Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 05-06-2017, 05:19 PM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: CA
Posts: 3
Default Airstream interstate - is it worth the hype?

Hi I'm new to the forum and thinking about buying a class B RV.

I went to my local dealer and was looking at the Roadtrek eTrek but then saw the Airstream interstate. I really liked that the etrek had all electrical and seemed more functional but the airstream seemed to have more safety and driving functions like parking assist, collision avoidance etc. But, is the Airstream really a better drive and is it really better to be without propane? Thanks!
__________________

tympa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2017, 05:26 PM   #2
Platinum Member
 
hepcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: eastern Iowa
Posts: 216
Default

"Better" is ALWAYS in the eye of the beholder.

Frankly for ME, "better" is a 6 gallon DSL water heater, 2800w Onan generator, and conventional LP furnace and appliances. They're simple, easy to operate, and relatively inexpensive to operate, maintain and replace when necessary. They're proven, reliable systems that have worked with few problems for fifty years.

The new stuff is complex, expensive, likely nigh-onto impossible to repair when it breaks, and hasn't been around long enough yet to have a service track record.

Buy the rig you like. I appreciate 'early adopters' and their trials 'cause you'll help me, in ten or fifteen years when I buy my next coach, to figure out which of the new systems worked, and which ones were evolutionary dead ends.
__________________

hepcat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2017, 05:32 PM   #3
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: CA
Posts: 3
Default

Well said, I was just looking at the electrical forum and the worries with the fully electrical system on the eTrek. So many options, it's a little overwhelming.
tympa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2017, 05:44 PM   #4
Platinum Member
 
hepcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: eastern Iowa
Posts: 216
Default

Sorry if I sounded a little like a technophobe... I'm really not, but I AM a member of the Tribe of KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid.) And the systems in the new coaches are anything BUT simple.

As long as you have a warranty that covers your van for as long as you intend to own it, I suppose you're ok. Hopefully someone with experience with each of those coaches will be able to give you some guidance; but remember, what's important to me may not be important to you at all.

AND free advice is always worth exactly what you pay for it!
hepcat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2017, 06:11 PM   #5
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: CA
Posts: 1,625
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by tympa View Post
Hi I'm new to the forum and thinking about buying a class B RV.

I went to my local dealer and was looking at the Roadtrek eTrek but then saw the Airstream interstate. I really liked that the etrek had all electrical and seemed more functional but the airstream seemed to have more safety and driving functions like parking assist, collision avoidance etc. But, is the Airstream really a better drive and is it really better to be without propane? Thanks!
If it's on the Mercedes Sprinter platform, whether it's Roadtrek or Airstream, it will have the enhanced safety features. The Roadtrek Chevys and Promasters don't.
cruising7388 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2017, 07:38 PM   #6
Site Team
 
avanti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 3,724
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cruising7388 View Post
If it's on the Mercedes Sprinter platform, whether it's Roadtrek or Airstream, it will have the enhanced safety features.
Not necessarily. The MB "Active Safety Package" (lane keep, blind spot, collision detect, smart High Beam, etc) is an option. The upfitters can order it or not. I have it and would never buy a new vehicle without at least lane keep and blind spot detection.

As for Airstream: My previous rig was an early Interstate. Had a lot going for it but build quality was awful. As of last time I shopped (3 years ago), things had not improved much. You can search the list for my detailed report.
__________________
Formerly: 2005 Airstream Interstate (Sprinter 2500 T1N)
Now!: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE (Sprinter 3500 NCV3 I4)
avanti is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2017, 08:49 PM   #7
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: CA
Posts: 1,625
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
Not necessarily. The MB "Active Safety Package" (lane keep, blind spot, collision detect, smart High Beam, etc) is an option. The upfitters can order it or not. I have it and would never buy a new vehicle without at least lane keep and blind spot detection.
Yes, theoretically it is a Sprinter "option" but I think that other than a custom builder like ARV, you'll be hard pressed to find builders like Roadtrek, Pleasureway et al that will order a Sprinter platform without the Safety Package. Why the Express, Transit and Promaster OEMs have been unable or unwilling to incorporate these safety features puzzles the hell out of me.
cruising7388 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2017, 08:58 PM   #8
Platinum Member
 
hepcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: eastern Iowa
Posts: 216
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cruising7388 View Post
Why the Express, Transit and Promaster OEMs have been unable or unwilling to incorporate these safety features puzzles the hell out of me.
Because they're expensive, complex and add significant cost to a base package. AND they actually do very little for 'safety;' especially in a Class B motorhome.

