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Old 10-19-2020, 09:29 PM   #1
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2016 Interstate Lounge Ext
Plantation , Florida
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New owner question on 2016 interstate

Greetings, I just purchased a 2016 airstream interstate ext lounge, 10400 miles. I did a pre-buy inspection with Mercedes all good, the generator had 14 hours I had the oil changed. I have looked into extended warranties as I am not mechanical. Already made a mistake by buying a foam mattress pad for the couch that once it came out of the box it overflowed into the van. I am looking for any advice as I start my adventure with my mobile condo. Will not be a full time RV er. Thanks for any help.
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Old 10-20-2020, 08:26 AM   #2
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Always keep your AI plugged in until you can understand how the solar panels keep your house batteries charged. A lot of newbies (maybe us...?!) cook their batteries because they think their solar panels keep their batteries charged or just donít know.

Take less, not more. I got excited and bought a lot of things I thought would be useful but ended up eliminating about half of it. With the lack of storage space and that in general, itís actually easier not to have a lot to move around or find.

There are some tricks to using it, so donít be afraid to ask. You will certainly learn as you go, too. Things like the generator wonít start if your batteries are under like 12.5 volts, so you have to start your AI to charge your batteries enough to start the generator. Your RV has a parasitic draw even when everything is off. Thereís an annoying screechy alarm that sounds if your awning retracts and isnít quite retracted fully. Try not to let your engine idle long, it will soot up your EGR valve, things like that.

One last piece of good advice, camp in your driveway. See if you can get the heat to kick on, the AC to work right, the fridge working, TV...pretend you are out using it. Turn the water heater on and take a shower. It will save you some frustrations trying to figure things out on the road. Put some water in your gray and black tank and see if you can flush the macerator pump at a dump station the first time. Itís so much easier to be relaxed and try it out than on the road in my opinion. Not that we didnít learn the hard way. We should have done it this way but jumped right in and it wasnít the easiest to try to communicate and not be tense with new things when I was half knowledgeable and my fianceí wasnít at all.

Most of all, itís a pretty fantastic way to travel and see a lot of the country! Youíll figure it all out, it just takes a little time.
Congrats on your new Interstate and welcome to the group!
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Old 10-20-2020, 11:58 AM   #3
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Thank you. I plug it into an outlet when parked in driveway should I keep the coach electrical switch on? also when I drive do I turn on the Electric?
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Old 10-20-2020, 02:42 PM   #4
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Congratulations and welcome.

May you have many happy miles.

Might do some reading in this sub forum to see what others are doing.

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Old 10-20-2020, 03:57 PM   #5
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I don't believe that the battery cut-off electrical switch being off will prevent the batteries from charging. But few of the 12V things will run with the switch off. On mine the lounge motor, radio, tank heat pads, and solar panels are the only things that bypass the battery cut-off.

We had a foam mattress shipped to the dealer (1500 miles away) so that we had it since the start - and had not regretted it.

If you have the main power off the stock solar panel (not sure if yours is 50 or 100W) will keep the battery fully charged, but the stock panel is not sufficient if you are using anything.

Of the hundreds (thousands?) of modifications that you'll find on this forum, I think an interior LPG switch is probably the most useful - and its EASY.

