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Old 07-07-2020, 09:43 AM   #1
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Airstream Interstate decision help please.

We have been long term Airstream travel trailer owners, but our travel needs are changing a bit. I am considering the getting either the Interstate 19 or the 24GL and was hoping for some guidance from some of you who may have already work thru this. We would primarily use this for long road trips, maybe a 12hour day, getting from point A to point B. Occasionally we might spend a night on the road. The ride would be very important and I am uncertain if the airbags are available on the Interstate 19 or how important that is. When we get to our destination the 24' is going to be a bit of a challenge to find a parking spot, but I think it can work. Do any of you have experience with either of these and have thoughts on how one or the other would be better for our situation. One additional point here, a concern I have about the 19' is that sometimes we will be traveling with a 3rd or 4th person, I did not know how comfortable the seating in the back would be.
Thanks in advance,
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:39 AM   #2
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We're on a similar journey, thinking about a true class-B camper van as a downsizing exercise. We have different needs, but the size you choose will depend on whether the floor plan works for you.

Before committing anyone to sit in the back of a 19, be sure to try it out. Do those seats back there have 3-point restraints, or just lap belts? Those rear seats don't likely have head rests, which can also be important for passenger safety if you get rear-ended.

Also, given Airstream does not make a 21'-22' model, we're finding ourselves pinched for an Airstream model that meets our needs. The 19 is too short, and the 24 is too long. It may sound petty, but the floor plan of the 19' model doesn't work for us, and the 24' model will not fit into most conventional parking spots - we don't really want to deal with that. The 21'-22' length camper vans out there have a better floor plan than the 19 and still fit into most conventional parking spots. That's great for us, except that Airstream doesn't make that size.

We may be confused about a lot of things, but we know what we want, and without the right length / floor plan, Airstream may find itself out of the running when we finally get serious about a class-B camper van.
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
We're on a similar journey, thinking about a true class-B camper van as a downsizing exercise. We have different needs, but the size you choose will depend on whether the floor plan works for you.

Before committing anyone to sit in the back of a 19, be sure to try it out. Do those seats back there have 3-point restraints, or just lap belts? Those rear seats don't likely have head rests, which can also be important for passenger safety if you get rear-ended.

Also, given Airstream does not make a 21'-22' model, we're finding ourselves pinched for an Airstream model that meets our needs. The 19 is too short, and the 24 is too long. It may sound petty, but the floor plan of the 19' model doesn't work for us, and the 24' model will not fit into most conventional parking spots - we don't really want to deal with that. The 21'-22' length camper vans out there have a better floor plan than the 19 and still fit into most conventional parking spots. That's great for us, except that Airstream doesn't make that size.

We may be confused about a lot of things, but we know what we want, and without the right length / floor plan, Airstream may find itself out of the running when we finally get serious about a class-B camper van.
Thanks for you feedback! Have you found a good option in the 21-22' length?
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:52 AM   #4
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You can get 22í Interstates in the older models, those with all manual everything and at maybe 25% of the cost of a new one.

Some of us prefer these.

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Old 07-07-2020, 01:40 PM   #5
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Lily & Me's suggestion of a used Interstate in the 22' length is worth considering, thanks for that suggestion! When it comes time to shop, we'll look around to see if we can find something like that.

While casually looking about online, we've seen a few manufacturers who produce units in the 21-22' length Some in a Sprinter, some in a Ram ProMaster. Winnebago and Pleasureway are two brands that come to mind. We're not eager to move away from Airstream, but if we can't find what we want in one of their units, we'll look elsewhere.

Oh, and when the time comes we will be shopping with a preference for gently used models a year or two or three old. Having bought our first Airstream brand new, we're happy to let someone else deal with the initial depreciation and warranty issues before we get hold of the next one. However, when looking at other used brands, be sure to carefully consider the warranties for the RV aspects of their units. Some are only 12 months, and some cannot be transferred to subsequent owners. That doesn't make those other brands of used units bad, but it should definitely affect what you're willing to pay for them vs. an Airstream that would still be under warranty if it's only a year or two old. (If an Interstate has the same warranty for its RV internals as the trailers, then it would be a three year warranty, which is hard to match much less beat.)
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Old 07-07-2020, 05:02 PM   #6
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When it is time to part ways with our '04 AI 22', I'll be looking at 22' vans on the Ford Transit chassis. 2010 and newer Sprinters have the BluTec DEF setups, and have become seriously complex for no other reason I can find than that Mercedes likes complex systems that need regular out-of-warranty repairs that are a minimum of $1,000 a pop, with $300 and $900 alternating oil changes.