I wouldn't buy a van WITH that stuff in it. My wife's 2010 $36,000-when-new Prius package V with the Technology Package (as opposed to the Prius V model) has all that stuff, and when she hit a deer, NONE of it came into play. Not ONLY did it not come into play, but the repair job was OVER $12,000 for what would have been a $5,000 repair on any other car because of the sensors, recalibration issues... and all of the computer issues that go with it. And I'm still not convinced, five years later, that it was all reassembled and calibrated perfectly.

Frankly, I'm having issues with the axle sensor on the ABS brakes on my e250 chassis, and I'm about ready to just pull the fuse and be done with it.
hepcat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2017, 09:14 PM   #9
Site Team
 
avanti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 3,724
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hepcat View Post
I wouldn't buy a van WITH that stuff in it. My wife's 2010 $36,000-when-new Prius package V with the Technology Package (as opposed to the Prius V model) has all that stuff, and when she hit a deer, NONE of it came into play.
These technologies have come a very long way since 2010. There isn't the slightest doubt in my mind that this stuff saves many lives. They will be standard equipment in a few years.
__________________
Formerly: 2005 Airstream Interstate (Sprinter 2500 T1N)
Now!: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE (Sprinter 3500 NCV3 I4)
avanti is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2017, 11:24 PM   #10
Platinum Member
 
hepcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: eastern Iowa
Posts: 216
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
These technologies have come a very long way since 2010. There isn't the slightest doubt in my mind that this stuff saves many lives. They will be standard equipment in a few years.
I'm sure that the technology is improving, although it works really well on the Prius... working isn't the issue. And I wish I could be as sure that it's saving lives as you are. I expect it's making someone a LOT of money, though.

I guess I'm a dinosaur, but I'd rather rely on the competence of the driver and defensive driving techniques to avoid problems than expensive technology to tell me when I've exceeded the limits of my equipment or that I'm not paying attention.
hepcat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2017, 11:40 PM   #11
Site Team
 
avanti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 3,724
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hepcat View Post
I wish I could be as sure that it's saving lives as you are.
Highway fatalities.jpg

Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled:
1963 -- 5.18
2011 -- 1.14

Perhaps you believe that drivers have become five times more skillful since 1963. I do not.
__________________
Formerly: 2005 Airstream Interstate (Sprinter 2500 T1N)
Now!: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE (Sprinter 3500 NCV3 I4)
avanti is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2017, 12:19 AM   #12
Platinum Member
 
hepcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: eastern Iowa
Posts: 216
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
Attachment 4166

Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled:
1963 -- 5.18
2011 -- 1.14

Perhaps you believe that drivers have become five times more skillful since 1963. I do not.
Crumple zones, seatbelts, and airbags have contributed significantly to those numbers as well as anti-drunk driving campaigns and SIGNIFICANTLY better road design. Drivers, not so much. The telling statistic isn't necessarily fatalities, but collisions per million miles driven.

AND, while we've seen a decrease of about 30% in traffic deaths since 2000 in the US, other countries have seen a decrease of almost 60% during that same period.

https://consumerist.com/2016/07/06/u...ble-countries/

The technology we're talking about here (auto braking, lane keep assist, and such) was first widely offered in 2010; maybe Caddy and Lincoln had it in '08 or so... but its only just now becoming 'standard.' Certainly there's not enough of it out there to impact those statistics... yet. I haven't even seen anything that would lead me to believe that ABS has affected those statistics significantly. Perhaps it has. Perhaps these features will eventually; but we're also seeing drivers taking greater chances because they believe that they're more safe because of the technology in their cars.

https://www.wired.com/2011/07/active...ssive-drivers/

"Safety" technology can't take the place of a competent driver and driver's safety. Perhaps instead of the states giving a "parking test" to get a driver's license, we should actually be required to take a mandatory "driving test" every renewal period that includes skid pan drills, collision avoidance maneuvering, and decision gates, and actually NOT pass drivers who can't manage to successfully complete the course.

THAT would greatly enhance our highway traffic safety in this country.
hepcat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2017, 12:22 AM   #13
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: CA
Posts: 1,625
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
Attachment 4166

Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled:
1963 -- 5.18
2011 -- 1.14

Perhaps you believe that drivers have become five times more skillful since 1963. I do not.
I agree with you regarding the efficacy of the current state of the art driver assistance deices but I think your statistics don't tell the entire story and it's probably the confluence of a number of factors. You're citing a half century history comparison but the safety devices we are talking about have been implemented at the most over the past 12-15 years. I think a significant player in the fatality reduction is the improvement of vehicle design, e.g., the requirement for seat belts, (and the increasingly stringent enforcement for using them), suspension improvements, better tires, the evolution from drum to disc brakes, etc.

