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Old 04-16-2016, 02:40 PM   #1
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What would you do first?

Only had our airstream for a couple of weeks and we are trying to decide what upgrades to do first. We plan on doing a mix of boondocking and campgrounds with hook ups. So our list includes:
1. replace converter with Progressive Dynamics PD4655V converter to conserve our batteries.
2. Upgrade our solar package. We have the factory solar package with two 50 W panels, two agm batteries, and the pvcm25d controller. So can we add a 100w panel on in series with the exisitng panesl and 10 g wire and controller to get more power?.
3. Or should we first first up grade to the Blue Sky solar charge controller which is often recommended here and supposed to get more out of your existing panels.
So where should we start? Probably can't afford to do everything at once, but maybe one or two things on the list. Each option cost in the range of 200-300 if I do the work myself.
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Old 04-16-2016, 03:43 PM   #2
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The first upgrade that we did to New Lucy when we brought her home in October of 2014 was to replace the OEM Marathons with 16" Michelin LT's. Since we did it right away, we were able to sell her brand new 15" tires and wheels for $600.00. That made the cost of the upgrade $1,000.

We travel extensively with our Airstream and the junky OEM tires are the first thing that we wanted to upgrade.

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Old 04-16-2016, 03:54 PM   #3
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x2 with Moosetags. We changed out the GMT but kept the 15" rims & installed Maxxis E rated 10 ply rubber. Sold the 4 Marathon's for $250 on Craigslist. Not as good as the 16" Michelin's but a hell of a lot better than the Goodyears. Safety should be your first issue.
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Old 04-16-2016, 04:40 PM   #4
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Go camping for a while first. What you want/need will become clear to you. It might be that it is just fine for the way you want to use it. Of course I am a guy who does not have or want solar and am still using a single stage converter from 1988. (I put the trailer on timer wnen we leave it plugged in at home). But it works for us. Keep a little cash in reserve in case something breaks or you find you really need to change something. We do not really boondock, but we often stay at sites without water and electric for up to 10 days at a time. I like sites with trees and we are often in cold, cloudy climates.

Things that we have done that I liked were changing to Michelin tires (I use the 15" because they will easily carry the 25'), fantastic fan, and purchased a small generator. I rebuilt the slide out pantry with a better slide and the drawer slides under the sofa. Added a TV swivel mount on a wall. And a sewer hose carrier under the trailer large enough for the connections too.
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Old 04-16-2016, 05:22 PM   #5
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Go camping! Upgrades can be sorted with time.

I think one of the first items for dry camping and boon docking is the battery system and charger. Whether you use solar or a generator they both are for charging the source of your power which is batteries. My 28' international came with flooded acid group 24 which has somewhat limited power compared to 27s and other battery technology.

I decided to go generator vice solar. So I am getting the generator first with a Trimetric battery monitor then going camping to see just how my batteries last. Then I will upgrade batteries as needed and select the right charger.
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Old 04-17-2016, 06:06 AM   #6
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So good advice everyone. We'll take it on a couple of trips before we decide what to do next and put upgrading tires and possibly a generator instead of more solar on the list to consider.
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Old 04-17-2016, 06:31 AM   #7
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IMO I personally would not upgrade anything until Ii got a feel for your AS. I think you will fine what you have as OEM will work quite well for a couple of years. I also think you would be better served if you would look to purchase accessories such as a bike rack, air pump, generator, small ladder, sheets, outdoor grill, screen room or even upgrade your mattress. This was the path over first few years that we followed after we bought our AS.
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Old 04-17-2016, 06:42 AM   #8
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Get out and "experience" your Airstream. The list of items will start to grow from your camping experiences. I always keep a notebook and pen handy with a page that has a title of "Things I want" . Then, as I am camping, I update the notes so I can review when I get home and buy/set aside things for the next outing.
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Old 04-17-2016, 07:30 AM   #9
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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

What to do?......

