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Old 01-25-2023, 08:27 AM   #1
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2006 22' Interstate
Creston , North Carolina
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 10
Upgrades to our 2006 AI what is best?

We are in need of upgrading our AG batteries to Lithium but not sure which brand is the best for boon docking, after purchase support, fit our van. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences. We would like to run lights, TV, AC if needed, microwave, charge phones, etc.. We are also interested in installing a firefly system to have everything monitored in one place with an updated system. We will need a converter, I do not believe we have one. We purchased this van used (but barely used). Our generator is a Onan QG 2500 20.8 amp propane.

Other upgrades we would like are the suspension to help with sway, rocking on uneven surfaces (turning into a parking lot not level). Not sure if Van compass system or VB airsuspensiomn is best?

Also planning to add a swivel base to passenger front seat. I am short so I really want one that has minimal rise.

Replacing the toilet to a porcelain one! I am looking at the Dometic 320 low profile.

Would love to hear your successes with any of the above.
Thanks for any advice!
JG
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Old 01-25-2023, 12:18 PM   #2
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2007 Interstate
League City , Texas
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Welcome! Depending on what you want to achieve with your Interstate, you may be at the beginning of a long journey!

Some of the upgrades you mention are very involved if you decide to tackle them on a DIY basis, or very expensive if you want to hire them out. As you are doing research, you might want to review some of the content on The Interstate Blog, where I discuss the many, many upgrades we have made to our 2007 Interstate over the past 8 years.

We could target our responses more directly to the context of your 2006 Interstate if we could first get some more information about it. Have any modifications been done to date? And which model is it? Here are the first-generation options:

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Old 01-25-2023, 03:56 PM   #3
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2006 22' Interstate
Creston , North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Welcome! Depending on what you want to achieve with your Interstate, you may be at the beginning of a long journey!

Some of the upgrades you mention are very involved if you decide to tackle them on a DIY basis, or very expensive if you want to hire them out. As you are doing research, you might want to review some of the content on The Interstate Blog, where I discuss the many, many upgrades we have made to our 2007 Interstate over the past 8 years.

We could target our responses more directly to the context of your 2006 Interstate if we could first get some more information about it. Have any modifications been done to date? And which model is it? Here are the first-generation options:

Thanks we will look at the blog. It seems I have read the blog before but forgot so thanks! We have the bottom right one rear dinette 2007 but our title says it is a 2006.
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Old 01-26-2023, 06:01 AM   #4
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2007 Interstate
League City , Texas
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Do you have a black band connecting all the windows? Or windows situated in silver body paint?

IIRC, only the 2007 Interstates were black-masked. Those were built on 2006 Sprinters, so you may have read the Sprinter model year instead of the Interstate model year. Your Interstate might be badged as a Dodge.

Anyway, in order to answer your questions, we would need more info about your DIY intentions, budget, and priorities.

Some of your questions are fairly simple. For example, the swivel base. Do your research, but the last time I checked, there was only one on the market (for instance here, but I have not looked to see whether other products exist). Remember, your vehicle is now 16 years out of production. Choices and suppliers will be limited.

If you really want to go to a lithium system, then you might be a candidate for a different kind of conversion using one of the newer off-the-shelf products such as the EcoFlow Delta Pro (see this thread).
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Old 01-26-2023, 06:08 AM   #5
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2007 Interstate
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Additionally, see this thread titled ďSuspension upgrades on a T1N InterstateĒ.

We went with Falcon shocks, and I was very pleased. Apparently I didnít expound that thread with a blog post, so itís not on there.

But note that we did a DIY installation of equipment that was actually designed for the NCV3 Sprinter. Peanut gallery question: Has any other T1N Interstate owner done the same thing? If so, were you able to get a commercial shop to do this work for you? I wonder if they would accept the liability, is whatís at the root of my question.
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Old 01-28-2023, 05:45 AM   #6
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2006 22' Interstate
Creston , North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Do you have a black band connecting all the windows? Or windows situated in silver body paint?

IIRC, only the 2007 Interstates were black-masked. Those were built on 2006 Sprinters, so you may have read the Sprinter model year instead of the Interstate model year. Your Interstate might be badged as a Dodge.

Anyway, in order to answer your questions, we would need more info about your DIY intentions, budget, and priorities.

Some of your questions are fairly simple. For example, the swivel base. Do your research, but the last time I checked, there was only one on the market (for instance here, but I have not looked to see whether other products exist). Remember, your vehicle is now 16 years out of production. Choices and suppliers will be limited.

If you really want to go to a lithium system, then you might be a candidate for a different kind of conversion using one of the newer off-the-shelf products such as the EcoFlow Delta Pro (see this thread).