That said, as highway speeds continue to inch up, the warning and interceding devices currently emerging are important because since we are humans, the inevitability of our being inattentive or doing something stupid is not if ...but when.
cruising7388 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2017, 12:48 AM   #14
Site Team
 
avanti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 3,724
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hepcat View Post
"Safety" technology can't take the place of a competent driver and driver's safety
You don't think so?

In 20 years, I doubt it will even be legal for humans to take control of a vehicle on an interstate.

As for "other" technologies accounting for these statistics, you miss my point. It isn't any particular technological improvement that I have been trying to defend. The point is that a constant stream of new technologies (and, yes, I do include road design in this category) must get almost all of the credit. Some will prove more efficacious than others, but they are all part of a trend that is not going to reverse itself. Yes, lane-keeping is new, but several generations of electronic stability control systems (that go FAR beyond ABS) ARE reflected in those numbers. As I say, I haven't the slightest doubt that the particular technologies in the MB Active Safety Package are effective. This belief is based on three years of personal experience. I am a FAR more attentive driver due to the constant feedback I get from these very well-designed human-machine systems. I am ashamed to admit that it took such feedback to fully convince me of just how distracting even simple things like changing the station on the radio really are. The vehicle gives me data and they don't lie.

In all respect, your position does sound a bit like dinosaur-talk. These technologies are truly wonderful, and IMO it is a big mistake to discourage anyone from availing themselves of them.
__________________
Formerly: 2005 Airstream Interstate (Sprinter 2500 T1N)
Now!: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE (Sprinter 3500 NCV3 I4)
avanti is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2017, 01:20 AM   #15
Platinum Member
 
hepcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: eastern Iowa
Posts: 216
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
You don't think so?

In 20 years, I doubt it will even be legal for humans to take control of a vehicle on an interstate.

As for "other" technologies accounting for these statistics, you miss my point. It isn't any particular technological improvement that I have been trying to defend. The point is that a constant stream of new technologies (and, yes, I do include road design in this category) must get almost all of the credit.

In all respect, your position does sound a bit like dinosaur-talk. These technologies are truly wonderful, and IMO it is a big mistake to discourage anyone from availing themselves of them.
First, I guess I should say that I'm a trained and experienced collision reconstructionist, although I haven't practiced in years. My experience with computer technology also begins back in the days of punch cards. I'm also a fairly accomplished shade tree mechanic, and do all of my own RV systems repairs; although I'm old enough now that I leave the mechanical repairs to folks who have the shops and diagnostic equipment and proper tools to do that work. Perhaps my experience with that has given me a different perspective?

The combination of those skills have taught me what causes collisions, how to assign a primary and secondary cause of a collision, how mechanical systems fail when stressed, the physics of vehicles when the collide, and that the digital world is built on inherently unreliable technology tied to the necessary movement of electrons. When the smoke is let out of the device in the digital world, there's no putting it back together with duct tape and safety wire. You can't put the smoke back into it. There are no repairs, only replacement... and every digital device has a measurable MTBF. Unfortunately, unlike brake pads, there's no way to tell when you're approaching that magic iteration of "ons" and "offs."

I also now understand much better the limits of the abilities of the human body, and how reaction time affects EVERYTHING about driving a vehicle. Time-motion studies are most effective in determining when a driver SHOULD have been able to see a hazard, when the driver actually SAW the hazard, and how far the driver traveled at speed after those events until the collision. 60 mph is about the limit for the average driver to be safe most of the time, yet there are places that have a speed limit of 80mph.

I'm actually grateful for highway safety engineering, and the passive systems engineered into vehicles; crumple zones, seat belts, and air bags as well as safety campaigns that have caused those fatality numbers to drop so precipitously. There's not much there to fail.

Active systems controlling the vehicle, however, scare the h*ll out of me BECAUSE (despite the hype) it remains inherently unreliable technology. Drive by wire technology terrifies me (probably irrationally) even though its standard on most vehicles now, and there's the added issue you mentioned of technology distracting drivers.

