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Old 07-21-2012, 10:27 PM   #1
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2011 Avenue Coach
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2011 Airstream Avenue Lounge

We purchased our Avenue in February of this year and have made three major trips.

After the first trip I found this site and wanted to get more info on the Avenue. To my surprise no members that own an Avenue has written about their experiences. I have read a few threads on the Interstate however the Avenue is a different vehicle. After posting this thread, I hope other Avenue owners will post their experiences so that we can help each other out and share our experiences.

This is the second Class B we have owned, the first being a Roadtrek Popular. In comparison, the Airstream in my opinion is more luxurious and comfortable not to mention the wow factor when looking at it from the outside and the inside.

One thing I did notice right away was that the ride comfort was the same in both the RT and A/S. Looking under the Avenue I noticed the shock absorbers were OE. I thought that was a little odd given the price that I paid for the Avenue and the hundreds of pounds in additional weight. After three months, I changed out the shocks myself in the driveway with a couple of jack stands and the jack that came with the Avenue. I replaced the OE shocks with a complete set of Bilstein's. The difference in the ride comfort and handling is 100% better! I highly recommend changing out the shocks as one of your first mods.

Another quirk was the bathroom door opening during some stops and turns. I used a door stop and it works most of the time however, Airstream could have done a better job at securing the door. I will send A/S a request to see if they can send me a fix. Additionally the back up camera monitor is a black and white model mounted on the the rear view mirror. Looks a little cheap however it gets the job done. I would have preferred a color monitor that was integrated into the dash with the stereo.

Driver and passenger windows were not tinted. Granted each state has its laws on how dark of a tint you can apply however, as much road time Class B'ers log, I feel A/S should have lightly tinted the driver and passenger windows. Regardless I had them done and they cut down on the heat and glare by at least 60% not to mention it gave the Avenue a sleeker look that blended in with the rest of the tinted windows.

From our last trip out west to Seattle this month, one of the latches to the exterior house battery door came loose and was lost. I didn't notice it until we returned home and I was washing down the Avenue. My luck it was the latch that had the lock. I emailed A/S for a replacement, waiting for a response.

Other than that, I/We absoulutely love the Airstream Avenue. We have used just about everything in the Avenue (even the shower) however due to the summer heat, we haven't used the heater or the heated tanks.

Looking forward to our next trip next weekend to the lake for a few days with friends.

Have a fantastic road/camping trip and thanks for reading my post!

SF,
Brad
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:52 PM   #2
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Update to my last post in July. I received a reply back from Airstream on the latch that was lost on the trip back from Seattle. Airstream said since I am not the original owner, I will have to replace the latch at my own expense and emailed me a list of dealers in the area.

I kind of expected the response since I am the second owner of the Avenue. I bought the Avenue in February 2012 from an RV dealership in North Texas; it had less than 2,000 miles when I purchased it.

Also in the last week of July the back-up camera went dead. I unplugged it and check the connections, then plugged it in no joy, looks like a dud. The back-up camera is made by Valor multimedia, a search on the internet didnít help much, I couldnít find my model and most of its products are covered for only a year. My deductible for the extended warranty is more than what the back- up camera is worth so Iíll replace it in the future with a color back-up camera integrated into the stereo dash.

During the three trips mentioned previously, we used the generator a few times to run the A/C and to charge the batteries. The noise from the Onan 2.8 kW generator is loud needless to say. Since then I have search the internet for a fix. A post from, Roadtrek Life was convincing and I gave it a try. Link:

http://roadtreklife.blogspot.com/2011/08/diy-installing-onan-resonator.html

I worked on the project this weekend and took some before and after videos just like the one from Roadtrek Life, here it is:

Before:
M2U00437.MPG

After:
M2U00442.MPG

I think it is very similar if not exactly like the mod on Roadtrek Life.

Interestingly, why hasnít Airstream offered or even incorporated the Onan resonator into the build of the Avenue or the Interstate? For the price a consumer pays for either vehicle, Airstream should have added the resonator and as I mentioned before, the upgraded shocks.

Anyway, I ordered the Onan resonator online from American RV Company for $38.78 plus $9.78 for shipping. I received the resonator within a week and bought a U bolt 5/16Ē x 2.5Ē x 3.5Ē and some metal spacers from ACE Hardware. The U bolt and spacers were needed to use the existing generator exhaust pipe hanger.