Never let the DEF tank get much below half-full. It holds 5.9 gallons, which should be good for ~12,000 miles. A some low level you trigger a restart counter. And problems with other parts of the emissions system seem to often correlate to recent low-DEF warnings.
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Old 10-20-2020, 06:42 PM   #6
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A foam mattress isn't wrong, btw. We have a new-to-us 2016 Interstate, and last night we tried sleeping on the puzzle bed without any extra padding. It was a nightmare of bruised ribs and sore necks by morning. We have a nifty 3-piece foam pad encased in fabric that's designed to fold in thirds and go behind the rear lounge while upright. We got it from the previous owner, no idea who made it or where they got it. It's about 3.5" thick and makes a huge difference in comfort. We tried camping without it because it's so big despite folding up, but no way. We've discovered, to our chagrin, that Airstream's couch puzzle bed in the 2016 is insanely uncomfortable on its own. We will continue to search for a less bulky alternative that's easier to live with than this huge folding foam pad, but clearly sleeping in this van without additional padding isn't gonna happen.
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Old 10-20-2020, 08:37 PM   #7
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2016 Interstate Lounge Ext
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There is a mattress store near me who said for about 400 will make an enclosed mattress pad. He said he does RV shows as well as stuff for yachts. Thought about that. Told me I would be able to store it under couch. Just nervous about spending on something I m not sure will work
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Old 10-20-2020, 10:03 PM   #8
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We purchased the foam mattress pad from Sleep Number along with some Velcro straps off Amazon. I think it was the Queen size but I think the King will work too. Fits perfectly between the two side bolsters when the couch is folded down. It takes up a lot of room but we roll it up and secure with the velcro fasteners and stand it up per say, behind the sofa when not in use. Or just flop it over the back if we are lazy. It’s a bit of a pain but makes for such a better sleep. They have one that is more fake down filled squares that I wonder would fold better to possibly store above.
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Old 10-20-2020, 10:13 PM   #9
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Yes, you’d want to keep your disconnect switch on while plugged into your shore power. ...unless anyone else says differently. We were told ours is not functioning due to installing an internal surge protector. Trying to figure out if that is correct or not but I’m sure Titus is right on the money and probably why I can’t quite get it determined if our disconnect functions correctly or not at this point.

As for your second question, I believe you are asking if you should leave it on during driving. Yes, you can leave the battery disconnect on then. If you happen to be asking about the inverter, many people don’t understand how that part works to start, either. If you want to use your outlets while you are driving, you need to turn your inverter on. Otherwise, I would leave it off. For example, my daughter who is on her cell phone 24/7, runs out of charge when we are traveling, so we turn the inverter on so she can charge her phone or iPad off the wall plug behind the driver’s seat. The inverter is off most of the time though, at least for us.
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Old 10-22-2020, 12:48 PM   #10
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Only time we use the inverter is on those very rare occasion that we run the TV's.

As far as when driving, I don't think the BIM connects to the coach batteries through the disconnect switch, so it should not matter if the switch is on while driving from that standpoint. But if you want to keep the fridge running or use any other 12V things such as lights, you need the switch on.
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Old 10-23-2020, 09:18 AM   #11
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Battery ?

I looked under the coach and saw that I have 2 interstate 34m-AGM batteries that were just purchased before I bought the coach. As I am just learning about this system are these OK and is there anything I need to do on a monthly basis?
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Old 10-24-2020, 03:01 PM   #12
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Papa16, these are AGM sealed batteries and not wet cell so you do not need to top them off with water monthly like conventional batteries. No maintenance other than the following.

Make sure to keep your coach plugged in as I said before, or watch the charge you are getting from your solar if you have it. DO NOT let them go under 50% charge or you will ruin them. Most of us can unplug for less then 24 hours is all. I think we can go about 8 hours if that, as we only have one solar panel. Depends on your configuration but itís not as long as you would think, in my opinion. Remember you can always charge them with your generator or driving if need be, too, if you are off grid (unplugged).

Youíll need to pull them out and store them in a fairly warm garage or make sure they are getting a charge through the winter if you live in a place that is cold.
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Old 10-24-2020, 05:08 PM   #13
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I think the 34m have slightly less capacity then the Lifeline group 24 that are standard with the Interstate.

Be sure that your Magnum is programmed to provide the charge sequence preferred by AGM's - as far as bulk, absorb, and float. Also set the max charge rate to not exceed what the batteries like. And too high of a charge rate may keep you from powering other stuff when running the generator until batteries get past the bulk charging stage. Consider getting a battery monitoring kit and upgraded Magnum remote so you can better keep track of battery SOC. With proper care the batteries will last for years. Without it they won't last for weeks. going under 50% will not ruin them as long as you bring them back up to 100% soon thereafter - but the batteries will not last as long with repeated cycles below 50%. Take a look at the Lifeline technical manual - it gives you a good idea of what matters even if you don't understand it all.
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Old 10-24-2020, 08:34 PM   #14
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We are now experimenting with an air mattress from Thermarest, because we are still hoping to jettison the folding foam pad I mentioned above. The thinking is that this pad will inflate and deflate relatively quickly, and if we're comfortable enough the space-savings we enjoy with this solution will be more than worth the expense. We shall see.

https://www.thermarest.com/sleeping-...pad/13284.html
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Old 10-24-2020, 11:36 PM   #15
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Power surge?

