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Open Roads Forum  >  Class B - Camping Van Conversions

 > Westfalia Tech Info Only

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RespondingBack

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Joined: 01/23/2004

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Posted: 05/26/05 09:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In the last couple months or so, Airstream Dodge Sprinter Westfalia (the American version of the European Mercedes James Cook Sprinter) has made a couple of tech. fixes to the Westfalias (if you know of any others, please post as good reference info or if info below is wrong, please correct). Not all changes were needed for all vehicles. Airstream (American) and Westfalia (German) techs flew around the country to make the fixes.

These changes are welcomed and indicative of Airstream/Westfalia listening to the owners.

1. Coach A/C. Complaints about inadequate A/C and interior water leaks. Larger unit installed; still made by Kerstner and still runs on 12 volts (off alternator while driving; off generator or shore power after converter converts 120v to 12 volts).

Replacement circuit breaker (15 amps versus previous 13 amps) installed for A/C (new sticker installed showing higher amperage breaker). Heavier gauge wire from new circuit breaker to converter installed. Converter reset to increase voltage output to around 13.5 volts or so. (Converter is in same compartment as hot water heater.) Water leaks are from the condensate which go out two outlets in the A/C (one near each halogen light) through white tubing to a single tubing which runs down behind kitchen cabinet. If the tubing becomes dislodged (now hose-clamped), the condensate will leak into the interior of the van.

Access to the A/C is mostly from the top, but leaks require the yellow wood cover panel to be removed (the panel which has the A/C control and air vents, the two halogen lights, the blackwater tank indicator, the drop-down storage unit).

Don't know exact output, but around 13,500 or so? New A/C is higher and heavier than prior unit; white cover does not have the blue side inserts of previous unit.

Same A/C control switch retained.

Photographs can be seen at sprinterstop.com, in the photographs section.

2. Skylight Retrofit. Complaints about self-opening skylight (perhaps from CB and other radio frequency traffic) and red indicator light not going out (light goes out to show skylight is closed). Replacement circuit board installed and replacement distribution fuse/box installed. Replacement brown brackets on skylight installed (replacement brackets have small insert so skylight is pulled closed tighter). Replacement remote control is more of a trapezoid shape versus rectangular shape of prior remote control. Replacement remote control requires you to hold down close button continuously for skylight to close.

Hint: If the skylight ever refuses to close, there is a manual (and laborious) method in which to close the skylight--check Owner's Manual for details. Basic idea is to take off interior trim pieces around frame, locate small T-handle in frame, and use T-handle as a crank. Could probably use a portable drill with right socket to do the same thing.

3. Bathroom Sink. Complaints about sliding door falling out of tracks and bottom shelf of sink vanity bowing down. Replacement single piece rail bracket installed in place of the two tiny L-shaped brackets. Replacement bracket supports bottom of sink vanity so sliding door doesn't fall out of tracks.

4. Sliding Door Lock Knob. Complaints about difficulty pulling knob up to lock/unlock and scraping vehicle when door is opened. Replacement knob (looks the same as original) and interior wire (like coat hanger wire) installed (interior wire has slightly different bends/shape; replacement knob is glued to this wire).

5. Upper Blinds/Screens. Complaints about upper blinds/screens not staying together. New brown magnetic strips glued to top/bottom rails so blinds/screens can be magnetically sealed together.

6. Bathroom Door. Complaints about squeeks. Small pieces of cardboard backing placed behind hinges.

Hint: The protruding metal plate for the middle door latch is a nuisance (scratches/catches on clothes/skin) and on some Westfalias, does not touch middle latch--so just unscrew and flip it around so it doesn't protrude. Downside is that middle latch won't be doing anything (but the other two latches will still be holding).

7. Kitchen Upper Cabinet. Complaints about door scratches. Felt trim added to bottom outside surface of sliding door (below handle) to prevent scratches.

8. Bathroom Skylight Dome. Replaced if manufactured before a certain date (2003 or so). Manufacturing date is in a small circle imprinted on dome.

Handle for bathroom skylight may be slightly assymetrically bent so dome is not closed as tightly as possible when closed. No fix known.

9. Plastic Awning Window (Driver's Side). Complaints about leaks. Replacement nuts and bolts used to fasten three latch receivers to frame in new holes (prior latch receivers were held on by screws). New holes allow latch receivers with slots to be moved inwards for tighter closing window (and nuts and bolts allow for more secure position).

In some cases, entire window may have been replaced if water leaked from under frame (versus between window and rubberstripping).

Replacement window screen as needed if water leaks discolored window screen.

10. Upper Tilt-out Windows. Complaint(s) about leaks. Adjust latch receivers so windows are pulled tighter against weatherstripping when closed. The latch receivers have slots where screws are, so receivers can be moved slightly in/out.

11. Bed Pull-Out Safety Mesh Net Unit. Riveted or screwed on more securely.

12. Sliding Upper Bed Panel. Complaints about sliding upper bed panel piece scratching gray plastic trim below slide cut-outs. Four larger replacement white rollers installed to provide greater clearance of sliding bed panel from gray plastic trim.

13. Upper Bed Springs. Additional screws to hold upper bed springs in place.

14. Fresh Water Tank Sensor. New fresh water tank sensor installed (more accurate?). New warning stickers installed re turning off water pump when not in use and not using water pump when no fresh water.

Hint: If water flow seems to be less than normal, check for leaks. The water heater has two hoses with clamps (in and out) which can become dislodged and leak water. This is the lower compartment below the closet (accessible from the rear of vehicle, behind the rear doors).

15. Vehicle Battery. Battery cable checked to make sure black plastic fuse cover (front side of battery) can slide up to reveal fuses.

16. Outside Black Louver-type Panels. Perimeter of panels trimmed down to provide more clearance space between edge of panels and steel body. These black panels are glued on.

17. Cupholders beneath Plastic Awning Window. Replacement cupholders installed as needed.

Airstream Technician's tip: shave the two middle prongs to a bevel if they catch on back of cupholder circle.

18. Towel holders. Replaced as necessary.

19. Bathroom Caulking. Re-caulked as necessary.



OTHER:

1. Coach Diesel Heater. Complaints about inoperation. Please post method of clearing codes or fixing.

2. Sliding Door Operation. Check Dodge Sprinter website, technical information, to download instructions on adjusting sliding door and rear door.

3. Web Resources. Yahoo Sprinter Group is most active. Yahoo Westfalia Group has some activity. Sprinterstop.com is starting anew. Wolfgang's sprinter resource is at www.whnet.com/4x4/sprinter.html. Eurocamper.com is distributer for Reimo catalog which has various Westfalia aftermarket items. And, of course, this forum.

Pang

Honolulu, HI

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Joined: 10/19/2004

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Posted: 05/27/05 08:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you for the post. I spent 1 1/2 days at the Airstream factory in Ohio while they worked on the heater furnace in March. They weren't able to fix it's erratic "on and off" behavior but gave me a call recently about having the fix. Now it's just a matter of meeting the tech somewhere convenient for both of us. Airstream was very polite and a pleasure to work with.





Pang

Honolulu, HI

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Posted: 07/19/05 02:33am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Airstream Westfalia flew in a technician last week to fix my furnace. No complaints about the service. He came to my vehicle and fixed it.

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