Yes our windows are set in the black paint band. It is confusing at times to describe our vehicle It says 2006 Interstate Sprinter van with a freight liner chassis, Mercedes engine. (22' 2.7 liter Mercedes engine, Onboard Onan QG 2500 20.8 amp)

I need the lowest possible passenger seat swivel (I am short and do not want dangling feet). I have seen several aftermarket ones but they seem to be available from 2007 models and up. I am curious is there that much difference our could I use a 2007 model?

On our lithium upgrade system; we are thinking about the Dakota brand because they have a 280Ah that would fit the battery box perfectly without modifications or using two 135Ah (one in the BB and other one outside of BB). Question: Is there any reason we shouldn't go for the most Ah in one battery vs two batteries? If we understand it correctly if we needed to add more battery it would need to match what the current Ah is (135 for 135 ex). We can't find anyone in our area to do this install, so it leaves it to us. Hubby is smart, but would like some instructions if anyone knows of a good source as a guide? We will be adding all the components to complete the system of course.
Thanks!
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Old 01-28-2023, 10:18 AM   #7
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I get around the swivel limitation by using a folding step stool similar to this one to put under my feet for support when I have the seat turned around. Itís also useful in other applications, such as a step stool at our rear barn doors, or to serve as a platform for one of my smaller camp stoves (bottom pic showing a Kelly Kettle). Itís aluminum and very light, so I often bungee it up on our Interstateís roof.

Originally I used the stackers that we bundle up and store next to the commode. Thatís what I was doing in this pic (below) that we took on the first day we installed the swivel.

You should remember that the T1N Sprinter floor slopes from under-dash to slider. Where your feet land while facing forward is not going to be the same in reverse because itís not a horizontal plane. Given the compensatory configuration of the Sprinterís seat base, Iím not sure that ANY swivel apparatus would result in the rear-facing seat placing anyoneís feet on the floor, unless they were unusually tall. Look how deep that base is in the photo below.

Generally what you will find is that an older Interstate offers SO MANY opportunities for optimization that you will need to prioritize. For a while, I searched for one of those flip-down foot rests like they have in passenger bus seating (the fancy touring buses, not municipal buses). But I decided to give up on that time-waster and simply use the stool, which allowed me to move on to other priorities, such as installing the Lagun table you see in the second photo below.






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Old 01-28-2023, 10:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGFlack View Post
ÖÖ

On our lithium upgrade system; we are thinking about the Dakota brand because they have a 280Ah that would fit the battery box perfectly without modifications or using two 135Ah (one in the BB and other one outside of BB). Question: Is there any reason we shouldn't go for the most Ah in one battery vs two batteries? If we understand it correctly if we needed to add more battery it would need to match what the current Ah is (135 for 135 ex). We can't find anyone in our area to do this install, so it leaves it to us. Hubby is smart, but would like some instructions if anyone knows of a good source as a guide? We will be adding all the components to complete the system of course.
Thanks!
The engineering contingent has diminished over the years on this child forum (Sprinter and B Van). There are better places to ask those questions at this point. The best way to approach this might be to put an exact DIY electrical proposal together, including all the peripherals, and lay it out in detail on a forum specializing in lithium conversions, so that users can provide feedback to you.

I say this because itís never just a matter of swapping a battery. The whole system needs to be re-designed from the ground up because the first-gen Interstatesí electrical systems are complete crap. If youíve looked at the electrical posts in my blog, that will give a suggestion as to the complexity. There may be easier options compared to what my husband and I installed some years ago, but itís still a lot of work no matter the design. My husband is a super-smart guy with a mechanical engineering license and it still took him hundreds of hours of research before he could execute our upgrade.

Hereís a partial diagram of our system. Depending on how you wish to use your Interstate, the system you need might not be as intricate. Part of our complexity derives from our desire for maximum versatility via four-way charging - shore, solar, generator, and alternator.

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Old 02-11-2023, 09:08 AM   #9
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2006 22' Interstate
Port Angeles , Washington
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I have a 2006 (mid-bath, rear sleeper).

I fit Fox shocks (dampers) on the rear and Koni in the front. That helped quite a lot for the Ďrockingí and make a better drive in windy conditions. Mine came with airbags in rear suspension (fit by original owner Iím sure) - I donít know how much difference that makes. I also fit the Sumi front suspension stops.

I fit a seat swivel. It was 1Ē raise and works very well. My wife is short so has a small stool to put feet on in the footwell. When spun- it is quite high off the floor and I just grab something of appropriate height for a footrest. I donít like bringing more stuff (weight) so try to have multiple uses for things if possible.
I can look up where I got it. I wanted a swivel that didnít stick down, since my house battery was located there. I have since moved it to right behind the seat pedastal, to add an Espear diesel air heater in that spot (works fabulous, much quieter than the stock furnace and usually I have plenty of diesel).

I am still running an AGM battery, although have a Goal Zero Ďpower stationí on the floor of the closet. This gives me AC to run the microwave or other things I want to run. Great if no power and keeps from having to fire up the generator.
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