Here are the pics of the mod:

Before:
P1010811.JPG
P1010818.JPG

After:
P1010820.JPG
P1010821.JPG
P1010825.JPG

I used a hack saw to cut off approximately 10Ē of the generator exhaust pipe then inserted the pipe into the resonator. I had to pound on the exhaust pipe with a rubber mallet to get it fitted into the resonator, the fit was very tight and it is solid with no wiggle.

Overall it was a moderate project that was done in two hours. I noticed the generator exhaust is muffled with the resonator (not sure why they call it a resonator when it muffles the exhaust noise). A search of similar mods on the internet reveals that the generator noise cannot be completely eliminated due to the air intake located at the rear of the van and the mechanical sounds emanating from the generator. Iíll experiment with a shroud (piece of tarp, etc.) covering the rear bumper to the ground to reduce the noise when dry camping or running the generator while temporarily stopped. Let you know in the future how it pans out.

Hope this was helpful/interesting and thanks again for reading my post!

Have a fantastic road/camping trip!

SF,
Brad
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:55 PM   #3
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Before pics of the mod.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:58 PM   #4
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After pics of the mod.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:02 PM   #5
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So, Airstream doesn't allow you to transfer the factory warranty to the second owner? Ouch.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Brad1775 View Post
Driver and passenger windows were not tinted.
I'm not trying to hijack your thread, but you hit on one of my pet peeves.

I strongly believe driver and passenger windows should NOT be heavily tinted. They need to be light enough so someone outside the vehicle can tell if they have eye contact with the driver. That's the only way you really know if it's safe to proceed through an intersection or cross the path of the vehicle.

If you don't believe it's necessary to make that eye contact when you are driving in another car, try it when you're riding a bicycle or are a pedestrian. The consequences are serious and you'll realize how important it is.

]rant
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:59 PM   #7
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So, Airstream doesn't allow you to transfer the factory warranty to the second owner? Ouch.
Skater,

Airstream allows you to transfer the balance of the factory warranty to a second owner, for a price and after meeting certain requirements.

Airstream replied back to me in September and stated the Avenue was put in service (purchased new by the original owner) in December 2010. At that time the 36 month warranty clock was started. By the time I contacted Airstream, 15 months was left on the warranty.

If I wanted to transfer the warranty, Airstream stated that I had to get it inspected by an authorized A/S dealer. The local dealer charged a minimum of $180 for the inspection, no telling what else would have been charged if something did not pass.

Additionally, A/S stated, after I had a copy of the inspection, I would have to fill out their transfer warranty paper work, include a payment of $250 to transfer the warranty, and wait for their approval of the transfer.

Wow. Needless to say I passed on the transfer.
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:05 AM   #8
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Hello,

I'm new to the forum and have been looking for posts about the AS Avenue. I hope you all don't mind if I post on a couple of old threads and ask if you Avenue owners are still happy with your vans? Any problems?
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Old 01-29-2018, 04:58 PM   #9
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Hello all,

We just finished up a month long trip in our 2012 Airstream Avenue. We went over 7000 miles, from Maine to Tucson, Az., and back. This was our first real trip in a class B van, and I am so pleased. You well understand the benefits of driving a Class B, but I felt the Airstream Avenue quality is excellent! The design of the small interior space seems very well thought out. I have little criticism, although like some others, we also found our large bottom drawer sliding open when we went around curves.
I’ve not driven any other Class B, but hubby and I both love the Chevy reliability and handling. She was a champ!!
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Old 01-29-2018, 05:16 PM   #10
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I have little criticism, although like some others, we also found our large bottom drawer sliding open when we went around curves.
A child-proof latch attached to the outside of the drawer (I bought this kind: https://www.amazon.com/BabyKeeps-Chi...t%2Blocks&th=1) should fix that.
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Old 02-14-2018, 03:30 PM   #11
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Hello all,

