else to the roof....

You would likely need to DIY something because most roof racks, including the one from MB, will interfere with the awning.

wachuko 10-30-2017 05:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr (Post 2028271)
You would likely need to DIY something because most roof racks, including the one from MB, will interfere with the awning.

:huh: okay... back to measuring rear area and see if moving the one already there would allow for adding one more.

I would like to stay away from trying to install on a/c cover.

FlyFishinRVr 10-30-2017 06:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2028372)
:huh: okay... back to measuring rear area and see if moving the one already there would allow for adding one more.

I would like to stay away from trying to install on a/c cover.

Honestly, I think you'll be fine with the 300W that comes standard on the '18. I'm actually doing fine with just the 100W on my '17, but it depends on your expectations. Mine are that it will keep my batteries topped up, and after I swapped out my solar controller, it does that job just fine. Maybe give yours some time and see if you even need more..... :wally:

wachuko 10-30-2017 08:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr (Post 2028400)
Honestly, I think you'll be fine with the 300W that comes standard on the '18. I'm actually doing fine with just the 100W on my '17, but it depends on your expectations. Mine are that it will keep my batteries topped up, and after I swapped out my solar controller, it does that job just fine. Maybe give yours some time and see if you even need more..... :wally:

Yes, that is the plan. All this talk about adding an additional solar panel is further down the road... the only immediate changes that I am making are these:

Victron BlueSolar 100/30 MPPT Charge Controller - 30 Amps / 100 Volts
Victron VE.Direct Bluetooth Dongle
Blue Sea ML-ACR 7622 Automatic Charging Relay

And that is to make sure it actually charges properly.

I am just trying to kill time while it arrives :blush:

wachuko 11-01-2017 05:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MISGM (Post 2013964)
Hello All: New to forum and posting - I too have just purchased a 2018 AI and bought the metal stems for my duallys. I need a recommendation from folks for a competent installer on east coast (yes I have the Alcoa Wheels).. Thanks in advance...

Quote:

Originally Posted by MISGM (Post 2013964)
Special Note: When ordering your Dually Kit with metal valve stems..be sure to mention that inside dual tires are on steel wheels. I thought all my wheels were Alcoa Aluminum and ended up with wrong kit. The stems for the aluminum wheels wont seat

Thank you for the follow up update!!! I will be sure to call that out. I thought all six wheels where the same kind...

MISGM 11-01-2017 07:56 AM

Quick note: Ordering/Installing metal valve stems.
When you order, be mindful that the 2018 Interstate has steel wheels for the inner dual. All other wheels are Alcoa Aluminum. The steel wheels and Alcoa wheels require slightly different valve stems (my experience when purchasing the all aluminum wheels valve stem kit for 3500 Sprinters). Once I got the correct stem for the steel wheels...all is well for my TPMS!!

wachuko 11-01-2017 08:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MISGM (Post 2028940)
Quick note: Ordering/Installing metal valve stems.
When you order, be mindful that the 2018 Interstate has steel wheels for the inner dual. All other wheels are Alcoa Aluminum. The steel wheels and Alcoa wheels require slightly different valve stems (my experience when purchasing the all aluminum wheels valve stem kit for 3500 Sprinters). Once I got the correct stem for the steel wheels...all is well for my TPMS!!

Any chance you kept the correct part numbers for the kits used and can share?

wachuko 11-01-2017 09:51 AM

2 Attachment(s)
I just noticed that ours will not have the side counter extension...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/atta...1&d=1509550113

Here is a photo showing the extension

http://www.airforums.com/forums/atta...1&d=1509551741

With such limited counter surface area, would be nice to have that extension... the corian top color is generic enough that I might be able to have one done locally... will looks at the parts diagram for the hardware needed.

Protagonist 11-01-2017 09:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wachuko (Post 2028997)
I just noticed that ours will not have the side counter extension...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/atta...1&d=1509550113

Here is a photo showing the extension

http://www.airforums.com/forums/atta...1&d=1509551741

With such limited counter surface area, would be nice to have that extension... the corian top color is generic enough that I might be able to have one done locally... will looks at the parts diagram for the hardware needed.

Don't do that. Make the dealer install one. You're already paying for it, you should get it.

When I bought my Interstate, the pedestal for the table was there, but the tabletop and the bracket to hold it when not in use were missing. I had them take the tabletop and bracket out of another Interstate and install them in mine— at no cost to me— so that I could be on my way and they could get a replacement for the van they took them from.

wachuko 11-01-2017 10:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Protagonist (Post 2029001)
Don't do that. Make the dealer install one. You're already paying for it, you should get it.

When I bought my Interstate, the pedestal for the table was there, but the tabletop and the bracket to hold it when not in use were missing. I had them take the tabletop and bracket out of another Interstate and install them in mine— at no cost to me— so that I could be on my way and they could get a replacement for the van they took them from.

Issue is not that it is missing. In which case, you are correct. Ask the dealer for the missing trim.

The situation is that the Tommy Bahama Edition does not come with one. Not standard on that trim... :sad:

Let me send an email to Airstream to see what they respond with.

busb2 11-01-2017 01:01 PM

Side extension panel
 
I too was disappointed that my AI TB did not have one, but I found one made of wood that matches the TB cabinets, at camping world. It came with all the hardware required for a quick and easy install. We have been using it for about six months, and pleased with it.

wachuko 11-02-2017 05:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by busb2 (Post 2029079)
I too was disappointed that my AI TB did not have one, but I found one made of wood that matches the TB cabinets, at camping world. It came with all the hardware required for a quick and easy install. We have been using it for about six months, and pleased with it.

