2015 27' FB Eddie Bauer
2011 25' FB Flying Cloud
Join Date: Sep 2013
One-stop Airstream rejuvenation
My wife and I recently had a highly positive experience with an Airstream service provider (and forum member), and I want to share our impressions.
Background - we have a 2015 Eddie Bauer 27’ twin that came with 50A service, two AC units (both now with Easy Starts), factory solar, and factory 1000 W inverter. (We tow with a 2020 Ram 2500 4x4 with 6.4L Hemi.) In the 5 years we’ve owned the EB, it’s been relatively trouble free, and we’ve enjoyed several cross country trips and many smaller adventures.
Like many of you, over those years, we’ve compiled a long wish list of upgrades and improvements that we’ve read about here and elsewhere, along with a growing and stressful list of necessary but undone maintenance items.
At the top of our upgrade list, we wanted a solar/power upgrade that could ease our battery anxiety when running the furnace over multiple nights, and possibly provide some level of occasional air conditioning, without running our propane powered Honda 2000.
So with camping downtime due to Covid, I reached out to Ronnie Dennis, known on this forum as GMFL and elsewhere as Airstream Nuts and Bolts. I had no connection with Ronnie before that, except to follow his many helpful posts.
I was immediately caught up in Ronnie’s Airstream enthusiasm and knowledge, and it became clear that this was a chance to implement a lot more of our wish list than originally planned.
We worked by phone on a project list (no pressure or sales job from him, just practical advice). For almost every item I proposed, Ronnie said “we can make it happen”, but talked me through whether it really made sense given our needs. Within a week we had agreed on a long list and a working budget, and I dropped our EB at his shop in Dadeville Alabama.
Ronnie and his team had our EB for about 3 weeks, and it’s remarkable in number and scope what they accomplished in that time:
1. Installed 600 watts of roof mounted solar, 400 AH of lithium batteries, and other related tech (Victron Multiplus 12/3000, BMV712, CCGX Color GX monitor, and 100/50 MPPT, and AM Solar’s Smart Phase Selector). As part of this, he upgraded the factory solar wiring.
2. Installed internal PI 50A surge protector, replacing our portable one.
3. Installed a DC/DC charger in my Ram 2500, to help protect the Ram batteries and enhanced truck to trailer charging.
4. Resealed much of the roof while installing panels.
5. Installed the 3” Dexter lift kit and new 16” Michelin Agilis, with Centramatic balancers and metal stems for my TPMS.
6. Adjusted my Reese hitch for the new trailer height and tested and adjusted the trailer brakes.
7. Installed the Haloview RD10 combination wireless rear view and dash camera.
8. Changed two cracked factory skylights to the Maxim brand, and replaced our Fantastic Fan with the MaxxAir Deluxe fan I’ve wanted for a while.
9. Installed a Surecall cell signal booster.
10. Replaced both twin bed platforms with new, wider plywood, to better support the mattress edge, and sealed the seams where the platforms meet the interior walls, eliminating existing gaps that led to outdoor storage areas.
11. Cut custom receiver holes in one bed platform so the dinette tabletop can be stored flat under the mattress, and fabricated a custom, foldable extension to the foot of the other so one can sleep at either end (I always wanted this luxury).
12. Installed additional power outlets, USB ports and system monitors in requested locations, and installed the preventive “shower door fix”.
13. Replaced our damaged chrome rub rails and damaged/worn door/window gaskets throughout.
14. Adjusted the closure of our entry door, and added the inside door pull mod that others have featured here, which is wonderful in it’s utility and simplicity.
In addition, Ronnie painstakingly trained me on the use/functioning of everything he installed, and was an extremely gracious host for the several nights that I camped at his terraport.
I could be wrong, but I’m not aware of any single dealer/other who would/could tackle such a broad list of big and small items, short of maybe Jackson Center and a few specialty shops. It really was a one-stop-shop experience - like an Airstream tech was focused on just our trailer, to get it just right.
In the aggregate, it was expensive, but considering what was delivered, the level of attention and customization, and particularly the time and money saved from not going to multiple vendors, we feel we got an excellent value for our investment.
We’d do it again in a heartbeat, and are excited to have a newly rejuvenated - and much more capable - trailer to enjoy as we (hopefully) return to our normal camping routine sometime in the months ahead.
Thank you Ronnie, and thank you forum members who over the years conceived of and refined many of the ideas that we implemented.
Disclaimer - we had no financial, personal or other connection with Ronnie before this project; we paid for all the parts and labor without discount; and Ronnie did not ask us to write this summary.