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Old 03-06-2016, 06:06 PM   #1
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Should I or not-buy Interstate

I have been considering getting a trailer. Have done extensive research on virtually every model available and then it hit me--I should consider an Interstate EXT Touring coach. I would appreciate any pros or cons from anyone about going this route. I do not need a lot of seats for passengers and would rather have that space for other things, kitchen, storage, etc. I would only need the two seats up front. I would have no problems driving the coach but having never camped in one, don't know what the downsides would be. Thanks everyone.
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Old 03-06-2016, 06:31 PM   #2
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Biggest drawback, cost. But if you're willing to shop around for a used T1N model (2004 to 2007 or 2008) you can reduce the cash outlay, as well as getting a floor plan that is more conducive to your needs, with only two front seats and twin beds.

Second drawback, small size. The aisle is narrow in order to fit everything into a van that is only six feet wide inside. So if you're very broad in the beam, that could be a problem. Also, if you're six feet tall or taller, you'll have to stoop under the low ceiling. I'm in between 5'10" and 5'11" (but my hair is only 5'8") and if I am wearing shoes I have to duck under the rooftop A/C, but if I'm barefoot, I don't.

Third drawback, no stabilizer jacks. You have to level it with blocks under the wheels— or live with it being out of level. I can go either way, based primarily on how well the shower will drain. If it's out of level to where water pools in the corners of the shower pan, I level it, otherwise I let it be. I hate having to mop the shower pan after every shower.

Fourth drawback, not much storage space. If you like having lots of cookware and a big galley counter-top for meal prep, you'll be disappointed. If you want to carry outdoor stuff like lawn chairs, a patio mat, or a grill, you'll want a hitch-mounted cargo tray or box; there's no room inside for that stuff.

Fifth drawback, that big greenhouse windshield soaks up a lot of heat. Can be overcome with the right windshield cover, but the one provided by Airstream is not the right one for that.

Having said all of that, the only drawbacks that can't be overcome with some ingenuity and effort are the lack of aisle width and ceiling height. So if those don't bother you, go for it!

Offsetting the drawbacks are pluses, of course.

First plus, you'll never have to worry about a campsite being too small or too difficult to back into. An Interstate fits just about anywhere and is no more difficult to maneuver than a crew-cab pickup.

Second plus, it's a conversion van, so even when you're not camping you can still use it. If you compare the cost-per-day-of-use of a trailer and an Interstate, the Interstate can come out cheaper even if you're not full-timing because you can even use it as your daily driver if you want. That spreads the cost over more days of use. I've driven mine to work many times, just because I couldn't wait until my next camping trip to use it again.

Third plus, it's incredibly comfortable to drive. The seat ergonomics are the best I've seen in over forty years of driving. That counts for a lot right there.

There are other pluses— and other drawbacks as well, I'm sure— but that should be enough to get the discussion rolling.
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Old 03-06-2016, 06:45 PM   #3
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I don't think any of these Sprinter based RVs are good bang for you buck.

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Old 03-06-2016, 06:47 PM   #4
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Thanks much for your comments. If I buy, it will be a new one. I am not as tall as you so height should not be a problem. Wondered about the width. If I can get down the aisle without having to turn sideways, that should not be a problem.

Will probably get a tow dolly and take a front wheel drive car with me. Plan to store my fishing gear in there and could put lawn chairs and small grill. By the way, the road trip Coleman is a great camping grill.

No stabilizers could be a problem. Good way to check with the drain. Have you ever had any problem with the fridge? I understand they have to be somewhat level.

Given the ease of getting into and out of a campsite, I will probably not take a car with me at first, just drive the Interstate. Only unhooking would be the power cord.

I am going to look on Wednesday at both trailers and coaches. May pull the trigger then. I have looked a lots of trailers but the coach bug just bit me.

