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Old 11-28-2020, 03:19 PM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
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temperature difference in airstream vs outside temp.

So i live in Tucson Az. for fun i put digital thermometer in my 1974 Sovereign. So outside current temp here is 65 inside the airstream was 89 degrees. Now if you are cold than it is advantage but when it is 105-110 in Tucson in the summer could be brutal. Anyway i thought this was interesting as i have Alpenlite 5th wheel and inside temp measured at the same time was 63 degrees.
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Old 11-28-2020, 03:59 PM   #2
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Insulation is the answer. Airstream has used fiberglass insulation forever except for a short time they tried foam. The foam didn’t work and they went back to Fiberglass. The fiberglass clumps when wet and since Airstreams are often leakers, after 46 years either way, the insulation is probably not good. I think they may have tried thermal pane windows, but quit that too.

Even at best, 2” of fiberglass is only R value of 6 or 7 I estimate— and that’s if installed correctly, which is usually is not. Tests show housing contractors usually do a bad job with fiberglass resulting in half the R value. The steel ribs that the aluminum is riveted to cause heat and cold to pass through easily—there’s no thermal break.

People ask if they can camp in the winter and the answer is maybe, but it is really a three season trailer. In hotter areas, they are two season trailers. Many people have sprayed foam in old ones when rehabilitating them. Modern spray foam is far better than what Airstream used decades ago.
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Old 11-28-2020, 05:42 PM   #3
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Hi


I agree with what you are saying. Wonder if the reflectix in combination with fiberglass or another material would make a big difference. Also putting reflective window tinting on windows would help as well. Would be curious what others think as well.
Anyone doubled up refectix than insulated and gathered any data on the installation?


Rick
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Old 11-28-2020, 05:46 PM   #4
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Of course the solution is to open some windows. I would suggest that the temperature inside the Airstream might not be just a function of the insulation. Was there direct sun on it prior to your checking the temperature?

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Old 11-28-2020, 06:02 PM   #5
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There is a good reason they call these trailers Airstream as opposed to Sunscreen or Thermalqueen.... Just sayin.
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Old 11-28-2020, 06:30 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BayouBiker View Post
There is a good reason they call these trailers Airstream as opposed to Sunscreen or Thermalqueen.... Just sayin.
Agree.

Reflectix is helpful, but it looks good only because the windows are so bad as insulation. Doubling it would help a little of course, but if you want better insulation, foam board is easy to find (various types have different R values, so check). For just keeping the trailer from getting so hot while standing, open the vents and run the fans on low. Make sure one is intake and one is exhaust. If you canít reverse your fan (many cannot be) reverse the wires to the motor and it will run backwards. There are covers to go over the fans. The one sold by Fantastic Fan is nice, but more expensive than the alternative. I say ďalternativeĒ because I canít remember the brand name.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:56 AM   #7
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Man this popping in and out trying to get you to sign up with the forum is a pain. i move my curser wrong way and i loose what i am doing than have to start over. was never that way on old forum sight here. anyway yes was in direct sunlight as was the alpenlite as well 27 degrees difference in temp. now that is fine in the winter as maybe you not have to turn heat on period if sunny. airstreams seem to have a big problem with heat building up inside. I am looking for input from those that have tried to address this and will contribute so data on the subject of what they did and what the results were.