1. Camp
2. Camp
3. Camp
4. Converter
5. Camp


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Old 04-17-2016, 07:35 AM   #10
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Get a TPMS for your trailer tires. There are several maid less where the sensor screws onto the valve stem.

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Old 04-17-2016, 08:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
The first upgrade that we did to New Lucy when we brought her home in October of 2014 was to replace the OEM Marathons with 16" Michelin LT's. Since we did it right away, we were able to sell her brand new 15" tires and wheels for $600.00. That made the cost of the upgrade $1,000.

We travel extensively with our Airstream and the junky OEM tires are the first thing that we wanted to upgrade.

Brian
x2, plus do the same with the converter.
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
Get a TPMS for your trailer tires. There are several maid less where the sensor screws onto the valve stem.

Kelvin
I'm old fashioned. Use high dollar dial Guage for tires. Carry air compressor. Check tire pressure every morning and thump tires (truck driver thing) and wheel bearings at every stop.
It's that. Different strokes thing.
Walking around unit is a good chance to circulate blood and get some air.
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:46 AM   #13
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Isn't it amazing that you (and many others) buy a high speed/high dollar new trailer and feel the need to upgrade. It sounds like the factory isn't listening to what consumers REALLY want and "upgrading" their initial output. However, it does sound like you have a really nice trailer and I hope you enjoy it. Thats it!! first, enjoy your trailer and see if it already meets your needs!! I bought an older AS (not quite vintage I guess, LOL) and wanted to redo it to my tastes/needs. I started out with a big list of wants which went back and forth as I progressed through the redo. However, initial changes were for safety, which in your case is most likely a tire/rim upgrade to 16"(check wheel well spacing before buying them). I'm still out on the TPMS systems, I've had them on other rigs w/no problems. My sister's fifth-wheel recently had a tire bulge on the inside sidewall that was seen by a vehicle behind them, who warned them as their TPMS failed to show a problem. So, the TPMS may lull you into not checking the tires at every stop as you should but if it gives you piece of mind, go for it. You might want to upgrade your safety chains as mine seemed small for the size of the rig. It never hurts to be too safe when RVing. If you upgrade your converter, make sure it is a multi-stage unit that cycles your batteries (longer life). I went with a PD 9200 series 60 amp unit (OEM was 45 amp) and got the remote moniter for it, hope this helps. Good luck and safe travels...
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Old 04-17-2016, 11:13 AM   #14
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Part of the fun if ownership is upgrading...

I brought home my 1977 Argosy 28 MH last year. Changed all fluids and tires and went camping off-grid. Off grid doesn't mean we do without electronic devices. I also use the rig as an office at home and sometimes drive to the beach and work out of the rig for a change of scenery. The genny works but is too loud for my taste so I went for solar and battery upgrade.

I run two 100 watt solar panels mounted to the top of a removable post attached to my rear hitch receiver. I love this set up because I can orient the solar panels to the sun throughout the day for max efficiency. I remove the pole with the panels attached and store inside the rig while traveling. By using the gas refrigerator full time, I don't have to hook up to the house except on the hottest days when I need the air-conditioner.

I have A 400 amp hour battery system comprised of four 100 amp 12 V batteries. These are charged through a solar charger. I have a 2000 W inverter (4000 W peak.). Now please don't judge me, but I also have a 1500 W sub woofer with amp along with 400 W of conventional stereo. Don't worry, I only play the music loud when I'm on the freeway. Hey, a motorhome is loud.

I love the warm glow of the old school lights in this motorhome. But I did replace certain lights with LED equivalents to minimize power consumption. This is still very much a work in progress that I imagine will never end. But again that's part of the fun.
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Old 04-17-2016, 11:36 AM   #15
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I agree with those who suggest getting out and spending some time in your Airstream before upgrading much of anything.

You may find that what you think you want and need now is different from what you think you want and need 6 months to a year from now.

If you are not looking to boondock for extended periods, what you have in place now may be enough to meet your needs.

We/I always took the approach of working with what we had in place in the Interstate, and haven't upgraded anything in 9 years of ownership and over 170,000 miles....replaced batteries and tires, of course, but no "upgrades".