Got a response from Airstream:

Quote:

The reason we don’t install the counter extension in the Tommy Bahama, is that there is an LED rope light that goes under the galley counter top edge. This prevents us from installing the counter extension.

Steve Hartman
Airstream Sales

MISGM 11-02-2017 07:41 AM

Description below is for kit when all dual wheels are Alcoa Aluminum.
Call vendor below and speak to Kelly who can select correct kit for your RV
Other Kit PN#s for vehicle applications: DL1SP, DL1SPFR, DL1SP16, DL1SP16CFR, DL1SP13, DL1SP13FR175, DL1SP13FR225, DL1SPAL, DL2SPNA, DL3SPNA

Vendor _ Borg Equipment & Supply Company, PO Box 190 Tujunga, CA 91043
Phone is 800 300-2674 Fax 818 352-8119 ASK FOR KELLY!!!

DL1SPAA Chrome Dually valve Kit Part # DL1SPAA
Replacement 1-piece metal bolt-in valve stems for Class B and C Sprinter motorhomes. Traditionally, adding air to dually tires was difficult which required the use of specially designed air chucks and specially designed air gauges just to get to the valve stem. Not anymore! Duallyvalves are designed to make tire pressure checks and inflation easy on motorhomes. The length of the inner dual valve has been extended to reach the outer dual and the outer stem is curved making it easy to add air.
No more braided or rubber extensions that leak No more rubber base valve stems No more crawling around to locate the inner tire valve stem
Vehicle Application: Sprinter Vehicle Class: C
Vehicle Year(s): Varies Vehicle Wheel Size(s): 16"
Vehicle Wheel Types(s) Inner/Outer Dual Wheels: Aluminum/Alcoa, Wheel PN#250802
Vehicle Outer Dual Wheel Hand-Hole Shape: Rectangle w/ Rounded Edges
Vehicle Outer Dual Wheel Wheel Hand-Hole Size: 3.5" x 1.5"
Kit Contents
(2) Inner Aluminum Dual Wheel 7” Reverse Mount Chrome Valve Stems 9.7mm
(2) Outer Aluminum Dual Wheel 3.5" Triple Bend Reverse Mount Chrome Valve Stems 9.7mm
(2) Oval Stabilizers (Go in the outer Wheel that stabilize the inner dual wheel stem. Does not go in the cover / simulator cover)
(1) Packet of Loctite (To secure Reverse Mount Stems)
Warranty Duallyvalve Parts 3 Years

TPMS Duallyvalve stems DO NOT work with INTERNAL TPMS. Duallyvalves can work with External TPMS that go on the end of the valve stem.
Balancing Having Duallyvalves makes it difficult for the tire shop to balance your inner tires on a standard machine due to the long inner valve stem. Duallyvalve is compatible with internal Balancing Compounds.

Tire Rotation Having Dually valves make it difficult for the tire shop to rotate your tires. Inner stems, Outer stems and Front stems are all different. You can rotate Inner with Inner, Outer with Outer and Front with Front.

Replacement To reduce potential future air leaks; we recommend after 5 years replacing the rubber seals on the valve stems in the Dually Valve Kit. Just give Dually valve a call 800-300-2674 or 818-352-8717 x111 and we would be happy to help you get what you need. NOTE: Some Aluminum wheel valve stems do not have replacement grommets.

Package Weight & Dimensions Height: 12.25" Width: 3.5” Depth: 1.75” Weight: 2 lbs.

wachuko 11-02-2017 07:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MISGM (Post 2029379)
Description below is for kit when all dual wheels are Alcoa Aluminum.
Call vendor below and speak to Kelly who can select correct kit for your RV
O....

Thank you!

MISGM 11-02-2017 07:59 AM

Added Note: Installing the Rubber Stabilizer blocks was a bear but worth the effort as they hold the long extensions in place in center of wheel opening with no chance of flopping around due to centrifugal force of wheel rotating. Don't give up on this step!!

BTW I also put metal stems on front because of the TPMS sensors....

wachuko 11-02-2017 01:37 PM

On the counter extension. Got a follow up email from Airstream. They can custom build me one with matching color of the TB counter for me to install... no part number as it is not made for the TB... just a custom order that they will ship with the AI (not installed). Cool!!!

I just got off the phone with my sales guy at Tampa RV, forwarded the email confirmation from Airstream, so that we can have that ordered.

toskeysam 11-02-2017 03:56 PM

To MISGM...our dealer installed the metal stem kit I provided to them. I will need to revisit the rubber blocks. It appears there is a really tight fit on the inner flange side. Need to confirm that it does not put stress on the stem. May need to trim the block with pocket knife to allow it to seat fully.

wachuko 11-03-2017 11:56 AM

Ordered the Victron BlueSolar 100/30 MPPT Charge Controller - 30 Amps / 100 Volts and the Victron VE.Direct Bluetooth Dongle from Amazon... should be here Monday.

With the extended counter top and the battery trays and straps (pending cables and the additional two batteries), and Blue Sea ML-ACR 7622 Automatic Charging Relay (already at home) I should have everything for the first modifications I wanted to do before taking any trips. (well, I did ordered that USB Opolar fan everyone here talks so much about... that was an impulse buy)

I want to confirm if the inside wheels are steel or aluminum before ordering the Duallys valves kit... for that I would need a 2018 owner to confirm or wait for mine to arrive (towards the end of the month... it is getting closer!!! ).


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