Really appreciate the input and suggestions, pro and con. Might have one by this time next week.
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Old 03-06-2016, 06:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
I don't think any of these Sprinter based RVs are good bang for you buck.
Says a man who never had one.
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Old 03-06-2016, 06:59 PM   #6
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I love our Flying Cloud 27. That said, at the risk of being ostracized on the Airstream forum, if I was looking at a class B, I'd be seroiusly in discussions with this company.

http://leisurevans.com

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Old 03-06-2016, 07:03 PM   #7
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Have you ever had any problem with the fridge? I understand they have to be somewhat level.
Actually, they don't. They're electric-only except on the old T1N models. The van would have to be so far out of level that it's in danger of tipping over before the fridge would quit working. That exact same model fridge is also used on sailboats, and sailboats are never level except at anchor.

I pull a toad with mine— four-down, no dolly. Fuel economy only drops by about 1mpg when pulling the toad, and pulling a toad is much easier than pulling a trailer— no tail-swing issues, for one thing.

All of my outdoor gear goes in the toad. But for my first year of ownership I didn't have a toad. Then I used a hitch-mount cargo tray for my outdoor stuff, and it worked well. I got one that folds up and stores in a home closet when I'm not using it.

By the way, no stabilizers is no problem. Remember that you have wheels on all four corners, unlike a trailer that only has wheels in the middle. The Interstate's suspension is stiff enough that the van doesn't rock much at all when you're moving around inside, and it hardly rocks much even in a stiff wind (50mph wind gusts in a thunderstorm, for example)— as long as the awning is properly retracted so it doesn't catch the wind. And since the newer ones have auto-retract awnings, that's a non-issue as well.
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:20 PM   #8
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Thanks for the additional comments.
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:45 PM   #9
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Not looking for an Interstate, but have to appreciate the comments from Protagonist. Thanks!
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caffeinated View Post
I love our Flying Cloud 27. That said, at the risk of being ostracized on the Airstream forum, if I was looking at a class B, I'd be seroiusly in discussions with this company.

http://leisurevans.com

Mike

Leisure Travel Vans (LTV) no longer makes a class B van. They now only offer class C RVs


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Old 03-07-2016, 08:22 AM   #11
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I agree with Protag's Pro and Con discussion.
I think the choice between an Airstream trailer and an Interstate van comes down to your travel desires and style. I had a vintage 1971 27 ft Airstream trailer for five years before I got my Interstate. I was living in the city of Seattle at the time and had to store the trailer in a storage lot outside the city. That limited my use of the trailer. I also discovered that I preferred to drive more to see the country and only stayed in one spot for a few days. That made setting up and breaking down the trailer at a camp site a drag on my travels. It also limited where I could go with a big trailer in tow.
Today with my Interstate I can go almost anywhere and have. If you are considering a B-van you should also look at some of the competition. I really like my Interstate, but it had several shortfalls that I have since fixed. Other B-van makers offer more solar and bigger battery capacity, which are real limitations of the Interstate in my view.
The current Airstream Interstate Grand Tour model is probably the best match for the use you have described.


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Old 03-07-2016, 11:04 AM   #12
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I see Protag on here, and he may disagree, but here goes...
The trailers simply have more walk around room.
We have friends with a 2004 TN1 (?) Interstate.
It gets really small really quick with 4 people and a small dog in there.
In a trailer, you can pass another person in the aisle.
In an Interstate, you cannot. Everyone else has to sit down so 1 person can go to the kitchen to fix a sandwich.
Single travel would probably be great in an Interstate.
A couple might work OK.
More than a couple- it just ain't big enough.
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:06 AM   #13
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Thanks all for your thoughts. Will be just me traveling so should not be too much of a problem. Lots of things to digest before Wednesday.
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:18 AM   #14
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from a newish owner