Because we have an onboard generator, it seemed duplicative and an unnecessary expense in the beginning to add solar panels...and we never felt since that these were "required". Phones and IPads stay plenty charged with what we have.

I had a little plaque once upon a time that said "Happiness is Wanting What You Have, not Having What You Want".

I believed in that, it helped my mindset back when retirement and traveling the country couldn't have been more a pipe dream....and I still basically do.

Take some time, get a feel for your Airstream's limitations, and go from there, is my thought.

I basically disagree with the approach some have...and can afford...that everything must be 18K quality. No offense meant, just a different way of looking at it.

If there is something you really need, you're going to know that.

You have a brand new trailer. Use the money you would spend on upgrades to travel.


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Old 04-17-2016, 12:12 PM   #16
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Solar Good. Tires, so so. The rest... try it, you may like it

We had the original Solar package on our 2016 23 foot Safari. It was not that large and probably the bare minimum for solar.

We boondocked for eight years and this small solar panel kept our batteries charged. The solar package also came with the AGM Interstate batteries. Never had an issue with the batteries and the solar could have been larger, but we worked with what we had.

While Boondocking off the grid: We do not take daily showers. We do not run the furnace unless absolutely necessary. We do not turn all of the interior lighting on in the evening. So, our boondocking style may vary from most. (Furnace and Water Pump are the biggest battery drainers you have on board.)

If in a very cold seasonal day we could hook up the tow vehicle and let the truck idle to run the furnace fan. You do what you have to improvise at times.

I found the 14" Marathon tires were a poor excuse for a tire on any Airstream. Others major tire brands worked out fine. Anyone with Marathons... be very careful.

Your 15" D rated Marathons are the same as those that came on my 2014 25 foot and I have not experienced any trouble with those... yet. I made the upgrade to 16" LTX Michelin tires and wheels not wanting to be in the paying for use against a warranty replaced tire... multiple times. Airstream puts the bare minimum onto the 'basic' trailer... solar and tires. The spare on the steel wheel... now that is cheap.
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Old 04-17-2016, 03:08 PM   #17
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You have your initial options in pretty good order. But like most are saying here the priority is go camping. But, the number one on your list is a fairly easy fix and not expensive, and it will far better take care of your AGM batteries, get rid of that Paralax for a PD.
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Old 04-17-2016, 03:18 PM   #18
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Congratulations on your new trailer! Consider letting the warranty on the factory solar package expire before making any changes. If you see a desperate need for an upgrade after regular use, you can always do it later.

We got the factory solar package. Our initial goal was to get by without a generator. To make a long story short-- we got a small Honda generator after eight months. You can control your usage of the things that draw power from the batteries when you're off-grid, but you can't control the weather!

I second urnmor's comments about all the other things you may soon find yourself feeling like you want or need. In our own case, the mattress the factory installed was the first thing to go!
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Old 04-17-2016, 03:51 PM   #19
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Converter gets you bang. You can do better if you go deeper in upgrades, but the converter is not a huge loss if you replace it later. Tires keep you from having a bang. Either you buy in to that concern, or you don't. The risk is 2-3X the upgrade cost which makes it a good bet if the cash is available. Solar depends. Adding the extra 100 watts gets you the matching solar for your battery bank. That is a good investment, but not a requirement unless you find your locations need the added capacity. The generator is a you need it or you can get by without it. We are doing our best to not need one. Pat
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Old 04-18-2016, 08:02 AM   #20
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I generally wait for a failure to upgrade.
At about 3 years old I did the 16 " wheel/LT tire upgrade and upgraded to AGM batteries.
I have even upgraded very small, trivial, inconsequential items like the wheel chocks and sewer hose.
Another very simple upgrade was the MaxxAir Fantastic Fan cover.
An addition of a rear view/backup camera on the trailer and TPMS are also nice.
All upgrades whether big or small make the trailer more enjoyable or easier to set up.
One future upgrade may be a new converter/charger.
A little along as money and time allow-
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