We just finished up a month long trip in our 2012 Airstream Avenue. We went over 7000 miles, from Maine to Tucson, Az., and back. This was our first real trip in a class B van, and I am so pleased. You well understand the benefits of driving a Class B, but I felt the Airstream Avenue quality is excellent! The design of the small interior space seems very well thought out. I have little criticism, although like some others, we also found our large bottom drawer sliding open when we went around curves.
Iíve not driven any other Class B, but hubby and I both love the Chevy reliability and handling. She was a champ!!
Hey, Mainiacs. We could have an Airstream Avenue owner's convention in a 10'x10' room and have plenty of space left over. My first post, but I've been lurking on the Forum for a while learning a lot about Interstates (many things I can apply to my model) but seeing very little about the Chevy based Avenues. Is yours the Lounge or Suite (with enclosed wet bath) model? I recently purchased a new-to-me '2012 Avenue Suite and still learning, fixing, & improving in my driveway. I'm looking forward to a few good trips this Spring & Summer with my wife of 40yrs. For those curious, here is a link still up with a 360 degree interior view of my Avenue while it was on the dealers lot. http://360.pplmotorhomes.com/37285/
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:01 AM   #12
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Wow, rowiebowie, ours seems to be the very same model, except that our cabinets are the whitish color! It’s a beauty! Congratulations, and I hope you have many enjoyable trips.
We too, spent some time learning and figuring out how all the systems and components work. It’s a pretty amazing thing, with so much packed into a small space.
We are planning another long trip in March, but so far, I wouldn’t change a thing on our Avenue.
I hope you keep us posted!

Anne
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:59 PM   #13
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What kind of gas mileage did you get on your trip? On our drive back from Houston the dash computer laughably showed 17 mpg traveling 70 mph on the freeway. The gas tank was not topped up before our return trip so I can’t calculate it from the pump, but the gas gauge was dropping more like 13-14 mpg on our trip.
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Old 02-15-2018, 05:16 PM   #14
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Even though our Avenue Suite came with only 25,000 miles and new batteries & tires, there are a few things we've had to do. First I put on a set of new of shocks, replaced the macerator pump, replaced the water heater anode rod, and a defective CO detector. As far as add-ons go, I ordered window screens for the front cab windows, entry door flip-out window, and rear escape window from http://www.skreenz.com/. Then I ordered thermal shades for the front windshield & cab windows from https://www.ebay.com/itm/COVERKING-C...item5201f3448d and https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1. Finally I ordered a roll of Camco RV 45166 SunShield Reflective Thermal Door Cover Material - 48" x 10' and cut sizes to fit the rear coach windows. I'm interested in adding an interior LP cut-off switch as discussed on the Interstate forums, but haven't decided if I am up to the task yet.
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Old 02-16-2018, 12:20 AM   #15
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I calculated our mileage on paper many times, and we got 15-18 mpg depending on conditions. I guess we can’t expect much better than that.
I took it to have oil changed and tires rotated a few days ago, and they said they couldn’t rotate the tires because the vehicle is too heavy for their lift!
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Old 02-16-2018, 12:27 AM   #16
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You’ve made some good repairs and improvements, but you’re much more ambitious than we are!
The thermal door covering for your back windows—-how does that stay in place? I found when we sleep the rear curtains kept getting caught under and behind our pillows, so I used a couple of corrugated plastic blank white signs from Home Depot and cut them to fit. They’re fairly rigid and will sap into place between the glass and plastic frame. I’m not sure how that will work. Your covering sounds better,
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:06 AM   #17
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That's terrific gas mileage! Maybe my trip computer was not as overly optimistic as I thought. Hope I can report the same result once we start making trips. I was the one who wanted a motor home, but now as we get closer to making a trip, my wife says more and more often that she's looking forward to it. Yeah!

Glad to hear you like your Avenue Suite so much. We are pleased with ours and plan to make more driving trips than camping trips so it should work out perfectly.

I wanted the absolute smallest rv that still had everything, including the enclosed bath, and this model fit. It was just hard finding one until ours came up on a Houston rv dealers website. They sure hold their value don't they. We paid $57k and that was about $10k cheaper than I'd seen that model for. Guess it's what you get when you buy in a hot market.

I'm 6'2" and never expected to be able to stand up straight inside, but when I'm directly under the Maxx Fan vent, I can! That extra inch of clearance is just enough (even with shoes on). That was quite a welcome surprise since the specs show interior height only as an even 6 feet.