My T1N van isn't much worse, repair-wise, than my '95 Ford E-250 Coachmen chassis was. The newer NCV3 are SO complex, and the later AI's systems SO complex that there is almost no repairing them on the road, no average-person DIY diagnosing or repairing systems... and the expenses for repairing them are unreasonable, IF you can find someone who CAN repair them... and there are still parts available for the coach systems. I've looked at two NCV3 coaches with the intent of "modernizing," but it just isn't going to happen. I'm going to pass on a later Sprinter. They're just too expensive to maintain for my faint-hearted wallet. I'd rather spend that money on a good meal, or a movie... or seeing my kids.

The Ford Transit-based vans are reliable, less expensive, and the upfitters tend to make builds that are useful, but not so extravagant with servos, motors, sensors, and complexity of systems. AND, they're 22' with useful floor plans.
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Old 07-07-2020, 05:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
However, when looking at other used brands, be sure to carefully consider the warranties for the RV aspects of their units. Some are only 12 months, and some cannot be transferred to subsequent owners. That doesn't make those other brands of used units bad, but it should definitely affect what you're willing to pay for them vs. an Airstream that would still be under warranty if it's only a year or two old. (If an Interstate has the same warranty for its RV internals as the trailers, then it would be a three year warranty, which is hard to match much less beat.)
Except that when you actually READ the "three year warranty," it only covers what Airstream decides (and apparently capriciously) what it covers. The truth is, when you get to the bottom of the page, you're left scratching your head about what IS covered:

What is NOT covered under the Airstream three year warranty
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Old 07-07-2020, 05:44 PM   #8
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Except that when you actually READ the "three year warranty," it only covers what Airstream decides (and apparently capriciously) what it covers. The truth is, when you get to the bottom of the page, you're left scratching your head about what IS covered:



What is NOT covered under the Airstream three year warranty


Well, thatís interesting, thanks for the wakeup call.
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Old 07-07-2020, 06:20 PM   #9
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The 24 foot is not that difficult to park in a standard spot. Width is not a issue, no wider than a dually truck. Length is usually manageable. Find two open slots. I often find a standard height curb with no bushes and back-in. Taking care not to hit the curb with the generator. Then will park in normal length slot.

Some Interstates offer up to 4 captain chair style seats. Giving up some storage space with this option.
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325 View Post
When it is time to part ways with our '04 AI 22', I'll be looking at 22' vans on the Ford Transit chassis. 2010 and newer Sprinters have the BluTec DEF setups, and have become seriously complex for no other reason I can find than that Mercedes likes complex systems that need regular out-of-warranty repairs that are a minimum of $1,000 a pop, with $300 and $900 alternating oil changes.

My T1N van isn't much worse, repair-wise, than my '95 Ford E-250 Coachmen chassis was. The newer NCV3 are SO complex, and the later AI's systems SO complex that there is almost no repairing them on the road, no average-person DIY diagnosing or repairing systems... and the expenses for repairing them are unreasonable, IF you can find someone who CAN repair them... and there are still parts available for the coach systems. I've looked at two NCV3 coaches with the intent of "modernizing," but it just isn't going to happen. I'm going to pass on a later Sprinter. They're just too expensive to maintain for my faint-hearted wallet. I'd rather spend that money on a good meal, or a movie... or seeing my kids.

The Ford Transit-based vans are reliable, less expensive, and the upfitters tend to make builds that are useful, but not so extravagant with servos, motors, sensors, and complexity of systems. AND, they're 22' with useful floor plans.

I was also interested in the Transit as a base for a camper until I realized the front seats (driver and passenger) in those camper vans do not rotate, at least not in current models.
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:40 AM   #11
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Look at the Winnebego View also.
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Old 07-08-2020, 11:18 AM   #12
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I was also interested in the Transit as a base for a camper until I realized the front seats (driver and passenger) in those camper vans do not rotate, at least not in current models.
Don't let that be a deal-killer.

The seats didn't swivel in my '04 Sprinter AI either, although the passenger side did in my Coachmen. I bought a swivel for the Sprinter from The Sprinter Store and installed it in about 20 minutes... easy. They make aftermarket swivels for the Transit as well.

https://www.sprinterstore.com/produc...-transit-vans/
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:04 PM   #13
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Don't let that be a deal-killer.

The seats didn't swivel in my '04 Sprinter AI either, although the passenger side did in my Coachmen. I bought a swivel for the Sprinter from The Sprinter Store and installed it in about 20 minutes... easy. They make aftermarket swivels for the Transit as well.

https://www.sprinterstore.com/produc...-transit-vans/
Will definitely check on that when the time comes, thank you! Aside from this concern, the Transit is a very interesting basis for a camper van.