I plug into a outside 15 amp GFCI. Every time I see lightning I unplug because I worry about a power surge. We have them a few times a season but everything usually resets with no issues. Am I over reacting, I m sure the GFCI will trip first. Florida is the lightning capital.
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Old 10-24-2020, 11:43 PM   #16
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New owner

I used to live near West Palm Beach. Grew up in Florida.

Had a ham radio antenna on top a 4 inch steel pipe post outside the house. Years later, the house expanded around the post and my parents put a TV antenna on top.

They took a direct hit during a huge thunder boomer that fried the landline phone, left the pipe red hot, and burned all the paint off the pipe. Darn near set the roof on fire as well.

Yea, Iíd unplug as well...the GFCI is not fast enough to stop a million volts at a million amps!

You are NOT overreacting, and Florida Flicker and Flash (AKA Florida Power And Light) is not known for handling surges worth a darn.
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Old 10-25-2020, 08:29 AM   #17
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Probably not a bad idea to unplug during a lightning storm.

I installed a Progressive Industries surge protector on the incoming power just before the transfer switch. Not so much to protect against lightning as to guard against dirty power at campgrounds.

At home I plug into an outdoor 20A GFCI socket. I noticed the frequency dropping from voltage dropping from 120 to 115 when I turn on the electric water heater.
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Old 10-25-2020, 10:34 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
We are now experimenting with an air mattress from Thermarest, because we are still hoping to jettison the folding foam pad I mentioned above. The thinking is that this pad will inflate and deflate relatively quickly, and if we're comfortable enough the space-savings we enjoy with this solution will be more than worth the expense. We shall see.

https://www.thermarest.com/sleeping-...pad/13284.html
It may be useful to note that this double-wide air pad is actually two independent units joined together such that the left and right sides are inflated separately. One advantage of this approach is that one person rolling over is less likely to bounce the other person around. After we use this pad a time or two, I hope to return here and share the results of our experiment.

Why are we trying what looks like an overpriced air mattress you may ask? (...You *should* be asking that. )

Well, in our Airstream trailer, when we finally gave up on any RV mattress ever being worth a hoot, we went with a pair of Thermarest self-inflating mattress pads called "MondoKing 3D", which were amazingly comfortable. We covered them with a queen-sized mattress pad, which held them in position and gave the look of a regular bed, and we treated them as such. The one thing to keep in mind with these pads is that because of the inner foam layers, they don't roll up as small as the pad we just bought for the van, and they take much longer to deflate because you have to squeeze them out as you roll them up. Due to the dedicated bedroom in the trailer, we did not have to roll them up and put them away every day, so that made things easy. However, on any travel day we would open the valves so the pads could "breathe" as we experienced changes in elevation. That move protected the inflated pads from becoming severely over-inflated at high altitudes, and that increased their lifespan (BTW, anyone with an RV Sleep Number bed would have this same concern.). Anyway, those Thermarest MondoKing pads were awesome. We included them when we sold our trailer since we didn't have a conventional RV mattress to throw on the bed platform.

So, with that great Thermarest experience under our belts, we thought giving the brand another try for this new and different challenge would be a good risk. We shall see.
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Old 10-25-2020, 06:43 PM   #19
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Mattress

I saw that the airstream store sells bedding for motor homes with a few week delivery. Has anyone purchased one or have any info on reviews for them?
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Old 10-25-2020, 06:50 PM   #20
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Rain and undercarriage?

I live in South Florida and for the last 3 days it has been raining, it has rained so much my drain field is under water. I drove on our flooded streets to get food and took my car, then I thought I should have take the coach. Then I remembered the generator is underneath. Long way to my question sorry, I m guessing I shouldnít drive the coach on flooded streets because of the generator? Any advise on this?
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