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Old 06-06-2020, 02:50 PM   #1
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Houston , Texas
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Airstream vs Advanced RV - need input

I owned a Airstream Interstate for a few years and loved it. However there are a few modifications I would like to have now that I am looking to get back into the market.

1.) 4 wheel drive - Airstream was too low to the ground.

2.) no propane - Diesel heat and a set up with Lithium Batteries to run the AC. Is that possible?

3.) separate shower from the toilet so ok with removing the 2nd row seats.

So are there options for modifying the Airstream Interstate?

I could go to Advanced RV but it takes a year to get one.

Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated.

Brent
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Old 06-06-2020, 03:38 PM   #2
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Airstream now offers 4x4 and running the A/C off batteries is doable. We do it in our modified 2007.

If you can’t DIY the mods and can afford Advances RV, that’s your answer.

Even if you can DIY the mods, it will take time and Advanced RV could still be faster.

If you can’t DIY and/or don’t want to spend the premium for Advanced RV, guys like Lewster can do the lithium conversion and inverter upgrade. Not sure who I would trust with the cabinetry and plumbing for the shower buy Airstream will sell the laminates or give you the part numbers so matching the woodwork is doable. Dumping the propane and adding a diesel heater is pretty easy and can probably be done by most competent RV shops. The nice part is that the NCV chassis has an aux fuel pickup on the tank if I remember correctly. You’ll probably want to convert the cooktop to induction as well.
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Old 06-06-2020, 03:44 PM   #3
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What type of system did you put together to run the AC off the batteries?

I was thinking of upgrading my solar and battery capacity to do that but interested in your experience.
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Old 06-06-2020, 03:56 PM   #4
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You can read about it here: https://www.airforums.com/forums/f24...es-151809.html

It may be easier to start at the end of that thread and work backwards so you don’t start with our mistakes and misconceptions.
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Old 06-06-2020, 04:07 PM   #5
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Iíve been looking closely at Advanced RV for years as a replacement for my 2013 Interstate. Iíve even attended two of their festivals to get a close look at their operations. But in the end I donít think I want to pay that much for a replacement. Their conversions are absolutely top quality. Buying a B-van form ARV is like building a custom home with an architect. You get to have it built exactly the way you want it. But that custom approach comes a a price. You can plan on spending $300,000 or more for a fully custom Sprinter 4x4 build.

If you have the funds and donít mind spending that much then ARV is your top choice. A highly modified Interstate will never come close to an ARV build.
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Old 06-06-2020, 04:48 PM   #6
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I went to Advanced RV factory to have one of their quiet a/c unit installed on a previous rv. Met Mike Neundorfoer, the owner, who showed me around the factory and his own unit. If I was looking for a "B" and had the money, I wouldn't even look at another brand. Top of the line battery/inverter tech, custom work, you pick the interior, and workmanship is great. All wiring is loomed, clamped, and secured, not stuffed in a big ball under a cabinet. Still worth looking into.
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Old 06-06-2020, 07:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brentsouth View Post
I owned a Airstream Interstate for a few years and loved it. However there are a few modifications I would like to have now that I am looking to get back into the market.

3.) separate shower from the toilet so ok with removing the 2nd row seats.

Brent
Arriva made by Coach House (near Tampa, FL) has a B class with separate shower and toilet.

https://www.coachhouserv.com/
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Old 06-07-2020, 04:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdavey View Post
What type of system did you put together to run the AC off the batteries?

I was thinking of upgrading my solar and battery capacity to do that but interested in your experience.
My husband LB_3 replied by linking a very cumbersome thread instead of our final system write-ups. You can find three out of the four of those write-ups here. I never did get around to finishing the DC system description.

Anyway, to the OP, I'm +1 on ARV. If you can afford it, it's the way to go - there's no question.

The second-best alternative will always be passionate DIY, but not everybody is interested in that alternative. It will eat your life if you decide to go that way.
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Old 06-07-2020, 01:55 PM   #9
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if you go Lithium(Li)/solar you can get about 4+- hours of use with a 13,500 but A/C. Look at the lithium battery bank dimensions first to see if you have space for them out of the weather. If you go diesel are you going to cook with it? An electric stove would eat up your Lis in a hurry.
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Old 06-08-2020, 06:20 AM   #10
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I think one should have owned at least one Class B before buying from Advanced RV. IMO that's the only way that one would know what features/designs/layout does and does not work for them. It is especially important to know what lifestyle you plan to have with your RV. We have 200W of solar and the standard batteries and Magnum invertor and that works well for us - but we seldom are sitting in one place for more than 1 night. We are not ones to go and sit by the lakeshore (or whatever) and do nothing. We like activities (of course that may change as we age!).

It is a bit of a nuisance to have to fire up the generator to run the microwave for a few minutes. But not enough of a nuisance that its worth the time and $ to put in a larger invertor. And if we were to go with a larger invertor to run the microwave for a few minutes then we might need more battery capacity, then more solar, then …

In short, opinions of others may be right for them, or not, but may not fit your planned situation.
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Old 06-08-2020, 06:34 AM   #11
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I think one should have owned at least one Class B before buying from Advanced RV. IMO that's the only way that one would know what features/designs/layout does and does not work for them. ...
....
Well, I agree with you generally, but in this specific case, the OP already has met that criterion. He opened this thread with, "I owned a Airstream Interstate for a few years and loved it. However there are a few modifications I would like..."
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Old 06-08-2020, 07:02 AM   #12
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Thanks for the input. I think I will go visit Advanced. We don't do a lot of cooking inside. When we had the Airstream Interstate I did more grilling outside.
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Old 06-09-2020, 11:50 AM   #13
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I donít like having wires with hundreds of amps going through them so you may wish to consider a 24 volt system.
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Old 06-09-2020, 12:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brentsouth View Post
Thanks for the input. I think I will go visit Advanced. We don't do a lot of cooking inside. When we had the Airstream Interstate I did more grilling outside.
We've looked at several of ARV used models and noticed that their cooktops are portable and stored in a cabinet drawer.

Will you cook outside on their induction cooktop(s) or take propane along to use to grill outside?
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Old 06-09-2020, 01:06 PM   #15
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Arriva made by Coach House (near Tampa, FL) has a B class with separate shower and toilet.

https://www.coachhouserv.com/
Coach House is definitely worth a look. Relatively small, family owned business. They don't do one-off customs like Advanced RV but it's my understanding they will tweak a few things here and there if possible. We've spoken to the owner and sales team several times at the Florida RV SuperShow. If we hadn't found the Interstate that was to our liking we may very well be driving a Couch House. As TN Princess mentioned... Coach House has one of the few dry baths in the Class B market.
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