Our floor plan interests as we casually pre-shop for a camper van include:
  • Using the front of the van as a lounge via rotating driver and passenger side seats (this is primarily why a 19 is too short - the driver seat does not rotate in a 19, no room) We don't know yet whether we want additional seats up front for the lounge area. It's just the two of us, and now (for isolation reasons) it doesn't look like we'd be inviting folks to visit or sleep inside our van anytime soon
  • A real bathroom with a shower, even if it's a wet bath. (A cassette or composting toilet is acceptable, but we will *not* resort to the equivalent of semi-publicly pooping in a bucket in the van, even though some van-lifers are willing to "go" there. .)
  • A galley on the curb side so the chef can look out at the campsite and it is easy to pass food out and in through the sliding door.
  • A decent sink in the galley.
  • A counter extender fold-out for use while preparing meals.
  • Screens everywhere to keep bugs out while letting air through, though the simpler the screen solution is, the better. (We're not fans of fancy screens that roll up into themselves because eventually they jam, or the roll-up spring simply breaks inside the mechanism and the whole thing has to be replaced.)
  • As many opening screened windows as possible for ventilation. If the van's windows on the sides toward the rear won't open, we're probably not interested despite the slick automotive look they achieve that way. In our view, good ventilation is critical to success.
  • A sleeping area in back that we don't have to keep re-making every day just to get a place to sit during daylight hours.
  • Lithium batteries, solar, and a decent inverter
  • Convection microwave
  • Preferably 21-22' long
  • A true four-season camper van would be a "nice to have."
  • A 4x4 camper van is another "nice to have."
  • A decent-sized DC fridge would also be "nice to have" - we're noticing that most DC fridges are tiny under-counter things, while the larger fridges across from the galley tend to be 2-way absorption fridges. Why can't we get both size and a DC-based danfoss compressor fridge? (sigh)
We're undecided on a gas cooktop vs. an induction cooktop, but so far we dislike the idea of a single-burner solution, which is what all the induction cooktops appear to be.

If we went with a custom upfitter they would have to be certified master upfitters for whatever brand of van they work with to ensure we get the maximum warranty from the van manufacturer and that they don't mess up the unibody by cutting into supports and then not knowing whether or how to properly reinforce it afterward. (PleasureWay with Sprinter sounds like an example of best practices in this category.)

Anyway, maybe that's helpful to others, as well as the OP. Would love to see your list of interests, too, as you think about your next camper van.
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:51 PM   #14
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Rocinante, it really seems like you just described a Winnebago Revel.
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:57 PM   #15
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Rocinante, it really seems like you just described a Winnebago Revel.
Not quite, though I wish you were right because it's so cool. For example, we love the bed in this unit, which you can raise up to the ceiling when not using it. Very nice feature!

Sadly, Revel has a combo closet/bathroom. When I viewed an internal tour video, the videographers had to empty the closet of all contents and shelves before they could use the toilet or the shower. Then, when they sat down on on the toilet (fully clothed of course) to see how things would fit, their knees stuck out of the closet and into the van, which meant the door would have to be open for them to use the rest room. Sadly, that's a deal-killer for us. In our minds, it's the same as doing one's business in a bucket in the middle of the van.
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:13 PM   #16
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It IS cool, but I can see your point about the toilet. Have you seen the Boldt? https://youtu.be/KHip4yz5rKQ
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Old 07-09-2020, 06:19 AM   #17
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We have the 2015 Ext. Lounge 24' and only use ours as a glorified suv for destination travel. We have stayed in many small towns as well as large and have never had issues. From 4star hotels to off the blacktop destination resorts from narrow high altitude mountain passages to barriier islands its an awesome way to roll. Have only spent the night in ours twice its really not designed for sleeping in my opinion but is doable in case needed. We love it.
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Old 07-12-2020, 03:28 PM   #18
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We bought a 2014 24’ Interstate last June- love it, rides smooth, even over passes, great mileage, just got back from a trip yesterday and did excellent. I would recommend a “Mattress Topper”,we got a 2” model out of a company from Denver CO, really works good.
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Old 07-12-2020, 06:20 PM   #19
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We have the 2015 Ext. Lounge 24' and only use ours as a glorified suv for destination travel. We have stayed in many small towns as well as large and have never had issues. From 4star hotels to off the blacktop destination resorts from narrow high altitude mountain passages to barriier islands its an awesome way to roll. Have only spent the night in ours twice its really not designed for sleeping in my opinion but is doable in case needed. We love it.
Thanks Craig! Based on your feedback and discussion with others on how I will use this I decided to order the Atlas.
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Old 07-15-2020, 02:20 PM   #20
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Did a quick search:
https://www.rvtrader.com/Airstream-A...AS%7C764974860

We bought a 2016 Interstate Grand Tour 24 foot and it does have a narrow isle and bed to put up each day. I added a 400 amp hour lithium battery in the box in the back and have 3 solar panels up top. We transferred a Good Sam warranty with ours and used it for window shade motors, microwave, and other items. We get about 18 miles per gallon of diesel and with no air suspension in the back it is a free roller coaster for the grandchildren. We put about 20,000 miles on it since purchase. It has equal size refrigerator and freezer about college size. Recently I had to pull the refrigerator out and found that the electric plugs (12 and 120 Volt) had come loose.
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