I removed the large Airstream lettering and so far no one has reported me to our neighborhood association. I really don't want to have to store it off site, and besides, here in Texas there are big pickups on every street that are actually a few inches wider and longer so height is the only thing that stands out.
I know what you mean about getting service. I thought I could take it to any Chevy dealer or garage, but most don't want to touch it. I think it's because it is a motor home and not the weight. They try to deny they can work on it because of a 10' height clearance. When I tell them it's only 9'3" they switch to saying their lifts can only handle 10,000k lbs. When I tell them it's under that weight, they just make another excuse. I finally found a local garage recommended by a local rv dealer and they have been great so far.
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:40 AM   #18
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You’ve made some good repairs and improvements, but you’re much more ambitious than we are!
The thermal door covering for your back windows—-how does that stay in place? I found when we sleep the rear curtains kept getting caught under and behind our pillows, so I used a couple of corrugated plastic blank white signs from Home Depot and cut them to fit. They’re fairly rigid and will sap into place between the glass and plastic frame. I’m not sure how that will work. Your covering sounds better,

Yes, I find the rear curtains in the way when reclining the bed and more so hanging near your head when sleeping so I tie them out of the way.

The reflectix I cut works like you describe your plastic on the original Chevy pop-out windows. I cut it a little over-sized for the glass and just tuck the edges behind the surrounding door plastic. Stays in place well and I don't use the rear windows or rear view mirror for driving so they will stay covered full time. I tilted the rear view camera up a bit and use the front monitor and side mirrors when driving.

As far as the Airstream side windows on either side of the bed, I had to be more precise in cutting the reflectix to the exact size and I use inexpensive spring-loaded curtain bars (Walmart) to keep them pressed in place when we don't have the windows open. The bottom section of the passenger window is a little different. I just put the reflectix in place and crank down the window to hold it, so that piece is actually sandwiched between the outer glass and the bug screen. I'm thinking of attaching suction cups so it doesn't fall out when opening the window.

I like the privacy of these covers on the windows and they do a much better job of insulating against cold (and more likely in our case) the heat.
They also block light better than curtains so it's hard for others to tell if you've got lights on from the outside.

At some point soon, I will need to quit fiddling and get on the road!
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Old 02-17-2018, 06:57 AM   #19
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Thanks for all the info rowiebowie, it’s great to chat with another Avenue owner! Please post after your trip and let us know how it performs.

Anne
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:33 PM   #20
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Thanks for all the info rowiebowie, itís great to chat with another Avenue owner! Please post after your trip and let us know how it performs.

Anne


We left for our first road trip in the Avenue Suite I bought last Fall. We couldn't make a trip earlier because of our oldest dog's age-related health problems. He passed one week after his 14th birthday in mid March. We miss him, but we had our other standard poodle (Age 11) with us and he did well.


Since we were taking our first trip, we didn't want to go too far or be gone too long. Just did a 3-day tour of the Texas Hill Country checking how everything works and getting used to living out of a van.



This trip we stayed in Garner, Blanco, and Gualdalupe State Parks and drove a big loop through the narrow, winding, highways there.


Weather was nice with night time temps in the high 50's with sunny days in the high 60's and low 70's due to a recent cool front. We were plugged into electricity each night. We used the microwave instead of the stove top for heating water for coffee and soup. There was plenty of room in the fridge for cold drinks and it kept the food cold and the ice frozen. We had plenty of storage and came back with half our clothes unused and 2/3rds of the food we took.


The Chevy engine is a beast. Plenty of acceleration for the steepest hills or merging with Interstate 10 traffic going 75 mph. We went the speed limit on most roads and stayed 5 MPH under on roads with 75 mph limit. One crazy stretch after leaving Garner Park was 75 MPH posted speed limit on a narrow, no-shoulder, scenic route. Way too fast. Other roads, strangely, had curves listed at 25 MPH or 35 MPH that we took easily in the van at 10 MPH over that. So posted speeds often made no sense. Final gas mileage figure was 15.03 MPG for the 730 mile trip. Pretty great for hilly roads in a 9000 lb. van.


We only saw one other 20 ft. Class B RV our size. Others were big boxy class C's (the ones that look like a UHaul truck) or $200K+ bus-sized class A motor homes. As far as travel trailers went, there were mostly huge 5th wheels. But a few smaller trailers, one pup-up, and a dozen or so tent campers. Of course, it's the off-season, so the parks were only half full.



The biggest surprise was the number of bicycle riders we passed on the less-traveled roads, especially between Kerrville and Luckenbach. To top it off, the bikers average age was probably 70 yrs. old! How they could ride 30-40 miles up and down those hilly roads is beyond my comprehension. I couldn't get 5 miles on flat land, let alone those hills. Today's 70 yr. olds must fall into one of two categories. They're either riding electric carts around Walmart aisles, or they're pedaling 4-5 hours through some of the most difficult roads in Texas.


Here are a few pictures. The last one is me dumping the "tanks" before heading home.
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