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Old 11-29-2020, 07:59 AM   #8
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i hear you but that is the design has nothing to do with insulation etc
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Old 11-29-2020, 08:02 AM   #9
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hi i installed to max air fans they are great! i think me point is if you doing the full monte what would you use to insulate the trailer that would make a big improvement on temperature build up in an airstream. personally i like the 70's trailers as the dryweight is way less than newer airstreams and they tow sweet going down the road as well.
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Old 11-29-2020, 09:18 AM   #10
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2020 Airstream Int. 25FB... It was toasty warm inside When it got down to 26 degrees. It was like an icebox inside at 98 with 80% humidity for 3 days straight. I have one 15,000 btu ac unit. You probably want to go with 2 when you add length. Everyone tends to get 2ft-itus when shopping for trailers...we almost went with a 27’. Myself, wife, 8yr old, 5yr old & 2 Scottie’s who have already vacationed in the 25FB for a month straight so far. It works! The only thing you really gain in an Airstream when increasing length is storage. ...unless you purchase a 28’ with bunks or jump to the 33’s... It only takes 5 minutes to make up the beds...though it would be really convenient to have bunks with kids!!!!! Anyway... consider size... it’s a little easier to manage temps in a smaller trailer. just sharing my thoughts and opinions...
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Old 11-29-2020, 10:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertratt View Post
hi i installed to max air fans they are great! i think me point is if you doing the full monte what would you use to insulate the trailer that would make a big improvement on temperature build up in an airstream. personally i like the 70's trailers as the dryweight is way less than newer airstreams and they tow sweet going down the road as well.
rick
Bare aluminum is a great conductor of heat or cold. White paint is not so much. If you coat the top with something like "Buskote" https://www.airforums.com/forums/f47...ng-198517.html You can mitigate that to some degree. I think that is the biggest thermal difference between the 2 trailers inside temp, The outside COLOR. In the sun the AS will be warmer.

Now the RIBS, They are also aluminum riveted directly to the outside and inside SKINS (also aluminum) transferring heat or cold directly into the cabin of the coach. Bypassing any insulation... That is where you would need a "thermal break". A barrier between the the skins and the ribs. But is you are still using rivets you are going to have some thermal transference.

INSULATION fiberglass, reflectix, Wool, Foam, whatever. can help a great deal. But it will not stop thermal transfer through the skin/rib/skin/rivet connections.

Perhaps something like Aerogel would work between the rib/shin connections OR 3M tape to hold the skins with no rivets???

They are not perfect, but they look cool.

-Dennis
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Old 11-29-2020, 01:41 PM   #12
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To create thermal breaks with the ribs, you can use some insulating materials between the rib and skin inside and out. This is done in some residential construction. But eliminating the problem at the door frame or window frames and other penetrations is difficult. I have remodeled four houses (it is a personal illness, not to flip, though sometimes it has resulted in good profits) and the air sealing and insulating protocols have changed radically over the years. I have read a lot about it, but am overwhelmed by the info. You can certainly increase insulation and air sealing, but read up on construction techniques. Insulation even when installed correctly is dependent on air sealing to make it effective.
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Old 11-30-2020, 08:21 PM   #13
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Well i am surprised Airstream themselves have not addressed this issue. i have compared temps with a Beaver mtr hm chinook class b and alpenlite 5th wheel basically you have a 15-20 degree difference in temps. the other 3 not Airstream are very close the Beaver diesel pusher is the best as it has double pain windows etc. Dont get me wrong i love Airstreams i have two at one time i had three. Bought my first one on ebay in San Diego went over had no clue tires were horrible and no equalizer hitch lights didnt work etc. Drove it home and told my buddy with me this is sweetest towing trailer i have ever towed. And yes we drove home get back in the dark and the lights came on the trailer when i pulled in driveway. In other words was pitch dark but dusk so after that been sold every since!


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Old 12-02-2020, 08:47 PM   #14
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i see you had a nash had one of those too. took it elk hunting and the water pump froze on us haha. I hear you on building etc i have done 20 house my first at 20 living in old travel trailer with my wife and garden hose as water supply. we built adobe house since this is southwest used sasabe adobes i ordered from mexico than i had a gap space than framed a 2x4 wall inside than insulated that was excellent we hardly had to run the cooler which in those days is what you used here. alot restorers are using closed cell spray foam and actually that was what was used in avion trailers. anyway looks like the temp conversation was hijacked by someone asking about how to winterize their trailer. to me this is a big problem with airstreams since i live in a low humidy high heat enviroment it makes it worse. i think airstream itself needs to so homework on this issue and try address it for the future. how about a 4 season airstream haha is it possible anything is possible..
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Old 12-02-2020, 09:39 PM   #15
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My rebuilt 1963 has a double layer of prodex (reflexex) and a single ceramic cube heater holds it at about 15 degrees above the outside temp.
I did lay the second layer of prodex over the ribs as a thermal break.
Not a stunning thermal insulator but it has single pane windows and itís not really well sealed.
The 15k btu AC keeps it really cool in everything except the hottest days in full sun here in the south.
Itís a danged ole camper, not a modern fully insulated house but we enjoy it year Ďround.
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