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Old 03-22-2018, 12:54 AM   #1
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2018 AI Lounge - Tidy up wiring & trim pieces to match MB quality

The MB wiring harnesses under the hood are very MB (i.e. top notch). I expected it to be, based on my experience working on my prior & current MB sedans. I also installed big mainframe computers in most of my professional career, so it has become one of my pet peeves.

So, of course, I had to check out all wiring in my new AI, starting from MB engine compartment to the AI house. There are some very minor things I may do later in engine compartment when I put in a small compressor.

But on the AI house side, a few items needed immediate attention. The 1st is the wiring coming from the driver's & front passenger's seats going down into their respective bases. In my opinion, it is only a shy above sloppy worksmanship. I say this because these wiring is not static, but rather it moves as the seat moves fore/aft and/or rotate in an area that is completely metal, with sharp edges. Not to mention my 3yr. old grandson already found his way "up the skirt" so to speak. So, having a robust wiring bundle encased in appropriate loom is, in my opinion, a neccesity. The pics will speak volumes. Here goes . . .

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↗↗ This is how all the wiring was underneath driver's seat. I just pulled them out to get a better pic. It was just as jumbled up inside seat frame, being hidden by seat skirts. Ditto for front passenger seat.

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↗↗ First order of business is to disconnect all connectors needed to straighten each wire run. Then reconnect and start running them on parallel pairs with no criss-crossing wires. Then electrical tape them every few inches.

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↗↗ During the disconnecting phase, ran across a few of these metal clips that hold the wires together & into certain areas of seat frames. Probably not the smartest choice as the metal clips have sharp edges where I have already noticed it digging into the very thin wire insulation. Removed them all.

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↗↗ Finally, the corrugated wire loom to protect the entire bundle and then tie-wrap the loom into the rotating seat frame. Driver's side - done

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↗↗And passenger's side - done.

And that folks, is how it should've been done in the first place.

2nd item I needed & wanted to do asap is re-route the VB Air suspension wired controller so I have access & visibility of it while seated in the driver's seat or passenger seat. I also wanted it to be reachable from all outside of all 3 doors, driver's, passenger's, and sliding door. Will post pics in few hrs. Have an unplanned errand. To be continued . . .
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Old 03-22-2018, 04:47 AM   #2
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Nice work, this should get really interesting if you get to the mid-ship house wiring...
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Old 03-22-2018, 07:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex AVI View Post
...
So, of course, I had to check out all wiring in my new AI, ...In my opinion, it is only a shy above sloppy worksmanship. . . .
As soon as I read this, the first words that came to my mind were, "Uh-oh. There's gonna be another food fight!"


As Randy noted, you've only just encountered the tip of that particular iceberg. Wait until you proceed amidships. For reference, this was the scene beneath our closet floor before we re-did the area during our lithium upgrade. Note especially the intimate association between water and electrical.

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Old 03-22-2018, 07:59 AM   #4
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InterBlog: That looks like great wiring compared to the nest that was/is under the couch in my 2014.5. The space behind the switch and display panel in the upper cabinet is no better. I tidy up something every time I open either of these areas.

Alex AVI: Airstream removes the Mercedes front seats and has them recovered to match the balance of the coach. That may be part of the problem with the wiring under the front seats in that it was disconnected and sloppily reconnected by Airstream.

I spent 35 years designing electronics for IBM and I sorely miss the beautiful cabling that we had, even in early prototypes.
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Old 03-22-2018, 08:12 AM   #5
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And that folks, is how it should've been done in the first place.

2nd item I needed & wanted to do asap is re-route the VB Air suspension wired controller so I have access & visibility of it while seated in the driver's seat or passenger seat. I also wanted it to be reachable from all outside of all 3 doors, driver's, passenger's, and sliding door. Will post pics in few hrs. Have an unplanned errand. To be continued . . .
This is great stuff... Really appreciate the pictures and details. Will need to add more things to my list. Interested to see what you do with the VB Air. I have that as well and now I have to go look under my front seats.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:12 AM   #6
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Nice work, this should get really interesting if you get to the mid-ship house wiring...
I am methodically working my way from hood to cab, towards rear. I am cleaning & detailing everything along the way. That's the part taking so much time 😉
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Note especially the intimate association between water and electrical.
I already have taken my galley drawers out to check inside. Not too bad in there. I will refrain from shortening anything (for now, while under warranty). Just make it neat & clean for now.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Pahaska View Post
Airstream removes the Mercedes front seats and has them recovered to match the balance of the coach. That may be part of the problem with the wiring under the front seats in that it was disconnected and sloppily reconnected by Airstream.

I spent 35 years designing electronics for IBM and I sorely miss the beautiful cabling that we had, even in early prototypes.
Yeah,I am pretty sure removal of seats for re-upholstering definitely disturbed original MB wiring harness.