I got mine (EXT) because I never got rid of my hippie van itch.
It is sooo easy to drive and park. It is actually pretty maneuverable, too. Just look at all of the workman Sprinters running around town.
It is tight no doubt, but cooking, toileting and sleeping are not issue even for a fatboy like me.
It has a lot more storage than you might think. But we also have a swing-away for extra stuff, and have removed one seat.
I found the bed torturous and we have bunk size auxiliary mattresses.
Set up and break down takes five minutes for water and power. I have not had to worry about leveling, yet.
I like being able to drive just about anywhere, but once you're set up you don't want to be taking any unnecessary trips to town, which is easier to do when towing.
I really, really. really like to be able to get up and walk around while the wife is driving....and she does most of the driving.
Remember though, it is a van conversion and will never be a full size RV or trailer. Traveling in good weather allows you to use the outdoors to expand your living.
All choices come with compromises.
They tease you with 22 mpg but we usually get about 17.
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:18 AM   #15
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Protagonist is right on. Camping good for two and no more. Have used as long distance limo to and from Disney with two drivers, two adults and two kids in rear - no sober adult in rear for any length of time. Have found parking difficult in beach towns during summer for our extended version. Very easy to drive even at rev limit. Great diesel mileage.
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:31 AM   #16
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Everything that Protag said with this additional comment: My husband is 6'4" and 250 pounds. We have the 2016 twin bed model and he is comfortable inside. Yes, we've had to learn how to "dance" a bit, and he prefers to use the campground shower, but we've spent two weeks straight in ours traveling all over Wisconsin and loved every minute of it.

Now, that said, we did keep our 31' classic. We use them both - the Interstate when we want to be on the move daily (like 9 different campsites in 15 days in Wisconsin), and the classic when we want to sit in one place for a while. We don't regret one minute of buying the Interstate and keeping both.
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:48 AM   #17
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I bought a new 2015 and have owned it for more than a year now. I actually DID achieve 22 miles per gallon during long distance travel.
We have the extended Gran Tour Model. Its fine for 2 people ONLY! It is a dream to drive. I wouldn't give a 2nd thought to drive it from
Florida to Alaska. We are over 70 yrs old and this is our 8th RV! Each one gets a little smaller for us, and that's the way we like it!
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:58 AM   #18
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Thanks everyone. Really appreciate your taking some time to help inform me. I am liking the idea of the coach, but don't know what bug may bite me tomorrow.
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:58 AM   #19
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Making a wrong choice can be an expensive mistake. We first bought a new 19' Bambi which I liked a lot, but it didn't suit our traveling style: we don't usually stay in campsites for days, we like to keep moving and see things and visit people - and do a lot of dry camping. So we sold it for a new Airstream which we much prefer.
If we were doing it all over again today, I would get a new Grand Tour with the twin bed option - we don't need the additional seating capacity like you, and the twin beds are more comfortable than the sofa. I hope you have the chance to look at a twin bed model.
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Old 03-07-2016, 12:30 PM   #20
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Most "stock" Sprinter Class B's are not great for going off grid for more than a weekend (There are a few like RT ETrek and ARV that are). As Boxster said, you can spend $$$$ to upgrade the solar and batteries for real boondocking capability. There are many folks on the Airforums that enjoy extended Class B camping (but you need to be single or have a strong marriage).
The strength of Sprinter Class B's lies in short touring, tailgating, and long road trips where you may want to sleep overnight in a parking lot on your way to the condo or campsite with full hookups.
The Sprinters drive great with two exceptions: due to vehicle profile, windy conditions over 20mph will require more attentive driving and high winds will be no fun at all (especially on bridges, overpasses etc. you'll need to slow down). Semi trucks will also cause buffeting when in close proximity. MB recently came out with a "Wind Assist" system that applies the individual brakes to help the van in high winds. I have not heard any reviews on how well it works.
The other ride issue is if you plan on having anyone ride or sleep in in rear (yes, a bad idea but it happens), get a model that has the rear airbag option. According to those who have it, your passengers will thank you for paying the extra 8-10K.
We have only had our AI bus for half a year but we have really enjoyed it. You will too.
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