But the biggest issue for me remains the added cost to the vehicle, and the significant repair costs of those electronics when they fail versus the perceived value of the options. For you, they're value-added, and worthwhile. For me, the value just isn't there. At least not yet. Perhaps one day it may be... but it's not there yet.
hepcat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2017, 10:38 AM   #16
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Maryland
Posts: 46
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cruising7388 View Post
Yes, theoretically it is a Sprinter "option" but I think that other than a custom builder like ARV, you'll be hard pressed to find builders like Roadtrek, Pleasureway et al that will order a Sprinter platform without the Safety Package.
Winnebago does not order the package for Era. Price point policy, I guess?
__________________
Manx
2017 Pleasure-Way Ascent
Manx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2017, 01:52 PM   #17
Platinum Member
 
Davydd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 4,885
Default

ARV custom orders all Sprinters per the customer's choice for anything Mercedes Benz offers right down to the choice of color.
__________________
Davydd
2015 Advanced RV Ocean One Mercedes Benz Sprinter
Previous Class Bs:
2011 Great West Van Legend Sprinter
2005 Pleasure-way Plateau TS Sprinter
Davydd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2017, 03:58 PM   #18
Platinum Member
 
GeorgeRa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 1,796
Default

My Sprinter doesnít have the safety electronics, I donít think they were available in 2013. Based on my experience with our new Accord with all electronic safety gadgets, I wish to have them on my Sprinter, especially the lane crossing end early detection.

Safety in cars has progressed for years with many different technologies. One of them is use of LEDs tealights, often viewed as just a more modern appearance but in fact they add considerable safety preventing rear-end collisions Ė 7.3% https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api...ication/811712. A few milliseconds faster turn on of the LED lights in comparison to incandescent light bulbs speeds up driverís reaction time to hit brakes, and statistically it adds a lot for safety.

Practically all semi-trucks use LED taillights but for increased reliability, LED lights with lower current draw are more immune to faulty wiring/connections or undersized wires.

In the case LED taillights increase driverís reaction time to hit the brake is likely independent of driverís proficiency, yes, more proficient drivers will keep their distance safer but reaction time would be independent to drivers' skills.

I am surprised that Sprinter doesnít have LED lights yet, most if not all of their passenger cars or SUVs have them.

George.
GeorgeRa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2017, 04:23 PM   #19
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: League City, TX
Posts: 871
Default

The OP is talking about potentially buying a NEW Airstream Interstate, right? Versus some other new model of Class B?

I'd say "more information needed". Every time I hear a question along those lines, I need to know more about the OP's intended usage (in as much detail as possible), DIY skill level, aggravation tolerance, etc. Questions like electrical vs. propane are only relevant within a specific usage context.

My husband and I own a 2007 Interstate. Similar to Avanti, we found much of the build quality to be awful - Airstream is way overhyped in terms of the quality that doesn't actually exist, IMO. Airstream's forte' is design - and then they fall down on the build behind it. Despite that, we love the T1N Sprinter that our Interstate is built on, the simplicity and relative reliability of it. So we DIY-fixed all the Airstream build issues and re-wired a new electrical system that includes solar and lithium and an upgraded engine alternator. No way in hell would we exchange what we've got for a 2017 Airstream Interstate, not even if someone offered it to us outright as a straight trade. Knowing what we know now, we also would not buy a 2017 Interstate supposing we were wealthy and cost were no object, because it just couldn't get the job done for us. But none of these decisions are absolute - they all flow from the decision trees associated with our personal usage intentions.
InterBlog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2017, 04:50 PM   #20
Site Team
 
avanti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 3,724
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Despite that, we love the T1N Sprinter that our Interstate is built on, the simplicity and relative reliability of it. So we DIY-fixed all the Airstream build issues and re-wired a new electrical system that includes solar and lithium and an upgraded engine alternator. No way in hell would we exchange what we've got for a 2017 Airstream Interstate, not even if someone offered it to us outright as a straight trade. Knowing what we know now, we also would not buy a 2017 Interstate supposing we were wealthy and cost were no object, because it just couldn't get the job done for us. But none of these decisions are absolute - they all flow from the decision trees associated with our personal usage intentions.
+1 on all of this. Airstream designs are great--we loved our 2005. But I spent countless hours fixing all kinds of issues that were just inexcusable. We tried warranty work at first, but it proved easier to just fix it myself. When we sold our unit in 2014, it was MUCH better than new.

When we decided to update our van after almost 10 years of ownership, we approached the market with an open mind. The Interstate didn't even make the first cut.

I will say that although the T1N Sprinters ARE relatively simple and avoid all the emissions-system hassles of the NCV3, we find the latter to be much more comfortable, quiet, and refined to travel in. I would not look forward to going back to a T1N.
__________________

__________________
Formerly: 2005 Airstream Interstate (Sprinter 2500 T1N)
Now!: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE (Sprinter 3500 NCV3 I4)
avanti is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
airstream interstate, etrek

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 05:58 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×