You & I came from the same careers. I spent 33 years in Hewlett Packard doing similar stuff, both in the field, the manufacturing, then in R&D. Those were the good ole days 😁
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Old 03-22-2018, 10:38 AM   #9
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Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tobbun View Post
Interested to see what you do with the VB Air. I have that as well and now I have to go look under my front seats.
I was not happy w/ the VB Air controller mounted behind the driver's seat for a few reasons:
1. It was cumbersome to reach back there, especially from seatbelted position.
2. I felt all driver related controls need to be as close to front & center.
3. My 3yr old grandson's child seat is behind driver's seat. He thinks he can play w/ anything within his reach.

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↗↗ First step was to remove the controller holder. So now, 3 holes are exposed. Not sure yet if I want to fill or re-use existing 3 holes to mount a tv remote holster. Put original screws back on for now.

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↗↗ Here's the cable as I laid it around the back of driver's seat base. There is enough room in the gap between base & soft gray rubber flooring to be able to tuck it in very easily under the flooring.

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↗↗ Then around the bend, going between seat base & handbrake lever. Again, easy to lift soft flooring & tuck cable in.

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↗↗ Pull cable towards the cutout on flooring for handbrake, so it comes out same hole.

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↗↗ Closeup of where cable exits flooring.

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↗↗ Now, decide where to attach holder. On the side of seat plastic trim, below seatbelt latch, side of handbrake trim? I decided to attach on top of handbrake. Reason for this to be obvious in next pics.

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↗↗ Here I am sitting on driver's seat & can look down the right side to see & reach controller. It is also visible & reachable from passenger seat. It is also reachable from outside of the driver's, front passenger's, and sliding doors. A short guy like me needs to reach in a bit more than taller folks. Nevertheless, I don't need to go back to driver's door pillar all the time.

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↗↗ This pic shows the biggest benefit (at least for me). My garage door clearance is EXACTLY 9' 9". So, in order to park the AI in, my process involves pulling parking brake up 2 or 3 clicks, slamming VB all the way to minimum (gives me close to 4" clearance), then slowly driving in, being very vigilant of VB status. (M2 memory is programmed to slam for convenience). Everyone on the 4 captain's chairs can easily see the status of VB during ingress/egress process in case we need to make sure I am still at slammed mode. Lastly, there is still enough cable length to be able to use outside the cab.
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Old 03-22-2018, 12:43 PM   #10
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This is GREAT information

Thank you for this guided tour of wiring. What I really appreciate is the pictures with the explanations. Excellent.
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Old 03-22-2018, 02:19 PM   #11
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Excellent work and thank you for sharing photos and description. Added to the to-do list.
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Old 03-22-2018, 02:48 PM   #12
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Fabulous write-up! Thank you!
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Old 03-22-2018, 05:24 PM   #13
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Nice job. Done in workman like fashion too.
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Old 03-22-2018, 05:57 PM   #14
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Lithium Batteries

I noticed someone mentioned lithium batteries.
Can I replace my existing house batteries with lithium without doing anything else.
I don’t know anything about the electronics but I know my existing batteries do not hold a charge and drain down quickly. I boondog a lot and need something that works. Other manufactures use lithium. Why not airstream?
Help!
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Old 03-22-2018, 11:11 PM   #15
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I have the same question about lithium battery conversion.

There are lithium batteries advertised with a Battery Management System (BMS) that they imply works with a normal rv charger, however they recommend the charger go to 14.4 volts to fully charge the lithiums. Plug & Play?

But then I see videos by Youtube bloggers who seem to go through a pretty thorough conversion process at a dealer to convert their rvs to lithium. So I'm thinking is ain't that easy as implied above.

I sure would like to get 80%-90% battery usefulness instead of the 50% of lead batteries. Seems like for the price of a good solar panel system, you can get the same or better improvement and fast recharge on the road or at rv site hookups.

Edit: Found this thread I need to wade through. It may have my answer. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...es-162132.html
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Old 04-12-2018, 08:41 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex AVI View Post
The MB wiring harnesses under the hood are very MB (i.e. top notch). I expected it to be, based on my experience working on my prior & current MB sedans. I also installed big mainframe computers in most of my professional career, so it has become one of my pet peeves.



So, of course, I had to check out all wiring in my new AI, starting from MB engine compartment to the AI house. There are some very minor things I may do later in engine compartment when I put in a small compressor.



But on the AI house side, a few items needed immediate attention. The 1st is the wiring coming from the driver's & front passenger's seats going down into their respective bases. In my opinion, it is only a shy above sloppy worksmanship. I say this because these wiring is not static, but rather it moves as the seat moves fore/aft and/or rotate in an area that is completely metal, with sharp edges. Not to mention my 3yr. old grandson already found his way "up the skirt" so to speak. So, having a robust wiring bundle encased in appropriate loom is, in my opinion, a neccesity. The pics will speak volumes. Here goes . . .



Attachment 306863

This is how all the wiring was underneath driver's seat. I just pulled them out to get a better pic. It was just as jumbled up inside seat frame, being hidden by seat skirts. Ditto for front passenger seat.



Attachment 306864

First order of business is to disconnect all connectors needed to straighten each wire run. Then reconnect and start running them on parallel pairs with no criss-crossing wires. Then electrical tape them every few inches.



Attachment 306865

During the disconnecting phase, ran across a few of these metal clips that hold the wires together & into certain areas of seat frames. Probably not the smartest choice as the metal clips have sharp edges where I have already noticed it digging into the very thin wire insulation. Removed them all.



Attachment 306866

Finally, the corrugated wire loom to protect the entire bundle and then tie-wrap the loom into the rotating seat frame. Driver's side - done



Attachment 306867

And passenger's side - done.



And that folks, is how it should've been done in the first place.




Great idea! Try not to unplug any connector while you put on the wire loom covers or its closed circuit sensor will throw a “SRS system check visit dealer” code on the dashboard, as happened to mine. The tech said you must disconnect all energy sources before messing with these wires.
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Old 04-12-2018, 01:01 PM   #17
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Great idea! Try not to unplug any connector while you put on the wire loom covers or its closed circuit sensor will throw a “SRS system check visit dealer” code on the dashboard, as happened to mine. The tech said you must disconnect all energy sources before messing with these wires.
Good catch. 👍 Yep, I did disconnect power, hence no visit to dealer. I should have stated that right off the bat, since we have SRS/sensors on front seats. One of those things I didn't think of and just assumed DIYers would do anytime disconnecting connectors is involved. Thanks.
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Old 05-07-2018, 03:37 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by rowiebowie View Post
I have the same question about lithium battery conversion.

There are lithium batteries advertised with a Battery Management System (BMS) that they imply works with a normal rv charger, however they recommend the charger go to 14.4 volts to fully charge the lithiums. Plug & Play?

But then I see videos by Youtube bloggers who seem to go through a pretty thorough conversion process at a dealer to convert their rvs to lithium. So I'm thinking is ain't that easy as implied above.

I sure would like to get 80%-90% battery usefulness instead of the 50% of lead batteries. Seems like for the price of a good solar panel system, you can get the same or better improvement and fast recharge on the road or at rv site hookups.

Edit: Found this thread I need to wade through. It may have my answer. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...es-162132.html
Litium batteries are very sensitive to charging voltages and overcharging or too low discharging. That's why they need a battery monitor system (BMS). The BMS disconnects the batteries in over/under voltage conditions to protect them.

This means that all your charging sources (solar charger, regular charger, alternator) need to be chosen carefully or modified. On the Interstate, we can easily change the inverter/charger and solar charger. I'm not sure about the alternator. Usually, an externally regulated alternator is needed. I don't know the sprinter alternator specs.
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Old 08-30-2018, 06:54 PM   #19
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UPDATE - the continuing saga of tidying up wiring. Been doing a few minor areas under the chassis, nothing to write home about. Was going to add the double Fusion disconnect switches from the WACHUKO List. But when I opened up the dash, I just had to redo all the AI / Fusion to MB harness & splices. It is not a task for the impatient, it requires many areas to disconnect/reconnect. Take your time, I would suggest disconnecting 1 cable at a time, unless you can mentally/physically track them so you do not end up with disconnected cables after putting head unit back. You won't blow up anything. It's just frustrating to undo all those screws once they are bolted back in.

It was just a big mess as you can see. Wiring harnesses are called such because having them bundled together in a logical manner identifies their function easily. Also, teeny wires harnessed together are 100x stronger as 1 big bundled unit rather than unsupported.
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The MB harnesses are typically black with black connectors. Since the Fusion wiring connectors are white, I decided to use yellow to bundle them together (coz I ran out of white tape). Makes it easy for me to identify later. If I ever have an issue like EYECHIP, I can just tell the experts at MB & AI to pull out the neon-yellow wiring harness. Hopefully, they ain't color-blind too
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Having all the Fusion to MB bundled into just 3 harnesseses frees up so much space that I am able to mount the Sirius XM Tuner dead center under Fusion behind A/C controls. It used to just dangle precariously near the passenger footwell by it's connector cable. In fact, there is much more room in there, I am sure I have enough space for the cell booster I plan to get soon.
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Not hard to do.
1. Remove front console trim plate using nylon/plastic trim removal tools.
2. Unplug 2 connectors for hazard blinker & seat heater controls.
3. Undo 4 torx screws for A/C controls
4. Undo 4 torx screws for Fusion head unit.
5. Pull head unit out gently with one hand while guiding cables out with other to get enough slack and more length to be able to get access to rear of Fusion.
6. Unplug 5 white Fusion connectors from unit.
7. It was hard for my fat fingers to release the grey USB connector directly from head unit. So rather than risk breaking it or scraping my fingers, I just disconnected from the USB extension connector a few inches downstream.
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Old 08-30-2018, 08:08 PM   #20
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Oh goodness... lol... you are something else!! That sure looks a lot better and less likely to have issues with anything rubbing against any metal or plastic structure.

Wow!! I am here shaking my head and just saying "over the top man!"
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